Tax Reform Economic Science 301.

Posted April 4, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

“Nature is the art of God.”

– Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

cumberland 7Treason 3: The Temple of Doom is part 3 of a three-part documentary “Treason”. It covers various aspects of environmental issues surrounding climate change, including critical looks at “cap-and-trade” (CAT) measures meant to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Treason 3 begins by declaring that the Green Agenda has been hijacked; climate change has turned into a movement to make private corporations the land barons of the 21st century.

Bankers have found a way to get in on the act of carbon trading, gambling on the price of permits.

Scientist James Hansen believes that “the dirtiest trick governments play on their citizens is the pretense that they are working on clean coal“. The world’s largest coal-burners are the United Kingdom, United States, and Germany. CAT legislation was guided through the U.S. Congress by Senator Tim Wirth, legalizing a money-making scheme which became the model for European CAT – it basically takes the public air, water, and land and turns it into private property. Unfortunately it is the universal pattern. Mr. Hansen believes “CAT is a cop-out, driving the world to a dead-end, to a social and ecological disaster”.

A letter sent by the British Economic Association’s president to all member economists told them that the climate change issue is going to become very important, we have to understand it, and then we have to suggest policies that will enable us to capture this issue for our profession. Economists talked about CAT being a market-based approach, but it’s not a market at all – it’s created by legislation. CAT will create a gigantic bureaucracy. A real market approach would be a carbon tax which is very simple.

There is something worrisome coming down the highway, and that’s carbon trading. CAT is based on neoclassical economics and likely shaping up as the mainstream solution to the climate problem. Europe spent $50 billion on trading the pollution permits, the largest permit went to a German coal-burning facility, then their carbon dioxide emissions actually increased.

The global carbon market was worth US $126 billion in 2008

The second part of CAT is offsets, a supplement to CAT. Offsets allow corporations to use cleverly thought up equivalents to emissions like tree plantations in the global south, or iron filings in the ocean to absorb carbon, etc. to avoid and/or delay improvements to equipment and other measures to reduce emissions.

The global carbon trading market has become very large, the number of permits are expected to decrease, so the price of permits is expected to increase a lot. Permits now trading for 50 euros per ton of greenhouse gases are forecast to be selling for over 100 euros in 5-10 years. The income stream should be quite large – a trillion-dollar market by 2020. It will become the world’s largest commodity market and is looked upon by Wall Street and the City of London as the replacement for the giant derivatives market which resulted in the 2007-8 economic crash the world is still suffering with today.

Carbon trading is predicted to become worth $3 trillion by 2020

According to one man in the film, many people have concerns about the carbon market actually leading to a bubble similar to the property/housing bubble which had a huge effect on the crash. He finds that the problem is how people will value the assets – the commodities that are getting traded. Under the United Nations agreement known as the Kyoto Protocol, most of the offset credits, most of the carbon credits produced by offset projects under the clean development feature of Kyoto, are actually being bought every day. Not by polluters to offset their pollution, but by Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and others.

They are buying up the credits, not to deal with their own pollution problems, which aren’t nearly as serious as mining and manufacturers – they’re buying permits to gamble with them. To speculate. If they increase in value you can make money off that. If they crash or go down in value you can short them and make money from that. You can make money from volatility, when they go up and down in price, like hedge funds do.

Climate policy is being passed into the hands of Wall Street and the City of London. One of the dangers is that this will drive a bubble in carbon credits, and nobody knows about these new commodities. They have been packaged, sliced-and-diced; credits from a windmill project get combined with a plantation project with an efficiency project, securitized and so on…

It’s an extremely complex market of assets, nobody will know what they are, nobody will understand them, the price goes up and up and up until someone asks, “what are we trading in?” People lose trust and the bubble market crashes. A lot of money gets traded on Wall Street and City of London where they trade those carbon derivatives between each other, but very little carbon gets taken out of the air.

An alternative to massive bureaucracy, financially dangerous CAT/carbon trading is then illustrated. A carbon tax on gasoline of $1 per gallon would raise an estimated $670 billion per year. It would be inaccurate to call it a carbon “tax” because the $670 billion would be returned directly to citizens – around $3,000 per person. Scientist James Hansen agrees with such a “tax” to incentivize both reduction in gas usage and innovation in auto technology. Other benefits include people moving into higher miles-per-gallon vehicles, automakers’ understanding their products need higher mileage per gallon plus new hybrid/electric product development, and a more intense renewable energy consciousness, accelerating creativity for solar, wind, biomass and other green energy options.

Treason 3 then touches on Iceland and its fishing industry. International Monetary Fund established a conservation fund which apparently was a cover for speculating in the money markets. Corporations with factory-sized fishing vessels had the financial muscle to buy the fishing permits. Iceland didn’t charge enough for the full rental value of the fish. Fish quotas became a major instrument of funds for the banking industry speculators to make money. After Iceland’s banks collapsed, Icelanders realized they had to charge substantial rent to fish their coastal waters.

Narrator Fred Harrison then points out that many wars will be fought in the future over drinking water. Rivers are running dry, droughts are turning once fertile farmland into semi-deserts. Viewers learn that in California the super-rich are at the head of the pack for getting scarce water supplies.

