Feb 26 2010
Dec 20 2009
Part One (posted December 17):
Part Two (posted December 18):
Part Three (posted December 20):
Daniel J. Weiss is making a very disingenuous argument in his “we should only go for what’s possible” approach. He keeps falling back on the “perfect is the enemy of the good” line, as though anyone seriously expects or asks for perfection. He also ignores that when Medicare, Social Security, the Civil Rights Act, and the Clean Air Act were passed, the political environment was very different – Republicans could be rolled far more easily than they can be today. What’s more, by starting with the accommodation first and working down from there, substantive policies are not being passed. Weiss doesn’t even acknowledge the obvious tactical reality at work: obviously demanding everything from the start is not going to get us everything, but it can lead us to some actual compromise that everyone can live with. Daphne Wysham, who is advocating for stronger policies and takes the opposite argument, could have done a bit more to press the counterarguments I just mentioned, but overall it was a spirited and informative discussion. It’s certainly nothing like what you’d see on any of the cable news programs.
Dec 19 2009
President Obama announced on Friday that negotiations among the the world’s nations had resulted in a “meaningful and unprecedented breakthrough” on climate change.
One administration official, however, acknowledged in remarks to the Associated Press that it was only a first step and not sufficient in itself to head off global warming. Going by other reactions to the deal, that would appear to be an understatement.
The Guardian obtained a leaked draft of the agreement and reported that “it says countries ‘ought’ to limit global warming to 2C, but does not bind them to do so.”
The Toronto Star explains, “It is not binding and it does not set new greenhouse-gas reduction targets. Instead, countries are to set their own emission reduction commitments, which would not be legally binding. Those commitments will be the subject of further negotiation, with the aim of a final deal at next year’s summit in Mexico.”
A Greenpeace representative told The Guardian, “This latest draft is so weak as to be meaningless. It’s more like a G8 communique than the legally binding agreement we need. It doesn’t even include a timeline to give it legal standing or an explicit temperature target. It’s hard to imagine our leaders will try to present this document to the world and keep a straight face.”
A representative of World Development Movement used even stronger language, saying, “This summit has been in complete disarray from start to finish, and now appears to be culminating in a shameful and monumental failure that will condemn millions of people around the world to untold suffering. The leaders of rich countries have refused to lead and instead sought to bribe and bully developing nations to sign up to the equivalent of a death warrant.“
Adele Morris, Fellow, Global Economy and Development and Policy Director for Climate and Energy Economics, Global Economy and Development at The Brookings Institution and Kurt Davies, research director at Greenpeace USA, talk to Paul Jay about the Copenhagen “Climate Sham”:
Real News Network – December 19, 2009
Without US commitment Copenhagen breaks down
Dec 17 2009
“Ask not for whom the bell tolls”, since, today, it is for us, our children, and our childrens’ children for whom the bells toll across Denmark.
As Danish police assaulted peaceful climate activists, as fossil-foolish deceivers call climate activists Hitler Youth, as non-governmental organizations accredited to the COP15 face lockouts, and youth activists sit in protest inside the building calling for a FAB (not fabulous, but Fair, Ambitious, and Binding) climate treaty, Danish church bells tolled.
Today, the bells tolled for us.
Danish church bells rang 350 times (as did many around the globe) in a call for the international community, a call on international leaders to set themselves (and all of us) on a path to not just slowing the growth of CO2 emissions, not just eventually stabilizing CO2 emissions at some higher number than today’s levels, but actually striking a path to getting us back under 350 parts per million (ppm) of CO2.
(Quick reminder: for a million+ years, the earth oscillated between 185 (massive ice ages) and 285 ppm (world climate in which human civilization developed). Today, we are at 387 and already seeing serious climate disruption chaos. Once, the scientific community thought that we could safely stabilize at 450 ppm (and, maybe 550 ppm). Current trajectory (BAU — business as usual) and we hit 950 ppm or so by the end of the century. There is nothing being seriously discussed by the ‘major’ powers in Copenhagen that would stabilize us below 550 ppm, let alone get us back below 350.)
Will the world’s leaders heed the calls for action?
Will the world’s leaders heed the island nations’ pleas for assistance?
Will the world’s leaders hear the tolling bells?
Will the wold’s leaders wonder for whom the bell tolls?
Dec 12 2009
The Climate Change summit in Copenhagen is off and running. The Climate Change deniers are going all the way to criminal trying to pretend that scientists debating science and tweaking models means something other than science being science. Climate Change opportunists are going supercritical in their efforts to use the issue as reason to corner the subsidies market for their cash cows. Climate Change Chicken Littles are streaking through the streets screaming hyperbolic inanities nobody in their right mind believes. It’s a regular Big Business these days, no matter where you may stand. Sad truth is that nothing effective can come of this kind of polarization. Which is the point of purposefully engineered polarization, of course.
So I thought it might be helpful to make note of a few observations and a few points of knowledge about where we are today and how we got here, in hopes of clarifying things if that’s possible.
Dec 01 2009
The girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes
Severn Suzuki representing ECO, the Environmental Children’s Organization
addresses the UN regard the environmental issues of great concern, to her generation.
The people who will inherit the global decisions made at Copenhagen, this week …
Nov 19 2009
Recently, world leaders announced some deeply disturbing news: they gave up on reaching a binding climate deal at the upcoming Copenhagen conference. 
A major impediment was the refusal of President Obama and Congress to enact tough cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
We've got to turn that around. Immediately.
Right now, the most ambitious target that Obama has endorsed is a 3.5% reduction in emissions by 2020. 
That's pathetic, compared to the 25-40% reduction that we need to have a 50:50 chance of avoiding disastrous runaway global heating, according to the International Panel on Climate Change. 
The United States ought to lead by example. We can do it with strong emission reductions.
Sep 24 2009
If the state of public opinion were to reflect the research on abrupt climate change, billions of people would be in a state of panic. The problem is not merely that the proposed measures to deal with the problem will be inadequate, nor that Copenhagen will wind up with no agreement or be a farce, although both of those predictions will come true; it’s that the intelligentsia, that class of individuals who should be asking the right questions and coming up with the right answers, is not yet talking about what needs to be done.
What we will need is an agreement to limit fossil fuel production, and a new concept of economy to replace the neoliberal one, which is structurally incapable of making such a solution real. This essay is intended to promote debate about such a change.
(Crossposted at Big Orange)