In a comment on What’s Two Million Years Or So? John Cullen observed that “climate catastrophism is simply a tool for wealth distribution.” That is a conclusion at which I had already arrived by the time I finished Call That A Party?, if not some considerable time before. In the run-up to COP27 the emphasis had been on “loss and damage” and the need for a(nother) fund to be set up, with money to be paid in by developed countries, and doled out to developing countries, it being claimed that developing countries have done least to cause climate change, while suffering the most from its effects. Nobody seemed unduly surprised (or indeed unduly bothered) when the outcome of COP27 was to fail to produce any form of agreement to do anything substantial about the ongoing emission of greenhouse gases. Instead, many seemed pleased to note a commitment to set up a loss and damage fund as the main achievement (if such it can be called), with a few more attentive observers noting that nobody was actually obliged to pay anything into the fund.

Of course, a laser focus remains on climate change in many quarters, and discussion about it is now the constant backdrop to our lives. This is essential if it is to be the hook on which attempts to redistribute wealth from the developed to the developing world are hung. So constant is the focus on the BBC that I now play a game when setting off in the car with the radio tuned to BBC Radio 4, 5 or the World Service – I have to guess how long it will take before climate change is mentioned. Last week set the record, when a programme on the World Service about a cooking challenge announced that the winner would be the competitor who produced the most climate-friendly meal. I hadn’t even reached the end of the street.

However, I digress. Back to “climate justice”. It seems that our local library is keen to display leaflets that push all and any aspects of the agenda relating to climate change, net zero and climate justice. I wrote The Great British Turn Off in part as a response to one such leaflet. It shouldn’t surprise me that I find so much climate-related documentation in the foyer of the library, given that the local Council has resolvedto become a ‘carbon neutral’ county and to mitigate the likely impact of existing climate change” and Councils up and down the country are prioritising climate change and net zero whatever the cost. Perhaps librarians should be careful what they prioritise, however, given that while net zero and climate change projects never seem to be at risk, libraries are often in the front-line for cuts when there are budget shortfalls.

In any event, a few days ago I picked up another leaflet from the library; this one is called The Case For Climate Justice”. I have now had a chance to read it (although use of the word “read” might be said to be overdoing it a bit, since it takes the form of something akin to a comic, with lots of pictures and speech bubbles). I noticed that it was published by an organisation called Global Justice, and a visit to their website suggests that they are a nakedly political anti-capitalist campaigning organisation. That in itself is not a problem – they are entitled to their views, and to disseminate them. But should they be allowed to do so by placing leaflets in the foyer of my local library? Well, according to the Council’s Library Display Policy:

The following will not be accepted for display or exhibition in any form:

…Campaigning materials – we can accept materials that inform, but not those that urge a particular course of action.

Political materials advocating the interests and causes of a particular party, affiliated organisation, or movement…

According to the Global Justice website:

We are a democratic social justice organisation working as part of a global movement to challenge the powerful and create a more just and equal world. We mobilise people in the UK for change, and act in solidarity with those fighting injustice, particularly in the global south.

It openly describes many of its activities as “campaigns”, including in the area of pharma, trade, climate, aid and debt justice, migration, and food. The website advert for its “We Rise Manchester” event (21st January next year, if you’re interested), for instance, tells us:

As the international cost of living crisis worsens and climate change intensifies, corporations are making record-breaking profits. Whether it’s fossil fuel billionaires, big banks or tech giants, their interests are a threat to the 99%. But around the world people are taking to the streets, challenging corporations and governments and successfully creating alternatives!

Join us for We Rise to learn more about this fight for global justice. Together we’ll unpack how colonialism, capitalism, hostile border regimes, and corporate power have created vast inequality, and how we organise to end it

That, then, is Global Justice, and it seems fairly clear to me that its leaflet shouldn’t be distributed via my local library, since it seems equally clear that its display there is a breach of the Library Display Policy. Maybe the staff are ignorant as to the leaflet’s contents. Or maybe rules are applied selectively. Who knows? But there doesn’t seem to be much point in having a policy if it is simply going to be ignored.

