Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Climate Change Policy of Christian Aid: Nothing inherently Christian about it!


video

Small acts, Big Impact' is an animation  video produced by SEEDS, a Christian Aid partner in India as part of an educational programme that is targeted to reach 10,000 schools all over the country. Click the arrow of video to watch.

If each school is assumed to have student strength of 1,000, then this programme could easily reach a whooping 10 million school children. This is apart from their teachers, parents and siblings. That's how large this programme is designed to reach. The storyline is simple enough. A camel in the desert is shown shivering while an equally bewildered yak on top of a mountain demands to know why the snow has melted. Both phenomena are blamed on humans and the remedy is to embrace solar and wind energy!


The Morphing of Christianity to the Religion of Climate Change

All Creation Mourning (2007), a climate policy document of Christian Aid admits that Climate Change is neither mentioned in the Bible nor has it been an integral part of contemporary systematic theology. Consequently, Christian Aid needed to evolve an approach to climate change that is rooted in the wider theology’ and ‘ethics of development to frame climate change as their policy. 

Interesting as this video reflects the offspring of such a marriage. The climate change theme is kept largely secular but cleverly laced with Christian religious nuances - 'planting seeds, harvest, mission, save the world, let's make God happy'. Christian Aid as their name suggests, is supposedly one of the most influential development arms of the Protestant Church in both Britain and Europe.  So the use of Christian nuances may not be startling from this sense. 

But don't get fooled. At the core is nature worship and not Christ. The late Michael Crichton, internationally renowned science fiction writer, was of the opinion that certain social structures remain the same irrespective if society changes; religion being one of them.  Not known very well was Crichton as an anthropologist by academic training. Providing insight to the climate change ideology in his book, State of Fear, he opined:  'It's a holistic ideology; shot through with religious sentiment...it is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.'  

In the UK, all religions are experiencing a downswing in terms of active membership and practice. Though the 2001 Census, found 71% of the population had categorized themselves as Christians (with around 16% atheists), a research by another UK Christian charity, Tearfund revealed that between 1979 and 2005, half of all Christians stopped going to church. Attendance of Sunday church services plunged well below 10% - a trend that aligns tightly with the continued secularization of British society that nevertheless is in line with other countries in mainland Europe.

Among the earlier strategies used by the Church to stem this membership drift was the popularization of Liberation Theology that was strongly moulded by a Marxist-Trotskyist philosophy.  This somewhat worked for some time but after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Soviet Union, they found that they needed a new adhesive. They found one through the re-invention of environmentalism as Climate Change, based on a theology that addressed a secular issue with Christian religious trappings. 

Seen within this context, religious nuances in the video then become a mere tool deliberately employed by Christian Aid to stem the drift away by sizeable sections of their original core constituency. The wrap up line of the video is designed to create the impression with whatever Christian Aid exhorts children to do in the name of Climate Change ’God will be happy'. But God in this case becomes a proxy for Nature at the sub-conscious level. The effect is created by skillfully blurring the distinction between the two - God and Nature (God's Creation). The video's basic plot blame humans for climate changes (sin) and in order to save the Planet they needed to act. The concept of sin is further equated to carbon indulgence.  However Christian Aid disguises all this in a complex web of theological rhetoric:  

If climate change crisis is to be addressed, the concept of structural sin urgently needs to be highlighted. In relational terms, while individual seeks to heal……the relationship between society as a whole and the natural world must be urgently addressed.”

This edifice of the borrowed ‘wider theology’ is no different from those followed by typical environmental groups such as Greenpeace whose founding meeting incidentally also took place at the basement of an Unitarian Church in Vancouver.  Jonah Goldberg in a paper called this the birth of Church of Green  and further elaborated its significance: 

'Environmentalism's most renewable resources are fear, guilt and moral bullying. Its worldview casts man as a sinful creature who, through the pursuit of forbidden knowledge, abandoned our Edenic past. Salvation comes from shedding our sins, rejecting our addictions (to oil, consumerism, etc.) and demonstrating an all-encompassing love of Mother Earth. Quoth Al Gore: "The climate crisis is not a political issue; it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity' 

Michael Crichton commented in a similar vein: 

'There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. 

Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe. Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday--these are deeply held mythic structures. They are profoundly conservative beliefs.' 

The chapter on Sin: The Breakdown of Relationships in Christian Aid’s Climate Change policy document, All Creation Mourning, takes to quoting from the Al Gore book, 'Inconvenient Truth' clearly indicating that its climate change policy has less to do with the Bible but with Goreism - the wider theology from which Christian Aid seek inspiration from! Though the Bible propounds that while 'Christ came into this world to give life abundantly', this leading development arm of Protestant Church in Britain has chosen to preach the Gospel of Global Doom! From a Christian institution that is expected to reflect hope to all humanity, Christian Aid morphed into an entity peddling hopelessness as illustrated by the title of its policy document: All Creation Moaning - quoting the Bible out of context. What a fall!  It led one Christian theologian to observe: 

"It has always been a temptation for the Christian Church to slavishly copy the latest trends of the day. While there is a place to present an unchanging message in new forms and expressions, it becomes a tragedy when it comes at the expense of truth and good doctrine."

However, a significant bulk of Christian Aid's funding, even today still comes from a small minority of Church going Christians, many of who are aware that Climate Change is not even mentioned in the Bible. Christian Aid's climate change policy documents acknowledge that these sections view environmentalism, leave alone, climate change, with a certain degree of suspicion. 

These are the types that reason, if Earth and its climate system is the product of a Creator, the Perfect Designer, a minuscule change in atmospheric chemistry should not lead to catastrophic climate changes. They even mock the thought that mankind can induce significant parametric changes to the Earth; dismissing it as ridiculous as ole (Viking) King Canute attempts to control the tide.  With all advances in knowledge and technology today, these sections feel that man remain totally helpless in trying to either trigger or stop a Tsunami, earthquake, snow storm or a cyclone. 

The more Bible read among these sections remember the commandment in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 - 'Test all things, hold fast what is good' a clear call for Christians to display skepticism as a way of life.  Such a world view inherently put them at odds with Christian Aid's Climate Change policy which the recent sceptic surge could amplify only further. To these sections, the deliberate insertion of Christian religious nuances in Christian Aid’s videos then becomes an instrument to camouflage the true character of their climate policies.

Climate alarmism as part of a larger Imperialistic Strategy

video

A typical Greenpeace climate hysteria routine could be watched by clicking the arrow of the video. Greenpeace relies heavily on shock and awe effect. The video starts off very innocently, with a mother turning the tap on of a bath tub in which her child is placed. However, when she walks off, only then it hits us that this is designed as a metaphor for a serious topic. The only background sound is of running water and wailing cries of the baby as the camera trains its focus on the rapidly rising water  in the tub. The implicit message conveyed is that if climate change is not tackled, we put to risk the next generation to the dangers of sea rise! 

This kind of emotional pitch is also widely used in NGO funding advertisements. World Vision for example have in the past used advertisements with such punchlines:  'Before, you turn this page, 1000 children will die in Africa'.
The undertone of the Christian Aid video, 'Small acts, Big Impact', though alarmist is certainly not of a degree that matches those of the Greenpeace variety. But this kind of mild alarmism can still be very fraudulent. When you have facts you will certainly tend to use them to further a cause you passionately believe in. But when you are short on truth, this is when the tendency creeps in to resort to climate evangelism - a danger which Indian Minister of Environment, Jairam  Ramesh, recently warns about.

