Politics and Justice Without Borders
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Volume 13 Issue 5 January 2015

Global Community 30th Anniversary (1985-2015) and achievements

Global Community 30th Anniversary (1985-2015) and achievements

Global Community 30th Anniversary (1985-2015)
Artwork by Germain Dufour
December 10, 2014
( see enlargement 87 MB Global Community 30th Anniversary (1985-2015). )

Global Community 30th Anniversary (1985-2015) and achievements.

Global Community 30th Anniversary (1985-2015) and achievements

Artwork by Germain Dufour
December 10, 2014
( see enlargement 14 MB Global Community 30th Anniversary (1985-2015) and achievements. )

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

William Blum, Guy Crequie (2), Alex Ellefson, Environment News Service, Pepe Escobar (2), Andrea Germanos, Chris Hedges (2), Naomi Klein, Lauren McCauley, Robin McKie, Maureen Nandini Mitra, Guy Moreau, Fred Pearce, Dr Gideon Polya, Md. Hasibur Rahman, Chris Rhodes, Tristan A. Shaw, Isaiah Thompson, Gail Tverberg, Eric Zuesse (4),

William Blum, Russia Invades Ukraine. Again. And Again. And Yet Again … Using Saddam’s WMD Russia Invades Ukraine. Again. And Again. And Yet Again … Using Saddam’s WMD
Alex Ellefson, Why India Is Unlikely to Do Much About Cutting Its Emissions Why India Is Unlikely to Do Much About Cutting Its Emissions
Environment News Service, 2014 Will Likely Be The Hottest Year on Record, Ocean Temps Spike 2014 Will Likely Be The Hottest Year on Record, Ocean Temps Spike
Pepe Escobar, Russia and China Are Teaming Up as the World's New Power Elite Russia and China Are Teaming Up as the World's New Power Elite
Pepe Escobar, How China Is Transforming the World How China Is Transforming the World
Andrea Germanos, Global Warming To Worsen Global 'Dead Zones'  Global Warming To Worsen Global Dead Zones
Chris Hedges, The Myth of Human Progress The Myth of Human Progress
Chris Hedges, Saving The Planet, One Meal At A Time Saving The Planet, One Meal At A Time
Naomi Klein, The Ethics of Climate Hope: Naomi Klein's Response to Elizabeth Kolbert's Review of 'This Changes Everything'  The Ethics of Climate Hope: Naomi Klein's Response to Elizabeth Kolbert's Review of This Changes Everything
Lauren McCauley, 'A Roadmap To Global Burning': COP20 Closes With Even Weaker Climate Pact A Roadmap To Global Burning: COP20 Closes With Even Weaker Climate Pact
Robin McKie, Earth Faces Sixth ‘Great Extinction’ with 41% of Amphibians Set to Go the Way of the Dodo Earth Faces Sixth ‘Great Extinction’ with 41% of Amphibians Set to Go the Way of the Dodo
Maureen Nandini Mitra, Serious Question: Should Humans Extend Personhood to Animals? Serious Question: Should Humans Extend Personhood to Animals?
Guy Moreau, Le meilleur destin de l'Humanité ou le pire O melhor destino da humanidade, ou pior El mejor destino de la humanidad o algo peor: Le meilleur destin de l'Humanité ou le pire O melhor destino da humanidade, ou pior El mejor destino de la humanidad o algo peor:
Fred Pearce, What Is The Carbon Limit? That Depends Who You Ask What Is The Carbon Limit? That Depends Who You Ask
Dr Gideon Polya, This Changes Everything. Capitalism vs. the Climate” by Naomi Klein - Green Socialist Revolution ASAP This Changes Everything. Capitalism vs. the Climate” by Naomi Klein - Green Socialist Revolution ASAP
Md. Hasibur Rahman, Role of Management Information System (MIS) in Disaster Management  Role of Management Information System (MIS) in Disaster Management
Chris Rhodes, Regenerative Agriculture: The Transition Regenerative Agriculture: The Transition
Tristan A. Shaw, Embracing The Specter Of Systemic Collapse Embracing The Specter Of Systemic Collapse
Isaiah Thompson, Explosions, Evacuations and Death: The Incredible Risks of Transporting Crude Oil Via Train Explosions, Evacuations and Death: The Incredible Risks of Transporting Crude Oil Via Train
Gail Tverberg, Ten Reasons Why A Severe Drop In Oil Prices Is A Problem Ten Reasons Why A Severe Drop In Oil Prices Is A Problem
Eric Zuesse, E U DemandsRussia Bail Out EU & Ukraine EU Demands Russia Bail Out EU & Ukraine
Eric Zuesse, Ukrainian Soldier Confirms: Ukraine's Military Shot Down Malaysian MH17 Plane Ukrainian Soldier Confirms: Ukraine's Military Shot Down Malaysian MH17 Plane
Eric Zuesse, Obama's Secret Deals With Saudi Arabia & Qatar Obama's Secret Deals With Saudi Arabia & Qatar
Eric Zuesse, Media Blackout As U.S. Sponsors Genocide In Southeastern Ukraine  Media Blackout As U.S. Sponsors Genocide In Southeastern Ukraine


Articles and papers from authors


Day data received Theme or issue Read article or paper
 November 6, 2014
Obama's Secret Deals With Saudi Arabia & Qatar
by Eric Zuesse , Countercurrents

What's Behind Lower Gas-Prices and the Bombings of Syria and of Eastern Ukraine: Obama Represents U.S. & Arabic Aristocracies, Against Those of Russia & Iran

(The following report reconstructs U.S. President Barack Obama's foreign policy, on the basis of what I have deemed to be reliable news accounts of his Administration's actions, not of its mere words. This reconstruction is grounded in the linked-to news-sources, all of which I have investigated and verified -- and some of which I wrote. The ones that I wrote are themselves sourced to the links within those reports, all of which I have, likewise, personally checked and verified. Consequently, the chain of verifications back to this reconstruction's primary sources is available to any online reader, and every reader is encouraged to track back to its ultimate source any allegation that might appear to be at all questionable to him or her in the present article. Not only will this exercise be helpful to the reader concerning that given point at question, but it will open that person to an associated world of deeper discovery, which I hope that this news-report and analysis will do for many readers, and which is the reason I wrote it: so as to share with others what I and other careful and cautious researchers have discovered, though it might be, in some instances, starkly at variance with what our Government, and most of the press, have been more commonly presenting as ‘truth' about these matters. At least, this exercise will provide an alternative frame of reference regarding these issues, an alternative possibility to consider, and which I have verified, from every root to every branch, in this tree of historical reconstruction of the events.)


Why is the Ukrainian Government, which the U.S. supports, bombing the pro-Russian residents who live in Ukraine's own southeast?

Why is the American Government, which aims to oust Syria's leader Bashar al-Assad, bombing his main enemy, ISIS?

I find that both bombings are different parts of the same Obama-initiated business-operation, in which the American aristocracy, Saudi aristocracy, and Qatari aristocracy, work together, to grab dominance over supplying energy to the world's biggest energy-market, Europe, away from Russia, which currently is by far Europe's largest energy-supplier.