Having got that off my chest, what is my problem with the contents of the leaflet, specifically? Well, first of all, there’s the usual unsubstantiated claims, printed as though they are facts:

Climate Breakdown is wreaking havoc across the world.

Record heatwaves, and more frequent and devastating hurricanes, floods and droughts are already destroying the lives of millions of people.

Industrialisation poured greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at a rate never seen before, causing the climate crisis.

The countries who were impoverished first by colonialism, and then by decades of having the global economy rigged against them are now more vulnerable to climate breakdown because of their economic situation.

So far, so predictable (and contentious), perhaps. But next comes the part that really displays that the agenda is about making UK citizens feel guilty enough to demand that large sums of money are sent by the UK government to countries who are deemed to be deserving of it on grounds of “climate justice”. And this is where the deep disingenuousness begins:

The UK is among those countries with very high historical emissions. We have made a much bigger contribution to the crisis than countries with large populations such as China and India.

Leaving aside for the moment the highly contentious nature of the claim that there is a crisis, to claim that the UK has made a bigger contribution to it (by virtue of “very high historical emissions”) than countries such as as China and India is simply wrong, as I hope I demonstrated clearly in Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!

The claim, such as it is, is then backed up by a map, showing countries such as the UK and the USA and much (but by no means all) of Europe in deep red, representing per person tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions in excess of 1,000, while countries such as India and China are shown in pale green (per capita emissions between 10 and 300). The period selected for this claim is 1850-2014. Why stop at 2014? The emissions between 2014 and 2021 are well known and not difficult to establish. This is legerdemain of a high order. Cherry pick your dates. Use the data obtained in respect of those carefully chosen dates to colour your map, and then pretend that the map backs up the statement (published on the same page, overlaying the map) that “We have made a much bigger contribution to the crisis than countries with large populations such as China and India.” Of course, the truth is that both China and India lie ahead of the UK in the cumulative emissions table, and although India’s per capita emissions lag behind those of the UK to this day (though they are starting to catch up) China’s per capita emissions are 50% higher than those in the UK. In short, the claims made in the leaflet are simply wrong, and claims of climate justice are being milked as part of an anti-capitalist, anti-western views. Be anti-capitalist and anti-western, by all means, but please don’t bring false claims about climate justice into it to support your agenda. You might also care to note that communism as practised in the USSR and eastern Europe prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, and in China to date, wasn’t exactly environmentally-friendly.

Other information gleaned from the Global Justice website includes the fact that the Global Justice Now Trust is a UK registered charity.

Its objectives are said to be:

To promote for the public benefit studies in political, economic and social sciences and other educational subjects

To disseminate such knowledge, with particular reference but not limited to questions of economic and social development in Britain and developing countries elsewhere

To relieve poverty in Britain or elsewhere

To raise financial support for the activities of the Trust

To pursue such other related charitable purposes as the Trust may determine.

Also:

Why are Global Justice Now and the Global Justice Now Trust separate organisations?

Global Justice Now Trust enables those who prefer to contribute to a charity to do so without needing to be associated directly with GJN’s particular campaigns. English law confers some benefits on GJNT that are not available to GJN even though legal campaigning restrictions on charities have been relaxed since AWDF [Action For World Development Fund, the name with which it was originally established in 1974] was established. Trustees, individually and collectively, are able to give specific support to GJN efforts when appropriate and, because membership of the GJNT Board changes more slowly than that of the GJN Council or staff, occasionally provide a useful historic perspective.

Donations to the Global Justice Now Trust can be gift-aided, meaning that the Global Justice Now Trust can claim back tax you have already paid on your donation, typically 25p for every £1.

In other words, Global Justice Trust Now makes the most of its charitable status, maximising its revenues by using the tax privileges granted to it by its charitable status. Then:

The Trust pursues its objectives primarily by funding Global Justice Now to carry out specifically charitable work. Most of the Trust’s direct charitable expenditure is represented by grants to Global Justice Now to fund work on information, research and publications.

