Posted on March 22nd, 2011 1 comment
Outside the usual political and media circles, questions are being asked. Why has the United Nations sanctioned military engagement in Libya in the form of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 ? Why the heavy firepower here, in Libya, when the ostensible rationale for intervention was only to implement a No-Fly Zone ? Why not gloibal military action elsewhere in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) arena where there are other despots making life unpleasant or endable for their citizens ?
I present to you two possible futures for Libya, both of which will require extensive cooperation with foreign corporate and political players, something that Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (or Qaddafi) threatens, or rather, depending on various news reports, “threatened”.
1. The Dash for African and Arabic Natural Gas (and Oil)
In a carbon-constrained world Natural Gas is a boon – it has roughly half the carbon dioxide emissions of coal when burned to produce steam to generate electricity. Any country that’s got Natural Gas, especially good quality Natural Gas that doesn’t have to be hydraulically “fractured” from rock strata, is a country we will learn to love and trade on significantly generous terms with.
There has been extensive surveying of Libya, and the whole of North Africa’s Maghreb region, including the type of offshore seismic surveying that found extensive gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean that Israel is now laying claim to (and preventing Gaza from exploiting). This has led to quite a lot of excitement in the fossil fuel energy industry, so, reading between the lines of the conference agendas, there is high dollar value under Libya’s maritime territory :-
In addition to Natural Gas there may well be high levels of top quality oil – and keeping up the flow of crude oil, as we all know, is crucial to the health of the world’s economy. Threats of re-nationalising the Libyan fossil fuel resources therefore caused corporate shock :-
“Oil companies fear nationalisation in Libya : By Sylvia Pfeifer and Javier Blas in London : Published: March 20 2011 : Western oil companies operating in Libya have privately warned that their operations in the country may be nationalised if Colonel Muammer Gaddafi’s regime prevails. Executives, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the rapidly moving situation, believe their companies could be targeted, especially if their home countries are taking part in air strikes against Mr Gaddafi. Allied forces from France, the UK and the US on Saturday unleashed a series of strikes against military targets in Libya. “It is certainly a concern. There are good reserves there,” said one executive at a western oil company with operations in Libya. “We have lost some of our production [because all operations have stopped] but our bigger concern is what will happen to the exploratory work as that gives you a future rather than the immediate impact,” he added. Most of the world’s large international oil companies have producing assets in Libya, including Spain’s Repsol, France’s Total, and Italy’s Eni, which is the largest single investor there. Germany’s Winstershall – a unit of BASF – and OMV of Austria are also present. The country is the world’s 12th largest oil exporter, and the escalating violence there has triggered a jump in prices to nearly $120 a barrel. More than half of Libya’s oil was exported to Italy, Germany and France last year…”
BP had to evacuate its staff, and extend a favour to some British citizens, during the recent uprising :-
Production in the country has taken a hit due to the fighting, but order should soon be restored. Clearly, long-term stability in Libya, with unhindered, inexpensive access to the country’s oil and gas resources is an important part of the national security interests of many Western democracies.
2. Solar Libya
The DESERTEC project of the European Union seeks to roll out solar power in the desert sands of North Africa, and makes the promise of economic and social development of the countries that take part, although that dream has been questioned :-
Let’s face the facts here – massive new energy projects in North Africa will be financed and developed through large multinational, transnational corporations, companies who have contributed to the economic slavery of Africa for, let’s approximate here, centuries.
What guarantees can the Maghreb have that this is not a further land grab on Africa’s potential ?
In addition, the recent social and political volatility in the Middle East North Africa region could jeopardise the noble plans of the European Union to reach out in energy partnership.
Hang on. Wait a minute. Is the wave of uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa connected in any way to the interests of oil and gas companies who want Future #1 to prevail for the whole region, not just Libya ?
American companies have been so keen to sell nuclear electricity projects to Saudi Arabia and others around the Arabian Gulf – but has this been encouraged from the high-ups to keep the Arabs off the scent of Renewable Energy ? Forget nuclear power – it’s expensive and awkward. Iran only pursues civilian nuclear power to irritate the United States Government. A solar Arabia could give the Middle East and North Africa a second generation of being the energy princes of the world. I suspect they will go for this in a big way very shortly, uprisings or no uprisings. Why ? Two little words – Fukushima Daiichi.
So there we have it – two entirely probable, slightly competing, futures being mapped out for Libya by the big guns of NATO (a euphemism for the USA). If Libya is split into two countries, the fossil fuel Future #1 will be likely applied to East Libya, and the desert solar Future #2 will be foisted on West Libya.
Continued interference in the country is a certainty.
Posted on February 5th, 2011 No comments
[ UPDATE 3 : Israel has said it has already prepared for just such an Egyptian disruption scenario, and won’t suffer from shortages of gas… http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=206940 ]
[ UPDATE 2 : The Jerusalem Post says that it was reported that explosives were detonated at the terminal… http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=206940. Why does the Jerusalem Post article contain a history of gas production in the region ? Part of the gas that comes through Egypt has come from Gazan wells http://www.joabbess.com/2010/08/01/natural-gaza-3/. If that supply fails, then countries round about will have to buy their gas from Israel’s new wells… Israel will probably blame Iran for the Egyptian gas terminal explosion http://blogs.forbes.com/christopherhelman/2011/02/05/egypt-pipeline-explosion-cuts-gas-supply-to-israel/. Apparently the gas supply to Israel may not have been damaged http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-05/egypt-gas-pipeline-feeding-israel-explodes-in-sinai-desert-arabiya-says.html, but they’ve turned the taps off anyway, as a precautionary measure http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/crisis-in-egypt/pipeline-blast-in-egypt-shuts-off-gas-flow-to-jordan-israel/article1895902/?cmpid=rss1 ]
[ UPDATE : We now learn it was not an attack after all… http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/8305962/Egypt-crisis-Sinai-explosion-blamed-on-gas-leak.html. Notice the propaganda – we are reminded in the video report that there may be dark fundamentalist forces at work, even whilst being told that this was not in fact the case.]
