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As government officials shadow box at global climate negotiations in Durban, it is increasingly obvious that these people don’t call the shots, but that they are, in fact, held hostage from taking strong climate action by billionaires enriched from fossil fuels.

So, who exactly are these fossil fuel billionaires and how did they get so powerful?

A new report released today by the International Forum on Globalization (IFG), called, “Outing the Oligarchy: Billionaires Who Benefit From the Climate Crisis,” identifies the world’s 50 wealthiest individuals whose investments make them the biggest beneficiaries from climate change and who are, particularly in the case of the United States, financing the influence networks that protect their political and economic power. (Download the complete report here.)

IFG’s report comes as global debates intensify on how best to protect the climate and how to counter the corrupting power of extreme wealth over politics.  By “following the money,” the report draws the links between the two debates and identifies the emerging, ultra-rich tycoons who are deepening the world’s climate crisis.

The world’s richest corporations and capitalists have been branded by the Occupy Wall Street movement as the “one percent,” yet there has been scant attention to the individuals within in the “one percent” who have greatest responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions.  Little information has been publicly available about the identities of the industrialists, investors and ideologues who are most responsible for the decisions over carbon-intensive activities that drive greenhouse gas emissions far past danger levels.

“Outing the Oligarchy” brings this information to light. The task of calculating carbon decision-making footprints is highly complex.  However, IFG’s new study is an initial step in the longer-term effort to better understand the roles played by the planet’s worst carbon culprits and how they fund sophisticated influence networks over almost all aspects of government policymaking, especially energy.

The report is a ‘Who's Who List’ of crony capitalists who have gotten rich by polluting the planet, and now they are plowing their cash back in to prevent any legal protections for the planet and its most vulnerable peoples. Behind each of these billionaires are the stories of countless peoples and places that are being erased from the face of the earth by unregulated greenhouse gas emissions.  These climate destroyers must be pulled out of the shadows so that peoples of the world can understand who is responsible for the world’s predicament and can figure out the solutions.

 “Saving our climate means knowing who is stopping solutions, and the 1 percent have a responsibility to step up and help shift today’s paradigm so that our planet stands a chance," says Bill McKibben.  "This list helps make it clear why science has been ignored and reason thrown to the wind in the face of the greatest crisis we've ever faced.”

Also commenting on the report, IFG board member from India, Dr. Vandana Shiva says “India’s Great Oligarchs are exposed in the IFG report for their get-rich-quick gambles to grab more land and resources, which, in turn, concentrates even more political power in fewer hands in ‘the world’s largest democracy,’” said co-author and

Dr. Jeffrey Winters, in the politics department at Northwestern University, calculates in his 2011 book, Oligarchy, that wealth in the US is twice as concentrated in the hands of the few at the top today as it was during the Roman Empire. Most Americans are shocked to find out that they live in a society that is vastly more unequal than Rome."

View the Kochtopus Prezi

IFG PROGRAMS: Climate, Energy and Global Resource CrisisCOP 17 Durban

IFG is a global research and education center that helps bring grassroots perspectives to international economic and environmental policies.  Based in the Presidio of San Francisco, California, IFG emerged in response to the creation of the World Trade Organization and was instrumental in educating people to turn out for the WTO's 1999 ministerial in Seattle.  Among IFG’s numerous reports is the 2001 title, “Does Globalization Help the Poor?” which examines the impacts of global free trade on poverty.   In addition to its research, education, and monitoring of multilateral trade, investment, finance, environmental, and human rights rule-making, IFG has been intensively engaged in global climate talks since the U.N. climate conference in Bali in 2007.

Over the two weeks of COP17, The Daily Durban provides a resource guide as well as a collaboration of writers and social media teams to provide 24x7 coverage of live events, news, side events, videos and radio shows from the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban, South Africa.

Contributing content for coverage of COP17 @ Kos are Kelly Rigg (GCCA); Franke James (Canadian enviroartist); Janet Redman, (Institute for Policy Studies); Bill McKibben (; Nichole Ghio (Sierra Club); Polly Higggs (environmental attorney and ecocide mock trial author); and Victor Menotti (International Forum on Globalization).

eCOP is also sharing content from the People's Conference C17 and Occupy COP17.

Cartoon credit - Climate Progress


  • Week 2

Monday 12/5 : Bill McKibben : The Most Important News Story of the Day/Millennium
Tuesday 12/6Nicole Ghio: Report from Durban - The Sierra Club at the Climate Change Conference  
Ian Sullivan:Report from Durban: Oxfam on Saturday's March
Victor Menotti (IFG): Outing the Oligarchy: 50 Billionaires Who Profit From Today’s Climate Crisis
Wednesday: OneClimate TV
Thursday: FishOutOfWater
Friday: Wrap

  • Week 1

Sunday 11/27: Kelly Rigg : GCCA. Darwin Comes to Durban: Overcoming "Survival of the Fittest" Mentality at UN Climate Talks
Monday 11/28 Morning (Durban Time): Franke James
eCOP: Why would Canada censor artist, Franke James? See “Banned on the Hill”
Monday 11/28: WarrenS : Drowning Songs, Drying Songs, Dying Songs,
beach-babe-in-fl: Macca's Meatless Monday...Come Together in Durban
Tuesday 11/29: citisven : eCOP: HOT STUFF! From Durban to Rio - Introducing International Ecocity Framework & Standards
Sierra Club International: Durban's Dirty Energy Week
enviro writer : eCOP: Building US Leadership from the Inside
Wednesday 11/30: Janet Redman : Institute for Policy Studies: 1000 Durbans: Occupy the COP!
Thursday 12/1: FishOutofWater : Arctic Enters a New State

Throughout the talks, Daily Kos Eco writers are also re-posting relevant diaries at The Durban Daily.

  • Archived

Earthship Week One
Earthship Intro

Originally posted to The Durban Daily on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 08:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, Earthship Koch, DK GreenRoots, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Progressive Hippie.

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