SPHEREX Analytics | Article #3 | 2022
THE Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has been actively and aggressively pushing an anti-Exxon agenda for the past two years or so in Guyana. This effort by the IEEFA observably got more aggressive of recent at the expense of fuelling a series of reports labelled analytical report by one of its principal authors, Tom Sanzillo. However, upon critically examining these reports, a multiplicity of flaws and weaknesses are inherent in those reports, ignoring many fundamental and pragmatic variables and the economic reality of Guyana, and the failure to perform any robust and real analysis on the subject matter the author sought to address. To these ends, readers would recall that SPHEREX Analytics recently challenged these reports, highlighting the analytical weaknesses of the said reports and thus debunking the inaccurate and misleading conclusions of the IEEFA/Tom Sanzillo. It would be interesting to see if Sanzillo can defend his work by responding to the counter analysis put forward by this author / SPHEREX Analytics.
Be that as it may, since a local media is allowing and perhaps in collaboration with this foreign entity to propagate their hidden modus operandi through the publication of absolute garbage as analyses, I am highly inclined to categorically state that: as Guyanese and as a country, we must always be mindful that every stakeholder and every group, have some interest or cause that they would always advance. This includes NGOs, and Think Tanks such as the IEEFA. In order to ascertain the IEEFA’s agenda, this can be done by a simple research exercise to find out who funds the entity. Obviously, it is the individuals, collective groups, and firms that finances the IEEFA, are whose interests they will advance through their work.
According to the IEEFA’s website, the IEEFA receives its funding from global philanthropic organisations and individuals. On their website, the following main funders are highlighted:
ClimateWorks Foundation, Climate Imperative, Energy Foundation, Rockfeller Brothers Fund, Rockfeller Family Fund, to name a few. (see full list here https://ieefa.org/what-we-do.)
Notably, the IEEFA funders all share a common agenda and that is, not necessarily to advance climate change policies, but more so a group of individuals and companies, including that of the IEEFA itself, are more interested in profiting from investment in renewable energies.
Interestingly, while researching for this opinion piece, I stumbled on some interesting findings concerning the IEEFA’s agenda. To this end, it appears that the IEEFA is well known internationally for its flawed analysis in the pursuit of its agenda.
An Australian Mining Company described the IEEFA as an “anti-fossil fuel advocacy organisation”, where the company, Adani, responded to the IEEFA’s inaccurate report about the company’s operations.
In the press release by Adani in August 2019, the company stated that the:
“IEEFA is known for publishing alarmist papers that attempt to discredit the fossil fuel industry using flawed analysis in order to achieve its stated aim of transitioning to renewable energy. Its campaign to discredit Adani’s Carmichael Project began in 2013 and has involved the publication of a number of papers containing false claims and associated publicity stunts. IEEFA has known associations with left-wing activist groups, including acting as a spokesperson in campaign videos for Get Up!, which received $495,000 from the anti-fossil fuel activist group Sunrise Project last year to advance its anti-coal agenda.”
Adani further urged in its statement that “while everyone is entitled to their own opinion, it is important that commentators declare their personal and financial interests upfront when discussing issues so as not to give any misrepresentations of independence and impartiality”.
Adani’s full response to the IEEFA can be accessed here. https://www.bravus.com.au/fact-check-adani-responds-to-ieefa-paper-on-financial-statements/.
In January 2018 in another response to the IEEFA by Mark Sinclair, excerpts are as follows:
a) “They (IEEFA) have an agenda which includes profiting off of the success of the renewables industry, and have a major bias to doing whatever it takes to help that industry proceed, including creating false cases against completion. Let’s see, much like LTG, The Australia Institute, and the like, how else they work to the detriment of their competition: How the Rockefeller-Funded #ExxonKnew Echo Chamber Operates https://www.energyindepth.org/national/rockefeller-funded-exxonknew-echo-chamber/).”
