Resources: Article

Results 1 - @to of 143
Nicholas Hildyard and Larry Lohmann

31 March 2013

Too often, discussions about energy alternatives resemble a visit to a 1950s world's fair exhibition displaying exhibits of the wonderful technology of the future. Most of the politics and material realities associated with the various contraptions and conveniences on show, or with the energy they use and transform, are simply missing, as are the strategies of popular movements that might be considering and agitating for different futures.

Shadow Bankers in London
Nicholas Hildyard

1 October 2012

In June 2010, the London Mining Network and The Corner House organized a "Hedge Fund Tour" through London's tony Mayfair district, home of many of the private financial institutions at the heart of the wave of dispossessions that followed in the wake of the 2008 crisis. 

The Case of Climate
Larry Lohmann

15 September 2012

All processes of commodification are different, depending on what is being commodified, how it is commodified, the degree to which it is commodified, the resistances of the material and of the people affected and so on. For this reason, attempts to commodify some things may make headway, while attempts to commodify others fall down immediately. This draft chapter for the forthcoming book Nature™ Inc: The New Frontiers of Environmental Conservation (edited by Robert Fletcher, Wolfram Dressler and Bram Büscher) proposes an analytical tool that can help explain why neoliberal efforts to commodify climate benefit are failing so disastrously. A drastically abridged version has been published by the online magazine Mute at http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/performative-equations-and-ne....

Strategic Reflections on Climate Change and the "Green Economy"
Larry Lohmann

2 September 2012

This discussion paper sets out some lessons for political strategy suggested by the experience of climate change campaigning over the past 15 years. It outlines the dangers faced by advocacy NGOs of becoming "patzers" (blunderers) and clients of more sophisticated political actors. Comments on this work in progress, a shorter version of which was published in Development Dialogue No. 61 (September 2012), are welcome.

A Review and a Debate
Larry Lohmann

1 September 2012

This essay, published in the March 2011 issue of the journal Development and Change, reviews five recent books, four of them on climate change and one addressing what’s needed to spark the transition away from dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. Included is a September 2012 reply by the authors of one of the books reviewed, Matthew Paterson and Peter Newell, and Larry Lohmann's rejoinder.

20 Iconoclastic Theses
Larry Lohmann

19 August 2012

The "rights of nature" debate is becoming increasingly important both in the Andean context and in the wider global political debate. This set of brief notes suggests ways of approaching the issue that may help connect it to the ongoing debate between commoners and neoclassical economists, as well as help avoid the exoticization of the Andean concept of pachamama.

Larry Lohmann and Dinar Rani Setiawan

15 April 2012

This short article from the World Rainforest Movement Bulletin describes how villagers from a South Central Timorese community have attempted to defend local forest land from a variety of threats (English, Spanish, French and Portuguese versions).

Larry Lohmann

1 March 2012

Building more effective climate movements is, in part, a continuous process of interpretation and reinterpretation. This chapter from a forthcoming academic volume argues that climate activists can benefit from putting the current fashion for carbon trading into the context of the other market environmentalisms with which it has evolved; from exploring the insights of actor-network theory about the genesis and limitations of commodity-ready environmental objects; and from seeing carbon trading and other current defences of fossil fuel use in the context of accumulation cycles.

Larry Lohmann

28 October 2011

This article explains how today's carbon markets construct a tradable product by postulating a series of false equations – between reducing carbon dioxide and tackling fossil fuel dependence, between different greenhouse gases, between different places and times, between hypothetical and real emissions reductions, between biotic carbon and fossil carbon, and so forth. Competition to exploit cascades of ever more fanciful equations to increase profits ensures that the carbon markets become ever more damaging to the cause of combating global warming.


Un álgebra interminable: las contradicciones de los mercados climáticos

Los mercados de carbono, que constituyen el enfoque principal de los gobiernos del mundo frente a la crisis climática, construyen un producto comercializable postulando una serie de ecuaciones falsas. Estos mercados equiparan la reducción de dióxido de carbono con la lucha contra la dependencia de combustibles fósiles; equiparan los distintos gases de efecto invernadero, así como lugares y tiempos diferentes. Estos mercados dicen que las emisiones hipotéticas y reales son las mismas y que el carbono biótico y el carbono fósil también son los mismos. Estas ecuaciones tienen la función de proteger o incrementar los beneficios empresariales, y los intereses capitalistas están siempre dispuestos a inventar más ecuaciones. El resultado es que los mercados de carbono son cada vez más perjudiciales para la lucha contra el calentamiento global.