Here are the actual percentage-figures on that: Russia supplies 38%, #2 Norway (the only European nation among the top 15) supplies 18%, and all other countries collectively supply a grand total of 44%. That's it; that's all -- in the world's largest energy-market. Russia is the lone giant. But U.S. President Obama's team want to change that. (Unfortunately, the residents in southeastern Ukraine are being bombed and driven out to become refugees in Russia , as an essential part of this operation to choke off Russia's gas-supply to Europe.)

Obama has initiated, and is leading, this international aristocratic team, consisting of the U.S. aristocracy and Sunni Moslem aristocracies -- the Saudi and the Qatari royal families -- to choke off Russia's economic lifeblood from those European energy sales, and to transfer lots of this business, via new oil and gas pipeline contracts and new international trade-deals, over to the royal families of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Those royals, in turn, are assisting Obama in the overthrow of the key Russia-allied leader of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, who has performed an indispensable role in blocking any such massive expansion of Saudi and Qatari energy-traffic into Europe, and who has thus been a vital protector of Russia's dominance in the European energy-market.

America's aristocracy would be benefited in many ways from this changeover to Europe's increasing dependence upon those Sunni Moslem nations, which have long been allied with U.S. oil companies, and away from the Shiite Moslem nation of Iran, and from its key backer, Russia.

The most important way that America's aristocrats would benefit would be the continuance, for the indefinite future, of the U.S. dollar's role as the international reserve currency, in which energy and energy-futures are traded. The Sunni nations are committed to continued dominance of the dollar, and Wall Street depends on that continuance. It's also one of the reasons the U.S. Treasury's sales of U.S. Federal debt around the world have been as successful as they are. This also provides essential support to the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Furthermore, Obama's effort to force the European Union to weaken their anti-global-warming standards so as to allow European imports of oil from the exceptionally carbon-gas-generating Athabasca Canada tar sands -- which are approximately 40% owned by America's Koch brothers, the rest owned by other U.S. and allied oil companies -- would likewise reduce Europe's current dependency upon Russian energy sources, at the same time as it would directly benefit U.S. energy-producers. Obama has been working hard for those oil companies to become enabled to sell such oil into Europe .

And, finally, the extension of U.S. fracking technology into Ukraine, and perhaps ultimately even into some EU nations, where it has been strongly resisted, might likewise reduce the enormous flow of European cash into Russian Government coffers to pay for Russian gas (which doesn't even require fracking).

In other words, the wars in both Syria and Ukraine are being fought basically in order to grab the European energy market, away from Russia, somewhat in the same way (though far more violently) as Iran's share of that market was previously grabbed away by means of the U.S.-led sanctions against that country. The current bombing campaigns in both Syria and Ukraine are directed specifically against Iran's chief ally, Russia.

First, will be discussed here the bombing-campaign against Iran's and Russia's ally Assad in Syria; then against the residents of the ethnic-Russian areas of Ukraine.


As the articles that are headlined below document, there has been proposed, in order to promote   Russian gas flowing into Europe, an eastbound Iran-Iraq-Syria-Turkey-Europe gas pipeline (but sanctions stopped that); and there was also proposed, in order to undercut   Russian gas flowing into Europe, a northbound Qatar-Saudi-Jordan-Syria-Turkey-Europe gas pipeline -- those being two different and competing ways of supplying gas into Europe.

Russia's ally Syria is crucial to both   proposed pipelines, which means that Assad has needed to be overthrown in order for the northbound pipeline from Qatar to be constructed and so to compete against Russia's gas-supplies to Europe.

There have also been some differences between the Saudi and Qatari royal families as regards their motives for removing the Shiite Assad from leading Syria. Qatar's royals ( and also Turkey's aristocrats ) want him to be replaced by an anti-Iranian, Sunni Moslem Brotherhood leader (the type of person that Obama  euphemistically calls by such terms as ‘moderate Moslems' though they were hardly that in Egypt once they gained power there ). Qatar's royals have protected themselves from being overthrown by fundamentalist Moslems; they've done it especially by supporting the Moslem Brotherhood as a means of displaying their own loyalty to Moslem clerics. (The public trusts the clerics, but doesn't trust the aristocrats; and, like everywhere, aristocrats obtain their perceived ‘legitimacy' from the local clergy, whom aristocrats buy-off with special favors.) The Moslem Brotherhood want to control Syria, and would love to approve a gas pipeline from Qatar through Syria to Europe, to reward their chief benefactor, Qatar's royals. As for the Saudi royals, they want Assad to be replaced by an anti-Iranian, Sunni ISIS leader, who will represent the Sauds' Wahhabist sect in Islam, which provides Saudi royals their   ‘legitimacy.' (Saudi royals say they don't like Al Qaeda and ISIS, but that's said mainly for public consumption in the West.) Right now, Saudi Arabia supplies less than 5% of Europe's energy, which is a mere one-eighth of what Russia does. So: each of these two royal families relies primarily upon a different category of Islamists. Obama prefers the ‘moderate' Muslim Brotherhood to the extremist ISIS, but Saudi royals accept his having that preference, because any way to weaken Iran and its backer Russia is fine with them, especially since it would open wide the enormous European market for their oil.

Other internal conflicts also exist within Obama's team. For example, an expert on these matters, Felix Imonti, explained to me in a personal communication, that, “Qatar ... abandoned the [pipeline] plan in 2010 for a very simple reason. Saudi Arabia will not permit a pipeline to be constructed across its territory. Qatar is interested along with Turkey in installing a MB government in Syria. ... The Saudi objective is to drive out the Iranians from Syria.” The Saudis' “objective was to establish a Wahhabi based [fundamentalist Moslem] state that would include western Iraq with Syria,” which, of course, is what ISIS is all about. Imonti also says: “Egypt [except for the brief time when it was controlled by the MB] is a bought puppet of Saudi Arabia. The Egyptians are bombing Qatari groups in Libya.” That Egyptian action is indirectly a Saudi attack against the Qatari royals' own support-base. These issues between the two royal families are like squabbles within a family: more is shared in common than splits them apart. Obama's decisions are often determinative on such matters.

So, America's aristocracy supports both the Saudi and the Qatari aristocracies, despite their disagreements, in order to defeat the aristocracies in Russia, China, and the other “BRIC” countries.

Or, as President Obama's speech at West Point, on 28 May 2014 , propagandized for this view on the part of America's aristocracy: "Russia's aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China's economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us.” So, Obama made clear to the graduating cadets that the BRIC countries are the enemy, from the standpoint of America's aristocracy. Ours want to crush the aristocrats in Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Though it's alright for those other countries to produce more, that's true only if American aristocrats control the local ones, like in any other international empire -- not   if the local aristocrats there do. Similarly, for example, the British Empire didn't wish for local aristocrats in India to be in control, but only for those client aristocrats to be of use . Obama added, placing a nationalistic coloration on his promotion of America's empire: “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation.” He promised to keep it that way: “That has been true for the century passed [sp.: past [[somebody at the White House didn't know the difference between ‘past' and ‘passed']] and it will be true for the century to come.”

An important asset of the American aristocracy happens to be shale-gas-fracking technology, which is overwhelmingly owned by America's aristocrats . Though Qatar is a major gas-producer, it has no need for fracking, and so is merely a gas-competitor in that regard, but they do share America's pro-Sunni, anti-Assad goal, and also America's anti-Russian goal. Although Qatar ships most of its gas into Asia, they'd like to have some way to pipe it more nearby, into Europe, to undercut Russia's Gazprom. And that's why the U.S. is working with Qatar to bump Assad from Syria.

The Saudis are actually doing the most of all to defeat Russia, by driving oil prices down so low as to upset Russia's economic plans, which have been based upon minimum $100/barrel projections. We're already around 10% below that. As Imonti writes, “The Saudis can sustain these lower prices for seven or eight years while drawing on their foreign reserves to cover the deficits. They could very well be trying to break the fracking business in the U.S. that has high production costs. [Of course, America's gas aristocrats won't like that, but Obama has to balance multiple sub-constituencies, including Qatar's royals.] They might also be directing the target towards Russia that supports Assad and Iran. They could be doing all of the above with one action.” If the Sauds keep this up “for seven or eight years,” then Russia will be hit a lot harder than Russia is being hit, or is likely to be hit, by any economic sanctions.

Qatar has been the main funder of the overthrow-Assad movement, for the Moslem Brotherhood; and Saudi Arabia has been the main funder of the overthrow-Assad movement, for ISIS. Both are Sunni organizations. However, Qatar has also funded ISIS. Obama, when he decided to bomb ISIS, was acting on behalf of America's aristocrats, but Saudi and Qatari aristocrats might have felt differently about it. He possessed the freedom to do this, which those aristocrats don't have, because everyone in the Islamic world knows that Obama is no Moslem; everyone understands that America is in a permanent state of war against fundamentalist Islam of all sorts. Only Moslem aristocrats need the approval of Islamic fundamentalists. In America, aristocrats don't even need the approval of Christian fundamentalists, the type of fundamentalists that might be able to threaten their authority in the West (since the West is predominantly Christian, not Moslem). And the same is true regarding Jewish aristocrats in Israel: aristocrats fear only their local majority clergy. That's basic survival-knowledge for aristocrats, anywhere, in order to be able to get the public to accept the rightfulness of the aristocracy itself there.

So, ISIS gets money from  the aristocracies of Saud, and of Qatar (and also, more recently, of Kuwait)  -- whatever is needed, in order for those aristocrats to retain the loyalty of their local clerics, and thus their public. It's like aristocrats do in every country, getting “God's approval” of their wealth, by throwing a few coins to the preacher, the local mouthpiece for “God,” thus relying upon the public's trust in clergy. Even Mafia aristocrats do it. That has been the way of conservatism for millennia; it's the way conservatism works. In more-recent centuries, a modified version of that trick has grown up, as liberalism, in which the aristocrats' validation comes instead from scholars, and so aristocrats throw a few coins to them, instead of to clerics. But it's no different -- it's authoritarianism, equally in either case. It's purchased authority. Aristocrats don't really fear the clergy, nor the scholars: they actually fear the public, such as what happened during the French Revolution, and during the Russian Revolution. But that's another story altogether, going back millennia, actually.

The recent bombings in Syria, and in Ukraine, are a business-operation being carried out as a war (and also very profitable for U.S. armaments-makers, who likewise are controlled by America's aristocrats and so this is a double-whammy for America's aristocracy -- and U.S. arms-makers have consequently been soaring on the stock market). It's basically a grab by U.S. and Sunni aristocrats, from Russian and Shiite aristocrats, of the market to supply oil and gas into Europe. And it provides other advantages, too, for U.S. aristocrats. 

Natural gas, especially of the non-fracked variety, is generally regarded as the bridge-fuel to get our planet to being able to survive long-term while fusion and renewable forms of energy come online as cost-competitive. Fracking is, as has been mentioned, an American technology, but it's widely resisted even within American-allied nations. The U.S. Government can impose it upon the American people, because they are trusting in ‘free enterprise,' but other governments are having a hard time trying to impose it on theirs. That public resistance in Europe is giving protection to the gas-import markets there; and this has benefited Russia, their major existing gas-supplier. 

Russia has  the world's largest proven reserves of natural gas , and that's without their even needing to use fracking-techniques in order to get at it. #2 Iran has 69% as much gas, and is allied with Russia, and it also doesn't frack. But sanctions close them out of Europe. Then #3 Qatar, at 47%, is allied with U.S. oil companies, but has no need to frack. Then #4 Turkmenistan, 37%, is allied with Russia, and also doesn't frack. Then #5 U.S., 20%, is allied with U.S. oil companies, and only fracks. Then #6 Saudi Arabia, 17%, is also allied with U.S. oil companies, and doesn't need to frack.

The European Union bans fracking, because they have environmentally-concerned publics. But U.S. and other Western corporate-owned oil companies want to frack gas in Europe, just as they do in America; and the new Ukrainian Government is desperate enough to want their land to be fracked.


The main shale-gas (fracking) field in Ukraine is Yuzivska, right in the middle of the Donbass region, where the residents don't want fracking and don't want U.S. rule (which includes fracking). Furthermore, the people there reject the legitimacy of the  Obama coup in Ukraine this year in February , and of its subsequent  rulers of Ukraine , who have been  bombing them , because  90% of the voters in that region had voted for the pro-Russian President whom Obama had overthrown , and because the new, anti-Russian, regime doesn't want those people to stay (or at least  to stay alive ) in Ukraine, because otherwise that post-coup regime would become ousted if any nationwide election would ever again be held throughout Ukraine. This tactic of killing unwanted voters is a variant of what the Republican Party does in the U.S., simply trimming the voter-rolls in order to create a more-favorable “voting public.” Except that it's being done in Ukraine by bombs and bullets , rather than by limiting or restricting ballots.

“The West,” or the allies of Sunni aristocrats, are now bombing intensively, both in Ukraine and in Syria; and, in both instances, the argument for the bombings is to spread “democracy” there. It's giving a bad name to ‘democracy,' to anyone who misbelieves that this is it.


Below are the main sources that describe the Middle Eastern part of this Obama-Putin power-struggle, that is the part in Syria instead of in Ukraine. This is how international business is actually carried out – it's a perfect libertarian world, since there is no international government; this market is unregulated to so extreme an extent that even ethnic cleansings and mass-murders go unpunished -- it's a pure free market, which operates on an international scale (the only scale where libertarianism exists in even nearly this pure a form); this libertarianism is an exemplar of the conservative ideal: pure liberty for aristocrats, total lack of accountability . If anything, Barack Obama might be even more of a conservative than was George W. Bush: under Obama, the IRS specifically allows blatantly illegal tax-evasion by the mega-rich to go uninvestigated and unpunished, and concentrates virtually all its resources on pursuing two-bit tax-cheats. That's what ‘democracy' has come to in America. In America's client-states, such as in the Middle East and (since February) in Ukraine, it's even worse.

The first of these articles explains why the price of oil has been plunging, and who has been behind that:



"The Secret Stupid Saudi-US Deal on Syria"


The Kerry-Abdullah Secret Deal & An Oil-Gas Pipeline War



"Why Oil Is Plunging: The Other Part Of The "Secret Deal" Between The US And Saudi Arabia"

Tyler Durden on 10/11/2014 18:19 -0400

… [Excerpt:] Today's Brent closing price: $90. Russia's oil price budget for the period 2015-2017? $100. Which means much more "forced Brent liquidation" is in the cards in the coming weeks as America's suddenly once again very strategic ally, Saudi Arabia, does everything in its power to break Putin. [Note: The Russian Government's fiscal projections were based on $100/barrel, but the Saudi-forced-down price was now $89/barrel. How long would Saudis and Qataris keep this up? And how long would Assad hold off ISIS? Big bets are being made on both.]



"A Look Inside The Secret Deal With Saudi Arabia That Unleashed The Syrian Bombing"

Tyler Durden on 09/25/2014 10:17 -0400

… [Excerpt:] Said otherwise, the pound of flesh demanded by Saudi Arabia to "bless" US airstrikes and make them appear as an act of some coalition, is the removal of the Assad regime. Why? So that, as we also explained last year, the holdings of the great Qatar natural gas fields can finally make their way onward to Europe, which incidentally is also America's desire -- what better way to punish Putin for his recent actions than by crushing the main leverage the Kremlin has over Europe?



" Meet Saudi Arabia's Bandar bin Sultan: The Puppetmaster Behind The Syrian War"

Tyler Durden on 08/27/2013 15:21 -0400

… [Excerpt:] Of course, there is Syria:

Regarding the Syrian issue, the Russian president responded to Bandar, saying, “Our stance on Assad will never change. We believe that the Syrian regime is the best speaker on behalf of the Syrian people, and not those liver eaters. During the Geneva I Conference, we agreed with the Americans on a package of understandings, and they agreed that the Syrian regime will be part of any settlement. Later on, they decided to renege on Geneva I. In all meetings of Russian and American experts, we reiterated our position. In his upcoming meeting with his American counterpart John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will stress the importance of making every possible effort to rapidly reach a political settlement to the Syrian crisis so as to prevent further bloodshed.”

Alas, that has failed.

So what are some of the stunning disclosures by the Saudis?

Bandar told Putin, “There are many common values and goals that bring us together, most notably the fight against terrorism and extremism all over the world. Russia, the US, the EU and the Saudis agree on promoting and consolidating international peace and security. The terrorist threat is growing in light of the phenomena spawned by the Arab Spring. We have lost some regimes. And what we got in return were terrorist experiences, as evidenced by the experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the extremist groups in Libya. ... As an example, I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory's direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria's political future.”



"Putin Laughs At Saudi Offer To Betray Syria In Exchange For ‘Huge' Arms Deal"

Tyler Durden on 08/08/2013 11:20 -0400



"Mystery Sponsor Of Weapons And Money To Syrian Mercenary ‘Rebels' Revealed"

Tyler Durden on 05/16/2013 19:12 -0400

... [Excerpt:] So there you have it: Qatar doing everything it can to promote bloodshed, death and destruction by using not Syrian rebels, but mercenaries: professional citizens who are paid handsomely to fight and kill members of the elected regime (unpopular as it may be), for what? So that the unimaginably rich emirs of Qatar can get even richer. Although it is not as if Russia is blameless: all it wants is to preserve its own strategic leverage over Europe by being the biggest external provider of natgas to the continent through its own pipelines. Should Nabucco come into existence, Gazpromia would be very, very angry and make far less money!


The final source will be posted here in full, because it goes closest to the reason for our bombing Syria:


"Qatar: Rich and Dangerous"

17 September 2012, by Felix Imonti

The first concern of the Emir of Qatar is the prosperity and security of the tiny kingdom. To achieve that, he knows no limits.

Stuck between Iran and Saudi Arabia is Qatar with the third largest natural gas deposit in the world. The gas gives the nearly quarter of a million Qatari citizens the highest per capita income on the planet and provides 70 percent of government revenue. 

How does an extremely wealthy midget with two potentially dangerous neighbors keep them from making an unwelcomed visit? Naturally, you have someone bigger and tougher to protect you. 

Of course, nothing is free. The price has been to allow the United States to have two military bases in a strategic location.  According to Wikileaks diplomatic cables, the Qataris are even paying sixty percent of the costs.

Having tanks and bunker busting bombs nearby will discourage military aggression, but it does nothing to curb the social tumult that has been bubbling for decades in the Middle Eastern societies. Eighty-four years ago, the Moslem Brotherhood arose in Egypt because of the presence of foreign domination by Great Britain and the discontent of millions of the teaming masses yearning to be free. Eighty-four years later, the teaming masses are still yearning. 

Sixty-five percent of the people in the Middle East are under twenty-nine years of age. It is this desperate angry group that presents a danger that armies cannot stop. The cry for their dignity, “I am a man,” is the sound that sends terror through governments. It is this overwhelming force that the Emir of Qatar has been able to deflect.

A year after he deposed his father in 1995, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani established the Al-Jazeera television satellite news network. He invited some of the radical Salafi preachers that had been given sanctuary in Qatar to address the one and a half billion Moslems around the world. They had their electronic soapbox and the card to an ATM, but there was a price.

The price was silence. They could speak to the world and arouse the fury in Egypt or Libya, but they would have to leave their revolution outside of Qatar or the microphone would be switched off and the ATM would stop dispensing the good life.

The Moslem Brotherhood, that is a major force across the region, dissolved itself in Qatar in 1999. Jasim Sultan, a member of the former organization, explained that the kingdom was in compliance with Islamic law. He heads the state funded Awaken Project that publishes moderate political and philosophical literature.

How Qatar has benefited from networking with the Salafis is illustrated by the connections with Tunisia where Qatar is making a large investment in telecommunications. Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafiq Abdulsalaam was head of the Research and Studies Division in the Al Jazeera Centre in Doha. His father-in-law Al Ghanouchi is the head of the Tunisian Moslem Brotherhood party.

Over much of the time since he seized power, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani has followed the policy of personal networking, being proactive in business and neutral on the international stage. The Emir is generous with the grateful, the Qatar Sovereign Wealth Fund bargains hard in the board room and the kingdom makes available Qatar's Good Offices to resolve disputes. 

Qatar's foreign policy made an abrupt shift when the kingdom entered the war against Qaddafi. The kingdom sent aircraft to join NATO forces. On the ground, Qatari special forces armed, trained, and led Libyans against Qaddafi's troops. 

The head of the National Transition Council Mustafa Abdul Jalil attributed much of the success of the revolution to the efforts of Qatar that he said had spent two billion dollars. He commented, “Nobody traveled to Qatar without being given a sum of money by the government.”

Qatar had ten billion dollars in investments in Libya to protect. The Barwa Real Estate Company alone had two billion committed to the construction of a beach resort near Tripoli. 

While the bullets were still flying, Qatar signed eight billion dollars in agreements with the NTC. Just in case things with the NTC didn't work out, they financed rivals Abdel Hakim Belhaj, leader of the February 17 Martyr's Brigade, and Sheik Ali Salabi, a radical cleric who had been exiled in Doha. 