'He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense" John McCarthy
 
Take for example the issue of glaciers melting. Children are merely told glaciers are melting but what is suppressed is the time-scale. If children can do simple arithmetic, surely they are capable of working out the likely doomsday, if given the variables like the average thickness of the glacier and the current melt rate assumed constant over time. But this is what the video doesn’t do - encouraging child participation. Instead we see Christian Aid faking an image of encouraging listening to children by claiming that pupils will be asked to think of ways that the impact of climate change can be reduced’. The transcripts of the video however tell-tales a very different story of Christian Aid - one that  literally brainwashes impressionable children by spelling out solar and wind energy as solutions to the problem. 

'How to think' is the anti-thesis of advocating 'What to think'.  If Christian Aid wants to educate children on climate change, they need to present both sides of an argument, given the fact that children are in the impressionable age. Giving one side of the argument as Christian Aid does to children amounts to forced indoctrination. This indoctrination is not even of the Christianity kind but the new religion peddled by Al Gore and the IPCC. Janet Albrechtsen Blog  commented on the dangers of this:    

'There are plenty reasons for concern on this score. Adults have barely engaged in a grown-up conversation over the causes of global warming. Debate over the what, how, why, and when on global warming has been drowned out by hysteria. 

Global warming has been cleverly framed as the big moral issue of our time to quarantine it from debate. ..This is an old trick, but a good one. Given that stultifying atmosphere among adults, it is a stretch to imagine that classroom talk will be different.' 

By itself, there is nothing significantly objectionable to peddling solar and wind energy. In many ways, no one really disputes these options are beneficial to mankind. Peak oil concerns further make it imperative for any community or nation to transition out to greater dependence on other energy sources. But the only problem with this line of logic is that the peak oil scenario is still very distantly away whereas the Christian Aid video wants us to ACT NOW to bring about such a transition. This is in a setting where 60% of Indians either do not have access or cannot afford electricity, even if provided otherwise. Making available affordable abundant energy then becomes the only solution to eradicate poverty, given that it is energy that is the main driver of all development. 

ACTING NOW brushes aside the inconvenient truth that renewable energy does not presently come cheap and its adoption will have a far reaching effect of reducing the affordability of energy to the masses and instead may accentuate these vulnerabilities even further. Increased cost of energy has the same effect. It immediately increases the price of each and every commodity, including food, bringing it out of reach of more people in the country.  Higher cost of production will also curb our exports, throwing a spanner in the way of our economic growth. Cheap energy has been absolutely central to the massive improvements in health and well-being which have so enormously lengthened and improved the quality of life for millions across the world during the last century. So when does it become the responsibility of the Western Christian Church to condition developing countries to launch a propaganda campaign to give up the fossil fuel route to alleviate our poverty?

This is the real agenda of Christian Aid's so called climate change awareness programme among children – degrowth our economy under the contraction and convergence (C&C) doctrine of the global climate ideology. The first step, ‘contraction’, would mean adopting a ‘safe’ target CO2 concentration level and then setting global annual emission levels which should take the atmosphere progressively towards that target. The convergence part entails even developing countries to cut down their carbon emissions, even if they played no part historically in the accumulation of these gases. 

Instead of pumping money into R&D to make renewable energy sources more technologically reliable and cost competitive, this climate change ethos is based on a deep cynicism; a belief that the only motivating force for their promotion is the profit motive i.e. individual greed. As later seen in this paper, relying on the market to resolve the environmental crisis is nothing less than collective suicide. Support to such climate treaty is a classical example of a NGO, facilitating the enrolment of the poor into development agendas that do not basically benefit them  by using climate hysteria as a tool.

In India's case, it is cheap coal that nature has bestowed us in abundance - the country possessing the fourth largest reserve of coal in the world. And it is this resource abundance that we need to judiciously capitalize on to offer affordable energy to our masses. Realizing this, beneath their justice facade, lies Christian Aid’s neo-imperialistic agenda. as it shows itself in their document: Capturing India’s Carbon: The UK’s role in delivering low-carbon technology to India  (2009).  

This is apparently a scooping study on the potential  demand size and the strategies needed to capture our carbon sequestration market by the UK by dumping this experimental and very expensive technology on India - in the process, raising our per unit cost of energy. Surely for an organization that advocates ‘Justice to Poverty’, we should have expected that such an appreciation of the dangers of increasing energy costs come intuitively. We now know better of wolves in sheep clothing don't we? What else can we expect of any organization whose CEO, Daleep Murkerjee has been conferred the honour of Order of the British Empire? Apparently, he earned it - building export demand for UK products in developing countries in the name of Justice! 

Does the non-use of the world’s resources get us off any hooks, whether environmental, economic, or theological? Of course, one day energy will have to come from sources other than fossil fuels. Is it then the responsibility of the Western Church to tell us in developing countries to stop using fossil fuel? Why should they pretend that when that day comes to change to non-fossil alternatives, it guarantees us freedom from the shocks of dramatic and often unpredictable climate change? This amounts to preaching basically untruths. Even if all the carbon dioxide is eliminated from our atmosphere, earthquakes, Tsunami, heat and cold waves, cyclones and hurricanes, droughts and floods are all integral part of God’s created climate of our world. There is simply no return to a mythical God-given climate stability and security since they were none to begin with once Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden! 

Global Warming: Only Thing Man-made is the Claim Itself! 

Christian Aid's climate policy favouring immediate adoption of renewable energy can even be all justified, if the science behind it was solid. 

But is it? 

As in the case of many other NGOs, Christian Aid's Climate Change Policy operates around three basic assumptions: natural conditions are optimal, climate is fragile, and human influences wreck the climate. Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of Bio-geography, at the University of London commented cheekily: 'What we have fundamentally forgotten is simple primary school science. Climate always changes. It is always…warming or cooling, it’s never stable. And if it were stable, it would actually be interesting scientifically because it would be the first time for four and a half billion years' 

A Christian theologian similarly commented: "After all, we believe that this is God’s world. Now we are told that before humans interfered with ‘natural climates’, the climate was stable and guaranteed a stable God-given environment in which we could all live with security, and with a future for our children and grandchildren. The planet, we are told, having been a secure and stable home for all these generations, has now become threatened, if not doomed - and it is all our fault."  

Going back to the video, Christian Aid intentionally links the usage of "Freezing in the Desert and Snow melting in the mountain" with "Battle against climate change" and "affected by global warming". In fact, in doing so, Christian Aid is not alone in the NGO world. Others like Greenpeace etc do exactly the same. Steven Guilbeault of Greenpeace is quoted as claiming 'Global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter; that's what we're dealing with.'

It is easy to connect up all the dots to grasp that that these alarmist NGOs uses the term Climate Change simply as a surrogate of Global Warming. But then the term climate change is also an oxymoron. If we go down the route of cutting carbon emissions to less than 20% of current levels, we should be clear on some fundamental truths about God’s created world. 

"Given the world's climate history is several billions of years, there is not now, and never has been, a ‘stable environment’. Climate has changed, often far more dramatically than it is changing now, in very short periods of time - and quite unrelated to any human activity". 




These changes are very little understood, and we have no means of knowing where we are in the cycle of changing climates. The UN-Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s computer model for instance did not predict the lack of warming after 1998. In the past two million years there have been 60 ice ages, and in the last 120,000 years since the development of modern man, there were 20 sudden global warming. If we flashback to the last century we come across a number of identifiable periods of temperature variability over that reconfirms earth's natural variability. 

