Pakistan : Inundation Nation

[ UPDATE : Don’t tell me. I know the images are mostly from India, but the music is Punjabi… ]

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=32170&Cat=6&dt=2/21/2011

“Draft of national climate change policy finalised : Noor Aftab : Monday, February 21, 2011 : Islamabad : The draft of National Climate Change Policy has been finalised after two years of deliberations and now the Environment Ministry would present it to the federal cabinet for final approval, the sources told The News here on Sunday. The sources said the recommendations in the draft would certainly test the government’s commitment as it has been proposed to go for alternative energy resources instead of using fossil fuel, considered one of the major reasons for environmental degradation. The sources said the draft recommendations prepared by a core group of the Environment Ministry mainly focuses on two areas including adaptation and mitigation with an aim to enable the country to cope with fast increasing environmental challenges. One of the top officials of the Environment Ministry told this correspondent that continuity of casual approach towards environmental sector has now made economic managers and policy makers feel the heat as environmental degradation has started costing five per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in Pakistan…”

“Sunday, February 20, 2011 : UK to keep helping Pakistan’s flood victims: Sayeeda Warsi : LAHORE: Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a British cabinet minister of Pakistani-origin, said on Saturday that the United Kingdom would continue supporting Pakistan in the post-flood operations. “Today I have been heartened to see and hear how the UK is helping millions of people in Pakistan rebuild their lives, but there is much more to do, with widespread malnutrition and the risk of disease outbreaks,” Warsi said while talking to reporters in Islamabad. The primary purpose of Warsi’s visit to Pakistan is to learn how the country is recovering, what more needs to be done, and to see how more than Rs 27.7 billion from British people is supporting the flood victims. “When I was here exactly six months ago in August at the peak of the floods with the UK International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell I saw scenes of devastation,” the British lawmaker recalled. She said that some areas of Sindh were still under water, adding that reconstruction of millions of houses, bridges and schools that were destroyed would take years…”

Breadline Cairo : Democracy’s Challenge

Well, Mubarak’s made an exit – and real Egyptian democracy can begin – as long as the army don’t get crowd control ideas above their station and the old elites don’t interfere with the process of free and fair elections.

But democracy is not going to solve the problem of the price of bread.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20082-can-complexity-theory-explain-egypts-crisis.html
http://climateprogress.org/2011/02/09/un-food-agency-severe-drought-threatens-wheat-crop-china-food-security/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2011/jan/28/climate-change-food-bubble
http://climateprogress.org/2011/02/07/economist-krugman-high-cost-of-food-extreme-weather-climate-change-tunisia-egypt/
http://climateprogress.org/2011/02/04/contribution-of-high-food-prices-to-mideast-unrest/

Climate Change plays a part in creating scarcity and irregularity in crop production :-

http://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde/latest.pdf

But it’s what happens next that’s the killer :-

http://www.wdm.org.uk/stop-bankers-betting-food/what-problem

“Food Speculation : What is the problem? : Banks, hedge funds and pension funds are betting on food prices in the financial markets, causing drastic price swings in staple foods such as wheat, maize and soy…”

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-how-goldman-gambled-on-starvation-2016088.html

“By now, you probably think your opinion of Goldman Sachs and its swarm of Wall Street allies has rock-bottomed at raw loathing. You’re wrong. There’s more. It turns out that the most destructive of all their recent acts has barely been discussed at all. Here’s the rest. This is the story of how some of the richest people in the world – Goldman, Deutsche Bank, the traders at Merrill Lynch, and more – have caused the starvation of some of the poorest people in the world. It starts with an apparent mystery. At the end of 2006, food prices across the world started to rise, suddenly and stratospherically. Within a year, the price of wheat had shot up by 80 per cent, maize by 90 per cent, rice by 320 per cent. In a global jolt of hunger, 200 million people – mostly children – couldn’t afford to get food any more, and sank into malnutrition or starvation. There were riots in more than 30 countries, and at least one government was violently overthrown. Then, in spring 2008, prices just as mysteriously fell back to their previous level…”

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/lifestyle/article-23921754-the-men-who-ate-the-world-why-foodstuffs-have-shot-up-in-price.do

“The hedge fund guy sitting beside me was asked about his next plan for global domination. He’d done houses and gold – what was the new new thing? “Food,” he said between mouthfuls of lobster. “We’re piling into food. Weather’s getting weird, so there’ll be crop failures. There won’t be enough to go around.”…”

Many blessings for your newly-born democracy, Egypt, and we hope you can win the fight to secure affordable food, too.