Finally, the film asserts that those who have benefited from natural resource extraction had gotten off the hook with regard to damage done to the environment, including human beings, animals, and plants. Incentives are necessary to counteract the culture of greed and the harmful pollution that has happened, and is happening. John Perkins gives the example of Ecuador, whose new constitution just ratified gives land, forests, rivers, animals and plants inalienable rights. He sees this as a subtle, yet very important statement for Ecuadorans in their respect for the nation’s natural resources.

The woman closing the film goes one step further than Ecuador, calling for a Universal Declaration of Planetary Rights. She believes such an agreement is necessary to deal with the crisis, and has the added benefit of creating a seismic shift in consciousness.

****

(Thank you to theIUorg at YouTube)

Queen Elizabeth, Royals, Elites Mum On Uranium, Nukes, Fukushima.

Posted on February 9, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

366-1“The increase of armaments that is intended in each nation to produce consciousness of strength, and a sense of security, does not produce these effects. On the contrary, it produces a consciousness of the strength of other nations and a sense of fear. Fear begets suspicion and mistrust and evil imaginings of all sorts.”

– Sir Edward Grey (1862-1933)

Since March 11, 2011 and the disasters of Fukushima, over 1,000 days, four hundred tons of radioactive water has flowed/emptied into the Pacific Ocean every day. What is most disturbing besides the obvious fact that Fukushima is the worst environmental disaster in human history, is the actions taken by corporations and government agencies to obscure the true extent of the damage that has occurred to the environment.

How is it that those who are in positions of leadership have been less than truthful about a situation which effects such a large number of people – instead of telling the complete truth?

Of course, the first place to look is money. Nuclear power, and the nuclear weapons which are produced from the by-product plutonium have been making money for the owners of corporations in the power and weapons industry since atomic energy became commercially viable. Evidently there is a lot of money made in the nuclear industries. After coming across reports that the Queen of England owns most of the uranium mines on Earth, it should come as no surprise that she is in no hurry to publicly address or divulge her financial activities in the industry.

It is very interesting that the Queen and others who hold large ownership in uranium mining, nuclear power and weapons companies have been nowhere to be seen, found, and heard from about the situation in Fukushima. Perhaps these owners have the best interests of the people of Japan and surrounding nations at heart; they don’t want to dampen the spirits of those unfortunate ones who have come into contact with high levels of radiation from Fukushima. Yes, that’s the reason for their silence.

Or maybe not. Perhaps the real reason they are silent is that they are some of the people who belong to that group of 85 that controls as much wealth as 3.5 billion people, published in the recently gone viral Oxfam report. Because they are in “damage control” mode when it comes to Fukushima. Not damage control as it would relate to allocating finances to properly repair the plant’s reactors initially in 2011, or in the years since. But damage control related to bankruptcy-causing lawsuits numbering in the millions, and total potential judgments in the trillions.

After generations these families have come to inherit and bequeath the fortunes from their ancestors, sometimes massive fortunes, the thought of losing it all is understandably disconcerting. Because can one imagine how these blue-bloods will be able to deal with having to live like “commoners” and/or even worse, “paupers”. Perhaps they can sustain the media blackout on all things Fukushima and nuclear, especially the real possibility of very high costs from health damages lawsuits, but still have to worry about those bothersome anti-nuclear activists who are calling for an end to nuclear power and weapons.

If the anti-nukers get too much attention there is the possible loss of lucrative profits from ownership of mining, nuclear power, and nuclear weapons production companies. Those billions of dollars of investment could suffer loss of stock valuations; the result could be having to sell some of the houses around the world, or one or two of the jets. The worst-case scenario for nuclear industry owners would be free energy for the people from the sun and wind and other renewable energies.

Another aspect of the worst-case scenario would be the need for cancellation of the plans for billions of dollars of taxpayer’s money becoming allocated for “improving” the nation’s (America) nuclear weapons arsenals. And that was going to be one “helluva sweet deal”. And then there’s the cost of cleaning up all the nuclear plants that will need to become shut down.

The world’s people and the remaining journalists who practice truthful reporting of events have to remain vigilant in getting all the facts about Fukushima and the nuclear-military-industrial complex. Tremendous damage has been done, and continues, to the planet all life depends on for survival. Those who have engaged in criminal behavior from the nuclear industries must be pursued by investigative citizen and professional journalists until all illegal, immoral, and unethical conduct is exposed to the sunlight.

It could be impossible to stop the radiation coming from Fukushima

There are reports that the units at Fukushima have come to the nuclear engineer’s – and humanity’s – nightmarish situation: “The China Syndrome”. In fairness, some are very determined to report the truth about what has occurred in Japan since 3/11/11. Many have come to understand the connection between the nuclear weapons above-ground detonations numbering over 1,000, Chernobyl, Fukushima, and the cancer epidemic in nations where radiation was released in high concentrations into the atmosphere, as well as nations “downwind”.

The Chernobyl disaster of 1986 has resulted in a much greater number of deaths and genetic defects than the World Health Organization has reported. Fukushima will unfortunately result in multiple numbers of deaths compared to Chernobyl. This writer is not one who aims to become involved in any shape or manner with fear-based messages. God only knows why Fukushima occurred in 2011 and continues to harm the Earth’s environment – people, animals, plants and all life – to this day in February 2014.

Humanity is now faced with a very high level of soul-searching with relation to the nuclear power and nuclear weapons industry. All life on Earth – in this and future generations – depends on the results of that soul-searching.

****

(Thank you to Andrew Ebisu at YouTube)