If Qatar's investments of ten billion dollars seem substantial, the future has far more to offer. Reconstruction costs are estimated at seven hundred billion dollars. The Chinese and Russians had left behind between them thirty billion in incomplete contracts and investments and all of it is there for the taking for those who aided the revolution.

No sooner had Qaddafi been caught and shot, Qatar approached Bashar Al-Assad to establish a transitional government with the Moslem Brotherhood. As you would expect, relinquishing power to the Brotherhood was an offer that he could refuse. It didn't take long before he heard his sentence pronounced in January 2012 on the CBS television program, 60 Minutes by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

The Emir declared that foreign troops should be sent into Syria.  At the Friends of Syria conference in February, Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said, "We should do whatever necessary to help [the Syrian opposition], including giving them weapons to defend themselves." 

Why would Qatar want to become involved in Syria where they have little invested? A map reveals that the kingdom is a geographic prisoner in a small enclave on the Persian Gulf coast.

It relies upon the export of LNG, because it is restricted by Saudi Arabia from building pipelines to distant markets.  In 2009, the proposal of a pipeline to Europe through Saudi Arabia and Turkey to the Nabucco pipeline was considered, but Saudi Arabia that is angered by its smaller and much louder brother has blocked any overland expansion.

Already the largest LNG producer, Qatar will not increase the production of LNG. The market is becoming glutted with eight new facilities in Australia coming online between 2014 and 2020.

A saturated North American gas market and a far more competitive Asian market leaves only Europe. The discovery in 2009 of a new gas field near Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Syria opened new possibilities to bypass the Saudi Barrier and to secure a new source of income. Pipelines are in place already in Turkey to receive the gas. Only Al-Assad is in the way.

Qatar along with the Turks would like to remove Al-Assad and install the Syrian chapter of the Moslem Brotherhood. It is the best organized political movement in the chaotic society and can block Saudi Arabia's efforts to install a more fanatical Wahhabi based regime. Once the Brotherhood is in power, the Emir's broad connections with Brotherhood groups throughout the region should make it easy for him to find a friendly ear and an open hand in Damascus.

A control centre has been established in the Turkish city of Adana near the Syrian border to direct the rebels against Al-Assad. Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Saud asked to have the Turks establish a joint Turkish, Saudi, Qatari operations center. “The Turks liked the idea of having the base in Adana so that they could supervise its operations” a source in the Gulf told Reuters.

The fighting is likely to continue for many more months, but Qatar is in for the long term. At the end, there will be contracts for the massive reconstruction and there will be the development of the gas fields. In any case, Al-Assad must go. There is nothing personal; it is strictly business to preserve the future tranquility and well-being of Qatar.


I wish to express my appreciation to Mr. Imonti for his allowing me to publish here the entirety of that article.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 ,   and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .

  Read Obama's Secret Deals With Saudi Arabia & Qatar
 November 10, 2014
Regenerative Agriculture: The Transition
by Chris Rhodes, Countercurrents

Energy Balance

In the face of peak oil and in order to curb carbon emissions, methods of farming that depend less on oil and natural gas, respectively to run machinery and to make synthetic fertilizers, must be sought. Such options are to be found within the framework of regenerative agriculture, but the transition from current industrialised agriculture to these alternative strategies will prove testing.

It is an illusion to think we can continue to use as much energy as we do now. No one can entirely rule-out that some extravagant technology will be forthcoming, e.g. solar power or nuclear fusion on the full-scale of more than 500 EJ/year as we get through now, but the particular issue of matching liquid fuels derived currently almost entirely from petroleum appears insurmountable. The "solution" is probably the collective of individual solutions, and this means adopting a completely different paradigm of human philosophy and intention. The most pressing demand is how to feed the population of the world, and how to adapt industrialised conurbations, with cities provided for entirely from external regions for their food and electricity. If oil is the most vulnerable element in the energy-mix as the life-blood of transportation, then we must aim to live with less transportation, and this includes the means and distribution implicit to modern food production.

In methods of regenerative agriculture and permaculture, much of the energy involved is provided quite naturally by native soil flora and fauna fed ultimately by photosynthesis, since the fuel for good soil derives from plants as the factories that supply carbon-rich nutrients, and in a wonderful symbiosis, the living soil microbes, especially fungi can draw other nutrients and water from the soil to nourish the plants. The individual elements of life feed one another in a mutually dependent and beneficial manner.

While the two approaches can be defined and envisaged rather clearly, the intermediate means for transition from industrial agriculture, with its acknowledged unsustainable impact on the soil, to regenerative agriculture (permaculture, agro-ecology) is rather more nebulous, since it has not been done before, or at least not in the degree that necessity now demands. So how might we perform this revolution in the least painful way?

For a start, a decolonising and restructuring of present industrialised agriculture is necessary along with an appreciation and magnification of native and traditional food systems. Overall, a change in thinking and concept is required from conflict and limit to cooperation and abundance.

The scale of the transition may be compared with other milestone transitions throughout human history, such as the hunter-gatherers becoming farmers, and then modern industrial societies. It is the latter that are under threat and unsustainable, and a compromise devolution to a more localised collective of small communities (pods) is required, supplied by local farms and infrastructure with (probably) rail links between them for essential movement of goods and people. The maintenance of the Internet and electronic communications would seem desirable since ideas and knowledge can be transmitted from pod to pod and between countries and continents.

In the 1970s, there were studies done that evaluated the massive inefficiency in energy requirements for food production. It was concluded that 10 Calories of energy are expended to bring 1 calorie of food onto the dinner plate. It has been stressed that essential agricultural production is to yield food and fibre - i.e. the essential elements of biomass. One might also add-in fuel as a product, if the consideration also includes fermentation of sugars form starch into ethanol, or hydrothermal production of liquid and gaseous fuels from biomass by heating it under pressure in the presence of water.

The impending stress of "climate change" is well acknowledged, e.g. sea-level rise and the spreading desertification of formerly green lands, but its impact on agriculture is rarely mentioned by climate-modellers. However, as a for-instance, it is speculated that the Colorado River basin could dry up. It's mighty dams would then look something like the pyramids of Egypt, maybe leaving future generations to speculate as to what their purpose was, and upon the nature of the civilization that created them. As climate zones shift, it is the variability of the weather that will have greater impact than ramping "mean temperatures" on the enormous investment made by humans in agriculture. The capital outlays required for new dams, irrigation supplies and the retraining of farmers will need to be contrasted with that for flood-defences in vulnerable locations (e.g. New Orleans and the east coast of England). Most likely both cannot be supported and it may prove expedient to simply let some regions "go to the sea".

Biodiversity is a natural means for evening-out the losses and gains of living systems. It is cooperative in the sense that pests are not encouraged as they are by growing single strains of crop, and that suitably matched plants help each other to grow - the holistic whole being more robust than the simple measure of its components. The term "global village" tends to signify an interconnected unity of trade or electronic communication, while aspects of cultural diversity and biodiversity seldom enter the line of thinking. However, it is a necessity to preserve and expand the traditional food and fibre production systems that are tried and tested and whose regenerative capabilities have been demonstrated over millennia. We may adapt to or readopt cultures that have been lost, as industrial civilization has supplanted them, and it is the latter that we must seek to break away from in order to arrive at a sustainable future, that is if we are to survive as a human species.

