Net Zero, ESG, Carbon Offsets: The Climate Jargon Trickery Explained

Ratna and Nadim Siraj

December 20, 2022: Net Zero. ESG. Carbon Offsets. Carbon Credits. Cap-and-Trade. Carbon Footprint. Climate Tax. Natural Asset Companies… As corporate playmakers are moving at a hectic pace to groom populations around the world for a carefully engineered escalation of the climate change emergency, they have thrown at us certain catchphrases that appear appealing, scientific, and matter-of-fact.

But the fact of the matter is that these catchphrases, such as Net Zero and ESG, are inflated tactical terms manufactured by wily corporate spin doctors to seduce masses of people into accepting major disruptions that could be imposed as part of a reset of the global business landscape – all in the name of protecting nature and environment.

For all the big talk of saving the planet by folks in shiny suits at lavish UN summits, the coming climate-related disruptions are less about truthfully fixing the climate and more about a corporate tug-of-war. A war in which the largest, wealthiest, and most influential business families are strategically using climate change as a weapon to muscle out smaller players from the market.

CLIMATE CHANGE: NARRATIVE VS. REALITY

What is the narrative that we’re being told by the popular press about climate change?

Here’s what you are being told to believe: global climate change, caused entirely by human activity and only by fossil fuel consumption, has reached a tipping point as evident from rising weather woes. Therefore, it must be stopped at once, even if it means completely shutting the fossil fuel business, pulling the plug on fossil fuel use, and minutely surveilling the general public’s CO2 emissions record. We are being told that it’s the only way to save life on the planet from climate-driven extinction.

And what is it that we are not being told? Let’s now dive into the untold hidden agenda of climate fearmongering.

One, a war on the century-old crude oil business. A tussle has been brewing over the last few decades between Big Oil and the non-fossil fuel business cartel. This non-fossil fuel corporate elite is now using climate worries as a weapon to defame Big Oil, clip its wings, and shepherd the world towards battery-centric and electricity-centric energy use. The non-fossil fuel lobby’s target here is to dismantle the West Asia-petrodollar system

Two, more concentration of power and wealth. Climate change is being used as a pretext by the biggest and most influential business lobbies to devise crafty rules and regulations aimed at driving weaker competitors out of competition. If this planned move succeeds, we will witness a faster rise in the number of monopolies and oligopolies, and the decimation of medium, small-scale, and indigenous businesses.

Three, making money out of thin air. Using the climate change crisis, some sections of the power elite are looking to invent new ways of making money from the general public as well as from small-scale and indigenous businesses. They are mulling new taxation systems that will see money from the masses getting sucked out through mandatory payment regimes, such as climate taxes, carbon taxes or environment taxes.

Caught in the crossfire of this corporate-led reset is the unsuspecting public, who are being spoon-fed every day with hyped up warnings of climate change. So-called climate experts from funded climate monitors that are springing up fast are flooding the internet with fancy-sounding carbon jargons.

Before you are deluged with a tsunami of daily news headlines about the approaching climate doomsday in the coming days and months, you need to sit up and see through their game because it’s eventually you who will pay the final price once newly created payment regimes kick in. To be able to figure all that out, you will have to first critically look at the manufactured narrative itself. Brick by brick. Actually, jargon by jargon.

NET ZERO MEANS:
LET’S KEEP POLLUTING

Let’s start with the manufactured myth of Net Zero. Officially, Net Zero, also called carbon neutrality, means corporations achieving a state of Net Zero carbon dioxide emissions. It basically means a corporation has to achieve a balance between the carbon it emits and the carbon it removes from the air.

On paper, it sounds very pious. But actually, it’s a fraudulent plan. That’s because Net Zero means corporations don’t have the obligation to achieve actual zero-carbon emissions. They are not required to stop CO2 emissions. They can continue polluting the air in exchange for ‘offsetting’ it by planting trees on any random location on the planet.

In other words, industrial giants in the so-called developed world can continue guzzling fossil fuels and build more factories and sweatshops. They don’t have to worry about the resultant emissions as long as they can find distant parks and forestland in economically colonised parts of Asia and Africa where they can plant some trees and victoriously claim to have offset the damage done from their own emissions.

Their cunning math is that plus and minus come to Net Zero! So, the actual CO2 emissions can legally continue freely, thanks to this convenient equation.