An unidentified group has taken advantage of all the turmoil in Egypt, gone undercover, and attacked a gas pipeline, which means that supplies to politically moderate Jordan (and the more hardline Syria) will be cut off.
Who planned this ? It’s probably too early to say, but I can think of several possible answers to the question, and none of them are pretty.
“Saboteurs attack Egypt gas pipeline to Jordan”
“Jordan gas supplies to be halted a week after blast”
“Egypt Gas Pipeline Attacked”
“Gas pipeline to Jordan, Syria set ablaze in Egypt…Unless the pipe is repaired quickly, it could become a big problem for Jordan, a country already spending heavily in fuel subsidies, a Jordanian senior official said….”Advancing Africa, Be Prepared, Big Picture, Burning Money, Conflict of Interest, Disturbing Trends, Divide & Rule, Economic Implosion, Energy Change, Energy Insecurity, Financiers of the Apocalypse, Fossilised Fuels, Money Sings, Peace not War, Political Nightmare, Resource Curse, Screaming Panic, Social Change, Social Chaos
Posted on November 30th, 2010 No comments
It’s not that developing countries and emerging economies are being picky. The problem lies with the United States of America, desperate to cling on to its geopolitical leverage :-
“U.S. Call to Preserve Copenhagen Accord Puts Climate Conference on Edge : By Stacy Feldman at SolveClimate : Mon Nov 29, 2010 : Many poor countries want to scrap the three-page Copenhagen agreement that the U.S. wants to preserve : CANCUN, MEXICO — The United States said Monday it would not back down on its plan to turn the unpopular Copenhagen Accord into a final global warming deal, setting the first day of already fragile UN climate talks in Cancun on edge. “What we’re seeking here in Cancun is a balanced package of decisions that would build on this agreement … [and] preserve the balance of the accord,” Jonathan Pershing, lead U.S. climate negotiator in Cancun, told reporters at the talks…”
“Cancún climate change summit: America plays tough : US adopts all-or-nothing position in Cancún, fuelling speculation of a walk-out if developing countries do not meet its demands : Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent, guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 30 November 2010 : America has adopted a tough all-or-nothing position at the Cancún climate change summit, fuelling speculation of a walk-out if developing countries do not meet its demands. At the opening of the talks at Cancún, the US climate negotiator, Jonathan Pershing, made clear America wanted a “balanced package” from the summit. That’s diplomatic speak for a deal that would couple the core issues for the developing world – agreement on climate finance, technology, deforestation – with US demands for emissions actions from emerging economies and a verifiable system of accounting for those cuts. In a briefing with foreign journalists in Washington, the chief climate envoy, Todd Stern, was blunt. “We’re either going to see progress across the range of issues or we’re not going to see much progress,” said Stern. “We’re not going to race forward on three issues and take a first step on other important ones. We’re going to have to get them all moving at a similar pace.” In the run-up to the Cancún talks, Stern has said repeatedly that America will not budge from its insistence that fast-emerging economies such as India and China commit to reducing emissions and to an inspection process that will verify those actions. The hard line – which some in Washington have seen as ritual diplomatic posturing – has fuelled speculation that the Obama administration could be prepared to walk out of the Cancún talks…”
An “inspection process” ? Agreeing to the same use of satellite snooping and the threat of the penalties of economic sanctions as applied to the fabled Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and the current pincer on Iran ?
I can’t quite see China agreeing to that.
If we’re thinking about paranoia, who should be monitoring whom ?
The Clean Development Mechanism should have been more closely monitored, but it wasn’t, and it’s collapsed in a big pile – fake credits, false accreditation, poor success rate. Where has the verification process been, there ?
New schemes for “climate finance” will essentially involve creating debt for Climate Change mitigation and adaptation projects in developing and emerging economies. Why more debt ? To prop up the ailing industrialised economies. And allow the Bank sharks to feed.
And “technology transfer” ? That’s all about intellectual property rights – America owning all the rights, and China and India and so on owning nothing, of course. What great technologies have parasitical American companies been keeping hidden away up their sleeves to sell to the Chinese under a Climate deal ? Or are they just rubbish deals, like expensive and untested Carbon Capture and Storage ?
“Deforestation” ? Virtually all proposed schemes under the REDD banner (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) include an element of emissions trading – just the kind of offsetting that large, dirty American companies want to buy to justify carrying on with Business As Usual. Protecting the rainforests ? Nah – just finding another way to make money for the Carbon Traders, and protect the Oil, Gas and Coal industries of the industrialised regions.
What is needed is for the industrialised nations to commit to domestic emissions reductions, not continued attempts to coerce other countries to make cuts that can be traded.
Nobody has learned anything in the last year. The same ridiculous non-options are on the table, and nobody’s biting.Advancing Africa, Bait & Switch, Big Picture, Carbon Commodities, China Syndrome, Climate Change, Contraction & Convergence, Corporate Pressure, Emissions Impossible, Energy Change, Financiers of the Apocalypse, Global Warming, Green Investment, Money Sings, No Pressure, Peace not War, Political Nightmare, Regulatory Ultimatum, Sustainable Deferment, Technological Sideshow, Tree Family, Unutterably Useless, Utter Futility, Vain Hope Cancun, Clean Development Mechanism, Climate Finance, Climate Negotiations, Climate Talks, Mexico, REDD, Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, UNFCCC, United Nations, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, United States of America, US, USA
Posted on November 29th, 2010 No comments
The United Nations have gathered in Cancun, Mexico, for the annual Climate Change negotiations. It’s only the first day, but already the talk is of compromise :-
“Cancún hears call for ‘tapestry of compromise’ : By Fiona Harvey in London : November 29 2010 : Governments meeting to negotiate an agreement on global warming this week must learn to compromise, the UN’s top official on climate change said. Christiana Figueres told the opening meeting of the talks, being held in Cancún, Mexico, that only through giving up entrenched positions could countries at the talks hope to find common ground. “A tapestry with holes will not work,” she told officials from more than 180 countries. “The holes can only be filled with compromise.” … For the UN, therefore, Cancún is a test of its ability to carry forward the negotiations, which have been taking place for two decades. Officials are also hoping to make progress on vital issues – such as financial assistance for poor countries to cut their emissions and adapt to the effects of global warming – and a possible deal on preserving the world’s forests…”
Hmm. Let’s take a quick look at what these two highlighted proposals are :-
1. “…financial assistance for poor countries to cut their emissions…”
This is being worked up in a bunch of vehicles, including the initiative that David Cameron writes so emotionally about, the Capital Markets Climate Initiative :-
“Use the profit motive to fight climate change : The prime minister argues that there are huge gains to be made from a green economy : David Cameron, The Observer, Sunday 28 November 2010 : …I passionately believe that by recasting the argument for action on climate change away from the language of threats and punishments and into positive, profit-making terms, we can have a much wider impact. That’s why this government has set up the Capital Markets Climate Initiative – to help trigger a new wave of green investment in emerging economies and make the City of London the global capital of the fast-growing green investment sector…”
So, it’s not donations, or even grants or other forms of aid – it’s debt – debt that’s no longer possible to create in the Credit Crunched developed nations.
