Carbon Confidential
A California Crime Caper

by Larry Lohmann

first published 30 August 2019

The bestselling Los Angeles crime novelist James Ellroy is known for his entertaining re-imaginings of US history between 1940-1970. His novels reflect his dark vision of what police, politicians, bureaucrats, criminals, movie stars and intellectuals were really thinking and doing behind the scenes, but never appeared in the official record. Ellroy calls it the news that was “unfit to print.”

Today’s world of climate change politics is also full of news “unfit to print.” As anyone with direct experience of it knows, it’s a bottomless cesspit of intellectual corruption, ruthless appropriation, underhand scheming, reflexive racism, venal motives, shameless cheating, unending cynicism, constant lying, criminal brutality and shady international intrigue. Little of this is ever mentioned in news reports, academic papers or scientific conferences.

So what would happen if Ellroy got hold of the subject? Or even just a little piece of it – like the current controversy over carbon offsets in his native state of California? This official submission to a public comment process on California’s proposed Tropical Forest Standard imagines what the results might be.