Volume 12 Issue 7 March 2014
Guy Crequie (2), Jacob Chamberlain, Countercurrents.org (2),
Marielle Dufour, Nick Engelfried, Tom Engelhardt, Alyssa Figueroa,
Mike Gaworecki, Andrea Germanos, Michael T. Klare, Tara Lohan,
Rajesh Makwana, Michael Mann, Jim Miles, S H Moïse,
Realclimate.org, Jeffrey Sachs, EGISTO SALVI, Brian J. Trautman,
Teresita Morán de Valcheff,Kourosh Ziabari,
Guy Crequie, LA POLITISATION DE L’ETHIQUE…………….OU LE RETRECISSEMENT DE SA FONCTION !
Guy Crequie, REGARD PHILOSOPHIQUE SUR QUELQUES CONSTATS DE NOS SOCIETES OCCIDENTALES (France et quelques autres pays européens)
Jacob Chamberlain, Vicious Global Warming Feedback Loop Worse Than Feared
Countercurrents.org, Latin America And The Caribbean Declared As A Zone Of Peace
Countercurrents.org, The Keystone Principle And Canada
Marielle Dufour, 3 propos errone de Rael dans News387f
Nick Engelfried, Indian Peoples Action vs. the Montana Tar Sands
Tom Engelhardt, Humans Could Really Bring About the End of the World via Climate and Nuclear Disasters
Alyssa Figueroa, Dirty Energy, Dirty Jobs: Video Mocks Work Created By Keystone XL Pipeline
Mike Gaworecki, 5 Reasons the TransPacific Partnership Fast Track Must Be Stopped
Andrea Germanos, Study Confirms Tar Sands Mining Destroying Local Ecosystems
Michael T. Klare, In The Carbon Wars, Big Oil Is Winning
Tara Lohan, Obama's Weak Enviro Agenda Is Suicide for Humanity -- Here's the Stark Future We Face
Rajesh Makwana, Moving Beyond The Corporate Vision Of Sustainability
Michael Mann, Approving Keystone XL Could Be the Biggest Mistake of Obama's Presidency
Jim Miles, Harper Drips Platitudes, Hypocrisy, Double Standards And Lies In Knesset
S H Moïse, La paix Peace Paz
Realclimate.org, Going With The Wind
Jeffrey Sachs, A Keystone Pipeline Project Will Lead to Disaster
EGISTO SALVI, La paix sur la terre est possible Peace on the earth is possible, La paz cobre la tierra es posible, Paz na terra é possível
Brian J. Trautman, Celebrate World Social Justice Day: February 20
Teresita Morán de Valcheff, LOS NIÑOS Y LA PAZ LES ENFANTS DE LA PAIX The children of peace As crianças da paz
Kourosh Ziabari, Who Appointed The U.S. To Be The World’s Policeman?
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|January 23, 2014||
5 Reasons the TransPacific Partnership Fast Track Must Be Stopped
by Mike Gaworecki, AlterNet
Time is running out to stop a secretive global trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership from getting Fast Track status at the end of January.
“Fast Track” means the U.S. Congress would essentially forfeit its constitutionally protected duty to determine U.S. trade policy by giving the executive branch the authority to negotiate and finalize the trade agreement. Congress would have no ability to change or modify the agreement before voting on its ratification.
Over 50 groups ranging from Rainforest Action Network and the Sierra Club to the AFL/CIO and the Teamsters have joined together to launch an organized effort to stop this corporate power grab of epic, appalling proportions.
There are many reasons to oppose TPP but here are the top five.
1.TPP would be bad for the environment.
Though drafts of the TPP have been closely guarded for the three years of negotiations, Wikileaks obtained a copy of the draft text that came out of discussions in Salt Lake City in November of last year. According to Wikileaks’ analysis, the environmental protections provisions in the draft would be completely unenforceable.
2.TPP would make global economic injustice worse.
Thirty years ago, the first free trade agreements were passed, with NAFTA being perhaps the most well known. These trade agreements have been incredibly bad for workers’ rights everywhere. “During this time, the global economic crisis accelerated at an alarming rate with only the 1% reaping the profits,” says John Kinsman of CommonDreams.org. “This ongoing crisis will not end until these destructive free trade agreements are repealed and fair trade becomes the norm.”
Among the eleven companies negotiating TPP with the U.S. are countries like Vietnam and Brunei, which have notoriously bad human rights records. International Association of Machinists and Areospace Workers President Tom Buffenbarger says, “If TPP is finalized and implemented, it would wreak havoc on U.S. manufacturing workers as thousands of more jobs will be outsourced to countries that do not respect human rights.”
3.TPP would lead to censorship of the Internet.
As the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) puts it, the privileged, exclusive access given to corporations does not bode well for the copyright provisions in the TPP.
“How can this process possibly lead to digital policies that uphold the rights and interests of Internet users?” the EFF asks. “It can’t. As long as the U.S. trade office treats corporate insiders as the only relevant voice in policymaking, as long as elected lawmakers are largely shut out, and as long as Internet users’ concerns are considered as an after-thought (if they are considered at all), this process is undemocratic and illegitimate.”
4.TPP would endanger public health and food sovereignty.
Want to protect kids from cigarettes? TPP would make it easier for Big Tobacco to sue governments trying to do just that, which is why tobacco companies are lobbying hard for its passage, according to Corporate Accountability International.
5.TPP is undemocratic and favors corporate profits over all else.
If TPP is fast tracked, that means it’s even more likely that so-called “investor-to-state dispute settlements” will be included. ISDS is the mechanism that allows corporations that don’t like a law—say, laws against polluting the environment, or laws protecting workers’ rights—to sue a government directly, rather than having to deal with that country’s courts or legislature—you know, the democratic process. Instead, corporations get to air their grievance in a private arbitration tribunal made up of for-profit arbitrators.
Mike Gaworecki is senior digital campaigner for Rainforest Action Network.
|February 3, 2014||
A Keystone Pipeline Project Will Lead to Disaster
by Jeffrey Sachs, The Huffington Post, AlterNet
The new State Department Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone Pipeline does three things. First, it signals a greater likelihood that the pipeline project will be approved later this year by the administration. Second, it vividly illustrates the depth of confusion of US climate change policy. Third, it self-portrays the US Government as a helpless bystander to climate calamity. According to the State Department report, we are trapped in the Big Oil Status Quo We Can Believe In.
The proposed pipeline will complete a pipeline network running from Alberta, Canada to the US Gulf Coast, carrying petroleum produced from Alberta's oil sands to the Gulf refineries. The volumes will be enormous, roughly 830,000 barrels per day. The pipeline will thereby facilitate the mass extraction and use of Canada's enormous unconventional supplies. Therein lies the problem.
The overwhelming scientific consensus is that human-induced climate change is occurring; that the world is experiencing a rapidly rising frequency of extreme climate-related events such as heat waves; and that there is much worse to come unless we change course on the use of fossil fuels. Specifically, with energy business as usual, the world is on a trajectory to raise the mean global temperature by at least 3 degrees C (5.4 degrees F) by the end of century, and possibly far more, a climate disruption that most scientists regard as catastrophic. The world's governments have agreed to try to keep the temperature increase below 2-degrees C, yet until now they've done far too little to meet that target.
(Note that after decades of rapid temperature increases up to 1998, the rise in global mean temperatures slowed a bit after 1998. With the post-1998 Pacific Ocean tending towards La Nina conditions, the Pacific Ocean rather than the Earth's land area has been absorbing much of the excess thermal energy trapped by CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Yet once the Pacific Ocean swings back to the El Nino or neutral conditions that prevailed up to 1998, rapid global warming is likely to resume. Therefore the slight recent pause in the upward ascent of temperatures is only a short respite from the ongoing long-term process of rapid global warming.)
The economic implications of the climate science are clear. Either we keep some of the world's oil, gas, and coal reserves under the ground (rather than burning them in cars, factories, power plants, and buildings), or we wreck the planet. The atmospheric CO2 concentration is determined by the cumulative combustion of fossil fuels. We've already burned enough fossil fuels to raise the world's temperatures by around 1 degree C. Burning the rest of the proved reserves would cause humanity to overshoot the 2-degree target by several degrees.
The urgent planetary need is clear. The world has to wean itself from fossil fuel dependence in the coming 20-40 years. We simply can't go on drilling, excavating, and burning every ton of coal, oil, and gas the fossil fuel industry finds. If we do so, the basic "carbon arithmetic" of CO2 buildup spells disaster.
In the current market jargon, the world needs to strand some of its fossil fuel reserves, meaning that some must be left under the ground rather than extracted and burned. We must substitute these stranded fossil fuel reserves with low-carbon alternatives, including nuclear, solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power. There are ample supplies of these low-carbon alternatives, but to build up the use of these alternatives will require considerable investments for several decades to come.
The most important single step is to keep most of the coal from being burned. The next is to avoid the temptation to develop every bit of "non-conventional" oil and gas that can be found. With new technologies, unconventional oil and gas like Canada's oil sands can now be developed at today's market prices, but at great peril for the planet.
Using climate science, it is possible to calculate the tolerable limits on total future fossil fuel use. The basic idea is the need for the world to adhere to a "carbon budget," meaning the total amount of fossil fuels that can be burned while avoiding global warming by more than 2-degrees C. (We should note that even the 2-degree C target, which we are now overshooting by a wide mark, would cause very damaging changes to the Earth's climate systems, and result in devastating famines, floods, heat waves, and other catastrophes.)
The Keystone pipeline is crucial to the global carbon budget. If the world deploys massive unconventional oil sources like Canada's oil sands we will exceed the carbon budget, unless there is a simultaneous strategy to offset that excess carbon some other way. But to do so would be using Canada's expensive, dirty, and CO2-intensive oil when cheaper, (relatively) cleaner, and lower-CO2 oil is available. Under any circumstances, to evaluate the Keystone Project properly, we need to judge it against the global carbon budget.
Herein lies the tragic, indeed fatal, flaw of the State Department review. The State Department Environmental Impact Statement doesn't even ask the right question: How do the unconventional Canadian oil sands fit or not fit within the overall carbon budget? Instead, the State Department simply assumes, without any irony or evident self-awareness, that the oil sands will be developed and used one way or another. For the State Department, the main issue therefore seems to be whether the oil will be shipped by pipeline or by rail.The State Department doesn't even raise the possibility that the pipeline should be stopped in order to keep a lid on the total amount of unconventional fossil fuels burned around the world.
The core assumption of the report is that the US Government has no role to play, either alone or in conjunction with Canada and other countries, to stay within an overall global carbon budget.
[A]pproval or denial of any one crude oil transport project, including the proposed Project, is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refiners in the United States based on expected oil prices, oil-sands supply costs, transport costs, and supply-demand scenarios. [ES-16]
According to the State Department, in other words, the US Government is just a passive spectator to global climate change. Either the pipeline is built or the oil will be shipped by other means. Full stop. The State Department doesn't even broach the idea that the pipeline discussion really needs to be about the urgent need to shift from fossil fuels, including the need to keep unconventional hydrocarbon reserves under the ground.
I can hear the skeptics scoffing: What would make Canada not develop these resources? And why shouldn't Americans profit from the oil sands? The answer should be the future survival and wellbeing of humanity, an idea admittedly of little apparent interest in Washington or Ottawa, centers of greed, cynicism, and shortsightedness. There is money to be made NOW, the future be damned.
But do not lose hope. The greed and incompetence on display in Washington and Ottawa is not a permanent reality, but a passing phase. Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and John Kennedy were able to face down gilded interests for the greater good. Many oil companies, including leading companies in Europe and also some in North America, are already on side to stay within the global carbon budget. The vast majority of Americans want safety for themselves, their children, and the rest of humanity. Our generation can still turn the tide against environmental disaster.
Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior U.N. advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries. He has twice been named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders. Professor Sachs serves as the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. Sachs has authored three New York Times bestsellers in the past seven years, including "The End of Poverty." A native of Detroit, Michigan, Sachs received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard.
|January 31, 2014||
Approving Keystone XL Could Be the Biggest Mistake of Obama's Presidency
by Michael Mann, The Guardian, AlterNet
I have made my position on the Keystone XL pipeline quite clear. Approving this hotly debated pipeline would send America down the wrong path. The science tells us now is the time that we should be throwing everything we have into creating a clean 21st century energy economy, not doubling down on the dirty energy that is imperiling our planet.
Now that the State Department has just released a final environmental impact report on Keystone XL, which appears to downplay the threat, and greatly increases the odds that the Obama administration will approve the project, I feel I must weigh in once again.
The simple fact is this: if Keystone XL is built, it will be easier to exploit fossil fuel reserves large enough to drastically destabilize the climate. A direct pipeline to refineries and global markets makes the business of polluting the atmosphere that much cheaper and easier.
The only truly accurate examination of the pipeline would include a full cost accounting its environmental footprint. It needs to take into account how much energy is consumed in refining and transporting the crude from oil sands. It must acknowledge that the pipeline would lower the cost and raise the convenience of extracting and exporting the incredibly carbon-intensive deposits of gas.
There are two main issues at stake in the Keystone XL decision: path dependency and US leadership. Path dependency is the term use to describe the fact that once a policy is put into place, it then constrains future options to those within that policy framework. More simply, the choices we make now determine what choices we get to make in the future.
A classic example is the "qwerty" keyboard layout. Even though this layout may not be the most efficient, it was the first one, and so it became the standard. New keyboard layouts would have to compete with an established format, meaning consumers would have to adapt to a new system they had no experience with. On the basis solely of legacy, inferior standards or policies remain in place, more or less out of inertia.
So, looking through the lens of path dependency, what does the Keystone XL project look like?
It looks like decades of extracting high-CO2 fuel at a time when we should be winding down such carbon intensive resource exploitation. It looks like decades of oil spills across America's heartland written off as an acceptable side effect of making money. It looks like decades of continued political lobbying against any CO2-limiting regulations.
If approved and built, it looks like the United State is failing to takeclimate change seriously by virtually guaranteeing the massive Canadian oil sands reserved are exploited. That, I'm afraid, is the real threat of Keystone XL – the loss of US status as a global leader.
As the world looks to 2015 for the establishment of legally binding emissions targets, it is looking to the US for inspiration and leadership. While opponents of carbon regulations routinely point to China and India as an excuse for further inaction, the US is still the dominant force in world politics. If Obama puts his foot down and tells us the pipeline will not be built, he will be telling the world that the United States is committed to a future powered by clean renewable energy. For better or for worse, as the US goes so goes the planet.
If the United States takes the climatologically necessary step of preventing the Keystone pipeline, it sends a message more powerful than any protest, watered down regulation or rosy proclamation. It says that business as usual is no longer an option. It says carbon pollution is a serious problem. It says that we will no longer be held hostage by ideologues demanding, "More fossil fuels, or the economy gets it!"
Protecting our planet from Keystone XL would protect US standing on the global stage, and by reassuring all nations that the United States takes climate change seriously, it would protect international negotiations from devolving into a finger pointing, blame shifting debacle. Protecting us from Keystone XL would protect us from decades of continued foreign influence on US energy policy. Protecting us from Keystone XL would protect US land from oil spills and leaks.
Most importantly, protecting us from Keystone XL would protect our atmosphere from one of the most carbon-intensive fuels ever discovered.
If the president won't protect us, who is he protecting?
Michael Mann is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University. He was recognised with other Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change authors for their contribution to the IPCC's 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Follow him@MichaelEMann
|February 2, 2014||
Humans Could Really Bring About the End of the World via Climate and Nuclear Disasters
by Tom Engelhardt, Tom Dispatch, AlterNet
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Here’s the scoop: When it comes to climate change, there is no “story,” not in the normal news sense anyway.
The fact that 97% of scientists who have weighed in on the issue believe that climate change is a human-caused phenomenon is not a story. That only one of 9,137 peer-reviewed papers on climate change published between November 2012 and December 2013 rejected human causation is not a story either, nor is the fact that only 24 out of 13,950 such articles did so over 21 years. That the anything-but-extreme Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) offers an at least 95% guarantee of human causation for global warming is not a story, nor is the recent revelation that IPCC experts believe we only have 15 years left to rein in carbon emissions or we’ll need new technologies not yet in existence which may never be effective. Nor is the recent poll showing that only 47% of Americans believe climate change is human-caused (a drop of 7% since 2012) or that the percentage who believe climate change is occurring for any reason has also declined since 2012 from 70% to 63%. Nor is the fact that, as the effects of climate change came ever closer to home, media coverage of the subject dropped between 2010 and 2012 and, though rising in 2013, was still well below coverage levels for 2007 to 2009. Nor is it a story that European nations, already light years ahead of the United States on phasing out fossil fuels, recently began considering cutbacks on some of their climate change goals, nor that U.S. carbon emissions actually rose in 2013, nor that the southern part of the much disputed Keystone XL pipeline, which is to bring particularly carbon-dirty tar sands from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast, is now in operation, nor that 2013 will have been either the fourth or seventh hottest year on record, depending on how you do the numbers.