If "global village" means "global supermarket", the term lends acceptance to the concomitant rule of multinational corporations. If we restructure societies to become self-sustaining, rather than dependent on inputs and indeed outputs, as they are now, we also must abandon "limited liability" and the legal designation of "corporations" as "persons" with the same rights as individual citizens. Traditional food systems are storehouses both of biodiversity and cultural diversity. It is a pity that the seedbanks around the world contain no information about the culture, economy, details of cultivation methods, flavour or other human aspects of the crops and the food they produce. Including my own musings on the topic, most commentators on the post peak oil world refer to the need to localise food systems, such that small populations are provided for locally by means of community farms. However, establishing regenerative systems to grow food and fibre must include cities too, the design of which must be analysed in terms of the natural mechanisms that interweave them.

It is mostly not realised that the rural development or redevelopment urged by the industrialised nations for the developing world are precisely those they need to adopt themselves. E.F.Schumacher's "Buddhist Economics" which he describes in the bestselling "Small is Beautiful - A Study of Economics as if People mattered", applies equally to the industrialised world as it must of needs de-industrialise, and take lessons from simpler societies which consume far less per head of population. The example of Cuba may be taken as a benchmark for progress, as it has survived and indeed thrived through implementing a system of community gardens, in the abrupt absence of cheap and plentiful oil and fertilizers gifted from the Soviet Union when that regime collapsed in 1989. "Small is Beautiful" has been updated for the 21st Century context by Fritz Schumacher's daughter-in-law, Diana.

James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis has acted as an iconic beacon to the environmental movement, drawing-in a range of people who are dissatisfied with the industrial and materialistic way of life, and seek alternative, more natural and or spiritually rewarding lifestyles, and with less detriment to the planet and life upon it. "Gaia" is holistic in nature and is based on ecology. Rather than an indstrialised "global village" it implies a "globe of villages". Food and fibre production is one of the most important features of the transition to a post-fossil fuel era, to which the establishment of regenerative food systems is essential. Underpinning all of this is the need to grow and protect perhaps the most fundamental element of the life-nexus, the soil itself, which is truly "our children's earth".

Chris Rhodes graduated from Sussex University obtaining both his B.Sc and D.Phil there and then worked for 2 years at Leicester University as a post-doctoral fellow with Professor M.C.R.Symons FRS. He was appointed to a "new-blood" lectureship in Chemistry at Queen Mary and Westfield College, London University and then moved to LJMU as Research Professor in Chemistry in 1994. In 2003 Chris was awarded a Higher Doctorate (D.Sc) by the University of Sussex. In August 2003 he established the consultancy firm, Fresh-lands Environmental Actions, which deals with various energy and environment issues, of which he is Director. Some of its current projects concern land remediation; heavy metal and radioactive waste management; alternative fuels and energy sources based on biomass and algae; and hydrothermal conversion of biomass and algae to biochar, fuels and feedstocks. Chris' publications run to over 200 articles and 5 books. He writes a monthly column for Scitizen.com on "Future Energies". He has given invited lectures at many international conferences and university departments around the world, radio and televised interviews and more recently at popular science venues e.g. Cafe Scientifique. His first novel “University Shambles” http://universityshambles.com, a black comedy based on the disintegration of the U.K. university system, was nominated for a Brit Writers Award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London. He was recently elected Chair of Transition Town Reading (U.K.).

  Read Regenerative Agriculture: The Transition
 November 10, 2014
What Is The Carbon Limit? That Depends Who You Ask
by Fred Pearce, Countercurrents

10 November, 2014
Yale Environment 360

Scientists are offering widely varying estimates of how much carbon we can emit into the atmosphere without causing dangerous climate change. But establishing a so-called carbon budget is critical if we are to keep the planet a safe place to live in the coming century

How much carbon can we safely emit into the atmosphere without the planet suffering dangerous climate change? It would be good to know. The world’s governments have agreed that “dangerous” should mean any warming above two degrees Celsius. And in recent reports, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has tried to translate that into a future carbon budget.

But too many different numbers are still floating around. We could have more than 500 billion tons of carbon that we could safely emit, or the real figure might be close to 100 billion tons — it depends on whose estimates you decide to accept.

The carbon budget looks to be one of the most critical single metrics for keeping planet Earth a safe place to live through the coming century. So it would be a good idea to get to the bottom of the discrepancies, especially since the countdown to dangerous climate change may be shorter than the lifetime of a new coal-fired power plant.

Here is an attempt to cut through the statistical fog.

Some of the uncertainty is inevitable. We still don’t know the true sensitivity of global temperatures to the greenhouse gases that cause warming. Embarrassingly for climate researchers, there is a three-fold uncertainty range that, according to Susan Solomon, the former co-chair of an IPCC science-assessment working group who is now at MIT, “has not narrowed appreciably in 30 years of research.”


Estimates of how much carbon can still be emitted into the atmosphere vary widely.

As fast as one uncertainty is resolved, another shows up. Just last month, for example, it emerged that global climate models have probably underestimated the amount of carbon dioxide that plants absorb by about a sixth. This, said Ying Sun of the University of Texas at Austin and colleagues, explained why CO2 wasn’t accumulating in the atmosphere quite as fast as climate models predicted it should be.

But if the science is still work in progress, we do know enough to make some judgments about what it will take to be on the safe side — to reduce the risk of exceeding two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) to an acceptable level.

The bottom line is that, despite short-term natural climatic variability, there is a fairly straightforward relationship between average global temperatures and the concentration in the atmosphere of the critical greenhouse gases — primarily carbon dioxide. Moreover, we know that about half of the CO2 we put into the atmosphere when we burn fossil fuels and trash natural ecosystems stays there. It has an atmospheric lifetime measured in centuries. So we can calculate a carbon budget for what it takes to keep warming below two degrees.

And we should. Solomon argued a couple of years ago that cumulative carbon emissions are the best way of assessing climate risk, since they avoid problems such as time lags that mess with other measures, such as atmospheric concentrations. That view was reflected when in its most recent assessment of the science of climate change, completed last September, the IPCC for the first time tried to calculate that carbon budget.

Ever since, climate scientists, think tanks and pundits have been interpreting those numbers. But the process has gotten confusing. Everybody seems to have a different budget.

The IPCC’s first analysis was included in its fifth scientific assessment of climate change, published in September 2013 and reiterated in the synthesis report released last Sunday. It suggested that a two-thirds chance of keeping warming below two degrees required the world to limit its total carbon emissions since 1860 to no more than a trillion tons of carbon. Of this grand all-time total, 515 billion tons had already been emitted by 2011. So, according to the IPCC, we have just under 500 billion tons of our budget left. Then we have to stop. Totally.