The True Cost of Coal

Image Credit : Amelia Gregory

London Rising Tide presents…The Beehive Design Collective’s – ‘The True Cost of Coal’

DATE – Thursday 10th Feb, 2011
TIME – 7.30pm – late – with refreshments after the presentation
LOCATION – London Action Resource Centre : 62 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel, London, E1 1ES

‘The True Cost of Coal’ will take you on an interactive visual tour of the connections between coal mining, climate change, the ever-expanding capitalist economy, and the struggle for justice in local communities affected by the coal industry around the world.

‘The True Cost of Coal’ is a recently completed project by the Beehive Collective (part of the Rising Tide North America Collective), who create portable murals of collaboratively produced illustrations that tell an engaging and disturbing story.

Learn how the artwork is created by the collective and how they use their posters to run community workshop and for storytelling. The True Cost of Coal poster they have produced is quite staggering – check it out at :-

http://www.beehivecollective.org/english/coal.htm

Their visually stunning, large scale Black + White graphics depict social justice and raising ecological consciousness in an unusual and highly creative way.

Come along to find out more at LARC, 7.30pm, Thurs 10th Feb.

For more information on London Rising Tide :-
http://www.londonrisingtide.org.uk

London Rising Tide
c/o 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Telephone: 07708 794665

http://www.facebook.com/people/Rising-Tide-UK/515246801

Please share your art with the Art Not Oil project :-
http://www.artnotoil.org.uk

See also the Camp for Climate Action site :-
http://www.climatecamp.org.uk
http://www.networkforclimateaction.org.uk

Climate Indymedia :-
http://climateimc.org

Indymedia London :-
http://london.indymedia.org/

Image Credit : Minimouse

Who Planned Pipeline Attack ?

[ 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.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5huw-ts1Q5jlhNQ2IOUlli6gjl5gw?docId=CNG.36fe9f8bbc762c3ed9f469e5f80934c5.8f1

“Saboteurs attack Egypt gas pipeline to Jordan”

http://af.reuters.com/article/investingNews/idAFJOE71407020110205

“Jordan gas supplies to be halted a week after blast”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704843304576125510103424894.html

“Egypt Gas Pipeline Attacked”

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/02/05/egypt.pipeline/?hpt=T2

“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….”

Australia : Inundation Nation (2)

The key question tonight in Queensland is : how safe can we make the house before morning ?

The second key question that should tonight be asked in Queensland Australia is : are the damages from Climate Change likely to be more expensive than changing our energy sources to stop it ?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12294834

“27 January 2011 : Australia floods: PM Julia Gillard unveils new tax : Julia Gillard announces the details of the new tax : Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a new tax to help pay for devastating floods that she says will cost A$5.6bn ($5.6bn; £3.5bn) in reconstruction. Ms Gillard said the 12-month tax, starting from 1 July, would be levied on those earning A$50,000 or more, and those affected by floods would not pay. “We should not put off to tomorrow what we are able to do today,” she said…”

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/gillard-warms-to-permanent-disaster-fund-20110131-1ab4z.html

“Gillard warms to permanent disaster fund : Phillip Coorey : February 1, 2011 : THE Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, is prepared to entertain the idea of a permanent natural disaster fund if it helps win the support of key independents in both houses. But she is not prepared to bend on the details of her one-off $1.8 billion levy to help with flood reparations in Queensland. As negotiations began with independents yesterday before the legislation for the flood measures is tabled in Parliament next week, Ms Gillard would not rule out a permanent fund. ”We’re happy to have a conversation about the longer term,” she said. But the floods, she said, were ”an extraordinary circumstance which requires a response in the short term”…”

Cancun Day #1 : “Tapestry of Compromise”

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 :-

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ca6a3e58-fbe8-11df-b7e9-00144feab49a.html?ftcamp=rss#axzz16i2D3k1V

“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 :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/28/david-cameron-climate-change-cancun

“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 ?

http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/tags/redd

Plus, it could become a vehicle to justify the continued existence of the oil and gas industry :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/nov/28/redd-forest-protection-banks-oil

“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.

Met Office Reports : Media Opinion Differs

Image Credit : Hobos 4 Life

Oo, it’s so hard knowing which version of reality to plump for, if you have to judge by the headlines alone.

These articles were published on the same day, based on the same report from the Meteorological Office, in different high quality newspapers :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/nov/26/global-warming-met-office

“World is warming quicker than thought in past decade, says Met Office : Report comes as scientists predict 2010 could be hottest year on record : Damian Carrington, The Guardian, Friday 26 November 2010 : The world warmed more rapidly than previously thought over the past decade, according to a Met Office report published today, which finds the evidence for man-made climate change has grown even stronger over the last year…”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/8159991/Global-warming-has-slowed-because-of-pollution.html

“Global warming has slowed because of pollution : Global warming has slowed in the last decade, according to the Met Office, as the world pumps out so much pollution it is reflecting the sun’s rays and causing a cooling effect. By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent, 26 Nov 2010 : The latest figures from more than 20 scientific institutions around the world show that global temperatures are higher than ever. However the gradual rise in temperatures over the last 30 years is slowing slightly. Global warming since the 1970s has been 0.16C (0.3F) but the rise in the last decade was just 0.05C (0.09F), according to the Met Office. Sceptics claim this as evidence man made global warming is a myth…”

I think I’ll go with Damian Carrington’s version, because at least he mentions more than one possible reason for why Global Warming hasn’t been accelerating as much in the last decade as the ones immediately prior.