CARBON OFFSETS MEAN:
LET’S COLONISE

Let’s take up a related jargon – carbon offsets. It refers to the act of removing CO2 or other greenhouse gases from the air in a particular location on the planet in order to compensate for high quantities of carbon emissions made in another part of the world. Offsets are usually measured in tons.

Carbon offsetting activities are generally done through beautifully packaged and well-marketed renewable energy projects, such as wind farms, hydroelectric dams, biomass energy, biogas plants, etc.

Now, here’s the problem with carbon offsets. The system basically allows giant corporations or real estate investors to gobble up large tracts of land in prime locations for industrial and urbanisation projects. Having done that damage, they can then use their immense clout to corner farmland or forested areas in distant, economically colonised countries, where they can superimpose gift-wrapped carbon offsetting projects.

Apart from manufacturing and marketing cool-sounding renewable energy projects, offsetting also allows corporations to indulge in convenient trick acts such as carbon sequestration and carbon sinks in faraway lands. Carbon sequestration is the method of sucking out CO2 from the atmosphere. A carbon sink, meanwhile, is something that soaks up more CO2 from the air than it emits, such as certain patches of sea, jungles, and pristine soil. 

Offsetting is like giving corporations the freedom and power to commit new-age colonisation. Pollute here, grab land there, unfurl a candy-sweet project, and get labelled as ‘climate-responsible’. Offsets promote the tendency of large corporations to colonise nature in faraway locations.

CARBON CREDITS MEAN:
LICENCE TO POLLUTE

Let’s move on to the next dodgy jargon – carbon credits. A carbon credit is basically an official permit that allows its owner to freely emit a certain quantity of CO2 or other greenhouse gases.

It’s like how the tobacco industry works. If you’re a seller of tobacco products, all you need to do is pay a certain extra tax to the authorities, and Eureka! – you have the licence to freely sell your harmful tobacco products. It’s like ‘sin tax’ in ancient times.

So, how exactly does it work? Corporations that pollute the air too much can buy carbon credits in order to be permitted to continue emitting a lot of CO2. If a corporation manages to reduce its emission levels, and doesn’t intend to ratchet it up, it has the option to sell off its carbon credits to another corporation that is looking to buy pollution permits from the market or from the issuing authorities or watchdogs.

This mindless drill of buying and selling carbon credits to conveniently get the go-ahead to continue freely polluting the air is called cap-and-trade, or carbon emissions trading. ‘Cap’ signifies the emission limit for those without credits or licences, or those with limited credits. ‘Trading’ denotes the buying and selling of licences between corporations.

The system is basically designed to allow you – as a polluter – to openly and officially buy your way out of pollution-related restrictions. Wanna pollute? Have money? Buy some credits. And keep polluting!

Money moves from the hands of corporations to licence issuers or between corporations, but carbon emissions continue unabated. Awesome way to fix the climate!

CARBON FOOTPRINT MEANS:
CONTROL THE MASSES

Much in the same way, we have in the conversation another shady term, called carbon footprint. Officially, it’s a way to measure the total quantity of CO2 or other greenhouse gases that we emit in the course of our lives. People, places, companies, and even one-off events can have a carbon footprint.

Apparently, carbon footprint is meant to give us an idea of the areas in which we emit too much CO2, so that we can take corrective action and emit less. But in reality, it’s actually like slapping a negative report card on every individual, every small organisation, and every local event – indirectly branding them as emission culprits.

To allow carbon footprint to be made the benchmark of your contribution to the environment is to walk into a trap laid by mandarins scripting the who-is-at-fault narrative.

It’s human nature to leave a carbon footprint. We’ve been living like this for thousands of years without interfering with how the planet works. But to suddenly start measuring the carbon footprint of individuals, and not limiting it to giant polluters, is to make the general public start feeling guilty about their contribution to the planet.

CARBON TAX MEANS:
MILKING THE MASSES

Once every individual or small organisation is judged on the basis of their carbon footprint, it is possible that we could see a collective loss of confidence among them. This artificial mass-shaming will set the public up for the mandarins’ final objective – the imposition of carbon taxes or climate taxes.

If the public are constantly reminded of their CO2 emissions and rebuked, and if they’re repeatedly told that they, too – and not just large corporations – are responsible for climate change, then they’re unlikely to resist the onset of taxes and fines in the name of climate. Local authorities, national governments, international organisations, and watchdogs will be able to impose and collect those climate-related taxes.

Powerful corporations and giant entities, such as the Pentagon, can pull the strings and find ways to pass on the incidence of carbon taxation to the public, who could end up paying all the taxes. Just like end-users today pay sales taxes on products that technically sellers are supposed to pay.