·           Cooling in the 20s
·           Warming in 30s to 40s
·           Cooling from 50s to 70s
·           Warming in 80s and 90s

Christian Aid further claims floods, cyclones and droughts are caused by climate change and further warns of desertification, more severe rainfall and flooding, stronger cyclones and glacier melt. And so any disaster is now promptly blamed by warmist NGOs on being man-made the way it was once blamed on Satan. See full list, including irregular periods in women, kidney stones, volcanic eruptions, lousy wine, insomnia, bad tempers, vampire moths and bubonic plagues. Nothing is too far-fetched to be clubbed as signs of global warming. 

The Bible, particularly the Old Testament can also be looked at as a history book of the nation of Israel. The over 2,000 years of history recorded by the Bible is punctuated with regular mentions of extreme weather events at different time points. If Christian Aid attributes the cause of droughts and floods to climate changes, how do they reconcile their alarmism to those that biblically occurred thousands of years ago and the fact that the human race has survived it all? 

Take Joseph's actions as adviser to Pharaoh in Egypt as an example.  Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was then not at alarming levels as it is today. Even then Joseph did not dissipate his energy by creating alarmism for fighting off the looming threat of drought. He accepted it as part and parcel of God given climate. Instead he chose to maximize agricultural yields and storage of grains during the seven good weather years to offset the following seven years of drought. As for global warming, even the IPCC do not deny that temperature, during the Roman Period – the era in which Jesus lived - and the Medieval Warm Period was high as or even higher than present times. 

Besides, recent media disclosures about IPCC predictions of the vanishing of Himalayan glaciers and other natural disasters have established that these alarms peddled by Christian Aid holds no scientific validity and/or are mere speculation made by ‘grey literature’ published by NGOs like World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Greenpeace, using personnel, unqualified to even scientifically comment on these subjects. 

The latest setback for the IPCC being its current lead author, Robert Watson, chief scientist at Defra, UK environmental ministry contradicting the claim that global warming could cut rain-fed north African crop production by up to 50% by 2020.  Even the IPCC has defended its errors saying that even scientists are human.  Even Toyota has recalled its defective vehicles. But NGOs including Christian Aid have yet to comment on these developments. Embarrassment?  Perhaps. Having shrilled warmist hysteria for so long, they are perhaps awaiting a face saver to climb off the global warming bandwagon.

The tragedy is that even if  Christian Aid was depending on 'wider theology' to gain an insight to anthropological climate change, rather than Goreism, they should have just looked at other ancient religious texts that would have indicated how absurd the concept of man-made climate change is. The Bhagavad Gita is one such example 'All actions take place in time by the interweaving of the forces of Nature; but the man lost in selfish delusion thinks that he himself is the actor.' 

One day, energy will have to come from sources other than fossil fuels. This made another Christian theologian to comment: "But to pretend that when that day comes, whatever other benefits it may bring with it, to assume it will free mankind from the shocks of dramatic and often unpredictable climate change, is preaching fundamental untruths. The non-use of the world’s resources does not get us off any hooks, whether environmental, economic, or theological. The Tsunamis, cyclones and hurricane, heat and cold waves, floods and droughts will still be an integral part of God’s created world, even if free from carbon." 

Climate of Money:  Follow the Trail 

It was the 80s & 90s warming period that provided the context and the opportunity for the climate alarmists to argue that earth once again faced the prospect of a serious climatic calamity. Climate Change became the equivalent of blockbuster production of the environmental movement that not only became a cult by itself but mostly consumed the environmental movement itself. This cult succeeded in creating a series of financial incentives, large enough to stoke the fire of rent seeking impulses of even charities like Christian Aid. 

Manmade climate change proved a dream bonanza for all NGOs, including those of the Christian persuasion as it enabled them to whip up raw emotions of fear and guilt to liberally line their money bags which they can't if climate change is attributed to earth's natural variability. Make no mistake, their man-made climate change religious belief aside; climate change is a high stakes, big business. The more successful NGOs are at persuading the public that there's a climatic crisis, the more likely they rake in the moolah. 

But the recent global economic meltdown hit the NGO sector hard – their growth trajectory in terms of revenues are trending to be flat or even declining, due to fall offs mainly from individuals and corporates. To make up the shortfall, NGOs are driven more and more to the open arms of governmental donors.  The most available governmental funds are for ‘climate change’ and this could be why more NGOs are seen to be upping their ante in Climate advocacy in the last two years.
Billions of dollars that governments dole out to NGOs mostly account for their outward passion for climate change. According to the latest annual report of Christian Aid, almost 30% of its funds come from institutional donors viz. bi-lateral and multi-lateral governmental agencies and corporates.  Christian Aid for instance is a beneficiary of the UN Global Environment Facility (GEF). Due to poor transparency standards practiced, it was not possible to ascertain just how much Christian Aid actually receives from GEF annually. However, this is what one skeptic website had to comment on GEF influence on NGOs in general:  

'In its June, 1998 report, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) listed $748,142,000 in global warming projects, $767,019,000 in biodiversity projects, and $63,672,000 in "multiple focal areas" projects. A detailed analysis of the projects revealed that these same NGOs were named repeatedly as executing agency or collaborating agency, on 42 projects totaling $792,705,000 in value. 

The NGOs named in these projects include: The Nature Conservancy (TNC); the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN); Greenpeace; World Resources Institute (WRI); and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). It is little wonder that they attend every climate change meeting en masse to urge the delegates to continue the global warming welfare program.'

Global Warming theory has meanwhile suffered a series of setbacks in the last few months: Climategate (UK); Climategate (US); (Himalayan) Glaciergate; Copenhagen Meltdown; Big Chill and exposure of leading proponents of the theory as carbon profiteers. We can add to this list of goofs - Amazongate and sinking of 50% of Netherlands. Why then are NGOs, Christian Aid included, not prompted to jettison their Climate policy? It’s perhaps because they are still salivating at the proposal for a Global Climate Fund that could provide them mind-boggling income. According to a Christian Aid report (September 1999), industrialized nations should be owing over 600 billion dollars to the developing nations for the associated costs of climate changes. At current prices, the amount will be close to a whooping one trillion dollars. NGOs are still eying to grab a huge chunk of this cake. 
Should Christian Ad be Indulging in Child Abuse in India?
 
As an introduction to their video, Christian Aid says:  'This campaign is focusing on children because we feel they are the best way of carrying the message on climate change to their families and their communities.'

There we have it. Christian Aid is targeting children for religio-political indoctrination. This is not certainly science, even if climate change education maybe a good thing.  It is reminiscent of the Child Crusades of 1212 AD - one of the most shameful chapters of Christian history, where children were whipped up into a wild frenzy to be organized as an army to fight Muslim invaders even after their adults had failed four times. The most despicable part was that many were less than 12 years old, with no real understanding of either religion or politics. Most of these child crusaders lost their lives, drowned at sea, were maimed for life or sold off as slaves. 

In an article against abuse of children, the Financial Post cautioned: "The notion that we should listen to the children is fondly cultivated by organizations such as the UN because children are naive and can be easily manipulated. They make wonderful mouthpieces for noble-sounding but dangerous collectivist ideas'.  

If children are so matured to be taken seriously then why do the likes of child rights organizations like Save the Children, UNICEF, Plan International etc replace their entire adult staff and board with children? The fact they don’t, tells its own story. 

Children can be easily tutored to say what precisely aid agencies like Christian Aid want the world to hear. Every parent, teacher and adult knows this as a reality. Despite this charities and environmentalists blatantly abuses children for furthering their political agendas by making them parrot speeches written by adults in various UN and other public fora. By all means, the likes of Christian Aid are free to reach out to children by creating a healthy atmosphere for debate on climate change as opposed to indoctrination. 