Having maximised its revenue by virtue of its charitable status, it then gives a lot of its money to the nakedly political anti-capitalist organisation with which it is associated. It claims that this is with a view to carrying out “specifically charitable work”, but it’s difficult (to my mind, certainly) to see that leaflets such as “The Case For Climate Justice” can be said to be created for charitable, rather than political, purposes. And Global Justice Trust Now does say that most of its “direct charitable expenditure is represented by grants to Global Justice Now to fund work on information, research and publications”. The same can be said with bells on for many of their leaflets, such as How to organise a placard making session:

Placards are a great way to get your group’s message across at a demonstration, protest or a photo op. But they can also be more than a straightforward slogan. Creative, funny or inspiring placards can play a role in creating a dynamic and engaging protest which people want to be part of, and the media want to cover.

A host of diverse and individual placards can help make a demo vibrant and pluralistic, but sometimes it’s important to balance this with a coherent message overall, which is something a good placard-making session can help with.

It can be a great way to bring people together before a protest, as a more relaxed opportunity for new members to join and for everyone to think collectively about your key messages. Engaging people before the protest can also help ensure they turn up for the protest itself!

Perhaps I’m just old-fashioned, but that sounds political, not charitable, to me. None of this is in any way illegal, so far as I am aware. The people behind these organisations are, I am sure, well-intentioned, even if I profoundly disagree with much that they say. I wouldn’t dream of trying to restrict their right to campaign for the end of capitalism. I am, however, fairly convinced that they shouldn’t be able to use tax perks in order to do so, and that it’s time the way charities are allowed to operate was subject to root-and-branch reform. Big Green Charity needs to be brought under control and to have its wings clipped.

13 Comments

  1. “The reparations trap
    Elite guilt about the past will do nothing to help the world’s poorest.”

    https://www.spiked-online.com/2022/12/16/the-reparations-trap/

    The Spiked article touches on some of the same territory as my article, though it is more wide-ranging. I thought it worth mentioning here, as I believe it’s worth a read. Also, I find it difficult to argue with its concluding sentiments:

    So rather than self-flagellating reparations or expanding what Marx derided as the ‘proletarian alms-bag’, a far better approach would be to address the causes of poverty and lack of upward mobility. Corporate mea culpas about the impacts of climate change and racism won’t make things better for the poor and struggling around the world. A better solution lies in increasing people’s productive capacity – through rigorous education, access to capital and support for families. All of this helps people to progress on their own. Whether in developing countries or the slums of the West, hope lies not in recompense for things that occurred long ago, but in policies for the future. Elite guilt about the past will do nothing to improve the future.

    Like

  2. What’s behind the green door?

    That creeping behemoth The U.N. From its original peacekeeping role to expanded agencies and Agenda 21. initiated by the UN Bruntland Blueprint for Suss-tainable Development and allied ICLEI program , International Council for Local Environment Initiatives, involving local councils in 2500 plus towns and cites in over 250 countries,. ICLEI is aiming for Net Zero emission targets and climate justice.

    55th EDITION SERF UNDER_GROUND JOURNAL

    Like

  3. “‘Face it head on’: Connecticut makes climate change studies compulsory”

    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2022/dec/17/climate-change-studies-connecticut

    Enshrining the curriculum in law insulates the subject from budget cuts and culture wars related to the climate crisis

    Sat 17 Dec 2022 08.00 GMT
    Starting next July, Connecticut will become one of the first states in America to mandate climate change studies across its public schools as part of its science curriculum.

    The new law passed earlier this year comes as part of the state’s attempts to address concerns over the short duration – and in some cases, absence – of climate change studies in classrooms. The requirement follows in the footsteps of New Jersey, which in 2020 became the first state to mandate K-12 climate change education across its school districts…

    …Madden also stresses the importance of equity-focused conversations when discussing the climate crisis in classrooms.