It’s probably not quite what Nicholas Stern was thinking of when he said that $100 billion needs to be made available to the Global South in the next decade for Adaptation to Climate Change.
It’s certainly not the redistribution of global wealth that the rightwingers fear from the great “eco-socialist conspiracy”.
It’s an attempt to shore up the corroding economies of the Global North by putting the Global South into further debt.
Score : 0 out of 20.
2. “…a possible deal on preserving the world’s forests…”
This is the policy proposal known as REDD – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, which most people translate as meaning (a) cut down some of the forest for economic purposes in order to (b) protect the rest.
I mean, how likely is that to work ?
Plus, it could become a vehicle to justify the continued existence of the oil and gas industry :-
“Oil companies and banks will profit from UN forest protection scheme : Redd scheme designed to prevent deforestation but critics call it ‘privatisation’ of natural resources : John Vidal, environment editor, in Cancun, guardian.co.uk, Sunday 28 November 2010 : Some of the world’s largest oil, mining, car and gas corporations will make hundreds of millions of dollars from a UN-backed forest protection scheme, according to a new report from the Friends of the Earth International…”
Score : -40 out of a possible 20
With these kind of compromises on the table, do you think the Global South will be any more willing to sign onto any “Accord” any more than they were at Copenhagen ?
Unless and until corporate interests are removed from the United Nations Climate Change treaty, the world’s poorest, their habitats are our futures are being betrayed.Advancing Africa, Big Picture, Burning Money, Carbon Commodities, Climate Change, Corporate Pressure, Divide & Rule, Emissions Impossible, Financiers of the Apocalypse, Global Warming, Money Sings, Political Nightmare, Social Chaos, Tree Family, Unutterably Useless, Utter Futility, Vain Hope Cancun, Capital Markets, Capital Markets Climate Initiative, Carbon Capitalism, Casino Capitalism, Climate Change, Climate Negotiations, Crisis Capitalism, David Cameron, drop the debt, Global Debt, Jubilee Debt Campaign, Mexico, Nicholas Stern, REDD, Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, Turbo Capitalism, UNFCCC, United Nations, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Chamge
Posted on November 25th, 2010 2 comments
I learned about various views on social and positive impact investment, and about elements of the Coalition Government’s “Big Society” and the proposed Green Investment Bank.
Ethical Investment appears to have come a long way since I put some money into a Fair Trade company many moons ago, where I knew I would never see a dividend, or even be able to sell the shares at some point.
Grown up people in sharp suits and big name frocks now do moral banking, and often reap a healthy return on their investment – “doing well” as well as “doing good”, as Adam Ognall of UK Sustainable Investment and Finance says.
I was challenged to think about what faith communities do with their money around a month ago, all precipitated by a conversation I had with Martin Palmer of the Alliance of Conservation and Religions, and then I heard something at a recent meeting that caused me to investigate a little… Read the rest of this entry »Advancing Africa, Be Prepared, Big Picture, Economic Implosion, Energy Change, Energy Revival, Faithful God, Financiers of the Apocalypse, Fossilised Fuels, Green Investment, Green Power, Growth Paradigm, Low Carbon Life, Major Shift, Money Sings, Oil Change, Peak Energy, Peak Oil, Public Relations, Renewable Resource, Resource Curse, Social Change, Social Chaos, Sustainable Deferment, Wasted Resource Alliance of Religions and Conservation, Anglican Communion, ARC, BP, C of E, Church Commissioners, Church House, Church of England, depletion, ECCR, Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility, EIAG, Energy, environmetntal protection, Ethical Investment Advisory Group, fiduciary duty, Fifth Mark of Mission, National Ethical Investment Week, NEIW, Oil, Oil & Gas, Oil and Gas, Peak Energy, Peak Oil, rate of return, resource limits, risk of collapse, UK Sustainable Investment and Financie, UKSIF
Posted on October 21st, 2010 No comments
People, animals and crops are likely to lose their favourite watering holes over the next few decades, not just in “poor” countries, but just about everywhere :-
The growing hole in water supplies is going to interfere with food security, and it’s going to interfere with human community survival, but it’s also going to interfere with energy production. In fact, it’s doing that already, as competition for water in Peru between food, grazing, people and energy shows most clearly :-
What’s the story on the United Kingdom ? :-
“Adapt now to keep farming’s water flowing : October 20, 2010 : Agricultural and horticultural businesses could face damaging water shortages in the coming decades as a result of climate change. Adaptation across the whole industry is needed to meet the impending challenge…”
“UK crops to face water supply crunch, may relocate : LONDON | Mon Oct 18, 2010 : …Agricultural crops in Britain may need to be moved to new areas as the threat of both drought and flooding rises in the coming decades, a report commissioned by the Royal Agricultural Society of England said on Monday. The report said climate change was expected to produce higher temperatures, drier summers and wetter winters across much of England. “This is likely to mean reduced river flow and less water available for agriculture,” said one of the report’s authors, Alison Bailey, of the University of Reading’s School of Agriculture, Policy and Development…”
And the United States of America ? :-
“…The study found that water withdrawals in California are estimated to be greater than 100% of the available precipitation in 2050…”