The dangers of the latter are the risk of brainwashing an entire generation to demand policy responses of a kind, little realizing that these may not be actually of their own long term interests. Unless educational programmes encourage recognition of uncertainties, challenging assumptions and asking questions in the quest for knowledge, such attempts remain down and right indoctrination - a form of blatant child abuse.

The other dimension of child abuse by Christian Aid in India is the gross distortion of science.  Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth readily illustrates this danger. The film was to be shown in 3,500 schools in and UK and Ireland but was taken to court, where the judge ruled that it could be only exhibited with guidance notes to prevent political indoctrination. The judge found nine major scientific errors 'in the context of alarmism and exaggeration' in order to support Mr. Gore's thesis on global warming. He further ruled that global warming was not a science but a religion. In the absence of regulations, NGOs like Christian Aid and Greenpeace have a field day in countries like India, spreading junk science to children, whose parents and school authorities may not have fully woken up to the consequences, as of yet. Once they do, they would be hell to pay as these NGOs and environmentalists can be drowned in legal suits 

Preaching Justice But Advocating Global Policies of Injustice 


In another climate change document, Christian Aid affirms 'Carbon markets must play a role in tackling climate change because prices are a major influence of behavior of individuals, companies and other polluters.' 

Christian Aid however offers this policy support with certain caveats – that carbon markets will reach its potential only if regulated and if politicians establish it on the right terms and even admitting that it is working imperfectly at present.  Nevertheless, Christian Aid remains one of the few NGOs to still support carbon offsetting. Most NGOs however treat carbon trading as fundamentally evil and actively campaigns against them, even though they otherwise are actively involved in the Climate Change issue. 

The term carbon trading relates to commercial approaches to promoting ‘environmental responsibility’. Under carbon trading programmes, companies that release greenhouse gases can either agree to reduce their emissions or buy the right to keep on polluting under the Kyoto Protocol. The concept is thought by many as borrowing a chapter from the system of indulgences pioneered by the Catholic Church during the Middle Dark Ages to raise funds for itself.  The church pardoners sold these indulgences to sinners to avoid time during Purgatory after death wherein the soul needed to expiate their sins via some sort of punishment or task that is an external manifestation of their repentance. As the book, Carbon Neutral Myth highlights: 

 'The idea was that the clergy were doing more of such actions than their meagre sins demanded, so they effectively had a surplus of good deeds. Under the logic of the emerging market, these could be sold as indulgences to sinners who had money, but not necessarily the time or inclination to repent for themselves.'

The UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is one mechanism through which industrialized countries with a greenhouse gas reduction commitment are permitted to invest in ventures that reduce emissions in developing countries as an alternative to more expensive emission reductions in their own countries through which they earn carbon credits. CDMs are worth about 20% of all emissions trades, which amounted to $126 billion in 2008.

The rationale for the carbon trading scheme was however to catalyze a rapid transitioning away from polluting fossil fuel, over-production and over-consumption. In reality, all it facilitates is placing a value on carbon, a so-called pollutant; treating this intangible as a commodity that can be traded like crude or sugar. But there is one big difference - the ‘trade’ does not actually reduce any emissions. It simply allows companies to just buy cheap ‘carbon credits’, instead of lowering their own toxic emission levels.  

Research shows that despite the scheme, there is a continued expansion of  fresh operational emission capacities in industrialized nations such as coal-fired power stations, when the real intention was to reduce carbon emissions. This is why despite the Kyoto Protocol, carbon emissions kept on rising with CDM ending up as a tool for developed nations to outsource their responsibility for cutting emissions to the developing world. Nevertheless, it satisfied the guilt complex of global warmists where any imaginary carbon credit is as good as a real one. Perhaps, it’s this placebo effect is one of the reasons why the likes of Christian Aid continue to repose faith in carbon trading as a mechanism that serves the objectives of climate justice!

But is this justified?

Actually no one can trade in physical carbon. Only rights to emit carbon can be traded. Being an intangible commodity, all these need to be verified before credits could be assigned.  Here comes in the role of auditors. DNV, a Norwegian firm was the largest CDM auditor on the European Carbon Exchange until a year ago when they were suspended for professional malpractice. By that time, DNV approved almost half of all CDM credits of the market. So another firm called SGS was appointed as a replacement. Months later, they too were suspended as they could not either prove their staff had vetted all the projects or held the competency to vet projects! The scheme is thus a fraud. According to a media report:

 'The European Union’s flagship cap-and-trade carbon credit trading system is plagued by massive fraud and is effectively under the control of organized crime, according to a December 9 statement issued by European police. Europol, an EU-wide criminal intelligence agency similar to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, says bogus trading at the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) has exceeded €5 billion (U.S. $7 billion) over the past 18 months alone. Europol says that in some EU countries, up to 90 percent of the entire market volume is fraudulent.'
NGOs accordingly only delude themselves that carbon trading; supposedly facilitating fund transfer from the West to the Third World is actually helping poor people. These billions often end up with the financial intermediaries in different financial capitals of the world and corrupt bureaucrats as it was exposed in China. The main beneficiaries of carbon trading are the lobby of financial firms like Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Barclays Plc, JP Morgan Chase & Co. None of these financial operators have disclosed how much they earned from trading carbon permits. This revenue must be colossal for them to expend huge money to advocate that climate change can’t be solved without a profit-driven market.

Enron, the most high profile corrupt firm was the seventh largest corporation in the world when it collapsed. To improve their success, Enron appointed former US Environmental Protection Agency regulator John Palmisano to become the company's lead lobbyist. In an internal memo, Palmisano wrote on the subject of Kyoto Protocol which Enron lobbied so hard to incorporate its business interests:

'If implemented this agreement will do more to promote Enron’s business than will almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring of the energy and natural-gas industries in Europe and the United States. The potential to add incremental gas sales and additional demand for renewable technology is enormous. The rules governing transfers of emission rights are exactly what I have been lobbying for and it seems like we won. The clean development fund will be a mechanism for funding renewable projects. Again we won.... The endorsement of emissions trading was another victory for us. 

Enron now has excellent credentials with many ‘green’ interests including Greenpeace, WWF [World Wildlife Fund], NRDC [Natural Resources Defense Council], German Watch, the U.S. Climate Action Network, the European Climate Action Network, Ozone Action, WRI [World Resources Institute] and Worldwatch. This position should be increasingly cultivated and capitalized on (monetized) .' 

Friends of the Earth (FoE) further warned carbon trading could trigger a financial collapse like the sub-prime loans crisis. FoE also claimed that most trades are done not by polluting industries, but by speculative traders, packaging carbon credits into complex financial products similar to those which triggered the sub-prime mortgage crash. The Palmisano Memo meanwhile exposed the intricate corporate-NGO/environmentalist nexus, which Christian Aid plays no overt part but still through its Climate Policy unwittingly supports. 

Christian Aid finds itself in a similar situation with the other UN mechanism - Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD). The latter allows two types of forestry offsets: reforestation of previously forested areas and afforestation where trees are planted in areas where forests have not existed for over 50 years. Here under REDD developed countries pay developing ones to reduce emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation.

