Sunday, December 13, 2015

Climate Change Prevention Funding Follies

                The University of Zurich’s Axel Michaelowa studies climate aid grants. That’s right, it’s not enough to study the climate itself, there appears to be a pressing need to study what happens to the large amounts of cash and other booty bequeathed to various entities around the world in the battle against climate change. Michaelowa conducted a study four years ago in order to track what became of specific climate grants.
                What he discovered is neither pretty nor surprising. “There was a huge misrepresentation, governments were actually really not able to report properly” on what became of their aid to help countries reduce carbon dioxide emissions. His study uncovered a large number of “projects without any conceivable climate change connotation.” Among these was Belgium funding for a “love movie festival,” in Africa, over a decade ago. Also among them was a U.S.-funded study on Savannah elephant sounds, and uniforms for park guardians in Central America courtesy of aid from Spain.
                Romain Weikmans, a researcher at Brown University’s Climate and Development Lab, described this governmental non-accountability by saying, “It’s really a process of lying the more you can.” He and Timmons Roberts, a professor at Brown, studied 5,201 projects mentioned by developed nations and claimed that 3,444 of them “did not explicitly link project activities to addressing climate vulnerability.” (Emphasis/italics mine). “Climate finance accounting is the wild west,” Roberts said. Weikmans said that, a few years ago, a 33 million euro pledge from one nation suddenly doubled on the books “thanks only to methodological changes in accounting.” Much like the data on global warming itself!
                It shouldn’t come as a shock to scientists or professors- or anyone else for that matter- that this occurs. Governments constantly utilize “creative” accounting methods and other mathematical slights-of-hand to come up with figures on revenue, spending, taxation, unemployment, current fund levels, et. al.
                Climate change spending has morphed into a feel good global poker game with all proceeds going to… charity? Well, somewhere.
                John Kerry (U.S.): “Well, that’s a nice pot there boys… Francois, we’ll see your $100 billion and raise you a Barbara Streisand concert in Myanmar and an interpretative center on Mt. Kilimanjaro!”


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