Genetic Promises and Speculative Finance
Sarah Sexton

19 October 2011

This book chapter explores some of the parallels, connections and disjunctures between the promised genetic revolution in medicine and health, and the crash of financial capital in 2008, aiming to illuminate several known insights for pursuing public health futures and finances that are often kept in the dark or conveniently forgotten.

The Contradictions of Neoliberal Climate Policy
Larry Lohmann

1 October 2011

The carbon markets that constitute the default international approach to the climate crisis, argues this article in the latest Socialist Register, aim both at opening up new frontiers for profit-making and at securing the background conditions for accumulation that are currently threatened by calls for greenhouse gas emission cuts. But they are afflicted by valuation paradoxes that are far more intractable than those affecting markets in other commodities such as food, energy, consumer durables, or even complex financial derivatives. The article is supplemented with a short interview with New Left Project's Ed Lewis.

Talking Climate in Public Space (Vol 3, Issue 1)
NESPON, NFFPFW and Nagarik Mancha

1 September 2011

This issue of the Indian magazine, Mausam, devoted to climate justice has articles on adaptation, the Climate Development Mechanism (CDM) and REDD projects.

Larry Lohmann

6 June 2011

The growing trend toward constructing environmental service markets is a response not just to ecological crisis but also to business crisis – in particular the prolonged profitability crisis that set in during the 1970s.

Larry Lohmann

25 November 2010

An article published in Mexican newspaper La Jornada on the eve of the UN climate summit in Cancun (English and Spanish).


Hoy, México, como muchos países del sur, tiene un nuevo producto de exportación: los derechos de contaminación. Este mercado es uno de los legados del neoliberalismo y del hábito de los países del norte de descargar sus problemas sobre el sur global.

Pambazuka News

7 October 2010

The electronic Pambazuka News, which disseminates analysis and debate on the struggle for freedom and justice through the voices of the peoples of Africa and the global South, published a special issue on "New technologies and the threat to sovereignty in Africa", including articles on plantation projects that come under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the UN’s Kyoto protocol.

Larry Lohmann

25 September 2010

This book chapter explores the interacting origins, development and politics of the “strange markets” in finance and climate developed in recent years and exposes the similar dangers they pose.


Los “mercados extraños” y la crisis climática

Este capítulo del libro explora los orígenes, el desarrollo y la política de los “mercados extraños” que han aparecido en las décadas recientes en el sector financiero y en la política climática internacional, y expone los peligros que presentan.

Responses to Food Speculation
Nicholas Hildyard

20 September 2010

 Some 154 million people were reportedly driven further into poverty in Southern countries as a result of speculation-induced food price hikes in 2007-08. What are the best strategies for bringing about the structural change needed that progressive activists can lend their support to?

This workshop presentation, while endorsing regulatory measures including banning certain investment vehicles such as exchange-traded funds and vetting of derivative-based financial instruments, cautions against becoming focussed on regulation alone as an answer. Also crucial is the promotion of non-derivative, socially-based mechanisms to protect farmers and consumers from volatile food prices, as well as price interventions that do not pit Northern farmers against their Southern counterparts.

Variations on Polanyian Themes
Larry Lohmann

16 July 2010

One lesson the financial crisis teaches us is: beware of the new carbon markets that constitute today's main official response to climate change. These markets are startlingly similar to the financial derivatives markets that have thrown banking systems into a tailspin. (German version also available.)


Mercados de incertidumbres y mercados de carbono: variaciones en temas de Polanyi

Una de las lecciones que la crisis financiera nos enseña es a tener cuidado con los nuevos mercados de carbono que constituyen hoy la principal respuesta oficial al cambio climático. Este artículo de la revista New Political Economy argumenta que estos mercados son sorprendentemente similares a los mercados de derivados financieros que arrojaron a los sistemas bancarios al caos en 2008.

Some reflections
The Corner House

5 December 2009

Overpopulation arguments in climate debates serve to delay making structural changes in North and South away from the extraction and use of fossil fuels; to justify increased and multiple interventions in the countries deemed to hold surplus people; and to excuse those interventions when they cause further environmental degradation, migration or conflict. Population numbers, in sum, offer no useful pointers toward policies that should be adopted to tackle climate change.

The Policy Reality
Larry Lohmann and Sarah Sexton

5 December 2009

This short contribution to a Forum discussion on climate change in the journal Global Social Policy outlines how and why the climate solution requires turning away from fossil fuel dependence and how the main official approach to the climate crisis worldwide -- building a single, liquid global carbon market worth trillions of dollars -- is likely to make climate change worse, not only exacerbating its social impacts but also generating negative impacts of its own.