NGOs were however left red faced when their climate hysteria led to a global bio-fuel boom, as financial firms like Goldman Sachs spiked the price of crude to nearly 150 dollars per barrel in 2008. This led to sizeable agricultural land all over the world being diverted for bio-fuel production. The result was creation of global food inflation that first spiked in 2008, which then momentarily retreated only to resume its steep climb once again. This in turn has created a situation that is leading to food riots, food scarcity, escalating prices of food items and starvation.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1 out of 7 global citizens today face prospects of starvation. Despite this Barack Obama wants the US to produce 36 billion gallons of ethanol and other biofuels per year by 2022. Green groups have argued that US subsidies for producers of corn-based ethanol coupled with targets for biofuel production have contributed to rising food prices and deforestation as land previously used to grow corn for food is instead used to supply ethanol producers.

Further, since this production is not meant for human consumption, the tendency is to opt for practices that degrades soil fertility and depletes ground water. Seed that grows corn for biofuels doesn't have to meet the same standards as corn for human consumption. Artificially genetically engineered corn not fit for humans or even animal feed is claimed to be no problem, but cross-pollination occurs despite the assurances of the bioengineering seed companies.

Within this scenario, Christian Aid often cautions the world of the growing starvation globally brought about  by insensitive policies, including those of bio-fuels. Its document entitled Fighting food shortages Hungry for change is one such example. Nevertheless, it is irrelevant whether Christian Aid raises these issues. What is more important is whether their climate change policies in any way promote these same outcomes they highlight as problems through their advocacy programmes. Because of such policy disconnects, Christian Aid ends up with the public image of simply shedding crocodile tears while taking up causes of food insecurity and  mass starvation deaths.

Carbon Trade Watch in a report exposed how oppressive and exploitative REDD could be in developing countries. Tree planting is considered a ‘carbon sink’ under Kyoto Protocol. Fast growing monoculture is promoted that poses a threat to bio-diversity, ground water depletion and food security. Land is leased and communities paid a song to care for trees. People end up dispossessed from their lands or forest, unable to earn a livelihood. Forest community well before the project commences are displaced from their land and shelters.  These companies make a killing through carbon credits as well as through sale of forestry products.  Kyoto Protocol thus saw the unleashing of a new form of colonialism, which many NGOs term as Carbon Colonialism. A recent report from Greenpeace focused on what it regards as a carbon trading failure in the Noel Kempff forestry project in Bolivia. The result is that the Bolivian government is now fervently anti-trading, insisting that rich nations should take responsibility for all their own emissions themselves.

NGOs like Christian Aid may not be directly indulging in these forms of excesses associated with carbon offsetting. But they deliberately pay only lip service to its opposition as issues flowing from its consequences leads to increased funding of their more traditional advocacy issues. Carbon offsetting has for example already stimulated large scale diversion of agricultural land to the production of bio-fuels/ethanol or through increase of fallow lands needed to create carbon sinks. Unsustainable loss of food producing land then becomes a focal advocacy issue for a NGO like Christian Aid. 

Meanwhile the issue of diminishing agriculture acreage is spun by Genetic Modified (GM) seed companies as a case of diminishing agricultural productivity that warrants GM technological interventions. The  IPCC Assessment reports concurs with their view. This gives an impetus for GM seed companies to expand their market. Greenpeace then spearheads the resistance against GM seeds. Likewise climate alarmism is also giving governments round the world, including India, the fig-leaf cover for embracing nuclear energy. Here again we find that the same set of NGOs like Greenpeace having an anti-nuclear agenda being ensured yet another avenue to raise more funds. The relevance of NGOs dependent on issues, cynical as it sounds, where none exist, NGOs seems to take to creating issues. 

With the exceptions of environmentalists like FoE, most NGOs do not categorically link their clamour for a new climate treaty conditional to the lock stock and barrel rejection of carbon trading. The tragic irony is that the so-called Global Left take to justifying this evil scheme, while it is the so-called Global Capitalist Right that have taken carbon trading face on. That a Christian institution can support this evil is tantamount to crucifying Christ all over again. And this is the stigma that Christian Aid has to live with even if it retracts its support to carbon trading.

 For Thirty Pieces of Silver

Having been in the NGO sector for more than three decades in a multiple of roles,  it is easy to see that some development interventions, well intentioned as they are, end up failures in relation to their original aims . Worse. They could have created new and even worse sets of problems for local communities. Climate Change is only an extreme embodiment of this danger and perhaps most significant, due its global character of impact. The pervasiveness of climate treaties is  such that it could infringe the lives and livelihoods of almost everyone in this planet. Get it wrong, it could turn the world topsy-turvy, and prove more damaging than any climate flips we have yet seen in earth's long climate history, stretching  billions of years.

Renowned NGO critic, Arturo Escobar argued that development policies after the World War II became mere mechanisms of control that were just as pervasive as their colonial counterparts. Escobar accused NGOs of being caught up in their own self-perpetuation and in public relations efforts designed to create an illusion of effectiveness.
 
It was for the exchange of a mere thirty pieces of silver, Judas Iscariot betrayed his Master, sending Him to die at the cross. Today, as NGOs including those of the Christian persuasion are increasingly being dependent on governmental and corporate funding, they have not really stopped back to take stock, what price they really pay for these largesse. 

The issue of Global Warming has run its course, exposed as one of the most atrocious scientific and economic scam of our life time. In the months and years ahead, we are likely to see some of its leading proponents and scientists ending up as subjects of various investigations and perhaps also sent to jail. The seed for the disbanding or re-structuring of the UN-IPCC has already been sowed. Either ways, the theory of man made Global Warming, as we know it, is toast.

Amidst all these likely developments, NGOs are now left high and dry, having to painfully re-examine their own roles in this scam. It is obvious that their public credibility takes a beating. The public cannot be blamed as they have taken NGO climate hysteria at face value. Having been let down by NGOs, we can’t blame them if they not take other NGO advocacy claims as seriously as before. This is the price to be paid for indiscretion of this magnitude.

Climate Change will certainly go down as one of the darkest chapters of NGO history, when they went amok, exchanging their ideals for thirty pieces of silver.  Where have they gone wrong? Is it their board or their top management that let them down? Or is that their staff who is now longer the committed but thoroughbred professionals where the cause no longer matters but only their career paths? It opens the question : Who do NGOs really represent? They are increasingly being accused of representing no one except themselves!



42 comments:

  1. What a complete piece of inaccurate, fictional, man made nonsense. Please stick to writing stories about sheep.
    ps who paid you to write such rubbish?.

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  2. Good Exposure. Keep it Up

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  3. Very few in the NGO sector had the courage to speak what you did in this article. Congrats

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  4. Really awesome article. These international NGOs should know their limits

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  5. This comment is to Anonymous who said...

    What a complete piece of inaccurate, fictional, man made nonsense. Please stick to writing stories about sheep. ps who paid you to write such rubbish?.

    The tenor of the comment suggests that the individual is making a living out of this climate change hoax. Desperation - unable to reconcile that the scam is over.

    Your article has been a revealation for a person like me who was looking for clarity.

    Thanks

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  6. I am shocked at Christian Aid's conduct! Never realized that they could stoop so low

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  7. The imperialism of Christian Aid is what that stunned me. I wasn't aware of the Judeo-Christian trappings of this Climate Change.

    Wonderful article

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  8. The global warming movement as we have known it is dead. Its health had been in steady decline during the last year as the once robust hopes for a strong and legally binding treaty to be agreed upon at the Copenhagen Summit faded away. By the time that summit opened, campaigners were reduced to hoping for a ‘politically binding’ agreement to be agreed that would set the stage for the rapid adoption of the legally binding treaty. After the failure of the summit to agree to even that much, the movement went into a rapid decline.

