Politics and Justice Without Borders
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Volume 12 Issue 11 July 2014


Authors of research papers and articles on global issues for this month

Nafeez Ahmed, John Scales Avery, Brandon Baker, Glen Barry, Guy Crequie (2), Countercurrents.org (2), Pepe Escobar, Greenpeace, Bill Henderson, Urbain Kapoko, Mairead Maguire, Rajesh Makwana, Justin Mikulka, Dr Gideon Polya, Saral Sarkar, Kevin Zeese

Nafeez Ahmed, The Age of Climate Warfare Is Here and the Military Industrial Complex Is Gearing Up For It The Age of Climate Warfare Is Here and the Military Industrial Complex Is Gearing Up For It
John Scales Avery, Saving Threatened Species Saving Threatened Species
Brandon Baker, How the Obama Administration's Carbon Plan Could Create 274,000 New Jobs How the Obama Administration's Carbon Plan Could Create 274,000 New Jobs
Glen Barry, I Too Have A Dream: That Life On Earth Shall Not Perish, But Rather Thrive Forever  I Too Have A Dream: That Life On Earth Shall Not Perish, But Rather Thrive Forever
Guy Crequie, D- DAY et 70 ANS APRES = OU VA - T-ON ? D- DAY et 70 ANS APRES = OU VA - T-ON ?  D- DAY et 70 ANS APRES = OU VA - T-ON ? D- DAY et 70 ANS APRES = OU VA - T-ON ?
Countercurrents, Time Running Out, Warns UN As CO2 Level Hits New High Time Running Out, Warns UN As CO2 Level Hits New High
Countercurrents, Ocean Acidification Rate May Be Ten Times Faster Than Ancient Time Ocean Acidification Rate May Be Ten Times Faster Than Ancient Time
Pepe Escobar, A Powerful Long-term Alliance Between China and Russia Is Unnerving Washington A Powerful Long-term Alliance Between China and Russia Is Unnerving Washington
Greenpeace, Greenpeace: Nearly 100% Renewable Energy is Possible Greenpeace: Nearly 100% Renewable Energy is Possible
Bill Henderson, Frank Denial From A Leading Global Statesman  Frank Denial From A Leading Global Statesman
Mairead Maguire, A Common Vision – The Abolition of Militarism A Common Vision – The Abolition of Militarism
Rajesh Makwana, Global Justice, Sustainability And The Sharing Economy  Global Justice, Sustainability And The Sharing Economy
Justin Mikulka Should CEOs Get Jail Time For Oil-By-Rail Accidents Like Lac Megantic? Should CEOs Get Jail Time For Oil-By-Rail Accidents Like Lac Megantic?
Dr Gideon Polya, Pro-gas Obama's EPA-based Plan To Reduce Coal-based Pollution Amounts To Climate Change Inaction Pro-gas Obama's EPA-based Plan To Reduce Coal-based Pollution Amounts To Climate Change Inaction
Saral Sarkar, Prospects For Eco-Socialism Prospects For Eco-Socialism
Kevin Zeese, New Environmentalists Are Taking Bold Actions and It's Working New Environmentalists Are Taking Bold Actions and It's Working


Articles and papers from authors


Day data received Theme or issue Read article or paper
 May 27, 2014
Time Running Out, Warns UN As CO2 Level Hits New High
by Countercurrents, Countercurrents

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have crossed a new threshold, warned World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN's weather agency on May 26, 2014 .

The WMO warning highlighted the urgency of curbing manmade, climate-altering greenhouse gases.

In April, for the first time, the mean monthly CO2 concentration in the atmosphere topped 400 parts per million (ppm) throughout the northern hemisphere, which pollutes more than the south, said the WMO.

According to WMO Global Atmosphere Watch network, all of its monitoring stations in northern hemisphere reported record atmospheric CO2 concentrations during the seasonal maximum.

"Time is running out," the WMO chief Michel Jarraud has stated.

"This should serve as yet another wakeup call about the constantly rising levels of greenhouse gases which are driving climate change," Jarraud said in a statement.

"If we are to preserve our planet for future generations, we need urgent action to curb new emissions of these heat-trapping gases. Time is running out," he warned.

Spring values in the northern hemisphere had previously spiked over the 400 ppm level, but this was the first time the monthly mean concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere exceeded the threshold.

Whilst the spring maximum values in the northern hemisphere have already crossed the 400 ppm level, WMO warned that the global annual average CO2 concentration is set to cross this threshold in 2015 or 2016.

The threshold is of symbolic and scientific significance, and reinforces evidence that the burning of fossil fuels is responsible for the non-stop increase in heat-trapping gases, the WMO underlined.

CO2 stays locked in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, and its lifespan in the oceans is longer still.

It is by far the most important GHG emitted by human activities and was responsible for 85 percent of the increase in radiative forcing, the warming effect on the climate, from 2002-2012.

According to the WMO, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere reached 393.1 parts per million in 2012, or 141 percent of the pre-industrial level of 278 parts per million.

The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased on average by two parts per million every year for the past decade.

In addition to that measurement recorded by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego's Mauna Loa station, which the agency refers to as a "benchmark site," the WMO states that some of the other stations that also form part of its Global Atmosphere Watch network — those in Cape Verde, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Spain and Switzerland — reported concentrations above 400 ppm for both March and April.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have increased 34 percent since 1990.

"We know that the world is getting warmer on average because of our continued emissions of heat-trapping gases," stated James Butler, Ph.D., director of the Global Monitoring Division of NOAA's Boulder-based Earth System Research Laboratory.

"Turning down the dial on this heating will become increasingly more difficult as concentrations of the long-lived greenhouse gases continue to rise each year," Butler added.

Statistics from WMO showed the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased on average by 2 ppm per year for the past 10 years.

  Read  Time Running Out, Warns UN As CO2 Level Hits New High
 May 31, 2014
Prospects For Eco-Socialism
by Saral Sarkar , Countercurrents

I. The Question

In Beijing , one of the listeners of my lecture on Eco-Socialism said after hearing me that he was fully convinced, but, he asked, “When will eco-socialism come?” It was a very difficult question, a short answer to which was not possible. I only answered that I was not an astrologer. It was, however, an interesting question, though not exactly in this form. It is better to ask: what are the prospects for eco-socialism? Or: are there indications today that give us hope that the majority of the people of the world or of some countries would in the near future embrace eco-socialism and transform their capitalist society to an eco-socialist one? It is a question worth reflecting upon because, as the world situation is today, it cannot go on like this for long.

For all who consider themselves to be a socialist, Marx's view on this question can well serve as a starting point. Marx wrote in his preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy :

“No social order ever perishes before all the productive forces for which there is room in it have developed; and new higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society itself. Therefore mankind always sets itself only such tasks as it can solve; since, looking at the matter more closely, it will always be found that the task itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution already exist or are at least in the process of formation.” (Marx & Emgels.1977: 504)

I am not a socialist of the old type, for whom a quotation from Marx is always the last word in political wisdom. But these words are largely convincing, are helpful for scientific/materialist socialists, who do not want to indulge in wishful thinking. They help us understand why the working class of the advanced capitalist societies disappointed Marx's expectation that they would overthrow capitalism. It was because, contrary to what Marx himself thought, all the productive forces for which there was room in capitalism had not fully developed yet. There was room for much more.

Now, immediately, the following questions arise: (a) Is today , in advanced capitalism, the room for further development of productive forces exhausted? (b) Have the material conditions for the appearance of the new higher relations of production, socialism, matured? (c) If we today set ourselves the task of creating an eco-socialist society, can we say that we can "solve" (fulfil) this task? Do the material conditions for its "solution" already exist?

II. The Present-Day Crises

Before we can answer the first of the above questions we must describe the more important and relevant aspects of the world situation today. If we see problems and crises, then answering the question becomes easier. For then we can ask: can we expect that some upcoming further developments of the productive forces will be able to solve the problems and overcome the crises within the framework of capitalism ? If we can answer the question in the affirmative, then we must also conclude that capitalism will not perish soon and that the material conditions for the appearance of socialism, which we socialists consider to be a better (let us ignore the term "higher") kind of relations of production, have not yet matured. In other words, we must conclude that a transition to socialism is not necessary yet.

For the last one year or so the global media have been reporting on various crises that are much more serious than the ones on which they usually report, namely inflation, recession, crash in the share market, economic stagnation, rise in unemployment, crisis of the welfare state, foreign debt crisis in the developing countries, poverty, tensions or wars between states etc. etc. These crises are also there, but they are generally ephemeral, are part of the usual state of things. For the capitalist social order they are harmless compared to the more serious ones mankind is facing at present.

Today, in many parts of the world, hunger has become very acute and more widespread than usual. Within a short time the price of rice, wheat, maize etc. have skyrocketed, so that the poor in many countries cannot even afford the meagre meals they have been living on until recently. In 30 countries there have been food riots and mass demonstrations against rising prices. In Haiti there have been violent clashes between the demonstrators and the police, which resulted in a few deaths.

Then there is the energy crisis. The steep rise in the price of fuel and electricity is tormenting not only the poor countries, but also the rich ones. In Spain , Portugal , France and Great Britain truckers and fishermen are demonstrating against the high diesel price by blockading roads and ports, because, as they say, their profession has become uneconomic. There have even been clashes between the demonstrators and the police.

The energy crisis is only the most important part of the general resource crisis. Crude oil, the most important of the basic sources of energy and raw material for many other products, is becoming more and more difficult to find and extract and hence more and more costly. Even the price of coal is rising. One who thinks of nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels should note that even uranium is getting ever scarcer and ever costlier. Same is the case with silicon, the basic raw material for producing photo-voltaic cells and electronic chips. Not only these very special resources, but also ordinary industrial metals like iron, copper, zinc, nickel etc. are becoming ever costlier. Even the price of iron ore and scrap iron is rising sharply.

Everybody knows that cheap and abundant energy is the basis of industrial societies and their high living standards. The end of the era of cheap oil means, therefore, that the prosperity of such societies is in danger of evaporating.

The energy and resource crisis in general, and especially the rising price of natural gas is causing scarcity and rising costs of fertilisers. Population growth, growing industrialisation and large-scale urbanisation are resulting in shrinking availability of arable land and scarcity of fresh water. These factors – together with the foolish decision to transfer arable land from food production to bio-fuel production for motor vehicles – are behind the current food crisis.

Far more serious than the resource crisis is the danger of devastating weather catastrophes – storms, floods, landslides etc. – caused by global warming and the rising sea level. Such catastrophes are, in fact, already taking place regularly in many parts of the world including China . And in future they are going to be increasingly frequent and intense.

And, moreover, we must not forget the protracted, ever worsening ecological crisis: the insidious, ever intensifying – visible and invisible – degradation of the quality of air, water and soil due to dust and chemical and radioactive pollution, and the dwindling bio-diversity of the planet due to extinction of species.

Apart from the resource and ecological crisis, the world today is suffering from some intractable social and political crises: hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing their native land due to poverty, wars and environmental devastation; terrorist activities of religious and nationalist fanatics; ethnic conflicts and civil wars within states and across-borders; failed states, where there is no recognised government and which are ruled by a multiplicity of warlords.

These crises, especially the underlying general resource crisis, will generate hitherto unknown kinds of inflation and recession. Until a year or two ago, generally, inflation used to be caused by high wage demands of trade unions and/or rapidly rising demand for consumer and investment goods, while supply could be raised only slowly. The remedy was simple: persuade the trade unions to make modest wage demands and/or reduce the tempo of rise in demand for consumer and investment goods by means of monetary and fiscal measures. From now onwards, however, prices will continue to rise even if labourers do not demand too high wages, even if demand for goods and services stops rising. It will be so because the given geological and geographic conditions under which today raw materials are being extracted are becoming ever more difficult entailing ever rising production costs. The cost of extracting oil from beneath the Arctic Ocean is simply much higher than that of extracting oil, say, from beneath the sands of Kuwait.

When raw materials become ever scarcer and all prices continue to rise, demand will not only stagnate, but will begin to fall, because people will simply not be able to afford more. Moreover, processing less raw materials means less production. And when this happens, there will be a new kind of recession that will continue until sometime in the future the economy, now based mainly on renewable resources, will reach a steady state.

All these are fundamental crises, unlike the harmless ephemeral ones mentioned earlier, which in the past could be overcome more or less easily by changing the relevant policies. The present-day crises are fundamental in the sense that their roots lie in the essentials of the system – the capitalist and industrial system – and overcoming them call for radical changes in the system : in the way we live and produce goods and services, in our numbers, in our economic and political system, in our resource use pattern, in the way we react with nature, in the way we organise our social relations etc. etc. In other words, these crises cannot be overcome in the framework of the present social, economic and political systems, i.e. in capitalism.

III. The State of the Productive Forces

Let us now examine the current state of the productive forces together with the developments thereof that have either recently taken place or are expected by many to take place soon. And then let us examine whether they can help us overcome the fundamental crises within the framework of capitalism. In my book Eco-Socialism or Eco-Capitalism? (1999) I have dealt with this question in great detail. A revised and updated Chinese version of the book has been published in 2008. So the arguments for my positions need not be presented here in detail. Here I shall deal with the question in short and with reflections based on more recent data.

The most important task facing capitalism today is to find new sources of energy that (a) will not emit, or emit very little, greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and (b) will be sufficiently abundant and cheap, so that they can replace the fossil fuels that (a) are non-renewable and are being depleted rapidly and (b) that emit large quantities of greenhouse gases. In other words, the task is to find new sources of energy (and also other resources) that will allow us to sustain economic growth without degrading the environment and are renewable.

Ever since scientists and engineers became aware of the seriousness of the twin problems of exhaustibility of resources and environmental degradation – that was in the middle of the 1970s – a lot of research and development has been done in many relevant areas, especially in the area of resources that are allegedly not only renewable but also non-polluting. But, unfortunately, no solution to the problems has yet been found.

Great hopes had been put especially on the energy of sunshine and wind, both of which are renewable and available in enormous quantities. The quantity of energy that we receive from the sun everyday is 15,000 times as much as the daily total world consumption of commercial energy. So it was hoped that with the development of solar energy technologies alone the problem of sustainable growth could be solved.

But these hopes have till now failed to materialise. Neither solar nor wind energy technologies are yet able to commercially compete with the conventional, CO 2 -emitting, and fossil fuel burning technologies. And it seems they will never be able to. They are and, it seems, will always remain dependent on subsidies. But the subsidies come from the economy at large, by far the greater part of which is powered by the fossil fuels, the very source of energy which the renewable sources are supposed to replace. That means the renewable energy technologies are not viable, they can exist only as long as the fossil fuels are available.

That this dependence is not diminishing is shown by the fact that, in Germany, Eurosolar , a large lobby organisation of the renewable energy industries, recently demanded an increase in the guaranteed (and subsidised) kilowatt-hour price for wind energy on the grounds that raw-material costs are rising ( Süddeutsche Zeitung , 30.05.2008). The most important among the raw-materials needed to build wind-driven power stations is, of course, energy from the fossil fuels, the costs of which are indeed rising rapidly. The German government acceded to the demand and did increase the guaranteed price ( Süddeutsche Zeitung , 7.06.2008). Eurosolar did not demand any increase in the guaranteed price for (photovoltaic) solar electricity, although rising raw-materials costs are also causing the production costs of the photovoltaic industry to rise. High grade silicon, from which wafers for photovoltaic cells are produced, is becoming ever scarcer and its price is rising ( Süddeutsche Zeitung , 12.06.2008). But the guaranteed price for solar electricity had already been so much higher than the price of conventional electricity that the government decided to reduce it a little. The point here is not to judge whether the guaranteed subsidised prices are too high or reasonable, but to demonstrate the economic dependence of the allegedly renewable energy technologies on income generated mainly by using non-renewable and CO 2 -emitting fossil fuels. To describe the situation in technical terms, neither solar nor wind energy technologies can reproduce themselves . That is, the entire equipment needed for these technologies is manufactured by using conventional (largely fossil fuel) energy. The net energy they produce (energy return on energy invested = EROEI) is either too little or even negative.

Another renewable source of energy that has been promoted is bio-mass, in two forms: (a) fuel crops and (b) waste products from agriculture and forestry. None of them is actually a new development. Bio-diesel produced from vegetable oil had been considered as fuel for automobiles before petroleum became abundantly available. Bio-gas from waste bio-mass had been widely used in the 1950s to '70s. Nowadays it is used to generate electricity at a small scale. That this actually ancient source of renewable energy has been revived in modernised forms – especially in the forms of bio-ethanol and bio-diesel –, and is being strongly subsidised, is a reflection of the hidden disappointment of policy makers with solar and wind electricity.

Modern industrial societies need not only electricity but also liquid fuels for many purposes, particularly for driving automobiles. To get a liquid fuel from solar and wind electricity – and also to store these irregularly and intermittently available energies for making them available at all times – it is necessary to produce with their help liquid hydrogen from water through electrolysis. But this is a very costly process. Not only the monetary costs but also the energy costs of producing liquid hydrogen from solar or wind electricity is so high that driving a motor vehicle with this fuel is totally nonsensical. That is why one came upon the idea of using bio-ethanol from sugarcane, maize etc. and bio-diesel from rape-seed oil, palm oil etc.

But bio-fuels have a great disadvantage: they need fertile land. So one must either take over land hitherto devoted to food crops or destroy rain forests – as is happening for many years now in Brazil , Indonesia and Malaysia – in order to get land for fuel crops. Both are bad ideas. To reallocate farmland to bio-fuel production is even a dangerous idea at a time when the current world population of 6.5 billions is still growing and about 800 million people are suffering from hunger. The current food crisis referred to above has been attributed in a World Bank report to the extent of 75% to this phenomenon (The Guardian , 4.07.2008). Destroying rainforests for this purpose is a bad idea because (a) they are themselves a large part of nature's own system of absorbing CO 2 and (b) because they are the space where the greatest bio-diversity on earth exists. Moreover, even bio-fuels, although they are not very high-tech products like solar electricity, must be subsidised, so that they can compete with the fossil fuels. There are even strong doubts that the net energy gained from them (their EROEI) is at all positive (see e.g. Wall Street Journal , 5.12.2006).

In view of their strong dependence on fossil fuels, it is totally unconvincing that promoting so-called renewable energy technologies would have the effect of containing global warming. The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently presented a packet of recommendations for halving the global emission of greenhouse gases by 2050. Promotion of allegedly renewable energies is to contribute 21 percent of this reduction goal. The IEA recommends that for this purpose, by 2050, 46% of the global electricity demand should be met through renewable energies. It recommends that 17,500 wind turbines should be built every year, and the use of bio-mass for energy generation should be quadrupled. The IEA also estimated the amount of money that would be needed for making all the investments it recommends (which include also investments in new nuclear power plants): in all, 45 trillion US-Dollars till 2050 ( Süddeutsche Zeitung , 7.06.2008; Schrader 2008). But how will these funds be generated if, simultaneously, the contribution of fossil fuels to the gross world product (world GDP) has to be drastically reduced? And if due to continuous rise in the price of fossil fuels, especially oil and gas, a world-wide recession sets in, then it will be difficult even to maintain the present level of necessary expenditures.

The IEA also recommends in its packet the construction of 32 nuclear power plants every year, a total of 1300 new ones by 2050. The revival of nuclear power as a major source of energy is not being presented as a development of the productive forces. It is an old technology which was, against the background of the hopes put on the rise of renewable energies, considered to be too dangerous and dispensable. Now, since the so-called renewable energy technologies have disappointed these hopes, policy makers are willing to revive this old technology. But, even if people are prepared to accept the risks and even if the risks are lowered through technical improvements, uranium is a non-renewable resource and is already becoming ever costlier. According to estimates of experts, at the present rate of consumption of the currently operating 439 nuclear reactors in the world, uranium ore will be available at the most for another 60 years. Moreover, according to the World Nuclear Association , global uranium production already peaked in 1981. That means, its availability is gradually declining (Meacher 2006). In September 2006, the price of uranium was more than six times as high as in 2001 ( International Herald Tribune , 5.09.2006). What prevents the closure of some of the existing nuclear power plants due to lack of uranium is the use of nuclear weapons material made available through the mutual reduction of the nuclear weapons arsenal of the USA and the former Soviet Union.

Because of these problems with the presumptive alternatives to fossil fuels, hard-headed realists in the energy industries are thinking of some other solution of the energy and global warming problem based on coal, which is still abundantly available and comparatively cheap. Coal is not as versatile as oil, but it can be gasfied and liquefied. The problem that has to be solved is how to burn it and yet not emit CO 2 into the atmosphere. The solution that is being advocated and experimented with at present is the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology. The idea is to industrially separate the CO 2 from the other exhaust gases of the coal-burning power plants, capture and liquefy it under high pressure and then pump it down into caverns that result from the exhaustion of oil and gas fields. Then – here the idea becomes a bit unclear– either the caverns would be sealed off or the liquefied CO 2 would be absorbed by the rocks around the cavern. Geologically suitable caverns with chemically suitable rocks will, of course, have to be found.

The strongest advocacy of this solution of the problem came in 2006 from the report of a commission appointed by the UK government and presided over by Sir Nicholas Stern. The report estimates the costs to be incurred for limiting global warming to a safe level by this and some other methods to be very modest, yearly 1% of the global GDP up to 2050 (Stern 2006). But some economists have strong doubts about this optimistic estimate. Robert J. Samuelsonwrites:

“The notion that there is only a modest tension between suppressing greenhouse gases and sustaining economic growth is highly dubious. Stern arrives at his trivial costs .... by essentially assuming them. His estimates presume that .... technological improvements will automatically reconcile declining emissions with adequate economic growth. .... To check warming, Stern wants annual emissions 25% below current levels by 2050. The IEA projects that economic growth by 2050 would more than double emissions. At present we can't bridge the gap. .................

