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Capitalism fuelling climate change

Dec 07, 2011

A new report Outing the Oligarchy identifies the top 50 individuals whose investments benefit and reinforce climate change. The report also connects the impasse at Durban climate talks and the Occupy Wall Street movement against capitalism.

Outing the Oligarchy

Published by: International Forum on Globalisation, December 2011

IFG’s report comes as global debates intensify on how best to protect the climate and how best to counter the corrupting power of extreme wealth over politics.  The report draws the links between the two debates and identifies the emerging, ultra-rich tycoons who are deepening the world’s climate crisis.


The first debate is in the drive for an urgently needed global climate deal in Durban, South Africa, under the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change’s COP 17, which is currently at an impasse due to the United States’ having no national mandate to conclude a multilateral agreement since its Congress is so severely corrupted by corporations and capitalists who profit from fossil fuels.

The second debate—ignited by the Occupy Wall Street movement—revolves around the power of private wealth and its corruption of governments. In the U.S., where financial fraud has further enriched a few big banks and billionaires (while robbing millions of Americans of their savings, jobs and homes), citizens are incensed by Washington's rush to bail out corporations and capitalists deemed "to big to fail."

The world’s richest corporations and capitalists have been branded by the Occupy Wall Street movement as the “one percent,” yet there has been scant attention to the individuals within in the “one percent” who have greatest responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions.  Little information has been publicly available about the identities of the industrialists, investors and ideologues who are most responsible for the decisions over carbon-intensive activities that drive greenhouse gas emissions far past danger levels. 

IFG’s new report brings this information to light. The task of calculating carbon decision-making footprints is highly complex.  However, IFG’s new study is an initial step in what will be a longer-term initiative of analysing the roles played by the planet’s worst carbon culprits and how they fund sophisticated influence networks over almost all aspects of government policymaking, especially energy.

The report identifies 50 capitalists from around the world who have directly or indirectly contributed to an increase in carbon emissions. “Here we have the ‘Who's Who List’ of crony capitalists who have gotten rich by polluting the planet, and now they are plowing their cash back in to prevent any legal protections for the planet and its most vulnerable peoples,” said Victor Menotti, IFG director and co-author of the report. “Behind each of these billionaires are the stories of countless peoples and places that are being erased from the face of the earth by unregulated greenhouse gas emissions.  These climate destroyers must be pulled out of the shadows so that peoples of the world can understand who is responsible for the world’s predicament and can figure out the solutions.”

“India’s Great Oligarchs are exposed in the IFG report for their get-rich-quick gambles to grab more land and resources, which, in turn, concentrates even more political power in fewer hands in ‘the world’s largest democracy,’” said co-author and IFG board member from India, Dr. Vandana Shiva.

Source : IFG
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