Larry Lohmann

1 November 2009

These days, being a climate activist can easily get you arrested -- or worse. But the bigger danger -- especially for activists in industrialized countries -- may be that of being seduced into expending all your energies promoting "solutions" that turn out to be bogus.

The Rise of Carbon Trading
Larry Lohmann

22 July 2009

Carbon permit prices flashing on electronic screens in Wall Street trading rooms reflect a complex political movement to reorganize and redistribute power and knowledge. The carbon markets associated with the Kyoto Protocol, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the US's Waxman-Markey Act constitute perhaps the last great class project of a waning neoliberal regime – the ill-fated attempt to privatize the climate itself.


El neoliberalismo y el mundo calculable: El ascenso del comercio de carbono

Los precios de los derechos de emisión de dióxido de carbono que aparecen en las pantallas de las computadoras de Wall Street reflejan un movimiento político complejo para reorganizar y redistribuir el poder y el conocimiento. Los mercados de carbono del Protocolo de Kioto y el Esquema del Comercio de Emisiones de la Unión Europea son uno de los últimos grandes proyectos del neoliberalismo – un intento malhadado de privatizar el clima. Este capítulo del libro, "El neoliberalismo y el mundo calculable: El ascenso del comercio de carbono", describe las contradicciones del intento de formar una mercancía con el clima.

Larry Lohmann

22 July 2009

Proposals for Green New Deals aimed at tackling both global warming and global recession are streaming forth worldwide. Unfortunately, many give short shrift to the need to phase out both fossil fuels and fossil fuel substitutes. Many also rely on obsolete conceptions of technology transfer. Future climate movements will have to focus increasingly on the democratization of research, planning and finance.

Larry Lohmann

21 July 2009

Can the financial derivatives markets be regulated? Can the carbon markets be regulated? The questions are parallel. Both markets try to commodify new things: in the case of the financial markets an unprecedented range of uncertainties; in the carbon markets, the earth's carbon-cycling capacity. Regulation tends to assume that any problems with either market can be handled by "internalizing externalities"; this approach will fail. A more practical approach to these markets' problems looks to decommodification. Both approaches, however, have attracted supporters from across the political spectrum.


La imposibilidad de regular los mercados derivados financieros y de carbono

¿Es posible regular los mercados derivados financieros? ¿Es posible regular los mercados de carbono? Estas preguntas son parecidas. Ambos mercados tratan de comercializar nuevas cosas. Los nuevos mercados financieros tratan de comercializar una serie de incertidumbres sin precendentes; los mercados de carbono tratan de comercializar la capacidad del mundo natural para absorber dióxido de carbono. Muchos funcionarios gubernamentales y académicos asumen que cualquier problema de estos mercados puede ser manejado con "internalizar externalidades". Esto no es cierto. Un enfoque más práctico a los problemas de estos mercados es la desmercantilización.

Cowboys and Choirboys United
Larry Lohmann

8 June 2009

Not all markets can be regulated effectively. Two examples are the markets for advanced credit derivatives – largely responsible for the current economic crisis -- and the growing carbon markets that are claimed to be capable of addressing global warming and that are the particular subject of this draft chapter. The attempt to regulate such markets does little more than create an illusion of governance where none actually exists. That only allows the dangers to grow larger.


Cuando la regulación se convierte en corrupción: El caso de los mercados de compensación de carbono

No todos los mercados se pueden regular con eficacia. Un ejemplo son los mercados de derivados de crédito que son una de las causas de la crisis financiera. Otro ejemplo son los mercados de carbono que constituyen la "solución" al calentamiento global, favorecida por la mayoría de los gobiernos del mundo. El intento de regular estos mercados no hace más que crear una ilusión de una gobernabilidad que en realidad no existe. Esta ilusión sólo permite que los peligros crezcan más.

Lessons for Regulation
Nicholas Hildyard

28 May 2009

A talk at a Cardiff Business School conference on the insights from political organising that can help not only understand what caused the financial crisis but also develop ways forward that could ensure it is not repeated and that finance serves a public purpose.

Nicholas Hildyard

13 April 2009

The UK Government is using emergency powers to amend the Export and Investment Guarantees Act 1991 governing the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD), so that exporting companies can apply for insurance after they have started constructing their overseas projects (such as oil and gas pipelines, hydroelectric dams and power plants). The amendments would enable companies to circumvent the Department's human rights, environment and sustainable development safeguards.

A Short Debate
The Corner House

2 April 2009

Merrill Lynch is a major Wall Street investor in carbon pollution permits. Here its Global Head of Carbon Markets debates The Corner House on whether carbon markets are effective.