    “We have to acknowledge that climate change does not affect all people equally … There are kids in lower-income communities, communities of color and immigrant communities that experience flooding and power outages and things like that … in a much more magnified way than others,” she said.

    “It’s critical that when we’re talking to kids at that upper elementary, middle school, high school level, we’re ensuring that we are coming from an equity-based perspective.”…

    Social justice is, in my view, a good thing. However, I am uncomfortable in using climate change as the hook, when any such connection is far from proved, and I also worry about brainwashing our children. The article goes out of its way to stress the inter-disciplinary and objective nature of this part of the curriculum, but my money is on no questioning of the agenda by schoolchildren being allowed.

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  4. Perhaps Cliscep should make its own tri-fold leaflet and get the library to host that – placing it directly adjacent to the Global Justice effort? Somehow I doubt that would be permitted.

    Regarding Connecticut’s mandate, there is nothing intrinsically wrong about the idea. But the truth is important and I get the sense that objective truth is not what is being talked about here. Rather, I suspect there will be a combination of catastrophism and West-blaming, salted with a generous dose of unicorn energy fantasies.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Beth – thanks for the comment & link, nice reminder of UN origins.

    apt timing as well after – https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/un-human-rights-commissioner-has-serious-concerns-about-elon-musk-suspending-journalists-on-twitter/ar-AA15ozsb

    “one of the highest-ranking officials in the United Nations said that the intergovernmental organization has “serious concerns” about the future of Twitter.”

    Hope Musk tells him to get a real job.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mark, commentator Joe Public (above) has made the sort of observation that I have previously made and would still make, namely that the UN’s climate catastrophe narrative is essentially a tool for redistributing wealth between countries. However, I think we can go further and say that the same narrative is being used within many Western countries to redistribute wealth away from ordinary people and towards established elites (i.e. the narrative is being used to level DOWN rather than UP).

    We can see LEVELLING DOWN in, for example, the UK where we have had senior politicians blowing up “old” coal-fired power stations; old blast furnaces go the same way. In contrast, senior bankers and their politician allies promote the ESG agenda which will make green, tick-box jobs for the finance accountancy/sector; these latter jobs will NOT go to the people or regions that have lost their manual labour jobs, a rare exception being the new Cumbrian coalmine if it actually comes to pass.

    In short, while our politicians repeat the ‘levelling up’ mantra, they usually act to ‘level down’. Is this the power of the financial sector’s lobbying in action? If so, how is it to be countered in such a way that while finance flourishes, it does so in such a manner that the rest of the economy can prosper too?

    Regards,
    John.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mark,
    If we are to have Climate Justice then perhaps we should start in our own country. That will be a challenge for our politicians who, deep in the grip of group-think and virtue signalling, seem to be batting for anybody but the home side.

    Regards,
    John.

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  8. John C,

    Not surprisingly perhaps, I agree with everything that you write. Politicians who are obsessed with net zero keep promising us highly-paid good quality “green” jobs, but they never seem to appear, certainly not at scale. Meanwhile, many of them oppose well-paid jobs for working-class people in a coal mine. The only “green” jobs that I can see involve things like lobbying, lawyers (and I speak as one myself) interpreting green red tape, consultants and all the rest of the parasites. These are jobs which suck money out of the real economy rather than create wealth.

    As for batting for anyone but the home side, you mirror my own oft-repeated question as to why UK politicians seem to hate the British people so much.

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  9. Beth – just another heads up on UN matters.
    over on the Bit Rot thread comments, Jit gave a link to –
    https://judithcurry.com/2022/12/09/jc-navigates-the-new-media/

    in her post is this – “This interview went viral on youtube, with 500,000 views in 7 days. Intimations of trouble ahead were a “Context” statement on climate change from the UN attached to my interview, designed to tell people the “truth” about climate change (when in fact the statement describes the “truth” of UN climate politics).”

    Like

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