“…10/20/2010 : Contact: Joan Moody : PHOENIX, AZ—At a meeting of water leaders from the seven Colorado River Basin states in Phoenix today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the Department of the Interior has chosen the University of Arizona as home base for a regional Climate Science Center and selected the Colorado River Basin for the launch of the first U.S. water census since 1978. “The Colorado River Basin is ground zero for assessing the effects of climate change on our rivers and taking creative management actions to head off the related dangers posed to our water supplies, hydroelectric power generation and ecosystems,” the Secretary said. “We are with you for the long haul to protect our region and its water.”…”
“Examining the Water Crisis and Climate Change : UUSC understands that there is a global water crisis, which is the product of shifting and competing political and economic interests, depletion from environmental contamination, climate change, over-extraction, and increasing human population. As a human-rights organization, UUSC recognizes the urgent need to respond. Climate justice is a central theme of UUSC’s Environmental Justice work. More people are losing their access to clean, affordable water in the United States and in other nations, and too often, the victims are people in low-income communities, women, and racial and ethnic minorities…”Advancing Africa, Be Prepared, Big Picture, Climate Change, Climate Chaos, Disturbing Trends, Eating & Drinking, Freshwater Stress, Global Singeing, Global Warming, Neverending Disaster, Science Rules, The Data, Water Wars agriculture, arable, crop, cropland, crops, drinking water, drought, famine, farming, Food Security, freshwater, freshwater stress, potable water, water
Posted on October 7th, 2010 1 comment
I can’t decide whether I’m inspired or concerned by this little film from Ellen MacArthur.
It seems to focus quite heavily on cars, and one of the collaborators is Renault.
It also talks a lot about electricity, and another one of the corporate names shown is National Grid.
And then it also talks a lot about waste, and the company that sponsored Ellen’s sail around the world was B&Q, the chain that spawned a thousand home makeovers.
None of these companies appear to want to follow the sustainability principles spelled out in the movie.
Is it just a little bit too high-brow to be talking of “closing the loop”, when most people in the world are simply concerned with finding their next meal or coasting towards their next pay cheque ?
Who is this video designed for ? What’s the intended audience and how are they being asked to respond to it ?
Tell me I’m wrong to be ever-so-slightly sceptical.Advancing Africa, Advertise Freely, Corporate Pressure, Design Matters, Disturbing Trends, Energy Change, Energy Revival, Fossilised Fuels, Low Carbon Life, Major Shift, Oil Change, Optimistic Generation, Peak Energy, Peak Oil, Public Relations, Renewable Resource, Resource Curse, Social Change, Solar Sunrise, Sustainable Deferment, Wasted Resource, Wind of Fortune close the loop, closing the loop, cradle to cradle, Dame Ellen MacArthur, design, design principles, design principles of sustainability, Ellen MacArthur, purchase, recycle, reduce, Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy is Sustainable Energy, reuse, Sustainability, Sustainable, Sustainable Energy
Posted on September 29th, 2010 No comments
In the orange light-filled advertising corner : the oil and gas companies proclaiming new, untold riches beneath the melting Arctic. Technology will make us stronger, less polluting and improve the lives of the countless poor.
In the blue chain-smoking activist corner : Climate Change and Peak Oil are really, really serious, destabilising and horrible and we should all get depressed and go and lie down in a darkened room for a while.
On the other hand, most people don’t fall in one camp or the other. We worry about Climate Change some days, but we’re too pre-occupied with trivia on other days.
We have a natural in-built “happy button”, according to recent research mentioned in New Scientist magazine, so we can’t sustain feelings of doom and gloom for too long unless we’re clinically unwell :-
We’re born to be sunny, optimistic (Teddy Miliband’s favourite word) and relaxed, only reserving adrenalin and noradrenalin for times of stress.
So why does George Marshall try to convince us that everyone is dangerously susceptible to “apocalyptic” language ?
People can cope with being given bad news as long as they have some strategy with which to combat the problem.
It’s not wrong to tell people the truth about Climate Change just in case they get scared and worried.
Alarm is a good thing – I’d rather a fellow pedestrian shouted at me to “look out !” if I’m about to be mown down by a car as I cross the street, rather than just watching on and wincing at the crunch moment.Advancing Africa, Bait & Switch, Be Prepared, Behaviour Changeling, Big Picture, Carbon Rationing, Climate Change, Climate Chaos, Disturbing Trends, Energy Change, Energy Revival, Fossilised Fuels, Global Warming, Incalculable Disaster, Low Carbon Life, Major Shift, Oil Change, Peak Energy, Peak Oil, Pet Peeves, Political Nightmare, Protest & Survive, Public Relations, Regulatory Ultimatum, Social Change, Stirring Stuff, Technological Sideshow, Voluntary Behaviour Change 9/11 conspiracy theory, Apocalypse, apocalyptic, chaos, CIA, Climate Change, destabilisation, destabilising, Ed Miliband, Edward Miliband, George Marshall, Global Warming, happy, James Lovelock, just this guy, Michael Ruppert, Mike Hulme, Mike Ruppert, natural high, naturally happy, naturally sunny, Optimism, optimistic, Peak Oil, Teddy Miliband
Posted on September 28th, 2010 1 comment
Really, it should have been Diane Abbott who was elected to lead the Labour Party of Great Britain. She’s forthright, outspoken, gives good telly, and shows us that the central political battleground is rather like a kindergarten of cloned, spoiled infants, all vying for, and whining over, needlessly, one brightly-coloured soft toy covered in lickspittle and Asian flu variants.
