Saturday, 27 September 2014

Talking heads: Words come cheap

I fully concur with these comments from Kevin Hester

The U.N. and Ban Kee Moon are nothing more than a useless apparatchik of the Fossil Fuel Industry and their shareholders.If anyone thinks they will achieve anything meaningful they are delusional and have rocks in their head.

Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey, former Bosnian foreign minister and ambassador to the United Nations) is kidding himself if he thinks we achieved much with our Global Campaign to raise awareness about Climate Change and in fact the oft repeated mantra of we can still fix this problem is disingenuous and serves to distract us from the armageddon coming our way.

There will be no consensus.

There will be no mandatory commitments.Rather than decreasing our CO2 emissons we are increasing them.

As much as I respect Naomi Klein and her writing her telling people that we can fix this debacle is misinforming people,giving them false hope and losing time that should be used preparing for the societal chaos that we face.

We have commenced the 6th great extinction on this planet and it is happening faster than we all think.

Guy McPherson will be touring NZ next month discussing exactly this scenario, event link here.

Can the UN Help Curb Climate Change and its Consequences?
Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey -
Former Bosnian foreign minister and ambassador to the United Nations

Ban Ki-Moon Davos 2011 Cropped.jpg

26 September, 2014

If setting an example could make states and their leaders do the right thing, then the United Nations might be on the right track. A few years ago, the UN Secretary General ordered that heating be reduced in the winter and the air conditioning thermostat be raised in the summer -- on a recent July day at the UN Cafeteria the temperature was hot enough to brew tea. The UN Environment Program (UNEP) relies upon solar energy to power its HQ in Kenya. In several of its monitoring and peacekeeping operations around the globe the UN has sought to maximize efficiency and minimize its carbon footprint - most armies do not list environmental conservation as a top priority. This week, UNSG Ban Ki-moon joined global citizens in what has perhaps unexpectedly become the largest climate change march ever. But the example and message, at least up until now, appear to be largely illusory when it comes to securing substantive agreement/treaty between states to effectively counter the relentless advance of climate change.

UN Again Warns "Time is Running Out!"

One more time the UN is warning that we are on the verge of catastrophe, but has this become akin to the boy crying wolf? Regardless, the data does indicate a very worrying trend. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) latest annualGreenhouse Gas Bulletin stresses that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide caused a 34 per cent increase in global warming in the last 10 years. "Far from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years. We must reverse this trend by cutting emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases across the board," says WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

Peppered with climate change denial emboldened by the recent recession, remedying the ills threatening our earth has been presented as a choice between jobs and the environment within the borders of most states, from China to the US. Broad skepticism, even cynicism directed at the UN have undermined a multilateral approach to climate change. Since the Kyoto Protocol, The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, adopted in 1997, advocates have been seeking to just maintain whatever is left of the presumed agreement even as enhancement may be necessary to counter further damage inflicted by delays and insincere implementation. While emerging economy states have sought greater latitude to play economic catch-up to the industrial powers, more developed states as Canada and Australia have perhaps inflicted some of the greatest injury to a multilateral approach by backtracking in substance and commitment.
Do we need a multilateral approach? To those who understand that we are all global citizens increasingly linked by our successes, failures and shared commitments, the answer is obvious. It goes beyond the air, water and gusts of hot or cold trends that pervade the earth. Several UN member states' very existence is threatened by rising sea levels from smaller island states as the Marshall Islands, Bahamas, and the Maldives to Bangladesh (whose coastline is as vulnerable as that of the Netherlands but without the resources to construct defenses.) These states are in reality on death row at least for now strapped to a reality of pleas for clemency ignored and waiting to be overcome by rising tides. Many of us in the US from New Orleans to the New York/New Jersey coast discovered that we are more vulnerable than we had come to believe.
Hunger & Conflict Migrating to "Our" Porch?

The consequences can be deadly for a much broader segment of the population inflicted by spread of diseases beyond current borders as malaria as well as famines and water shortages. People may flee hunger as much as Ebola and thus facilitate the spread of disease and conflict. Wars between and within states are more likely - perhaps not so coincidentally, Ukraine and the Sudan/South Sudan have emerged as conflict zones at same time when their capacity/potential for food production has been increasingly recognized. Perhaps most threatening to the psyche of Western citizens are the waves of new migrants largely un-managed that climate change and its consequences are likely to stir like a hot southeast gale. The flow will be reversed from underdeveloped territories as dumping grounds for hazardous waste to their unwanted and/or unsustainable populations flowing now in the other direction toward presumably more developed lands.
Recent failures from Syria to Ukraine to tackle political and human rights crisis have undermined the UN's image as well overwhelming priorities and resources. However, much of the success of the UN and even more of the failures of the UN can be tracked back to member states, particularly the P-5 of the UN Security Council. The most visible manifestations of failure, as Bosnia before, the image of failure is dropped upon the UN's doorstep looking like a "selfie" but in reality framed by the big power capitals seeking to avoid responsibility and accountability. Of course, the competition for ever more valuable resources may be fueling conflict including DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) Myanmar, Ogaden, South Sudan, Ukraine as well as Israel/Palestine.
Following the citizens' climate march in cities around the globe, the UN hosted one more summit this week of global leaders as part of the annual gathering at its NYC HQs. The meeting also drew a broad range of industry leaders many who "pledged" efforts to mitigate climate change. However, even if honored, the pledges may still not be enough to meet goals of keeping the rise of global temperatures to levels established in Copenhagen only at the end of the previous decade. Substantive action trails speeches and symbolism. New political set of priorities may be stalled by some business leaders and politicians even as they make "pledges" for public consumption.
Capturing Imaginations & Economic Interests:

Some have argued that climate change is a myth that is both costly and destroys jobs like those of coal miners, whether in West Virginia or Turkey or Brazil or Australia or China. Vested economic interests will not surrender to a more encompassing rationale if their own is threatened. A miner's work may be all that some know, but other options and opportunities may also open for them or at least their children. Global citizenship and national wealth are not only compatible but symbiotic. Creating new ventures and disrupting outmoded businesses has been the creator of the greatest entrepreneurial wealth and new jobs even if taking into consideration the dislocation of existing enterprises and their workforce, from Kenya to China to the US. Silicon Valley has proven that he who sees the future also leads it. Further, rather than encouraging vast migrations from underdeveloped countries, is there not more opportunity in developing those markets and enhancing the capacity of such populations? Cross-border can be an advantage rather than the perceived threat as seen by many. The evolving consciousness of global citizen and social media offer connectivity but what of the content: "Retweeted by the UN Secretary General: Educating the new Citizen Diplomat."

When I started writing this blog I was less optimistic in regards to the global consciousness. The Climate March has swelled activism and expectations, but it must be more than a one-day phenomena. We need to see sustained awareness about economic opportunity as well as threat of climate change.

Loving the earth is not treating it like a one-night stand. Our professed love is not new. Recall that "Earth Day" started and blossomed in the early 70's about the same time we first heard Marvin Gaye's eternal "The Ecology Song - Mercy, Mercy Me."

India does NOT have a monopoly on hypocrisy!!

The UN climate summit reveals India's hypocrisy on saving forests
Environment minister argues for historical justice on cutting carbon, but denies it to tribes living in the country’s forests

A flower grows close to a thermal power plant on the outskirts of Nagpur.

A flower grows close to a thermal power plant on the outskirts of Nagpur in Maharashtra, India. Photograph: Arko Datta/Reuters

26 September, 2014

On Tuesday, India’s minister for environment, forests, and climate change, Prakash Javadekar, scoffed at the idea of the country reducing emissions to counter climate change. He held the US chiefly responsible for the climate crisis, and therefore it had to bear the responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That has been India’s position on climate change at international negotiations for a while.

Developed nations have polluted the atmosphere and brought the planet to the crisis it faces today. The developing world, lagging behind in industrial development, did little to create the situation. But China is now the world’s biggest carbon emitter, and India is fast catching up as its economy grows.

On the strength of future emissions, the west wants these countries to commit to reducing their impact on climate change. To do so, developing nations want transfer of costly new green technology at low or no costs and compensation from developed nations for reducing their emissions. This is where past climate conferences have remained stuck, with each side entrenched in its position.
At the UN climate change summit in New York on Tuesday, Javadekar is reported to have said: “The moral principle of historic responsibility [those countries which have historically emitted the most] cannot be washed away.”

But while he champions historic responsibility abroad, he’s an instrument of eroding historic justice at home.
India legislated the Wildlife Protection Act in 1972, a law that granted state protection to wildlife. But it criminalised many communities living in wildlife areas. Unlike the west, India’s forests are not people-free wildlife havens.
Conservationists and the country’s forest department regarded the presence of marginsalised people – mostly adivasis (tribal communities who have been living in the forests for centuries) – as a blight. They were, and still are, looked up on as people who degraded forests by cutting trees for firewood, clearing land for tilling and hunting wildlife for the pot. They received little support from the government. Some got paltry compensation to give up their traditional lands and settle outside forests.
Tribal women walk through rain in Pandwa village, Dang district, 400 kilometer (250 miles) south of Ahmadabad, India. Tribal people across western Indian state of Gujarat's Dang depend on forest produce, being allowed agriculture only in limited areas of the densely forested area.
"Tribal women walk through rain in Pandwa village of Dang district of Gujarat, India. Tribal people in Dang depend on forest produce, being allowed agriculture only in limited patches of the densely forested area. Photograph: Siddharth Darshan Kumar/AP

Much of India was cleared of forests and its wildlife over centuries, some conservationists living in cities had no qualms seeking the eviction of people from forests. They argued that since only 5% of the country’s land area was set aside for wildlife, it should be free of human disturbance. In short, the indigenous people of India’s forests had to bear the cost of conservation, even though most of the country had been denuded of its forests by others.
In 2006, the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers Act (popularly called Forest Rights Act) came into force with stipulations for compensation against resettlement. Should any company wish to set up an industry or mine in tribal lands, it had to first seek the consent of forest-dwelling communities. This law sets right historic wrongs suffered by tribals. It also gives them a say in state’s plans that impact their lands and lives.
Although the act is enacted by the parliament, many states haven’t implemented it. Now Narendra Modi’s pro-development government is seeking to do away with the right of forest dwellers to veto industries coming into their neck of the woods.
Earlier this month, Javadekar stated the government would amend the act so it would not be mandatory any more to seek forest people’s consent. So much for historic justice.

In New York, however, he declared India will take action against climate change voluntarily and not at the behest of any other country. Yet at home, if a forest-destroying mine or a carbon-polluting coal plant chooses to plonk down on forest land, local people won’t have a choice.

The question at the heart of both issues is: who bears the cost of arresting climate change and conserving forests?
On the international stage, India argues beneficiaries of past pollution have to bear the responsibility of mitigating climate change. But at home, it shows its hypocrisy by insisting that historically disenfranchised forest dwelling citizens bear the cost of conservation and development.

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