|The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change calls nations to attend regular gatherings of the signatories to the ratified convention – the Conference of the Parties.
The nations send delegations – hardly ever sending their premiers, presidents and primes. What bargaining powers do these delegations have ? They have the authority to offer small percentages in emissions reductions, just to show willing. They have the mandate to refuse policies their nations do not like.
|The language is framed around energy consumption – most country delegations have been advised by their economists that increased efficiency in the use of energy means that the national energy use will decrease. O wondrous technology ! You allow us to cut our energy use – and therefore our carbon intensity.
These same economists advise that the Holy Ghost of Innovation will inspire Research and Development – which will mean that new technologies will curtail greenhouse gas emissions. We only have to invest in new engineering. This Cult of the New is the fable on which most advanced nations hang their hope.
|People working for non-governmental, and governmental, organisations can be rather defensive when I criticise the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or UNFCCC. What ? I don’t back the international process ? Climate change, after all, is a borderless crime, and will take global policing. Well, I back negotiations for a global treaty in principle, but not in practice.|
The annual wearisome jousting and filibustering events just before Christmas do not constitute for me a healthy, realistic programme of engagement, imbued with the full authority and support of global leadership structures and civil society. People can try to spin it and claim success, but that’s just whitewash on an ungildable tomb.
The Climate Change talks that have just taken place in Durban, South Africa, were exemplary of a peculiar kind of collective madness that has resulted from trying to navigate and massage endless special interests, national jostling, brinkmanship, unworkable and inappropriate proposals from economists, communications failures and corporate interference in governance.
The right people with real decisionmaking powers are not at the negotiating table. The organisations with most to contribute are still acting in opposition – that’s the energy industry, to be explicit. And the individual national governments are still not concerned enough about climate change, even though it impacts strongly on the things they do consider to be priorities – economic health, trade and political superiority.
Over 20 years ago, the debate on what to do to tackle global warming and still maintain good international relations was already won, by the commonsense approach of Contraction and Convergence – fair shares for all. Each country should count on their fair share of carbon emissions based on their population – and we would get there by starting from where we are now and agreeing mutual cuts. The big emitters would agree to steeper cuts than the lower emitters – and after some time, everybody in the world would have the same, safe emissions rights.
What has prevented this logical approach from being implemented ? Well, we have had the so-called “flexible mechanisms” pushed on us – such as the Clean Development Mechanism which essentially boils down to the idea that the richer high-emitting countries can offset their carbon by paying for poorer low emissions countries to cut their carbon instead. Some have been attempting to make the CDM carbon credits into a commercial product for the Carbon Trading market. Some may contest it, but the CDM and carbon trading haven’t really been working very well, and anyway, the CDM doesn’t aim for emissions reductions, just offsets.
Other carbon trade has been implemented, such as the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), which doesn’t appear to have caused high emissions industries to diversify out of carbon, or created a viable price for carbon dioxide, so its usefulness is questionable.
Many people have put forward the idea of straight carbon pricing, mostly by taxation. The trouble with this idea should be obvious, but rarely is. Over four-fifths of the world’s energy is fossil fuel based. Taxing carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels would just make everything, everywhere, more expensive. It wouldn’t necessarily create new lower carbon energy resources, as the taxes would probably be put into a giant climate change adaptation fund – a financial institution proposed by several people including Oliver Tickell and Nicholas Stern, although in Stern’s case, he is calling for direct grants from countries to keep the fund topped up.
On the policy front, there has been a continuing, futile attempt to force the historially high-emitting countries to accept very radical carbon cuts, as a sign of accountability. This “grandfathering” of emissions responsibilities is something that no sane person in government in the richer nations could ever agree with, not even when being smothered with ethical guilt. One of the forms of this proposal is “Greenhouse Development Rights“, essentially allowing countries like China to continue growing their emissions in order to grow their economies to guarantee development. The emissions cuts required by countries like the United States of America would be impossible to achieve, not even if their economy completely toppled.
Sadly, a number of charities, aid and development agencies and other non-governmental organisations with concern for the world’s poor, have signed up to Greenhouse Development Rights not realising it is completely untenable.
