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« Another petition | Main | Standing up for misconduct »
Thursday
Dec062012

Green graft

The Telegraph - Louise Gray of all people - reports that money earmarked for climate change adaptation is being channelled to big corporate entities to subsidise windfarm manufacture:

[T]he World Development Movement said the money is going to large companies rather than helping poor people likely to suffer from climate change.

A recent example was £385m, channeled through a World Bank project to promote clean energy in poor countries.

WDM say that most of the money went to private companies to build wind turbines or solar panels for profit.

Some £10m ended up going towards a 27-turbine farm in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, operated by the French energy giant EDF, to be paid back in 15 years.

Read the whole thing.

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Reader Comments (42)

I read this with some incredulity.

How on earth do they expect a bunch of poor 3rd world peasants to build, ship, erect and connect a 400' windmill without some external help?

Dec 6, 2012 at 8:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Well, knock me down with a feather. Overseas aid not getting to those who are supposed to benefit from it?
Who'd have thought.

Dec 6, 2012 at 8:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

Organisations like Oxfam have created this schizoid situation. Oxfam, by harping on about climate have now prompted a response from governments who have effectively responded and said "OK Oxfam, if you think it is so important, we'll channel some of the aid money into climate instead".

So money gets funnelled into solar arrays and wind in Mexico that Walmart ends up using.

Now, whether a "pile 'em high" supermarket benefits poor people more than, say, Oxfam taking that same money for their own "non-profitable" ventures - I guess something like fitting up shanty towns to have treadle powered fridges instead - is a question for debate. But the whining about how we got to this situation from Oxfam is a bit rich when you consider they seemed to have branched out into anti-capitalist, anti-development climate lobbying and still think the same pot of money should be there to help aid the third world.

Dec 6, 2012 at 8:49 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Oxfam wanted the climate money for themselves, you didn't think they actually wanted to use it for CO2 reduction did you? Obviously the govt has made the same massive mistake in not giving it to Oxfam.

Dec 6, 2012 at 8:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Has anyone else noted the wonderful last three words?

" A source close to the UK negotiating team said the money announced in Doha was designed to encourage the rest of the world to come forward with climate change aid, especially in Europe."

“Basically we are saying to the French: we have upped our contribution, now up yours.” !

I will get my coat.....

Dec 6, 2012 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Well you have to feel sorry for poor Louise Gray. All that furious cutting and pasting of WWF/Greenpeace press releases without having time to read them, the odd off-message bit is bound to slip through occasionally.
Surprised she hasn't published her shopping list before now frankly.

Dec 6, 2012 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

Loopy Louise (along with her mentor, Geriatric Green Geoffrey Lean) is the reason I very rarely shell out £1.20 per day for the Torygraph print edition any more.

Once I broke my addiction to the crossie it was easy to do.

Dec 6, 2012 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

There is a deeper issue.

Ever larger amounts of development money have been diverted, first to greenhouse gas emission reduction, and now to adaptation to climate change as well. Donors are very cagey about the exact amounts.

Development aid has not always been well spent, but there is self-reflection and learning. Over the last 50 years, a lot of things were tried, proved unsuccessful, and abandoned. This is well documented in Bill Easterly's book. Development aid has now at last moved to the stage that it sometimes predictably does some good.

Climate aid, unfortunately, has ignored this experience and has a distinct 1950s feel. It is about pouring concrete, about subsidizing organizations from donor countries, and about hiring consultants (from donor countries) to tell the savages what to do.

This money is not just wasted, it is also taken from occasionally useful purposes.

Dec 6, 2012 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Latimer
Since I've been doing the crossword since I was about 15, you'll understand it's a habit very hard to break but since the DT has now decided that we émigrés will have to pay £100 a year to read anything except the front page I may be joining you.
This is without going into the whole question of whether their reportage is any good these days or even whether clicking on a link will take you to the story it purports to!

Dec 6, 2012 at 9:35 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

So money is taken from poor people in rich countries and given to rich people in poor countries.

No shit, Sherlock.

Dec 6, 2012 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterAngusPangus

Angus, it's worse than that. Money is taken from poor people in rich countries and given to rich people in rich countries. Which is pretty much what always happens in the 'green' economy.