    The movement died from two causes: bad science and bad politics.

    After years in which global warming activists had lectured everyone about the overwhelming nature of the scientific evidence, it turned out that the most prestigious agencies in the global warming movement were breaking laws, hiding data, and making inflated, bogus claims resting on, in some cases, no scientific basis at all.

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  9. Yes, carbon trading is the most evil of schemes. Why do NGOs support it? I suppose money talks - the funds they get, I mean

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  10. NGOs should concentrate on real issues than imaginery Climate catastrophe

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  11. I think you should see a doctor, at this juncture you are swept away by real capitalist powers, who do not want to commit to the climate change issues, and it seems you have hidden interests to promote making climate change as no issue. The fundamental of glacier can not be predicted sitting in Bangalore, rather come and see how people suffer consequences of global warming. Glacier might not disappear by 2025 but it is diminishing, this is reality, It might take 50 more year so you want to be worried about your generation ( I am not sure if you can live that long). This is same line that capitalist forces are trying to do by saying climate science is incorrect, you are curse to humanity, who can not do any goo but can accuse of others.

    Please who have got their eyes opened because of this article need to come out of selective reading and be more open for other arguments on entire debate.

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  12. @ Anonymous February 11, 2010 11:42 PM

    So you are Freud - I need to see a doctor! At least I am forthright in sticking my neck out and not hide behind the Anonymous tag.

    No one disputes that the Himalayan Glaciers are diminishing. They have been diminishing for centuries much before industrialization and CO2 accumulation.What empirical evidence do you have to scientifically establish CO2 as a causation?

    When carbon offsets have caused global food inflation; loss of livelihood, food riots and starvation; and by opposing it makes me a rightist capitalist so be it!

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  13. I am neither a skeptic or believer. I like to know one question: Why do these climate change believers get so emotional about a debate.

    See their postings in this blog. Climate Change if its a science needs an impassionate debate based on data. Not ad hominineum attacks!

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  14. I think those who believe carbon dioxide leads to climate change, should practice what they preach: STOP exhaling.

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  15. Why do environmentalists have to portray a problem as earth ending? They continue to do this people will stop listening to them

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  16. "Now faith is what we hope for and certain of whawe do not see. I am sure you recognize." Hebrews 11:1

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  17. Dear Mr. Alexander as your names suggests you are one another who wants to invade world with corrupt understanding. By sticking out your neck does not been you are brave, Praveen Togaria and Bal Thakre also does that, this does not mean you are right. If you admit that Himalayan Glaciers are diminishing what is you scientific wisdom about this. Mr. Alexander by dissuading people with popular misconception you are not doing anything good to people rather leading to unending miseries. I know you won’t be able to seen the consequences of Climate Change hence you can say whatever you feel like but coming generation would remember people like you to misguide them.

    You can disregard science but what about suffering of communities who are affected by climate change impact now, hope you understood my point of coming out of Bangalore and meeting people. I am sure your funders for this article would support you for your travel. Any way I would really appreciate if champion of transparency like you let all of us know how do you mange your living. Most of us would appreciate if you let us know your consultancy on last five years, how do you manage you office rent, telephone and internet bill, travel etc. etc. Would be more then happy to know a person who has not done any consultancy with INGOs you mention in your article. The very famous saying in Hindi is appropriate for you “So Chuhe Khake Billi Haj ko Challi”. This would strengthen your credibility, if you can not do so please accept that you are as much culprit as any other INGO or NGO making their way out of Climate change. My name is not important so do not worry who am I, it will not help anyone but you answers would help all of us to know credibility of people like you.

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  18. Let me endorse the above view, can we ask you to let us know who gave you money to write such an article, Wold Bank, ADB, USAID etc. people like you are afraid if dominant space is taken away by correct information how your supports would be able to evade their commitment to mankind to save the world from climate change. This is the line taken by people does not wan to commit to climate change commitment, I am you have ignored the first ever climate refuges at Papua New G. Maldives is making hue and cry of their crisis, I know this will not matter to you since this is not you home in Bangalore which is affect by it.

    Please thing before you condemn any claim on climate change.

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  19. @ Anonymous February 16, 2010 11:56 PM
    @ Anonymous February 17, 2010 12:17 AM

    So you take a position only if paid? Not if one passionately believes in a cause? You haven't read my paper. I do believe in climate change. The climate has constantly changed multiple times in earth's 3 billion year history. Changed by natural causes. I have come across no proof that CO2, leave alone man-made causes are responsible for global warming. I had in fact visited twice Maldives in the last few years and in my childhood visited PNG. Are they sinking? Read, IPCC reviewers view:
    http://www.climatechangefacts.info/ClimateChangeDocuments/NilsAxelMornerinterview.pdf

    Well I noticed you have a sense of (black) humour - Bal Thackeray and Togadia sticking their necks out. So did Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln.

    About Himalayan Glaciers receding, why they are receding, is not well understood as there has not been a comprehensive study till now. There are 10,000 odd glaciers and not all are receding - some observed to be advancing. To make sweeping statements as did the WWF study, quoted by the IPCC report suggests a political agenda - the Third Pole was used as a bogey to frighten India and China to sign the Copenhagen Treaty.

    In fact, I do travel - been to the Himalayas 2 years back and you right some donor paid for it but unfortunately no one paid for my paper we are discussing. If you like, please be free to make a contribution. Yes my consultancy is for-profit and my clientele includes leading NGOs, INGOs, bilateral and multi-lateral agencies. Been 30 years in the field and have worked at the grass-roots, co-funded a few NGOs, at least one of them well known. For a decade and a half was a donor consultant as well. You can work for the devil but not sell your soul!

    Credibility? I care too hoots what people think. Credibility should basically be in the minds of individuals.

    OK your name is not important. But you still didn't answer my question: What is the empirical evidence that establish CO2 as the causation of global warming? You give me that, I will re-convert to a global warmist

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  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  21. (Had to edit)

    "Further, since these production is not meant for human consumption, the tendency is to opt for practices that degrades soil fertility and depletes ground water. Seed that grows corn for biofuels doesn't have to meet the same standards as corn for human consumption."

    Did you make this up? If not, please cite some source.

    Farmers don't maintain soil fertility because of some "standard for human consumption." Degraded land won't grow corn of any kind, feed corn or sweet corn. They protect the soil because it's their livelihood.

    Field corn is what farmers have always grown, and it's never been for human consumption, outside of high fructose corn syrup. It's primarily for livestock. Sweet corn has never been more than 1 percent of the national corn crop.

    And farmers aren't using "biofuels seeds." They're growing feed corn, then they're seeing who gives them a better price: the local elevator or the local ethanol plant.

    You're taking bits of other people's reporting and making totally unjustifiable leaps of logic with no support.

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  22. Hi Matt,

    Source:

    1. Can Biofuel dangerously oversold as green energy, NewScienist, July 2007
    2. Focus on Bio-diesel, Energy Justice Network
    3. Bio-fuels eating into US Corn Stockpiles, NewScientist, May 2007

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  23. Rajan,

    None of your "sources" say anything about human consumption or how end use affects farming practices. I’m inclined to believe what I initially suspected, that you took a couple facts and made broad leaps to conclusions. If I missed it, please point out the specific passage that justifies your claims.

    On top of that, your “sources” are in fact magazine articles, not primary sources. Errors get repeated and magnified in the media. For instance, you assert "Further, since these (sic) production is not meant for human consumption, the tendency is to opt for practices that degrades (sic) soil fertility and depletes (sic) ground water. Seed that grows corn for biofuels doesn't have to meet the same standards as corn for human consumption."