The only approach that can work, that both high- and low-emitting countries can ever possibly be made to agree on, is a system of population-proportional shares of the global carbon pie. And the way to get there has to be based on relative current emissions, ignoring the emissions of the past – your cuts should be larger if your current emissions are large. And it should be based on the relative size of the population, and their individual emissions rates, rather than taking a country as a whole. Yes, there will be room for a little carbon trade between nations, to enable the transfer of low carbon technologies from wealthy nations to un-resourced nations. Yes, there will be space for enterprise, as corporations have to face regulation to cut emissions, and will need innovation in technology to divest themselves of fossil fuel production and consumption.
This is Contraction and Convergence – and you ignore it at our peril.
A few suggestions for further reading :-
“Contraction and Convergence The Global Solution to Climate Change” by Aubrey Meyer. Schumacher Briefings, Green Books, December 2000. ISBN-13: 978-1870098946
The Greenhouse Effect : Science and Policy” by Professor Stephen H. Schneider, Science, Volume 243, Issue 4892, Pages 771 – 781, DOI: 10.1126/science.243.4892.771, 10 February 1989.
“Climate Change : Science and Policy“, edited by Stephen H. Schneider, Armin Rosencranz, Michael D. Mastrandea and Kristin Kuntz-Duriseti. Island Press, 10 February 2010. ISBN-13: 978-1597265669
“Equity, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Global Common Resources” by Paul Baer, Chapter 15 in “Climate Change Policy : A Survey” by Stephen H. Schneider, Armin Rosencranz and John O. Niles, Island Press, 2002. ISBN-10: 1-55963-881-8 (Paper), ISBN-13: 978-1-55963-881-4 (Paper)
|I had no intention of actually dirtying my hands by buying The Times of London to read today, but I scanned its headline on the display. “Search for growth lifts estuary airport hopes”, it proudly announced.
And that’s when I realised, that, sadly, even after the lessons of decades of poorly planned infrastructure development, concrete still always seems to win over common sense.
Some people may be most concerned at the Chancellor or the Exchequer’s diktat on freezing public sector pay, just to “put the boot in” conveniently ahead of a national one day strike over worsening pensions management.
But I’m more concerned about his sudden conversion to Keynesianism. He seems to want to create lots of construction jobs, widening roads and motorways, laying foundations for nuclear power reactors, and perhaps throwing Portland cement over large parts of the Essex coast for a new “hub” airport.
Yes, this would create economic growth of a kind. Productivity would rise, employment would rise, income tax revenue would rise. But it would be the equivalent of sending a team of workpeople to dig a trench for no reason whatsoever, and sending another team to fill it in the next day.
What this country needs is assets, not liabilities. We need to build infrastructure that will enable economic productivity and social wellbeing and not place a long-term drain on society and the public purse. Roads, nuclear power plants and airports are all potential liabilities. Here’s just a few reasons why :-
|After the recent notorious Panorama programme on energy prices, and yesterday evening’s debate on renewable energy and the costs of green energy policy, in the House of Commons, a number of people have commented that Members of Parliament and Ministers of the UK Government appear to know very few facts – and those they can remember they seem to quote in the wrong context.
This state of affairs is disgraceful, and allows mendacious narratives to persist in the mainstream media.
|RenewableUK contacted me and asked me to embed a YouTube offering some corrective information. I was very pleased to do so. I can assure my readers that I have not and will not be paid for doing so.
The key problem is not the cost to energy bill payers from direct subsidies such as the solar photovoltaic feed in tariff. The contribution from this is minor. The largest effect on energy bills is likely to come from two sources – the Energy Company Obligation and the plans for Carbon Pricing and other measures in the Electricity Market Reform.
Date: 9 November 2011
From: tim b
To: jo abbess
Just picked up on your blog following leads on Tom Heap – I’m writing a piece for my website (www.biggreenbang.co.uk) on the panorama / KPMG saga – just wanted to say what a great blog it is~!! Don’t find so many to-the-point sites in the UK – have picked up on guys like Joe Romm in the States but you seem to have your finger right on the pulse in the UK!
