Special Reports
Buyer beware: Climate change and the Ventura case study
By Nikki Alexander
Online Journal Guest Writer

Nov 12, 2009, 00:24

A seemingly wholesome local event recently led to some disturbing discoveries about a global GHG matrix that will affect people everywhere in all countries.

Students from The Bren School of Environmental Science and Management (University of California Santa Barbara) gave a presentation to city planners and citizens on their �Ventura Case Study.� Bren is working on this project for their client, AECOM, to calculate Ventura�s baseline greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in preparation for compliance with federal and state regulations.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been leading the charge for state regulations while Senator Barbara Boxer is sponsoring federal climate change legislation. AECOM states in its proposal that California is a prime target for compulsory GHG reduction strategies because it has shown a willingness to conform, whereas some other states are rebelling.


The Bren School was endowed by and named after Donald Bren, whose Irvine Company developed suburban communities on 94,000 acres, encompassing one fifth of Orange County. Forbes, in its 2008 edition of The 400 Richest Americans, ranked Bren as the wealthiest real estate developer in the US with an estimated net worth of $12 billion. He does not build eco villages and strawbale cottages.

The Bren School website asserts the �need for a new kind of solution-oriented environmental professional with combined expertise in the political, economic, and social dimensions of environmental decision-making.� At least two of the rotating deans that control the curriculum are examples of this new �environmental� professional.

Dennis Aigner, dean from 2000-2005, specializes in litigation involving contract disputes, regulation of public utilities, government contracting, health care, insurance, banking and defense. His stated research interests include corporate environmental management, US competitiveness in global markets, foreign investment, state and local economic issues, and workers� compensation. As chair of the California Workers� Compensation Rate Study Commission, Aigner recommended deregulating the marketplace for workers� compensation insurance.

Ernst von Weizs�cker, dean from 2005-2008, is a member of the Club of Rome, a group of global planners that annually release Armageddon scenarios based on predictions of overpopulation and famine. In their 1991 book, entitled The First Global Revolution, they state, �In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.� (p.115) He also served on the World Commission on the Social Dimensions of Globalization and was a member of the Bundestag, the federal parliament of Germany.


The relationship between AECOM and the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management is a closed loop. AECOM�s 2008 �Global Thought Leadership� annual report states: �We become an integrated part of our clients� organizations . . . partner with technical academies and community schools.�

The Ventura Case study was initiated by three AECOM employees that are Bren graduates. The students are not allowed to interact with community residents and are restricted to working ONLY with policy-makers. That�s a Bren rule. One of the student presenters reported that collecting this data would be nearly impossible without help from someone inside the city government. The policy-maker within the City of Ventura Environmental Services that is feeding Ventura�s GHG data to the students is a Bren graduate.

With annual revenue of $6 Billion, AECOM is a multinational corporation with offices in 100 countries. Their 2008 Annual Report proudly announces that AECOM �helped Iraq join the World Trade Organization� and �helped bring Central Asia back into the world economy.� They provide mercenary soldiers in �conflict� areas and build infrastructure projects, much like Halliburton and KBR. Their contracts are largely taxpayer funded. AECOM�s annual report states that it is well positioned to receive lucrative government contracts: �In response to the financial crisis, governments around the world are considering stimulus packages valued at more than $1 to $2 trillion.� Impending climate change mitigation regulations will be forcing states to �deliver new transportation systems, facilities, buildings and utility networks, a $5+ trillion a year industry.�

Will this taxpayer money be well spent by AECOM? Bloomberg reported that �a new Defense Department audit said AECOM billed the US Army $19 dollars apiece for 12-cent washers on one of the largest contracts in Iraq for training Iraqi security forces on depot maintenance. The Army paid $19,527 for $122 worth of washers.�

An extensive list of architecture and engineering firms have been swallowed up by AECOM�s �targeted acquisition� strategy to buy out the green competition and monopolize what they describe as a guaranteed �contract pipeline� from the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense, as well as federal stimulus funds and state taxpayer bonds. They are also working with FEMA �in their quest to create integrated water systems. Worldwide, we are actively involved in the supply, treatment, distribution and collection of water.� Their proposal states that Ventura was selected, among other reasons, for its potential to deliver energy from the ocean and hillsides.


Using Ventura as a case study, in tandem with a town in China, the Bren/Aecom project aims to standardize a software matrix that will quantify GHG emissions and the �political and economic feasibility� of reduction strategies. This protocol will also be used to quantify an entity�s standing in the emerging cap and trade carbon exchange market. �Emissions sources may not be well understood by those who are subject to GHG regulations or wish to participate in carbon trading markets.�

The cap and trade market will operate through the Chicago Climate Exchange, set up by Goldman Sachs and Al Gore�s company, Generation Investment Management, which is also staffed by Goldman Sachs executives. GIM and Goldman Sachs each have a 10 percent stake in the Chicago Climate Exchange which in turn has a 50 percent stake in the European Climate Exchange. Trading carbon credits is projected to become the new multi-trillion dollar commodity bubble.