Dec 6, 2012 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Mike, this might help.

Dec 6, 2012 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Mike,

Sorry, correct link

Dec 6, 2012 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Scamsters do what scamsters do.

Dec 6, 2012 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

This is a feature of greenism, not a bug.

Dec 6, 2012 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

As I pointed out in a related comment on the DT, the three-bladed stars of wind-turbines being funded in the third world will no doubt find themselves to be three-pointed stars on the bonnets of some rather expensive stuff from Germany - for the sole use of the local despot and his wife.

Dec 6, 2012 at 11:07 AM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Jack Savage at 9:14 AM:

Put your coat back down, Jack... this time of morning we need you.

p.s. If you really have to go, just say: "Now I'll duck out..."

Dec 6, 2012 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Carr

Same old same old.

Foreign aid is invariably used as a vehicle for developed countries to provide subsidy to domestic industry or national champions that would otherwise be illegal under the WTO.


Hand over €200 miilion to a domestic windmill manufacturer exporting their product and the WTO or the European Commission would be on you.


Give €200 million to a "poor" country to buy windmills, from same company of course, and you are doing good in the world.


It stinks.

Dec 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

The environmental movement has always had an easier task than the one concerned with world development, not least because the ecos can play on self-interest with scare stories and have done so to great effect for a long time - some would date that back to the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. While much of that book, like so many other dramatisations of 'scares', has been discredited and shown to have been something of a tragic disaster for many people, there seems to have been a kind of ratchet effect whereby all the political ground gained is not lost despite the basis for it having been exposed as misleading.

The development lobby's biggest historical mistake has perhaps been an earlier emphasis on overseas aid, and now it looks like history may be repeating itself. As far as I know, no-one has been able to devise such aid for developing countries that is not largely harmful for them - either propping up corrupt regimes, supporting inappropriate technology, or being siphoned off by profiteers or even terrorist groups. The book 'The Crisis Caravan' by Linda Polman gives examples of how even explicitly humanitarian aid is often misused. But now I think their biggest mistake may turn to be their jumping on to the bandwagon fuelled by speculations about the role of CO2 in the climate system. Speculations treated as gospel and used as a mechanism to blame any weather or related trend deemed harmful as being caused by the more industrialised nations - media coverage of Storm Sandy contains many recent illustrations of this.

The development lobby ought to have been a natural challenger of the environmental lobby's excesses and prescriptions for the developing world. 'Sustainable development' after all is little more than a smokescreen for 'suppressed development'. But they seem to have been won over by the prospect of massive transfers of wealth from developed to developing nations, justified by the argument that the former is causing bad weather in the latter and that it will get worse. This is a recipe for poisoning international relations if ever there was one, and of course is based on the flimsy foundation of our current understanding of climate dynamics in which observations and some theory and experiment support a relatively weak impact by man on the global scale. Pressure groups support the reverse based in large part on computer model projections. These pressure groups have won the day so that now their position might well be seen as the established one.

Paul Driessen's book 'Eco-Imperialism: Green Power Black Death' deserves a wide audience amongst those concerned with development issues. From his website - http://www.eco-imperialism.com/ - I take the following quotation from a former leader of Greenpeace:

'“The environmental movement I helped found has lost its objectivity, morality and humanity. The pain and suffering it is inflicting on families in developing countries must no longer be tolerated. Eco-Imperialism is the first book I’ve seen that tells the truth and lays it on the line. It’s a must-read for anyone who cares about people, progress and our planet.'

The dismay expressed by the WDM about this latest aid package should not have come as a surprise to them. I wish all speed to the English translation of Pascal Bruckner's 'Le fanatisme de l'Apocalypse'. He is from the leftwing and may therefore be more readily listened to by political activists everywhere. Near the end of this book, he notes:

‘Si une defense genereuse de l'environnement doit se developper au cours du siecle a venir, elle n'existera que comme servante de l'homme et de la nature dans leur interaction reciproque et non comme avocate ventriloque d'une entite nommee planete. Les amis de la terre ont trop longtemps ete les ennmeis de l'humanite: il est temps qu'une ecologies de l'admiration succede a une ecologies de l'accusation.'