Don't misunderstand me. Each of the above was reported somewhere and climate change itself is an enormous story, if what you mean is Story with a capital S. It could even be considered the story of all stories. It’s just that climate change and its component parts are unlike every other story from the Syrian slaughter and the problems of Obamacare to Bridgegate and Justin Bieber’s arrest. The future of all other stories, of the news and storytelling itself, rests on just how climate change manifests itself over the coming decades or even century. What happens in the 2014 midterms or the 2016 presidential elections, in our wars, politics, and culture, who is celebrated and who ignored -- none of it will matter if climate change devastates the planet.
Climate change isn’t the news and it isn’t a set of news stories. It’s the prospective end of all news. Think of it as the anti-news.
All the rest is part of the annals of human history: the rise and fall of empires, of movements, of dictatorships and democracies, of just about anything you want to mention. The most crucial stories, like the most faddish ones, are -- every one of them -- passing phenomena, which is of course what makes them the news.
Climate change isn’t. New as that human-caused phenomenon may be -- having its origins in the industrial revolution -- it’s nonetheless on a different scale from everything else, which is why journalists and environmentalists often have so much trouble figuring out how to write about it in a way that leaves it continually in the news. While no one who, for instance, lived through “Frankenstorm” Sandy on the East Coast in 2012 could call the experience “boring” -- winds roaring through urban canyons like freight trains, lights going out across lower Manhattan, subway tunnels flooding, a great financial capital brought to its proverbial knees -- in news terms, much of global warming is boring and repetitive. I mean, drip, drip, drip. How many times can you write about the melting Arctic sea ice or shrinking glaciers and call it news? How often are you likely to put that in your headlines?
We’re so used to the phrase “the news” that we often forget its essence: what’s “new” multiplied by that “s.” It’s true that the “new” can be repetitively so. How many times have you seen essentially the same story about Republicans and Democrats fighting on Capitol Hill? But the momentousness of climate change, which isn’t hard to discern, is difficult to regularly turn into meaningful “new” headlines (“Humanity Doomed If...”), to repeatedly and successfully translate into a form oriented to the present and the passing moment, to what happened yesterday, today, and possibly tomorrow.
If the carbon emissions from fossil fuels are allowed to continue to accumulate in the atmosphere, the science of what will happen sooner or later is relatively clear,even if its exact timetable remains in question: this world will be destabilized as will humanity (along with countless other species). We could, at the worst, essentially burn ourselves off Planet Earth. This would prove a passing event for the planet itself, but not for us, nor for any fragment of humanity that managed to survive in some degraded form, nor for the civilizations we’ve developed over thousands of years.
In other words, unlike “the news,” climate change and its potential devastations exist on a time scale not congenial either to media time or to the individual lifetimes of our short-lived species. Great devastations and die-offs have happened before. Give the planet a few million years and life of many sorts will regenerate and undoubtedly thrive. But possibly not us.
Nuclear Dress Rehearsal
Here’s the strange thing: we went through a dress rehearsal for this in the twentieth century when dealing (or not dealing) with nuclear weapons, aka the Bomb -- often capitalized in my youth as a sign of how nuclear disaster was felt to be looming over life itself. With the dropping of that “victory weapon” on two Japanese cities in 1945, a new era opened. For the first time, we humans -- initially in Washington, then in Moscow, then in other national capitals -- took the power to end all life on this planet out of God’s hands. You could think of it as the single greatest, if also grimmest, act of secularization in history. From 1945 on, at least prospectively, we could do what only God had previously been imagined capable of: create an End Time on this planet.
In itself, that was a remarkable development. And there was nothing figurative about it. The U.S. military was involved in what, in retrospect, can only be considered operational planning for world’s end. In its first “Single Integrated Operational Plan,” or SIOP, in 1960, for instance, it prepared to deliver more than 3,200 nuclear weapons to 1,060 targets in the Communist world, including at least 130 cities which would then, if all went well, cease to exist. Official estimates of casualties ran to 285 million dead and 40 million injured. (Those figures undoubtedly underestimated radiation and other effects, and today we also know that the exploding of so many nuclear weapons would have ended life as we know it on this planet.) In those years, in the most secret councils of government, American officials also began to prepare for the possibility that 100 Russian missiles might someday land on U.S. targets, killing or injuring 22 million Americans. Not so many years later, the weaponry of either of the superpowers had the capability of destroying the planet many times over.
The U.S. and the USSR were by then locked in a struggle that gained a remarkably appropriate acronym: MAD (for “mutually assured destruction”). During the Cold War, the U.S. built an estimated 70,000 nuclear warheads and bombs of every size and shape, the Soviet Union 55,000, and with them went a complex semi-secret nuclear geography of missile silos, plutonium plants, and the like that shadowed the everyday landscape we knew.
In 1980, scientists discovered a layer of particularly iridium-rich clay in sediments 65 million years old, evidence that a vast asteroid impact had put such a cloud of particulates into the atmosphere as to deprive the planet of sunshine, turning it into a wintry vista, and in the process contributing to the demise of the dinosaurs. In the years that followed, it became ever clearer that nuclear weapons, dispatched in the quantities both the U.S. and USSR had been planning for, would have a similar effect. This prospective phenomenon was dubbed “nuclear winter.”
In this way, nuclear extermination would also prove to be an apocalyptic weather event, giving it an affinity with what, in the decades to come, would be called “global warming” and then “climate change.” The nuclear story, the first (and at the time the only imaginable) tale of our extinction by our own hands, rose into the news periodically and even into front-page headlines, as during the Cuban Missile Crisis, as well as into the movies and popular culture. Unlike climate change, it was a global catastrophe that could happen at any moment and be carried to its disastrous conclusion in a relatively short period of time, bringing it closer to the today and tomorrow of the news.
Nonetheless, nuclear arsenals, too, were potential life-enders and so news-enders. As a result, most of the time their existence and development managed to translate poorly into daily headlines. For so many of those years in that now long-gone world of the Cold War stand-off, the nuclear issue was somehow everywhere, a kind of exterminationist grid over life itself, and yet, like climate change, nowhere at all. Except for a few brief stretches in those decades, antinuclear activists struggled desperately to bring the nuclear issue out of the shadows.
The main arsenals on the planet, still enormous, are now in a kind of nuclear hibernation and are only “news” when, for instance, their very backwater status becomes an issue. This was the case recently with a spate of headlines about test cheating and drug use scandals involving U.S. Air Force “missileers” who feel that in their present posts they are career losers. Most of the major national arsenals are almost never mentioned in the news. They are essentially no-news zones. These would include the gigantic Russian one, the perhaps 200 weapons in the Israeli arsenal, and those of the British, French, Indians, and Pakistanis (except when it comes to stories about fears of future loose nukes from that country’s stock of weapons).
The only exceptions in the twenty-first century have been Iran, a country in the spotlight for a decade, even though its nuclear program lies somewhere between prospective and imaginary, and North Korea, which continues to develop a modest (but dangerous) arsenal. On the other hand, even though a full-scale nuclear war between Pakistan and India, each of which may now have about 100 weapons in their expanding arsenals, would be a global catastrophe with nuclear-winter effects that would engulf the planet causing widespread famine, most of the time you simply wouldn’t know it. These days, it turns out we have other problems.
The End of History?
If the end of the world doesn’t fit well with “the news,” neither does denial. The idea of a futureless humanity is difficult to take in and that has undoubtedly played a role in suppressing the newsiness of both the nuclear situation and climate change. Each is now woven into our lives in essential, if little acknowledged, ways and yet both remain remarkably recessive. Add to that a fatalistic feeling among many that these are issues beyond our capacity to deal with, and you have a potent brew not just for the repression of news but also for the failure to weave what news we do get into a larger picture that we could keep before us as we live our lives. Who, after all, wants to live life like that?
And yet nuclear weapons and climate change are human creations, which means that the problems they represent have human solutions. They are quite literally in our hands. In the case of climate change, we can even point to an example of what can be done about a human-caused global environmental disaster-in-the-making: the “hole” in the ozone layer over Antarctica. Discovered in 1985, it continued to grow for years threatening a prospective health catastrophe. It was found to be due to the effects of CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) compounds used in air-conditioning units, refrigerators, and aerosol propellants, and then released into the atmosphere. In fact, the nations of the world did come together around CFCs, most of which have now been replaced, while that hole has been reduced, though it isn’t expected to heal entirely until much later this century.
Of course, compared with the burning of fossil fuels, the economic and political interests involved in CFCs were minor. Still, the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is evidence that solutions can be reached, however imperfectly, on a global scale when it comes to human-caused environmental problems.
What makes climate change so challenging is that the carbon dioxide (and methane) being generated by the extraction, production, and burning of fossil fuels supports the most profitable corporations in history, as well as energy states like Saudi Arabia and Russia that are, in essence, national versions of such corporations. The drive for profits has so far proven unstoppable. Those who run the big oil companies, like the tobacco companies before them, undoubtedly know what potential harm they are doing to us. They know what it will mean for humanity if resources (and profits) aren't poured into alternative energy research and development. And like those cigarette companies, they go right on. They are indeed intent, for instance, on turning North America into “Saudi America,” and hunting down and extracting the last major reserves of fossil fuel in the most difficult spots on the planet. Their response to climate change has, in fact, been to put some of their vast profits into the funding of a campaign of climate-change denialism (and obfuscation) and into the coffers of chosen politicians and think tanks willing to lend a hand.
In fact, one of the grim wonders of climate change has been the ability of Big Energy and its lobbyists to politicize an issue that wouldn't normally have a “left” or “right,” and to make bad science into an ongoing news story. In other words, an achievement that couldn’t be more criminal in nature has also been their great coup de théâtre.
In a world heading toward the brink, here’s the strange thing: most of the time that brink is nowhere in sight. And how can you get people together to solve a human-caused problem when it’s so seldom meaningfully in the news (and so regularly challenged by energy interests when it is)?
This is the road to hell and it has not been paved with good intentions. If we stay on it, we won’t even be able to say that future historians considered us both a wonder (for our ability to create world-ending scenarios and put them into effect) and a disgrace (for our inability to face what we had done). By then, humanity might have arrived at the end of history, and so of historians.
Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The American Way of War: How Bush’s Wars Became Obama’s as well as The End of Victory Culture, runs the Nation Institute's TomDispatch.com. His latest book, The United States of Fear (Haymarket Books), has just been published in November.
|January 29, 2014||
Obama's Weak Enviro Agenda Is Suicide for Humanity -- Here's the Stark Future We Face
by Tara Lohan, AlterNet
Are there any self-respecting environmental organizations out there that are still behind President Obama? After his State of the Union on Tuesday it's hard to imagine there could be. In his address, Obama proudly declared, "The 'all the above' energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today America is closer to energy independence than we have been in decades."
Based what we know from the most recent climate science, Obama’s "all-of-the-above" energy policy is actually suicidal. To say that we’re approaching a dangerous precipice would be too optimistic or simply unrealistic. For a decade we were peering over the edge, but now we’re falling—how long and how hard depends on what we do this year and in the next few years.
The biggest reason for our desperate situation is our failure to address climate change. Obama acknowledges that the problem is real, but his approach to energy issues veers from reality. The more science we understand, the worse the picture looks: ice sheets and glaciers are being depleted and are retreating at faster rates than we first thought; ocean acificiation is on the rise; the last 30 years were the warmest in the last 1,400 years.
Scientists told us we needed to drop emissions of greenhouse gases drastically to avoid raising global temperatures above 2 degrees Celsius, but it’s looking like we’ll hit that level of warming in 30 years, if not sooner. Some new research says even this threshold is too high; that we need more aggressive plans for low-carbon economies—and quickly.
If we continue on our current path set out by Obama and other world leaders we’ll be welcoming the age of catastrophic climate change soon.
The effects will look different depending on where you live, but we know we’ll see an increase in the frequency and severity of storms, floods and droughts, more catastrophic wildfires, sea-level rise, and loss of animal and plant species -- we're already seeing this.
We need policy decisions being made that use the best science we have on climate change as a benchmark, but given the political deadlock in Congress and Obama’s love affair with the natural gas industry, don’t expect much from national lawmakers.
Meaningful change at the international level through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has been small even after decades of meetings. What happens at (and leading up to) the annual Conference of Parties in Paris in 2015 will be a good indicator of our future. But based on previous meetings, it's hard to be optimistic.
The best way to shift to a low-carbon future is to make it an economic imperative. Clean energy simply has to be cheaper than dirty energy. (It already is if you figure in all the externalities, like emergency room visits for asthma thanks to dirty power plants, but we overlook that in our accounting.) In some places it’s happening (like recently in Minnesota where a solar plant beat out a gas plant based on economics). Europe is ahead of the game when it comes to wind in countries like Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and Germany. Although even Texas, the heart of the U.S. oil industry, is about to hit 10 percent power from wind. This is great news, but our transition to cleaner energy needs to happen faster and in more places. Leveling the playing field by eliminating subsidies for dirty fossil fuels is a must.
Despite, or maybe because of climate change’s far-reaching impacts on our health, environment, safety, and economy it’s a difficult issue for some people to connect to. It’s too big, or too scary, or not tangible enough, or it’s been dipped in some sort of toxic political potion people don’t want to get near.
But it’s important that we dig in and face the issue… as soon as possible.
Last fall I interviewed Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Network, which seeks “to support community-led responses to peak oil and climate change, building resilience and happiness.” Hopkins was on a rare trip to the United States from his UK home. He came across the pond to shake Americans out of our complacency after learning that major U.S.. philanthropic organizations were getting ready to shift their resources from funding climate change mitigation to adaptation.
This is a scary premise. While we should be planning for the effects of climate change that are already happening and will be on the way—restoring wetlands, building appropriate infrastructure, rethinking municipal planning in flood areas, etc.—we can’t abandon the work to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change.
The quickest way we can try and right this ship is by addressing the way we use energy.
A key part of this is booming oil and gas production enabled by hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Despite industry promises and Obama's cheerleading, we’re a long way from energy independence (we’re still importing 7 million barrels of oil a day). And more importantly, we’ll never get there because energy independence was never the goal of the oil and gas industry and their allies—their goal is to make money. That’s why industry proponents are pushing for liquefied natural gas exports, removing the crude export ban, and fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They want their products going to the most lucrative markets, plain and simple.
But Obama continues to push a false narrative when it comes to natural gas. He said: "If extracted safely, it's the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change." And he pledged to speed up more fossil fuel burning by cutting "red tape to help states get those factories built."
I've spent enough time in gaslands from California to Colorado to West Virginia to say that the practice is no where near safe, it's excused from federal regulations that protect our water, and Obama's EPA has dropped the ball on even studying it when problems have surfaced. His qualifier of "if extracted safely" is completely disingenuous.
Life on the ground in gasland communities tells a different story. We’re seeing the impact on home values, on properties, on threats to water, food, wildlife, health, safety, and jobs. It’s becoming obvious that this is about so much more than whether or not methane (which is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) is migrating into water wells; it’s about a vast industrialization that effects the economic and social fabric of communities.
Thankfully, a bold grassroots movement of citizen activists is growing, challenging decision-makers at every level. Nowhere was this more apparent than in four ballot-box wins in the last election to ban or stop fracking in Colorado communities.
The idea of "safe" natural gas sounds a lot like the illusion of "clean coal." When it comes to coal today, the industry is hobbling along, but it’s not down and out yet. In fact, our use of coal for electricity ticked up slightly last year. But the future of coal rests in how much can be mined here and exported to overseas markets. Coal’s fate will depend on whether or not community pushback against coal export terminals continues to be successful. So far, it has been.
But if coal does finally go the way of the dinosaurs, what we replace it with will be of the utmost importance. If it means more gas power plants, we’re just trading one problem for another.
If it means more pipelines carrying dirty tar sands oil from Alberta, we’re really in trouble. Obama fast-tracked the southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline, which opened earlier this month, throwing Texas and Oklahoma under the bus, but the fate of the northern portion that crosses the U.S-Canadian border is still undecided. Each day that goes by that Obama allows this question to hang in the air is another day he loses any remaining credibility when he talks about facing climate issues.
It’s not just energy that’s linked to climate change—water is intertwined as well. Where I live in the West, we talk about something called the "new normal.” Droughts are normal, fire seasons that rage harder and longer are normal, too. My home state of California just declared a drought… in January, our rainy season, as wildfires are burning in Southern California and Oregon.