…Should explain that my site has been initiated by a load of IT techie nerds who are already working in telecoms and are about to launch a zero carbon mobile phone company (by a combination of using low carbon technology, buying into renewable power and carbon offsetting) They are committed to putting part of their profits into green projects and are setting up BGB in the hopes that it will be a vehicle for making sustainability issues available to a wider public – they have ambitions to develop it as a community resource too – They obviously hope to get spin-off business for their mobile phone network but I believe their motives are genuinely good and they seem to be giving me a fairly free rein!
look forward to hearing from you
Date: 10 November 2011
From: jo abbess
To: tim b
Good luck with the Panorama research.
…Keep the green flag flying !
Recently, pro-nuclear, anti-wind power climate change-sceptic and early publisher of Resurgence magazine, Hugh Sharman, announced to the Claverton Energy Research Group forum that he had been published in European Energy Review. “The clock is ticking”, reads the headline, “Energy policy has become a hotly debated topic in the UK. No country in Europe has more ambitious climate change goals. But the UK has taken few concrete steps yet. It is estimated that £200 billion is required until 2020 to start the UK on the its energy transformation. […] Energy Secretary Chris Huhne is expected to come out with a White Paper setting out the framework that should persuade utilities and investors to sign on to the government’s vision. Will it work? Energy consultant Hugh Sharman has grave doubts. With some like-minded specialists, he has started a website bringing together people who are alarmed at the UK’s energy situation. He […] sketches a sombre perspective…”
While everybody’s busy discussing ethics in the media, today’s been a great day to bury bad news – the shelving of the Energy Bill – and with it the Green Deal, the only hope Britain had left of economic recovery in the short-term.
And what of the Electricity Market Reform white paper and the National Policy Statements on energy ? Into the round wastepaper-bin-shaped recycling receptacle, possibly.
What next ? The revocation of the Climate Change Act and the dissolution of the Committee on Climate Change ?
I don’t know whether I should make overt political statements, but I think this news sugar ices the brioche, so I will : David Cameron’s “greenest government ever” has failed.
We need Van Jones, right here, right now.
It is a newer, clearer tone that George Monbiot uses in his piece “The nuclear industry stinks. But that is not a reason to ditch nuclear power“. He seems to have lost his dirty annoyance with filthy anti-nuclear activists and moved onto a higher plane of moral certitude, where the air is cleaner and more refined.
He is pro-technology, but anti-industry. For him, the privately owned enterprises of atomic energy are the central problem that has led to accidents both of a radioactive and an accountancy nature. “Corporate power ?”, he asks, “No thanks.” The trouble is, you can’t really separate the failings of nuclear power from the failings of human power. It’s such a large, complex and dangerous enterprise that inevitably, human power systems compromise the use of the technology, regardless of whether they are publicly or privately owned. For a small amount of evidence, just look at the history of publicly-managed nuclear power in the United Kingdom. Not exactly peachy. And as for those who claimed that a “free” market approach to managing nuclear power would improve matters – how wrong they were. In my view, on the basis of the evidence so far, nobody can claim that nuclear power can be run as an efficient, safe, profit-making venture.
Thank you, Coal.
Thank you for the asthma, the mercury, the mountain top removal, the birth defects, the mine fatalities, the grossly inefficient electricity networks, the lack of investment in electricity networks, the smog, the heat, and above all, thank you for giving us Glenn Beck, on a platter – this is so much fun to watch !
When people like Mark Lynas accuse Greenpeace and other green campaign organisations of failings, there is any underlying theme – accusations of manipulation – both of facts and people. The sub-text harks back to the combat against fascism and Nazism in Europe.
We’re never going to make any progress on climate change if those advocating for energy change are equated to early 20th Century dictators and totalitarians.
Energy is a Social Good
I recently wrote an essay called “Energy for Democracy” making a first attempt at connecting the dots on grassroots democratic mobilisation and energy change. The subject set was in the field of “Environmental Communication”, and so I went back and looked at the development of mass media, advertising and public persuasion. I then went on to think about how propaganda and governance are interrelated. And I also looked at philosophy, and politics. I looked at the early 20th Century ideological splits in Europe, and the part that industrial development played. I looked at how democratic and other forms of socialism dealt with the problem of energy.
I posited that, since energy is produced for the Common Good, it should be subject to democratic management. I found myself “channelling” the spirit of Ramsay Macdonald, and going back to the questions of society and the integration of new industries that were pervasive before the two so-called “World Wars”.
