Homo Disruptus

Image Credit : FerdiEgb

Some straight-talking in the New Zealand Parliament (see below). But just what does he mean by “…[a]fter 10 millennia, especially the past two centuries, it is the moment of truth” ?

Our species is not “Home Sapiens”, it is “Homo Disruptus” and we’ve been interfering with the Climate for about 10,000 years.

This speech was made by [Green] Dr Kennedy Graham in the New Zealand
Parliament within in the last few hours.

To send him some appreciation his address is: –
kennedy.graham [at] parliament.govt.nz

C&C on the growing record: –
http://www.gci.org.uk/endorsements.html


“As the Minister made clear recently in question time, the state of play
is the Copenhagen Accord, with voluntary commitments to national cuts.
These are demonstrably inadequate to the science-based judgment of what
is required to avert failure, but we pretend that it is a useful start
to greater things. We are told that global emissions must peak within
about 7 years, and we know that the Accord is way short of achieving
that, so we mumble about bigger cuts later and avoid looking into our
children’s eyes.”

“Let us address some facts. To achieve a 2 degrees Celsius threshold, we
must reduce our global carbon budget from 50 gigatonnes today to 36 by
2020, and seven by 2050. The rich countries must cut from about 40 today
to 11 by 2020 and one by 2050. That is correct: we in the rich world
must emit only one gigatonne in 2050, out of the seven emitted by the
world that year. It is called contraction and convergence, and it is the
only way humanity will successfully deal with climate change. That is
when our moral and political standards will merge at the global level.”

http://www.greens.org.nz/speeches/un-climate-change-negotiations-cancun-and-new-zealand-dr-kennedy-graham

“I rise to address the issue of climate change and this Government’s
failure to develop adequate national policy to combat it. Climate change
has slipped below the threshold of daily media focus and that is the way
that this Government seems to want it.”

“The failure at Copenhagen to tackle the global threat head on has sent
the international community into a state of collective catatonia. We see
this in the lack of leadership from the UN itself, in the actions of
national Governments around the world, and in the attitude of much of
the public around the world. The problem we have is that Nature is not
disposed to wait for humanity to iron itself out morally and get its
political act together.”

“The poor countries rail against us for historical responsibility and
insufficient reduction targets. The rich countries fear the projected
population growth among the poor and insist that they enter binding
commitments before we sign on to medium-term cuts.”

“Humanity probably faces only two global threats: immolation through
nuclear conflict, or suffocation through global warming. The first is
the product of traditional enmity; the enemy was the other tribe or the
other nation. Climate change is the product of a new enemy: it is us.”

“We try to cut nuclear arsenals by changing the enemy’s behaviour; we are
required to cut carbon emissions by changing our own behaviour. It is no
surprise that we are not succeeding. Most Governments lack the political
courage to convey the magnitude of the climate change threat to their
peoples, and they lack the political insight to prescribe the required
global and national policies that are necessary.”

“Before, during, and since Copenhagen the threat of serious unpredictable
climate change has grown. Our scientists do not know when non-linear
change might occur, but they warn that tipping points exist. If the
precautionary principle is to mean anything, we must all move with
speedy purpose and resolve. Translated politically, that means we must
act not as an international community of states, but as a global
community of peoples who are represented by Governments. If the
difference seems vanishingly small, then we do well to act on it none
the less, lest our prospects of survival prove to be the same.”

“Our professional negotiators are rearranging the deckchairs,
contemplating whether we shall have one or two legal agreements, and
whether it will be next year or 3 or 10 years from now. Our political
leaders dampen our expectations with appeals to realism. We all suffer
from cognitive dissonance. Every so often we see the magnitude and
imminence of the threat, and it is simply too frightening to accept
individually and politically, so we basically return to business and
government as usual.”

“As the Minister made clear recently in question time, the state of play
is the Copenhagen Accord, with voluntary commitments to national cuts.
These are demonstrably inadequate to the science-based judgment of what
is required to avert failure, but we pretend that it is a useful start
to greater things. We are told that global emissions must peak within
about 7 years, and we know that the Accord is way short of achieving
that, so we mumble about bigger cuts later and avoid looking into our
children’s eyes.”

“Let us address some facts. To achieve a 2 degrees Celsius threshold, we
must reduce our global carbon budget from 50 gigatonnes today to 36 by
2020, and seven by 2050. The rich countries must cut from about 40 today
to 11 by 2020 and one by 2050. That is correct: we in the rich world
must emit only one gigatonne in 2050, out of the seven emitted by the
world that year. It is called contraction and convergence, and it is the
only way humanity will successfully deal with climate change. That is
when our moral and political standards will merge at the global level.”