b) “Although Egan did note that IEEFA is bankrolled in part by several foundations associated with the Rockefellers, he did not disclose the significance of that funding: the Rockefellers have been the common financial link among the myriad activist groups behind the #ExxonKnew climate campaign. One of the goals of that campaign, according to its own adherents, is to “drive divestment from Exxon.” The IEEFA report and subsequent news coverage provide a window into the well-orchestrated strategy against Exxon, particularly the digital echo chamber that the activists have carefully created to make the #ExxonKnew Mark Sinclair Submission #621 campaign appear much larger and significant than it actually is. Within minutes of the CNN Money story’s release, the environmental activists pushing the #ExxonKnew climate conspiracy had jumped into action. Chief #ExxonKnew instigator Bill McKibben tweeted out the story, as did the co-founder of 350.org, Jamie Henn. “Oof, that has to hurt,” Henn wrote in reference to the CNN Money headline. Other members of 350.org promoted the story, as did the official #ExxonKnew campaign Twitter account. The Ceres Investor Network on Climate Risk shared the story a few hours later, along with the Occupy Wall Street account.
The full report on this can be accessed here. https://frackinginquiry.nt.gov.au/?a=485017.
Clearly, as I have long suspected, the IEEFA has an anti-Exxon agenda funded by stakeholders who have a problem with ExxonMobil for various reasons.
And as far as the IEEFA and Tom Sanzillo is concerned, none of their analyses are credible and cannot be taken seriously as any expert or gospel advice for Guyana. They are not championing anything for Guyana, they are championing their own cause and to profit from it at the expense of attempting to derail the development of small developing countries like Guyana.
Even the celebrity “Hulk” (Mark Ruffalo) whom was reported as championing Guyana’s cause by a certain media house, has a personal issue with oil companies in general. According to his biography information on Wikipedia, “In 2008, Ruffalo expressed concern that gas companies were eyeing his family’s land in Callicoon, New York. After doing his own investigation, New York magazine wrote, he became “anti-fracking’s first famous face.” On October 4, 2010, Ruffalo appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show to discuss hydraulic fracturing and the FRAC Act of 2009.He claimed in the December 2010 issue of GQ that after he organised screenings in Pennsylvania of a documentary about natural-gas-drilling called Gasland, he was placed on a terror advisory list. The Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of Homeland Security denied the claim.” (See full Wikipedia article here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Ruffalo.)
It would appear, too, that the IEEFA is being used by a group of Guyanese both at home and abroad to validate and propagate their political agenda. Any keen observer can easily deduce that a certain local media-house publisher et.al, is explicitly leading a political campaign, in a rather, commendably shrewd strategic fashion–in covertly pursuing a rigorous campaign in a quest for political power come 2025. While nothing is wrong with anyone having political ambitions, and anyone can freely pursue such ambitions, if, however, they want to be taken seriously, it ought not to be at the expense of peddling misinformation and misleading the wider population.
Having said and exposed all of the above, SPHEREX Analytics would like to urge all Guyanese to be wary of these so-called Think Tanks, and campaign groups as none of them are genuinely advancing the interest of Guyanese and Guyana. They all have their own issues and agenda which they are seeking to profit from handsomely, evidently so.
Fellow Guyanese, do not get distracted, and let’s keep our eyes on the bigger picture, the prize and that is, to work together in advancing Guyana’s development.
About SPHEREX Analytics
SphereX Analytics is the Think Tank/Research and Analysis Arm of SphereX Professional Services. Under this service line, the following sub-services are offered where SphereX Analytics performs:
* In-depth analyses on public policy, business, finance, and macro finance subject matters in Guyana, regionally and internationally;
* Advocacy services, inter alia, research and in-depth analyses on public policy issues for the private sector;
* Business Intelligence, Analytics; and
* Corporate Strategy diagnostics, planning and analysis
About the Author
Corporate Finance Advisory | SPHEREX Analytics
SPHEREX Professional Services Inc. | JB Consultancy & Associates
Joel Bhagwandin is a financial and economic analyst, an academic researcher and writer, a junior business executive, lecturer, and thought leader. Joel is actively engaged in providing insights and analyses on a range of public policy, economic and macrofinance issues in Guyana for the past 5+ years. In this regard, he has authored more than 300 articles covering a variety of thematic areas. Joel possesses more than fourteen years’ experience in the financial sector and private sector development combined. During this time, he has accumulated more than five years of professional experience in providing financial and business advice to both large corporations and Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) and eight years’ managerial experience. Academically, Mr. Bhagwandin is the holder of a master’s degree in business management with specialization in banking and finance from Edinburgh Napier University. His specialties and skills include: Corporate Finance, Banking, Capital Markets & Securities, Business Intelligence, & Data Analysis