Why do the top politicians all have to wear standard office suits, I ask you, with monochromatic ties ? Why do they all have to have short hair and be shaved and male and white, or if not white, then hail from an ex-colony ? Is it that the rich dodderers who actually run the country from their slick, corporate lobbying offices feel more comfortable if there’s a white, beardless man at the helm ?
I can imagine it now, in spit-waxed, leather-armchair, illegally smoke-filled lounges, “Oh, that chap Ed Miliband – he’s one of us, don’t you know. Slightly exotic political family background, but he’s a proper gentleman, knows how to use a handkerchief when he catches a nasty cold, and wear cufflinks, and knew he should frown frostily, patronisingly, even perhaps slightly nauseatedly at Gordon Brown, the day he left office. Excellently phlegmatic – just what we need to serve the purposes of the country’s rich. Don’t listen to that blather about the unions, he isn’t red. Ed’s our man. He’s quite open to big industrial lobbying. We just need to get his party resurrected to power.”
Posted on September 18th, 2010 No comments
We learn from Caroline Spelman, care of Fiona Harvey, that Climate Change could be good for British farming :-
“Climate change could benefit UK farmers : By Fiona Harvey and George Parker : Published: September 17 2010 : Climate change and global food shortages could bring unexpected benefits for British farmers in the next two decades, ultimately relieving taxpayers of the burden of subsidising them, Caroline Spelman, environment secretary, has claimed. Ms Spelman said the UK was unlikely to suffer the severe water shortages that scientists predict will afflict other parts of the world, and that British farmers should be able to exploit greater demand for their produce…”
Note that the argument is not that Climate Change will create better conditions for growing food in the UK.
Instead, the logic is that because we live in North Western Europe, which will see less Climate Change than other parts of the world, our agricultural produce won’t be affected as badly as, say, Asia, so, suddenly British food production will have stronger commercial value as export.
That’s rather perverse, isn’t it ? Profiting at others’ expense never looked so…existential, so morally challenged.
I think that what will happen is that British food production will be increased in order to give it away, in the form of international disaster aid.
The Common Agricultural Policy could become the Crisis Agricultural Subsidy.
In a never-ending rolling disaster, the ethics of meeting basic human needs will surely take precedence over business competition.Advancing Africa, Climate Change, Eating & Drinking, Global Warming, Water Wars agriculture, Aid, Caroline Spelman, Climate Change, Common Agricultural Policy, crops, drinking, eating, Emergency Aid, FAO, Financial Times, Fiona Harvey, Food, Food and Agriculture Organisation, freshwater stress, FT, Global Warming, irrigation, produce, subsidy, United Nations, United Nations World Food Programme, water stress, WFP, World Food Programme
Posted on September 15th, 2010 No comments
People often talk about the weather in relation to Climate Change, but neglect to talk about the possible obvious and inevitable side-effects – hunger and starvation.
Frontline Club will screen the film “The Hunger Season” on 1st October 2010, and follow it with a panel discussion hosted by BOND and Oxfam UK :-
“Across the world a massive food crisis is unfolding. Climate change, increasing consumption in China and India, the dash for Biofuels are causing hitherto unimagined food shortages and rocketing prices. This has already provoked unrest and violence from the Middle East to South America and there is no end in sight in the coming months. The people who are going to be most sorely affected are those already living on the razors edge of poverty, those dependent on food aid for their very survival. As commodity prices have risen by 50%, the UN Agencies have barely half the budget they need to meet the needs of 73 million hungry people they are currently feeding…”
Biofuel targets may not be the only factor behind food price rises :-
“In The Great Hunger Lottery, the World Development Movement has compiled extensive evidence establishing the role of food commodity derivatives in destabilising and driving up food prices around the world. This in turn, has led to food prices becoming unaffordable for low-income families around the world, particularly in developing countries highly reliant on food imports. Nowhere was this more clearly seen than during the astonishing surge in staple food prices over the course of 2007-2008, when millions went hungry and food riots swept major cities around the world. The great hunger lottery shows how this alarming episode was fueled by the behaviour of financial speculators, and describes the terrible immediate impacts on vulnerable families around the world, as well as the long term damage to the fight against global poverty…”Advancing Africa, Advertise Freely, Climate Change, Eating & Drinking, Floodstorm, Food Insecurity, Freshwater Stress, Genetic Muddyfixation, Global Warming, Health Impacts, Incalculable Disaster, Neverending Disaster, Science Rules, Social Change, The Data ADM, Archer Daniels Midland, Bayer, Biodiesel, bioethanol, Biofuel, Biofuel targets, Biofuels, BOND, Cargill, climate transient, climate transients, Deforestation, drinking, drought, eating, El Nino, El Nino Southern Oscillation, ENSO, flood, Food, food market, food market speculation, food markets, food speculation, freshwater, Frontline Club, Genetic Modification, GM, GMO, Hunger, hungry, Kraft, La Nina, market speculation, Michael Tobis, Monsanto, Oxfam, Oxfam UK, Permaculture, smallholding, Syngenta, Transition Towns, WDM, wild weather, World Development Movement
Posted on September 14th, 2010 No comments
[ UPDATE : America might not actually, finally, do something – check the resistance dinosaurs. ]
We have waited long enough for serious action States-side on Global Warming.
The bankers (apparently largely Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan with lashings of Tony Blair) had their chance to talk up the idea of Carbon Trading. What a dead duck that turned out to be !
Carbon Taxation looks like it’s a non-starter with the global economy being a whisker from utter, utter, collapse.
The Clean Development Mechanism isn’t.
(Plus, the CDM hasn’t helped those it was principally promoted to help – Africa).
The global Biofuels targets are reducing rainforest to logpiles.
The Coal Kings have been pushing the idea of Carbon Capture and Storage for well over fifteen years and persuaded…no one.
The nightwalkers from the dark, radioactive side are still scaring people and luring them at the same time. If Iran wanting Nuclear Power was tricky enough, now Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait want it too, and I don’t expect the international dialogue tightrope act to get any easier.