Everyone -- businesses, towns, universities, farmers -- will be required to buy GHG permits -- a global tax on energy use. Those who exceed the �cap� on GHG emissions will pay a fine or �offset� their pollution by buying carbon �credits� from entities that don�t exceed the cap. Al Gore is an example of how this cap and trade casino will work. His Nashville mansion consumes more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year, about $1,359, or more than 20 times the national average. Rather than reduce his personal carbon footprint, Gore �offsets� his mansion�s GHG emissions by purchasing credits on the CCX in which he owns a 10 percent stake.

If mortgage-backed securities appeared to be the ultimate Ponzi scheme, just ponder the scale of this gambling casino when everything on earth is entered into the global GHG database and converted to carbon default swaps, carbon-backed securities and collateralized GHG obligations. As global energy rationing requires incremental GHG reductions, credits will become increasingly scarce and therefore more lucrative. Those who can afford to keep playing the game will be the ultimate winners. The primary derivatives traders that recently paralyzed the credit markets and collapsed the global banking system have already positioned themselves on the Chicago Climate Exchange to cash in on the carbon commodity bubble -- Bank of America, Citigroup, the Rockefeller cartel and, of course, Goldman Sachs.

The major corporate polluters and destroyers of ecosystems have bought up the patents and technologies invented by green entrepreneurs and purchased the competition through acquisitions and mergers in order to corner the market in climate change mitigation -- an industry projected to exceed $5 trillion, not counting the cap and trade casino. As global unemployment rises in this �jobless recovery,� taxpayer-funded state bonds and federal contracts will be awarded to corporate contractors to capture and reroute water, reconfigure energy grids and transform land use to comply with GHG regulations.

At the residential level, homeowners will be subject to federal code enforcement policies that supersede state and local codes; workers will be required to reduce their vehicle miles traveled and cities will be required by law to reduce their overall energy consumption, potentially supplying water and electricity to far away towns through interconnected energy grids too big to fail. At the global level, nations will be required to alter their agriculture, domestic industries, imports and exports to comply with global GHG rationing, essentially surrendering political control of food, water and energy to external global authorities.

All of this social engineering is grounded in the premise that GHG emissions are a global threat that warrants supranational regulations. Some scientists attribute global warming to solar activity, some to cyclical electromagnetic polar shifts and others cite data demonstrating that the oceans and atmosphere have recently been cooling. Regardless of which theories are correct, the political exploitation of the GHG paradigm has shifted the responsibility for environmental destruction (for which we have hard evidence) from major corporate polluters to society at large, placing the cost of remediation on victims and innocent bystanders.

There are good reasons to live sustainably, regardless of climate change theories. The violent extraction of �natural resources� by profit-seeking corporations has destroyed or poisoned virtually all of the earth�s living systems, impoverished the global south and driven whole species into extinction. What matters is that we repair the damage, reforest the earth and decontaminate the air, soil and water.

To keep things in perspective, switching to fluorescent light bulbs will accomplish far less than prohibiting coal mining corporations from blowing up mountain tops in Appalachia and burying the surrounding areas in toxic sludge; or reigning in Pentagon GHG emissions from chemtrails, star wars missiles and predator drones, not to mention the huge volumes of energy squandered every time the Pentagon invades and destroys a country. How much oil does the US military burn up and what is the net damage to the atmosphere? What is the federal strategy for reversing depleted uranium contamination?

What regulations are being proposed to hold the World Bank accountable for massive water dislocations and environmental destruction? Why is Monsanto allowed to contaminate our food supply with GMOs and mutate the earth�s natural seeds on every continent? Corporate agribusiness, a life-threatening polluter, received total exemption from all GHG regulations in the Waxman-Markey climate change bill, demonstrating that financial interests trump social responsibility.

Has the federal government lifted its ban on California�s fuel efficiency standards or demanded that General Motors put its electric car back into production with the 25 billion dollars it just received from taxpayers? That would be more effective than allowing GM, one of the leading polluters, to crank out SUVs and hire The Nature Conservancy�s Green Police to protect their carbon credits by driving indigenous Brazilians off their ancestral lands. The natives who live there sustainably are being arrested, evicted and forced into starvation by GM, Chevron and American Electric Power -- corporations that own neither the Brazilian forest nor the land. They �own� the carbon credits the trees represent. In the US, private ownership of imaginary carbon credits in national and state parks will result in park closures to protect carbon �trades� while doing nothing to repair the damage caused by corporate clear-cutters and so-called �developers.� Genuine remediation policies would require polluters and developers to plant new forests using their own profits.

If environmental destruction by the most glaring offenders is not the primary target of remediation, the stated goal of this GHG dragnet is disingenuous. Corporate destruction of the planet will not be repaired by trading imaginary carbon credits, depriving indigenous populations of access to food, privatization of energy grids or by imposing global energy restrictions and taxes on the financial underclass. Taxpayer-financed federal stimulus funds and state bonds would be better spent on localizing sustainable agriculture, reforestation, repairing ecosystems, securing clean water for all the earth�s species and developing free energy.

It�s not too late to insist on appropriate remedies -- until the Senate approves the final climate change bill. Your representative needs to hear from you now.

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor