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The Climate Breakthrough Project, an environmental initiative that’s part of the U.S.-based David and Lucile Packard Foundation, has picked Tzeporah Berman as their 2019 award winner. She will now be receiving $2 million to fund new environmental initiatives.
According to their website, the Climate Breakthrough Project “provide[s] large, multi-year, unrestricted awards to help empower promising leaders with powerful, high-risk, high-reward innovations in the climate space.”
On the website, a headline reads “PROGRESS ISN’T ENOUGH. WE NEED BREAKTHROUGHS.”
Underneath the headline, they say, “We are losing the race to prevent the most catastrophic impacts of global warming,” Efforts to address the crisis simply have not been enough. The planet needs new transformative strategies.
“The Climate Breakthrough Project finds extraordinary strategists and gives them the time, space, and resources to create and implement the boldest strategies they can conceive to mitigate climate change.”
Berman will be one of these “extraordinary strategists” who will be using the money to tackle the oil and gas industry to promote environmental change using her newly acquired foreign monetary backing.
“This summer’s fires in the Amazon and the Arctic are a wake-up call for all of us, and yet even wealthy countries such as my own continue to expand oil and gas production,” Berman said in a statement after receiving the award.
“If your house is on fire, you don’t add more fuel. We need new global strategies to stop the expansion of the oil and gas industry and build a safer future.”
According to a statement from The Climate Breakthrough Project, Berman won the award specifically for her outstanding work on “fossil fuel supply reduction,” or, put simply, blocking oil and gas projects in Canada and beyond.
“Tzeporah’s work on fossil fuel supply reduction is a powerful and promising approach that can and should be paired with demand-side advocacy in order to minimize global fossil fuel production and consumption as quickly as possible,” says a statement on the Climate Breakthrough Project website.
“We are excited to help a leader like Tzeporah get the time and resources she needs to develop a bold global strategy with huge potential to reduce emissions on a historic scale. We anticipate the launch of her first programs by early 2020. She will be housing her project within Stand.earth and working with numerous grassroots, policy, government, and corporate partners.”
Berman currently holds the position of International Program Director at Stand.Earth, an organization which has acknowledged that to achieve their environmentalist goals they will need to facilitate a full stop of the oil and gas industry in Canada.
In response to criticism over taking foreign money to stifle the Canadian economy, Stand.Earth has decided to label all criticism as “xenophobic.”
Stand.Earth released the following statement following the backlash:
If we want to ensure a safe future for our children, we know the global oil and gas industry can’t continue to expand. We can’t build a single new oil and gas megaproject — not in Canada, not in the U.S., and not in the rest of the world.
That means we remain committed to stopping the Trans Mountain Pipeline — and any expansion of the tar sands. We have read the science, we understand the analysis, and we know the world simply cannot afford to burn all of the oil in the tar sands.
This rhetoric over our organization’s funding feeds into the increasingly divisive and xenophobic discourse sweeping our globe. “Foreign-funded” is a term intended to tap into peoples’ fear of the other — a dangerous game to play. The term is a red herring to distract Canadians from real issues like climate change.
They go on to criticize the oil and gas industry’s funding, which in many cases is, in fact, derived from foreign sources. They, thus, call the backlash aimed at them hypocritical.
However, while one source of foreign funding seeks to grow an industry for mutual profit, both for the donor and the country, another gives money with the goal of shrinking the industry.
Stand.Earth continues in their response by characterizing all attempts to criticize their funding as “fearmongering,” despite themselves being an active proponent of climate alarmism, a tactic which aims to instill enough fear in readers that they are motivated to action and protest.
As an final defence, Stand.Earth says that they don’t just target Canada when conducting blocking initiatives: they have actively disrupted fossil fuel projects in the U.S., too.
Though they are primarily based in Canada, they contend that they are a cross-boarder initiative with offices in both countries and that only ten percent of their overall funding goes to anti-oil initiatives in Canada. They say that their allegiance is to neither country, but rather addressing the looming catastrophe they see as nearly inevitable.
“Any arguments over our funding ignore the fact that climate change doesn’t recognize political boundaries — it is a global issue that requires a global response,” writes Stand.Earth. “Knowing that, it should be no surprise we raise money in both the U.S. and Canada. Our Canadian staff and supporters care deeply about protecting the coast and the climate, respecting Indigenous rights, and ensuring a safe future for their children.”