Climate and Mushrooming Red Herrings

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go!
We dig dig dig
In our mine the whole day through.
It’s what we like to do
To get rich quick.
We dig up everything in sight,
But we don’t know what we dig ‘em for.

(apologies to Larry Morey & Disney)

The most popular primetime science series on American television, Nova Education, tweeted a short video by Katherine Hayhoe on 2 December.[1] It’s about how individuals can make a difference to climate change. But you’d need lightening attention to see how you’re supposed to do that, because all ten of her “amazing solutions” are flashed up in just two seconds of the 77-second film.

Why too fast to read? For that matter why is so little attention given to supposed solutions in most of the noise around climate? Greta Thunberg, for example, doesn’t seems to bang the drum for much apart from trees, going vegan, and nuclear energy, the latter only since the sabotage of Nord Stream following President Biden’s promise.[2]

For viewers of Hayhoe’s video who might have missed her whizz-by answers, she endorses Thunberg’s promotion of planting trees, eating less meat, and nuclear, and adds: solar, wind and biofuels; electric cars; carbon capture; smarter building codes and energy efficient homes.

So, the “amazing solutions” open to any believer are to drive electric, plant trees, eat less, or preferably no, meat and ensure your home is energy efficient (which in many places means a new build) and – if you have any choice and can still afford much energy at all – ensure that it’s powered by nuclear, biofuel, solar, or wind.

There are of course inherent problems in all of these, and they are big ones, not least the pollution produced in achieving them, or the fact that only well-off folk are going to be able to do much of any of it. That presumably is a factor in why most climate activists tend to skip over their proposed solutions rather briefly, in just a blink of an eye in Heyhoe’s case.

What the video doesn’t tell you is that Katherine Hayhoe is the chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy, the world’s wealthiest conservation NGO (with an annual income of over a billion dollars). It’s the outfit which supports the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) in Kenya, which is taking over huge areas for so-called “conservancies”. These are the latest ruse of the conservation industry to claim it supports local communities instead of harming them.[3] The NRT also sells “carbon credits” there for millions of dollars, with just a few Kenyan shillings from that particularly lucrative “goldmine” ending up with the Samburu, Borana and other herding communities whose lands these actually are.[4]

The Nature Conservancy is no stranger to fake carbon credits either, this time closer to home in the USA. As Bloomberg reports, “a review of hundreds of pages of documents underpinning [TNC] projects and interviews with a half-dozen participating landowners indicate that the Nature Conservancy is often preserving forested lands that don’t need defending”.[5] The “credits” are “bought” by companies like JPMorgan, BlackRock, and Disney paying conservation NGOs in order to stake their claim to “net zero”, with the NGOs pocketing most of the cash without generally doing anything particularly useful, or anything much at all.

We shouldn’t perhaps be surprised that Thunberg, who is also a conservation NGO supporter (in her case for WWF), asked Heyhoe to contribute to her latest blockbuster, The Climate Book, nor that the latter is a fundamentalist Christian, which is the belief behind the fantasies of a divine, pristine “Nature” divided from sinning humankind – the credo which got us into this mess in the first place[6] – as well as that of eating less meat being the path to personal salvation.[7]

So there you have it: it’s pretty much business as usual, assuming you’ve enough money that is. Heigh-ho, as Disney’s seven dwarfs sing, let’s get rich quick!









Stephen Corry worked with Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, from 1972 to 2021. Twitter: @StephenCorrySvl.