Pending the proper translation, here is my shot aided a bit by Google Translate:

'If we are to have a more magnanimous case for the environment made in the 21st century, it will have to serve man and nature in their mutual interaction, and not merely be as if from a lawyer speaking like a ventriloquist on behalf of ‘the planet’. Friends of the earth have for too long been the enemies of humanity: it time for an ecology of admiration to take over from an ecology of accusation.'

Dec 6, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

ssat
Sssssh!

Dec 6, 2012 at 12:06 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

So many typos... enmeis should be ennemis, and ecologies should be ecologie

Also, I forgot to add what I would regard as a more informative and factual book than Bruckner's largely philosophical one, and that is the book by Robert Zubrin called 'Merchants of Despair'. His book ends as follows:
'That is why we must reject antihumanism and embrace instead an ethic based on faith in the human capacity for creativity and invention. For in doing so, we make a statement that we are living not at the end of history, but at the beginning of history; that we believe in freedom and not regimentation; in progress and not stasis; in love rather than hate; in life rather than death; in hope rather than despair.'

Dec 6, 2012 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

John Shade, thanks for your thoughtful post. It is posts like this that make me keep coming back to BH.

Getting back to my more usual worldly mode, I note that international aid has always been a cover for other things, whether they be religious or political evangelism, commercial advancement, or good old-fashioned spying. Not all of those 'aid workers' who are arrested abroad are dewy-eyed innocents, whatever the local media might tell us.

Dec 6, 2012 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

Not sure where to post this, it's off topic but interesting I thought! Just got back from walking faithful hound to watch BBC lunchtime News. In it the lovely Kate Silverton announced that Sir Ranulf Fiennes is going to trek across Antarctica on an expedition to cross the continent, in total darkness in temps of -90°C! Forgive me, but is it not the Southern Hemisphere's Spring & Summer at the moment, & late Spring come early Summer by the time his ship gets there in January? Please fee lto repost in appropriate place!

Dec 6, 2012 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

John Shade
You might try rendering advocate ventriloque as 'mouthpiece'. I think it catches the slightly derogatory implication!
Good post!!

Alan the Brit
According to the DT, the expedition is due to start in March, hence winter. I doubt the BBC has anyone that would understand that —at least in their news department (or science, or current affairs, or children's programming. Comedy,maybe. I'm sure Marcus Brigstocke could help out here).

Dec 6, 2012 at 1:53 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

reality hits doha:

5 Dec: AFP: EU, US rule out climate funding pledges in Doha
As pledges from individual countries started to trickle in, the EU said tight finances prevented it taking on near-term commitments as a bloc, while Washington insisted it was already “doing what we agreed to do.”…
Developed nations are also being asked to show how they intend to keep a promise to raise funding for the developing world’s climate mitigation plans to $100 billion per year by 2020 — up from a total of $30 billion in 2010-2012.
European Union climate negotiator Pete Betts told journalists that “these are tough financial times in Europe.”
As a bloc, “we, as other developed countries, are not going to be in a position at this meeting to agree any kind of target for 2015.”
Britain said Tuesday it would spend about 1.8 billion pounds (2.2 billion euros/$2.9 billion) on international climate projects over the next three years — though critics said most of this was not “new” money…
United States negotiator Jonathan Pershing, however, said: “The question of whether there is a new commitment that gets announced here is not the right question.
“The current discussions obligated us to look at a 2020 number. That’s what we agreed to do. They committed us as a downpayment in good faith to look at a $30-billion collective effort, and we have done more than that.
“In that sense I think we are doing what we agreed to do and what we’ve committed to do,” he said.
Ousman retorted this was “a misinterpretation of things.”
“Our understanding is that it’s per year and that (the funding) should start now… and we want figures on the table.”…
“The Doha caravan is stuck in a sandstorm,” lamented Ronny Jumeau, negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States, a grouping of 43 countries most at risk from global warming-induced sea level rise.
Observers complained of a disquieting lack of urgency, and the NGO Christian Aid, which claims to represent some of the world’s poorest communities said: “The baby is close to being born but we are in danger of aborting it just as the labour begins.”…
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j3o0521qmPyIJz3Nne7fSfn_dBUA?docId=CNG.7cffe9ec61d8fa7e6166546ce7c16e6a.171