Why major reform is vital
The Corner House

18 March 2009

On 12-13 March 2009, development, environment and human rights groups from Belgium, France, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland and the UK, and local residents of the island of Jersey organised a seminar to discuss the necessity for tax haven reform and to exchange views on how governments and civil society can work towards achieving a "just transition" for tax havens that would not impact on poorer residents.

A training for government officials and civil servants in Iraq

16 December 2008

The Corner House and others carried out a training session to assist Iraqi government officials and civil servants in understanding the principles of human rights and Iraq's international obligations in relation to investment agreements.

A Critical Look at Recent EU Climate Claims
Larry Lohmann

2 December 2008

The European Union claims that it is "on track" to meet its modest Kyoto Protocol emissions targets. It is not. Much more importantly, it is not "on track" to wean itself off fossil fuels -- which is the real point of climate change mitigation efforts.

Environmental, Social and Governance Issues in the Context of the Financial Crisis
Stephanie Fried

1 November 2008

Environmentally- and socially-destructive development projects are increasingly being funded by hedge funds, private equity and sovereign wealth funds (instead of by public or private banks) that are not subject to transparency, governance or reporting requirements. Public financial institutions are also investing in these alternative vehicles, which are often based in offshore tax havens. Basic information about these vehicles is not routinely made public. But in the midst of the financial crisis, the Asian Development Bank is pushing for even less transparency for such risky investments. Regulatory authorities should instead focus on much stronger transparency and accountability requirements and address the use by public financial institutions of "secrecy jurisdictions".

Insights from 'the BAE case'
Sarah Sexton and Nicholas Hildyard

1 November 2008

This presentation at the 13th International Anti-Corruption Conference highlights the contrast between the UK government's stated commitments to tackling bribery and corruption and its actions in practice. Far from having a "lack of political will", it is argued that the government has immense political will to protect powerful companies from prosecution for bribery, and has thereby created a hostile political environment for fraud investigators and prosecutors.

REDD with Carbon Trading
Larry Lohmann

30 September 2008

Many new schemes are afoot to allow the North to pay the South for conserving its forests in return for permission to continue using fossil fuels. But how would a market in pollution rights generated by Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) play out in reality?

Connections with Financial and Foreign Policy
Sarah Sexton

24 September 2008

This presentation raises some concerns about the term "energy security". presentation at PLATFORM's "Unravelling the Carbon Web".

Six Soundbites
Larry Lohmann

20 August 2008

Will current plans to expand carbon trading in the US and elsewhere work? No. Carbon trading is aimed at the wrong objective, squanders resources on the wrong things, requires knowledge and institutions that do not exist, is antidemocratic, interferes with positive solutions, and puts ideology above experience.

Ten Examples
Larry Lohmann

18 August 2008

Carbon trading programmes such as the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme and the Kyoto Protocol have helped mobilize neoclassical economics and development planning in new projects of dispossession, speculation, rent-seeking and the redistribution of wealth from poor to rich and from the future to the present. Part of this process is the creation of ignorance, argues this article published in the journal Development. (French version also available.)


El comercio de carbono, justicia climática y la producción de ignorancia: 10 ejemplos

El Protocolo de Kioto y el Esquema del Comercio de Emisiones de la Unión Europea han ayudado a movilizar a la economía neoclásica y a la planificación del desarrollo para crear nuevos proyectos de desposesión, especulación, búsqueda de rentas y redistribución de la riqueza de pobres a ricos y del futuro al presente. Una parte de este proceso es la creación de ignorancia.

Arlen Dilsizian interviews Larry Lohmann
Arlen Dilsizian with Larry Lohmann

10 July 2008

Climate change is not a new kind of social issue. It requires a re-examination of classic issues of power relations.

Larry Lohmann

9 July 2008

It's sometimes said that governments are failing to address climate change because they aren't taking the warnings of natural scientists seriously enough. In fact, as this draft chapter suggests, the failures may have more to do with lack of social science understanding -- in particular, with lack of appreciation of how the type of social change required actually takes place.

Sarah Sexton

18 June 2008

The Woolf Report entitled Ethical business conduct in BAE Systems plc -- the way forward was published on 6 May 2008. This presentation explores how BAE has used the report from a critical public relations perspective. 

A Decade of Resistance in Southern Thailand
Larry Lohmann

30 May 2008

Slowing and halting new fossil fuel developments has moved to the top of the global climate change agenda. But what are the obstacles to, and resources for, such a project? The 10-year struggle against a gas development project in one corner of Southeast Asia, described in this forthcoming article for the journal Race & Class, offers lessons in some of the complexities.

Larry Lohmann

3 May 2008

More and more commentators are now recognizing that carbon markets are failing to address the climate crisis. But more discussion is needed of why this is so, and how the way might be cleared for more effective approaches.