    Your sources don’t say that at all, but in the future, if some writer needs a “source,” he can just use you, even though there is zero research supporting it.

    Please be more careful.

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  24. Massive toxic corn monocultures devastate ecosystems and provide little additional energy

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  25. Hi Matt,

    Refer: vivausa.org Planet on a Plate - impact on soil etc

    All articles have cited primary sources - you need to only refer to get to the primary sources. So where's the problem. But your point is well appreciated

    Can you tell me the source for the para "Field corn....Sweet corn is never more than 1%...."

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  26. Sure. USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service crop acreage database: http://www.nass.usda.gov/QuickStats/indexbysubject.jsp?Pass_group=Crops+%26+Plants. For instance, in 2009 we planted 86,482,000 acres of field corn vs. 655,600 acres of sweet corn (fresh, canned and frozen). So last year it was around 0.75 percent.

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  27. I'll read your new source when I get time today. I hope this one is the right one, but I'm not optimistic that it will say anything about growing for consumption vs. biofuels and the impact that has on ag practices, since a quick document search didn't bring up any hits for biofuels or ethanol. It would be better if you could quote the actual section and just end this debate.

    My point is that you appear to say that farmers change the way they grow crops if the don't have to worry about meeting some "standards for human consumption" and that the consequences of that are soil degradation, poor nutrient content, or whatever. I've honestly never heard of that, and I want to see some source that confirms it. I'm skeptical because the first three sources you listed were simply articles ripping biofuels, but never spoke to the point in question.

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  28. Read it. No mention of how the end use, whether it's for feed, food or fuel, affects the manner in which a farmer works his land. You've sent me to four different articles now. If evidence exists, please just quote it and link to it.

    The author, Brubaker, has footnote numbers after some of his statements, but I don't see any actual footnotes. Do you know where I could see the source documents? He makes a number of interesting statements that I'd like to hear more about, specifically about the inefficiency of meat and topsoil degradation.

    I do support working with farmers to find the best ways to use our land. The main problem I see is that people write vitriolic diatribes based on others' vitriolic diatribes until the accusations get so wildly out of touch with reality its laughable. That does NOT build bridges to our rural communities and farmers. It simply widens the gap and makes any real progress more difficult.

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  29. Brubaker source: www.vivausa.org/guides/planetonaplateref/htm

    While it maybe true that an overwhelming majority of corn in the US is feed corn, the following could be kept in mind:

    a. Maybe you could research whether farming practices for feed corn and those for human consumption in the US are the same. As the Brubaker article indicates, they are not.

    From my readings in the past, GM has captured a considerable share of corn seed. Precisely, because it is not used for human consumption, quality standards for these grains are weak - prompting farmers to opt for inorganic and GM inputs.

    b. Through the livestock, inorganic and GM inputs enter the food chain even in the US.

    c. From my readings almost 25% of US corn has switched for bio-fuel use and expected to drastically increase further in the future, if Obama has his way. So what would is their implication for supply of feed stock within the US? Is the US on its way to be a net importer of feed corn in the future, if it is not happening already? Or is livestock population poised to decline in the US?

    d. Though not used directly in the use for human consumption within the US, corn is also used in food aid distribution in Africa. The more corn is diverted for bio-fuels, the less grain available globally, driving up prices.

    My e-mail Id is devconsultgroup@gmail.com

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  30. Why don’t you research whether they’re the same, since you’re writing the articles? But the main point is, have we had some sort of wholesale move out of sweet corn production thanks to biofuels that has caused farmers to become less responsible with their land than they had been before? Does the fact that field corn goes to a biofuels plant rather than a feedlot affect land management practices? Not whether long-standing ag practices differ between sweet and field corn (Not that I’ll even concede that without proof from you).

    As to your “from my readings” statements, I don’t blindly trust bloggers, I need some sort of evidence. I’ve given you ample opportunity to provide that. I know for sure some of your “readings” are wrong, by the way, but I don’t intend to let you out of this argument and into another. Quit making blanket, unsourced statements.

    You’ve already put the burden upon me to do all the research here, and now you’re asking me to do more. I’ve provided you actual primary data. I’ve read through your four alleged sources (none primary). I’m not writing 3,000-word diatribes slamming industries and claiming they are acting immorally. Nor am I attacking aid organizations and calling them unchristian. The burden of proof is entirely on your shoulders.

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  31. If you'll acknowledge that you were simply writing off the top of your head and didn't look up any data to support your claims, we can move on to a couple other mistakes you're making.

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  32. Matt,

    You are being childish. OK you don't trust bloggers. Fine. Here's World Bank:Biofuels: The Promise and the Risks, World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development

    http://econ.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTDEC/EXTRESEARCH/EXTWDRS/EXTWDR2008/0,,contentMDK:21501336~pagePK:64167689~piPK:64167673~theSitePK:2795143,00.html

    Extracts:

    "However, few current biofuel programs are economically viable, and most have social and environmental costs:

    * upward pressure on food prices,
    * intensified competition for land and water,
    * and possibly deforestation."

    Other sources saying what I say.

    World Bank says food prices hit by biofuels
    http://cleantech.com/news/2694/world-bank-says-food-prices-hit-by-biofuels

    Can a Hungry World Afford Biofuels?, http://www.foodgrainsbank.ca/uploads/Can%20a%20hungry%20world%20afford%20biofuels.pdf

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  33. One other thing, if you really are using that Brubaker article as your source of information, how do you reconcile that, in the very same article, he says this: “However, the last few decades have seen an extraordinary explosion in these three greenhouse gases. The result has been global warming. All 10 of the hottest years on record have occurred in the last 15 years.”

    Are you saying you believe Brubaker’s work is sound and well-sourced? Because if so, you might want to revisit a large chunk of your article and some of your comments to others in here. He clearly believes global warming is a fact.

    Or do you just cherry-pick data to suit your preconceived notions?

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  34. I’m not asking for a source that criticizes biofuels. Clearly many of those exist. I’m asking for a source that confirms WHAT YOU WROTE. It’s obvious that doesn’t exist, but you just won’t swallow your pride and admit it. If it exists QUOTE IT.

    I’m not being childish. When you chastise others by saying “What is the empirical evidence that establish CO2 as the causation of global warming?” you cast yourself as a person who deals in facts. However, it is clear you do not deal in facts, you deal in ideology. You cherry-pick data to suit your whims and your write libelous and destructive diatribes that, judging from a couple comments, have unfortunately managed to influence a couple people.

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  35. If Hansen, NASA-GISS, considered by many as the grandfather of global warming, called for the rejection of any climate treaty involving carbon trading during Copenhagen, does it make him a climate skeptic who demanded the same. He still remains one of the staunchest advocates of the global warming theory.

    Be in the real world Matt. When you quote a source it does not mean one endorses all what he or she wrote. I am amazed to find you equating a whole paper as 'data' specially when global warming was not the main focus of his paper.

    There is no difference in views regarding greenhouse gases has increased. There is no difference of opinion that without greenhouse gases, much of earth will be reduced to arctic conditions.

    The only difference between skeptics and warmists is the extent continued increase of greenhouse gases would have on temperature.
    Brubaker has one set of analysis and I have another. Period. IPCC 4th Report has been broken into pieces by the recent controversies. It proved that there is no consensus and no settled science. Period.

    I have given enough sources to back up all my assertions in the blog. If you are not satisfied then I can't help it. They are others as you yourself observed who are convinced of it.