We need more candor . Unless we develop cost-effective technologies that break the link between carbon-dioxide emissions and energy use, we can't do much. Anyone serious about global warming must focus on technology – and not just assume it. Otherwise our practical choices are all bad : costly mandates and controls that harm the economy, or costly mandates and controls that barely affect greenhouse gases. Or possibly both. (Samuelson 2006. Emphasis added)

IV. The central source of prosperity

Nowadays, in Europe one often hears that we are now living in a Wissensgesellschaft . The English equivalent of the term is presumably “knowledge society”. Recently, in a high-level discussion on the various crises of today, the moderator asked an intellectual, who had been an adviser to the Finance Minister of France , what the Western societies should and can do to overcome the crises. The adviser said, in the general sense, the material resources are inexorably becoming scarcer and costlier, and there is competition at the world market from low-wage countries like China , India etc. The way to overcome the crises is therefore fast progress towards a Wissensgesellschaft. I checked in an internet encyclopaedia and found there that many Western thinkers believe that “theoretical knowledge is the most important resource of the post-industrial society”, that “production, use, and organisation of knowledge are the central sources of productivity and growth” (Wikipedia, German edition ).

A few years ago similar thoughts used to be expressed in simpler terms, namely scientific and technological development. Some people in Germany used to say: let the Chinese, the Indians, the East Europeans etc. produce all the ordinary goods, we shall sell the blueprints, or we shall sell the highly sophisticated products and know-how. But how much of all these beliefs has a solid basis?

Ever since modern science began, knowledge production has continued uninterruptedly. In our times, we hear from scientists that knowledge is, so to speak, exploding. But then, if knowledge is the most important resource and the central source of growth, why are there these crises that I have referred to in section II.? Obviously, these beliefs are not well-founded.

Production, use, and organisation of knowledge have always been an important (let us use the terms) resource and source of growth in productivity and production. However, they have not been central to the origin and explosive growth of the Industrial Civilisation. But is there at all something we can call the central source of growth in prosperity in the last two hundred years? Yes, these are the fossil fuels .

As we all know, the steam engine made the Industrial Revolution possible. And high pressure steam could be produced by burning coal. It is not as if coal was essential for producing steam. One could have done that also by burning wood or charcoal. But wood had become scarce much before the Industrial Revolution began in England , which is why coal, a very dirty fuel, started being used in place of wood. The difference between wood and coal was that, firstly, coal was – at least in the countries, in which the Industrial Revolution was made – immensely abundant; it appeared to be inexhaustible. And, secondly, the energy content (energy density) of coal is much higher than that of wood. A study made in 1996 found that whereas the EROEI of US-American plantation wood amounts to 2.1 (i.e. a return of 2.1 units of energy can be had by investing one unit of energy), the EROEI of coal (from Wyoming USA) amounts to 10.5. The EROEI of US-American onshore natural gas and that of Alaska oil are, according to the same study, 10.3 and 11.1 respectively (cf. Heinberg 2003: 153). In its early days (1901–1920), the EROEI of Texas oil was 20 (Kunstler 2005: 107). It is as if “fossil fuels provided for each person in an industrialised country the equivalent of having hundreds of slaves constantly at his or her disposal” (ibid: 31).

When one generation of scientists and engineers, the providers and practitioners of knowledge, die, they are replaced by the next generation of scientists and engineers. They and their knowledge are, so to speak, renewable resources that are, in highly developed countries, not scarce. But not so the fossil fuels. The huge leaps in inventions and productivity that took place in the past two centuries were, of course, the work of creative scientists and engineers. But the platform, so to speak, on which they worked was provided in the final analysis by the abundantly available cheap fossil fuels. The invention of, e.g., aeroplane could not even have been imagined without the availability of cheap oil. And automatic machines that replace manpower and thus enhance productivity cannot be manufactured and operated without the use of fossil fuels. They enhance productivity because they are able to replace human energy with some or other form of fossil-fuel energy.

This platform is nowadays becoming ever weaker. Oil extraction has (almost) peaked. Its price is rising inexorably and supply cannot be increased anymore. The end of the golden age of oil is looming on the horizon. Many airlines are mothballing planes, giving up routes, raising prices. Americans and Europeans are being compelled to drive less and buy smaller cars. There is a crisis in US and European automobile industry.

Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, a pioneer in ecological economics, calls the deposits of fossil fuels and other important non-renewable minerals in sufficiently high degree of concentration “the limited dowry of mankind's existence on earth”. A dowry is not only limited but also a once-only gift. That is why he comes to the conclusion:

“Even with a constant population and a constant flow per capita of mined resources, mankind's dowry will ultimately be exhausted if the career of the human species is not brought to an end earlier by other factors.” (Georgescu-Roegen 1971/1981: 296)

Under the expression “other factors” we may understand all kinds of wars, especially those over resources, pandemics (like AIDS, bird-flu etc.), to fight against which mankind would not have enough resources, the devastations caused by the effects of global warming etc.

Georgescu-Roegen wrote these lines in 1971, when the focus was more on the resource question. In 2006, James lovelock – another great scientist-thinker – was compelled to focus more on the ecological health of the planet Earth. He had earlier compared it with a living organism and called it Gaia (the name of the ancient Greek Earth-goddess). Referring to the great dangers coming from global warming, Lovelock (2006) wrote in a very pessimistic mood:

“We have given Gaia a fever and soon her condition will worsen to a state like a coma. She has been there [i.e. in a state like a coma] before and recovered, but it took more than 100,000 years. We are responsible and will suffer the consequences: as the century progresses, the temperature will rise 8 degrees centigrade [Celsius] in the temperate regions and 5 degrees in the tropics.”

But, despite being very pessimistic, he gives a call for action:

“So let us be brave and cease thinking of human needs and rights alone, and see that we have harmed the living Earth and need to make our peace with Gaia. We must do it while we are still strong enough to negotiate, and not a broken rabble led by brutal warlords.”

V. The new tasks

If we want to heed Lovelock's call, then we must give ourselves some very new tasks. The problem is not just global warming. It is actually more general. There is, undeniably, a contradiction between ecology and economy as we know it today. Because, generally speaking, the more resources we consume, the more we pollute/degrade the environment. This is true even if resource consumption is increased in order to limit some particular case of pollution somewhere. And almost all measures to protect the environment in the interests of the general public, peoples of other countries, and the future generations result in increasing costs and losses to some people and some enterprises of the present generations, and that jeopardises economic growth. The only convincing way to achieve overall reduction in pollution and degradation of nature – that includes limiting global warming – is to reduce overall resource consumption. That entails overall economic contraction. In my book (1999 & 2008) I have argued in detail for these propositions.

Whether we like it or not, the expositions in section III and IV lead undisputedly to the conclusion that the idea of socialism on the basis of a highly developed industrial society has no chance of being realised. Also the traditional notion that a socialist regime's first task is to develop the productive forces and thus to increase production and labour productivity does not make any sense any more. These ideas and notions have become obsolete, they must be replaced with ideas and notions that are appropriate to the problems and crises we are facing today . Thus, today, socialists must replace the notion of primacy of human needs and rights with the notion of primacy of environmental protection. And the primary task of a new socialist regime will have to be to organise the transition to an economy based largely, if not exclusively, on renewable resources. Marx wrote: "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it". Following him, we should today say: till now, we, including socialists, have changed the world in various ways; the point today is, however, to protect it. Also Marx's vision of a communist society as one in which the first rule of distribution is "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need", must be revised. The second part of the rule should read: .... to each an equal share of what we can take from nature without degrading it.

Let us go back to the Marx-quotation in section I. He wrote: ".... higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society itself." Here Marx seems to say that socialism, the higher relations of production, will appear by itself (automatically) when the material conditions for its existence have matured. I do not believe that it would appear by itself, it has to be created , and Marx himself also spoke in the same quotation of the " task " that arises. Now the question is: have the material conditions for the existence of socialism matured?

Under "material conditions" Marx and his followers understood a situation in which, in a highly developed industrial society, capitalism has become a fetter to the further development of productive forces. Capitalism, they thought, would perish because of this. However, when we observe the capitalist economies of today, we do not see any sign of capitalism having become a fetter to the further development of productive forces. On the contrary, capitalism is developing the productive forces so much and so rapidly that this itself has become a great threat to both human societies and the global environment. The task today is, therefore, not to smash any non-existent fetters, but, on the contrary, to fetter the productive forces, which under capitalism, driven by market forces, have developed a dynamism independent of any considerations of good or bad for human societies and nature. But that would not suffice. The task today is rather to organise an orderly retreat from today's growth madness, to wilfully scale down humanity's economic activities.

These are the tasks, for which we need socialism with a planned economy. There is no room for these tasks in capitalism, because in its very logic there is an in-built growth compulsion. It is mainly for this reason that it must be overcome. These are very different, very new grounds for demanding socialism. This is a very new conception of socialism's tasks. To make the difference between old socialism and this new socialism clear it is necessary to call it eco-socialism.

VI. Prospects for Eco-Socialism

Marx wrote: "mankind always sets itself only such tasks as it can solve; .... the task itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution already exist .... ." (see quotation above!). Do the material conditions for successfully fulfilling the new tasks, the tasks as understood in the concept of eco-socialism , already exist? I believe they do. For, unlike in the old Marxist concept of socialism, no rapid and difficult-to-achieve development of productive forces is necessary, no highly industrialised society has to be built up from scratch as the Soviet and Chinese communists have had to do. The material conditions that are needed for fulfilling the new socialist tasks defined above exist since long: adequate renewable resources and intermediate , labour-intensive technologies. Also technologies for stopping population growth are easily available.

I would like to add here that even the objective necessity for eco-socialism exists. Large sections of humanity have realised that the crises and their sufferings referred to in section II cannot be overcome in Capitalism; they are crying for an alternative. At least in Germany , where I can observe the developments personally, the earlier antipathy to socialism is melting down. In opinion surveys, about half of the Germans say that socialism is a very good idea, only its implementation in the past had been bad. However, one very important condition that does not exist yet is the subjective readiness of the majority of the people of the world to really set itself the tasks defined above and, generally speaking, to accept the vision of eco-socialism. The expression "adequate renewable resources" is, unfortunately, still understood as enough to maintain the present-day average standard of living of, say, a middle class family in the USA or Germany .

Old Marxist socialists understood the psychological dimension of their task as creating, after the revolution, the New Man , a character type that has overcome selfishness, is ready to sacrifice personal interests in favour of the welfare of the collective, is ready to accept material equality as a social goal. What is new in eco-socialism in this respect is that the majority of the people must be subjectively ready, now , to accept a much lower material standard of living in the near future. Whereas in old socialism the selfish man was to become the New Man in the context of the promise of rising prosperity of the collective, in eco-socialism there will definitely be no promise of rising prosperity. For – unlike e.g. today's Brazil , that is rapidly destroying the Amazon rainforests – an eco-socialist society must not strive to use all the country's renewable resources for the benefit of human beings. Much fertile land must be left unused by humans so that they can be the habitat of the other animal and plant species. An eco-socialist society must not dam all its rivers to produce hydroelectricity.

What then are the prospects of eco-socialism replacing capitalism? At first it seems to be bleak. Lovelock uses the term “we”. But who are these “we”? Lovelock, I am sure, would say: why, the whole mankind. But mankind is not united in this matter. At the recent G8-summit in Japan the participants did not announce any agreed middle-term action plan aimed at retarding global warming, although they agreed in principle on the long-term goal of halving the emission of greenhouse gases by 2050. China and India , whose leaders had also been invited to take part in this part of the deliberations, flatly refused to undertake anything in this regard. Their argument is essentially the same as that put forward until two years ago by the US President Bush II for withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol process, namely that it would harm the US economy. In 1992, at the so-called Earth Summit in Rio-de-Janeiro, the then US President Bush I had said categorically that the American way of life could not be a matter for debate. All this confirms Samuelson's assertion that “the notion that there is only a modest tension between suppressing greenhouse gases and sustaining economic growth is highly dubious”. All this also means that the prospects of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and protecting the environment in general are, at least at present, very dim. Economic growth is still the topmost priority of the leaders of all nations. Even the leaders of the EU, which poses to be the pioneer in this matter, back down from their promises when it comes to taking concrete measures that might harm particular economic interests. Bush II was at least honest when he withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol process.

Although the prospects today are bleak, we can still speculate on the prospects in future. All the crises we are experiencing today will further intensify in course of time. Chaos, disorder, conflict may lead to the breakdown of the prevailing political regime in one country after the other. Of course, as of today, there is not much hope that eco-socialist regimes will take their place. But there is no compelling reason to be pessimistic either.

Today, of course, there are very few eco-socialists in the world. And even many who call themselves eco-socialists or eco-Marxists still harbour many illusions about alleged wonderful possibilities of renewable resources and non-polluting technologies that will allow all of humanity to enjoy a-middle-class standard of living. But that may change soon, or perhaps later. The various crises of today, especially global warming and the resource crisis, may themselves educate the masses quickly. We eco-socialists may add our own efforts to that. The number of eco-socialists may rise rapidly and they may become more realistic in their thoughts. It depends largely on us, today's eco-socialists, on our commitment and on how intensively and intelligently we work for our cause.

Also in the highly developed industrial societies I can see some signs of hope. Firstly, for reasons other than ecological, the population of these countries is going down (e.g. in Russia and Germany ) or stagnating. And for spiritual, moral and/or ecological reasons many people are voluntarily living a modest life. There are many who have given up using a private car and generally reduced their consumption. In theoretical writings on the ecology and resource problems I have often come across a quotation in which the 19th century economist John Stuart Mill advocates "a stationary state" economy. Herman Daly's (1977) advocacy of "a steady-state economy" is fairly well known among environmentalists. In the English and German speaking world, recently several books and articles have appeared that warn the highly industrialised societies of the coming unavoidable downscaling of their economies (see e.g. Heinberg 2003, Kunstler 2005). People who have accepted such views are, of course, still a small minority. But the majority is worried and have started thinking seriously about life beyond the Oil Age and amidst global warming. In this context, it is also important to note that in these countries there exists a movement that calls itself de-growth movement.

However, unfortunately, all these writers and other people who are worried, envisioning the future, and thinking of solutions to the problems are thinking only within the framework of capitalism. They are not asking whether their ideas can at all be implemented in capitalism. But I think it is possible that after some time, when the governments would be compelled to tell the people that substantial sacrifices are necessary, the people, who would have become highly politicised by then, would demand that the sacrifices and burdens are distributed equitably, that some kind of rationing of the more essential goods and services and jobs are introduced. We may hope that in the highly developed countries, when the planned downscaling of the economy begins, people would not accept extreme inequality as their forefathers did in the pre-industrial ages. That could be a step towards an eco-socialist society. (In my book on the subject {1999, 2008}, I have discussed in great detail the main features of an eco-socialist society).

VII. Prospects for Eco-Socialism in Developing Countries

The prospects, I guess, are better among the peoples of the poor Third World countries. The distance between an ideal sustainable way of life and their present real way of life is not as great as that among the peoples of Western Europe and North America . In the Third World , many of us still remember having lived without electricity and motor vehicles. In India , even today about two-thirds of the population do not have access to electricity. But one very depressing aspect of the situation there is the unabated population growth.

Nowadays, among socialists one can observe quite a lot of enthusiasm over the recent developments in Latin America . In some countries there, those who call themselves socialists have been elected as president, in some others left leaning Social Democrats. Especially the developments in Venezuela and Bolivia have raised hopes. But such feelings only reflect old socialist thinking. The redistribution of the nation's oil and gas wealth in favour of the poorer strata of society that is taking place in these two countries is, of course, highly laudable. But this may be called "petro-socialism". This policy has no future. When the oil and gas wealth will start to decline, what will the socialist presidents have to distribute? They are raising hopes without caring for the future. We should therefore focus on countries that are not so well endowed with oil and gas or some other valuable minerals, the limited onetime-only "dowry" Georgescu-Roegen spoke of.

China immediately comes to mind as an example. The economy of this most populous country of the world is booming for quite a few years. It is rapidly becoming industrialised. China is, moreover, ruled by an all-powerful communist party. So, following the ideas of old socialism, one might think that the foundation of a socialist society is being built there, albeit largely through an economic policy that allows and encourages capitalist enterprises in a sort of market economy. When a BBC journalist asked a member of the Communist Party of China, whether he found it alright that capitalist entrepreneurs were making large profits at the expense of the working people, the latter replied: "The goal remains the same, only the path and the tempo can vary." I think, the leaders of the CPC would say the same in reply to the question.

But they cannot ignore the ecological and resource crisis any more. They are fully aware of the enormity of environmental pollution in China . The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics estimated that in 2004 the economic damage caused by environmental pollution amounted to 3% of the GDP of that year. It further estimated that to clean up or repair the [accumulated] environmental pollution/damage would cost the nation €106 billion, which is equivalent to 7% of the GDP of 2004 ( Financial Times , 8.09.2006). The leadership is also aware of the basic cause of this high level of pollution. Responding to the world-wide negative reports on the state of China 's environment, a high level member of the national government said: you cannot want China to be the "factory of the world" and then complain about pollution! As regards the energy and resource crisis, China is, through its accelerating demand, as much a cause of the crisis as a sufferer from it. For the average Chinese, the recent 18% hike in the price of petrol is much more difficult to bear than it would be e.g. for the average German. According to recent reports, there is now even power shortage in China , because coal production cannot keep pace with demand ( Frankfurter Rundschau , 11.07.2008). The shortfall in coal production resulted inter alia from the closure of many small and/or illegal coal mines where every year hundreds of miners lost their life through accidents, which happened because mine owners had refused to invest enough in safety measures ( International Herald Tribune , 14.07.2008).

Leaders of the CPC also cannot ignore the negative social and political effects of such disregard of the interests of the working class. And there are also reports of hundreds of protest demonstrations on various issues and grievances, and reports of numerous violent clashes between the police and the aggrieved people.

Against this background, one is compelled to ask, can the goal remain the same, i.e. socialism on the basis of a highly developed industrial economy?

At present, it does not appear that the Chinese leadership is prepared to revise its goal. At an international conference on "Environment and Socialism" held in May 2008 in Jinan (I took part in it) almost all Chinese speakers said, in the general sense, they knew that the state of the environment in China was very bad, that this could not be allowed to continue and that measures to protect the environment must be taken. But why? Because, they said, otherwise development would be halted. There was no mention of the resource crisis. The remedy was seen in the development and use of environment-friendly technologies. And I heard very often the avowal of eco-socialism as the goal (at least of the speakers). But this is not what I consider to be true eco-socialism. I am afraid, if the Chinese leadership does not change course soon, if it continues, like the rest of the world, to pursue the goal of maximising the GDP, then it would lead China to economic and social collapse. (That may happen in India too.)

But if the leadership embraces true eco-socialism, then China has a better chance of success than any other country. Because, firstly, in China the Communist Party still has considerable control over the economy and society at large. Although much of the economy is now functioning as a capitalist market economy, not much is left totally at the mercy of anonymous market forces. If it decides to change course, the leadership can take over complete control of the economy and organise an orderly (instead of a chaotic) retreat from today's growth madness. Secondly, with its one-child policy the leadership has already taken an important step towards eco-socialism. And thirdly, unlike in rich industrial countries, the masses still have not forgotten how to live a happy life without much material wealth.

However, there is also a danger: the corroding effects of capitalism on the moral fabric of society, of the masses as well as of the leadership. To allow capitalists to become a member of the Communist Party was not a good idea. Through them greed can (or it has already) become a dominating force in human behaviour. And greed is not only an anti-socialist, but also an anti-ecological trait of character. As Gandhiji said, "Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs but not for every man's greed".

Saral Sarkar was born in 1936 in West Bengal, India. After graduating from the University of Calcutta, he studied German language and literature for 5 years in India and Germany. From 1966 to 1981, Sarkar taught German at the Max Mueller Bhavan (Goethe Institute), Hyderabad, India. Sarkar is living in Germany since 1982. He is the author of 5 political books(see list in Wikipedia/German) that have appeared in English, German, Chinese, Japanese and (in internet for free downloading) French and Spanish. Sarkar has also published many articles and essays in several journals in India, USA, Germany, UK, Holland, China, Spain. He also writes regularly in two blogs of his own (see Wikipedia/German).


Daly, Herman (1977) Steady State Economics . San Francisco : W. H. Freeman.

Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas (1971/1981) The Entropy Law and the Economic Process .
Cambridge (Ma): Harvard University Press.

Heinberg, Richard (2003) The Party is Over . Forest Row: Clairview. .

Kunstler, James Howard (2005) The Long Emergency. London : Atlantic Books.

Lovelock, James (2006) “The Earth is about to catch a morbid fever .... ”, in:
The Independent , 16.01.2006.

Marx, Karl & Engels, Frederick (1977) Selected Works in Three Volumes , Volume One.
Moscow : Progress Publishers.

Meacher, Michael (2006) “On the Road to Ruin”, in: The Guardian , 7.06.2006

Samuelson, Robert J. (2006) “The Worst of Both Worlds?” in: Newsweek , 13.11.2006.

Sarkar, Saral (1999) Eco-Socialism or Eco-Capitalism? . London : Zed Books.

,, ,, (2008) Chinese translation of ditto. Jinan : Shandong University Press.

Schrader, Christopher (2008) Große Töne, kleiner Beitrag , in Süddeutsch Zeitung ,

Stern, Nicholas (2006) Stern Review: Der wirtschaftliche Aspekt des Klimawandels
. London : Internet.





Saral Sarkar

Blumen Strasse - 9

50670 - Köln


Tel. 0049-221-1391737.

Fax. ,, ,, 37990530.

e-mail: saralsarkar@t-online.de

Written in June–July 2008.

  Read Prospects For Eco-Socialism
 June 4, 2014
Ocean Acidification Rate May Be Ten Times Faster Than Ancient Time
by Countercurrents, Countercurrents

Ocean acidification in the modern ocean may already be affecting
some marine life, as shown by the partly dissolved shell of this
planktic snail, or pteropod, caught off the Pacific Northwest .
Credit: Nina Bednaršedk/NOAA

Some 56 million years ago, a massive pulse of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere sent global temperatures soaring. In the oceans, carbonate sediments dissolved, some organisms went extinct and others evolved.

Scientists have long suspected that ocean acidification caused the crisis -- similar to today, as human made CO2 combines with seawater to change its chemistry. Now, for the first time, scientists have quantified the extent of surface acidification from those ancient days, and the news is not good: the oceans are on track to acidify at least as much as they did then, only at a much faster rate.

In a study published in the latest issue of Paleoceanography, scientists estimate that ocean acidity increased by about 100 percent in a few thousand years or more, and stayed that way for the next 70,000 years. In this radically changed environment, some creatures died out while others adapted and evolved.

The study is the first to use the chemical composition of fossils to reconstruct surface ocean acidity at the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a period of intense warming on land and throughout the oceans due to high CO2.

The oceans have absorbed about a third of the carbon humans have pumped into the air since industrialization, helping to keep earth's thermostat lower than it would be otherwise. But that uptake of carbon has come at a price.

Chemical reactions caused by that excess CO2 have made seawater grow more acidic, depleting it of the carbonate ions that corals, mollusks and calcifying plankton need to build their shells and skeletons.

In the last 150 years or so, the pH of the oceans has dropped substantially, from 8.2 to 8.1--equivalent to a 25 percent increase in acidity.

By the end of the century, ocean pH is projected to fall another 0.3 pH units, to 7.8. While the researchers found a comparable pH drop during the PETM--0.3 units--the shift happened over a few thousand years.

From seafloor sediments drilled off Japan , the researchers analyzed the shells of plankton that lived at the surface of the ocean during the PETM. Two different methods for measuring ocean chemistry at the time -- the ratio of boron isotopes in their shells, and the amount of boron --arrived at similar estimates of acidification.

The study confirms that the acidified conditions lasted for 70,000 years or more, consistent with previous model-based estimates. "It didn't bounce back right away," said Timothy Bralower, a researcher at Penn State who was not involved in the study. "It took tens of thousands of years to recover."

"It's really showing us clear evidence of a change in pH for the first time," said Bralower.

"This could be the closest geological analog to modern ocean acidification," said study coauthor Bärbel Hönisch, a paleoceanographer at Columbia University 's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "As massive as it was, it still happened about 10 times more slowly than what we are doing today."

"We are dumping carbon in the atmosphere and ocean at a much higher rate today -- within centuries," said study coauthor Richard Zeebe, a paleoceanographer at the University of Hawaii . "If we continue on the emissions path we are on right now, acidification of the surface ocean will be way more dramatic than during the PETM."

What caused the burst of carbon at the PETM is still unclear. One popular explanation is that an overall warming trend may have sent a pulse of methane from the seafloor into the air, setting off events that released more earth-warming gases into the air and oceans. Up to half of the tiny animals that live in mud on the seafloor -- benthic foraminifera -- died out during the PETM, possibly along with life further up the food chain.

Other species thrived in this changed environment and new ones evolved. In the oceans, dinoflagellates extended their range from the tropics to the Arctic, while on land, hoofed animals and primates appeared for the first time. Eventually, the oceans and atmosphere recovered as elements from eroded rocks washed into the sea and neutralized the acid.

Today, signs are already emerging that some marine life may be in trouble. In a recent study led by Nina Bednaršedk at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than half of the tiny planktic snails, or pteropods, that she and her team studied off the coast of Washington , Oregon and California showed badly dissolved shells.

Ocean acidification has been linked to the widespread death of baby oysters off Washington and Oregon since 2005, and may also pose a threat to coral reefs, which are under additional pressure from pollution and warming ocean temperatures.

"Seawater carbonate chemistry is complex but the mechanism underlying ocean acidification is very simple," said study lead author Donald Penman, a graduate student at University of California at Santa Cruz . "We can make accurate predictions about how carbonate chemistry will respond to increasing carbon dioxide levels. The real unknown is how individual organisms will respond and how that cascades through ecosystems."

Other authors of the study, which was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation: Ellen Thomas, Yale University ; and James Zachos, UC Santa Cruz.

Story Source:

The story is based on materials provided by The Earth Institute at Columbia University .

Journal Reference:

Donald E. Penman, Bärbel Hönisch, Richard E. Zeebe, Ellen Thomas, James C. Zachos. Rapid and sustained surface ocean acidification during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. Paleoceanography, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/2014PA002621


The Earth Institute at Columbia University . "Modern ocean acidification is outpacing ancient upheaval: Rate may be ten times faster." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 June 2014. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140602170341.htm

  Read Ocean Acidification Rate May Be Ten Times Faster Than Ancient Time
 June 7, 2014
Pro-gas Obama's EPA-based Plan To Reduce Coal-based Pollution Amounts To Climate Change Inaction
by Dr Gideon Polya , Countercurrents

The worsening climate crisis  has finally been recognized as a major issue by the Obama Administration. However the latest policy announcement on climate change by President Obama -  30% off 2005 greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution of America's dirty power plants by 2030 enforceable by the US Environment Protection Authority (EPA)  under the Clean Air Act [1, 2] -  represents too little too late and falls far short of what is needed to address the worsening  climate crisis. Thus the annual GHG pollution to be saved in 2030 through this measure  will be only 4.5% of America's current total annual GHG pollution that is re-assessed at 10.3 billion tonnes CO2-e (CO2 equivalent) if the latest data on methane  emissions are considered. In stark contrast,  the whole world's 2010-2050  terminal carbon pollution budget that must not be exceeded if we are to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature rise is 600 billion tonnes CO2 [3] and the US finally used up its “fair share”  of this terminal carbon pollution budget in 2014 [4].

Thus, notwithstanding this latest move by Obama - that is ferociously opposed by the terracidal US fossil fuel industry, the Republicans (the Tea Party and  the racist religious  right Republicans (R4s) in particular) and the many  Democrats successfully bribed by dirty energy lobbyists  -  the US remains firmly  committed to disproportionately   polluting the one common atmosphere and ocean of all countries  and to stealing the entitlement and amenities of all other countries. This represents an egregious  further example of the extraordinary exceptionalism of “e pluribus unum” ( “one out of many”),   the motto of the United States of America which has invaded 70 countries since 1776 [5-7].

US global  hegemony has come at a huge human cost. Thus 1950-2005 avoidable deaths from deprivation on Spaceship Earth with the US in  charge of the flight deck  total 1.3 billion for the whole world, 1.2 billion for the non-European world and 0.6 billion for the Muslim world [6], the latter carnage being 100 times greater than the WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million Jews killed, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation) [8, 9]  or the “forgotten” WW2 Bengali Holocaust in which the British with Australian complicity deliberately starved 6-7 million Indians to death for strategic reasons [10, 11].  1950-2005 avoidable deaths from deprivation in countries occupied by the US in the post-1945 era total 82 million [6]. Currently 18 million people die avoidably each year in the Developing World under US hegemony.

However climate criminal climate inaction by the US and its allies also exacts a high human cost. Thus DARA estimates that each year  5 million people die from climate change (0.5 million) and carbon burning pollutants (4.5 million)  with such deaths expected to total 100 million by 2030 in the absence of requisite climate change action [12].  It has been estimated by several  leading climate scientists that only 0.5 billion may survive climate change inaction  this century, this corresponding to a climate genocide in which 10 billion people will perish avoidably this century due to political stasis on man-made global warming [13].

For all its “too little too late” shortcomings, Obama's plan to substantially, albeit only partly,  cut pollution from dirty power plants - by 30% off 2005 levels by 2030 - at least partly addresses the  huge problem of American deaths linked to such pollution. Thus is estimated that 1.3 million Americans die preventably each year [14, 15] of whom 70,000 die from carbon burning pollutants [16]. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently estimated that 7 million people die each year worldwide from the effects of air pollution, this mainly being from carbon burning pollutants [17].

According to the US EPA, in 2012 U.S. greenhouse gas emissions totalled 6,526 million tonnes CO2-e  of which 9% (587 million tonnes CO2-e )  was due to methane (CH4)  and 82% (5, 351  million tonnes CO2-e )  was due to CO2 from coal, gas, oil and wood burning and cement manufacture [18].  Consonant with this estimate, data from  US Energy Information Administration  (US EIA) indicate that 2012 energy-related CO2 pollution was about 5,500 million tonnes CO2 [19]. Past  and projected energy-linked CO2 pollution is in the range of  5,400 -5,600 million tonnes CO2 annually in the period of 2009-2030  [19]. The US EPA indicates that in 2012 electricity  production accounted for 32% of GHG pollution (2,088 million tonnes CO2-e)   and about half of this is now gas-fired due to the big shift from coal-fired l to gas-fired electricity generation  in recent years (the coal-to-gas electricity  generation ratio  shifting from 2.3 in 2007 to 1.2 in 2012  [20].  

The US Energy Information  Administration has assessed a remarkably constant   US energy-related CO2 pollution (in millions of tonnes CO2)  as follows: 5,418 (2009), 5,608 (2010), 5,381 (2015), 5,454 (2020), 5,501 (2025) , and 5,523 (2030) (average value about 5,500) [19]. If systemic methane leakage is ignored (however see below), the  30% reduction plan would affect only the ostensibly dirtier, coal-based electric power plants  and hence encourage a further shift from coal to gas [21]. Ignoring cement production,   assuming the 30% reduction only affects coal-fired plants,  that the 2005 coal/gas electricity generation  mix was about 3, and that total GHG pollution was about the same in 2030, then the savings in 2030 would be 0.3 x 0.75 x 2,088 million tonnes  CO2-e = 470  million tonnes CO2-e  i.e.  470 x 100/6,526 = 7.2% or a derisory circa 7%  decrease in total GHG pollution in 2030 (however,  as shown later, when the revised  natural gas leakage contribution to  total GHG pollution is re-assessed, US  total annual GHG pollution is revealed as 10,343.3 million tonnes CO2-e and the Obama Plan's 470  million tonnes CO2-e   savings in 2030   will be only 470 x 100/ 10,343.3 = 4.5% ).

Making the same assumptions, the maximum decrease in energy-linked, carbon burning pollutant-related deaths would be 470 x 70,000/ 5,500 = 5,982 or only about 6,000 fewer  carbon burning-related deaths per year in 2030. One notes that the pro-gas Obama plan ignores the deaths from carbon burning pollutants from carbon burning other than coal burning  for electricity.  Thus  MIT researchers from have estimated 53,000 untimely deaths annually in the US from vehicle exhaust fine carbon particulates (PM 2.5 ) as compared to a total of 200,000 such American deaths annually from PM 2.5 particulates  [ 22]. One notes that PM 2.5 particulates  are a significant pollutant from gas-fired power plants [23] and that the WHO has found no threshold for adverse effects of such fine carbon particulates  [24].

Pro-gas Obama has only been exceeded by the pro-fossil fuel Republicans in contempt for the lives of ordinary Americans, of whom about 200,000 die avoidably each year from the effects of carbon particulates and ozone from carbon burning. Thus Caiazzo et al. from 83-Nobel-Laureate Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): “ Combustion emissions adversely impact air quality and human health. A multiscale air quality model is applied to assess the health impacts of major emissions sectors in United States . Emissions are classified according to six different sources: electric power generation, industry, commercial and residential sources, road transportation, marine transportation and rail transportation. Epidemiological evidence is used to relate long-term population exposure to sector-induced changes in the concentrations of PM 2.5 and ozone to incidences of premature death. Total combustion emissions in the U.S. account for about 200,000 (90% CI: 90,000–362,000) premature deaths per year in the U.S. due to changes in PM 2.5 concentrations, and about 10,000 (90% CI: -1000 to 21,000) deaths due to changes in ozone concentrations. The largest contributors for both pollutant-related mortalities are road transportation, causing ~ 53,000 (90% CI: 24,000–95,000) PM 2.5 -related deaths and ~ 5000 (90% CI: -900 to 11,000) ozone-related early deaths per year, and power generation, causing ~ 52,000 (90% CI: 23,000–94,000) PM 2.5 -related and ~ 2000 (90% CI: -300 to 4000) ozone-related premature mortalities per year. Industrial emissions contribute to ~ 41,000 (90% CI: 18,000–74,000) early deaths from PM 2.5 and ~ 2000 (90% CI: 0–4000) early deaths from ozone. The results are indicative of the extent to which policy measures could be undertaken in order to mitigate the impact of specific emissions from different sectors — in particular black carbon emissions from road transportation and sulfur dioxide emissions from power generation” [23].

Natural gas (largely methane, CH4) is a dirty energy source because on combustion it yields the greenhouse gas (GHG) CO2. Burning 1 tonne CH4 yields 2.75 tonnes CO2 whereas burning 1 tonne of carbon (C; the major constituent of coal)  yields 3.67 tonnes CO2. However CH4 is a gas, leaks and has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) 105 times greater than that of CO2 on a 20 year time frame and taking aerosol impacts into  account [24]. Accordinglym to assess the GHG effect of a natural gas-based economy (as the US is rapidly becoming) one needs to know the extent of CH4 leakage. Expert US scientists from top US institutions have now found that CH4 leakage is much higher  than reported by the US  EPA [26-30].

Mark Golden writing in the Stanford News gives an excellent layperson's summation: “Natural gas consists predominantly of methane. Even small leaks from the natural gas system are important because methane is a potent greenhouse gas – about 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. A study, "Methane Leakage from North American Natural Gas Systems," published in the Feb. 14 issue of the journal Science, synthesizes diverse findings from more than 200 studies ranging in scope from local gas processing plants to total emissions from the United States and Canada.… Several other studies have used airplanes and towers to measure actual methane in the air, so as to test total estimated emissions. The new analysis, which is authored by researchers from seven universities, several national laboratories and federal government bodies, and other organizations, found these atmospheric studies covering very large areas consistently indicate total U.S. methane emissions of about 25 to 75 percent higher than the EPA estimate” [27].

The EPA estimates that in 2012, U.S. GHG emissions totaled 6,526 million tonnes CO2-e and that 9% of this was due to methane [31] i.e. 0.09 x 6526 million tonnes  CO2-e = 587.3 million tonnes CO2-e.  However this has to be corrected for (1) underestimation of the leaked CH4 by a conservative factor of 1.5 and (2) EPA underestimation  of the GWP of CH4 by using the 100 year GWP of 21 rather  than the 20 year GWP (with aerosol impacts included) of 105, this requiring  a correction factor of 5 i.e. the corrected CH4  in CO2-e (CO2-equivalent) =  587.3 million tonnes CO2-e x 1.5 x 5 = 4,404.8 million tonnes CO2-e.

Accordingly , the actual annual US GHG pollution = 6,526.0 – 587.3 + 4,404.8 = 10,343.5 million tonnes CO2-e (rather than the  6,526 million tonnes CO2-e proclaimed by the US EPA). Accordingly the 470  million tonnes CO2-e   savings in 2030 through the Obama Plan  will only be 470 x 100/ 10,343.3 = 4.5% of the total annual US GHG pollution - a derisory saving in view of the worsening climate emergency.

The   US population is  313 million (2012) i.e. the US annual per capita GHG pollution is 33.0 tonnes per person per year. By way of comparison, the World population (2012) is 7,000 million and the World GHG pollution is 63,803 Mt CO2-e (2009) (the FAO estimate of  41,755 Mt CO2-e corrected for livestock impact [32]) and accordingly  the   annual per capita  GHG pollution is 9.1 tonnes per person per year for World, 3.6 times lower than for the US . Reported in the South China Morning Post (2014) “ China 's greenhouse gas emissions would only peak in 2030, at around 11 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent. Emissions now stand at between 7 billion to 9.5 billion tonnes” [33].  A China population (2014) of  1,391 million gives an annual  per capita GHG pollution of 9.5 billion tonnes CO2-e /1.391 billion persons  =  6.8 tonnes  CO2-e per person per year, 33/6.8 = 4.9 times lower than that of the US. Thus, compared to China and the World, the US is disproportionately polluting the one common atmosphere and ocean of all countries.

CH4 has a Global Warming Potential 105 times greater than that of CO2 on a 20 year time frame and taking atmosphere aerosol impacts into account [25]. Accordingly, natural gas  can be dirtier than coal GHG-wise depending upon the rate of CH4 leakage. By way of example, in Victoria, Australia for example, an average  gas-fired power station could generate 0.75 tonnes CO2-e/MWh of electrical energy, roughly half that of a dirty coal-fired power station's 1.5 tonnes CO2-e/MWh.  

If the gas  leakage is 2.6%  the GHG effect of the leaked gas would equal the GHG effect from burning the remaining 97.4% of the gas and accordingly  tonnes CO2-e/MWh would increase by a factor of 2.0 to give 2.0 x 0.75 tonnes CO2-e/MWh = 1.5 tonnes CO2-e/MWh (i.e. as dirty as a coal-fired power station's  1.5 tonnes CO2-e/MWh).

If the gas leakage is 3.3% (the US average [34] ) then tonnes CO2-e/MWh would increase by a factor of 2.3 to give 1.73 tonnes CO2-e/MWh (i.e. 1.2 times as dirty as a coal-fired power station's  1.5 tonnes CO2-e/MWh) [35].

If the gas leakage is 7.9% (the upper estimate with shale formation-derived gas [36])  then. tonnes CO2-e/MWh would increase by a factor of 4.3 to give 3.2 tonnes CO2-e/MWh (roughly 2.1 times as dirty as a coal-fired power station's  1.5 tonnes CO2-e/MWh) [35].

Professor Robert Howarth from 43-Nobel-Laureate Cornell University and his colleagues  have concluded  that natural  gas is dirtier than coal GHG-wise on a 20 year time frame:  “We evaluate the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas obtained by high-volume hydraulic fracturing from shale formations, focusing on methane emissions. Natural gas is composed largely of methane, and 3.6% to 7.9% of the methane from shale-gas production escapes to the atmosphere in venting and leaks over the life-time of a well. These methane emissions are at least 30% more than and perhaps more than twice as great as those from conventional gas [1.7 to 6.0%] . The higher emissions from shale gas occur at the time wells are hydraulically fractured—as methane escapes from flow-back return fluids—and during drill out following the fracturing. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential that is far greater than that of carbon dioxide, particularly over the time horizon of the first few decades following emission. Methane contributes substantially to the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas on shorter time scales, dominating it on a 20-year time horizon. The footprint for shale gas is greater than that for conventional gas or oil when viewed on any time horizon, but particularly so over 20 years. Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years” [36].

The coal-to-gas transition touted by the pro-gas Obama Administration  and the US gas industry means replacing one dirty energy source (coal) with another dirty energy source (natural gas)  that , as exampled above, may indeed be dirtier than coal GHG-wise  depending upon the extent of systemic natural gas leakage.

However non-scientist Obama is unfazed by or ignorant of such considerations and was happy to falsely declare that natural gas is “clean energy”(2013): “Today, we use more clean energy – more renewables and natural gas – which is supporting hundreds of thousands of good jobs” [37]. To reiterate: natural gas is dirty energy and can indeed be dirtier GHG-wise than coal.

One can at least give some credit to the pro-gas, climate criminal Obama Administration for “baby steps” in the right direction and for good  rhetoric about the need for climate change  action, in contrast to the climate change denialism and effective climate change denialism of the terracidal   fossil fuel industry and the terracidal Republicans [37, 38].

Thus Obama (2013): “Convince those in power to reduce our carbon pollution.  Push your own communities to adopt smarter practices.  Invest.  Divest” [37]. Well, many human collectives from corporations  to towns, cities, states  and countries are investing for 100% renewable energy ASAP [39] and many organizations including towns, cities, universities, colleges , churches and investment funds are divesting from increasingly risky fossil fuels [40]. Secretary of State John Kerry in a powerful speech in Jakarta , Indonesia (2014) warned of the seriousness of  global warming, slammed the climate change denialists  and stated: “Today I call on all of you in Indonesia and concerned citizens around the world to demand the resolve that is necessary from your leaders. Speak out. Make climate change an issue that no public official can ignore for another day. Make a transition towards clean energy the only plan that you are willing to accept” [38].   Fine words but pathetic  action from the Obama Administration as outlined above.

Summary and conclusions.

The Obama Administration recognizes the serious threat to Humanity from man-made global warming but is hamstrung by a climate criminal, Neocon American and Zionist Imperialist  One Percenter Establishment and a Congress that has been successfully lobbied by the terracidal fossil fuel industry in Murdochracy, Lobbyocracy and Corporatocracy America .  

The best the Obama Administration thinks it can do is to invoke the Clean Air Act and achieve 30% off the 2005 level of the GHG pollution by dirty, coal-fired power stations by 2030. It is estimated that this will achieve savings equivalent to only a derisory 4.5% of the current total US annual greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution estimated from  taking upwardly revised estimates of methane leakage into account. Annual American carbon burning–based deaths would decrease by only about 6,000,  noting  that annual carbon burning-related deaths from fine PM 2.5 carbon particulates  alone have been estimated at 200,000.

The significant effect of Obama's  EPA-based  move (assuming that it survives legal assaults by the   Republicans and fossil fuel corporations) will be to further promote the current dramatic  shift from coal-based to gas-based electricity. However this policy is flawed because (1) gas is dirty energy and a coal-to-gas policy locks in this dirty energy for decades , and  (2) high  systemic  gas leakage means that using natural gas to generate electrical  power can be dirtier GHG-wise than using coal.