The case of Merowe Dam
Nicholas Hildyard

30 April 2008

The Merowe/Hamadab Dam on the River Nile in Sudan, which was completed in 2009, is the largest hydroproject in Africa. The major contracts were awarded to three European companies: Lahmeyer International, Alstom and ABB. Implementation to date has been characterised by human rights abuses, forced resettlement, illegality and a failure to abide by international standards. The companies consistently failed to use their influence to halt the dam's implementation until issues surrounding its impacts were resolved.

the judgement on Corner House and CAAT v. Director of the Serious Fraud Office and BAE Systems PLC
Dr Susan Hawley

10 April 2008

On 10 April 2008, Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Sullivan ruled that the decision of the Director of the Serious Fraud Office to drop an investigation into alleged bribes by BAE Systems in Saudi Arabia was unlawful. This is a summary and analysis of that judgment prepared by The Corner House.

Kevin Smith

3 April 2008

Widely-publicized frauds in the carbon "offset" market have led to governmental and corporate proposals to apply standards. But no one has any standards that are working. And the more onerous any attempted regulation becomes, the more the market comes to be dominated by big corporate polluters with the money to work the system.

The Cases of Carbon and Cost-Benefit
Larry Lohmann

1 April 2008

Al Gore and many other mainstream environmentalists suggest that calculating and internalizing 'externalities' is the solution to environmental problems. Some critics counter that the spread of market-like calculations into 'nonmarket' spheres is itself a cause of environmental problems. In the course of a study of two real-world examples, carbon accounting and cost-benefit analysis, this article (published in the journal Accounting, Organizations and Society) proposes a possible way of getting beyond this stalled debate.


Hacia un debate diferente en la contabilidad ambiental: Los casos de la contabilidad de carbono y el análisis costo-beneficio

Al Gore y muchos otros ambientalistas de la corriente dominante afirman que la solución a los problemas ambientales es calcular e interiorizar las “externalidades”. Algunos críticos no están de acuerdo y dicen que la causa de los problemas ambientales es precisamente la expansión de la contabilidad mercantil hacia las esferas “ajenas al mercado”. Este articulo (de la revista Accounting, Organizations and Society) propone, a través de dos estudios de caso – los mercados de carbono y el análisis de costo-beneficio –, una salida de este debate improductivo.

"Pay-to-Pollute" Principle Kills South African Activist Sajida Khan
Patrick Bond

30 December 2007

The death of Durban environmentalist Sajida Khan calls attention to the life-and-death consequences of the climate justice struggle. If South Africans are to be at the cutting edge of progressive climate activism, not partners in the privatization of the atmosphere, three citizens' networks -- environmentalists, community groups, and trade unions -- must join forces to identify the contradictions within both South African and global energy sector policies and practices and help synthesize modes of resistance.

Capitalist Patriarchy, Global Warming Gimmickry and our Responsibility for Rubbish
Patrick Bond and Rehana Dada

30 October 2007

Sajida Khan, an environmental activist based in Durban, South Africa, who died in July 2007, dedicated her life to fighting international corporations and local municipalities over the pollution and environmental degradation of her community. An interview with Khan about her views on environmental justice and possible ways forward to create healthier livelihoods is included.

CAAT and The Corner House with Mark Thomas

23 September 2007

On 23 September 2007, activist comedian Mark Thomas organised a comedy benefit night of Britain's top comedians to raise public awareness of the UK's Serious Fraud Office decision to drop its investigation into bribery allegations involving BAE Systems in Saudi Arabia and to support the legal challenge to this decision. This "secret file" programme was given to all those who attended.

Kevin Smith

19 September 2007

Carbon trading, its backers claim, reduces emissions and brings sustainable development in the global South. But in fact it may do neither, and is harming efforts to create a low-carbon economy. (A Chinese version is appended to the English version.)

An Article for Red Pepper
Larry Lohmann

2 August 2007

The European Union, the US and big business are vying with each other to be recognized as taking serious action on climate change. But some of the most important leaders on climate change are groups fighting fossil fuel projects at the grassroots in places such as southern Thailand.

An Article for 1400 Sahitya
Larry Lohmann

30 July 2007

Under pressure to "tame" the threat of climate change to make it seem compatible with business as usual, many scientists have joined policymakers, economists and journalists in treating ignorance and uncertainty about climate as calculable "probabilities". Carbon traders, too, are forced to treat unknowns (and unknowables) as if they were calculable.

