Out of the Mouths of Malnourished Babes and Sucklings

My search for a serious analysis of the new French law on Energy Transition and Green Growth in the last post https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/french-take-leave-of-their-senses/

began and ended with this article from le Monde http://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2014/10/07/transition-energetique-fantasmes-francais-realite-allemande_4502139_3234.html

which, as I pointed out, is written not by a journalist but by two employees of climate think tanks, the European Climate Foundation and Agora Energiewende, and I said I’d come back and have a look at them later.

In a comment Paul Matthews points out that Ben Pile at

http://www.climate-resistance.org/2014/08/does-the-uk-need-another-climate-unit.html

had already spotted the European Climate Foundation as one of the funders of Richard Black’s Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, which has been set up apparently as a counter to the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Their other funders are the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, and the Tellus Mater Foundation.

The ECIU is a modest affair, with a team of four: Director Richard Black, ex-BBC environment correspondent; Peter Chalkley Head of Policy and Engagement, who is a communications consultant; George Smeeton, Head of Communications, who was media relations manager for WWF-UK; and Helena Wright, Principal Analyst, who is described as “a consultant” and who is currently finishing her PhD on climate change adaptation. You can see them strutting their stuff (and you can comment) at

http://eciu.net/blog

Of the three Foundations which fund the ECIU, the Grantham Foundation is well known as the overflow conduit for Jeremy Grantham’s vast hedge fund wealth, which spills over into two prestigious British Universities, and, via the journalism of PR man Bob Ward, into the press whenever climate scepticism rears its ugly big oily head, for example here: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/10/tory-right-becoming-desperate-climate-change-and-energy

The Tellus Mater Foundation, as Ben Pile notes, is a mysterious organisation, and I’ll be coming back to it. It seems to have just two employees, both young, an ex-banker and a chartered accountant, and its home page hasn’t been updated for over a year.

The European Climate Foundation, on the other hand, is big and active, with an annual budget of €25 million, a supervisory board of eight,(who are also currently running, among other things, Deutsche Bank, the investment arm of Pamoja Capital, and Duke Yale and Oxford Universities in their spare time); a leadership team of fourteen, (who are aided by four “fellows”, one of whom is the Princess Laurentien van Oranje-Nassau) and a staff of 46, spread between the Hague, Brussels, Berlin, London, Warsaw and Turkey.

They say about themselves: The European Climate Foundation “was established in early 2008 as a major philanthropic initiative to promote climate and energy policies that greatly reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and to help Europe play an even stronger international leadership role to mitigate climate change. The group of philanthropists who founded the ECF were deeply concerned over the lack of political action and the lack of general public awareness around the devastating future consequences implied by climate change. They formed the ECF – a ‘foundation of foundations’ – to collaborate in ensuring the necessary transformation from a high-carbon to a low-carbon economy.”

Ben Pile quotes from their website: The majority of our funds are re-granted to NGOs and think tanks engaged in bringing about meaningful policy change […] In 2012, we made 181 grants to 102 organisations.”

Clearly, the ECF is a big deal, so where does this “Foundation of Foundations” get its funding?

From:

Children’s Investment Fund Foundation

Climate Works Foundation

McCall MacBain Foundation

National Postcode Loterij

Oak Foundation and

Velux Fonden

(among additional supporters for specific projects they also mention the Tellus Mater Foundation).

Let’s just look at the first one. The home page of The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation‘s site http://ciff.org/ has articles about reducing under-five mortality in Uganda and the $7.5 million they’ve just disbursed to fight Ebola. CIFF is clearly doing wonderful work with their investments of $106 million.

On their page

http://ciff.org/about/approach/

they say: We are clear about our desired impact: transformational change to development approaches that will dramatically improve child survival, learning gains and nutritional outcomes. […] Within this framework, we have identified the following exceptionally high potential opportunities: – Neonatal survival – Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission – Early learning – Severe acute malnutrition – Deworming”

Brilliant. So what are they doing handing out money to the sixty-odd men in suits (plus the Princess Laurentien van Oranje-Nassau) of the European Climate Foundation? Do they need de-worming?

The answer is in the small print: … in 2013 we invested $106 million for children and climate.”  and they enlarge at

http://ciff.org/priority-impact-areas/climate/

CIFF’s climate programme uses a sound evidence base to demonstrate that ambitious attempts to tackle climate change are politically and economically feasible and desirable […] Our focus is on geographies where there is already some political leadership on climate change. So far, this is in Europe, China and Latin America…”

One wonders how they go about deciding how much to disburse for their programmes to counter mother-to-child HIV transmission, and how much to give to the think tank wonks in the Hague, Brussels and Berlin. And, remembering the obsession of environmental correspondents with discovering whether the GWPF received money from Big Oil, how do Richard Black and his merry band of consultants and communicators feel about accepting dosh that should by rights have gone to fighting Ebola and reducing infant mortality in Uganda?

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One Response to Out of the Mouths of Malnourished Babes and Sucklings

  1. Pingback: CAN of Worms (part 1) | Climate Scepticism

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