What precious water resources we do have are further threatened by aging infrastructure, mismanagement, unsustainable development, thirsty resource extraction of fossil fuels, and weak-to-nonexistent regulation of safe drinking water (thanks, West Virginia for the unfortunate reminder).
These are the realities that we face -- our problems are tough, but perhaps not insurmountable. We won't get there with "all of the above" or platitudes about America's greatness. This story doesn't end well unless we shift the narrative. It will take real leadership, at every level, and a resuscitation of civic participation. Let's work to make sure that Obama's next State of the Union isn't meant to make sure that industry CEOs are sleeping easy at night, but it meant to wake us from our slumber and get fighting for real change.
Tara Lohan is a freelance writer and former senior editor at AlterNet. She is the editor of two books on the global water crisis, including Water Matters: Why We Need to Act Now to Save Our Most Critical Resource. Follow her on Twitter @TaraLohan or visit her website.
|February 8, 2014||
Dirty Energy, Dirty Jobs: Video Mocks Work Created By Keystone XL Pipeline
by Alyssa Figueroa, AlterNet
On Wednesday, the first day of the State Department’s public comment period on the Keystone XL pipeline, Movement Generation released a new satirical video (below) that criticizes proponents’ argument that the project would create thousands of new jobs.
"This video is our public comment on Keystone XL," said Mateo Nube, co-director of Movement Generation, a Bay Area ecological justice organization. "If President Obama's State Department is going to repeat the fictitious lies of the extreme energy industry, then we are going to use fictitious humor to tell the truth."
The video explores just what types of jobs the pipeline would create. In it, a Keystone XL representative offers an unemployed man various jobs, including oil cleanup for endangered species and wig making for cancer patients.
"Some people might be offended by the video," said Josh Healey, the video's writer and lead actor. "But all the crazy things we say — making money off cancer victims, shredding Native American treaties — are what corporate projects like Keystone XL are really doing. We just took it to its logistical, ridiculous conclusion."
Despite assertions of job creation, a Cornell report found that the pipeline would create much fewer jobs than reported, with most being temporary and non-local. Movement Generation also hopes to awareness of their Our Power Campaign, a national grassroots effort to create jobs that would employ millions while protecting the environment.
The State Department’s public comment period comes after its recently released report claimed that the pipeline would not worsen carbon pollution. In response, thousands of people turned out to nearly 300 vigils in 48 states on Monday to demand Obama reject the pipeline. Activists say the report is inaccurate and incomplete, and the climate-focused group 350.org has called on people to flood the department with one million comments.
"Around the country, communities are rising up for a just transition away from the extreme energy industry," said Nube. "Keystone XL represents the failed corporate policies of the past. Hopefully this video can point us towards the clean, fair economy of the future."
Watch the video here: click on the link of "Read".
Alyssa Figueroa is an associate editor at AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @alyssa_fig.
|February 16, 2014||
The following originally appeared on Waging Nonviolence.
On a cold winter night on January 22, 71-year-old grandmother Carol Marsh sat down in front of a megaload-sized vehicle hauling tar sands processing equipment through Missoula, Mont., en route to Canada. While more than 40 other protesters watched from the street’s edges, Marsh informed the police traveling with the load that she did not intend to move. After about five minutes Marsh was arrested, having temporarily delayed the load and driven up the cost of transporting it through Montana to the tar sands region of Alberta.
Marsh’s story was quickly picked up by local news outlets and spread across activist social media networks. Much of the media attention focused on the image of a lone grandmother blockading a giant piece of tar sands mining equipment. However, Marsh’s action — as is so often the case with the moment in a demonstration deemed most newsworthy — should be understood as one piece of a much larger organizing effort spearheaded by indigenous activists.
The work leading up to the January 22 protest began in early December, when Missoula activists and citizen groups learned that heavy haul companies were planning to transport tar sands processing equipment through Missoula on their way to Alberta. Almost immediately, a group of Missoulians (including me) started meeting to plan a response. Although multiple groups were involved, the driving force was Indian Peoples Action — a Butte, Mont.-based organization.
The enormous role Native American organizations played in the protest was largely lost in media coverage immediately following the action, but is incredibly important for understanding how the blockade on January 22 came to be.
“We were acting on behalf of our indigenous brothers and sisters in the First Nations communities of Alberta, who have been affected most directly and severely from the contamination of their water, air and wild natural food sources,” said George Price, an Indian Peoples Action member and professor of Native American Studies and African American Studies at the University of Montana. “We also expressed that all life on Earth is being deeply affected and endangered by this filthy and completely unnecessary business.”
It wasn’t the first time Missoula had rallied to oppose tar sands megaloads. In 2010 and 2011, residents of the Montana town protested plans by Imperial Oil and ConocoPhillips to transport megaloads down Highway 12 through Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest and into Montana, passing through Missoula along the way. Concerned about natural areas along Idaho and Montana’s scenic highways — as well as the tar sands industry’s contribution to climate change — a coalition of groups including the Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, and many others mounted legal challenges against oil companies’ right to travel through sensitive national forests.
Concurrently, grassroots groups like Northern Rockies Rising Tide launched a direct action campaign, vowing to literally stand in the way of the megaloads. When an early ConocoPhillips shipment passed through Missoula, Carol Marsh and then-50-old Missoulian Ann Maechtlen stood in the way until they were removed from the road by police, but not arrested.
Imperial and ConocoPhillips’ megaload plans unraveled soon after that, in the wake of successful environmentalist lawsuits. But in August 2013, heavy haul company Omega Morgan took advantage of a Forest Service that was dithering over whether it had authority to block megaloads from Highway 12, and rushed a load through. It was intercepted by protests on Nez Perce lands and eight Nez Perce Executive Council members were arrested peacefully blocking the road. A judge soon ruled that the Forest Service could indeed bar the loads from Highway 12, effectively halting the megaloads for a while.
Then news emerged that haulers were planning to use a new route to transport a batch of megaloads to Alberta. They would travel from Oregon’s Port of Umatilla, up through Idaho on Highway 93, and into Montana. Although the new route avoided the Clearwater National Forest, the loads were still set to pass through Missoula.
Suddenly, Missoula again faced the prospect of becoming a transportation corridor for an industry that — through its extraction of tar sands — is causing one of the planet’s worst environmental and climate disasters. But the coalition that led the fight against the tar sands megaloads last time had largely drifted apart. Many nonprofits that helped coordinate the campaign in 2010 and 2011 were engrossed in other priorities, while Rising Tide organizers had moved to other states.
Nevertheless, when the load that was blocked by Nez Perce tribal members eventually reached Missoula in August 2013, it was met by a loose assortment of protesters who filed into the street at a crosswalk and delayed it as long as possible. Some remaining Rising Tide members helped organize the protest, but the group that played the crucial role was Indian Peoples Action. Going forward, they were the ones who took the lead in ensuring other megaloads did not pass through Missoula without a fight.
In late 2013, the next batch of megaloads began the journey to Alberta using the new route, and once again Missoulians mobilized. A hastily formed organizing committee — composed mainly of Indian Peoples Action members, plus a few non-Indian allies (again, including me) — determined to plan a more elaborate action. We believed it was important to at least temporarily halt the loads, both because every minute of delay was a minute the equipment would not be used in the tar sands, but even more importantly because of the opportunity to focus public attention on the issues of climate change and extraction, while sending a message about the community’s determination to oppose fossil fuel projects.
“It was our intention to enter the street together,” said Price, in regards to the plan devised by Indian Peoples Action, “and halt the movement of the equipment however long we could by leading ourselves and our non-Indian allies in a traditional round dance, which is a form of prayer and a symbol of unity.” Our committee also hoped police would be reluctant to break up a round dance, allowing us time to delay the load longer than would otherwise have been possible.
On January 22, the first of three megaloads that were traveling at the same time made it to Missoula. It was greeted by around 40 people, most of whom were affiliated with Indian Peoples Action. We held our round dance and halted the load. After that, Carol Marsh’s arrest delayed it another few minutes. A second, relatively smaller megaload arrived the following night, and was greeted by a smaller group of protesters. This load’s size allowed it to travel more quickly, and thereby pass through town too fast to be safely intercepted by a human blockade.
But there was still one more megaload in the immediate queue, and for a third night in a row Missoula activists mobilized. This time we applied lessons learned during the first two nights of protests to execute the round dance plan more smoothly. We were determined to finish strong — and, indeed, this third protest was the most successful yet. About 70 people came out, nearly all of whom were from Indian Peoples Action. It was an age-diverse gathering, including many teenagers and college students, as well as elders and other ages in between.
Having practiced the round dance once, we were able to sustain it longer this time, keeping it going for 12 minutes. Charles Walking Child, an Anishinabe member of Indian Peoples Action, made a short speech afterwards which delayed the load an additional few minutes. Finally, Carol Marsh, this time accompanied by two other Missoula grandmothers, Claudia Brown and Gail Gilman, sat down in the road again until all three were arrested or cited. Only then did the megaload resume its journey.
While the arrest of the grandmothers was certainly important, it should be seen as one piece of a much larger effort that was coordinated mainly by indigenous activists. The arrests were one of several tactics that contributed to the delay of the megaloads. And it’s important to remember, every minute of additional delay is an extra cost for companies that want to reap profits by using this equipment in the climate-destroying tar sands extraction project.
The fact that those who chose to risk arrest were non-Indians is at least partly due to the reality that racism is ingrained in our nation’s justice system. White grandmothers are a lot less likely to be treated harshly by police and courts than are Native American protesters, and the way the megaload protests unfolded reflects this.
Unfortunately, the continuing expansion of the tar sands in Canada means the megaloads that passed through Missoula in January won’t be the last to attempt this route. The good news is Indian Peoples Action is building a base of organized opposition, which includes both Indian and non-Indian activists, but is mainly organized by indigenous groups and individuals. As more people get involved and learn about the tar sands, they are getting even more deeply invested.
“From the planning that began during the first week of December,” Price explained, “through the long wait for the loads to arrive, and then during the actions themselves, many, mostly young, Native American people learned much about the issues facing our planet and became first-time public activists for the Earth. They will be back again and again, in greater and greater numbers.”
|January 30, 2014||
Cercle Universel des Ambassadeurs de la Paix
Universal Ambassador Peace Circle
La paix Peace Paz paz
by S H Moïse, Haïti
« La Paix »
Même si ce n’est qu’un rêve
Il doit être cultivé sans trêve
Paix de l’esprit et du cœur
La vraie clef du bonheur
L’humanité tout entière
Serait certes plus prospère
S' il n'y avait pas ces foutues guerres
Entre les sœurs et les frères
L’orgueil et la mesquinerie
La méfiance et l’hypocrisie
Hélas l’envie et la jalousie
Sont sources de tyrannie
Verrons-nous enfin la paix
Comme vecteur de progrès
S’installer en permanence
Dans ce monde en errance
Certes il viendra bien ce jour
Où l’humanité vivra d’amour
De franchise et de fraternité
Dans la paix et la solidarité
Even if it is only a dream
It must be grown without truce
Peace of mind and heart
The real key to happiness
Would be certainly more prosperous
If there were not these bloody wars
Between the brothers and sisters
Pride and pettiness
Mistrust and hypocrisy
Unfortunately the envy and jealousy
Are sources of tyranny
Will we finally see peace
As a vector of progress
In this wandering world V
Certainly it will come well so far
Where humanity will live to love
Of openness and fraternity
In the peace and solidarity
Incluso si es sólo un sueño
Se debe cultivar sin tregua
Paz de mente y corazón
La verdadera clave de la felicidad
Toda la humanidad
Sería ciertamente más próspero
Si no hubiera estas guerras sangrientas
Entre los hermanos y hermanas
Orgullo y mezquindad
Desconfianza e hipocresía
Por desgracia la envidia y los celos
Son fuentes de tiranía
Veremos finalmente paz
Como un vector de progreso
En este mundo errante
Sin duda vendrá bien hasta ahora
Donde la humanidad va a vivir para amar
De apertura y fraternidad
En la paz y la solidaridad
Mesmo que seja apenas um sonho
Isso deve ser cultivado sem trégua
Paz de espírito e coração
A verdadeira chave para a felicidade
Toda a humanidade
Seria certamente mais próspero
Se não houvesse essas guerras sangrentas
Entre os irmãos e irmãs
Orgulho e mesquinhez
Desconfiança e hipocrisia
Infelizmente, a inveja e o ciúme
São fontes de tirania
Finalmente veremos a paz
Como um vetor de progresso
Neste mundo errante
Certamente ele virá bem até agora
Onde a humanidade vai viver para amar
Da abertura e da fraternidade Na paz e na solidariedade
|February 11, 2014||
Cercle Universel des Ambassadeurs de la Paix
Universal Ambassador Peace Circle
LOS NIÑOS Y LA PAZ LES ENFANTS DE LA PAIX The children of peace As crianças da paz
by Teresita Morán de Valcheff, R. Argentine
LOS NIÑOS Y LA PAZ
Para construir el camino de la paz en el mundo
protejamos a los niños desde su más tierna infancia.
Atardece en los confines de la ciudad, asfixiada de asfalto y de ladrillos. El horizonte es una densa muralla de humo maloliente. Las volutas suben, se alargan como queriendo llegar al cielo. Pero éste es otro cielo, de estrellas impiadosas, que pronto empezarán a titilar indiferentes sobre la huella de los pies descalzos.
Temprano ha llegado la caravana bulliciosa de niños ateridos, algunos, empujando sus endebles carritos. El gris les ha robado el color del asombro y hasta el sol de herrumbres hilachentos, se agobia con las sombras que hurgan y que exploran en territorio ajeno, despojos de otro mundo donde reptan los gusanos de la indiferencia y la codicia abulta los vientres del poder.
El basural abre sus arcas nauseabundas y las manos buscan y rebuscan apremiantes; hay que llenar las bolsas y regresar a sus míseras viviendas, con los tesoros rescatados, porque el hambre es loba que acorrala como un fantasma recurrente que no deja descansar ni un solo instante.
Cuando retornen con su botín escaso, no habrá lluvia de estrellas alumbrando el camino, ni peregrinas rosas que se abran en el aire, fragantes de piedad.
Mientras, los que gobiernan el mundo, con sus arcas repletas, duermen tranquilos, con la impunidad que les da el dinero y medran en sus torres altas, inexpugnables, sin siquiera sonrojarse.
La noche desdibuja en sus tintas secretas los dos rostros de una realidad que con urgencia, debemos transformar, en pro de la paz y en bien de la humanidad toda y en especial de nuestros niños.
Les enfants de la paix
Pour construire le chemin de la paix dans le monde
protéger les enfants depuis leur plus tendre enfance.
C'est le coucher du soleil dans les confins de la ville, étouffé d'asphalte et de briques. L'horizon est une paroi dense de fumée nauséabonde. Défilant vers le haut, allongée comme vouloir atteindre le ciel. Mais il s'agit d'un autre ciel, stars sans pitié, qui bientôt se mettra à clignoter indifférent sur l'empreinte des pieds nus.
Au début, c'est devenu la caravane animée des enfants froids, certains poussant leurs charrettes fragiles. Gray a volé la couleur de l'étonnement et jusqu'à ce que le soleil devienne rouille, il est débordé avec des ombres qui se plongent et qui explorent le territoire étranger, restes d'un autre monde où l'analyse vers l'indifférence et l'avidité gonflement du pouvoir.
La mise en décharge ouvre ses coffres nauséabonds et les mains cherchent et creusent le pressurage ; Ils reviennent avec leurs sacs et rentrent dans leurs foyers misérables, avec les trésors sauvés, parce que la faim est une louve qui comme un fantôme récurrent ne laisse pas se reposer un seul moment.
Quand ils reviennent avec leur petit butin, il y n'aura aucun pluie d'étoiles qui illuminent le voyage, ni des pèlerins roses qui sont ouvertes dans l'air, parfumé de piété.
Pendant ce temps, ceux qui gouvernent le monde, avec leurs coffres pleins, sommeil calme, avec l'impunité que leur donne l'argent et se développent sur ses tours hautes, invincibles, sans même rougir.
Nuit un peu floue dans leur secret d'encre les deux faces d'une réalité qui, de toute urgence, nous devons transformer, dans la paix et pour le bien de l'humanité de tous.
As crianças da paz
Para construir o caminho para a paz no mundo
proteger as crianças de primeira infância.
É o pôr do sol dentro dos limites da cidade, asfalto sufocado e tijolos. O horizonte é uma parede densa de fumo fétido. Rolagem para cima, alongados, como você quer alcançar o céu. Mas há um outro céu, estrelas sem piedade, que em breve começará a Flash indiferente sobre a pegada do pé descalço.