Nicholas Hildyard

30 May 2007

This article summarises the main issues arising from the BTC oil pipeline runing from Baku in Azerbaijan, through Tbilisi in Georgia to a new marine terminal at Ceyhan on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast that has been developed by a consortium of companies led by the British oil multinational BP. These include the project agreements between the consortium and the three countries; safety concerns; and concerns over due diligence and monitoring.

An Article from Environmental Finance magazine
Christopher Cundy

30 May 2007

For carbon trading advocates, the onward march of "cap and trade" schemes seems unstoppable. But a growing chorus of critics believes otherwise.

Kevin Smith

13 May 2007

When will it be publicly admitted that the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme is not working?,p>

An Article for Development Today
Soumitra Ghosh

3 May 2007

The Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism is claimed to "promote sustainable development" in the South at the same time it gives Northern industries licenses to continue polluting. But the skepticism with which countries with colonial pasts have always viewed such "aid" is also warranted here.

Larry Lohmann

30 March 2007

This interview with a Brazilian science magazine touches on the nature of technical fixes for global warming, the US role in formulating the Kyoto Protocol, and how carbon trading is wasting time that could be better spent on other approaches to climate change. (A Portuguese version is appended to the English one.)

An Article for Climate Change Corp
Larry Lohmann

27 February 2007

Corporations seeking a good image in an era of climate change will steer clear of "carbon offset" projects, which are mostly propping up polluting and oppressive industries in the South. Instead, they will push for structural, long-term social changes that can help keep coal, oil and gas in the ground.

Simon Clark and Stephen Voss

1 February 2007

This Bloomberg Markets article describes the allegations by BP consultant Derek Mortimore that the engineering company contracted to monitor the BTC oil pipeline has no experience in pipeline corrosion work.

Comment and analysis in New Scientist
Larry Lohmann

2 December 2006

Far from being a solution to global warming, carbon trading is little more than licence for big polluters to carry on business as usual, says Larry Lohmann in this 'Comment and analysis' article in New Scientist magazine.

Interview with Red Pepper
Larry Lohmann

6 November 2006

The debate over how serious global warming is hides a more important conflict over who is to own the earth's ability to regulate its climate. From this perspective, George Bush and supporters of the Kyoto Protocol are on the same side. Both are working to entrench the rights and privileges of big polluters.

How Rich Country Export Credit Agencies Facilitate Corruption in the Global South
The Corner House

1 May 2006

The Corner House interviewed by the US magazine, Multinational Monitor, on export credit agencies and corruption.

Its comments and recommendations on public procurement and bribery of foreign officials
Susan Hawley

28 February 2006

The OECD Working Group on Bribery's reviews of how countries are implementing the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention are an invaluable source of information about practice in different countries in combating bribery. This paper pulls together all the Group's comments and recommendations about public procurement, and summarises the procedures countries have developed to exclude companies convicted of bribery from public procurement.

Can we save the planet?
Brian Tokar

15 February 2006

An accessible article from "Z Magazine" describing the key issues of global climate change discussed at last year's climate negotiations in Montreal.

Investment Agreements and Corporate Colonialism
Nicholas Hildyard and Greg Muttit

11 February 2006

Many corporations now rely on bilateral and regional treaties to get what they want in other countries. Some companies are using Host Government Agreements to set up a specific legal framework giving them effective control over national legislation and regulations affecting their activities. Oil and gas companies are using Production Sharing Agreements to gain almost complete control over natural resources in the countries of the former Soviet Union and West Africa and in Iraq.

Time for a Change
Larry Lohmann

9 January 2006

Carbon markets are not helping to phase out fossil fuels and are thus not helping to tackle global warming, this article for Foreign Policy in Focus argues.

Litigation and Standards
Nicholas Hildyard

3 December 2005

International finance institutions promise that the projects they back will comply with international environmental and social standards -- but these standards are frequently flouted. NGOs can document such violations so as to bring concerns to decision-makers, the wider public and the courts.

Susan Hawley

25 November 2005

Northern institutions have a significant impact on corruption in developing countries, particularly in the form of bribery by Northern companies and money laundering by Northern banks of the proceeds of corruption. Northern states have been directly and indirectly complicit in these activities, primarily by turning a blind eye and failing to take action. If corruption is be tackled internationally, the Northern state itself needs to be redesigned.

Larry Lohmann

2 November 2005

This book chapter explores the connections between the dark, often racist, scare stories of Malthusianism over the past 200 years, and the reliance of the stories on a particular economic model about how society must be analysed and organised.

Activism, Expertise, Commons
Larry Lohmann

27 September 2005

Seeing social or technical change as the application of new "theory" to "practice" is one of the hazards of 21st-century middle-class life. Middle-class activists could take a leaf from both expert elites and grassroots movements, who both tend to know better.