The  Obama plan is too little too late . The whole world's 2010-2050  terminal carbon pollution budget that must not be exceeded if we are to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature rise is 600 billion tonnes CO2  and the US finally used up its “fair share”  of this terminal carbon pollution budget before mid- 2014. . The US is already stealing the residual carbon pollution entitlement  of all other countries. With an annual per capita GHG pollution 3.6  times greater than the world  average and nearly 5 times greater than China's, the US  remains  remorselessly  committed to disproportionate pollution of the one common atmosphere  and ocean of all nations. The war criminal, climate criminal, Neocon American and Zionist Imperialist  One Percenters running the US are characterized, whether in warmongering or climate change inaction, by  genocidal racism, murderous hegemony, global larceny and utter mendacity.

We are running out of time to prevent climate catastrophe [41, 42]. What can decent people –and especially the young -  do in the face of worsening climate injustice and intergenerational  injustice [43]? Decent people must (a)  inform everyone they can,  (b) urge and apply Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against all those climate criminal  people, politicians, parties, companies,   corporations and countries disproportionately complicit in the worsening climate crisis and climate change inaction [44], and (c) vote 1 Green.


[1]. Suzanne Goldenberg, “Obama unveils historic rules to reduce coal pollution by 30%”, Guardian, 3 June 2014: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/02/obama-rules-coal-climate-change .

[2]. US EPA. “Carbon pollution standards” (2014): http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards .

[3].   WBGU, “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”: http://www.ecoequity.org/2009/10/solving-the-climate-dilemma-the-budget-approach/ .

[4].”Years left  to zero greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution relative to 2013”, Carbon Debt Carbon Credit:   https://sites.google.com/site/carbondebtcarboncredit/years-left-to-zero .

[5]. Gideon Polya, “”The US has invaded 70 nation since 1778 – make 4 July Independence from America Day”, Countercurrents, 5 July 2013: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya050713.htm .

[6]. Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”, now available for free perusal on the web: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/body-count-global-avoidable-mortality_05.html .

[7]. William Blum, “ Rogue State ”.

[8]. Martin Gilbert, “Jewish History Atlas”.

[9]. Martin Gilbert, “Atlas of the Holocaust”.

[10]. Gideon Polya, “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History. Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainability”, now available for free perusal on the web: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com.au/  .

[11].  Gideon Polya, “ Australia and Britain killed 6-7 million Indians in WW2 Bengal Famine”, Countercurrents, 29 September 2011: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya290911.htm .

[12]. DARA, “Climate Vulnerability Monitor. A guide to the cold calculus of a hot planet”, 2012, Executive Summary pp2-3: http://daraint.org/climate-vulnerability-monitor/climate-vulnerability-monitor-2012/ .

[13].  “Climate Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/ .

[14]. Gideon Polya , “American Holocaust, millions of untimely American deaths and $40 trillion cost of Israel to Americans”,  Countercurrents, 27 August 2013: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya270813.htm .

[15]. Gideon Polya, “ One million Americans die preventably annually in USA ”, Countercurrents, 18 February 2012: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya180212.htm .

[16]. Bernie Fischlowitz-Roberts, “ Air Pollution Fatalities Now Exceed Traffic Fatalities by 3 to 1”, Earth Policy Institute, 17 September 2002: http://www.earth-policy.org/plan_b_updates/2002/update17  .

[17]. WHO, “7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution:”, WHO press release, 25 Match 2014 : http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/ .

[18]. US EPA, “National greenhouse gas emissions data”, 2014: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/usinventoryreport.html .

[19]. US EIA, “Energy-related  carbon dioxide emissions”, Table A10: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/emissions.cfm   .

[20]. Steven Macmillan, Alexander Antonyuk and Hannah Schwind, “Gas to coal competition in the U.S. power sector”, International Energy Agency, 2013: http://www.iea.org/publications/insights/CoalvsGas_FINAL_WEB.pdf .

[21]. Tim Puko, “How the EPA's plan will impact electricity, coal and natural gas markets”, The Wall Street Jounral, 2 June 2014: http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2014/06/02/how-the-epas-plan-will-impact-electricity-coal-and-natural-gas-markets/ .

[22]. Caiazzo, Fabio; Ashok, Akshay; Waitz, Ian A.; Yim, Steve H.L.; Barrett, Steven R.H. (November 2013). "Air pollution and early deaths in the United States . Part I: Quantifying the impact of major sectors in 2005",  Atmospheric Environment , 79: 198–208: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231013004548 .

[23]. Gideon Polya, “Expert witness testimony to stop gas-fired power plant installation”, Countercurrents, 14 June  2013: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya140613.htm .

[24].  WHO, “Air quality and health”: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs313/en/ .

[25]. Drew T. Shindell , Greg Faluvegi, Dorothy M. Koch ,   Gavin A. Schmidt ,   Nadine Unger and Susanne E. Bauer , “Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions”, Science 30 October 2009:
Vol. 326 no. 5953 pp. 716-718: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5953/716 .

[26]. A.R. Brandt et al. , “Methane leaks from North American natural gas systems”, Science 14 February 2014: Vol. 343 no. 6172 pp. 733-735: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/343/6172/733.summary .

[27]. Mark Golden, “ America 's natural gas system is leaky and in need of a fix, new study finds”,  Stanford News,13 February 2014: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/february/methane-leaky-gas-021314.html .

[28]. Jesse Jenkins, “Do methane leaks negate climate benefits of natural gas? Four takeaways from a new science study””, Energy Collective, 14 February 2014: http://theenergycollective.com/jessejenkins/341086/do-methane-leaks-negate-climate-benefits-natural-gas-four-takeaways-new-science- .

[29]. William Pentland, “Underestimated methane leaks make natural gas dirtier than previously thought, say s study”, Forbes, 13 February 2014: http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2014/02/13/underestimated-methane-leaks-make-natural-gas-dirtier-than-previously-thought-says-study/ .

[30]. Scot M. Miller et al, “Anthropogenic emissions of methane in the United States ”, Proc. Nar. Acad. Sci. USA, November 25, 2013: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/11/20/1314392110.abstract .

[31]. US EPA, “National greenhouse gas emissions data”: http://epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/usinventoryreport.html .

[32]. Robert Goodland and Jeff Anfang. “Livestock and climate change. What if the key actors in climate change are … cows, pigs and chickens?”, World Watch, November/December 2009: http://www.worldwatch.org/files/pdf/Livestock%20and%20Climate%20Change.pdf .

[33]. Reuters and Li Jing, “ China considering  cap on greenhouse gas pollution”, South China Morning Post, 4 June 2014: http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1524872/china-considering-cap-greenhouse-gas-pollution .

[34].  David Lewis, "EPA confirms natural gas leakage rates", The Energy Collective, 7 December 2010: http://theenergycollective.com/index.php?q=david-lewis/48209/epa-confirms-high-natural-gas-leakage-rates .

[35]. “Gas is not clean energy”: https://sites.google.com/site/gasisnotcleanenergy/ .

[36] Robert W. Howarth, Renee Santoro, Anthony Ingraffea, “Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations”, Climatic Change

June 2011 , Volume 106 , Issue 4, pp 679-690 : http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-011-0061-5 .

[37] Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President on Climate Change”, The White House, 25 June 2013: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/06/25/remarks-president-climate-change  .

[38]. John Kerry, “Remarks on climate change”, US Department of State, 16 February 2014: http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/02/221704.htm .

[39]. “100% renewable energy by 2020” : https://sites.google.com/site/100renewableenergyby2020/ .

[40]. “Divest from fossil fuels”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/divest-from-fossil-fuels .

[41]. “2011 climate change course”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course .

[42}. “Are we doomed?”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/are-we-doomed .

[43]. “Climate justice  and intergenerational equity”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/climate-justice .

[44]. “Stop climate crime”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-climate-crime .

Dr Gideon Polya has been teaching science students at a major Australian university for 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London , 2003). He has published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ); see also his contributions “Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality” in “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics” (edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/stories/s1445960.htm ) and “Ongoing Palestinian Genocide” in “The Plight of the Palestinians (edited by William Cook, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2010: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/4047-the-plight-of-the-palestinians.html ). He has published a revised and updated 2008 version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” (see: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ ) as biofuel-, globalization- and climate-driven global food price increases threaten a greater famine catastrophe than the man-made famine in British-ruled India that killed 6-7 million Indians in the “forgotten” World War 2 Bengal Famine (see recent BBC broadcast involving Dr Polya, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/history/social-economic-history/listen-the-bengal-famine ). When words fail one can say it in pictures - for images of Gideon Polya's huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: http://sites.google.com/site/artforpeaceplanetmotherchild/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/gideonpolya/ .

  Read Pro-gas Obama's EPA-based Plan To Reduce Coal-based Pollution Amounts To Climate Change Inaction
 June 7, 2014
Global Justice, Sustainability And The Sharing Economy
by Rajesh Makwana , Countercurrents

If the sharing economy movement is to play a role in shifting society away from the dominant economic paradigm, it will have to get political. And this means guarding against the co-optation of sharing by the corporate sector, while joining forces with a much larger body of activists that have long been calling - either explicitly or implicitly - for more transformative and fundamental forms of economic sharing across the world

With public interest in the sharing economy on the rise, a polarisation of views on its potential benefits and drawbacks is fast becoming apparent. Much of the mainstream media continues to focus on the ability of the sharing economy to generate wealth and create new billionaires , while some social entrepreneurs and progressives claim that interpersonal sharing is the solution to the world's most intractable problems. At the same time, a growing number of analysts are concerned that the sharing economy could enable businesses to evade regulations and even break the law . These increasingly conflicting views reflect the diverse interests of the many individuals, organisations and businesses engaged in what is essentially an emerging movement for sharing that has yet to clarify its purpose. 

To add a further layer of confusion to the debate, there is little agreement on what the sharing economy actually is. For example, Rachel Botsman - a leading proponent of the ‘what's mine is yours' philosophy - argues that the sharing economy forms part of a much wider collaborative economy that leverages technology and trust to facilitate a more efficient distribution of goods and services. A broader definition has been put forward by The People Who Share , who regard the sharing economy as an “alternative socio-economic system which embeds sharing and collaboration at its heart – across all aspects of social and economic life”. Friends of the Earth have also significantly expanded the discourse on sharing to include the political sphere, albeit focussing on city-wide sharing as a means for improving environmental sustainability and equity among citizens.

All of these existing definitions still pay insufficient attention to national and global forms of economic sharing, particularly those facilitated by democratically elected governments. Instead, the focus generally remains limited to individual (peer-to-peer) and local sharing initiatives. Apart from those advocating for localised forms of sharing to be replicated in cities across the world , rarely is the sharing economy discussed in terms of systems of sharing and redistribution that operate on a nationwide or global scale, or in relation to calls for governments to institute the more transformative forms of economic sharing that are possible today.

This is not to deny the very real potential of the sharing economy to help strengthen communities, reduce the rate at which resources are consumed, and create financial returns at very low marginal cost . However, if our reason for supporting different modes of sharing is a desire to create a more equitable and sustainable economic system, we need to significantly broaden our understanding and interpretation of what constitutes a sharing economy. There is no question that it makes sound economic and environmental sense for businesses and individuals to reduce their carbon footprints and share scarce resources. But government policy (enacted either nationally or through international agreements) ultimately determines how effectively nations and the international community can address the underlying causes of inequality, climate change and resource wars – some of the most pressing challenges that face humanity in the 21st century.

Bearing in mind the urgent need to implement sharing on a systemic and global basis, a fresh evaluation of the sharing economy from the perspective of social justice and environmental sustainability is presented below. The five general positions that follow do not present a comprehensive critique by any standards, but they are a starting point for broadening the sharing economy discourse and making it more relevant to the bigger picture issues that concern many progressives today. In particular, this perspective questions the role of commerce in so-called sharing-related business activities. It also proposes that we should include longstanding national and global forms of sharing in our definition of what constitutes a sharing economy, especially if we are working towards the creation of a more equal, just and sustainable world.

Interpersonal forms of sharing are not enough to deliver social justice or environmental sustainability

There is good reason to doubt whether the sharing economy (at least as it is generally understood today in terms of peer-to-peer activities) can ever have a significant impact on pressing global crises. For example, many people involved in the sharing economy aim to reduce their personal consumption to sustainable levels. While this is an important practice, the sheer scale of the ecological crisis suggests that simply sharing surplus or under-utilised personal goods is not a sufficient response to a global problem that requires systemic change at all levels to resolve. As often repeated, humanity as a whole is consuming natural resources 50% faster than the planet can replenish them . Not only is this massive overshoot in global consumption levels set to worsen as the world's consumer class expands, it is also further complicated by huge imbalances. Around 20% of the world's population are responsible for 80% of all resource consumption, while the remaining 80% are surviving on a ‘low consumption pathway' and 20% are in ‘basic needs deficit .'

Clearly the global sustainability crisis cannot be addressed effectively until the structural factors that are responsible for creating these inequalities are fully addressed, and this has huge implications for transforming government policies and economic systems both nationally and globally. A huge array of reforms are needed to reconfigure the way nations extract, produce, distribute and consume resources across the world. For instance, this would include rethinking our notions of progress and prosperity, ending the dominance of consumption-led economic growth over government policy, and reversing the relentless push towards trade liberalisation. Much also needs to be done to dismantle the culture of consumerism, reconceptualise financial measures like GDP, and shift investment towards building and sustaining a low-carbon infrastructure, as endlessly debated by civil society.

In fact, the entire ecological conundrum is increasingly being framed in terms of sharing by progressive analysts – either through an ‘ equity and fair shares ' lens or from the perspective of sharing the planet's resources more sustainably to secure basic human rights for all. Although these critical discourses on sharing are becoming ever more urgent and popular among civil society thinkers, sharing economy advocates have generally neglected these systemic issues and failed to connect with environmentalists and anti-poverty campaigners who are often calling for vital forms of global economic sharing.

The need for public sector-driven solutions is also evident in relation to tackling poverty and inequality which, in simple terms, requires governments to ensure universal access to essential goods and services . But instead of promoting or facilitating these fundamental aspects of economic sharing, most sharing economy supporters tend to focus on the collaborative (and often for-profit) sharing of household items, cars or spare rooms - not the resources that people most desperately need to be shared today such as nutritious food, healthcare and essential public services. Similarly, while sharing in terms of charitable giving and voluntary assistance within communities can help redistribute wealth and alleviate some instances of human deprivation, it cannot address the structural causes of poverty and inequality that have their basis in public policy.

If advocates of the sharing economy are really motivated to tackle complex social and ecological issues, they should also devote time and energy to promoting forms of sharing that are far more effective at addressing these problems, such as universal social protection or contraction and convergence approaches to addressing climate change. This means moving beyond the solely personal, community and city-oriented view of sharing, and embracing a wider understanding of sharing that includes the role of governments in advancing effective social policy and environmental regulations. Most of all, it is at the national and global level that the sharing economy can be revolutionary and transformative – if its supporters are willing to engage in the gritty politics of reforming government policy to establish truly effective and ‘sharing' societies.

A much broader definition of the sharing economy is needed

Existing definitions of the sharing economy tend to focus on personal, local and business approaches to sharing, even when those involved in the sharing movement profess to care deeply about climate change and other global issues. But these definitions present a very limited and superficial understanding of what the sharing economy is, which disconnects the sharing economy movement from serious attempts to address social injustice or environmental degradation. For instance, national systems of sharing are arguably the most established, important and fundamental examples of sharing economies that exist in the modern world, as alluded to above. Through systems of progressive taxation and the provision of essential public services and social protection for all, the vast majority of people in most developed countries are involved in and benefit from these broad-based sharing systems. Why aren't these crucial examples of sharing part of the discourse and evolving definition of the sharing economy?

Perhaps a majority of those involved in the sharing economy come from an entrepreneurial or technology background, and therefore prefer to focus on social enterprise solutions or software-driven and online peer-to-peer platforms. Others might be deeply sceptical about state intervention and regulation – a view that is particularly prominent in the United States. Or perhaps, as various commentators are increasingly suggesting, the sharing economy is more concerned with profit and the private sector than it is with the ethic of sharing per se . It stands to reason that if the sharing economy movement had a more robust focus on the welfare of people and the planet, one would expect more vocal opposition to austerity measures or greater support for environmental campaigns by organisations like Greenpeace – issues that are rarely if ever mentioned on the pages of the most prominent sharing economy websites. In this sense, the millions of people across the US and Europe who are mobilising against government austerity policies could be considered the real champions of the sharing economy.

In some cases, focussing on new sharing economy platforms, technologies and initiatives could even undermine more effective and established systems of national sharing. For example, while car sharing schemes are clearly good for the environment, a universally accessible public transport system is undeniably better . Indeed public transport can be regarded as a greener citywide or nationwide sharing platform - but few people promoting the sharing economy are advocating to improve such services. The intense focus that the sharing economy places on individuals and the private sector might also explain the recurring issues around sharing-oriented businesses flaunting regulatory and licencing conventions designed to protect society at large.

If a key focus for the sharing economy movement is on resolving global crises, it stands to reason that our understanding and definition of the sharing economy must include critical forms of sharing resources on an international basis that urgently need strengthening and scaling-up. Sharing resources on a finite planet, almost by definition, must take place globally and between governments. Even though international mechanisms for sharing are still in their infancy compared to the national systems of sharing mentioned above, some examples do already exist . These include essential forms of global redistribution such as humanitarian aid; emergent systems of global governance (as ineffectual and biased as they currently are); and frameworks and agreements that facilitate the protection and sharing of the planet's scarce natural resources. This international aspect of sharing is the most crucial with regards to social and environmental justice, although it still remains the least developed or discussed among proponents of the sharing economy.

Supporters of peer-to-peer sharing could help build a much stronger identity by recognising that their activities form part of these much broader and more fundamental sharing systems that operate at all levels of society. An inclusive working definition that can embrace the diverse national and international forms of sharing was put forward in STWR's report Financing the global sharing economy , and is worth revisiting:

“The sharing economy is a broad term used in this report that encompasses the many systems of sharing and redistribution that exist locally, nationally and globally - whether facilitated by individuals, states or other institutions. It is concerned with the social, economic, environmental, political and spiritual benefits of sharing both material and non-material resources - everything from time and love to money and natural resources.”

“In comparison, the global sharing economy refers specifically to systems of sharing and redistribution that are international or global in nature - whether facilitated directly by people and governments or by global institutions like the United Nations. It refers to the many methods by which the international community can share their financial, technical, natural and other resources for the common good of all people. The global sharing economy is still in its infancy, but is nonetheless an important expression of the growing sense of solidarity and unity between people and nations.”

The sharing economy movement must resist co-optation by the corporate sector

In a worrying phenomenon sometimes described as ‘sharewashing' , commercial activities that have never before been regarded as sharing are now re-branded under this trendy new meme. For example, most people would agree that renting is not the same as sharing and neither is giving people a lift in your car in exchange for cash. Room sharing and car sharing enterprises might offer excellent and rewarding services in their own right, but they may have little to do with the principle of sharing in relation to human rights and concerns for equity, democracy, justice and sustainability, especially when the main beneficiaries are company shareholders and not customers or employees. It is already well recognised that many so-called sharing enterprises adopt business models and ethics that do not allow wealth, income or decision-making to be shared with their employees or customers to any significant extent. 

Above all, we must guard against sharing-oriented initiatives from being co-opted by the corporate sector. Rampant commercialisation is at the heart of the social and environmental problems we face, so those involved in the sharing economy movement should be cautious about supporting large corporations whose wider business models and practices fail to embody the principle of sharing in any real sense . This sort of co-optation is a well-documented phenomenon in relation to social and environmental issues, with the ‘greenwashing' of oil companies that supposedly pursue an ecological agenda, and the ‘whitewashing' of unethical corporations through Corporate Social Responsibility programs.

If sharing is not to be co-opted by venture capital and the corporate sector, perhaps there should be a minimum criteria for any company that professes to be part of the sharing economy. At the very least, sharing economy businesses should be set up as not-for-profits or cooperatives , or else they should adopt business models that promote the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. They must also pay their fair share of taxes , as this is a key part of the established and most important system of sharing that we have (yet) created.

Sharing is already a common cause for the global justice movement

Many supporters of sharing economy initiatives think that sharing is fashionable and trendy - a lifestyle choice - and that by sharing they are doing their bit to promote egalitarian or environmentally conscious ethics and values. But if the sharing movement is to play a role in shifting society away from the dominant economic paradigm and help to resolve global crises, it will have to get political . This means recognising that sharing economy advocates are part of a much larger body of people calling for more transformative forms of economic sharing in relation to pressing social and environmental concerns.

Millions of people across the world are already campaigning for economic and political reforms that embody the principle of sharing , although they don't always use the term ‘sharing' in their advocacy and activities. The sharing of wealth, power or resources is central to what progressives have long been calling for, and supporting these demands for social justice, peace and ecological sustainability is fundamental to affecting structural change on the scale that is now necessary. This means being more aware of the issues that environmentalists and activists campaign on, and explicitly aligning local sharing activities with their broader justice-based vision of economic and ecological sharing.

For example, as mentioned above, strengthening systems of progressive taxation and public services is essential at the national level – and this means opposing economic austerity measures and supporting nationwide systems of sharing. Campaigners are also calling for new mechanisms for sharing the global commons (including the atmosphere – a key issue in international climate change negotiations ) as this is the only way to create a more sustainable and peaceful world. If we support the sharing economy in its broadest sense as outlined here, we need to support these and other sharing-related campaigns in their many and diverse forms.

The sharing economy is best promoted by appealing to intrinsic values

It is not hard to imagine how a process of sharing could theoretically play a key role in addressing multiple global crises, as genuine forms of economic sharing should result in a fairer distribution of resources for all people within planetary limits . However, there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that promoting the sharing economy as another way to supplement our income is likely to promote extrinsic values that will undermine efforts to create a more equitable and sustainable world. According to detailed studies, promoting intrinsic values that go beyond concerns about oneself are far more likely to encourage sustainable lifestyles than a focus on extrinsic values, such as personal financial gain. In other words, those who share because they are told it can help them make some spare cash are less likely to engage in other environmentally beneficial activities, compared to those who share out of purely environmental concerns.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with making some extra money or being motivated by extrinsic values. However, if our goal is to help address the world's interconnected and intractable crises, the evidence suggests that our campaigning activities must remain firmly aligned to intrinsic values . This has huge implications for all those involved in promoting the sharing economy at a time when so much of the public discourse on sharing highlights the growth and success of certain businesses in predominantly monetary terms.

To conclude, there is little doubt that through the time-honoured act of sharing we can strengthen communities, reduce consumption and facilitate the non-monetary distribution of goods and services – and this can potentially help rebalance an economic system that is increasingly dependent on greed and hyper-consumerism for its continued success. But interpersonal sharing is not enough at a time when humanity is facing what can only be described as a global emergency that includes massive poverty and rising levels of inequality, climate change and the wider ecological crisis, as well as ongoing conflicts over the world's dwindling natural resources.

The process of sharing can only play a transformative role in addressing these crises if we move beyond our egocentric understanding of the sharing economy, and embrace national and global forms of sharing that are facilitated by government bodies in response to urgent social and environmental needs. By being vigilant about how we promote and participate in the sharing economy, we can also guard against the pervasive influence of commerce as it seeks to expand into new markets in a last ditch attempt to preserve the status quo. And by working more closely with the many millions of campaigners and organisations across the world who recognise the transformative potential of economic sharing – whether this is explicitly or implicitly expressed – we can significantly strengthen our chances of establishing an ecologically viable and socially just future for all.


Rajesh Makwana is the director at Share The World's Resources (STWR), and he can be contacted at rajesh [at] sharing.org

  Read  Global Justice, Sustainability And The Sharing Economy
 June 9, 2014
Saving Threatened Species
by John Scales Avery, Countercurrents

Loss of biodiversity

All of us know that the relentless growth of human population, agriculture and industry has led to great losses in biodiversity. At present, the rate of extinction is about 1000 times the normal background rate. Great efforts have been to focus public attention on this serious problem by such organizations as The World Wildlife Fund, and by individuals such as Sir David Attenborough, Jane Goodall, E.O. Wilson, James Lovelock and Dian Fossy. The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2011-2020 to be the UN Decade of Biodiversity. Individual species, such as the panda, the California condor and the mountain gorilla have become iconic in the struggle to save threatened species. Today dams are built in such a way as to minimize their impact on fish and waterfowl.

Less well known, however, is the fact that our enormous emissions of greenhouse gases threaten to produce a human-caused 6th geological extinction event. The concentration of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere recently passed 400 parts per million. Commenting on this event, Dr. Charles Miller of NASA said:

“Current [atmospheric] CO2 values are more than 100 ppm higher than at any time in the last one million years (and maybe higher than at any time in the last 25 million years)... These increases in atmospheric CO2 are causing real, significant changes in the Earth system now, not in some distant future climate, and will continue to be felt for centuries to come. We can study these impacts to better understand the way that the earth will respond to future changes, but unless serious actions are taken immediately, we risk the next threshold being a point of no return...”

Humans are also a threatened species

Geologists studying the fossil record have observed 5 major extinction events. These are moments in the earth's history when a very large percentage of the species then living become extinct. The largest of these was the Permian-Triassic extinction event, which took place about 252 million years ago. In this catastrophic event, up to 96 percent of all marine species, and 70 percent of terrestrial vertebrates vanished forever. It is believed that this mega-disaster was caused by the greenhouse gases from massive volcanic eruptions in Siberia. But human greenhouse gas emissions could also cause such an event, if prompt steps are not taken to limit them. We must make an all-out effort to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Here is a link to an important and clear short video, made by Thom Hartmann and his collaborators, which discussed this danger:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRGVTK-AAvw As pointed out in the video, feedback loops, such as the one involving melting of methane hydrates on ocean floors, might lead to tipping points, beyond which human efforts to control climate change would have no effect.

It is not only the California condor and the panda that we must save: It is ourselves. Humans might become extinct as the result of out-of-control climate change; or if not extinct, so much reduced in numbers that the enormous, complex and vulnerable edifice of human civilization would not survive.

The mainstream media are failing us

Despite the severity of these threats to human civilization and the biosphere, and despite the fact that wide public discussion and prompt action are needed if we are to avert disaster, the mainstream media are completely silent. Discussion of the dangers is confined to the scientific community. The public is left in ignorance by the mainstream media, whose goal seems to be to reassure us that we can continue indefinitely to destroy the environment for the sake of economic growth. Short-term profits of big coal and oil companies are placed above concern for the long-term future.

The Canadian environmentalist and broadcaster David Suzuki has made an interesting video in which he introduces the idea of intergenerational crimes. Here is th link:

We must not commit crimes against future generations. We must not commit crimes against the other living creatures with which we share our beautiful world. We must save threatened species. We must save ourselves.

John Avery received a B.Sc. in theoretical physics from MIT and an M.Sc. from the University of Chicago. He later studied theoretical chemistry at the University of London, and was awarded a Ph.D. there in 1965. He is now Lektor Emeritus, Associate Professor, at the Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen. Fellowships, memberships in societies: Since 1990 he has been the Contact Person in Denmark for Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. In 1995, this group received the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. He was the Member of the Danish Peace Commission of 1998. Technical Advisor, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (1988- 1997). Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy, April 2004. http://www.fredsakademiet.dk/ordbog/aord/a220.htm. He can be reached at avery.john.s@gmail.com

  Read Saving Threatened Species
 June 9, 2014
A Common Vision – The Abolition of Militarism
by Mairead Maguire , Countercurrents

The following are the remarks delivered by the Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire at the international Sarajevo Peace Event which begins in Bosnia and Herzegovin on June 6, 2014

Today, June 6, people from all corners of the world gather here in Sarajevo, Bosnia, to explore a plethora of ideas on the road forward to a world in peace.

Sarajevo once was the scene of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand that led to the start of the First World War in 1914. The shot fired in Sarajevo a century ago set off, like a starting pistol, a race for power, two global wars, a Cold War, a century of immense, rapid explosion of death and destruction technology, all extremely costly, and extremely risky.

A huge step in the history of war, but also a decisive turning point in the history of peace. The peace movement has never been as strong politically as in the last three decades before the break-out of the First World War. It was a factor in political life, literature, organization, and planning, the Hague Peace Conferences, the Hague Peace Palace and the International Court of Arbitration, and Bertha von Suttner’s bestseller, ‘Lay Down Your Arms!’.

Optimism was high as to what this ‘new science’ of peace could mean to humankind. Parliaments, Kings and Emperors, great cultural and business personalities involved themselves. The great strength of the movement was that it did not limit itself to civilizing and slowing down militarism, it demanded its total abolition. People were presented with an alternative, and they saw common interest in this alternative road forward for humankind.

What happened in Sarajevo a hundred years ago was a devastating blow from which the movement never really recovered. Now, 100 years later, must be the time for a thorough reappraisal of the merits of the original vision of disarmament, what we have done without it, the need for a recommitment, a new ambitious start offering new hope to a humanity suffering under the scourge of militarism and wars.
“We need to acknowledge that our common humanity and human dignity are more important than our different traditions. We can solve our problems without killing each other” – Mairead Maguire

People are tired of armaments and war. They have seen that they release uncontrollable forces of tribalism and nationalism. We need to acknowledge that our common humanity and human dignity are more important than our different traditions. We can solve our problems without killing each other. We need to accept and celebrate diversity and otherness. We need to give and accept forgiveness, and choose non-killing and non-violence as ways to solve our problems.

We are also challenged to build structures through which we can cooperate and which reflect our interdependence. The vision of the European Union (EU) founders to link countries together economically in order to lessen the likelihood of war among the nations is a worthy endeavor.

Unfortunately instead of providing help for E.U. citizens, we are witnessing the growing militarization of Europe, its role as a driving force, under the leadership of the United States/NATO, towards rearmament and a new ‘cold’ war and military aggression. The EU and many of its countries used to take initiatives in the United Nations for peaceful settlements of conflicts. Traditionally peaceful countries, like Norway and Sweden, are now among the most important U.S./NATO war assets. The EU is a threat to the survival of neutrality.

Many nations have been drawn into being complicity in breaking international law through U.S./U.K./NATO wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and so on. I believe that NATO should be abolished and that the United Nations should be reformed and actively take up its mandate to save the world from the scourge of war.

But there is hope. People are saying no to militarism and war and insisting on disarmament. Now is the time to take inspiration from many who have gone before us, like Bertha von Suttner, who was the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in l905.

It was Von Suttner who moved Alfred Nobel to set up the Nobel Peace Prize award and it was her movement and ideas that Nobel decided to support in his testament for the ‘Champions of Peace’, that is, those who struggled for disarmament and replacing power with law and International relations.

That these ideas were what Nobel wished to support is clearly confirmed by three expressions in his will, about creating the fraternity of nations, work for abolition of armies, and the holding of peace congresses. It is important the Nobel Committee be faithful to his wishes and that prizes go to the true Champions of Peace that Nobel had in mind.

This 100-year-old program for global disarmament confronted militarism in a fundamental way. It challenges today´s peace movement to rethink. Is it sufficient to ask for improvements and reforms, or is it necessary to be an alternative to militarism? This aberration and dysfunctional system goes completely against the true spirit of men and women, which is to love and be loved and solve our problems through cooperation, dialogue, non-violence and conflict resolution.

The Sarajevo event gathers a diversity of activists together and lets them feel the warmth and strength of being among thousands of friends and enriched by the variety of peace people, and ideas. Participants will be inspired and energized to pursue their different projects, be it arms trade, nuclear, non-violence, culture of peace, drone warfare, etc. But soon they shall be back home, and know all too well how they often are being met with indifference or a remote stare.

The problem is not that people do not like what they say; what they understand correctly is that little can be done, as the world is. But peace people want a different world. Diverse as their work is, a common vision of a world without arms, militarism and war is indispensable for success. Can the movement achieve real change if it does not confront and reject militarism entirely, as the aberration, or dysfunction, that it is in human history? Is it not time that all countries come together in an agreement to abolish all weapons and war, and to commit to always sort out all differences through international law and institutions?

While it is impossible in Sarajevo to make a common peace program, it must be possible to commit to a common goal. If the common dream is a world without weapons and militarism, why not say so? Why be silent about it?

It would make a world of difference if peace work no longer be scattered attempts to modify the military. Each activist should see their effort as part of a great, global endeavor. Across all divisions of national borders, religions and races, one goal should be clear: to be an alternative, insisting on an end to militarism and violence. This would mean, for each one, an entirely different chance to be listened to and taken seriously.

Mairead Corrigan Maguire won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book, The Vision of Peace (edited by John Dear, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama) is available from www.wipfandstock.com. She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. See: www.peacepeople.com

  Read A Common Vision – The Abolition of Militarism
 June 11, 2014
Frank Denial From A Leading Global Statesman
by Bill Henderson , Countercurrents

"No country is going to undertake actions on climate change, no matter what they say … that is going to deliberately destroy jobs and growth in their country.

“We are just a little more frank about that, but that is the approach that every country is seeking.”

Prime Minister Harper speaking at a news conference with Australia PM Tony Abbott.

There is no question that human caused warming is happening or that climate change threatens future generations. Canada, along with almost all of the world's nations, has agreed to limit emissions so as to stay below a 2C rise in temperature, but we are currently on a path to at least 4C by century's end. But growth and jobs remain by far the most important consideration.

"It's not that we don't seek to deal with climate change. But we seek to deal with it in a way that will protect and enhance our ability to create jobs and growth, not destroy jobs and growth in our countries. And frankly, every single country in the world, this is their position," Harper said.

“The choice is stark,” Mr. Oliver said Monday during a speech to the International Economic Forum of the Americas. “Head down the path of economic decline, higher unemployment, limited funds for social programs like health care, continuing deficits and growing debt, or achieve prosperity and security now and for future generations through the responsible development of our resources.” Canada will be condemned to a future of debt and economic decline if the country can’t get its landlocked oil to world markets.

Growth and jobs based upon expanding fossil fuel production is by far the most important consideration. Pricing carbon or any other restraint upon economic growth is therefor not allowed.

But if warming is happening and present use of fossil fuels is putting us on a path that we know promises civilization even humanity threatening disruption; if we've already agreed to limit emissions to stay under a 2C precautionary ceiling and then wasted at least two decades so that now action to stay under 2C must mean major systemic change (leaving the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground, urgently cutting emissions) which must impact 'growth' and present employment - isn't it madness to affirm the importance of growth and jobs BAU when questioned about climate change?

Isn't our PM's response a criminal, cynical reaffirmation that the most important thing to Harper is his immediate self-interest: growth and jobs leading up to the next election, a 'healthy' economy for Canadians? Isn't his 'frankness' monumental stupidity and acute myopia? Won't these incredibly stupid quotes come back to haunt him his entire life?

I once called Harper a monster - not a political jibe because of some minor government bill, but because our PM stands out as a global leader against effective action that is urgently needed on climate change and because of the scale of suffering and destruction that his 'leadership' will cause. "No one person on the planet today is doing so much right now to endanger future generations and all we know and love. Harper - like other neolib governors globally - is scared to death about our economic future, and raw commodity export, especially bitumen from the tarsands, must be accelerated for jobs and economic activity to keep Canada's economy's head above water."

The choice is indeed stark. Most of you know what we should do, what would be the right thing to do, what would be responsible. But we are in denial, implicatory denial; it is madness, but our PM does speak for Canadians. The choice is indeed stark but instead we are going to pretend that we take climate change seriously while doing everything in our power to grow the economy by ramping up the production of fossil fuels.

Bill Henderson is a frequent contributor to Countercurrents on Climate Change . He can be reached at
bill (at) pacificfringe.net

  Read Frank Denial From A Leading Global Statesman
 June 11, 2014
I Too Have A Dream: That Life On Earth Shall Not Perish, But Rather Thrive Forever
by Glen Barry , Ecointernet.org, Countercurrents

As a species we can do better if we believe in the human family, ourselves and Earth. There are alternatives to passively sitting by as climate abruptly changes, ecosystems collapse, and authoritarianism rises, destroying naturally evolved ecosystems and their life. A pathway exists to global ecological sustainability, yet it requires shared sacrifice and courage, and we may have to fight. What if we came together to pursue human advancement without destroying the biosphere and actively opposed those in our way? We choose ecocide and death by not choosing to stand for Earth and all life. A global revolution is coming that will sustain the environment and ensure basic needs are met for all, while embracing truth and justice as the basis for shared governance, ecological sustainability, and economic well-being.

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” Krishnamurti

“The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” Plato

“Big old trees in large, connected, ecologically intact old-growth forests make the world go round.”Dr. Glen Barry

The world has gone dramatically wrong as she is ravaged by ecosystem collapse, abject poverty, grotesque inequity, militant nationalism, and resurgent authoritarianism. Overpopulation combined with inequitable overconsumption, leading to a state of permawar, in particular are root causes destroying natural ecosystems and threatening collapse of our one shared biosphere. Either the human family learns to share, simplifies our way of living, and takes any and all truthful actions to end the current state of global ecocide; or else we collapse into nothingness.

There are alternatives to ecosystem collapse and authoritarian rule, including taking mass collective action to do together what must be done for survival of our ecosystem habitat and universal well-being. Economic inequity – 300 people holding as much wealth as billions – is obscene. The rich are going to learn to share, and stop amassing wealth by liquidating Earth’s ecosystem commons, or there is going to be a global revolution. Those guilty of climate denial and other crimes against ecology will face a reckoning soon, if their unchallenged misbehavior doesn’t kill us all first.

Now is the time for moral and political courage as together we limit abrupt climate change; and stop and reverse ecosystem collapse and rising tyranny. I anticipate that we are near an inflection point, where increased awareness is meeting clearly observable accelerating socioeconomic-ecological deterioration, allowing for a brief window of opportunity to save being through embrace of knowledge-based policies that will deliver long-term global ecological sustainability. Nations will be downsized, as local sovereignty to live well within bioregions is actualized.

We have to be ready with viable agro-ecological, restoration ecology, transition communities, renewable energy, and other solutions to implement as ecosystem, economic, and social collapse becomes more evident. And speaking academically, at the right time, under the right circumstances, where we hold the strategic edge, a concerted global effort of clandestine sabotage and swarming of the sources of ecocidal threats may be necessary. By doing nothing as society and ecology unravel, we have chosen to quit, dooming ourselves, our planet, kindred species, and our loved ones to a hell on Earth, followed by grisly death and the possible end of being.


I too have a dream, shared by many, that life on Earth shall not perish, but rather will thrive forever. I dream that all human beings and kindred species will be valued, loved, and revered. I dream we all may quickly learn to see our oneness with fellow humans, kindred species, and with the living biosphere. I dream this motivates us to come together and act swiftly and fearlessly to protect Earth.

I dream that tanks and armaments are once and for all beaten into ploughshares in service to community-based agro-ecology. And that the human family comes together to return to the land to protect and restore ecosystems, weaning ourselves from fossil fuels, allowing being to continue indefinitely.

My dream envisions a world of artisans, craftsmen and women, and agriculturalists, who create something of value through their hands and minds in partnership with a living Earth. I dream that the Jeffersonian vision of decentralized and autonomous agrarian democracy is fully realized in our time.

I dream for the wisdom to see all human life is sacred, and together we only do as well as those that are worst off. Today’s economic inequity is obscene. Desperate poverty means life remains brutal and short for many (including other species). The task of our times is to extend self-actualized, secure life to others without destroying ecosystems and collapsing the biosphere.

And I dream that we have the intelligence, and compassion, to ask the hard questions and do what must be done. How has “development” – destroying ecosystems, killing non-human life, exploiting others – become the meaning of life? What ever became of aspirations for real human advancement in justice, rights and duties, equity, truth and wisdom, love and peace, ending war, and ecological sustainability? Why is it easier to imagine and acquiesce to the end of the world than to conceive and implement significant change in how our society is organized?

Together we are hurtling through space on a living Earth, which our cumulative greedy, violent, destructive ways are destroying. It is time for a reality check – a close examination and adherence to the bottom-line truths required for continued well-being and even existence.

I dream that self-evident truths are recognized, embraced, and acted upon. We are one human family, there is no god, we are entirely dependent upon ecosystems for life – and they are being wantonly destroyed.

In my dream governments respond to the cascade of science and self-evident truths that ecology, justice, and fairness are perishing. Yet if governments fail to cut emissions and protect ecosystems based upon ecological science and self-evident biosphere decline, they will have abdicated, and it will be up to people power to save ecological being.

In that case, my dream is that based upon the knowledge and wisdom of many, autonomous Earth warriors will arise committed to acting decisively – individually and in small groups through acts of resistance, and together en masse swarming upon the destroyers of being – to embrace Earth’s salvation. I dream that a large system of collaborators will rise to support them.

And I am not the only one thinking these thoughts. It is time for courageous freethinkers to come together and undertake personal acts of clandestine resistance and participate in sufficient mass action to avert global ecosystem collapse and achieve a state of greater equity, justice, and sustainability. That is what development means, a real advancement in well-being for all sentient creatures, as together we live in a way that all can enjoy without destroying the biosphere.


The global environment is collapsing and dying as human industrial growth overruns the natural ecosystems that make Earth habitable. Earth’s land, air, water and oceans are being utterly ravaged by industrial growth. Earth’s carrying capacity has been exceeded.

Economics is a subsystem of natural ecosystems; thus, without ecology there can be no jobs. Infinite growth at the expense of finite natural ecosystems is impossible. Together the human family rejects endless material growth and embraces a steady state economy, or the biosphere will collapse.

The movement for global ecological sustainability is profoundly difficult as it is not about expanding rights but rather is primarily concerned with fulfilling duties. It is going to be difficult to help people understand that for their well-being and even survival they are going to have to live with fewer material items. But there is potential to achieve so much more in terms of knowledge, experience, human interaction, and lasting employment on a living Earth that goes on and on forever.

Profound inequity, eco-collapse, persistent injustice, ignorance and permawar are sicknesses which mar human potential and well-being. Inequities in economics, justice and rights are unacceptable and are going to end one way or another. We are not demanding equality, just basic fairness – that all who work are able to provide for their families, and that those who work hard are rewarded more, but not exorbitantly at the expense of the well-being of other people and species.

There are many who are unable to work and some who would rather partake in creative enterprises while living simply. A universal basic income would eliminate desperate dead-end poverty, maximize individual liberty, and allow society to focus upon ecological sustainability. A guaranteed basic income that meets everyone’s frugal needs for shelter and food can replace all other social service payments, shrinking nanny government and reducing taxes. Ensuring basic human needs are met, indeed all species’ needs, is central to global ecological sustainability.


As water becomes scarce, climate changes abruptly, oceans become dead zones, and there are consequently fewer jobs; authoritarianism is rising. The fruits of recent centuries’ human advancement – largely ending slavery, the uneven spread of human rights, greater women’s equality, comfort and ease for many – are at risk as ecosystems collapse. Nanny government, corporatist fascism, religious zealots, and human ignorance are rising and preying upon Earth and our and all life’s well-being. This rise of authoritarian corporatism and the police state threatens the Earth’s, humanity’s and all life’s future. The ruling class is stealing freedoms to allow their final devouring of the ecosystem commons.

Unlike past movements that sought the expansion of rights, the environmental sustainability movement requires an expansion of duties to Earth, each other, and future generations. The challenge of our time is to remain free as we embrace our duty to protect nature, end fossil fuels, and to justly share. Without large, intact natural ecosystems and an operable climate there can be no life. Knowing this fact, we must be willing to take all actions consistent with our conscience, while taking full responsibility personally for doing so.