Energy Of A Similar Wavelength
And today I find this very theme picked up by Ulrich Beck in The Guardian newspaper, along with the expression “energy change”, which is a term I am using increasingly to encapsulate the pivotal and essential response to climate change :-
“Germany is right to opt out of nuclear”, he headlines, “The rejection of nuclear power is a result not of German angst but of economic thinking. We must invest in renewable energy”.
I was gladdened when he stepped from economics to democratics :-
“…Ultimately, the rejection of nuclear is not a result of German angst but of economic thinking. In the long run, nuclear power will become more expensive, while renewable energy will become cheaper. But the key point is that those who continue to leave all options open will not invest…People everywhere are proclaiming and mourning the death of politics. Paradoxically, the cultural perception of the danger may well usher in the very opposite: the end of the end of politics…what is denounced by many as a hysterical over-reaction to the “risks” of nuclear energy is in fact a vital step towards ensuring that a turning point in energy generation becomes a step towards greater democracy…The novel coalition between the state and social movements of the kind we currently see at work in Germany now has a historic opportunity. Even in terms of power politics, this change of policy makes sense…”
The British are stumbling towards democracy, too, but they keep tripping over old divisiveness, and create new divisions too, just to complicate matters.
People Power – Not Potty Nor Puny
The Climate Camp has just been a baby step on the pathway to democratic movement on energy. Camping in coal trucks and dropping banners from power station cooling stacks has been a sign that democracy has been ailing – if there were genuine engagement between the governments, private enterprises and “campaign” groups over the future scenarios for energy, then people wouldn’t need to camp outside banks and coal-fired power plants.
As a consumer of mainstream media, all you see is the blockade of a Biofuel refinery, or people gluing themselves to the entrance of the Royal Bank of Scotland, or the occupation of a plant nursery at the site of a proposed runway. If you think “what a ramshackle bunch of unwashed hippies, straining the last of their voices, railing at the State, in a vain attempt to roll back the tide of industry, progress and Thorium reactors”, then you haven’t understood the bigger picture.
People want to be engaged in the decisions made about energy in this country – properly engaged. People want to use their knowledge to influence decisions. If the only means they have of expressing their democratic will and their opposition to hydraulic fracturing is to D-lock themselves to Shale Gas drilling equipment, then perhaps they might just do that. This might happen in Poland too. The alternative would be a proper discussion between the people groups and the governments. Where’s the European Union environmental legislature while all of this is happening ? Shale Gas could destroy Poland.
Energy Collectives – Expressing Collective Democratic Will
Groups like Fair Pensions are building momentum between people groups and investing institutions – raising the flag for clean energy. This isn’t about fighting – let’s drop the battlefield language, including that word “campaign”, which is so often used in a derogatory, dismissive, belittling way. This is about getting people working together on a new, sustainable future, and it requires all the righteous anger rising up to be channelled into a positive, productive movement, fully expressing the will of the people.
Consultations and placard-waving demonstration protests are not the way forward – we need energy change, and that’s going to require a whole lot more democratic energy. People don’t want dirty energy, and they don’t want nuclear power. Dirty energy should be asked to leave the building, nicely, politely. Firm but fair.
Group Thinking – Democratic Intelligence
Investment in renewable and sustainable energy is creating long-lasting assets for the UK and other countries. We don’t need and we don’t want dirty, radioactive energy any more. A thousand cheers for German democracy !
I receive another letter from Iain Duncan Smith MP on vellum yellow with sickly pale green type. “Dear Mrs [sic] Abbess”, the letter reads, “Further to our previous correspondence regarding Stop Climate Chaos Big [sic] campaign, please find enclosed a reply from Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary.” I asked Iain Duncan Smith in person for his own and personal support for a strong Energy Bill. What did he do ? Pass my letter on to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). I would have prefered a personal commitment to the issue, but, sadly, it was not to be.
The Rt Hon continued, “I hope you find his letter reassuring…” Reassuring ? What ? Am I some kind of emotionally incontinent complainant ? “…and helpful. However, please don’t hesitate to contact me again if I can be of further assistance.”
So, I’m sitting in my local cafe at lunchtime talking to my local property developer-landlord. So, I ask him, do you think there will be worsening economic conditions this year ? And will there be more unemployment ?