No início, tornou-se a caravana movimentada de frias crianças, alguns empurrando seus carrinhos frágeis. Gray roubou a cor de espanto e até o sol se torna oxidado, ele está sobrecarregado com sombras que mergulhar e quem explorar o território estrangeiro, continua a ser de outro mundo onde análise de indiferença e inchaço de ganância de poder.
Aterro abre seu peito fedorento e mãos seek e cava a prensagem; Eles retornam com suas sacolas e retornam para suas casas miseráveis, com os tesouros guardados, porque a fome é uma loba que, como um fantasma recorrente deixando passo para descansar um momento.
Quando eles retornam com seus pequenos saques, não há nenhuma chuva de estrelas que iluminam a viagem, nem rosa peregrinos que estão abertos no ar, perfumado de piedade.
Enquanto isso, aqueles que governam o mundo, com seus cofres cheios, dormir calma, com a impunidade que lhes dá dinheiro e crescer em suas torres altas, invencível, sem sequer a corar.
Noite está um pouco confusa em seu segredo dos lados de tinta dois de uma realidade que, urgentemente, deve se transformar, em paz e para o bem da humanidade de todos.
The children of peace
To build the road to peace in the world
protecting children from their earliest childhood.
It is the sunset within the confines of the city, choked asphalt and bricks. The horizon is a dense wall of foul-smelling smoke. Scrolling upwards, elongated as you want to reach the sky. But there is another sky, stars without mercy, who soon will begin to Flash indifferent on the footprint of the barefoot.
At the beginning, it has become the bustling caravan of cold children, some pushing their fragile carts. Gray stole the color of astonishment and until the Sun becomes rusty, he is overwhelmed with shadows that plunge and who explore the foreign territory, remains of another world where analysis to indifference and greed swelling of power.
Landfill opens its stinking chests and hands seek and dig the pressing; They return with their bags and return to their miserable homes, with the saved treasures, because hunger is a she-Wolf who as a recurring ghost leaving step to rest a moment.
When they return with their small booty, no there is no rain of stars that illuminate the journey, nor pink pilgrims that are open in the air, fragrant of piety.
Meanwhile, those who govern the world, with their coffers full, sleep calm, with the impunity that gives them money and grow on its towers high, invincible, without even blushing.
Night a little fuzzy in their secret of ink two sides of a reality which, urgently, we must transform, in peace and for the good of the humanity of all.
|February 21, 2014||
Cercle Universel des Ambassadeurs de la Paix
Universal Ambassador Peace Circle
La paix sur la terre est possible Peace on the earth is possible, La paz cobre la tierra es posible, Paz na terra é possível
by EGISTO SALVI, ITALIA
La paix sur la terre est possible,
Car il aime son peuple
Et il désire qu'en chaque coeur
Partout, soit un royaumes la paix.
La paix planètaire cependant on ne l'a créee pas
Ni avec la pensèe
Ni avec la raison
Ni avec l'idèologie.
La paix est aussi belle qu'exigeante:
pour vivre entre peuples, il y a besoin
PARDON, ACCUEIL ET AMOUR.
Aujourd'hui, aux premières lueurs du jour
du troisième millènaire:
l'ère digital, l'ère web,
triomphe des technologies;
la paix, n'a pas encore
de domicile stable sur la terre,
parce que l'humanitè n'a pas de bases solides
pour la mériter.
La paix est un cadeau divin
Et Dieu rassurera ses fils
Si ils le méritent.
Peace on the earth is possible,
As Godloves his people
And he wishes that in every heart and
In every place, rigns peace.
However planetary peace doesn't created
Neither with thought
Neither with reason
Neither wth ideology
Peaceis very beautiful as demanding:
lo live amongpeople, it needs
FOGIVENESS,WELCOME AND LOVE.
Today, by the first dawns of the third millennium:
digital age, web age,
and technology triumph,
Peace deosn't have yet
stable abode on the earth,
because humanity doesn't have solid bases
to deserve it.
peace is a divine gift
and God will give peace to hischildren
if theywill deserve it.
La paz cobre la tierra es posible,
Ya que Dios quiere su pueblo
Y desea que en cada corazòn y
En cada lugar, reina la paz.
La paz planetaria pero no se crea
Ni con el pensamiento
Ni con la razòn
Ni con la ideologia.
La paz es tan bonota como exigente:
para vivir entre pueblos,necesita
de un tripode:
PERDON, ACOGIDA E AMOR.
Hoy,a las primeras alboradas del torcer milenio:
era digital, era veb,
triunfo de las tecnologias;
la paz no tiene todavia
estable morada sobre la tierra,
porque la humanidad no tiene bases sòlidas
La paz es regalo divino
Y Dios darà paz a sus hijos
Cuando si la merecieran
Paz na terra é possível,
Porque ele ama o seu povo
E ele quer que em cada coração
Em todos os lugares, também uma paz de reinos.
Paz planetária no entanto ele não criou
Nem com o pensamento
Nem com a razão
Nem com a ideologia.
A paz também é bonita e exigente:
para viver entre as pessoas, é necessário
PERDÃO, REPOUSO E AMOR.
Hoje, na primeira luz do dia
o terceiro milênio:
a era digital, a era da web.
tecnologias de triunfo;
paz, ainda não foi
lar estável na terra,
Porque a humanidade tem sem bases
A paz é um dom divino
E Deus vão tranquilizar seus filhos
Se eles merecem.
|January 10, 2014||
Who Appointed The U.S. To Be The World’s Policeman?
by Kourosh Ziabari, Countercurrents.org
The fact that the United States has been long treating other nations in a derogatory and irresponsible manner and allows itself to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries is a source of frustration for many people, even if the world’s politicians don’t dare to criticize Washington over its arrogant behavior.
The United States, blasted by many critics of its domestic and foreign policy as a newly-emerged police state interacts with the other nations across the world in such a way as if they are all its subordinates and inferiors. The people occupying the different rooms of White House think that they are the owners of the world and that they have a right to look down upon the other nations pejoratively.
The long history of U.S.-led military interventions, wars, coups, covert operations and economic sanctions that have strangulated the livelihoods of the subjugated people in the four corners of the globe and annihilated thousands of lives shows that the United States has not only failed to realize its ambitions for becoming a “beacon of freedom,” as its different presidents proclaim, but that it has also become a rogue regime, that despite the criticism and objections of its people, continues to maintain its imperial and colonial policies and its disdainful approach toward the “unfriendly” nations, and even its close allies, as it was the case in Edward Snowden’s recent intelligence revelations.
All throughout the 20th century, the United States has been busy fulfilling the mission of destabilizing the countries with which it has not felt at ease or those countries which could be potentially damaging and harmful to the U.S. military-industrial complex.
Among the most important regime change projects set in motion by the United States in the recent decades are the 1949 Syrian coup d’état, the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état, the 1964 Brazilian coup d’état and 1967 Greek coup d’état, not to mention the 1953 coup in Iran through which the U.S. intelligence agents toppled the democratically-elected government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and consolidated the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the uncompromising and ruthless monarch who ruled Iran from 1941 until the early days of 1979 when the Islamic Revolution drew an end to his kingdom.
However, the U.S.-engineered coup in Chile in 1973 was perhaps the most important U.S. plan of regime change through covert action in the recent decades which took place without the U.S. resorting to military force. By staging the coup in Chile, the United States clearly demonstrated the disgraceful and despicable nature of its foreign policy and the futility of the values which its leaders usually boast of pompously.
Following the election of the socialist politician Salvador Allende as the Chilean President in the 1970 presidential elections, the U.S. government, fearing the growth of leftist sentiments and the empowerment of the socialists in the Latin American country which has been a role model of democracy and freedom in the region for many years, orchestrated concerted efforts to remove him from power and conduct new elections in which Allende would not be a candidate anymore. As recounted in the Church Committee report, the CIA was involved in mounting an economic warfare and black propaganda campaign against the democratic government of President Allende for several months following his election and was pushing for the annulment of the election results. It’s noted that the U.S. President Richard Nixon funded and provoked street protests in Chile against Allende to force him to resign. All of their efforts failed, and in 1973, with the conspiracy of U.S.-allied, disloyal elements in the army, navy, air force and defense ministry, General Augusto Pinochet seized power and declared himself as the Chilean President. President Nixon expressively supported the military junta government and a democratic government was replaced by a group of military rulers who remained in power until it was decided in an internationally supported plebiscite in 1988 that Pinochet should step down.
However, military coups were not the only instruments used by the bullying power, the United States, to coerce, intimidate and influence its adversaries. The interesting point is that these adversaries had never taken up arms against the United States or threatened its national security directly. The only reason the United States has been at loggerheads with them and intervened to torture them is their ideology, or their worldview! The United States torments whoever thinks in a different way, and this cannot be interpreted as anything other than outright dictatorship.
Wars and military interventions are the other means by which the United States extends the umbrella of its imperial power, as Noam Chomsky puts it, dismantle the governments which are ideologically opposed to its values and then plunders their resources. Since its declaration of independence, the United States has either participated in or waged wars against some 40 countries to purportedly export its democracy to them and “liberate” these countries! The dissident American indie singer and songwriter David Rovics composed a beautiful song called “Operation Iraqi Liberation: OIL” in which he implied that the U.S. war on Iraq in 2003 was an attempt to take over the vast oil reserves of Iraq.
The civilian death toll in the U.S. “wars of liberation” is one of the most intentionally-neglected issues surrounding these endless and numerous wars. Only since the invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and its NATO allies in 2003, 500,000 Iraqis were killed, as confirmed by several reliable sources, and even those close to the U.S. government, including Britain’s state-run BBC that reported on October 16, 2013 that the casualties of the U.S. war on Iraq neared half a million. The prominent American Middle East expert Juan Cole says that 500,000 equals to about 2% of the Iraq’s population, and it’s unimaginable that what could happen if the Army Iraq had murdered 2% of the U.S. population!
The American public intellectual and author John Tirman notes in a January 6, 2012 article in Washington Post, “inattention to civilian deaths in America’s wars isn’t unique to Iraq. There’s little evidence that the American public gives much thought to the people who live in the nations where our military interventions take place. Think about the memorials on the Mall honoring American sacrifices in Korea and Vietnam. These are powerful, sacred spots, but neither mentions the people of those countries who perished in the conflicts.”
James A. Lucas, an American political activist with the Dayton Peace Action has elaborately enumerated the civilian casualties of the U.S. wars in the past 100 years in an extensive article originally appeared on “Counter Currents” website on April 24, 2007. He lists the civilian deaths caused by the U.S. wars in 37 countries and says that for example, in the U.S. military strike on Laos from 1965 to 1973, during which the Americans dropped two million tons of bombs on Laos, more than 200,000 people were killed.
The author concludes that since the conclusion of the World War II, the United States has contributed to the killing of more than 20 million people. Shouldn’t it be held accountable then?
Are these insignificant figures? While the U.S. laments, protests and runs a great hullabaloo over the death of one of its citizens in a foreign country, how can it nonchalantly proceed with the killing of civilians in other countries in thousands?
An important question need to be addressed here: who has appointed the United States to be the world’s policeman? Who has asked the United States to intervene in the other countries, either militarily or politically, kill innocent civilians in the name of expanding and promoting democracy and destabilize the political system of these countries? Who has given the United States the responsibility to remove from power the governments and leaders which are not seen as democratic and freedom-loving? And finally, who is in charge of holding the United States responsible for its innumerable war crimes and crimes against humanity?
Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian Journalist, writer and media correspondent
|January 23, 2014||
Harper Drips Platitudes, Hypocrisy, Double Standards And Lies In Knesset
by Jim Miles, Countercurrents.org
Canada's Conservative leader, Stephen Harper, spoke today in front of the Israeli Knesset. It was a short speech, beginning with homilies, platitudes, and economic references and then turned towards the righteous values he deems paramount in both Canada and Israel.
In his introduction he talked about Jewish Canadians,
[Jewish Canadians] are also immensely proud of what the people of Israel have accomplished here, of your courage in war, of your generosity in peace, and of the bloom that the desert has yielded, under your stewardship
Notice that he only referenced Jewish Canadians in his speech. There are many Canadians who would consider the statement to be hypocritical if not an outright lie. Courage in war is arguable, considering the overall propensity of Israel to use pre-emptive attacks on neighbouring countries and to use the military to control the occupied Palestinian territories. Beyond that, the Israeli use of chemical weapons (white phosphorous) and other weapons targetting from helicopters, drones, and fighter jets hardly smells of courage.
I would wish for some references for their generosity in peace, which may be true if there were a peace to behold. As for the desert blooming under their stewardship is only to buy into the mythological Israeli narrative that the land was empty desert before the Jewish immigrants arrived. The Palestinians had a healthy agricultural society working before the advent of the European settlers.
the Jewish people deserve their own homeland and deserve to live safely and peacefully in that homeland.
Okay, well and good, but here is a double standard - why do not all the Palestinians, now subject to martial law in the occupied territories and apartheid laws (more on this later) in Israel 48, deserve the same?
Shortly thereafter Harper speaks another platitude from his Conservative political platform,
a Canadian tradition to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is convenient or popular.
Well, no, that is not exactly a Canadian tradition, as much as Harper would like it to be. Canada has in most cases followed the lead of the U.S. in world foreign affairs, has aligned itself with the corporate agenda of ?free trade?, and is one of the leaders of mistreating indigenous populations abroad for corporate mining rights (not to mention right here in Canada). Oh, okay, yeah, that is not really popular, perhaps convenient.
Finally Harper gets to the heart of his Islamophobia, his fear of his invented word, Islamicism. Although he never says the word in his speech (too close to the killing grounds?) it is implicit in what he says,
support today for the Jewish state of Israel is more than a moral imperative it is also of strategic importance, also a matter of our own, long-term interests.
Hmm, strategic importance, undefined, but rest assured it is a reference to the Islamic menace he see threatening everyone from everywhere. Before adding more to this he provides more of his beloved homilies,
Israel is the only country in the Middle East, which has long anchored itself in the ideals of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
Anchored in human rights? Oh please?..! Israel has consistently denied the human rights of the Palestinian people. Their land has been expropriated, annexed, stolen. They are subject to martial law and apartheid law. The ?wall? is condemned as a violation of human rights. They have destroyed vast areas of agricultural land, destroyed civic institutions such as hospitals, education, and power generation and not allowed their reconstitution. Israel has assassinated many of the Palestinian leaders and then complained they have no one to neotiate with. They have unilaterally broken ceasefires and then attacked the people of Gaza and Lebanon with overwhelming force (and underwhelming results).
That pretty much eliminates democracy as well, as one cannot be a violent occupier and a violent initiator of military attacks and call oneself democratic. The rule of law may be there for some people, but whose rules? Whose laws? Those arbitrarily made up by the military? And in green line Israel, why are there so many rules that prohibit the movement and freedoms of the Arab people living there?
Having extolled the virtues of the Israeli human rights record, Harper then continues with his Islamophobia,
Those who scorn modernity, who loathe the liberty of others, and who hold the differences of peoples and cultures in contempt. Those who, often begin by hating the Jews, but, history shows us, end up hating anyone who is not them. Those forces, which have threatened the state of Israel every single day of its existence, and which, today, as 9/11 graphically showed us, threaten us all.
And so, either we stand up for our values and our interests, here, in Israel, stand up for the existence of a free, democratic and distinctively Jewish state or the retreat of our values and our interests in the world will begin.
It is obvious to Canadians, if not the world, that Harper's implication here is that the Muslim world is the world of evil (as many other right wing Christian dominionists also see it), lacking modernity (whatever that is, they seem to use modern communications and weapons quite well, as well as being able to work their way around the financial parameters of our society - i.e. oil and U.S. fiat reserve currency), and obviously threatening us all. Global polls indicate that Israel and the U.S. are perceived to be the main threats to world peace.
Harper makes a short reference to the Palestinians being able to have the same kind of state as Israel,
a sincere hope that the Palestinian people and their leaders? will choose a viable, democratic, Palestinian state, committed to living peacefully alongside the Jewish state of Israel.
This of course references the idea of a two state solution, an idea that is becoming extremely doubtful as more and more settlements are built on stolen Palestinian land. It always has been doubtful as the so-called peace talks over the past thirty years have been used mainly as a cover for the Israelis to continue building more and more settlements. There is no real contiguous land left for the Palestinians to have their own sovereign state, just bits and pieces of bantustans.
A two state solution is possible, it is just that it is overwhelmingly improbable. It would take a true miracle to make the settlers give up their settlements and benefits to return to Israel ?proper'. The two main remaining solutions are quite different to each other.