The hegemonic powers of America, Europe and China have become evil failed states that wage ecocidal tyranny against the planet, its peoples, and all life for a bit more growth. Endless growth on a finite world is impossible and can only lead to ecological collapse as the biosphere is pulled down. For human and all life’s wellbeing we desperately need another worldview that interprets the cosmos and ecology, and our place within it, differently. There are ways of living besides fossil fuel addiction, glorifying conspicuous consumption, and rushing hell-bent to ecocide.

Other sources of progressive good have become corrupted. The United States government does not own the Internet. It has no right to spy and invade privacy, to limit anyone’s use of the Internet for good causes like ecology and liberty, or to terrorize innocents with drone permawar. Foundation-fed environmental NGO bureaucracies have become profoundly irrelevant, routinely greenwashing ecocide. Only loosely coordinated local action based upon ecological truth and sufficient solutions to maintain the biosphere, ecosystems, and livelihoods can save us now.

A wide body of political and economic theory exists, which is barely sampled in the U.S. and many countries’ politics. In only one decade bipartisan U.S. leadership and most other democracies have embraced Big Brother–type permawar, ecocide, corporate rule, spying, murder, and fascism. And though we let it happen, whether this state of affairs becomes permanent globally remains in our hands, until it is too late and the biosphere collapses under the fist of uber-fascism.

A well lived life should be all about green liberty – maintaining our environment and all life’s well-being – as we remain radically free. Green liberty – a better way of life than the one we are now living – is based upon observable truths, and is a lifestyle committed to truth, justice, equity, and ecology that will last. Green liberty rejects the lies that civilized society requires hierarchies of control and that economic growth is the measure of well-being, instead embracing our oneness and interdependence with the natural world.

To survive, humanity must learn to live together without destroying nature. We are all one human family with inalienable rights and duties to each other and Earth. Ecological and other truths have no agenda, are not politically affiliated, do not necessarily bring power or prestige, but truths exist and their full consequences will not be denied.


In an age of non-liberal and non-democratic police states, it is hard to imagine and implement a path to full-spectrum sustainability sufficient to avoid such a collapse. If we want to survive, we will prove it by doing what is necessary – I repeat because it is important – acting within the constraints of our individual conscience, while fully bearing personally the responsibility for doing so.

Having an opinion – and speaking it loudly – is not the same as being educated, knowledgeable, wise, and seeking and serving truth. There is much ignorance being spouted based upon superstition and limited experience that is devoid of truth. It is virtually impossible to address the myriad of global crises without a love of truth and will to expose ignorance.

All forceful action to defend Earth must be based upon rigorous, uncompromising examination of the best ecological and social change solutions that exist. Efforts of such magnitude as striking against the sources of ecocide must be free of bias and superstition, while being inclusive of all sources of revealed truth, and through constant reflection seek to ensure acts against injustice and unfairness, are in themselves not unjust and unfair.

Some of the greatest truths of all are that we need clean water to survive, land can only support so many people, we are all one human species, and there are no invisible ghosts in the sky ruling over us.

As the biosphere continues to collapse, it appears increasingly likely that only an Earth revolution can limit abrupt climate change and protect ecosystems. When all well intended entreaties to sovereign power have been ignored, it is time to take collective action. If enough people refused to participate in the ecocidal, inequitable system, it could be shut down at any time. Each of us can choose through individual acts of conscience to obstruct the industrial growth machine, and as our forces and capabilities grow, to swarm and shut down sources of industrial ecocide.

Freedom and ecosystem protection are non-negotiable, and all powers who oppose must be resisted and if necessary deposed. If enough of us got together we could end the current system’s corrupt rule, inequity, injustice and ecocide tomorrow. In the face of reactionary counter-revolution, in fact it is likely to involve a long drawn out struggle of clandestine sabotage (that never targets innocents), refusal to cooperate with the ecocidal police state, and building up of alternative just, equitable, and ecological alternatives.

Yet the call of revolutionary ecological struggle beckons.


All is one. We are one human family with inalienable rights and duties to freedom, work, equity, peace, justice and sustained ecology. The human family faces ecological, economic and social collapse unless together we work to achieve more equity, sustain ecosystems, pursue social justice, and end wars, as we embrace our Gaia given universal rights and duties.

The only people mad at you for speaking and acting upon the truth are those living a lie. Be on the side of global truth, freedom, fairness, workers, human rights, peace, love and ecological sustainability. And, perhaps above all else, embrace free thinking and defend the right of unfettered self-expression in pursuit of the common good.

Keep speaking and acting upon truth. Choose to live a life of loving service and devotion to Earth, other truths, the human family, and all kindred species. There is nothing like a well lived life in devotion to truth – and the imperative to sustain our one shared Earth using all means necessary is the biggest truth of all.

Dr. Glen Barry is the President and Founder of Ecological Internet (EI). He is recognized internationally by the environmental movement as a leading global visionary, ecological policy critic and public intellectual committed to communicating the severity of global ecological crises - and related justice, rights and equity issues - while actively organizing with others sufficient solutions

  Read I Too Have A Dream: That Life On Earth Shall Not Perish, But Rather Thrive Forever
 May 2, 2014
Cercle Universel des Ambassadeurs de la Paix
Cercle Universel des Ambassadeurs de la Paix
Universal Ambassador Peace Circle
by Urbain Kapoko , Congo RDC


Jecrois à la paix,àla liberté, à l’égalité et à la fraternité mondiale en estimant quelaliberté est indissociable de laresponsabilité.
Jecrois àlafraternité,àla volonté et à une sociétémulticulturelle et mondialisée,
Je crois à la réconciliation des différentes composantesd'une société moderne, humaine et juste.
Je crois aux fondements de la paix, de la démocratiereprésentativeet de l'indépendancedes élus,
Je croisà la croissance économique les libertés politiques des Etatsdémocratiques,
Je crois à la cohabitationharmonieuse des populations d'originesdiverses sur un même territoire,
Je crois à une justice humaine, équilibrée, transparentedans ses procédures et accueillante vis-à-vis desjusticiables,
Je crois que tout être humain a droit à une justiceéquitable et le coût de la justice ne peut constituer une limitation de fait dece droit citoyen fondamental, car l’'accès à la justice doit être garanti àtous,
Je crois que lapauvreté et la précarité ne peuvent avoir leurplace dans une démocratie, et communautémondiale
Je crois à un monde uni, à une monnaie commune, à une seulenation, à un seul passeport!!!!!!!!!!


Ibelieve in peace, freedom, equality and the world brotherhood believing thatfreedom is inseparablefrom responsibility. Ibelieve in brotherhood, the will and a multicultural and globalized,society
Ibelieve in the reconciliation of the various components of a modern, humane andjust society. Ibelieve in the foundations of peace, representative democracy and theindependence of elected officials, Ibelieve in economic growth the political freedoms of democraticStates, Ibelieve in the harmonious cohabitation of populations of different origins onthe same territory, Ibelieve in justice, balanced, transparent in its procedures and Welcoming towardslitigants, Ibelieve that any human being has the right to a fair trial and the cost ofjustice cannot constitute a limitation of fact of this fundamental citizenrights, because l ' access to justice must be guaranteed to all, Ibelieve that poverty and poverty can have their place in ademocracy, and world community
Ibelieve in a United World, a common currency, a single nation, a singlepassport!


Yocreo en la paz, libertad, igualdad y la fraternidad del mundo creyendo que lalibertad es inseparablede la responsabilidad.
Creoen la hermandad, la voluntad y una sociedad multicultural yglobalizada,
Yocreo en la reconciliación de los diferentes componentes de una sociedad moderna,humana y justa.
Yocreo en los cimientos de la paz, representante de la democracia y laindependencia de los funcionarioselegidos,
Yocreo en el crecimiento económico las libertades políticas de los Estadosdemocráticos,
Yocreo enla convivencia armoniosa de las poblaciones de diferentes orígenes en elmismo territorio,
Yocreo en la justicia, equilibrada, transparente en sus procedimientosy
Acogiendo con beneplácitoa los litigantes,
Creoque cualquier ser humano tiene derecho a un juicio justo y el costo de lajusticia no puede constituir una limitación de hecho de este ciudadanofundamental derechos, porque l ' acceso a la justicia debe garantizarse atodos,
Creoque la pobreza y la pobreza pueden tener su lugar en una democracia y lacomunidad mundial
Yocreo en un mundo Unido, una moneda común, una sola nación, un pasaporteúnico!


Euacredito na paz, liberdade, igualdade e a fraternidade mundial, acreditando quea liberdade éinseparável da responsabilidade
Acreditona fraternidade, vontade e uma sociedade multicultural eglobalizada,
Euacredito na reconciliação dos vários componentes de uma sociedade moderna,humana e justa.
Euacredito nos fundamentos da paz, representante, democracia e a independência doseleitos,
Euacredito no crescimento económico, as liberdades políticas de Estadosdemocráticos,
Euacredito na coabitação harmoniosa das populações de diferentes origens no mesmoterritório,
Acreditona justiça, equilibrada, transparente em seus procedimentos e Boas-vindas para oslitigantes,
Euacredito que qualquer ser humano tem o direito a um julgamento justo e o custoda justiça não pode constituir uma limitação do facto deste cidadão fundamentaldos direitos, porque l ' acesso à justiça deve ser garantido a todos,
Euacredito que a pobreza e a pobreza podem ter seu lugar emuma democracia e a comunidade mundial
Euacredito em um mundo Unido, uma só nação, uma moeda comum, um passaporteúnico!


Яверю в мир, свободу, равенство и братство мира, считая, что свобода неотделимаот ответственности.
Яверю в братство, воли и многокультурного и глобализованном, общество
Яверю в примирении различных компонентов современного, гуманного и справедливогообщества.
Яверю в основы мира, представитель демократии и независимости выборныхдолжностных лиц,
Яверю в экономического роста политических свобод демократическихгосударств,
Яверю в гармоничного сожительства популяций различного происхождения на той жетерритории, Яверю в справедливость, сбалансированный, транспарентности в его процедурахи Приветствуя ктяжущихся,
Ясчитаю, что любой человек имеет право на справедливое судебное разбирательство истоимость отправления правосудия не может являться ограничение факт этогогражданина фундаментальных прав, потому что l ' должен быть гарантирован доступк правосудию для всех,
Яверю, что нищета и бедность может иметь свое место вдемократии и мировое сообщество
Яверю в единый мир, единая валюта, единая нация, единый паспорт!
 May 18, 2014
A Powerful Long-term Alliance Between China and Russia Is Unnerving Washington
by Pepe Escobar, Tom Dispatch, AlterNet
A Powerful Long-term Alliance Between China and Russia Is Unnerving Washington

To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.com  here.

A specter is haunting Washington, an unnerving vision of a Sino-Russian alliance wedded to an expansive symbiosis of trade and commerce across much of the Eurasian land mass -- at the expense of the United States.

And no wonder Washington is anxious.  That alliance is already a done deal in a variety of ways: through the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa); at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Asian counterweight to NATO; inside the G20; and via the 120-member-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Trade and commerce are just part of the future bargain.  Synergies in the development of new military technologies beckon as well. After Russia’s Star Wars-style, ultra-sophisticated S-500 air defense anti-missile system comes online in 2018, Beijing is sure to want a version of it. Meanwhile, Russia is about to sell dozens of state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-35 jet fighters to the Chinese as Beijing and Moscow move to seal an aviation-industrial partnership.

This week should provide the first real fireworks in the celebration of a new Eurasian century-in-the-making when Russian President Vladimir Putin drops in on Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.  You remember “Pipelineistan,” all those crucial oil and gas pipelines crisscrossing Eurasia that make up the true circulatory system for the life of the region.  Now, it looks like the ultimate Pipelineistan deal, worth $1 trillion and 10 years in the making, will be inked as well.  In it, the giant, state-controlled Russian energy giant Gazprom will agree to supply the giant state-controlled China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) with 3.75 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas a day for no less than 30 years, starting in 2018. That’s the equivalent of a quarter of Russia’s massive gas exports to all of Europe. China’s current daily gas demand is around 16 billion cubic feet a day, and imports account for 31.6% of total consumption.

Gazprom may still collect the bulk of its profits from Europe, but Asia could turn out to be its Everest. The company will use this mega-deal to boost investment in Eastern Siberia and the whole region will be reconfigured as a privileged gas hub for Japan and South Korea as well. If you want to know why no key country in Asia has been willing to “isolate” Russia in the midst of the Ukrainian crisis -- and in defiance of the Obama administration -- look no further than Pipelineistan.

Exit the Petrodollar, Enter the Gas-o-Yuan

And then, talking about anxiety in Washington, there’s the fate of the petrodollar to consider, or rather the “thermonuclear” possibility that Moscow and Beijing will agree on payment for the Gazprom-CNPC deal not in petrodollars but in Chinese yuan. One can hardly imagine a more tectonic shift, with Pipelineistan intersecting with a growing Sino-Russian political-economic-energy partnership. Along with it goes the future possibility of a push, led again by China and Russia, toward a new international reserve currency -- actually a basket of currencies -- that would supersede the dollar (at least in the optimistic dreams of BRICS members).

Right after the potentially game-changing Sino-Russian summit comes a BRICS summit in Brazil in July. That’s when a $100 billion BRICS development bank, announced in 2012, will officially be born as a potential alternative to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank as a source of project financing for the developing world.

More BRICS cooperation meant to bypass the dollar is reflected in the “Gas-o-yuan,” as in natural gas bought and paid for in Chinese currency. Gazprom is even considering marketing bonds in yuan as part of the financial planning for its expansion. Yuan-backed bonds are already trading in Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and most recently Frankfurt.

Nothing could be more sensible for the new Pipelineistan deal than to have it settled in yuan. Beijing would pay Gazprom in that currency (convertible into rubles); Gazprom would accumulate the yuan; and Russia would then buy myriad made-in-China goods and services in yuan convertible into rubles.

It’s common knowledge that banks in Hong Kong, from Standard Chartered to HSBC -- as well as others closely linked to China via trade deals -- have been diversifying into the yuan, which implies that it could become one of the de facto global reserve currencies even before it’s fully convertible. (Beijing is unofficially working for a fully convertible yuan by 2018.)

The Russia-China gas deal is inextricably tied up with the energy relationship between the European Union (EU) and Russia. After all, the bulk of Russia’s gross domestic product comes from oil and gas sales, as does much of its leverage in the Ukraine crisis. In turn, Germany depends on Russia for a hefty 30% of its natural gas supplies. Yet Washington’s geopolitical imperatives -- spiced up with Polish hysteria -- have meant pushing Brussels to find ways to “punish” Moscow in the future energy sphere (while not imperiling present day energy relationships).

There’s a consistent rumble in Brussels these days about the possible cancellation of the projected 16 billion euro South Stream pipeline, whose construction is to start in June.  On completion, it would pump yet more Russian natural gas to Europe -- in this case, underneath the Black Sea (bypassing Ukraine) to Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Greece, Italy, and Austria.

Bulgaria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have already made it clear that they are firmly opposed to any cancellation.  And cancellation is probably not in the cards.  After all, the only obvious alternative is Caspian Sea gas from Azerbaijan, and that isn’t likely to happen unless the EU can suddenly muster the will and funds for a crash schedule to construct the fabled Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline, conceived during the Clinton years expressly to bypass Russia and Iran.

In any case, Azerbaijan doesn’t have enough capacity to supply the levels of natural gas needed, and other actors like Kazakhstan, plagued with infrastructure problems, or unreliable Turkmenistan, which prefers to sell its gas to China, are already largely out of the picture. And don’t forget that South Stream, coupled with subsidiary energy projects, will create a lot of jobs and investment in many of the most economically devastated EU nations.

Nonetheless, such EU threats, however unrealistic, only serve to accelerate Russia’s increasing symbiosis with Asian markets. For Beijing especially, it’s a win-win situation. After all, between energy supplied across seas policed and controlled by the U.S. Navy and steady, stable land routes out of Siberia, it’s no contest.

Pick Your Own Silk Road

Of course, the U.S. dollar remains the top global reserve currency, involving 33% of global foreign exchange holdings at the end of 2013, according to the IMF. It was, however, at 55% in 2000. Nobody knows the percentage in yuan (and Beijing isn’t talking), but the IMF notes that reserves in “other currencies” in emerging markets have been up 400% since 2003.

The Fed is arguably monetizing 70% of the U.S. government debt in an attempt to keep interest rates from heading skywards. Pentagon adviser Jim Rickards, as well as every Hong Kong-based banker, tends to believe that the Fed is bust (though they won’t say it on the record). No one can even imagine the extent of the possible future deluge the U.S. dollar might experience amid a $1.4 trillion Mount Ararat of financial derivatives.  Don’t think that this is the death knell of Western capitalism, however, just the faltering of that reigning economic faith, neoliberalism, still the official ideology of the United States, the overwhelming majority of the European Union, and parts of Asia and South America.

As far as what might be called the “authoritarian neoliberalism” of the Middle Kingdom, what’s not to like at the moment? China has proven that there is a result-oriented alternative to the Western “democratic” capitalist model for nations aiming to be successful. It’s building not one, but myriad new Silk Roads, massive webs of high-speed railways, highways, pipelines, ports, and fiber optic networks across huge parts of Eurasia. These include a Southeast Asian road, a Central Asian road, an Indian Ocean “maritime highway” and even a high-speed rail line through Iran and Turkey reaching all the way to Germany.

In April, when President Xi Jinping visited the city of Duisburg on the Rhine River, with the largest inland harbor in the world and right in the heartland of Germany’s Ruhr steel industry, he made an audacious proposal: a new “economic Silk Road” should be built between China and Europe, on the basis of the Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe railway, which already runs from China to Kazakhstan, then through Russia, Belarus, Poland, and finally Germany. That’s 15 days by train, 20 less than for cargo ships sailing from China’s eastern seaboard. Now that would represent the ultimate geopolitical earthquake in terms of integrating economic growth across Eurasia.

Keep in mind that, if no bubbles burst, China is about to become -- and remain -- the number one global economic power, a position it enjoyed for 18 of the past 20 centuries. But don’t tell London hagiographers; they still believe that U.S. hegemony will last, well, forever.

Take Me to Cold War 2.0

Despite recent serious financial struggles, the BRICS countries have been consciously working to become a counterforce to the original and -- having tossed Russia out in March -- once again Group of 7, or G7. They are eager to create a new global architecture to replace the one first imposed in the wake of World War II, and they see themselves as a potential challenge to the exceptionalist and unipolar world that Washington imagines for our future (with itself as the global robocop and NATO as its robo-police force). Historian and imperialist cheerleader Ian Morris, in his book War! What is it Good For?, defines the U.S. as the ultimate “globocop” and “the last best hope of Earth.” If that globocop “wearies of its role,” he writes, “there is no plan B.”     

Well, there is a plan BRICS -- or so the BRICS nations would like to think, at least. And when the BRICS do act in this spirit on the global stage, they quickly conjure up a curious mix of fear, hysteria, and pugnaciousness in the Washington establishment. Take Christopher Hill as an example. The former assistant secretary of state for East Asia and U.S. ambassador to Iraq is now an advisor with the Albright Stonebridge Group, a consulting firm deeply connected to the White House and the State Department. When Russia was down and out, Hill used to dream of a hegemonic American “new world order.”  Now that the ungrateful Russians have spurned what “the West has been offering” -- that is, “special status with NATO, a privileged relationship with the European Union, and partnership in international diplomatic endeavors” -- they are, in his view, busy trying to revive the Soviet empire. Translation: if you’re not our vassals, you’re against us.  Welcome to Cold War 2.0.   

The Pentagon has its own version of this directed not so much at Russia as at China, which, its think tank on future warfare claims, is already at war with Washington in a number of ways. So if it’s not apocalypse now, it’s Armageddon tomorrow. And it goes without saying that whatever’s going wrong, as the Obama administration very publicly “pivots” to Asia and the American media fills with talk about a revival of Cold War-era “containment policy” in the Pacific, it’s all China’s fault.

Embedded in the mad dash toward Cold War 2.0 are some ludicrous facts-on-the-ground: the U.S. government, with $17.5 trillion in national debt and counting, is contemplating a financial showdown with Russia, the largest global energy producer and a major nuclear power, just as it’s also promoting an economically unsustainable military encirclement of its largest creditor, China.

Russia runs a sizeable trade surplus. Humongous Chinese banks will have no trouble helping Russian banks out if Western funds dry up. In terms of inter-BRICS cooperation, few projects beat a $30 billion oil pipeline in the planning stages that will stretch from Russia to India via Northwest China. Chinese companies are already eagerly discussing the possibility of taking part in the creation of a transport corridor from Russia into Crimea, as well as an airport, shipyard, and liquid natural gas terminal there. And there’s another “thermonuclear” gambit in the making: the birth of a natural gas equivalent to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that would include Russia, Iran, and reportedly disgruntled U.S. ally Qatar.

The (unstated) BRICS long-term plan involves the creation of an alternative economic system featuring a basket of gold-backed currencies that would bypass the present America-centric global financial system. (No wonder Russia and China are amassing as much gold as they can.) The euro -- a sound currency backed by large liquid bond markets and huge gold reserves -- would be welcomed in as well.

It’s no secret in Hong Kong that the Bank of China has been using a parallel SWIFT network to conduct every kind of trade with Tehran, which is under a heavy U.S. sanctions regime. With Washington wielding Visa and Mastercard as weapons in a growing Cold War-style economic campaign against Russia, Moscow is about to implement an alternative payment and credit card system not controlled by Western finance. An even easier route would be to adopt the Chinese Union Pay system, whose operations have already overtaken American Express in global volume.   