He takes a pretty dismal line – things are becoming more and more squeezed – landlords are finding that their properties are unoccupied, or the rents are being forced downwards, and there is no spare finance capacity to do renovations, the banks won’t lend, and there’s no certainty of being able to sell properties if the business becomes uneconomic. He’s had to sack people he was formerly able to employ.
When did Colonel Muammar Gaddafi learn of threats from the world’s major oil consumer countries against his rule ? Was it in early 2011 ? Or was it several years earlier ? On the public stage, he has been deliberately reduced to a figure of fun, and his message advising non-aggression and protection from aggression is being lost. He is now a desperate man :-
Image Credit : Earth Beat Radio
New Year, new hate campaign against Climate Change scientists :-
“Singing in the Rain : 26 January 2011 : In the past 2 – 3 weels I received a deluge of nasty-language messages saying that I should be fired, deported, run over, etc. Such a sudden burst of malice seems unlikely to be spontaneous.”
“Perhaps recent articles and internet stories provided stimulation, e.g., an article by Pat Michaels in the Washington Times and a statement by Richard S. Courtney on a blog. Michaels distorts the facts and uses quotes out of context. The Courtney statement […] mischaracterizes my testimony.”
“…The essence of my testimony, in both trials, was that the evidence for human-caused climate change is clear. I emphasized that the UK government, the fossil fuel industry, and the utility EON were aware of the effect of continued coal-burning on the future of young people. But instead of addressing the problem effectively, they engaged in greenwash…”
Over at MediaLens, the two (three) Davids are blanking the “every little bit helps” approach :-
“Focusing on personal consumption, and each of us ‘doing our bit’, is what we mean by the ‘debate’ being stuck on square one.”
Asking the general public to kindly remember to switch off their lights has had about as much impact as a light dusting of sugar. Looks pretty, but causes coughing fits when eating the cake.
I can’t wait for their comments on Climate Week :-
“One week to show how we can combat climate change…inspiring millions to act.”
Supported by David Cameron ! Sponsored by Tesco (owners of a very large and unnecessary carbon footprint) !
A zero carbon supermarket ? I really cannot believe it :-
Note in the following that Tesco don’t intend to carbon label their transport systems, warehousing or stores – only the products that consumers buy :-
In a spirit of complete transparency, I share with you an e-mail from Peter Ridley CEng MIEE (see below), a moving, rambling feast of what some would call complete irrelevancies.
Pete, if you’ve got something to share that’s positive, productive and progressive, then please do so. However, this recent e-mail from you (see below) ticks none of those boxes and I shall not waste my time by replying to your e-mail or taking it seriously.
You have three more strikes and then you’re out, unless you stick to the subject of this web log in your communications to me.
This web log is about keeping the Climate stable – it’s about the problems already being caused by Global Warming and about efforts to address those.
Yes, it’s also about hearing different views, and about working out what to accept and ignore.
Most of the comments made here by Climate Change sceptic-deniers are pure entertainment for those who know what’s really going on.
It’s rare to read something that’s free from irrational argument from Climate Change sceptic-deniers.
I’m sure you wouldn’t want to have your efforts become ridiculed, so please start being serious about the science of Climate Change instead of complaining about perceived political bias.
Climate Change is not a polarised political argument as you seem to think judging by your web log. Policy thinkers and workaday politicians of all stripes and none are engaged on a common agenda to tackle the root causes of excess Carbon Dioxide emissions.
The reason that politicians and diplomatic missions take part in the United Nations process on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the reviewing of the IPCC reports, is because the environmental and economic impacts of global warming are likely to have serious consequences.
It’s lazy to dismiss all politicians as selfish, money-grabbing and power-hungry without a moral duty to the truth. There are many politicians who are genuine, upright and want what’s best.
You must be able to work this out – it can’t be that every last Member of Parliament is on the take or working for backhanders, as some commentators continue to insist, can it ?
And what about Climate Change Science ? How could people survive unchallenged in academia if they cut-and-paste or fabricate ? Upholding the good reputation of the academic institutions is why I will not enter into general discussion about my course of study on this web log, so please don’t press me on that issue any further. Surely you could have worked this out ? You’re smart enough.
Please drop the conspiracy theories and start thinking logically about the Science of Climate Change and the implications it holds.