Either way, the general public could end up paying all the carbon taxes – be it directly or indirectly. Using glorified bodies such as the UN’s IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), when the power elite will slap climate taxes on large corporations, they could conveniently add those taxes to the selling price of their goods and services, and eventually make the consumers pay. It will be a coup on your wallet!

ESG MEANS: LET’S
MANIPULATE INVESTORS

Let’s take up the next deceitful jargon – and this is a big one. It’s called ESG. It stands for environmental, social, and (corporate) governance. There are complicated and over-corporatised definitions of ESG out there that will make you think it’s a welcome way to make the business community behave responsibly in times of climate awareness.

But in reality, ESG is as deceitful as the now-infamous CSR eyewash. ESG is a way of allotting marks or drawing up report cards for corporations on the basis of their impact on the environment, their contribution to society, and their internal governance standards.

Apparently, it sounds cool. Why not have holistic report cards for corporations to assess their performance beyond balance sheets and boardrooms? The problem is, ESG scores are meant to be influenced and manipulated by a handful of the most powerful corporate powers at the expense of the rest of the competing players.

It’s just like how gigantic corporations historically influence auditors to cook their balance sheets better than smaller businesses can in order to avoid or evade taxes. Much in the same way, the biggest corporate empires will be able to corner the most sparkling ESG scores for themselves despite their dodgy climate track record, while smaller competitors will not have that privilege.

The smaller players in the world of business will have to settle for genuine and relatively low ESG scores, which would be less glorious to look at compared to that of the bigger players that will have inflated sustainability report cards.

This disparity of ESG scores will directly impact investor behaviour. Investors out there, both big and small, will be herded into buying high-scoring ESG stocks or investing in other ways only in companies that have the best ESG scores. And that, in turn, will see the biggest businesses, being a powerful minority, draw in much of the investments by flaunting superior ESG scores.

So, as ESG will increasingly become mainstream, we will witness an increase in the concentration of wealth and power at the hands of a very few corporations through the cunning mopping up of investments.

NATURAL ASSET COMPANY
MEANS: LET’S SELL NATURE

We will now look at the last and most ominous jargon of them all – NACs or natural asset companies. Over the last decade, Wall Street hawks and their global allies have been plotting an unprecedented move – to use the climate change discourse to capture the whole of nature, put it on sale, and make trillions of dollars out of it.

This new imperialist blueprint is ready. NACs will be the tools through which the takeover of nature will be carried out. Using these NACs, the imperialists want to colonise and own all of the world’s biodiversity and farmland, brand them as ‘natural assets’, turn them into commodities by stamping price tags, and sell them off to powerful buyers at astronomical rates.

People who have lived on those lands and off them for generations would no longer have any rights to them once they are labelled as natural assets. Only the new-born NACs can exclusively own the newly commodified farmlands, forests, water bodies, reefs, wetlands, etc.

The privately controlled NACs are being created jointly by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Intrinsic Exchange Group (IEG). The land-grab project is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, IDB (Inter-American Development Bank), and Aberdare Ventures.

Anti-imperialism naturalist, Dr. Vandana Shiva, is alarmed at the planned commodification of entire nature for profit. “It’s the final step of the financialisation of the world… Financialisation through the new model of financial asset companies, which is aiming at 4,000 trillion dollars, will mean the debt crisis will be used as a takeover of the real resources and the real wealth – land, forests, rivers, biodiversity,” she recently said in an interview to Empire Diaries.

Watch Dr. Vandana Shiva explain what NACs are all about.

Shiva fears that the climate change discourse will be the “means and mechanism” through which the financialisation of farmland and biodiversity will take place.

So, there you go. Riding the climate emergency, these new-age ‘East India Companies’, under the badge of NACs, will roll into one country after another, buying up swathes of nature and turning them into expensive products. And what’s their official pitch of doing this land grab? To protect biodiversity and the climate!

History is full of examples of imperialists dishing out deceptive jargons in order to pull off crafty colonising acts. The Industrial Revolution, petrodollar recycling, globalisation, free trade, digitisation of money, FDI, Green Revolution, feeding the world, strategic oil reserves, One World Government, Let’s Connect, Build Back Better – well, we’ve seen this movie many, many times.

The carbon-related jargons that are being thrown at us now is a rendition of that same-old show. It’s the old toxin in a new bottle. The toxin of loot. The toxin of recolonisation. The toxin we need to collectively stand up against.

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