COP21 is due to start with a mass demonstration on November 29th. The Guardian is reporting that doubts are being expressed about whether it will go ahead.
They quote a spokesman for the Climate Action Network (France) which is part of the Climate Action Network (Europe) which is itself part of CAN: “a worldwide network of more than 700 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government, private sector and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. CAN is based on trust, openness and democracy.”
No it’s not. CAN is based on great dollops of taxpayers’ money, as you can discover by sifting through http://www.caneurope.org/about-us
CAN Europe has 8 directors, a staff of 18 and describes itself as “Europe’s largest coalition working on climate and energy issues. With over 120 member organisations in more than 30 European countries – representing all together 44 million citizens – CAN Europe works to prevent dangerous climate change and promote sustainable climate and energy policy in Europe.”
Their top three directors are from WWF, Oxfam and Greenpeace.
Their total income for fiscal year 2014 was €1.24 million from the following sources:
European Climate Foundation 31.9%
Oak Foundation 22.3%
Stiftung Mercator 4.6%
Renewables Grid Initiative 1.6%
European Commission 19.7%
Belgian government 9.1%
Member contributions 9.8%
I wrote about the biggest donor, the European Climate Foundation a while ago at
[Ben Pile has been tireless in researching ECF and similar organisations, for example at
They have a supervisory and management board of 12, a leadership team of 20, and a staff of 53. On the supervisory board are the presidents of the Oak Foundation, the McCall MacBain Foundation and the Climateworks Foundation, Directors of the Hewlett Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, plus the Vice Chairman of Deutche Bank, Connie Hedegaard, formerEuropean Commissioner for Climate Action, Mary Robinson, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, and Laurence Tubiana, the French Ambassador for Climate Negotiations.
Among their funders are the Oak Foundation, who also fund CAN directly) the McCall MacBain Foundation, the Climateworks Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation; as well as the Dutch National Lottery. (Did I mention that they have Princess Laurentien van Oranje-Nassau of the Netherlands on the staff?)
The ECF describe themselves as follows:
“… the ECF is one of many players in a complex ecology of stakeholders, activities, cultural memes, and interests leading up to new policies. Armed with a detailed understanding of the political and power dynamics in this ecology, we strive to identify the leverage points that promise the best return on philanthropic investment and therefore justify our engagement… Our portfolio of initiatives is highly intertwined. To be effective in an interdependent ecology of stakeholders and in a highly dynamic political context, we need to link our work at the abstract narrative level with concrete implementation. Likewise, we must link our work at the global, EU, and national levels, and we must link policy innovation with politics and polity.”
So what do they do?
“The ECF supports organisations that undertake activities in line with our mission of supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy in Europe. The majority of our funds are re-granted to NGOs and think tanks engaged in bringing about meaningful policy change.”
It’s worth taking a moment to think about this. The ECF is an organisation with a staff of 53 and offices in five countries, entirely devoted to handing out money to other organisations. We don’t know how much they disburse, but 53 people can sign an awful lot of cheques in a working day. What kind of work they fund is described in as opaque a fashion as possible at
and some “grantees” are listed at
Here’s a selection:
BIC “The Bank Information Center (BIC) partners with civil society in developing and transition countries to influence the World Bank and other international financial institutions to promote social and economic justice and ecological sustainability.” [That’s right. Deutsche Bank’s vice president presides over an NGO that disburses money to another NGO that tries to influence the World Bank to promote sustainability. Why doesn’t he just phone up his opposite number at the World Bank and talk to him?]
Does anyone else feel slightly uneasy about an organisation called GermanWatch? (Now SwissWatch – that’s ok…) My fears were justified. When I go to http://germanwatch.org/de/startseite I get a warning about not clicking on their link called “sicher online spending”. I don’t know if they’ve been hacked or if that’s how they raise their money…
They have 9 elected board members and a staff of 34. They say about themselves: “We actively promote North-South equity and the preservation of livelihoods. We observe, analyse and act. In doing so, we focus on the politics and economics of the North with their worldwide consequences.” So they’re basically Germans watching other Germans, so that’s all right. I tried to find out more. Google led me to OECDwatch. Really.
Then there’s Bankwatch. They “challenge international financial institutions not to finance environmentally and socially harmful investments.” Among the banks they watch is the European Investment Bank.
Their income last year was €1.7 million and their donors include the Dutch National Lottery, as well as the ECF, which chipped in with €225,000. But by far the biggest contributions (€1.2 million, or two thirds of their income) comes from DG Environment and DG Development. And DG Environment and DG Development stand for Development Goals of the Millenium Development Fund of the International Cooperation and Development arm of the European Commission.
The European Union website:
shows pictures of Somali refugees, but a hefty pile of their money – European Union taxpayers’ money – is going to fund an NGO whose job is to keep an eye on another European Union organ, the European Investment Bank. And this NGO is also financed by another NGO which is devoted to avoiding climate chaos.
I won’t bore you with the rest. You won’t be surprised to learn that the ECF also gives money to E3G – I wrote about them at https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/john-ashton-just-another-jerk-in-the-circle/
– plus Carbon Brief, Greenpeace, the WWF, the Sierra Club and the Prince of Wales EU Corporate Leadership Group. Oddly, when you click on His Royal Highness’s icon, the site that comes up is the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, and a friendly message inviting you to contact Jake. I do hope the Heir to the Throne hasn’t been hacked.
Clearly, the financing of initiatives to head off climate catastrophe is a chaotic system with numerous tipping points. Just who is tipping whom and for what services rendered is one of the great mysteries of climate science.