December 22, 2009

Moving steel production from U.K. to India saves the planet

Before Rajendra Pachauri became head of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he was director and then director-general of the Tata Energy Research Institute, later called "The" Energy Research Institute, or TERI, which is essentially a division of the Indian industrial conglomerate the Tata Group. And he still is. TERI now has branches worldwide. In North America, its corporate sponsors include Amoco, two leading U.S. defense contractors, Monsanto, and two world leaders in the international carbon market, according to Christopher Booker and Richard North in the Independent (click the title of this post).

Under the "Clean Development Mechanism" of the Kyoto accord, which will be replaced by an even more lucrative scheme by the Copenhagen agreement, the Tata Group is transfering steel production from a Corus (which it owns) plant in the U.K. to a new one in India, putting 1,700 British workers on the dole and earning itself a potential £1.2 billion in carbon credits. Pachauri has apparently managed to convince people that emitting your carbon in a "developing" country is better than doing it in a "rich" country. And that his countless industry connections are not a conflict of interest but rather a sign of his fervent commitment to fighting climate change. Of course, rich countries have always transfered as much of their dirty business as possible to poorer countries. But they never pretended that it was saving the planet.