6 Dec: Reuters: Daniel Fineren/Regan Doherty: EU climate aid promises fail to unlock U.N. deal in Doha
Green groups say Doha on brink of disaster
“This has been almost a laughable exercise,” said Kumi Naidoo, the head of Greenpeace, who accused developed nations of failing to lay out more ambitious goals…
Scientists also said the talks were out of line with the needed urgency. “We are not on track,” Michel Jarraud, head of the World Meteorological Organisation, told Reuters. “Scientific evidence is getting stronger.”
“Climate change is happening before our eyes.”…
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/06/climate-talks-idUSL5E8N61OT20121206

Dec 6, 2012 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Re Dec 6, 2012 at 1:53 PM | Mike Jackson
Thanks for that - 'mouthpiece' would have been a far better translation.
Glad you liked the post, and that johanna did too.

Dec 6, 2012 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

There is an apocryphal story that the US military used to drop container-sized bombs filled with ANFO in Vietnam, paying for the ammonium nitrate fertilizer out of a foreign aid budget. Same idea.

Dec 6, 2012 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterquelgeek

2 billion pounds

Just think when no ones looking and the bribes all payed off how many AK47s Landmines and RPGs ex Rwandan War Criminals can buy with that.

Dec 6, 2012 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Alan the Brit

I assumed they were not starting until the beginning of winter. But what really struck me was that if this report was all-embracing, what a shocking waste of money (whose ?) to support two whacko idiots who want to go for a walk. Maybe I am missing something.

Dec 6, 2012 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneToTheSlammer

Having given the money to the developing countries we will be able to buy carbon credits from them by way of EDF etc. Simple green economics i.e. you need to green to swallow the scam.

Dec 6, 2012 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpen

Having given the money to the developing countries we will be able to buy carbon credits from them by way of EDF etc. Simple green economics i.e. you need to green to swallow the scam.

Dec 6, 2012 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpen

VPN. I use PrivateInternetAccess, very reliable, good speeds and under £5 a month. Their support is excellent and rapid. I don't work for them!

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/

Dec 6, 2012 at 3:46 PM | Registered Commenterjeremyp99

Richard Tol:

Climate aid, unfortunately, has ignored this experience and has a distinct 1950s feel. It is about pouring concrete, about subsidizing organizations from donor countries, and about hiring consultants (from donor countries) to tell the savages what to do.

This money is not just wasted, it is also taken from occasionally useful purposes.

One of the most important aspects of the climate madness that has not yet been properly articulated. Thank you very much for saying this Richard. Dambisa Moyo, from the heart of Africa (and Goldman Sachs!), and her mentor Paul Collier don't agree with Easterley on all but they'd surely be highly sympathetic to what you've written here. Climate aid is that bad.

Dec 6, 2012 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Mike and Latimer

Weaning yourselves off the DT crossword is tough but losing MATT would be a tragedy.

This £2 Billion gift to help fight climate change is just like all overeas aid and all climate mitigation spending; it is just politicians spending our money to make themselves look good to other politicians.
I agree with those who point out that we have people in fuel poverty and what about helping them (and all of us) by fighting the urge to be a green junkie. In addition we are cutting our own already decimated defence budget by £1.3 Billion at the same time we give away £2 Billion? This from a party that stated in the pre election debates that Defence is the first priority of any government.

The other crucial point is that the new geothermal fracking will make all other renewable energy redundant as well as transforming the underdeveloped world, spend the money on that!

Dec 6, 2012 at 4:23 PM | Registered CommenterDung

...but losing MATT would be a tragedy
A man after my own heart.
But have you tried accessing the archives recently? It was mid-November before they got the August, September and October cartoons up (there was one from the end of August I wanted to send to my daughter) and now whichever of July, August, September or October you click on you get October's cartoons!
They've been told about it at least three times to my certain knowledge but, hey, who cares about customer service at the Telegraph these days?

Dec 6, 2012 at 4:41 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

There is about 1 green energy bankruptcy a week in the US. The basic model seems to be: create sham green business, haul in grants from bureaucrats who don't see why it wouldn't be possible to power a city from a couple of solar panels (because they majored in media studies), declare bankruptcy, take tax payer funded winnings offshore. Strangely the media don't report these stories.