Slightly tangentially, I am currently reading a book by Gwynne Dyer called “Climate Wars”. Although I don’t like some of the attitudes and some of the views of some of the people he mentions in the field of national and international security, at least they take Climate Change scenarios seriously, and are willing to try to navigate the future in the best way.
You would earn my respect if you could do the same.
from Peter Ridley
to Jo Abbess
date Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 9:38 PM
Jo, please excuse me for contacting you by E-mail uininvited but I wanted to respond privately to one of the comments on your “The Messia: With us …” thread.
Ref. the comment bt “Stormboy” on October 18th at 03:13, the original comment was posted by the real Stormboy (AKA Phil – who runs the evangelical Bloodwoodtree blog at https://bloodwoodtree.org) on 14th February at 08:23:48AM following months of exchanges between us on Australian Senator Steve Fielding’s blog. Despite repeated requests Phil was unprepared to reveal any evidence of having demonstrated scientific expertise regarding global climate processes and drivers, e.g. through peer-reviewed papers. Phil had said that he used a false name because of previous threats against him and his family.
Towards the end of our public exchanges Phil persistently called me a con man, which I did not appreciate, coming as it did from someone who I considered was cowering behind a false name, so I decided to try to track him down. I was astounded that I was able to find out, in only four hours on the Internet using Google, who he was, where he worked, his E-Mil address and details of family and friends. This was from information that he had put into the public domain. One source of much of this information was Facebook, which brought home to me the importance of heeding repeated police warnings of the dangers of the Internet. I immediately warned members of my family about taking great care on Facebook. I also contacted Phil, through Facebook, by E-mail and on his own blog, about how easy it had been to track him down but in the process frightened his wife and of course gave Phil a scare too. He didn’t know what kind of a person I am and was understandably concerned. That was why he posted that comment on Steve Fielding’s blog.
I quickly apologised to Phil for frightening his family and since then we have resolved any differences that we had (other than about the causes of global climate change) and have exchanged numerous friendly E-mails. Phil confirmed to me a few days ago, after that comment of his appeared recently on the Greenfudge blog, that he has only posted the comment once, on Senator Fielding’s blog in February.
That comment of Phil’s has been posted repeatedly by another person who hides behind numerous false names. These include Cooloola, Guess Who, Lord Monkton, Phoenix and JA. She has also pretended to be me and fellow sceptics PeggyB and Colin. Now she has started posing as Stormby himself. She is a thoroughly nasty, dishonest, cowardly, bullying Australian from Queensland who has been hurling vile abuse at any sceptic who upset her on Senator Fielding’s blog. Now that it has closed (he’s no longer a Senator) she is looking for anywhere else to spit her invective. I’ve tried very hard to track her down and expose her but could only get as close as the Maroochidor/Noosa/Cooloola area of Queensland.
If you are interested you can pick up those repeats by Googling “he spent four hours on the net hunting down my last name”. The ones on Steve Fieldings blog are cached versions.
Best regards, Pete
George Monbiot looks back in regret at Copenhagen :-
“…The closer it comes, the worse it looks. The best outcome anyone now expects from December’s climate summit in Mexico is that some delegates might stay awake during the meetings. When talks fail once, as they did in Copenhagen, governments lose interest. They don’t want to be associated with failure, they don’t want to pour time and energy into a broken process. Nine years after the world trade negotiations moved to Mexico after failing in Qatar, they remain in diplomatic limbo. Nothing in the preparations for the climate talks suggests any other outcome…”
Copenhagen was never seriously going to deliver, and I don’t think most of the protesters on the streets in Copenhagen thought so. Activist demands, including from activist nations, were always going to be ignored, The solutions really didn’t come to the conference, and the problems really lay elsewhere.
But there’s no need to utterly despair, George !
[ 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 :-
The Financial Times advises :-
“Environmentalists have had a disappointing year. The Copenhagen talks fizzled and the economic crisis has overshadowed all other considerations. But the need for countries to repair towering fiscal deficits is an opening for the movement. As treasuries look for ways to raise more revenues, climate change activists should make the case for green taxes.”
So, environmental campaigners should be campaigning for green taxes to plug holes in public deficits caused by crashing banks ?
I think not.