    If my blog is libelous as you feel then let those who feel libeled against initiate legal proceedings.

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  36. I myself am skeptical of global warming. I’ve looked at evidence on both sides, and I’m still undecided. My issue is that it seems that ideology is the guiding force on both sides of the issue, rather than an honest look at the data.

    My issue with you is that you refuse to quote any passage that supports your claim. You copy out titles of articles or provide links to volumes of text, yet you can’t pinpoint a single piece of data that confirms what you said, and after reading everything, I can’t see it either. You write “When you quote a source it does not mean one endorses all what he or she wrote.” Yet you won’t quote for me what, specifically, supports your claim, so what am I supposed to think?

    On top of that, you go off on others for not citing “data” when they question you.

    My request from the get-go was simple. Provide a quote and a link that confirms what you said about corn, end use and its impact on land management decisions by farmers. I believe that you are intelligent enough to understand my request, but no such evidence exists.

    And you’re right, what you’ve written doesn’t meet the legal definition of libel. I should have said, “unethical.”

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  37. Matt!

    Thanx. You are right - cite the source, and there should be no ambiguity.

    Most Bloggers have a problem. They make a living out of some other activity and make some spare time for blogging. Actually, I have been since late Oct been writing on this issue, once a week - usually Sunday nights. I started to put this on blog only recently. So your advice is appreciated.

    Science is essentially skepticism. By your postings, I can appreciate you have all the qualifications of a genuine scientist, since skepticism is alive and kicking in you. You have my e-mail ID and if you think any of your writings may interest me, please be free to send me a copy.

    From libel to unethical - this is progress. In my opinion, unethical only applies when one is not true to his beliefs. I do not think I fall into this category. I never have been. Secondly, it may apply if sworn in secrecy by some previous contract. I have done a couple of assignments for Christian Aid but not involving Climate Change.

    I have spent 30 years in the NGO sector, 15 years of which closely associated with the European Protestant Donor network in India, which Christian Aid is apart. Besides, I am an Indian and affected by their climate change advocacy. This gives me a right however indirect to comment on their policy.

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  38. I understand the “part-time blogger” notion, and I don’t think any errors are intentional misrepresentations.

    I think most people go through each day with little to no thought about what they’re doing to the environment, how much food they’re WASTING, who or what they’re funding with import buys, etc. Meanwhile, at the drop of a hat they point at the American farmer as the devil of the modern world. Trust me, farmers care more about their land than most people. They take an incredible amount of pride in their role of feeding the world. They have important generational ties to their land and communities.

    On the laundry list of things causing world hunger, I believe farm management and biofuels are insignificant, well behind war, corrupt third-world governments, poor distribution infrastructure, etc. The World Bank report was written during the height of the commodities run-up of 2008. The stock market was crashing, oil was at $140 a barrel, and investors fled to commodities and ran prices up to $8 per bushel. Today, we make way more ethanol and biofuels, yet corn is at $3.60. Since that report, we have the benefit of hindsight, and hindsight tells us that biofuels did not ruin the market. Flighty investors did.

    Farmers this year produced a record 165 bushels per acre for corn. We set a production record on 7 million fewer acres than the previous record a few years back. That’s mind-blowing efficiency, and it’s not a one-time bump. Our efficiency has consistently improved since the Dust Bowl.

    Meanwhile, Brazil’s producing 60 bushels per acre. China’s producing 90 bushels per acre. Rather than screaming about farmers’ practices, we should be teaching other countries how to improve their yields to feed the hungry. If you boosted yields just in China and Brazil by 25 percent (waaaay below the U.S. still), you’d add more than 2 billion bushels to the market. That’s more than the U.S. exports. You asked if the U.S. was going to need to import feed corn in the future. We’ve maintained 1.5-2 billion bushel corn carryovers throughout the biofuels boom, the same as before, and our soybean acres are just as high as before, highest ever this year, in fact. How? Mainly yield increases.

    Plus, ethanol production returns 1/3 of the grain back to the livestock industry through its high-protein byproduct, distillers’ grains.

    We need to continue to decrease fertilizer rates. We need more buffer strips. But the amount of disdain for the American farmer is largely a product of over-hyped critics who each outdo the last with their fury until the clamoring is so loud you can’t hear yourself think.

    Most farmers aren’t online defending themselves, so I happily oblige.

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  39. Matt,

    Citing a source surely gives a sense of authority. On the other hand, you can sum up knowledge in your own words. A blog is different from an academic paper that is to be published in the sense it is not meant to boost one's profession as part of their CV. So viva la difference.

    You be surprised that I have done some grassroot work in environment and organic farming. After 2000, I stopped to concentrate full-time on consulting. I appreciate the difference that both productivity and, production have significantly increased in the last century. It has done so, all over the world. But acreage is slipping. So has grain availability. Cultivated acreage has to increase side by side productivity increases if globally we have to feed humanity as well as it has it be made cheap enough to be affordable for the poor.

    Matt, US farmers might take pride in feeding the world. Other countries of the world, including EU don't. We like to feed ourselves. If the US is seen as the devil, it is because of the subsidy factor that dumps cheap imports in other countries that make local agriculture uncompetitive. Alot of food besides gets dumped as aid. I have seen its adverse effect in many countries I had evaluated. Take away subsidies and see the real cost of production. That's another debate I do not want to enter at this moment.

    Our organic movement in India is rapidly growing, especially in South India where I live. It reduces cost/pesticide use and gives more consistent high yields, less water intensive. One of the reasons why GM cannot make much headway is that in terms of practice and productivity, the organic movement can tout results. We beat off introduction of BT Brinjal a few weeks back. 60% of our agriculture is rainfed. The SW Monsoon failed last year - our main agricultural season. However preliminary estimates indicate that we will end up with flat growth, if not slightly positive growth this current year. Over the years, we have succeeded in drought proofing our agriculture through micro-watershed, irrigation etc. BT Cotton has shown mixed results. In some states it failed miserably leading to farmer suicides while in others it has given increased yields.

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  40. You can sum up knowledge in your own words in many circumstances, assuming your knowledge corresponds to actual facts and assuming the audience is familiar enough with you to understand your level of knowledge (such as casual conversation, a speech where people come to hear you because of your credentials, etc.). Also, assuming it is a form of communication that doesn't lend itself well to citations (such as verbal), that is acceptable.

    1. This is not a casual conversation. You're writing a lengthy piece intending to persuade the public about a particular point. It's a form where you could easily link to data if you choose, in fact most people do.

    2. When asked for evidence, you need to be able to provide that specific evidence (show me exactly what confirms it).

    3. When you can't find it, you need to acknowledge that fact in order to at least confirm your honesty.

    Like I said, I get the part-time blogger thing. Might I suggest that, instead of writing thousands and thousands of words, you bite of smaller chunks and include some data and evidence along with your points?

    As to the U.S. farmer debate: so if we're in trouble for dumping corn, why the outcry when we have another domestic market to take up the surplus? That's what I'm talking about, U.S. farmers are criticized on every side: You make too much and dump it in other markets/You don't provide enough for other markets because of biofuels.

    And even before GM crops, our yields were well above the rest of the world, even the rest of the worlds' yields today. Our irrigation rates are low (85% of our corn uses rain). Fertilizer rates get lower as more targeted practices are adopted each year. We've established programs that are successfully lowering fertilizer runoff into the Mississippi River.

    So do you want us to provide for the hungry, or grow less?

    We're still growing the same stuff we grew decades before biofuels, and we're doing a better job of it every year.

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