The Congress and the Senate have seen filibuster and deal-breaking and lobbyist handshakes in dark corridors and reneging in bars.
But, at long last, it seems like Barack Obama is going to do what he hinted at, and regulate the bottom line out of Carbon Dioxide emissions, regardless of whether there’s any elected representatives passing bills :-Advancing Africa, Be Prepared, Burning Money, Carbon Capture, Carbon Commodities, Climate Change, Coal Hell, Corporate Pressure, Cost Effective, Emissions Impossible, Financiers of the Apocalypse, Global Warming, Marvellous Wonderful, Nuclear Nuisance, Nuclear Shambles, Obamawatch, Petrolheads, Political Nightmare, Regulatory Ultimatum, Technological Sideshow, Vote Loser America, Anthony Blair, Barack Obama, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, Envionmental Protection Agency, EPA, Formula 1, Formula One, Goldman Sachs, Iran, J P Morgan, Jeremy Clarkson, JP Morgan, Kuwait, Lisa Jackson, Obama, Saudi Arabia, The Pope, Tony Blair, UAE, United Arab Emirates, United States of America
Posted on September 8th, 2010 5 comments
Like my anti-hero, James Delingpole, I am going to make a capitalised comment : THIS IS SO ABOUT THE SCIENCE, JAMES DELINGPOLE :-
“I’m funny: official…the same tired old smears and inaccuracies. Sceptics are funded by Big Oil; they’re a weird, swivel-eyed minority; Climategate was “a storm in a tea cup” which did nothing to shake the underlying science; etc. Am I bothered? More weary than anything, for we have all heard these canards many, many times before (and no doubt will do again in some of the comments below), and I’m not sure it’s a game I can be bothered to play any more…The debate on CAGW, I’ve come to realise, is as futile as the one about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Which isn’t to say I don’t hugely respect the work done by the likes of Watts Up With That and Climate Audit and Bishop Hill to expose the flaws in the Warmist scientists’ dodgy theories. We need such indefatigable seekers-after-truth in this war but what we also need to realise is that this is never an argument that is going to be won on the science alone. That’s because the CAGW craze is and never was about the science, any more than the Eighties “Acid Rain” craze was about the science, or the Nineties BSE craze was about the science. They’re all just branches of political activism…THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE SCIENCE.”
Oh yes it is, Jems dear. It is 100%-a-mento about the Science. And it’s also about the de-Scientising of the Science.
Posted on September 4th, 2010 No comments
A nod in the direction of Michael Tobis, who alerted me to the fact that James “Jems” Delingpole has been attempting to think his way out of the development box again :-
James Delingpole recognises that Boris Johnson has decided to latch onto an easy picking :-
“…Lots of nice, sensible people will have agreed with him, I’m sure. It’s an easy political point to make: like being against chewing gum stuck on pavements or uncleaned up dog poo or boisterous, drunken youths in town centres or battery chickens or bear baiting. Of course we’d all like the world to be less populous…”
After all, those in the world who are busy reproducing are the poor, and it’s easy to promote the idea that they should show more responsibility in fecundity. Because they are over there, and we are over here. And telling other people what to do is always easier than changing ourselves.
Some people even go so far as to base their “overpopulation in developing countries” argument on the notion that all the poor people with their multitudes of poor children are deforesting the tropics for fuel wood – how terrible !
But really, the populous poor have a much smaller impact on the environment than the minority rich. And I’m talking general environmental terms, not just Climate Change.
But if you want to talk Global Warming, it’s the non-multiplying rich people who are causing the significant problem with their unrelenting Greenhouse Gas emissions. For example, the United States with only 400 million people, produces over 25% of global Greenhouse Gas emissions.Advancing Africa, Big Picture, Climate Change, Global Warming, Growth Paradigm, Low Carbon Life, Peace not War, Social Change, The Data, Unqualified Opinion Africa, Boris Johnson, development, economical with the dimensions, economical with the facts, economics, fertility, income, James Delingpole, Michael Tobis, multidimensional, one-dimensional, poor, poorer, Population, populous, raising incomes, rich, sub-Saharan Africa, The Population Question
Posted on September 4th, 2010 No comments
[ TED Talks : Flashback to 2005 ! Of course, one of the main problems with his “triage” suggestion is that Climate Change affects all the other problems in his prioritisation list, so even if they get solved once, they’ll need solving again… ]
Reports of Bjorn Lomborg’s conversion to the truth about Global Warming may be perilously exaggerated :-
“ I note with interest that Bjørn Lomborg has changed his mind on global warming. I also note that he has a book to sell.”
Beside a book, he is also touting a film :-
Has he really changed his tune ? Nope. :-
“…In an exclusive interview with FP’s Elizabeth Dickinson, Lomborg says his views haven’t budged an inch. Rather, he argues that the cap-and-trade approach of Kyoto Protocol fame has clearly failed, and it’s time to try a more creative approach — one that doesn’t involve wasting billions of dollars. “At some point,” he says, “we have to ask ourselves, do we just want to keep up the circus of promising stuff but not actually doing it?”…”
“Lomborg is not a responsible climate commentator.”Advancing Africa, Bait & Switch, Climate Change, Financiers of the Apocalypse, Global Warming, Social Change Bjoern Lomborg, Bjorn Lomborg, Cool It, delayer, denial, denier, Lomborg, obstructer, sceptic, Sceptical Environmentalist, skeptic, Skeptical Environmentalist, Smart Solutions to Climate Change
Posted on August 19th, 2010 No comments
Nick Clegg, the British Deputy Prime Minister says that the international response to the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan is “absolutely pitiful” :-
People won’t be moved. There’s no use hoping for an outpouring of charitable giving and energetic aid organisation – the world is suffering too many ongoing parallel disasters to be able to scramble effectively for this – the biggest ever (probably).
A similar situation exists with Climate Change policy, or rather the incredible inertia against taking the obvious first steps towards meaningful Carbon Dioxide emissions reductions.