Dec 6, 2012 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

End of the article:

... A source close to the UK negotiating team said the money announced in Doha was designed to encourage the rest of the world to come forward with climate change aid, especially in Europe.

“Basically we are saying to the French: we have upped our contribution, now up yours.”


Note: "... up yours."

I couldn't agree more.

Dec 6, 2012 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Proctor

In posting this link, you're being disingenuous. This money was never meant to be charity for poor people. It is meant to replace CO2-producing power plants with 'clean' power. If that means providing power to a WalMart-owned store, then so be it. The author clearly confuses cutting CO2 emissions with helping poor people, but you should know better. This was not money meant to buy rice for poor starving peasants, diverted to corporations. And there is no graft involved. The system is working exactly as planned. You may disagree with the plan - as I do - but you're being less than honest using this criticism to support your case.

To be honest, just say the money shouldn't be spent for ANY reason. If you don't buy climate change, then it doesn't matter who gets the money, and the fact that a 'green' journalist is criticizing a climate change program is irrelevant. I know you want to tweak the enemy, but you lose your own integrity whey you do so. And as I generally agree with you on climate issues, I get dragged down as well.

Dec 6, 2012 at 8:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarkB

MarkB

Could you give us a link to a correct explanation as to the purpose of the £2 billion? All of the News reports that I have seen describe the money in the same way, why pick on Bishop Hill if it is wrong?

Dec 6, 2012 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterDung

Richard Tol said:

Development aid has not always been well spent, but there is self-reflection and learning. Over the last 50 years, a lot of things were tried, proved unsuccessful, and abandoned. This is well documented in Bill Easterly's book. Development aid has now at last moved to the stage that it sometimes predictably does some good.

Climate aid, unfortunately, has ignored this experience and has a distinct 1950s feel.


That strikes me as a key observation that explains the strange behaviour of Oxfam moving into climate activism. I think people should watch Phil Bloomer of Oxfam in the video of attached to the Telegraph article. He comes across as a typical climate obsessive rather than an aid worker. I think at some level they see their days are numbered in conventional aid.

The wealth of the dependent developing nations will reach a stage where the current conventional aid role will become redundant and may even be resented. I think your Oxfam's are looking ahead to the last great hope of dependency and are attempting to big up the cause of climate grievances.

I think if you study their rhetoric you will see they are more interested in selling this idea to potential clients in the developing nations themselves rather than persuading us the donor nations. As Phil Bloomer identifies in the video they *need* the

...poor people who have been effected by our greenhouse emission over the last 100 years

If NGO’s get to sell this concept of grievance to their clients, then they can continue with a new role - maintaining their existence- treading water with endless aid for no purpose other than being arbiters of “climate justice” .

As Mr Tol mentioned Easterly I think it is worth adding a link here ;)

The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill And So Little Good

Dec 6, 2012 at 10:39 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

MarkB

This money was never meant to be charity for poor people. It is meant to replace CO2-producing power plants with 'clean' power.

I think the whole point about what people "mean" to be doing at any time is very confusing and all sorts of proposed interpretations are valid until we know better.

I think that is what Richard Tol is saying here:

Ever larger amounts of development money have been diverted, first to greenhouse gas emission reduction, and now to adaptation to climate change as well. Donors are very cagey about the exact amounts.

The Oxfam guy Phil Bloomer in the video says

"This should be new and additional finance it should not be aid money..."

"...this is effectively aid money that has been diverted into climate finance"

Whatever the truth there does seems to be lot of money swilling around and a lot of people fighting over it and climate politics seems to be the cause of the confusion ;)

Dec 6, 2012 at 10:49 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Is anyone at BH surprised that huge amounts of loose taxpayer and donor monies create equally huge opportunities for graft? Humans seem to have an innate urge to being crooked, it seems, and big baits attract big rats. Politicians, including the membership of NGOs of every kind seem, to regard themselves as being the pinnacle of Man's social evolution, but I suspect the reverse is the actuality.

Dec 7, 2012 at 1:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

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