Despite the slow down in acceleration, the temperatures are still rising, so there’s no need to use the word “cooling” in Louise Gray’s sub-heading.

And there’s no reason at all for Louise to mention the anti-science so-called “sceptics”, who are actually deniers. They would deny the Moon was made of rock, if they could manipulate the tiniest piece of evidence, or twist the most innocent of words, to make it appear that there were uncertainties about the exact composition of the samples taken from Earth’s satellite by the NASA astronauts.

There is still an outside probability that the Moon could be made of cheese, folks, according to the type of argument put forward by the sceptic-deniers.

But as we all know, that’s impossible, because the Moon landings were faked, and in fact, the Moon is only painted onto the sky dome, as it isn’t actually there any more as it was removed during an undocumented altercation between nuclear states some time in the 1990s.

Ethical Investment

I met several people in the finance-with-conscience crowd the other week, when I went for a spot of champers and Marmite soldiers at the House of Commons for National Ethical Investment Week.

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… Continue reading Ethical Investment

The Year of Unceasing Rain (4)

Irony alert ? “Typhoons ? They happen all the time. It’s just a little local storm. Nothing to worry about. Happens every season or so. The locals know how to read the warning signs, and head to high ground or build their huts on stilts. Power lines down ? Oh, they’ll be strung back up in no time. And the rice paddies will benefit from all that extra rain.”

Watch out China – here comes Megi :-

The Messiah : With Us

The Messiah, the Mashiach, the Maitreya, the Mahdi, the returning Krishna or Christ, whatever you call him, a lot of people are waiting for The One, who will lead us out of darkness and trouble, and rule and guide.

Some mock this as hope deferred, or a narrative that laments how bad our times are, and how things could be better, if only God or his Prophet would intervene. Can we rescue the situation without divine intervention ?

Will the Blessed, Anointed One (re)appear on television ? The Revelation of St John (1:7) says, “Look ! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him – even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes ! Amen !”

But what if the Messiah is already with us – somehow present but hidden from normal sight, yet there in everything that we experience ? Does he have a spiritual corporeality ? Is he guiding us in how we think, what we say, write, pray for, work for ?

Many philosophers and religious people are turning their thoughts to issues of Climate Change, in a movement of great unity, despite their spiritual differences, political and ideological differences, and a wide range of views on how best to resist the evils of the world.

If the latest recording purporting to be from Osama bin Laden is genuine, it is clear his concern is turning towards Climate Change, asking the global Muslim community to save the people of Pakistan from the dreadful catastrophe of inundation aggravated by Global Warming trends.

Osama bin Laden is not a saint, but his heart is turned towards the suffering of others, so he too has been touched by the spiritual Messiah, the ever-present Holy One of God.

How to do the work of the Lord, who has power in gentleness and patience, and who is mighty, yet only touches the Earth with warming sunlight ? How to be the eyes, hands and feet of the Spirit of Life ?

The more people desire to do the will of God (or the Demands of Ethics) the more chasms we can bridge between our faiths and our economic beliefs and our technology choices.

Climate Change is an amazing opportunity to rise above the chaos and conflict of centuries and work together for the common good.

We don’t need to see the Messiah to know he is with us.

Wind Power : Material Fatigues

Image Credit : Cape Cod Living

James Delingpole follows in a long line of commentators with zero engineering experience in pouring scorn on a technology that could quite possibly save our skins :-

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100056158/wind-farms-yet-another-brewing-disaster/

I don’t know what he harbours in his heart against wonderful wind turbines, but he seems to be part of a movement who delight in their failure. Just ask the Internet to show you “exploding wind turbines”.

For example :-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKkTUY2slYQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nSB1SdVHqQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkGXoE3RFZ8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOfHxINzGeo

Clearly, you need to be in full protective fatigues when battling this kind of bad press…in fact “fatigue” is exactly the right word to come back at Mr Delingpole’s cracked warning (of cracks in wind turbine bases).

Continue reading Wind Power : Material Fatigues

And Now For Something Completely Different

[ WAIT FOR IT… a video will appear shortly in the space below…if not, reload the page, will you ? ]

http://www.crudeawakening.org.uk/

Just what are they brewing ?

Continue reading And Now For Something Completely Different