People are too busy with their Facebook, their Twitter, their own personal financial nemeses (is that the plural of “nemesis”, really ?) to be able to form a coherent “movement”, as Bill McKibben, Al Gore and others wish us to mobilise into :-
“Why has extreme weather failed to heat up climate debate? The world is experiencing the hottest weather on record but politicians have failed to respond. They need a wake-up call…”Advancing Africa, Climate Change, Disturbing Trends, Energy Revival, Extreme Weather, Floodstorm, Global Singeing, Global Warming, Heatwave, Incalculable Disaster, Media, Neverending Disaster, Political Nightmare, Regulatory Ultimatum, Social Change Canada, China, how many countries do you need disasters in to say the Climate is Changing ?, Niger, Pakistan, Russia
Posted on August 15th, 2010 No comments
Of course, Pat Michaels is “right-wing”, but that’s not what I meant.
Some folk will be surprised that I agree with anything that Patrick Michaels says, as he is consistently inaccurate about the Science of Global Warming.
However, he is right that a Carbon Tax is the wrong way to proceed.
Carbon pricing, whether by direct taxation or by a trading scheme, effectively creates a double disincentive for change.
We have a large number of companies and organisations that are highly dependent on the use of Fossil Fuels. Carbon pricing will make these companies and organisations less financially efficient, and they will try anything they can to pass on the costs of Carbon to their consumers and clients, in order to remain profitable.
Carbon Taxation will therefore stimulate cost offsetting, but not Carbon reductions.
Moreover, if companies that make and sell energy are forced to pay for Carbon, they will have less funds available to deCarbonise their businesses; less capital to invest in new lower Carbon technologies.
Carbon Pricing will not alter the patterns of emissions significantly, if at all.
We have to face facts : the economists are largely wrong about environmental taxation. Record fines and levies demanded of Fossil Fuel companies in the last ten years have not stopped the spills, the leaks, the poisonings of waterways; nor have they helped the companies change course and start to develop Renewable Energies.
The pricing of large scale environmental pollution is a failed disincentive.Advancing Africa, Bait & Switch, Be Prepared, Big Picture, British Sea Power, Carbon Commodities, Climate Change, Corporate Pressure, Cost Effective, Emissions Impossible, Energy Revival, Environmental Howzat, Global Warming, Growth Paradigm, Low Carbon Life, Peak Energy, Regulatory Ultimatum, Renewable Resource, Science Rules, Social Change, Solar Sunrise, Toxic Hazard, Wind of Fortune, Zero Net Carbon Taxation, Carbon Trading, China, Climate Change, Climate Change Policy, CNN, coal, Economic Policy, economics, environmental economics, environmental pollution taxation, Environmental taxation, Fareed Zakaria, Gavin Schmidt, Global Warming, Green Investment, Jeff Sachs, Pat Michaels, policy, pollution taxation
Posted on August 7th, 2010 No comments
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has just held its regular half yearly conference to further the working parties of the Kyoto Protocol :-
A number of Press commentators have been critical of proceedings, indicating that there has not been much progress at Bonn, and in fact the conference could show some ground having been lost :-Advancing Africa, Big Picture, British Sea Power, Burning Money, Carbon Commodities, Carbon Rationing, China Syndrome, Climate Change, Contraction & Convergence, Cost Effective, Delay and Deny, Emissions Impossible, Energy Revival, Extreme Weather, Global Warming, Low Carbon Life, Political Nightmare, Regulatory Ultimatum, Renewable Resource, Social Change, Solar Sunrise, Utter Futility, Vain Hope, Wind of Fortune Aubrey Meyer, C & C, C&C, Christian Figueres, Contraction & Convergence, Contraction and Convergence, Economy, Energy, GCI, Global Commons Institute, Green Energy, Kyoto Protocol, M & A, M&A, Mitigation & Adaptation, Mitigation and Adaptation, Renewable Energy, UNFCCC, United Nations, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Posted on August 3rd, 2010 1 comment
20 June 2010
Linking Climate Change to Health
During the first few years of my childhood education, I used to walk to and from the school alongside the road that was originally the main highway between London and Cambridge, England.
At that time, the density of cars in that part of town rose dramatically, as did the number of vehicles idling in long traffic jams, and I remember just how much of an impact it had on the air quality, particularly in summer.
This was despite the fact that the road was flanked by a large number of trees, areas of grass and bushes, and even ponds.
My recollection is that what had originally been a pleasant walking route became unbearable and toxic.
One day, I hope that the internal combustion engine is virtually outlawed, so that urban people can start to get some clean air.
At a recent UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) conference, the Claverton Energy Research Group invited Dr Mark A. Delucchi of the University of California at Davis to speak on the “Transportation in a World Based 100% on Wind, Water and Solar Power”, a piece of work that he did in collaboration with Professor Mark Z. Jacobson at Stanford University :-
This chart from the presentation gives a comparison between BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) with the electricity coming from a variety of sources; against internal combustion engine vehicles, either running on two kinds of BioEthanol (E85) or standard Gasoline.Advancing Africa, Climate Change, Emissions Impossible, Energy Revival, Global Warming, Health Impacts, Low Carbon Life, Regulatory Ultimatum, Science Rules, Social Change, The Data, Toxic Hazard baby steps, Black Carbon, Christiana Figueres, Mark Delucchi, Mark Jacobson, Stacy Jackson, Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Davis, UNFCCC
Posted on July 30th, 2010 No comments
Reflecting further on a PNAS paper by a group of authors that includes Professors Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow leads me to suspect that elements of its proposed policy framework are unworkable and may have unintended unethical consequences :-
It also leads me to conclude that research partly financed by Oil and Gas companies may be part of the Climate Change policy problem – how to reach global agreement on a way forward.