I’m Just Pivoting With Myself

No amount of Obama administration “pivoting” to Asia to contain China (and threaten it with U.S. Navy control of the energy sea lanes to that country) is likely to push Beijing far from its Deng Xiaoping-inspired, self-described “peaceful development” strategy meant to turn it into a global powerhouse of trade.  Nor are the forward deployment of U.S. or NATO troops in Eastern Europe or other such Cold-War-ish acts likely to deter Moscow from a careful balancing act: ensuring that Russia’s sphere of influence in Ukraine remains strong without compromising trade and commercial, as well as political, ties with the European Union -- above all, with strategic partner Germany. This is Moscow’s Holy Grail; a free-trade zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok, which (not by accident) is mirrored in China’s dream of a new Silk Road to Germany.

Increasingly wary of Washington, Berlin for its part abhors the notion of Europe being caught in the grips of a Cold War 2.0. German leaders have more important fish to fry, including trying to stabilize a wobbly EU while warding off an economic collapse in southern and central Europe and the advance of ever more extreme rightwing parties.

On the other side of the Atlantic, President Obama and his top officials show every sign of becoming entangled in their own pivoting -- to Iran, to China, to Russia’s eastern borderlands, and (under the radar) to Africa. The irony of all these military-first maneuvers is that they are actually helping Moscow, Tehran, and Beijing build up their own strategic depth in Eurasia and elsewhere, as reflected in Syria, or crucially in ever more energy deals. They are also helping cement the growing strategic partnership between China and Iran. The unrelenting Ministry of Truth narrative out of Washington about all these developments now carefully ignores the fact that, without Moscow, the “West” would never have sat down to discuss a final nuclear deal with Iran or gotten a chemical disarmament agreement out of Damascus.

When the disputes between China and its neighbors in the South China Sea and between that country and Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyou islands meet the Ukraine crisis, the inevitable conclusion will be that both Russia and China consider their borderlands and sea lanes private property and aren’t going to take challenges quietly -- be it via NATO expansion, U.S. military encirclement, or missile shields. Neither Beijing nor Moscow is bent on the usual form of imperialist expansion, despite the version of events now being fed to Western publics.  Their “red lines” remain essentially defensive in nature, no matter the bluster sometimes involved in securing them.

Whatever Washington may want or fear or try to prevent, the facts on the ground suggest that, in the years ahead, Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran will only grow closer, slowly but surely creating a new geopolitical axis in Eurasia. Meanwhile, a discombobulated America seems to be aiding and abetting the deconstruction of its own unipolar world order, while offering the BRICS a genuine window of opportunity to try to change the rules of the game. 

Russia and China in Pivot Mode

In Washington’s think-tank land, the conviction that the Obama administration should be focused on replaying the Cold War via a new version of containment policy to “limit the development of Russia as a hegemonic power” has taken hold. The recipe: weaponize the neighbors from the Baltic states to Azerbaijan to “contain” Russia. Cold War 2.0 is on because, from the point of view of Washington’s elites, the first one never really left town.

Yet as much as the U.S. may fight the emergence of a multipolar, multi-powered world, economic facts on the ground regularly point to such developments.  The question remains: Will the decline of the hegemon be slow and reasonably dignified, or will the whole world be dragged down with it in what has been called “the Samson option”?

While we watch the spectacle unfold, with no end game in sight, keep in mind that a new force is growing in Eurasia, with the Sino-Russian strategic alliance threatening to dominate its heartland along with great stretches of its inner rim. Now, that’s a nightmare of Mackinderesque proportions from Washington’s point of view.  Think, for instance, of how Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser who became a mentor on global politics to President Obama, would see it.

In his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski argued that “the struggle for global primacy [would] continue to be played” on the Eurasian “chessboard,” of which “Ukraine was a geopolitical pivot.” “If Moscow regains control over Ukraine,” he wrote at the time, Russia would “automatically regain the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.”

That remains most of the rationale behind the American imperial containment policy -- from Russia’s European “near abroad” to the South China Sea. Still, with no endgame in sight, keep your eye on Russia pivoting to Asia, China pivoting across the world, and the BRICS hard at work trying to bring about the new Eurasian Century.

  Read A Powerful Long-term Alliance Between China and Russia Is Unnerving Washington
 June 1, 2014
The Age of Climate Warfare Is Here and the Military Industrial Complex Is Gearing Up For It
by Nafeez Ahmed , The Guardian, AlterNet

During his speech at West Point Military Academy earlier this week,President Barack Obama described climate change as a "creeping national security crisis" that will require the armed forces to "respond to refugee flows, natural disasters, and conflicts over water and food."

The speech emphasised that US foreign policy in the 21st century is increasingly being honed in recognition of heightened risks of social, political and economic upheaval around the world due the impacts of global warming.

A more detailed insight into US military planning could be seen in thereport published a couple of weeks earlier by the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) Military Advisory Board, written and endorsed by a dozen or so senior retired US generals. Describing climate change as a not just a "threat multiplier," but now - even worse - a "catalyst for conflict", the study concluded that environmental impacts from climate change in coming decades:

".... will aggravate stressors abroad, such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability and social tensions - conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence."

To be sure, the link between climate change and the risk of violence is supported by many independent studies. No wonder, reports NBC Newsciting various former and active US officials, the Pentagon has long been mapping out strategies "to protect US interests in the aftermath of massive floods, water shortages and famines that are expected to hit and decimate unstable nations."

But the era of climate warfare is not laying in wait, in some far-flung distant future. It has already begun, and it is accelerating - faster than most predicted. Pentagon officials and the CNA's new study point to the Arab Spring upheavals across the Middle East and North Africa as a prime example.

As I've argued previously, violence and unrest in Syria and Egypt can be linked not just to the regional impacts of climate change in terms of water scarcity and food production, but also their complex interconnections with domestic oil and gas scarcity, neoliberal austerity, rampant inequality, endemic corruption, and massive political repression.

Such cases show that climate change in itself does not drive conflict - but the way in which climate change interacts with multiple related factors like declining oil production, food prices, and overlapping political, cultural and economic processes is already generating wild cards that repressive states are ill-equipped to deal with. In that context, such states resort to the thing they do best in an increasingly uncertain world: more repression.

As the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned in its latest climate impacts assessment, though, more repression just makes things even worse, triggering a vicious cycle of increasing vulnerabilty to climate destabilisation.

A new study accepted for publication in the July issue of the American Meteorological Society's journal Weather, Climate, and Society, underscores the role of climate change and drought in Syria's ongoing civil war, which by some accounts has taken the lives of over 150,000 people.

The research paper by Dr Peter Gleick demonstrates clearly that the Syrian conflict is not just a climate war, or a resource war, but a water war. Between 2006 and 2011, the country suffered the worst long-term drought and the most severe set of crop failures in recorded history.

This was compounded by water mismanagement and economic deterioration which, in turn, led to further agricultural failures, population dislocations and the migration of rural communities to nearby cities. The resulting combination of urban unemployment, inequality and food insecurity, affecting over a million people, heightened sectarian tensions, and helped spark the social unrest that exploded into conflict.

But the destabilising role of climate change in Syria did not come to light solely with hindsight - US officials were aware for years of the risks. In his paper, Dr Gleick, who is president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security - refers to leaked US diplomatic cables from the US embassy in Damascus to the State Department in Washington DC warning of the implications of the unprecedented drought. In Gleick's words:

"That cable describes a briefing by FAO Syrian Representative Abdullah bin Yehia on drought impacts, which he described as a 'perfect storm' when combined with other economic and social pressure. Concerns expressed at that time also noted that the population displacements 'could act as a multiplier on social and economic pressures already at play and undermine stability in Syria.'"

The response of the US national security apparatus (and that of itspoodlish ally Britain) to such warnings is instructive. As I wrote in The Guardian last year, from 2009 through to 2011, US and UK special forces were training "Syrian opposition forces" with a view to elicit the "collapse" of Bashir al-Assad's regime "from within."

While that oil-soaked, blood-drenched geopolitical gamble appears to have failed, the US and regional partner Israel have accommodated themselves to what the New York Times described as a "horrific" status quo that is nevertheless "preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad's government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis." The west, adds America's newspaper of record, "needs more time to prop up opposition forces it finds more palatable."

And this, indeed, is the problem: Viewed through the narrow, self-serving, systematically abused lens of 'national security' (which of course is the noble title of the American intelligence agency responsible for mass surveillance of entire populations), climate change becomes not a springboard for much-need social transformation to save the planet; instead it becomes the beaten-to-death horse justifying innovative new ways to save the profits of the few who run the planet.

Take a look at the CNA's thoughts on climate change and Africa, for instance. Africa is "an increasingly important source of US oil and gas imports," but is "suffering tension and stress resulting from weak
governance" and "food and water shortages" to be exacerbated by climate change. The Pentagon's new Africa Command thus "reflects Africa's emerging strategic importance to the US." A "worsening of
conditions" due to climate impacts "could prompt further US military

So far the record hasn't been spectacular. Consider how the US and UK have tacitly overseen the expansion of Islamist extremism across North Africa at the behest of client-regime-aka-terror-state Algeria - all to access its oil and gas; a short-sighted strategy that indirectly led to the recent Nigeria crisis.

The securitisation of climate change - and with it the entire planet - is not leading to meaningful transformative action to transform the social relations necessary to mitigate and prevent dangerous global warming. Instead, while climate change accelerates, the corporate-military-industrial complex accelerates profits. Indeed, the very companies most responsible for climate change are set to make a killing from its intensification.

"I think climate change is a real opportunity for the aerospace and defense industry," said Lord Drayson, then British Minister of State for Strategic Defence Acquisition Reform, in 2009.

One of the world's largest defence contractors, Raytheon, agrees. In a briefing to the Carbon Disclosure Project last year, the corporation said that "expanded business opportunities will arise" as a result of "security concerns and their possible consequences," due to the "effects of climate change" both at home and abroad in the form of "storms, droughts, and floods."

This is what happens when one views the world, even with the best of intentions, through the twin lenses of military might and economic clout. We become incapable of recognising that the fundamental obstacle to addressing our global challenges is that we see enemies everywhere.

Climate change can create security risks, but to deal with them seriously, we need to stop projecting and recognise our own hand in the violence we're so terrified of out there.

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is an international security journalist and academic. He is the author of A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It, and the forthcoming science fiction thriller, ZERO POINT. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @nafeezahmed.

  Read The Age of Climate Warfare Is Here and the Military Industrial Complex Is Gearing Up For It
 May 19, 2014
Greenpeace: Nearly 100% Renewable Energy is Possible
by Greenpeace , Environment News Service, AlterNet

By 2050, the United States can switch to nearly 100 percent renewable energy and phase out coal and nuclear power, according to a new report from Greenpeace and the Global Wind Energy Council.

The report,Energy [R]evolution A Sustainable USA Energy Outlook, provides a blueprint for transforming U.S. electricity, transportation, and heating systems to reduce carbon emissions that heat up the climate. http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/media-center/reports/energy-revolution-...

Growing concerns about climate change and air pollution, along with quickly falling costs of renewable energy, are already upending the utility industrys business model and threatening to turn fossil fuel reserves into stranded assets, said Sven Teske, a renewable energy expert with Greenpeace International.

The Energy [R]evolution report demonstrates that the rapid changes in the energy sector could expand dramatically, with major implications for many industries, said Teske.

The report details how by 2050, renewable energy sources could provide around 97 percent of electricity produced in the United States and 94 percent of the countrys total heating and cooling demand, accounting for around 92 percent of our final energy demand.

The Greenpeace-Wind Energy council plan would lead to about 1.5 million energy-related jobs in 2030. That is roughly 35 percent more than projected under the business as usual scenario outlined by the Energy Information Agency 2013 Annual Outlook.

By phasing out coal and oil, fuel cost savings in the scenario described would be $6.1 trillion, or $153 billion per year, and overall costs would be about 50 percent lower than the government outlook, the report calculates.

The United States would reduce carbon pollution 39 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and 60 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, the groups estimate.

The most recent National Climate Assessment makes it very clear that we need national policies to expedite a clean energy economy, said Kyle Ash, senior legislative representative for Greenpeace USA.

Fortunately, the energy market is phasing out coal and phasing in renewable energy at a rapid pace, but this must be quickened to avoid climate consequences much worse than the wildfires, droughts, and superstorms the country is already experiencing, said Ash.

This report is the latest in a series of global, regional, and national Energy [R]evolution scenarios which are online at: www.energyblueprint.info.

  Read  Greenpeace: Nearly 100% Renewable Energy is Possible
 May 27, 2014
Should CEOs Get Jail Time For Oil-By-Rail Accidents Like Lac Megantic?
by Justin Mikulka , DeSmogBlog, AlterNet

On May 12th, a heavily armedSWATunit stormed the home of Thomas Harding and threw Harding, his son and a visitor to the ground. Harding was then handcuffed, arrested and taken forinterrogation.

Harding was the engineer for the oil train that caused the explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. He had cooperated with authorities and was expecting to be charged. The excessive force used to arrest Harding was criticized for beingapolitically motivated stunt in The NationalPost.

No one is claiming that Harding intentionally caused the accident however, he is the one facing charges that could result in life inprison.

Meanwhile, the oil industry has knowingly shipped explosive Bakken crude oil and, in the case of Lac-Megantic, misclassified the oil to make it appear less explosive than it actuallywas.

Irving Oil has been identified by Canada's Transportation Safety Board as the party ultimately responsible for insuring the proper classification of the oil it had purchased. No one from Irving Oil has been charged with anycrime.

And in the case of the oil that ended up in Lac-Megantic, something very odd happened. The oil on that train was purchased from 11 different companies in the Bakken region. When the oil was initially transported by trucks from the point of production to a central facility it was required to beclassified.

According to the Transportation Safety Board, there wasa wide varietyin the classification of the oil in the trucks when it was delivered from the suppliers to a facility in Newtown,ND:

Information contained in 10 different material safety data sheets (MSDS) provided by the suppliers varied widely and was contradictory in some areas. For example, while allMSDSs indicated that the product was a Class 3 dangerous good, the packing group information varied fromPGI toPGIII.

Not only was there a wide variety of classification, but two of the data sheets indicated it would be necessary todetermine flash point to accurately classify packing group something that wasntdone.

When this oil was shipped in trucks to the rail facility it was then somehow all classified as Packing GroupII. And then when it was loaded on to the train, it was all reclassified as Packing GroupIII, the lowest level classification. So oil that had been Packing Group I at the point of production had now been reclassified as Packing GroupIIIfor rail shipment. The odds are high that this was intentional. The industry is well aware of the explosive nature of Bakkencrude.

And yet after Lac-Megantic, the problem of misclassification continued to be rampant. When theU.S.Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) conducted a testing program of Bakken crude in late 2013, calledOperation Classification, it found 11 of 18 samples tested were misclassified. NoSWATteams were summoned to arrest theCEOs of the offending companies but the companies werefined.

There is a good reason why these companies continue to intentionally misclassify Bakken crude. Fines are not a deterrent. Jeffrey Wiese ofPHMSAstated as muchlast year during an industry conference, when hesaid:

Do I think I can hurt a major international corporation with a $2 million civil penalty?No.

The fines proposed as a result ofOperation Classificationtotaled$93,000.

This past week in New York state, Albany County Executive Dan McCoymade the same pointwhen he announced his intention to introduce new legislation to make it a crime for rail companies not to report accidents in a timely manner. A recent derailment of a Bakken crude train in Albany that was not reported properly cost Canadian Pacific a fine of$5,000.

That fine doesn't mean anything to a big corporation. I want to introduce jail time, McCoy said.It is the only way that you will get theirattention.

Fines certainly arent stopping the misclassification of Bakken crude. But the reality is that the Bakken crude wouldnt have this issue if it was handled like the oil from the Eagle Ford formation in Texas. There, the oil producers strip the volatile natural gas liquids (NGLs), also known aslight ends, from the crude using a piece of equipment known as a stabilizer. They can then capture and sell these natural gasliquids.

Eagle Ford producers arent doing this because they are more concerned about safety than their counterparts in the Bakken region. They are doing it because their crude is transported by pipeline, not rail, and it is a cost of doing business. Unlike the rail industry, the pipeline industry wont accept crude oil with all of the volatile natural gas liquids still init.

Myron Goforth, president of a stabilizer leasing company in Houston, recentlyexplained this to Reuters, saying thatpipeline specifications require certain pressure limits that pretty much force companies to strip outNGLs. Rail companies have no suchrequirements.

It's a little like the wild west up in the Bakken, where everybody gets to do what they want to do, Goforth said.In the Eagle Ford, you've got to play by the rules, which forces the oil companies to treat itdifferently.

Much like the oil industrys refusal to discontinue using the unsafeDOT-111 rail tank cars to transport Bakken crude in the U.S., the argument against using stabilizers in North Dakota, like they do in Texas, is the same. It would cost too much money, the companies say. In both cases, the costs have been estimated at several billion dollarswhich also just so happens to be thecurrent estimated costto clean up and rebuild Lac-Megantic. This is a cost that all six companies involved in the accident, including the ones who misclassified the oil, are refusing topay.

When Harding and two other crew members were frog marched into court after their arrest, Ghislain Champagne, the father of a woman who died in the Lac-Megantic accident, yelled out,Its not them wewant.

As reported bythe National Post, this is acommon sentiment in Lac-Megantic because no executives of the rail company have been charged with any crimes. Its doubtful a fine will suffice for the families of the 47 people who died there lastsummer.

  Read Should CEOs Get Jail Time For Oil-By-Rail Accidents Like Lac Megantic?
 May 23, 2014
New Environmentalists Are Taking Bold Actions and It's Working
by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, AlterNet

No longer dominated by the traditionalBig Green groups that were taking big donations from corporate polluters, the new environmental movement is broader, more assertive and more creative. With extreme energy extraction and climate change bearing down on the world, environmental justice advocates are taking bold actions to stop extreme energy extraction and create new solutions to save the planet. These fresh greens often work locally, but also connect through national and international actions.

The recent national climate assessment explains why the movement is deepening, broadening and getting more militant. The nations experts concluded that climate change is impacting us in serious ways right now. It is no longer a question of whether climate change is real the evidence is apparent in chaotic seasonal weather; floods caused by heavier downpours of rain and deeper droughts; more severe wildfires in the West; the economic impacts of rising insurance rates, as well as challenges for farming, maple syrup production, and finding seafood in the oceans, among many others.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently issued its third report. The worlds scientists found that taking action now to mitigate climate change is less expensive than doing nothing. German economist Ottmar Edenhofer, a co-chair of the IPCC committee wrote:We cannot afford to lose another decade. If we lose another decade, it becomes extremely costly to achieve climate stabilization. Previous reports have warned of the dangers of human-induced climate change, e.g. faster sea level rise, more extreme weather, and collapse of the permafrost sink, which would further accelerate warming; as well as a breakdown of food systems, more violent conflicts, and making some currently habited and arable land virtually unlivable.

The IPCC and national assessment create a sense of urgency even though the reality is these documents understate the risks and the need to end the use of fossil fuels. This week it was reported that the IPCCs language was toned down during the political review in which countries that produce carbon fuels, like Saudi Arabia, Brazil, China and the United States, edited language to protect fossil fuel interests.

The effects of the race to extract every ounce of fuel from the Earth cant be hidden. A report this week found US oil spills increased by 17% in 2013, with more than 20 per day leaking 26 million gallons of oil, fracking wastewater and more.In February significant five fossil fuel accidents were reported in four days. This week Los Angeles was the latest to experience the impact of an oil spill when 50,000 gallons of crude oil flowed down their streets and required evacuation.The adverse environmental and health effects of all forms of energy extraction are coming to light from mountain top removal for coal in Appalachia to uranium mining in the West. Even four years after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, there is no restoration in sight.

Action Increases the Cost of Business and Stops Harmful Projects

Recent studies show that protest can have a big impact on corporations. The study,Costs of Company-Community Conflict in the Extractive Sector, published in in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences included a special report entitled:Conflict translates environmental and social risk into business costs.Communities are not powerless, co-author Daniel Franks who is deputy director of theCentre for Social Responsibility in Mining writesour study shows they can organize and mobilize, which results in substantial costs to companies.

Around the world protests against mining, extraction and oil are costing companies billions of dollars a year. According to the report, one corporation alone reported a six billion dollar cost over a two-year period. A Canadian gold mining company lost $5.4 billion over a decade of protests, never extracted any gold and the project was suspended by court order. Protests also forced a copper mining project to suspend operations. Protests are delaying the KXL pipeline and many others. People power is real and has real world impacts that can defeat extraction industries.

Scott Parkin describes the growing front-line environmental movement in the United States writing:

Theres an insurrection afoot. And its in Americas heartlands no less.Bold and effective organizingagainst oil companies, natural gas companies and coal companies has started this insurrection that has openly challenged these powerful industries. This phenomenon has spread across the country and created unusual coalitions of Indigenous communities, environmental activists and rural landowners opposed to corporate seizures of their property.

The power of protest is being recognized by corporate media. This week the New York Times focused on a Keystone Pipeline protester from Nebraska, Jane Kleep, in a lengthy review of her work with Bold Nebraska. The Times reports howTransCanada badly misread popular sentiment in Nebraska. . . Rather than rallying behind the idea of American independence from Middle Eastern oil, Nebraskans saw a foreign company coming into their state and asserting rights to land that had been in their families for generations.

Coal also continues to be a focus of protest. The Worlds largest Coal Company, Peabody, has been facing protests all over the country. Washington University students in St. Louis organized a historic 17 day sit-in to end the universitys relationship with Peabody. And then, seven were arrested trying to enter the Peabody Board of Trustees meeting. This is part of a nationwide student-led divestment campaign against carbon fuels. The St. Louis protest followed a barricade of the office of the president of Harvard that led to Harvard divesting from fossil fuels.

This week, Yes Man, Igor Vamos, gave the commencement address at Reed University and used the opportunity to put Reed on the spot. Vamos announced:

This morning I had breakfast with President Kroger. Over a delicious scone and coffee, I was very, very pleased to learn that the board of trustees of Reed College has just now decided to divest the schools $500 million endowment from fossil fuels.