One solution is a free and democratic state with equality in law for all peoples. This initiates the great demographic fear as the Palestinian population is increasing faster than the Israeli population, even after the huge Russian immigration of the 1990s. A subset of this idea is a binational state with separate institutions (education, civic laws et al) within a larger society of equal rights before the law. Another possible solution is the status quo, with the small Palestinian bantustans remaining forever as apartheid settlements while Israel develops the land around them, hoping that eventually the Palestinians will tire of their suffering and move out.
Mr. Harper finishes with what is obviously becoming a growing concern for the Israelis, that of the appellation of Israel as an apartheid state, and the growing success of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, both here and around the world.
People who would never say they hate and blame the Jews for their own failings or the problems of the world, instead declare their hatred of Israel and blame the only Jewish state for the problems of the Middle East.
As once Jewish businesses were boycotted, some civil-society leaders today call for a boycott of Israel.
On some campuses, intellectualized arguments against Israeli policies thinly mask the underlying realities, such as the shunning of Israeli academics and the harassment of Jewish students.
Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state.
Think about that.
Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: a state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish, as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, that is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism.
But this is the face of the new anti-Semitism.
It targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel and attempts to make the old bigotry acceptable for a new generation.
Of course, criticism of Israeli government policy is not in and of itself necessarily anti-Semitic.
But what else can we call criticism that selectively condemns only the Jewish state and effectively denies its right to defend itself while systematically ignoring ? or excusing ? the violence and oppression all around it?
Two things are occurring here. One is the attempt to redefine anti-Semitism as being anyone speaking against the state of Israel for whatever reason. That is simply not a realistic definition.
The other is the ?Why Israel?? question, referring to the critics that are ?ignoring...the violence and oppression all around it.? It is a telling charge in that it implicitly accepts the charges that Israel is racist and apartheid, but why are you criticising us when so many others are doing the same or worse?
I do not selectively condemn Israel, as I am aware of all kinds of oppression and violence occurring in the region and around the world: U.S. attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan; U.S. support of al-Qaeda in Syria and of fundamentalist regimes in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Coast states; China in Tibet; U.S. covert operations in Africa and Latin America too numerous to label here.
It is interesting how often the U.S. comes up in these references, and yes, they do deserve and get as much time as Israel for criticism. Which leads into the next quotation,
If you act to defend yourselves, you will suffer widespread condemnation, over and over again.
But neither Israel's existence nor its policies are responsible for the instability in the Middle East today.
One must look beyond Israel's borders to find the causes of the relentless oppression, poverty and violence in much of the region, of the heartbreaking suffering of Syrian refugees, of sectarian violence and the fears of religious minorities, especially Christians, and of the current domestic turmoil in so many states.
The first statement about acting to defend oneself and then suffer widespread condemnation over and over again - is simply the narrative Israel has written for the Palestinians. What follows next is an outright lie, as the instability in the Middle East is a direct result of British colonial efforts to settle Jewish people in Palestine, an effort supported greatly by Canada, and, after the creation of the state of Israel, supported by the U.S. as an outpost against communism and then against the terror that they instigated in the first place by their colonial resource extractive means.
Yes, anyone can look beyond Israel's borders to see the havoc created by the interventions of the European states into the region, artificially dividing up the fallen Ottoman empire, supporting dictators and demagogues as long as they followed western guidelines; fighting wars to keep those same demagogues and dictators in line when they became a bit too ?uppity? for the neo-colonial bosses, to keep the oil flowing, to keep the dollar as the reserve currency, to inflate the vote domestically.
Before the final platitudes and gratitudes, Harper mentions the Iranian threat of nuclear weapons. This is readily discounted as a double standard as Israel has an estimated 80 - 200 deliverable nuclear warheads (depending on source) while Iran has zero, and has not in the past several hundred years attacked anyone. It is another threat to create the ?victim' attitude that is made to raise some sympathy for their own survival and to excuse their own violence against the Palestinians and other Arabs.
Mr. Harper does not speak for the majority of Canadians. Unfortunately for the meantime, he holds power in Canada's parliament and tends to use it absolutely, turning Canada into a petro-state essentially under corporate rule (as with all our so-called ?free trade? agreements). Canada suffers its own apartheid with its indigenous population and Harper's conservatives are doing their best to further disenfranchise them. These are the values that Canada shares with Israel: corporate control over the economy, and the extraction of resource wealth at the expense of the indigenous people. Harper does not speak for me.
Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews for The Palestine Chronicle. Miles' work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications.
Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews for The Palestine Chronicle. Miles' work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications.
|January 23, 2014||
Latin America And The Caribbean Declared As A Zone Of Peace
Latin American and Caribbean heads of state adopted a landmark agreement pledging to make the region a “zone of peace.”
Leaders from the 33-nation Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) signed the Havana Declaration, promising not to intervene in other countries’ internal affairs and resolve disputes peacefully.
The agreement followed the two-day Celac summit and recognised “the inalienable right of every state to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system.”
It put in writing the need to resolve differences “through dialogue and negotiation or other forms of peaceful settlement established in international law.”
The declaration also reiterated the need for total global nuclear disarmament and highlighted the ongoing importance of the 1967 Tlatelolco Treaty, which established the region as a nuclear-free zone.
And it emphasised the need to work for food security, literacy, education, the development of agriculture and the achievement of universal public health services.
The brainchild of late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, Celac was set up in 2011 to counter the US-dominated Organisation of American States, which expelled Cuba in 1962 in retaliation for its rejection of imperialism.
|February 7, 2014||
Moving Beyond The Corporate Vision Of Sustainability
by Rajesh Makwana, Sharing.org, Countercurrents.org
The corporate capture of policymaking has dire implications for how we achieve sustainable development in the 21st century, and it must be strongly opposed in the coming years as deliberations on climate change and sustainable development reach important conclusions. Private sector influence over politics at the national level is already widely recognised, but the extent to which powerful industries are able to influence global negotiations on some of the world’s most pressing problems is far less reported by the media or discussed in the public sphere.
A prominent example of this was the Rio+20 Earth Summit in 2012, which was dominated by the presence of multinational corporations whose ‘green economy’ proposals starkly clashed with the more urgent and radical perspectives from indigenous communities, civil society organisations and environmental groups. The outcome was a watered-down vision for sustainable development, and the conference was widely condemned by civil society as a failure. Nonetheless, the pro-market approach to resolving the global environmental crisis has shaped the mainstream discourse on the green economy ever since, even at the United Nations (UN).
After Rio+20, many civil society organisations published reports denouncing the corporate push for a green economy and the excessive influence of big business during the event. Most people agree that the UN is by far the most appropriate organisation for facilitating a conference addressing critical global issues, as it is more inclusive and representative than any other global forum, such as the G8, G20 or the World Bank. But ever since the inauguration of the Global Compact by Kofi Annan and the head of Nestle in 2000, civil society groups have been dismayed at the continual rise of corporate influence over the UN and its processes.
According to Friends of the Earth International (FOEI), there are various ways that big business exerts influence at UN negotiations. They directly influence the position of national governments; they dominate some UN bodies as well as certain discussion spaces within the UN; they are often given a privileged advisory role in negotiations; UN officials have a ‘revolving door’ relationship with the private sector; and UN agencies are increasingly financially dependent on the private sector for their funding. FOEI state that one of the most worrying consequences of this is “the emergence of an ideology among some UN agencies and staff that what is good for business is good for society”.
The green economy vs. the greed economy
Invariably, the big business lobby advocates for market-based solutions to environmental problems and the ‘greening’ of economic growth, and essentially works to safeguard opportunities for private sector investment and shareholder profit. But environmentalists and civil society organisations have long argued that there is something deeply misguided about putting corporate profits and market-based solutions at the forefront of our response to climate change and the wider environmental crisis. Indeed, it is widely accepted that the endless pursuit of profit and consumer-driven growth, the deregulation of corporate activity, and the privatisation of natural resources are some of the key drivers of ecological degradation.
Most market-based solutions necessitate putting a monetary value on nature, which plays into the paradigm of commercialisation: the value of the natural world is reduced to its potential for generating financial returns. Such solutions adhere to the logic of a neoliberal economic model that continues to dominate mainstream policy discourse even despite its role in precipitating the global financial crisis in 2008. But endless growth is a primary driver of resource consumption and environmental degradation, and GDP is now widely regarded as an inappropriate measure for human progress. On the question of whether economic growth can ever be sufficiently green, the evidence suggests that we cannot decarbonise economic activity fast enough to meet pressing climate targets.
In her latest book ‘Making Peace with the Earth’, Dr Vandana Shiva reflects on the environmental impacts of a world order built on limitless growth, corporate greed and the commodification of nature. She concludes that “Green economics needs to be an authentic green, it cannot be the brown of desertification and deforestation. It cannot be the red of violence against nature and people, or the unnecessary conflicts over natural resources”.
There is clearly a huge gulf between corporate proposals for a green economy and the ‘deep green’ alternatives of environmentalists who call for extensive reforms at the national and global level. At the heart of the more progressive proposals is a vision of a new economic paradigm that is not dependent on producing and consuming ever-greater quantities of material goods for its continued success. Instead, it recognises that if we want to safeguard planet earth and survive as a species, governments need to find new ways of cooperating internationally and sharing the world’s resources sustainably. Economic sharing on a global scale means respecting planetary limits and ensuring equitable access to natural resources for present and future generations, wherever they might live.
Reclaiming a democratic future
Of course, the political barriers to implementing a paradigm shift of this magnitude are immense. As mentioned above, however, as long as policy decisions face undue influence from the corporate sector, international attempts to mitigate climate change and reverse decades of environmental abuse are likely to remain dangerously insufficient.
In the first instance, overcoming the illegitimate power of corporations requires that citizens of all nations reclaim their democratic right to a ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’. This may not be perceptible in many countries as yet, but across the world ordinary people are rising up en-mass to voice their opinion on the future direction of public policy. From the anti-war protests in 2003 to the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement, the recent protests in Turkey, Brazil, Ukraine, Thailand and elsewhere, people are demanding that political power is shared fairly throughout society.
But the demand for public policy to closely represent the needs of people must also extend beyond national borders to encompass global governance institutions, such as the UN. The next two years will see stakeholders finalise the Sustainable Development Goals, while climate change negotiations will continue in Peru and Paris to formalise a successor to Kyoto in 2015. It is therefore essential that decisions affecting the future sustainability of life on earth are made democratically in the interests of all people, and are not unduly influenced by the immense lobbying power of the private sector. In light of these ongoing international negotiations, it is worth revisiting FOEI’s post Rio+20 civil society statement, which was supported by hundreds of organisations and spells out a roadmap for ending corporate capture at the UN:
The fierce debates around what constitutes a green economy are symptomatic of a more fundamental issue that cuts to the heart of what so many in the global justice movement are calling for: democratic representation at the local, national and global level. Until policymaking is wrestled free from corporate influence, it is impossible that international negotiations on climate change and sustainable development can lead to the transformative reforms that the environmental crisis urgently demands. In order to shift away from an unsustainable and outdated paradigm based on the relentless pursuit of corporate profit, millions more people around the world need to recognise what is at stake and bolster civil society efforts to get big business out of politics.
>> Corporate influence on the Post 2015 agenda: A comprehensive examination by Lou Pingeot
>> The story of Citizens United v. FEC: By the Story of Stuff project
>> The Global Fight Against Corporate Rule: Essay by Robin Broad and John Cavanagh in the Nation
>> State of Power 2014: Report by the Transnational Institute
>> Public Citizen campaign: An organisation dedicated to “defending democracy from corporate greed”
>> Yes! Magazine: ‘Stand up to Corporate Power’ issue
>> Avaaz campaign: Say no to corporate power grabs – reject the trans-pacific partnership
>> Get Money Out campaign: United Republic’s campaign to take back our democracy
>> Corporate Watch: Critical research on corporate power since 1996
Rajesh Makwana is director of Share The World's Resources and he can be contacted at rajesh [at] sharing.org
|September 14, 2014||
In The Carbon Wars, Big Oil Is Winning
by Michael T. Klare, TomDispatch.com, Countercurrents.org
Listening to President Obama’s State of the Union address, it would have been easy to conclude that we were slowly but surely gaining in the war on climate change. “Our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet,” the president said. “Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth.” Indeed, it’s true that in recent years, largely thanks to the dampening effects of the Great Recession, U.S. carbon emissions were in decline (though they grew by 2% in 2013). Still, whatever the president may claim, we’re not heading toward a “cleaner, safer planet.” If anything, we’re heading toward a dirtier, more dangerous world.
A series of recent developments highlight the way we are losing ground in the epic struggle to slow global warming. This has not been for lack of effort. Around the world, dedicated organizations, communities, and citizens have been working day by day to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the use of renewable sources of energy. The struggle to prevent construction of the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline is a case in point. As noted in a recent New York Times article, the campaign against that pipeline has galvanized the environmental movement around the country and attracted thousands of activists to Washington, D.C., for protests and civil disobedience at the White House. But efforts like these, heroic as they may be, are being overtaken by a more powerful force: the gravitational pull of cheap, accessible carbon-based fuels, notably oil, coal, and natural gas.
In the past few years, the ever more widespread use of new extractive technologies -- notably hydraulic fracturing (to exploit shale deposits) and steam-assisted gravity drainage (for tar sands) -- has led to a significant increase in fossil fuel production, especially in North America. This has left in the dust the likelihood of an imminent “peak” in global oil and gas output and introduced an alternative narrative -- much promoted by the energy industry and its boosters -- of unlimited energy supplies that will last into the distant future. Barry Smitherman of the Texas Railroad Commission (which regulates that state’s oil industry) was typical in hailing a “relatively boundless supply” of oil and gas worldwide at a recent meeting of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.
As oil and gas have proven unexpectedly abundant and affordable, major energy consumers are planning to rely on them more -- and on renewable sources of energy less -- to meet their future requirements. As a result, the promises we once heard of a substantial decline in fossil fuel use (along with a corresponding boom in renewables) are fading. According to the most recent projections from the U.S. Department of Energy, global fossil fuel consumption is expected to grow by an astonishing 40% by 2035, jumping from 440 to 615 quadrillion British thermal units.
While the combined share of total world energy that comes from fossil fuels will decline slightly -- from 84% to 79% -- they will still dominate the global energy marketplace for decades to come. Renewables, according to these projections, will continue to represent only a small fraction of the total. If this proves to be accurate, there can be only one plausible outcome: vastly increased carbon emissions leading to rising temperatures and the sort of catastrophic climate change scenarios that now seem almost impossible to imagine.
Think of it this way: in our world, the gravitational pull of carbon exerts itself every minute of every day, shaping the energy decisions of individuals, companies, institutions, and governments. This pull is leading to defeat in the global struggle to slow the advance of severe climate change and is reflected in three recent developments in the energy news: a declaration of surrender by BP, a major setback in the European Union, and a strategic end-run by Canadian tar sands companies.
BP Announces the Defeat of Renewables
Every year, energy giant BP (once British Petroleum) releases its “Energy Outlook” for the years ahead, an analysis of future trends in global production and consumption. The 2014 report -- extending BP’s energy forecast to the year 2035 -- was made public on January 15th. Typically, its release is accompanied by a press conference in which top BP executives offer commentary on the state of world energy, usually aimed at the business media. This year, the company’s CEO, Bob Dudley, spoke with unbridled optimism about the future market for his company’s energy products, assuring his audience that the global supply of fossil fuels would remain substantial for years to come. (Dudley took over the helm at BP after his predecessor, Tony Hayward, was dumped in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.)
“The picture in terms of resources in the ground is a good one,” he noted. “It’s very different to past concerns about supply peaking. The theory of peak oil seems to have -- well -- peaked.”
This, no doubt, produced the requisite smiles from Dudley’s oil-friendly audience. Then his comments took a darker turn. Can we satisfy the world’s energy requirements with fuels that are sustainable, he asked. “Not at the moment,” he admitted. Because of a rising tide of fossil fuel consumption, he added, “carbon emissions are currently projected to rise -- by 29% by 2035, we estimate in the Outlook.” He acknowledged that, whatever good news might be found in that document, in this area “steps are needed to change the forecast.”
Next, Dudley tried to put a hopeful spin on the long-term climate prospect. By replacing coal-fired power plants with less-carbon-polluting natural gas, he indicated, overall greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced. Increasing the efficiency of energy-consuming devices, he added, will also help. All of this, however, adds up to little when it comes to the big picture of carbon emissions. In the end, he could point to few signs of progress in the struggle to slow the advance of climate change. “In 2035, we project that gas and coal will account for 54% of global energy demand [and oil another 27%]. While renewables will grow rapidly, their share will reach just 7%.”