“Sharing global CO2 emission reductions among one billion high emitters”, by Shoibal Chakravarty, Ananth Chikkatur, Heleen de Coninck, Stephen Pacala, Robert Socolow and Massimo Tavoni, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Volume 106, Number 29, 21st July 2009.Advancing Africa, Big Picture, Carbon Commodities, Carbon Rationing, China Syndrome, Climate Change, Contraction & Convergence, Corporate Pressure, Divide & Rule, Emissions Impossible, Global Warming, Low Carbon Life, Regulatory Ultimatum BP, C & C, C&C, Carbon Emissions Reductions, Contraction and Convergence, GCI, Global Commons Institute, Oil and Gas, oil and gas company, one billion high emitters, Princeton, Robert Socolow, Shell, Stephen Pacala
Posted on July 25th, 2010 2 comments
[ Image Credit : ©2009 Aubrey Meyer, Global Commons Institute. “Contraction & Convergence”, “C&C” are Trademarks of GCI, http://www.gci.org.uk. Full presentation here or here. See NOTE at end of post for accompanying text. ]
Christian Aid, Oxfam and a wide range of Non-Governmental Organisations have all taken the easy route and outsourced their Climate Change policy work, adopting a proposal for a Global Carbon Framework that will never, ever see the light of day.
I’m talking about Greenhouse Development Rights, a position reasoned by EcoEquity‘s Paul Baer and Tom Athanasiou, which has a less than zero chance of being signed up to by major industrialised governments.
And that’s what makes it wrong.Advancing Africa, Climate Change, Contraction & Convergence, Emissions Impossible, Global Warming, Low Carbon Life, Political Nightmare Aubrey Meyer, C & C, C&C, Christian Aid, Contraction & Convergence, Contraction and Convergence, EcoEquity, GDRs, Greenhouse Development Rights, Oxfam, Paul Baer, Tom Athanasiou
Posted on July 24th, 2010 No comments
In an unguarded moment, I allowed myself to watch television, and found myself watching this campaign advertisement from Oxfam.
The first thing I felt was empathy with the unhappy woman shown in the opening sequence, as the narrator told us that her baby had just been washed away by floodwaters. How dreadful for her. How awful for her child.
The second thing I thought was how shocking it was for an aid and development agency to use this person’s grief as a marketing tool.
The third thing I thought was to ask myself why the makers of the appeal didn’t mention the aggravation to the environment caused by Climate Change, but instead just refered to “more people than ever are dying because of floods, drought and lack of clean water”.Advancing Africa, Advertise Freely, Climate Change, Disturbing Trends, Environmental Howzat, Extreme Weather, Global Singeing, Global Warming, Health Impacts, Peace not War, Political Nightmare, Protest & Survive, Social Change, Unutterably Useless, Utter Futility Aid, aid and development, Appeal, development, emergency, Emergency Aid, Millenium Development Goals, Natural Disaster, NGO, Non-Governmental Organisation, Oxfam, Urgent Appeal
Posted on July 24th, 2010 No comments
File under : “That’s never going to ever happen if the United States of America have anything at all to do with it”.
The illustrious German Advisory Council on Global Change, the WBGU, or “Wissenschaftliche Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveraenderungen” in longhand, have done some excellent work on proposals for a global Carbon framework.
As part of their 2009 paper entitled in English “Solving the climate dilemma: The budget approach” they came to some useful conclusions, but also some startlingly unworkable recommendations :-Advancing Africa, Big Picture, Burning Money, Carbon Commodities, Carbon Rationing, Climate Change, Contraction & Convergence, Emissions Impossible, Global Warming, Growth Paradigm, Low Carbon Life, Political Nightmare, Realistic Models, Regulatory Ultimatum, Vain Hope America, Aubrey Meyer, C & C, C&C, Carbon Markets, Carbon Trading, CERs, Certified Emissions Reductions, Clean Development Mechanism, Climate Change, Contraction & Convergence, Contraction and Convergence, Copenhagen Accord, emissions rights, equity, ethical, ethical argument, ethics, GCI, GDRs, Global Commons Institute, Global Warming, grandfathering, Greenhouse Development Rights, immoral, Kyoto Protocol, moral, moral argument, morality, morals, UN, UNFCCC, United Nations, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, United States of America, USA, WBGU
Posted on July 23rd, 2010 No comments
Who could have guessed that my previous post would not be the final word on “The Population Question” ?
As anybody who has ever looked at this question and its surrounding myths will know, there is layer upon layer of mis-fact, swirl around swirl of supposition and conjecture on the topic of human-to-land density in the imaginings of the newspaper-reading populace.Advancing Africa, Bad Science, Bait & Switch, Be Prepared, Climate Change, Divide & Rule, Eating & Drinking, Emissions Impossible, Environmental Howzat, Extreme Weather, Global Singeing, Global Warming, Growth Paradigm, Health Impacts, The Data, Unqualified Opinion Climate Change, crop failure, Extreme Weather, Food, Food & Water, Food and Water, Food Security, Food Stress, Global Warming, Growth, Human Population, Human Population Growth, Population, water stress
Posted on July 22nd, 2010 No comments
Over the last ten years, I have attended many public meetings centred on the topic of Climate Change. In my experience, at any one event there will usually be (a) the town madhatter (well-loved, but completely batty), (b) a court jester (the only person in the room who finds the court jester witty) and (c) somebody who deliberately asks or poses what I call “the population question”.
The basic premise of this question is – since the world’s population is rising exponentially, we’re not going to be able to prevent Climate Change unless we force the people in Asia or Africa to stop procreating. Why, already, China’s Greenhouse Gas emissions are already larger than America’s ! And on the back of the diagnosis that the population explosion will ruin our chances of Climate stability, the logical conclusion is that it is pointless for people in the Western industrialised countries to reduce their energy and fuel use, as our emissions aren’t very significant compared to those of Asia.Advancing Africa, Bad Science, Big Picture, China Syndrome, Climate Change, Divide & Rule, Emissions Impossible, Global Warming, Growth Paradigm, Low Carbon Life, Media, Political Nightmare, Science Rules, Social Change, The Data, Unqualified Opinion Climate Change, ecology, Global Warming, Paul Ehrlich, Population, Population Question, The Population Bomb, The Population Explosion, The Population Question