Commodification, Calculation and Counterfactuals in Climate Change Mitigation
Larry Lohmann

20 September 2005

The Kyoto Protocol and kindred carbon trading measures have usually been presented as a small but indispensable step forward to mitigate climate change. Are they? Or, as this article for the journal Science as Culture asks, do they amount to a stumble backwards and a block to the emergence of more constructive approaches?

From Women's Eggs to Economics for Women
Sarah Sexton

10 September 2005

It is difficult to obtain enough human eggs from women for cloning research. This article explores the problems encountered; whether women should be paid for their eggs; the growing international trade in women's eggs; the concept of informed consent and choice; and the public money pouring into cloning research.

Reflections on Three Hanging Children
Nicholas Hildyard

6 June 2005

"Scarcity" -- not enough food or water or land and so on -- does not explain what it says it explains. Hunger, for example, is rarely the result of no food at all, but of not enough food in a certain place for certain people because those with more power deny them access to it. This may be conceded, but the claim that there will not be enough food in future because of future population growth still seems plausible. Future resources crises, however, will caused by the same imbalances of power as they are today.

Conflict and the politics of infrastructure development
Nicholas Hildyard

28 May 2005

Infrastructure development is the point at which many conflicts, both past and future, over resources and decision-making meet. Several projects proposed or being implemented in Turkey illustrate these points.

The Political Uses of Population
Sarah Sexton and Nicholas Hildyard

9 May 2005

By analysing who is considered 2too many" as Malthus's theory of population has been put to different uses, the presentation shows that population theory is in practice a political strategy employed to obscure relationships of power between different groups in societies. These relationships are critical to the use of "resources" as they determine how people are managed and in whose interests.

The Greening of Intolerance
Sarah Sexton, Nicholas Hildyard and Larry Lohmann

7 April 2005

Far-right groups in Britain are increasingly using environmental and social justice concerns to argue against immigration. This is part of a clear political strategy to make racist ideas and goals seem more respectable. Whether they like it or not, environmentalists are therefore being increasingly drawn into debates on immigration, refugees and asylum seekers. To counter this strategy, environmental groups need to link with those who have to deal with racism every day as a matter of strategy, process and structure.

How to Respond to a Proposed New Export Market?
Larry Lohmann

29 January 2005

The new export market in biological carbon-cycling capacity is likely to have effects similar to export markets in soya, paper pulp, petroleum, timber, palm oil, maize, bananas, coffee or tourism. What are the best ways of encouraging discussion among affected communities about this new form of globalisation? asks this article for the World Rainforest Movement Bulletin.

Michael Gillard

24 November 2004

In February 2004, the Sunday Times newspaper published an article by Michael Gillard, detailing reports that the coating selected to seal the joints of the BTC oil pipeline before it was buried was "utterly inappropriate" and could cause the pipeline to leak. This expanded article provides more detail.

Towards a model for excellence: A discussion paper
Dr Susan Hawley

24 June 2004

Enforcement of overseas corruption offences involving British companies and individuals under the UK's anti-corruption legislation is crucial to tackling corruption internationally. The current arrangements in the UK between various law enforcement agencies are not the most effective means of ensuring that these offences are investigated and prosecuted. A more pro-active enforcement regime could detect overseas corruption offences as and when they occur and could act on credible suspicions of bribery.

Sarah Sexton

11 May 2003

The World Trade Organisation's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) could have a significant effect on human health, and health care services.

Sarah Sexton

30 July 2002

The great majority of the world's diseases are caused by environmental, not genetic, conditions. A frenzied search for genetic therapies could steal resources from billions in order to serve only a few.

(Or, rather: What went Right? For Whom?)
Nicholas Hildyard

10 July 2002

In July 2000, 19 corporations and individuals were being prosecuted in the Lesotho courts for bribing a top official in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (a scheme intended to divert water from Lesotho to South Africa). This presentation explores the daily institutional practices that actively encourage the flouting of guidelines and anti-corruption regulations. It sheds light on the institutionalised racism that assumes the Third World to be inherently corrupt and corruptible, a view that underwrites bribery.

Public Health or Private Wealth?
Sarah Sexton

6 June 2002

Economics and financial gain, rather than improved health, is the underlying rationale for public and private support of human genetic research and technologies.

Kerim Yildiz, Kurdish Human Rights Project, and Nicholas Hildyard, The Corner House

23 May 2002

Since October 2000, the UK Export Credits Guarantees Department (ECGD) has been bound by the UK Human Rights Act. But many of the ECGD's procedures potentially conflict with this Act.