“After 10 millennia, especially the past two centuries, it is the moment
of truth. For our part, New Zealand has to agree through treaty or by
voluntary declaration in advance to cut our national emissions
proportionately. That means we must cut from 78 million tonnes today to
56 million tonnes in 2020, down to 1.6 million in 2050.”

“That is the scale of the challenge before New Zealand. It is as well
that we face up to it now, not when it is too late.”



Christiana Figueres : The Elusive Saucepan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWsQscb6lfM

http://unfccc.int/files/press/news_room/application/pdf/100806_speaking_notes.pdf

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 :-

http://unfccc.int
http://unfccc.int/2860.php

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 :-

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c9213b40-a180-11df-9656-00144feabdc0.html

Continue reading Christiana Figueres : The Elusive Saucepan

Greenhouse Development Wrongs

[ 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.

Continue reading Greenhouse Development Wrongs

WBGU : Equity, Today : Agreement, Never

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 :-

http://www.wbgu.de/wbgu_sn2009_en.pdf
http://www.wbgu.de/wbgu_sn2009_en.html

Continue reading WBGU : Equity, Today : Agreement, Never

The Price of Carbon

The Price of Carbon

by Jo Abbess
20 April 2010

1.   Introduction

Policy strategy for controlling risky excess atmospheric greenhouse gas (Gowdy, 2008, Sect. 4; McKibben, 2007, Ch. 1, pp. 19-20; Solomon et al., 2009; Tickell, 2008, Ch. 6, pp. 205-208) mostly derives from the notion that carbon dioxide emissions should be charged for, in order to prevent future emissions; similar to treatment for environmental pollutants (Giddens, 2009, Ch. 6, pp. 149-155; Gore, 2009, Ch. 15 “The True Cost of Carbon”; Pigou, 1932; Tickell, 2008, Ch.4, Box 4.1, pp. 112-116). Underscoring this idea is the evidence that fines, taxes and fees modify behaviour, reigning in the marginal social cost of “externalities” through financial disincentive (Baumol, 1972; Sandmo, 2009; Tol, 2008). However this approach may not enable the high-value, long-term investment required for decarbonisation, which needs adjustments to the economy at scale (CAT, 2010; Hepburn and Stern, 2008, pp. 39-40, Sect. (ii) “The Consequences of Non-marginality”; MacKay, 2008, Ch. 19; Tickell, 2008, Ch. 2, pp. 40-41). Continue reading The Price of Carbon

Contraction & Convergence : Agreeable, Workable, Ethical

This week, the campaigning organisation Friends of the Earth took the bold step of publishing their critical negative analysis of Carbon Trading. It is clear that money, alone, cannot buy you Carbon Emissions reductions, and as we come up to Copenhagen, it is essential that we reach beyond the ifs, buts, greys and muted tones to a framework that can be made to work, agreeable to all : Contraction & Convergence from the Global Commons Institute :-

http://www.gci.org.uk/contconv/cc.html

Continue reading Contraction & Convergence : Agreeable, Workable, Ethical

The Architect of Contraction & Convergence advises…

[ UPDATE : For increased clarity, I have bolded a little update. ]

After I posted my report on Peak Oil :-

http://www.joabbess.com/2009/05/26/peak-oil-contraction-the-truth-is-out-there

I e-mailed Aubrey Meyer asking for his opinion. Within the hour my telephone start vibrating annoyingly, and it was Aubrey Meyer himself on the line, the architect of the Contraction and Convergence framework, with his usual, welcome, non-stop advice and guidance about where the policymakers are at, or not. I’d only anticipated an e-mail in reply, so it was a veritable honour to get a voice-to-voice. He’s normally too busy dispatching political stupidity to call little old me.
Continue reading The Architect of Contraction & Convergence advises…

Money Can’t Buy You Carbon Control

In all the flurry of debate about how to control Carbon Emissions, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the goal : Carbon Control.

If we are to “keep our eyes on the prize”, we really need to check how we’re doing and where we are from time to time.

It’s no good submitting to the Uncertainty Principle.

If controlling Carbon is absolutely essential, we can’t put our efforts into policies that have fuzzy outcomes.
Continue reading Money Can’t Buy You Carbon Control