This is indeed fantastic news. Reed joins 11 other universities who have made this commitment to the planet and the future.. .

Im even more excited about Reeds visionary plan for re-investment. The money that is pulled from fossil fuels, the President tells me, has been earmarked for community-owned renewable energy projects. This means Reed is putting its money to work for a complete enviro-social justice program: pulling support from big oil while literally and figuratively putting power back in the hands of the people.

Can we imagine how quickly the country would move from carbon polluting energy to a clean energy economy if every university took this step? We could create a carbon-free/nuclear-free economy in less than a generation. Sadly, in reality, Reed who never divested from South Africa either rejected divestment from carbon polluters. But, now they have been embarrassed not only in front of the Reed community of students, teachers and parents, but in front of the world for their unethical investment practices.

In addition to students, Indigenous communities in partnership with non-natives are leading the fight against extreme energy extraction as in the Cowboy-Indian Alliance. This week Enbridge Line 9 in Canada was blockaded in Burlington where protesters opposed the inadequate response to the 12,000 anomalies that have been reported on the line. As the KXL and Northern Gateway pipelines from the Alberta tar sands are being successfully slowed by protests, First Nations are turning their attention to TransCanadas Energy East pipeline. They are vowing the same kind of protests that threaten and have slowed other tar sands pipelines. First Nations have also vowed to take legal action to block a copper-gold mine in Canada.

Legal action is also being used as a tool for transformation in the United States. A youth organization,Our Childrens Trust is arguing in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia thatthe federalgovernment should be required to implement a comprehensive Climate Recovery Plan based on the doctrine of Public Trust.

The lack of a climate plan is also at the root of a class action filed by insurance companies in Illinois. They are arguing that the failure of the government to prepare for severe rains and flooding caused by climate change is resulting in damages to them. Citizen activists are likely to intervene and join the call for climate action. These suits could become part of a wave of climate change litigation.

Tackling Trade Agreements and Greenwashing Too

Through trade agreements, Big Energy is trying to weaken environmental protections and increase their power to subvert democracy but people are stopping these too. A movement of movements has successfully stalled the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and now negotiators trying to move forward on its sister, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (called TAFTA) are being protested. People on both sides of the Atlantic see the risk of the agreement to the environment and other issues and are seeking to stop the agreement. In Europe on May 15, hundreds of activists protested TAFTA resulting in 240 arrests by riot police who surrounded the protesters.

This was followed by a protest in Virginia when TAFTA negotiators met at George Mason University. A coalition of food safety, labor, and environmental advocates organized the action. The harmful environmental impact of TAFTA is becoming more evident as this week a trade memo was leaked that showed the EU was pushing the United States to expand its fracking, offshore oil drilling and natural gas exploration. Similarly, a leaked text of the TPP environmental chapter showed there was no enforcement of environmental protections; and the Obama agreement was weaker than those negotiated by George W. Bush.

Protests are also occurring against public relations efforts of climate polluters who are trying to improve their image through sponsorship of museums, operas and other civic institutions. There has been a wave of creative and humorous protests urging institutions not to take money from corporations destroying the planet which is turning the effort by polluters to improve their image into a liability.

Protests are escalating. This week there was an unprecedented global event communities on five continents took action against Chevron. They focused on Chevrons destruction of the environment and violation of human rights; and urged people to reject Chevrons brand including its subsidiary, Texaco.

The largest climate protest in history was announced this week for September 20-21 in New York City to coincide with heads of state gathering at the United Nations for a climate change summit. While world leaders are coming together, organizers are recognizing the power is within us saying:We want this moment to be about usthe people who are standing up in our communities, to organize, to build power, to confront the power of fossil fuels, and to shift power to a just, safe, peaceful world.

And activists are thinking longer term and taking actions on their own. The United Nations COP (Conference Of the Parties) global climate conference has become a sad joke, an embarrassment to humanity. Instead of expecting global leaders to take appropriate action, people are planning for the COP21 which will be held in Paris in December 2015 by creating alternative villages called Alternatibas. So far there are cities in France, Belgium and Switzerland. Plans are in motion in Spain, South Basque Country, Austria, Romania and even in Tahiti. Alternatiba provides a handbook, video and media tools to communities around the world.

Truth is Coming to Light

Not only are people learning that the climate crisis is already here and needs immediate action; and that they have the power to influence the course of events; but they are no longer fooled by the lies of carbon polluters and corporate misinformation.

As fracking protests increased in California, the claims by industry about how much money can be made have been questioned. This week the US Energy Information Agency drastically reduced its estimate of recoverable oil in Californias Monterey shale formationfrom 13.7 billion barrels to just 0.6 billion barrelsa reduction of over 95%. Previous estimates were based on projections by oil companies. The number of new jobs and amount of money to be made from fracking was major talking points for pro-fracking advocates. Now people know it was false.

This week, a Draft Environmental Assessment on the Cove Point Liquid National Gas terminal expansion in Maryland reached the unbelievable conclusion that it would notsignificantly affect the quality of the human environment and recommends a finding ofno significant impact. The drafting of environmental statements has become a farce in Washington, DC. What used to be a useful environmental tool has now become a vehicle for greasing the skids for environmentally dangerous projects, but activists know better. Within days the phony report resulted in outrage and protests at both Maryland Senators offices.Reports that fail to pass thestraight face test anger and mobilize activists, rather than silence them.

It is interesting Cove Point is happening in Maryland, where Governor Martin OMalley fantasizes about being president of the United States. OMalley is co-chair of a new fraudulent Democratic Party group, NewDEAL. No, it is not about a populist agenda of Social Security and New Deal-like full employment programs, it is a front group where big corporations can put money into politicians who will represent corporate interests, rather than the peoples interests. DEAL is an acronym for Developing Exceptional American Leaders. The effort is funded by big energy, telecoms and other big business interests. It took years for many to figure out that the Democratic Leadership Council and the Third Way Democrats were faades for big business, but now we know as soon as it is created the corporations are trying to shape future leaders with big corporate dollars under the misleading label of NewDEAL.

It took years to face up to the reality of climate change, but already the cat is out of the bag regarding the dangers of fracking. This week an executive of a major shale gas fracking company, Southwestern Energy, Vice President Mark Boling, conceded what scientists have been saying for years: global shale gas development has the potential to wreakserious climate changehavoc. A former executive with Mobil made a similar admission last year. This is one of many reasons why fracking creates grass roots activists and broadens the movement against extreme energy extraction.

And, many of these activists are finding courage they did not know they had. Recently Jenny Lysak interrupted a Democratic Gubernatorial debate in Pennsylvania a state that has sold out to fracking interests. Jenny saysIm not particularly brave; I just feel that there is nothing anyone could do to me worse than what they are doing to our planet and to the families who can no longer live in their homes. She rushed the stage of the debate and held up aList of the Harmed, a list of 1,700 families impacted by fracking. The list is now over 6,000.

There are a growing number of Jenny Lysaks. People are standing up as they see their neighborhoods, communities and planet ruined by the voracious appetite of extreme profit from energy extraction at a time when we should be creating a carbon-free/nuclear-free energy environment. People are learning they have more power than they realize and are being inspired to use it.

This article is produced byPopular Resistancein conjunction withAlterNet.It is a weekly review of the activities of the resistance movement.Sign up for the daily news digest of Popular Resistance, here.

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers are participants in PopularResistance.org. They also co-direct Its Our Economy and are co-hosts of Clearing the FOG, shown on UStream TV and heard on radio. They tweet at @KBZeeseandMFlowers8.

  Read  New Environmentalists Are Taking Bold Actions and It's Working
 June 2, 2014
How the Obama Administration's Carbon Plan Could Create 274,000 New Jobs
by Brandon Baker , EcoWatch, AlterNet

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy made herself clear Monday morningadoption of the proposed carbon regulationwould not force the country to choose between a strong economy and a healthy environment.

TheNatural Resources Defense CouncilandICF Internationalhad already completed research aligned with that statement before McCarthy ever spoke. According to analysisfrom the two organizations, carbon standards could create 274,000 new American jobs and savehouseholds and businesses $37.4 billion on their electric bills in 2020.

They cited Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Montana, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia as the states that would benefit most from climate action. The public health and energy efficiency sectors could gain the most workers if the proposal is adopted following a yearlong, open-comment period.

Graphic credit: NRDC and ICF International

Most Americans support curbing dangerous carbon pollution from power plants because its the right thing to do, said Daniel Lashof, chief operating officer at NextGen Climate.Cleaning up dirty power plants can be a bonanza for public health and a boon for energy efficiency jobsand save Americans on their electric bills.

This is a winning step toward a cleaner, cheaper and healthier 21st Century energy future. Its time to get moving.

In 2012, Lashof, also a senior fellow at the NRDC, oversaw the development of an NRDC proposal to reduce carbon that ended up being very similar to the proposal announced by McCarthy. The organization proposed the country cutcarbon pollution by 531 million tons per year, or nearly 25 percent from 2012 levelsby 2020. When expanded to 2030, the numbers end up exceeding the EPA proposal by 5 percent.

The jobs that could see the biggest rises in employment include electricians, roofers, carpenters, insulation workers, heating and air conditioning installers and heavy equipment operators. Investments in energy efficiency could save households an average of$103 per household, or $13 billion as a nation.

Coal-fired power plants are the main polluters and have escaped regulation, as this proposalmarks the first time an Administration has attempted to regulate carbon pollution.

For far too long, coal-fired power plants have had free reign to dump carbon pollution into our atmosphere, NextGen founder Tom Steyer said.The Administrations plan to end this carbon pollution loophole will establish a level playing field for advanced energy solutions that are cleaner, affordable and more secure. Now, more than ever, the United States must be a global leader in addressing climate change. As the centerpiece of the presidents Climate Action Plan, todays carbon pollution standards proposal goes a very long way toward establishing that leadership and the presidents legacy.

There are about 1,000 power plants today emitting more than 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide per yearabout 40 percent of the countrys carbon pollution emissions. There are already emissions limits on pollutants like arsenic, mercury, lead, sulfur and soot.

Energy efficiency is the cheapest, fastest and cleanest way to cut carbon emissions, and it benefits local communities enormously by putting people to work and lowering bills, said Sheryl Carter, co-director of NRDCs Energy Program.We are already seeing clear examples of efficiency in action, with huge job and money-savings benefits based on real-world experience by states.

This analysis shows that carbon standards that use efficiency as a key strategy will expand these benefits to a much bigger scale. We need to do this now.

  Read How the Obama Administration's Carbon Plan Could Create 274,000 New Jobs
 June 6, 2014
D- DAY et 70 ANS APRES = OU VA - T-ON ? D- DAY et 70 ANS APRES = OU VA - T-ON ?

by Guy Crequie

Guy Crequie

Email: guy.crequie@wanadoo.fr
Guy CREQUIE Global file
Ecrivain français à finalité philosophique. Blog http://guycrequie.blogspot.com
Le 6 juin 1944 prs de 150.000 hommes des forces combattantes allies dbarqurent sur les plages de Normandie =tape dcisive pour librer la France. Cependant, la bataille de Normandie durant 3 mois avec son cortge de dizaine de milliers de morts : soldats = certes, mais aussi parmi la population civile notamment victime des bombardements.

Puis : ce fut la libration de Paris, puis de la France, avant la chute du rgime hitlrien sous la pousse conjointe combattante des forces allies, et de celles de l'arme rouge de l'Union sovitique. Tous ces combattantstaient anims d'un idal dmocratique et d'une volont de dtruite cette bte immonde qu'est le fascisme. Aprs la guerre, l'ONU se substitua la dfunte Socit des Nations qui ne put empcher la tragdie, l'UNESCO fut cre, l'ide europenne pour la paix et les cooprations = trouva sa concrtisation avec la Communaut europenne cre en 1957,..

Le 10 mai 1944, La Confrence gnrale de l'Organisation internationale du travail, runie Philadelphie, adopte la dclaration de Philadelphie. Parmi les institutions de la Socit des Nations (SDN), l'OIT est la seule organisation qui survit la disparition de celle-ci en 1946. L'OIT devient une institution spcialise de l'Organisation des Nations unies (ONU). En France, le programme du conseil national de la rsistance permis la libration : l'existence de la scurit sociale, les nationalisations, le droit de vote pour les femmes, la cration des Comits d'entreprises,..Ce fut la valorisation de la nation et de l'idal rpublicain Durant les annes 30, de profondes perturbations : crise financire, chmage de masse, dsordres sociaux, dveloppement des nationalismes furent le prlude l'vnement des rgimes fascistes. A la libration, les Chefs d'Etats des pays occidentaux ont recherch des solutions aux maux connus, qui ont prcd la seconde guerre mondiale.

Soixante- dix ans plus tard, que reste-t-il de ces idaux de 1944 et de la libration ? Les dcideurs financiers n'ont jamaist si puissants sans misricorde ni compassion pour les peuples : une crise en 2008 a failli ruiner bien des pays comme en 1929 .les protections sociales et celles du travail ? Elles sont prsentes comme des carcans, un frein la modernit et aux profits des entreprises, et notamment des firmes multinationales. La Solidarit envers les plus dmunis = discours dsuet pour leslites dirigeantes, pour qui : ce qui est noble, ncessaire c'est la concurrence libre et non entrave, la victoire et la valorisation des plus forts.

La pauvret et les injustices sociales = ce sont surtout l'affaire des ONG et des Associations, les reprsentantstatiques vivent avec cette ralit. L'exaltation du nationalisme = trouve un terrain favorable, ceci : lorsque des populations locales, voient les dlocalisations d'entreprises, la peur du chmage, les dsaccords europens, les peurs de l'tranger accrus avec le phnomne de l'Islamisme politique et du terrorisme abusivement assimils une religion. 70 ans aprs le D-Day, il est encore tu des juifs comme rcemment Bruxelles uniquement car ils sont juifs ; il reste : plus que jamais ncessaire que thologiens et philosophes dialoguent ensemble pourquoi au sein des Religions et pas seulement concernant l'Islam, des fanatiques peuvent devenir violents, voire criminels.

Avec le phnomne mdiatique et des rseaux sociaux, on trouve librs des propos = xnophobe ou antismite, lesquels, trouvent uncho d'autant plus grand dans les lieux d'errance sociale ou de dsesprance que sont les banlieues urbaines.

Alors, dans ce contexte, que penser des commmorations ce 6 juin en Normandie en prsence de Nombreux Dirigeants d'Etats (18) et de gouvernements. En ce jour : Vladimir POUTINE et Barack OBAMA, se parleront- ils en essayant de trouver une issue la situation ukrainienne et celle dramatique de la Syrie ?

Personnellement, selon ce que j'entends de ces commmorations : certes, et heureusement, il est valoris le souvenir de mmoire : l'horreur du nazisme, le sacrifice hroque des combattants et des populations,galement celui de combattants des colonies franaises et britanniques d'alors, l'importance des notions de libert, nation. Il aurait pu, pourraittre davantage trait de l'absurdit de la guerre, et surtout : du sens politique des causes, ce qui avait permis la victoire des fascismes, leur accession au pouvoir dans certains pays. Cette accession indpendamment de l'esprit de revanche du confit mondial 1914-18, mais aussi et beaucoup des causes idologiques,conomiques et sociales qui taraudrent nos socits occidentales.

Alors, que prsentement l'Union Europenne est impopulaire parmi les peuples, et que des partis d'extrme droite progressent dans le choixlectoral de certains peuples dont celui franais, il est important qu' la mmoire du pass, s'ajoutent la conscience et l'engagement du prsent. Ceci, pour un futur de paix et d'harmonie, de dialogue entre civilisations diffrentes pour les gnrations futures.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE
Ecrivain franais -Observateur social


On June 6th, 1944 nearly 150,000 men of the fighting forces allied unloaded on the beaches of Normandy = decisive stage to release France. However, the battle of Normandy during 3 months with its procession of ten thousands of dead: soldiers = certainly, but also among the civil population in particular victim of the bombardments.

Then: it was the release of Paris, then of France, before the fall of the Hitlerian mode under the fighting joint push of the allied forces, and among those of the Red Army of the Soviet Union. All these combatants were animated of a democratic ideal and a will of destroyed this unclean animal which is Fascism. After the war, UNO replaced the late League of Nations which could not prevent the tragedy, UNESCO was created, the European idea for peace and the co-operations = found its concretization with the European Community created in 1957, .....

On May 10th, 1944, the General conference of the International organization of work, at this meeting in Philadelphia, adopts the declaration of Philadelphia. Among the institutions of the League of Nations, the ILO is the only organization which survives the disappearance of this one in 1946. The ILO becomes a specialized institution of United Nations (UNO). (SDN)In France, the program of the national council of resistance allowed the release: the existence of the social security, the nationalizations, the right to vote for the women, the creation of the Work's Councils, ..... It was the valorization of the nation and the republican ideal During the Thirties, deep disturbances: social financial crisis, massive unemployment, disorders, development of nationalisms were the prelude to the event of the fascistic modes. With the release, the Heads of States of the Western countries sought solutions with the known evils, which preceded the Second World War.

Seventy years later, which does remain of these ideals of 1944 and the release? The financial decision makers were never so powerful without mercy nor compassion for the people: did a crisis in 2008 fail to ruin many country like in 1929 .les social protections and those of work? They are presented like yokes, a barrier with the modernity and the profits of the companies, and in particular of the multinational firms. Solidarity towards the most stripped = obsolete speech for the leading elites, for which: what is noble, necessary it is not blocked free competition and, the victory and the valorization of strongest.

Poverty and the social injustices = they are especially the business of ONG and of Associations, the official representatives live with this reality. The exaltation of nationalism = finds a favorable ground, this: when local populations, see the delocalizations of companies, the fear of unemployment, the European dissensions, the fears from abroad increased with the phenomenon of Political Islamism and terrorism wrongly compared to a religion. 70 years after D-Day, it is still killed out of the Jews as recently in Brussels only because they are Jewish; it remains: more than ever necessary that theologists and philosophers dialogue together why within the Religions and not only concerning Islam, of the fanatics can become violent ones, even criminal.

With the media phenomenon and social networks, one finds released from the remarks = xenophobe or anti-semite, which, find an echo all the more large in the places of social wandering or despair which are the urban suburbs.

Then, in this context, that to think of the commemorations this June 6th in Normandy in the presence of Many Leaders of States (18) and governments. In this day: Will Vladimir PUTIN and Barack Obama, speak each other they while trying to find an exit with the Ukrainian situation and that dramatic of Syria?

Personally, according to what I hear of these commemorations: admittedly, and fortunately, it is developed the memory of memory: horror of the Nazism, the heroic sacrifice of the combatants and the populations, also that of combatants of the French and British colonies of then, importance of the concepts of freedom, nation. It could, could be more treated nonsense of the war, and especially: political direction of the causes, which had allowed the victory of Fascisms, their accession with the power in certain countries. This accession independently of the spirit of revenge of crystallized the world 1914-18, but also and much of the ideological, economic and social causes which tapped our Western companies.

Then, that at present the European Union is unpopular among the people, and that parties of far right progress in the electoral choice of certain people of which that French, it is important that in memory of past, the conscience and the commitment of the present are added. This, for a future of peace and harmony, dialog between different civilizations for the future generations.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE
French Writer - social Observer

  Read D- DAY et 70 ANS APRES = OU VA - T-ON ?
 June 6, 2014

by Guy Crequie

Guy Crequie

Email: guy.crequie@wanadoo.fr
Guy CREQUIE Global file
Ecrivain français à finalité philosophique. Blog http://guycrequie.blogspot.com
Le Pape Franois a invit les dirigeants isralien et palestinien venir Rome prier avec lui pour la paix.

Cette proposition at accepte et cette rencontre spirituelle se ferait le 6 juin.
C'est une grande proposition d'un saint homme pour qui : prier, c'est aimer et vivre le genre humain universel.
La prophtie d'Andr MALRAUX en la circonstance trouve un lieu concret d'application.
La transcendance, les forces de l'esprit vont- elles permettre le dpassement auquel la seule raison politique ne parvient pas !
Si les Eglises monothistes sont dans ce monde, sanstre limites par ce monde, elles peuvent mmetre rejointes dans la prire pour la paix par toutes les autres religions et spiritualits.

La recherche intrieure a ses valeurs qui restent des potentialits pouvantclairer la seule suffisance des sciences et techniques, comme parfois : l'arrogance deslus politiques.

En effet, la rvolution humaine provoque par la recherche spirituelle et active par la prire peut permettre par la transformation des curs, ce que la violence des armes ou la diplomatie base sur l'extension des territoires, ou la recherche de supriorit idologique d'une communaut et d'un groupe social.

Vive l'cumnisme religieux pour la paix et l'harmonie ; vive l'amiti entre les peuples et les cultures.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE


The Pope Franois invited the leaders Israeli and Palestinian to come to Rome to request with him for peace.

This proposal was accepted and this spiritual meeting would be made on June 6th.
It is a great proposal for a godly man for whom: to request, it is to like and live universal mankind.
The prophecy of Andr Malraux in the circumstance finds a place concrete of application.
The transcendence, the forces of the spirit go they to allow the going beyond to which the only political reason does not arrive!
If the Churches monotheists are in this world, without being limited by this world, they can even be joined in the prayer for peace by all the other religions and spiritualities.

Interior research has its values which remain potentialities being able to clarify the only sufficiency of sciences and technology, like sometimes: arrogance of the political elected officials.

Indeed, the human revolution caused by the research spiritual and activated by the prayer can allow by the transformation of the hearts, which the violence of the weapons or the diplomacy based on the extension of the territories, or it ideological search for superiority of a community and a social group.

Live religious oecumenism for peace and the harmony; live the friendship between the people and the cultures.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE





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