Most of the media coverage of Dudley’s appearance focused on his expectations of long-term energy abundance, not what it would do to us or our planet. Several commentators were, however, quick to note how unusual it was for an oil company CEO to address the problem of carbon emissions at all, no less express something verging on despair over the prospect of making any progress in curbing them.
“[Dudley] concludes... [that] the world is still a long way from delivering the peak in greenhouse gas emissions many scientists advise has to be achieved within the next decade to minimize the risk of dangerous climate change,” observed energy analyst James Murray at businessGreen.com.
The member states of the European Union (EU) have long exercised global leadership in the struggle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow the pace of climate change. Under their justly celebrated 20-20-20 plan, adopted in December 2008, they are committed to reducing their emissions by 20% over 1990 levels by 2020, increasing their overall energy efficiency by 20%, and achieving 20% reliance on renewables in total energy consumption. No other region has embraced goals as ambitious as these, and none has invested greater resources in their implementation. Any wavering from this path would signal a significant retrenchment in the global climate struggle.
It now appears that Europe is preparing to rein in the pace of its drive to slow global warming. At issue is not the implementation of the 20-20-20 plan, which is well on its way to being achieved, but on the goals that should follow it. Climate activists and green energy entrepreneurs have been calling for an even more ambitious set of targets for 2030 and beyond; many manufacturers and other major energy consumers have been pushing for a slower pace of change, claiming that increased reliance on renewables is driving up energy prices and so diminishing their economic competitiveness. Already, it appears that the industrialists are gaining ground at the expense of climate action.
At stake is the EU’s climate blueprint for 2030, the next major threshold in its drive to slow the pace of warming. On January 22nd, the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission (EC), released its guidelines for the new plan, which must still be approved by the EU Parliament and its member states. While touted by some as a sign of continued European commitment to decisive climate action, the EC’s plan is viewed as a distinct setback by many environmental leaders.
At first glance, the plan looks promising. It calls for a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030 -- a huge drop from the 2020 requirement. This is, however, less dramatic than it may appear, analysts say, because energy initiatives already under way in Europe under the 20-20-20 plan, coupled with a region-wide economic slowdown, will make a 40% reduction quite feasible without staggering effort. Meanwhile, other aspects of the plan are downright worrisome. There is no mandate for a further increase in energy efficiency and, far more important, the mandate for increased reliance on renewables -- at 27%, a significant gain -- is not binding on individual states but on the EU as a whole. This makes both implementation and enforcement questionable matters. Jens Tartler, a spokesperson for the German Renewable Energy Federation (which represents that country’s wind and solar industries), called the lack of binding national goals for renewables “totally disappointing,” claiming it would “contribute to a marked reduction in the pace of expansion of renewables.”
To explain this evident slackening in Europe’s climate commitment, analysts point to the immense pressures being brought by manufacturers and others who decry the region’s rising energy prices caused, in part, by increased subsidies for renewables. “Behind the heated debate in Brussels about climate and renewable energy targets, what is really happening is that concern over high energy prices has taken precedence over climate concerns in Europe,” says Sonja van Renssen, the Brussels correspondent for Energy Post, an online journal. “Many [EU] member states and industry fear that a strong climate and energy policy will be bad for their economies.”
In arguing their case, proponents of diluted climate goals note that EU policies have raised the cost of producing a metric ton of aluminum in Europe by 11% and that European steel companies pay twice as much for electricity and four times as much for natural gas as their U.S. counterparts. These, and similar phenomena, are “dragging the EU economy down,” wrote Mark C. Lewis, former head of energy research at Deutsche Bank.
Not surprisingly, many European manufacturers seek to reduce subsidies for renewables and urge greater reliance on less-costly fossil fuels. In particular, some officials, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, are eager to follow the U.S. lead and bring advanced technologies like hydro-fracking to bear on the extraction of more oil and natural gas from Europe’s domestic reserves. “Europe’s hydrocarbons production is in decline,” noted Fatih Birol, the chief economist at the International Energy Agency, but “there may be some opportunities... to slow down and perhaps reverse some of these trends” -- notably by imitating the “revolution in hydrocarbon production” now under way in the United States.
Read this another way and a new and truly unsettling meaning emerges: the “shale gas revolution” being promoted with such fervor by President Obama as a “bridge” to a more climate-friendly energy system in the United States is having the opposite effect in Europe. It is weakening the EU’s commitment to renewable energy and threatens to increase Europe’s reliance on fossil fuels.
Canada’s End-Run Around Keystone XL Pipeline Opposition
Much to the surprise of everyone, climate activists in the United States led by environmental author and activist Bill McKibben and the action group he helped to found, 350.org, have succeeded in delaying U.S. government approval of the Keystone XL pipeline for more than two years. Once considered a sure thing, the pipeline, if completed, will carry 830,000 barrels per day of diluted bitumen (“syncrude”) some 1,700 miles from the Athabasca tar sands in Alberta to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. It has, however, been held up by detailed environmental impact studies and other procedural steps ordered by the U.S. State Department. (Because the pipeline will cross an international boundary, it requires approval from the Secretary of State and, ultimately, the president, but not Congress.)
Opponents of the pipeline claim that by facilitating the exploitation of particularly carbon-dense Canadian tar sands, it will substantially increase greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The use of this bitumen-based fuel releases more carbon per unit of energy than conventional petroleum and its energy-intensive extraction generates additional carbon emissions. Should all of the bitumen in Canada -- the equivalent of 1 trillion barrels of oil -- be consumed, it’s “game over for the climate,” as former NASA climate scientist James Hansen has famously written.
How the Obama administration will come down on Keystone XL is still unknown. In a speech on climate policy last June, the president indicated that he would give highest priority to climate considerations when deciding on the pipeline. “Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest,” he said. “And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” At the time, his comments raised the hopes of climate activists that Obama would ultimately decide against the pipeline. More recently, however, an environmental assessment conducted at the behest of the State Department and released on January 31st cast doubt on this outcome. The report’s reasoning: even though the exploitation of Canada’s tar sands will increase the pace of carbon emissions, their extraction and delivery to refineries is assured by alternative means -- mainly rail -- if the pipeline isn’t built and so its construction will not “significantly exacerbate” the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.
While this is certainly a uniquely sophistic (and shaky) argument, it is important to note that the Canadian producers and their U.S. partners are indeed attempting to stage an end-run around opposition to the pipeline by increasing their reliance on rail cars to deliver tar sands.
“The indecision on Keystone XL really spawned innovation and mobilized alternatives, and rail is a clear part of the options available to our industry,” observed Paul Reimer, senior vice president in charge of transport at Cenovus Energy, a Canadian oil company planning to increase rail shipments from 7,000 barrels a day to as many as 30,000 barrels a day by the end of 2014. Other Canadian firms have similar expansion plans. All told, the Canadians claim that, over the coming years, they will be able to increase rail-carrying capacity from the current 180,000 barrels per day to as much as 900,000 barrels, or more than would be carried by the pipeline.
If this were to happen, count on one thing: rail transport will turn out to have its own problems -- and its own opposition. Not surprisingly, then, Canada’s oil industry still craves approval for Keystone XL, as it would allow even greater tar sands exports and legitimize the use of this carbon-heavy fuel. But the growing reliance on rail transportation does once again demonstrate the powerful gravitational pull of Planet Carbon. “At the end of the day, there’s a consensus among most energy experts that the oil will get shipped to market no matter what,” says Robert McNally, a former energy adviser to President George W. Bush.
Reducing Carbon’s Pull
These three recent encounters in the historic struggle to avert the most destructive effects of climate change tell us a great deal about the nature and terrain of the battlefield. Climate change is not the product of unfortunate meteorological phenomena; it is the result of burning massive quantities of carbon-based fuels and spewing the resulting gaseous wastes into the atmosphere. As long as governments, corporations, and consumers prefer carbon as an energy source, the war on climate change will be lost and the outcome of that will, in turn, be calamitous.
There is only one way to avert the worst effects of climate change: make the consumption of carbon unattractive. This can be accomplished, in part, by shaming -- portraying the producers of carbon-rich fuels as the enemies of human health and survival. It’s an approach that has already achieved some modest successes, as in the prevention, until now, of Keystone’s construction. Withdrawing funds from fossil fuel firms, or disinvestment, is another useful approach. Many student and religious groups are attempting to hinder oil drilling activities by pushing their colleges and congregations to move their investment funds elsewhere.
But shaming and disinvestment campaigns are insufficient; much tougher sanctions are required. To stop the incineration of our planet, carbon must be made expensive -- so costly, in fact, that renewables become the common fuel of choice.
There are at least two ways to move toward accomplishing this: impose a tax on carbon emissions, raising the cost of fossil fuels above those of renewables; or adopt a universal cap-and-trade system, forcing major carbon emitters to buy permits (at ever-increasing cost) in order to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Both measures have been advocated by environmentalists and some attempts have been made to institute each of them. (Both California and the European Union, for example, are implementing cap-and-trade systems.) There may be other approaches to the problem that could prove even more effective, but the most essential thing is to recognize that genuine progress on climate change will not be possible until carbon fuels lose their financial allure. For this to happen, as BP’s Dudley begrudgingly acknowledged on January 15th, “you need carbon pricing. Universally accepted carbon pricing.”
The gravitational pull of carbon is immensely powerful. It cannot be overcome by symbolic gestures or half measures. The pressures to keep burning fossil fuels are too great to be overcome in piecemeal fashion. Rather, these forces must be met head-on, with the institutionalization of equally powerful counter-forces that make fossil fuels economically unattractive. We humans have a choice: we can succumb to carbon’s gravitational pull and so suffer from increasingly harsh planetary conditions, or resist and avoid the most deadly consequences of climate change.
Michael T. Klare, a TomDispatch regular, is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and the author, most recently, of The Race for What’s Left. A documentary movie version of his book Blood and Oil is available from the Media Education Foundation.
|February 18, 2014||
The Keystone Principle And Canada
by , Countercurrents.org
No new fossil fuel infrastructure: every cent is an investment in death for our kids. This is the emerging line in the sand dictated by the carbon budget science if we are serious in protecting our kids from climate change.
First enunciated at the huge President's Day demonstration in the spring of 2013, this attempt at keeping fossil fuels in the ground has been applied to stopping development of West Coast coal ports for Powder River coal and will hopefully go global as a rallying cry for climate activists everywhere.
"No new fossil fuel infrastructure: every cent is an investment in death for our kids." This is the last opportunity to force the political will to make the needed change out of fossil fuels that we owe to our kids.
The Keystone Principle and Justin, Elizabeth and Andrew
|February 18, 2014||
Going With The Wind
by Realclimate.org, Countercurrents.org
A new paper in Nature Climate Change out this week by England and others joins a number of other recent papers seeking to understand the climate dynamics that have led to the so-called “slowdown” in global warming. As we and others have pointed out previously (e.g. here), the fact that global average temperatures can deviate for a decade or longer from the long term trend comes as no surprise. Moreover, it’s not even clear that the deviation has been as large as is commonly assumed (as discussed e.g. in the Cowtan and Way study earlier this year), and has little statistical significance in any case. Nevertheless, it’s still interesting, and there is much to be learned about the climate system from studying the details.
Several studies have shown that much of the excess heating of the planet due to the radiative imbalance from ever-increasing greenhouses gases has gone into the ocean, rather than the atmosphere (see e.g. Foster and Rahmstorf and Balmaseda et al.). In their new paper, England et al. show that this increased ocean heat uptake — which has occurred mostly in the tropical Pacific — is associated with an anomalous strengthening of the trade winds. Stronger trade winds push warm surface water towards the west, and bring cold deeper waters to the surface to replace them. This raises the thermocline (boundary between warm surface water and cold deep water), and increases the amount of heat stored in the upper few hundred meters of the ocean. Indeed, this is what happens every time there is a major La Niña event, which is why it is globally cooler during La Niña years. One could think of the last ~15 years or so as a long term “La-Niña-like” anomaly (punctuated, of course, by actual El Niño (like the exceptionally warm years 1998, 2005) and La Niña events (like the relatively cool 2011).
A very consistent understanding is thus emerging of the coupled ocean and atmosphere dynamics that have caused the recent decadal-scale departure from the longer-term global warming trend. That understanding suggests that the “slowdown” in warming is unlikely to continue, as England explains in his guest post, below. –Eric Steig
Guest commentary by Matthew England (UNSW)
For a long time now climatologists have been tracking the global average air temperature as a measure of planetary climate variability and trends, even though this metric reflects just a tiny fraction of Earth’s net energy or heat content. But it’s used widely because it’s the metric that enjoys the densest array of in situ observations. The problem of course is that this quantity has so many bumps and kinks, pauses and accelerations that predicting its year-to-year path is a big challenge. Over the last century, no single forcing agent is clearer than anthropogenic greenhouse gases, yet zooming into years or decades, modes of variability become the signal, not the noise. Yet despite these basics of climate physics, any slowdown in the overall temperature trend sees lobby groups falsely claim that global warming is over. Never mind that the globe – our planet – spans the oceans, atmosphere, land and ice systems in their entirety.
This was one of the motivations for our study out this week in Nature Climate Change (England et al., 2014) With the global-average surface air temperature (SAT) more-or-less steady since 2001, scientists have been seeking to explain the climate mechanics of the slowdown in warming seen in the observations during 2001-2013. One simple way to address this is to examine what is different about the recent decade compared to the preceding decade when the global-mean SAT metric accelerated. This can be quantified via decade-mean differences, or via multi-decadal trends, which are roughly equivalent if the trends are more-or-less linear, or if the focus is on the low frequency changes.
A first look at multi-decadal trends over the past two decades (see below) shows a dramatic signature in the Pacific Ocean; with sea surface cooling over the east and central Pacific and warming in the west, extending into the subtropics. Sea-level records also reveal a massive trend across the Pacific: with the east declining and the west rising well above the global average. Basic physical oceanography immediately suggests a trade wind trend as the cause: as this helps pile warm water up in the west at the expense of the east. And sure enough, that is exactly what had occurred with the Pacific wind field.
A consistent picture has now emerged to explain the slowdown in global average SAT since 2001 compared to the rapid warming of the 1980s and 1990s: this includes publications the link between hiatus decades and the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation, the enhanced ocean heat uptake in the Pacific (see previous posts) and the role of East Pacific cooling. All of these factors are consistent with a picture of strengthened trade winds, enhanced heat uptake in the western Pacific thermocline, and cooling in the east – as you can see in this schematic:
As our study set out to reconcile the emerging divide between observations and the multi-model mean across CMIP5 and CMIP3 simulations, we took a slightly different approach, although there are obvious parallels to Kosaka and Xie’s study assessing the impact of a cooler East Pacific. In particular, we incorporated the recent 20-year trend in trade winds into both an ocean and a climate model, to quantify its impact. It turns out that with this single perturbation, much of the ‘hiatus’ can be simulated. The slowdown in warming occurs as a combined result of both increased heat uptake in the Western Pacific Ocean, and increased cooling of the east and central Pacific (the latter leads to atmospheric teleconnections of reduced warming in other locations). We find that the heat content change within the ocean accounts for about half of the slowdown, the remaining half comes from the atmospheric teleconnections from the east Pacific.
Unfortunately, however, the hiatus looks likely to be temporary, with projections suggesting that when the trade winds return to normal strength, warming is set to be rapid (see below). This is because the recent accelerated heat uptake in the Pacific Ocean is by no means permanent; this is consistent with the shallow depths at which the excess heat can now be found, at the 100-300m layer just below the surface mixed layer that interacts with the atmosphere. [Ed: though see also Mike's commentary on this aspect of the paper]
Even if the excess heat fluxed into the ocean were longer-term, burying the heat deep in the ocean would not come without its consequences; ocean thermal expansion translates this directly into sea-level rise, with Western Pacific Island nations already acutely aware of this from the recent trends.
Our study addresses some important topics but also raises several new questions. For example, we find that climate models do not appear to capture the observed scale of multi-decadal variability in the Pacific – for example, none reproduce the magnitude of the observed Pacific trade wind acceleration – the best the models can do is around half this magnitude. This begs the question as to why this is the case: given the positive ocean-atmosphere feedbacks operating to drive these strengthened trade winds, the answer could lie in the ocean, the atmosphere, or both.
The study also discusses the unprecedented nature of the wind trends, and suggests that only around half of the trend can be explained by the IPO. So where does the other half come from? The Indian Ocean is as one possibility, given its recent rapid warming; but models capture this in greenhouse gas forced projections. What else might be accelerating the winds in the Pacific beyond what you’d expect to see from the underlying SST fields alone?