Recommendations from Friends of the Earth to the ECGD
Kate Hampton, Friends of the Earth

23 May 2002

In 2001, governments agreed that export credit agencies should support the transfer of climate-friendly technologies. Urgent institutional reform is needed if Britain is to fulfil its commitment, argues this presentation at an NGO Seminar on Export Credit Reform held in the House of Commons, London.

Global Witness

23 May 2002

Publicly-traded companies involved in resource exploitation should be required to publish a breakdown of all payments which they make for the products of every country in which they operate.

Romilly Greenhill and Ann Petifor, Jubilee Research

23 May 2002

Export Credit Agencies have created unsustainable debt in developing countries. Despite reforms, arms sales and other ECA-backed deals continue build up debt without contributing to development.

Ann Feltham, Campaign Against Arms Trade

23 May 2002

Arms sales currently take up a disproportionate amount of official export credit support. The Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) and other Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) should end support for military goods.

Barry Coates and Daniela Reale, World Development Movement

23 May 2002

The UK government's Export Credits Guarantees Department (ECGD) supports British exporters. Using public money to support private businesses is only justified if it has a demonstrable public purpose.

Michael Bartlet, Religious Society of Friends

23 May 2002

The ECGD's support for defence-related exports has lost money every year for the past 12 years. This strongly suggests that arms sales are being deliberately subsidised.

Rob Cartridge, Campaigns Director, War on Want

23 May 2002

Protecting workers' rights is central to alleviating poverty. The UK Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) should require all applicants to have policies for achieving core labour standards.

Neocolonialism and Fraud
Larry Lohmann

2 April 2002

The Kyoto Protocol is not a step forward in the struggle to stabilise climate, but a stumble sideways into spurious science and the privatization of the atmosphere, contends this talk given at the "Resistance is Fertile" gathering in The Hague, The Netherlands

New Tensions and Resolutions over Land
Larry Lohmann

31 January 2002

Multilateral agencies have been promoting the commoditization of land in the Mekong region. How is this project being advanced and resisted?

The Language and Discourse of Human Embryo Cloning
Sarah Sexton

2 December 2001

This analysis of the changing language used in discussions of human embryo cloning was presented at a conference addressing "Techniques of Reproduction: Media, Life, Discourse" at the University of Paderborn, Germany.

International versus National Campaign Issues
Sarah Sexton

26 May 2001

Many of the issues raised by developments in genetic technologies are the same in every country. Is it ethical to experiment on embryos or people who cannot give their consent? Will widespread gene testing of adults lead to discrimination? Does genetic research increase the likelihood of biological weapons being deployed and used? But some issues are not the same because of different cultures, legislation, histories and economies. Genetic developments will play out differently in different countries with consequences for the building of international alliances.

Why did the British Parliament change the law?
Sarah Sexton

10 February 2001

In January 2001, the UK parliament voted to allow research on embryo stem cells. Media reporting suggested this was an easy decision with which the majority of people agreed. Yet other examples suggest unease among the general public and parliamentarians in Britain about several issues involving life and death; sickness and health; and doctors and scientists. In anticipation of such unease and growing public distrust in scientists and government, many discussions and debates about embryo research have been channelled in certain directions so as to ‘engineer consent’ to such research.

A Book Review
Larry Lohmann

15 December 2000

If the choice of whether and when to translate claims to water and land into other idioms shapes and is shaped by power relations, so too is the choice of how to translate them. The charges of “misunderstanding” and “misinterpretation” that ricochet around any conflict of interpretation are negotiating moves, not claims that can be settled once and for all by fixing on a meaning that floats free of the context of discussion and struggle.

Public discourse in the UK
Sarah Sexton

10 December 2000

When Dolly the cloned sheep was announced in early 1997, the government in the UK stated that cloning techniques must never be applied to humans. Yet in August 2000, it recommended that the law be amended to allow the first stages of embryo cloning and related research to go ahead. This article provides a brief resume of some government, institutional and media responses to human cloning, interspersed with reflections on these trends and omissions.

Nicholas Hildyard

20 October 2000

Unless Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) can demonstrate a public purpose, ensured through mandatory sustainable development standards, the subsidies they provide have no legitimacy.

An Ilisu Dam Campaign Briefing on the ‘Ilisu Dam’s Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) -- Achieving International Best Practice’
The Ilisu Dam Campaign and The Corner House

6 September 2000

International groups campaigning against the controversial Ilisu Dam in Turkey obtained a copy of an assessment, commissioned by the export credit agencies considering financial support for the project, of the Turkish Government’s proposed resettlement plan. The assessment highlights serious problems with resettlement and reveals that two to three times more people may be affected than previously estimated -- possibly as many as 70,000 people, mainly ethnic Kurds.