Tax revenue that is collected on the basis of environmental pollution should always be hypothecated, committed to remediation and removal of environmental pollution.
The majority of the populations of the deficit-stricken economies (OK, then, the whole world) are quite right in resisting being locked down into extra taxation at present. Green taxes would be a financial tie too tight for most of the world’s economically stressed.
Green taxes spent on things other than green energy and energy efficiency would be a mockery.
Besides which, only very high levels of green taxation would have any impact on pollution behaviour – the “signal” from green taxes would be lost amongst general economic “instability” (that is, price rises due to other factors).
It’s great to see David Mitchell tucking into a big bite of the “Voluntary Behaviour Change” posse’s pie.
Let’s be honest : nobody wants to stop consuming and burning, but we’re going to have to if the Big Energy companies don’t change the way they provide us with power and fuel.
Yes, guilt is so old-fashioned. You can’t tell the public to change their consumption behaviour, trying to make them feel personally responsible for Climate Change, whilst still providing them with environmentally damaging products.
All electricity should be Renewable, all heating systems Carbon-neutral, all manufactured products Low Carbon.
Until that day, governments will continue to hire Public Relations consultants to convince the public to make different choices, and continue to fail to make any converts.
Image Credit : Gilbert & George, “Nettle Dance”, White Cube
I’m in the Climate Union. Are You ?
Soon we could all be, if the expansionist plans of a group of social campaigners come to fruition.
Taking in the unions, faith communities and the usual rag-tag bunch of issues activists, the Climate Union aims to establish itself as a political force for Low Carbon.
First of all, however, it has to tackle the uneasy and prickly problem of the exact name of the movement, and the principles under which it will operate.
The flag has been flown : a set of principles has been circulated for discussion amongst the “Climate Forum”. I cannot show you the finalised document yet, but I can offer you my comments (see below).
If you want to comment on the development of this emerging entity, please contact : Peter Robinson, Campaign against Climate Change, mobile/cell telephone in the UK : 07876595993.
Comments on the Climate Forum Principles
28 June 2010
I am aware that my comments are going to be a little challenging. I made similar comments during the review of the ClimateSafety briefing, which were highly criticised.
I expect you to be negative in response to what I say, but I think it is necessary to make sure the Climate Forum does not become watered-down, sectorally imprisoned and politically neutered, like so many other campaigns.
If you can imagine the engine for new, renewable and sustainable Energy systems as a train which should by now be thundering down the tracks, get this : it left the depot only to get stuck in the sidings.
Enough of the locomotive metaphors, already. On to the analysis. Here’s an excerpt from Catherine Mitchell’s fine book “The Political Economy of Sustainable Energy” (2008, 2010) :-
Super-double irony : Nick Griffin, the anti-immigration right-wing nationalist is going to the Copenhagen Climate Talks as a representative of the European Union, where, no doubt, he will probably attempt to exact a white supremacist’s revenge – throwing whatever spanners (wrenches) he can in the works to stop a global deal to protect the poor and vulnerable from Climate Change :-
“…Griffin, who was elected to the European parliament in June, confirmed last night that he would attend as the representative of the parliament’s environmental committee. World leaders, including Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, are hoping to forge a new global agreement to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. Without such a deal, scientists warn that world temperatures will increase by more than 2C by the end of the century, triggering ice cap melting, sea-level rises, widespread flooding, the spread of deserts and devastating storms. In a speech in the parliament last week, Griffin denounced those who warn of the consequences of climate change as “cranks”. He said they had reached “an Orwellian consensus” that was “based not on scientific agreement, but on bullying, censorship and fraudulent statistics. The anti-western intellectual cranks of the left suffered a collective breakdown when communism collapsed. Climate change is their new theology… But the heretics will have a voice in Copenhagen and the truth will out. Climate change is being used to impose an anti-human utopia as deadly as anything conceived by Stalin or Mao.” Griffin will be one of 15 representatives chosen to speak on behalf of the EU in Copenhagen…”
I agree with inclusion and tolerance, but this is a step too far ! Griffin’s agenda and purpose seems to consist entirely of exclusion, intolerance, might-is-right, anti-science and inequality. I don’t know how he can represent the European Union in any way…He might as well wear a Ku Klux Klan outfit for all the anti-democratic flames he carries around inside him.
I doth protest.