The study also points to the length of the wind trend as being crucial to the hiatus; arguing that anything much shorter, like a decadal wind trend, would not have resulted in nearly as much heat uptake by the ocean. This is related to the time-scale for ocean adjustment to wind forcing in the subtropics: in short it takes time to spin-up the ocean circulation response, and then more time to see this circulation inject a significant amount of heat into the ocean thermocline. Given the ocean inertia to change, what happens when the trade winds next weaken back to average values? Does the subducted heat get mixed away before this can resurface, or does the heat find a way to return to the surface when the winds reverse? Our initial work suggests the latter: as when we forced the wind anomalies to abate, warming out of the hiatus can be rapid, eventually recovering the warming that paused during the hiatus. So this suggests that whenever the current wind trends reverse, warming will resume as projected, and in time the present “pause” will be long forgotten by the climate system. [Ed: see again Mike's piece for a discussion of an alternative hypothesis--namely, the possibility that a La Niña-like state is part of the response to anthropogenic forcing itself].
Of course, other factors could have also contributed to part of the recent slowdown in the globally averaged air temperature metric: increased aerosols, a solar minimum, and problems with missing data in the Arctic. Summing up all of the documented contributions to the hiatus, spanning ocean heat uptake, reduced radiation reaching Earth’s surface, and data gaps, climate scientists have probably accounted for the hiatus twice over. Of course each effect is not linearly additive, but even so, many experts are now asking why hasn’t the past decade been one of considerable cooling in global mean air-temperatures? Or put another way, why isn’t the model-observed gap even wider? One way to explain this is that the current generation of climate models may be too low in their climate sensitivity – an argument made recently by Sherwood et al in relation to unresolved cloud physics. A perhaps completely unexpected conclusion when analysts first noticed the model-observed divergence progressing over the past decade.
1. G. Foster, and S. Rahmstorf, "Global temperature evolution 1979–2010", Environmental Research Letters, vol. 6, pp. 044022, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/6/4/044022
2. M.A. Balmaseda, K.E. Trenberth, and E. Källén, "Distinctive climate signals in reanalysis of global ocean heat content", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 40, pp. 1754-1759, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/grl.50382
3. M.H. England, S. McGregor, P. Spence, G.A. Meehl, A. Timmermann, W. Cai, A.S. Gupta, M.J. McPhaden, A. Purich, and A. Santoso, "Recent intensification of wind-driven circulation in the Pacific and the ongoing warming hiatus", Nature Climate Change, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2106
4. Y. Kosaka, and S. Xie, "Recent global-warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific surface cooling", Nature, vol. 501, pp. 403-407, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12534
|February 19, 2014||
Celebrate World Social Justice Day: February 20
by Brian J. Trautman, Countercurrents.org
Brian J. Trautman is a military veteran and an instructor of peace studies at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, MA. He is also a peace activist involved with a number of groups, including Veterans for Peace and Berkshire Citizens for Peace and Justice. On Twitter @BriTraut.
|February 20, 2014||
Vicious Global Warming Feedback Loop Worse Than Feared
by Jacob Chamberlain, CommonDreams.org, Countercurrents.org
Melting Arctic sea ice (Photo: Ian Joughin / Source: LiveScience)
One of nature's key defenses against global warming—the reflection of the sun's rays away from Earth by Arctic sea ice—has fallen victim to... global warming. And according to a study published Monday, the vicious feedback loop is worse than previously thought.
The new research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows the ability of the Arctic ice to reflect sunlight—known scientifically as albedo—has decreased dramatically since 1979, with the calculations showing the region's ability to reflect sunlight diminished more than twice what previous studies have shown.
As less of the sun's rays are reflected back into space, the open ocean absorbs more heat leading to additional ice melt in the region. The problem is both self-feeding and a source of deep concern for scientists and those concerned about climate change.
"That is big – unexpectedly big," said the study's lead author Ian Eisenman, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California, on the rate of loss. "Arctic sea ice retreat has been an important player in the global warming that we've observed during recent decades."
And Mark Flanner, a climate researcher at the University of Michigan, told the New Scientist that the study "reaffirms that albedo feedback is a powerful amplifier of climate change, maybe even more so than is simulated by the current crop of climate models."
The report is the first to use satellite measurements dating back to 1979 to gauge decreasing sunlight reflection in the region.
The amount of Arctic warming caused by this phenomenon now amounts to roughly one-quarter of the total warming caused by the greenhouse effect, said the researchers.
"Basically, it means more warming," said Eisenman.
From the study:
|February 22, 2014||
Study Confirms Tar Sands Mining Destroying Local Ecosystems
by Andrea Germanos, CommonDreams.org, Countercurrents.org
A scarecrow at a tailings pond in Alberta in 2010. (Photo: NWFblogs/cc/flickr)
A new study puts the spotlight on tar sands' threat to one of the planet's precious and increasingly scarce resources—water.
The study by Environment Canada shows that tailings ponds, open 'lakes' that hold toxic bi-products from tar sands mining, are leaching into groundwater and contaminating Alberta's Athabasa River.
The federal research was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
The researchers used new technology to differentiate chemicals from naturally occurring bitumen deposits in soil around the developments from those released by the tar sands industry.
"It looks like what they’ve seen is that in fact the tailings ponds are leaking," CBC News quotes Bill Donahue, an environmental scientist with the governmental tar sands advisory committee, as saying.
"They found also not only are those tailings ponds leaking, but it looks like it is flowing pretty much from those tailings ponds, through the ground and into the Athabasca River," Donahue continued. "So, there goes … that message we’ve been hearing about. 'These tailings ponds are safe, they don’t leak' and so on."
"While the study confirms what we already know to a certain extent," Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner with the Ottawa-based organization Council of Canadians, told Common Dreams, "it's sad to see the federal government so far behind."
First Nations communities have been talking for years about this water contamination, Harden-Donahue explained. They've been "linking it to illnesses, talking about deformed fish, how it's entering their food system, and for years they have been calling for the problem to be examined," concerns Canadian rocker Neil Young sought to elevate with his recent "Honour the Treaties" tour.
These downstream communities continue to be "on the front lines," Harden-Donahue said, both in terms of the impacts of the dirty industry and of leading opposition. "First Nations communities are our best and brightest hope for stopping the expansion of the tar sands," she said.
While "we talk a lot about climate change" impacts from tar sands, what also needs to be considered is how "the use, consumption and contamination of water" as a result of the mining and transporting of this bitumen affect essential watersheds, Harden-Donahue explained, and cited the notorious spill in Michigan's Kalamazoo River.
Contributing to the problem is that what little regulation that does exist, both at the federal and provincial level, she said, doesn't get enforced, as it's a case of the fox guarding the hen house because much of the regulation is industry-led. Looking at last year, "of the more than 4000 infractions [by the tar sands industry] that were reported, less than 1 percent were penalized," she noted.
Yet as the Harper government is dragging in terms of regulating tar sands, and is repealing environmental protections, there is mounting pressure fighting back, Harden-Donahue said.
"It's an uphill battle," she said, but "we're going to win."
|January 23, 2014||
LA POLITISATION DE L’ETHIQUE…………….OU LE RETRECISSEMENT DE SA FONCTION !
by Guy Crequie
Guy CREQUIE Global file
Ecrivain français à finalité philosophique. Blog http://guycrequie.blogspot.com
Download full WORD document by author
De nos jours, souvent volontairement, des élus politiques et des médias utilisent alternativement les mots de MORALE et d’ETHIQUE ;
MORALE = provient du mot latin MORES
ETHIQUE = se dit ETHOS en grec
L’un et l’autre sont utilisés fréquemment de façon confuse pour la même signification. Ceci, alors qu’il y a un degré différent d’usage de leur emploi.
L’ETHIQUE : est l’exigibilité des conduites prescrites par des normes universelles avec la flexibilité des décisions appropriées à chaque cas particulier.
LA MORALE = surgit des contradictions de l’éthique e tant qu’instance de jugement qui la dépasse en l’englobant. Le philosophe Paul RICOEUR a parlé de l’éthique comme la visée d’une vie accomplie.
Un autre philosophe : André COMTE-SPONVILE a écrit : » la morale porte sur le bien et le mal considérés comme des valeurs absolues et transcendantes. L’éthique sur le bien et le mal considérés comme valeurs relatives (à un individu, un groupe social, une société) et immanentes.
Pour le grand Emmanuel LEVINAS : l’éthique désigne l’ouverture du moi comme menant à l’altérité de l’autre. L’autorité politique s’assimile pour ce qui la concerne à la morale politique. L’éthique régit des rapports spécifiques et circonscrits.
Est-ce par exemple : cette confusion entre morale et éthique qui a conduit à la déclaration internationale sur les droits de l’enfant en 1989 ?
En effet, si la situation de l’enfant motive des dispositions particulières, le fait que les droits de l’enfant deviennent séparés des droits de l’homme (alors qu’ils en sont un corps spécifique), ce statut à part, fait perdre tout le processus qui conduit à ce que l’enfant soit une personne reconnue au sein des droits humains.
Ainsi, cette soustraction du recours à l’expression de morale découle en partie de ce que la morale ne fait souvent pas bon ménage avec la politique.
Or, il est vrai que la morale ne sauve pas une politique désastreuse.
Il est cette tendance d’élus politiques de remplacer la morale par l’éthique et de laisser la morale aux instances religieuses. En effet = parler de morale revendique la temporalité, l’éthique est pour eux, une utilisation non normative d’une action perçue comme bonne.
Or, la politique devrait demander à l’éthique un éclairage sur les enjeux plutôt que de s’en servir pour encadrer les lois, les conduites à tenir.
En France par exemple, la politique donne à l’éthique un statut et il est demandé au CCNE (Comité national consultatif d’éthique de se prononcer sur les lois de bioéthique (ce qui touche à l’être vivant, à la science médicale).
Cependant, pourquoi les élus politiques ne font pas appel à la réflexion éthique pour s’intéresser aux OGM, aux droits des animaux, aux ravages de la bourse et à la financiarisation exacerbée de l’économie, aux conditions indignes dans bien des prisons françaises, l’accueil des autistes, etc. Ceci pour prendre de sujets sociétaux divers.
Il y a un dévoiement des finalités de l’éthique sous l’influence des politiques. Lui conférer un statut est une déviation ! Ceci, alors que l’éthique ne vit que par des résistances au confucianisme, aux situations acquises, et de questionnements fussent-ils inattendus !
Elle existe pour éclairer la complexité de problématiques émergentes interpellant le vivre ensemble, pour mettre en œuvre la pratique collective interdisciplinaire. Elle ne possède pas un pouvoir en elle-même, pas plus qu’elle n’est une sorte d’expertise à suivre aveuglément comme un dogme.
La réflexion éthique na pas pour fonction de plaire aux élus politiques, ni de les conforter dans leurs actes, mais de les éclairer !
L’éthique n’est pas nulle part elle surgit de nos intelligences éclairées par les progrès de la connaissance et une certaine sagesse humaine. Elle aide à la remise en question par le regard de l’autre.
L’éthique pour Guy CREQUIE = est un moment de surgissement jamais figé dans son essence. Elle n’ pas à être domestiquée ou instrumentalisée par le politique.
L’éthique c’est : Résistance aux modes et pressions, questionnement, ouverture, elle sert donner une vision, un éclairage pour donner le sens d’une action.
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
Ecrivain français à finalité philosophique
Complément relativement à la morale :
La morale répond à la question de la destination véritable de l’homme. Toute action libre et réfléchie suppose que sa fin soit tenue pour valable : c’est à dire qu’elle suppose une réflexion et une décision morale.la problématique a reçu dans l’histoire de la philosophie deux solutions générales : selon la première, le but suprême de l’homme est le bonheur ‘épicurisme, utilitarisme anglais, ou dans une perspective de transformation intérieure le bouddhisme par exemple. Selon la seconde : le but dernier est la vertu ou pratique du devoir (stoïcisme, morale de KANT) L’homme moral écrivait KANT, n’est pas celui qui est heureux, mais celui qui mérite d’être heureux ; en ce mérite consiste toute la valeur morale. En somme, la moralité d’un acte ne consiste pas dans le contenu de l’acte en lui-même, mais de la manière dont nous le faisons.
Exemple : je peux faire l’aumône par intérêt espérant ainsi acheter une place de choix dans l’autre monde, sinon par un sentiment occasionnel de pitié ou de compassion. En fait : l’homme moral n’est pas celui qui port secours aux miséreux par calcul ou par sentiment, mais par principe. Seule est morale, la conduite humaine qui est l’expression d’un principe rationnel et volontairement pratiqué.
Présentement la morale se présente plus particulièrement comme une théorie des relations avec autrui, une philosophie de la communication (M.BUBER, E. LEVINAS.) C’est dans la relation immédiate au visage d’autrui que l’homme fait originellement l’expérience des valeurs morales. Ainsi, saisir le regard d’autrui, c’est comprendre qu’on ne peut lui faire violence….
Si des lecteurs le souhaitent ? Guy CREQUIE, lorsque disponible peut développer davantage la conception de la morale comme science du bien et des règles de l’action humaine.
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
Ecrivain français à finalité philosophique
Derniers ouvrages publiés :
- « La révolution de l’esprit pour l’humanisme en action » Editions TDB 2009
- « Réconcilier les droits et les devoirs pour l’avenir de l’humanité » Editions de Saint-Amans 2010 avec une préface d’Yves LOPEZ, Président de la fédération française des clubs UNESCO.
A noter, qu’en 2011, ces 2 ouvrages ont été repris par les Editions Universitaires européennes.
- « Philosophie et autonomie citoyenne de pensée » avec une préface d’Ernesto KAHAN,
Vice- Président de l’Académie mondiale de la culture et des arts.
« Chroniques sur le monde et enjeux planétaires (1et 2) Editions Ouaknine 2011, et Edilivre 2013. Le tome 2 valorisant notamment l’existence et la raison d’être de l’Association internationale »Nations Unies des lettres. »
Contribution on problems sociétale!
THE POLITIZATION OF ETHICS ................OR CONTRACTING OF SA FUNCTION!
Nowadays, often voluntarily, of the political elected officials and the media use alternatively the words of MORALS and ETHICS;
MORALS = comes from Latin word MORES
ETHICS = says ETHOS in Greek
One and the other is frequently used in a confused way for the same significance. This, whereas there is a degree different of use of their employment.
ETHICS: is the current liability of the conduits prescribed by universal standards with the flexibility of the decisions appropriate to each typical case.
MORALS = emerges from contradictions of ethics E as long as authority of judgment which exceeds it by including it. The philosopher Paul Ricoeur spoke about ethics like the aiming of an accomplished life.
Another philosopher: André COMTE-SPONVILE wrote: ” morals relates to the good and the evil considered as absolute and transcendent values. Ethics on the good and the evil considered as relative values (with an individual, a social group, a company) and immanent.
For large Emmanuel Lévinas: ethics indicates the opening of ego like driving with the otherness of the other. The political authority is assimilated for what concerns with political morals. Ethics governs specific and circumscribed reports.
This is for example: this confusion between morals and ethics which led to the international declaration on the children's rights in 1989?
Indeed, if the situation of the child justifies specific measures, fact that the children's rights become separate human rights (whereas they are a specific body), this statute except for, makes lose all the process which leads so that the child is a person recognized within the human rights.
Thus, this subtraction of the recourse to the expression of morals rises partly from what morals often does not do good household with the policy.
However, it is true that morals does not save a disastrous policy.
It is this tendency of political elected officials to replace morals by ethics and to leave morals to the religious authorities. Indeed = to speak about morals asserts temporality, ethics is for them, a nonnormative use of an action perceived like good.
However, the policy should request from ethics a lighting rather on the challenges than to make use of it to frame the laws, the conduits to be held.
In France for example, the policy gives to ethics a statute and he is requested from the CCNE (advisory National committee of ethics to come to a conclusion about the laws of bioethics (what touches with the living being, with medical science).
However, why the political elected officials do not call on the ethical reflection to be interested in the GMO, the rights of the animals, the devastations of the purse and the exacerbated financiarisation of the economy, in the unworthy conditions in many French prisons, the reception of the autists, etc This to take various sociétaux subjects.
There is a diverting of the finalities of ethics under the influence of the policies. He to confer a statute is a deviation! This, whereas ethics lives only by resistances to the Confucianism, with the acquired situations, and questionings were unexpected!
It exists to clarify the complexity of emergent problems together challenging the food, to implement the interdisciplinary collective practice. It does not have a power in itself, not more than it is not a kind of expert testimony to be followed blindly like a dogma.
The ethical reflection Na not for function to like political elected officials, nor to consolidate them in their acts, but to light them!
Ethics is not nowhere it emerges from our intelligences lit by progress of knowledge and a certain human wisdom. It helps with the handing-over in question by the glance of the other.
Ethics for Guy CREQUIE = is one moment of sudden appearance never fixed in its petrol. It not with being domesticated or used by the policy.
Ethics it is: Strength to the modes and pressures, questioning, opening, it is used for giving a vision, a lighting to give the direction of an action.
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
French writer with philosophical purpose
Complement compared to morals:
Morals answers the question of the true destination of the man. Any free and considered action supposes that its end is held for valid: i.e. that it supposes a reflection and a problematic decision morale.la received in the history of philosophy two general solutions: according to the first, the supreme goal of the man is happiness ` epicureanism, English utilitarianism, or from the point of view of interior transformation Buddhism for example. According to the second: the last goal is the virtue or practical duty (stoicism, morals of KANT) the moral man wrote KANT, is not that which is happy, but that which deserves to be happy; of this merit consists all the moral value. All in all, the morality of an act does not consist in the contents of the act of itself, but in the way in which do we it.
Example: I can give alms by interest thus hoping to buy a choice place in the other world, if not by an occasional feeling of pity or compassion. In fact: the moral man is not that which port help with the paupers by calculation or feeling, but by principle. Only is moral, the human control which is the expression of a rational principle and voluntarily practised.
At present morals is presented more particularly in the form of a theory of the relations with others, a philosophy of the communication (M.BUBER, E. LEVINAS.) It is in the immediate relation with the face of others that the man makes originally the experiment of the values morals. Thus, to seize the glance of others, it is to understand that one cannot make him violence….
So do readers wish it? Guy CREQUIE, when available can more develop the design of morals like science of the good and the rules of the human action.
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
French writer with philosophical purpose
Last works published:
- “The revolution of the spirit for humanism in action” Editions TDB 2009
- “To reconcile the rights and the duties for the future of humanity” Editions of Saint-Mercies 2010 with a foreword of Yves LOPEZ, President of the French federation of clubs UNESCO.
To note, that in 2011, these 2 works were taken again by the European University Editions.
- “Philosophy and autonomy citizen of thought” with a foreword of Ernesto KAHAN,
Vice-president of the world Academy of the culture and arts.
“Chronic on the world and planetary challenges (1et 2) Editions Ouaknine 2011, and Edilivre 2013. Volume 2 in particular developing the existence and the raison d'être of the International association” the United Nations of the letters. ”
REGARD PHILOSOPHIQUE SUR QUELQUES CONSTATS DE NOS SOCIETES OCCIDENTALES (France et quelques autres pays européens)
by Guy Crequie
Guy CREQUIE Global file
Ecrivain français à finalité philosophique. Blog http://guycrequie.blogspot.com
Atteint par le temps qui passe, ….Progressivement à partir de 2015, je risque de me retirer progressivement de nos réseaux .J’Ignore, si mes contributions intéressent grand monde ? Cependant, avant de me retirer, j’ai et je vais exprimer ma pensée sur quelques dossiers.
En attendant, je vous livre comme une sorte de testament humain, philosophique de la pensée et des préoccupations d’un homme ordinaire, ceci, afin de laisser des traces à la nouvelle génération, afin que celle-ci dotée de la connaissance des anciens assure la pérennité du genre humain dans la paix et l’harmonie.
Notre société devient illisible, ceci, car une partie de la population est invisible. Les discours politiques et ceux des Institutions utilisent des catégories qui ne rendent pas compte de la vie des gens. Ils regardent la société avec des lunettes anciennes et l’étouffent avec un jargon politique policé ou tout simplement de langue de bois.
La société a profondément changé : certes, parce qu’elle est plus individualiste, mais également de par les transformations profondes de l’économie : Exemple dans le monde du travail, dans le capitalisme innovant, l’enjeu est davantage l’implication des salariés, la mobilisation des énergies, que l’insertion dans une chaîne productive de manière répétitive. Cette transformation a changé les postes de travail, la condition ouvrière, également, le parcours des individus devient à présent aussi déterminant que leur appartenance à une classe sociale.
N’oublions pas, que le développement du psychisme humain se fait pour une part dans le travail, et à partir des produits du travail, et que des formes de conscience sociale y prennent naissance.
Il y a beaucoup d’invisibles dans les discours médiatiques et politiques : Ceux-ci ne sont pas que les exclus trop nombreux d’ailleurs, hélas, toute une partie de la population n’entre pas dans le champ des discours convenus : la recherche scientifique, les poètes, les peintres, etc. Aujourd’hui, les grandes concentrations d’ouvriers ne sont plus dans les usines, mais dans les centres logistiques.
Or, il faut décrire ce nouveau monde, l’émergence des nouvelles catégories qui sont le quotidien d’une majorité de personnes ;
Ensuite, la complexité et la diversité des modes d’existence provoqués par la modernité permet de dire : que comprendre la société contemporaine ce n’est pas simplement comprendre les conditions sociales, mais également les situations personnelles = cette singularité dont j’ai parlé précédemment et qui est noyée arbitrairement souvent par le piège de l’abstraction universelle. Exemples : en France, un tiers des français vit un événement structurant qu’il soit problématique : une rupture, un décès, un licenciement, un échec à un examen, une voiture brûlée, une agression, un vol,…Ou bien positif : une naissance, un mariage, une réussite, le lancement d’un projet, etc.
Quand une société devient illisible, il y a des conséquences pour la démocratie. Ainsi cela crée une société d’éloignement dans laquelle on s’ignore les uns des autres. Une société ne peut fonctionner que si elle est soutenue par deux institutions invisibles. La légitimité et la confiance.
Aujourd’hui, la légitimité du politique s’effondre. Celle du politique se réduit à un processus d’autorisation. Les élections donnent un permis à gouverner, cependant c’est une sorte de permis à points. On voit bien que cela ne fonctionne plus. La démocratie doit aussi se définir comme une façon permanente de négocier, discuter, et argumenter avec la société. Il y faudrait de temps à autre, sur des thèmes sensibles des référendums d’initiative populaire comme cela existent en Suisse.
Pour comprendre la société, il faut décrire, analyser, mettre en perspective tous ces processus, inventer de nouveaux concepts rendant compte de cette lisibilité.
Le deuxième élément important est la destruction de la confiance. Une société dans laquelle il y a une perte de connaissance d’autrui produit mécaniquement de la défiance, du rejet.
Ainsi par exemple, j’ai entendu ce matin sur une chaîne de télévision que le gouvernement français envisageait de réduire le taux d’épargne du livret A =le plus populaire en France au taux bas jamais atteint de 1% de rendement, ceci alors qu’au premier janvier se met en place une hausse de TVA qui pénalise les plus faibles et que les français sont écrasés d’impôts.
Nous sommes à un stade de la société dans laquelle l’érosion de la légitimité et de la confiance est lourde de violence potentielle. Ceci est préoccupant !
Une société illisible a forcément des incidences négatives pour l’expression démocratique.
En France des mouvements sociaux comme celui dit des bonnets rouges exprime une défiance à l’égard des politiques et une indifférence au mouvement syndical estimé inefficace. Ces mouvements donnent en apparence l’impression d’une puissance de mobilisation, cependant, ce n’est pas une puissance de construction mais un repli social.
C’est l’expression d’une démocratie négative et pour moi une inquiétude pour l’avenir.
Dans ce contexte, par peur, sentiment d’abandon, devant la faillite des politiques mises en œuvre qui accablent les plus fragiles, face aux atermoiements ou divisions en Europe, hélas toujours plus nombreux sont ceux qui voient dans la droite extrême nationaliste et xénophobe un recours du nouveau face à l’ancien qui désespère. Les réveils risquent d’être douloureux ; même si l’histoire n’est jamais identique, souvenons-nous de la période sombre des années 1930 !
La droite dure portée par la désespérance produit une idéologie destinée à fabriquer une conscience consciemment inversée de la construction d’un vrai système humaniste de valeurs.
Recréer du lien social, n’est pas de façon abstraite clamer la citoyenneté par des incantations stériles : C’est s’interroger ! Comment intérioriser la réalité de l’autre avant d’aborder un dialogue, détruire les stéréotypes, par exemples quelles sont les réalités recouvertes par le chercheur, le jeune ouvrier, celles de celui qui veut changer de vie, qui voit son horizon bouché parle chômage, une délocalisation de son entreprise, l’impossibilité d’acquérir une formation ; ou les difficultés du monde rural, artisanal,….
Connaître les réalités humaines passe par leur connaissance sous toutes ces formes. C’est une exigence philosophique pour laquelle il ne suffit plus d’étudier les catégories philosophiques millénaires, ou de tenter de mettre en œuvre de nouveaux modèles de référence aussi louables soient-ils, il y faut une complémentarité du savoir scientifique, une philosophie qui tente toujours plus de mettre en relation le rapport global de la pensée aux faits aux gens et aux choses.
Ainsi par exemple, pour connaître les vies, les raconter, sous toutes leurs formes, un roman ou un poème peut parfois nous dire plus de choses sur la situation d’une société, de la relation entre des personnes, de l’harmonie ou non avec la nature que les sciences sociales qui moulinent des statistiques, des tableaux, tentent de produire des théorèmes ou des modèles.il est important d’avoir un approche très diversifiée de la société et pour le philosophe se pose l’exigence théorique de la mise en chantier de nouveaux concepts tentant toujours plus de rendre compte de la complexité du réel historique
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
Ecrivain français à finalité philosophique
C’est l’interview par Elodie BECU du quotidien Le Progrès dimanche à Lyon le 5 janvier de Pierre ROSANVALLON, historien, Professeur au collège de France où il occupe la chaire « Histoire moderne et contemporaine du politique » qui m’a amené à compléter son propos par des réflexions personnelles à caractère sociologique et philosophique.
PHILOSOPHICAL GLANCE ON SOME REPORTS OUR WESTERN COMPANIES (France and some other European countries)
(To have of alarm of an ordinary philosopher)!
Reached by the time which passes,….Gradually starting from 2015, I am likely to withdraw me gradually our networks.Am I Unaware of, if my contributions interest high society? However, before me to withdraw, I have and I will express my opinion on some files.
In the meantime I deliver to you like a kind of human, philosophical will thought and concerns of an ordinary man, this, in order to leave traces to the new generation, so that this one equipped with knowledge with old ensures the perenniality of mankind in peace and the harmony.
Our company becomes illegible, this, because part of the population is invisible. The political discourses and those of the Institutions use categories which do not give an account of the life of people. They look at the company with old glasses and choke it with an organized political jargon or quite simply of set language.
The company radically changed: admittedly, because it is more individualistic, but also from the major transformations of the economy: Example in the work world, in innovating capitalism, the challenge is more the implication of the employees, the mobilization of energies, that insertion in a productive chain in a repetitive way. This transformation changed the work stations, the working condition, also, the course of the individuals becomes now as determining as their membership of a social class.
Let us not forget, only the development of human psychism is made for a share in work, and starting from the products of work, and that forms of social conscience occur there.
There are many invisible in the media and political speeches: Those only them are not excluded too many besides, alas, a whole part of the population does not enter the field of the agreed speeches: the scientific research, the poets, the painters, etc Today, the great concentrations of blue-collar workers are not any more in the factories, but in the logistic centers.
However, it is necessary to describe this new world, the emergence of the new categories which are the daily newspaper of a majority of people;
Then, the complexity and the diversity of the modes of existence caused by modernity make it possible to say: that to understand the contemporary company is not simply to understand the social conditions, but also personal situations = this singularity about which I spoke previously and who is drowned arbitrarily often by the trap of the universal abstraction. Examples: in France, a third of French saw a structuring event that it is problematic: a rupture, a death, a dismissal, a failure with an examination, a burned automobile, an aggression, a flight,… Or positive: a birth, a marriage, a success, the launching of a project, etc
When a company becomes illegible, there are consequences for the democracy. Thus that creates a company of distance in which one is unaware of from/to each other. A company can function only if it is supported by two invisible institutions. Legitimacy and confidence.
Today, the legitimacy of the policy crumbles. That of the policy is reduced to a process of authorization. The elections give a license to be controlled, however it is a kind of license at points. It is seen well that does not function any more. The democracy must be also defined as a permanent way to negotiate, discuss, and argue with the company. It would take time for it for other, on significant topics of the referendums of popular initiative as that exist in Switzerland.
To understand the company, it is necessary to describe, analyze, put in prospect all these processes, to invent new concepts giving an account of this legibility.
The second significant component is the destruction of confidence. A company in which there is a loss of consciousness of others mechanically produced distrust, rejection.
Thus for example, I heard this morning on a TV channel which the French government planned to reduce the rate of saving of more popular booklet A =le in France to the rate low ever reached of 1% of output, this whereas at January first a rise of VAT is set up which penalizes weakest and which French is crushed of taxes.
We are at a stage of the company in which the erosion of legitimacy and confidence is heavy of potential violence. This is alarming!
An illegible company inevitably has negative incidences for the democratic expression.
In France of the social movements as that known as of the red bonnets expresses a distrust with regard to the policies and an indifference with the trade union movement considered ineffective. These movements give seemingly the impression of a power of mobilization, however, it is not a power of construction but a social fold.
It is the expression of a negative democracy and for me a concern for the future.
In this context, by fear, feeling of abandonment, in front of the bankruptcy of the policies put in work which overpower most fragile, vis-a-vis the excuses or divisions in Europe, alas increasingly more are those which see in the nationalist extreme line and xenophobe a recourse of new vis-a-vis old which despairs. The alarm clocks are likely to be painful; even if the history is never identical, remember the dark period of the years 1930!
The hard Right carried by despair produces an ideology intended to manufacture a consciously reversed conscience of the construction of a true humanistic system of values.
To recreate social link, is not in an abstract way to protest the citizenship by sterile incantations: It is to question itself! How to interiorize the reality of the other before approaching a dialog, destroying the stereotypes, for examples which are the realities covered by the researcher, the young blue-collar worker, those that which wants to change life, who sees his stopped horizon speaks unemployment, a delocalization of its company, impossibility of acquiring a formation; or difficulties of the rural world, artisanal,….
To know human realities passes by their knowledge in all these forms. It is a philosophical requirement for which it is not enough any more to study the thousand-year-old philosophical categories, or to try to implement new such creditable models of reference are, one needs a complementarity of the scientific knowledge for it, a philosophy which tries always more to connect the report of the thought at the facts to people and at the things.
Thus for example, to know the lives, to tell them, under all their forms, a novel or a poem can sometimes tell us more things on the situation of a company, relation between people, harmony or not with the nature which social sciences which crush of the statistics, the tables, try to produce theorems or modèles.il is important to have a very diversified approach of the company and for the philosopher the theoretical requirement of the operational startup of new concepts trying is posed always more to give an account of the complexity of the real history
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
French writer with philosophical purpose
It is the interview by LONG-BEAKED Elodie of the Le Progrès daily newspaper Sunday in Lyon on January 5th of Pierre ROSANVALLON, historian, Professor with the college of France where it occupies the pulpit “Modern history and contemporary of the policy” which led me to supplement its matter by personal reflections in sociological and philosophical matter.
|January 18, 2014||
3 propos errone de Rael dans News387f
by Marielle Dufour
Global Community File
Mouvement d accueil des Elohim
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You can also access the pdf from the website http://www.ordredesapotresdesdernierstemps.org/
Connaissant votre interet pour les messages des Elohim, nous croyons important de vous informer du dernier texte de Lise concernant les erreurs du prophete contenues dans le News387f et News381f et aussi nos interrogations relatives a ses nombreuses erreurs.
1re Le prophete fait appel a une force dans l'univers infiniment petit qui exercerait un pouvoir conscient sur nos bonheurs comme sur nos malheurs.
2e Il affirme que l'harmonie est plus importante que d'avoir raison.
3e Quel est le reel probleme sous-jacent à toutes ces erreurs de Rael ?
Apres avoir lu le texte de Lise, nous vous conseillons de le faire circuler dans votre entourage, demandant a vos amies ce qu'ils en pensent. Nous aimerions egalement recevoir vos commentaires.
Si vous n'etes pas interesse par la reception de nos courriels, avisez-nous de vous rayer de nos listes d'envois.
Ci-joint le texte de Lise en format PDF représentant la vision du MADE. Vous pouvez toujours trouver ce nouveau texte intitule 3e propos errone de Rael dans News387f, ainsi que d'autres sur notre site Web, particulierement les textes faisant partie de la trilogie des erreurs de Rael : http://www.ordredesapotresdesdernierstemps.org
De cœur et d'esprit avec les Elohim,
Victor LeGendre, president du Mouvement d'accueil des Elohim (MADE).
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