The synthesis report said that fossil-fuel power generation would have to be “phased out almost entirely by 2100" — unless the largely untried technology of capturing CO2 emissions and burying them out of harm’s way could be deployed on a massive scale. Without a drastic slowdown in emissions within the next decade, the phase-out date could happen much earlier, probably before 2050.

The arithmetic seemed straightforward enough. But carbon budget numbers since quoted by other sources do not all follow this IPCC bottom-line figure. They reveal a bewildering array of different estimates for our remaining budget. Among environmental groups, the World Resources Institute (WRI) sticks with the IPCC estimate that we have 485 billion tons left. But other environment groups quote other numbers. For instance, Greenpeace and WWF say 350 billion tons.

Scientists are even less coordinated. A big study in Nature Climate Change in September by Michael Raupach of the Australian National University in Canberra and others, quotes 381 billion tons. The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, a think tank based in Laxenberg, Austria, and the Global Carbon Project says we have 327 billion tons to go. While the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, an international research consortium based in Sweden, say 250 billion tons.

To confuse things further, another blue-chip study, published last December by Jim Hansen of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and others, argued that we could emit a further 350 billion tons and still keep below 1.5 degrees of warming.

So what is going on? The good news is that most of the discrepancies arise from different assumptions and policy scenarios, rather than outright disagreements about the science. The bad news is that means there is no single right answer.

For instance, some estimates of our future carbon budget have been based on the concept that we might be safe with a 50 percent chance of keeping below two degrees, rather than 66 percent. Some assume we must stop all emissions from deforestation immediately, so that all our remaining carbon budget can be used for industrial emissions, while others reckon we should keep part of the budget available for continued deforestation.

The most complex to disentangle is the dissenting claim of Hansen that we can emit 350 billion tons and still limit warming to 1.5 degrees. According to Hansen’s modeler and co-author, Pushker Kharecha of Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, this is based, among other things, on the assumption that we can both halt deforestation and plant sufficient new trees to soak up the 100 billion tons of carbon already emitted from past deforestation.

Some of the budget estimates also make an allowance for the effects of anthropogenic emissions of warming gases other than CO2, such as methane. They assume we will carry on making such emissions and that the carbon budget has to be adjusted downward to allow for that. The IPCC itself reckoned that allowing for these non-CO2 gases would cut the total budget from a trillion tons to 790 billion tons. That would leave just 275 billion tons of the budget remaining at the end of 2011.

This approach is controversial. On the face of it, if non-CO2 gases warm the atmosphere, they have to be included. But the difference is that most of them don’t hang around in the air for anything like as long as CO2. Methane’s half-life is around 10 years, for instance. And warming aerosols last for only a few days. So they don’t accumulate in the way that CO2 does, and can be cleaned up much more quickly with emissions reductions.

Solomon argues that “long-term temperature change remains primarily associated with total cumulative carbon emissions, owing to [their] much longer atmospheric residence time.” So it is a moot point whether these non-CO2 gases should be factored into a carbon budget devoted to emissions that will last for many centuries. Some argue that we should have separate targets for them.

The choice of two degrees as the threshold for “dangerous” climate change is subjective and ultimately a political choice. As Solomon puts it: “There is little by way of quantitative evidence that this represents a ‘safe’ policy target.” It is also recent. While the global commitment to prevent “dangerous” climate change was included in the UN climate change convention in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the decision to interpret that as a two-degree warming was only adopted at the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009.

It remains a subject of debate. David Victor of the University of California at San Diego — a long-standing critic of international approaches to tackling climate change — says we should ditch it because it is scientifically “wrong-headed” and politically unachievable.

Others say it would lead to unacceptably severe impacts, especially in the longer term, and we should aim for something tougher. They worry in particular that two degrees warming would be enough to set off natural positive feedbacks that would be difficult to halt. Hansen’s 2013 paper argued that “cumulative emissions of 1000 billion tons, sometimes associated with 2C global warming, would spur ‘slow’ feedbacks and eventual warming of 3-4C with disastrous consequences.” These “slow feedbacks,” he says, include greenhouse-gas releases from ecosystems as forests die and permafrost melts.

For that reason, Hansen thinks we should try and avoid a temperature rise of more than one degree. That would keep the world within the temperature boundaries we have experience in the past 10,000 years, he says. (It would also be broadly consistent with returning CO2 levels in the atmosphere to around 350 parts per million, as proposed by groups such as activist Bill McKibben’s 350.org.

Hansen calculates that keeping below one degree of warming will mean we only have 130 billion tons of carbon from fossil-fuel emissions to go. That is not much more than a decade’s worth at current emissions rates.

Such carbon budgets sound stringent. But they have the advantage of being measurable and predictable, and we can plan for how to achieve them. However, while the latest IPCC assessment raises the idea of a fixed carbon budget as a desirable and scientifically valid objective, climate negotiators so far have not picked up the gauntlet. Long-term global carbon budgets have barely been mentioned in proposals for the next major climate conference planned for Paris next year.

But the rest of us can at least think about what a fair and scientific approach to meeting a carbon budget might look like. The longest-standing — and most elegantly simple — proposal is the “contraction and convergence” formula from the UK-based Global Commons Institute. It envisions contracting global emissions to meet an agreed global carbon budget, while at the same time having national emissions converge toward strict per-capita entitlements, in which each nation’s annual emissions allowance would be dictated by its population. Those who have trouble meeting those targets would have the option of trading in the entitlements.

More recently, the WRI has given researchers and the public the chance to create their own formula for fair national limits. WRI's CAIT Equity Explorer incorporates criteria such as historical emissions, levels of economic development, capacity to adapt to climate change, and potential to reduce emissions.

A fair-share formula that included historical emissions has been suggested in the past by the Brazilian government. It would create drastically fewer future emissions entitlements for countries that industrialized early, notably in Europe and North America. Some could end up with no rights to emit at all, having already exhausted their budget, and would be dependent on buying other countries’ quotas.

However it is done, says Raupach, such a formula would for the first time allow the global community to develop “a transparent methodology for translating global to national carbon quotas under a wide range of possible sharing principles.”

In other words, the horse trading that has characterized the negotiations over carbon emissions targets during the past two decades could be put to one side. Once an overall carbon budget and the basic rules for what is fair have been agreed, national targets would automatically flow. Any takers?

Fred Pearce, a Yale Environment 360 contributing writer. A journalist based in the UK, he serves as environmental consultant for New Scientist magazine and is the author of numerous books

© 2008-2014 Yale University

  Read What Is The Carbon Limit? That Depends Who You Ask
 November 10, 2014
Saving The Planet, One Meal At A Time
by Chris Hedges , Countercurrents

10 November, 2014

A person who is vegan will save 1,100 gallons of water, 20 pounds CO2 equivalent, 30 square feet of forested land, 45 pounds of grain and one sentient animal’s life every day. (Photo: Farm Sanctuary/flickr/cc)

My attitude toward becoming a vegan was similar to Augustine’s attitude toward becoming celibate—“God grant me abstinence, but not yet.” But with animal agriculture as the leading cause of species extinction, water pollution, ocean dead zones and habitat destruction2, and with the death spiral of the ecosystem ever more pronounced, becoming vegan is the most important and direct change we can immediately make to save the planet and its species. It is one that my wife—who was the engine behind our family’s shift—and I have made.

Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all worldwide transportation combined—cars, trucks, trains, ships and planes.3 Livestock and their waste and flatulence account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51 percent of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.4 Livestock causes 65 percent of all emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 296 times more destructive than carbon dioxide.5 Crops grown for livestock feed consume 56 percent of the water used in the United States.6 Eighty percent of the world’s soy crop is fed to animals, and most of this soy is grown on cleared lands that were once rain forests. All this is taking place as an estimated 6 million children across the planet die each year from starvation and as hunger and malnutrition affect an additional 1 billion people.7 In the United States 70 percent of the grain we grow goes to feed livestock raised for consumption.8

The natural resources used to produce even minimal amounts of animal products are staggering—1,000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk.9 Add to this the massive clear cutting and other destruction of forests, especially in the Amazon—where forest destruction has risen to 91 percent10—and we find ourselves lethally despoiling the lungs of the earth largely for the benefit of the animal agriculture industry. Our forests, especially our rain forests, absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and exchange it for oxygen: Killing the forests is a death sentence for the planet. Land devoted exclusively to raising livestock now represents 45 percent of the earth’s land mass.11

And this does not include the assault on the oceans, where three-quarters of the world’s primary fisheries have been overexploited and vast parts of the seas are in danger of becoming dead zones.

We can, by becoming vegan, refuse to be complicit in the torture of billions of animals for corporate profit and can have the well-documented health benefits associated with a plant-based diet, especially in the areas of heart disease and cancer.

Richard A. Oppenlander in his book, “Comfortably Unaware: What We Choose to Eat Is Killing Us and Our Planet,” draws the terrifying scenarios that lie ahead unless we change what we eat. He notes that we can save more water by refusing to eat a pound of beef—which takes more than 5,000 gallons of water to produce12—than by not showering for a year and that half the water in the United States is used to sustain livestock. He writes:

Your contribution to pollution begins with what you decide to purchase to consume. It’s not just with the occasional purchase; it’s with every food item you eat, every day. With meat and animal products, the pollution associated with your choice is massive. In order to raise that animal for you to eat, there is baggage that silently comes along with it—silent to you, that is, although it speaks loudly elsewhere. In the United States alone, chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows in factory farms produce over five million pounds of excrement per minute. These are the animals raised each year so that people can continue eating meat, and they produce 130 times more excrement than the entire human population in our country. This manure sewage is responsible for global warming, water and soil pollution, air pollution, and use of our resources. The waste produced by the animals raised for food includes with it all the antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, hormones, and other chemicals used during the raising and growing process. Accompanying this is methane released by the animals themselves, as well as the carbon, nitrous oxide, and additional methane emissions produced during the whole raising, feeding, and killing process.

On any given acre of land we can grow twelve to twenty times the amount in pounds of edible vegetables, fruit, and grain as in pounds of edible animal products. We are essentially using twenty times the amount of land and crops and hundreds of times the water, as well as polluting our waterways and air and destroying rainforests, to produce animals to kill and eat … which is unhealthier than eating the plant products we could have produced.

The animal agriculture industry has used the excuse of national security, public safety, trade agreements and the need for business secrets to pass what are known as ag-gag laws in about a dozen states and, on the federal level, the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, all enhanced with anti-terrorism laws to criminalize anyone who investigates or challenges the industry. It is illegal under the Patriot Act to issue statements or carry out actions that harm the profits of the animal agriculture industry. Radical change, as with every challenge to the power of our corporate state, will have to be built outside the structures of power, including the leading environmental groups, which have refused to confront the livestock industry.

Six members of the group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) were found guilty in federal court in Trenton, N.J., in 2006 for using their website to incite attacks on Huntingdon Life Sciences, an animal-testing laboratory. They were charged with conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. One of those charged, Andrew Stepanian, who has since been released, was held in isolation in a federal “communication management unit.”

Given the slew of recent laws that prohibit the photographing or filming of how we handle our livestock, don’t expect to see very many pictures from within the vast warehouses where animals are kept in atrocious conditions as they await slaughter. Don’t expect politicians, bought off by agro-business money, to advocate for a diet that can have a massive impact on global warming. And don’t expect the mass media, which depend on advertising dollars from the industry, to inform us about what this industry is doing to the planet.

“Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret,” a new documentary, examines the power of the animal agriculture industry, which is one more massive piece of the puzzle in the corporate strangulation of the common good. The film attempts to let the public know not only about the environmental effects of animal agriculture but what is being done to and put into the food we eat.

“The animal agriculture industry is one of the most powerful industries on the planet,” journalist Will Potter says in “Cowspiracy.” “Most people in this country are aware of the influence of money and industry on politics. We really see that clearly on display with this industry in particular. Most people would be shocked to learn that animal rights and environmental activists are the No. 1 domestic terrorism threat according to the FBI. … They, more than any other social movements today, are directly threatening corporate profits.”

The film opens with Bruce Hamilton, the conservation director of the Sierra Club, laying out the dire future ahead of us. “The world’s climate scientists tell us that the highest safe level of emission is around 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” he says. “We are already at 400. They tell us that the safest we could hope to do without having perilous implications as far as drought, famine, human conflict and major species extinction would be about a 2 degree Celsius increase in temperature. We are rapidly approaching that and with all the built-in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere we are going to easily exceed that. On our watch we are facing the next major extinction of species on the earth that we have not seen since the time of the dinosaurs disappearing. When whole countries go under water because of sea level rise, when whole countries find that there is so much drought they can’t feed their populations and as a result they need to desperately migrate to another country or invade another country, we are going to have climate wars in the future.”

“And what about livestock and animal agriculture?” asks Kip Andersen, who co-directed “Cowspiracy” with Keegan Kuhn. “Uhh,” Hamilton responds, “well—what about it?”

The refusal by major environmental organizations, including Greenpeace, 350.org and the Sierra Club, to confront the animal agricultural business is a window into how impotent the activist community has become in the face of corporate power.

I reached Kuhn in Berkeley and Andersen in San Francisco by phone.

“So many more people have a connection to animal agriculture, both in society and government, than have a direct connection to the oil industry,” Kuhn said. “The oil industry employs, relatively speaking, a very small percentage of people and is controlled by a very small percentage of people. The agricultural industry, both animal agriculture and commodity grains fed to those animals, involves a much bigger demographic. Politically it is a lot more challenging. Corporations such as Cargill, one the largest commodity food corporations in the world, is able to create U.S. policy. The government says it needs to have affordable food, which means giving massive subsidies to these corporations. The belief is that we have to eat animal products to survive. It is not something that is even questioned. The fossil fuel industry is more easily challenged with the argument that there are alternatives. People do not feel there is an alternative to eating animals.”

“Why would we want to create laws that make it harder for us to know how our food is produced?” Kuhn asked. “No consumer wants that. They want greater transparency. This shows how in-bed this industry is with the government. They can shape and dictate legislation that does not benefit us or the planet.”

“Hiding the animals, hiding the farms, hiding the entire issue is a marketing tool that is used by the industry,” Kuhn said. “Their attitude is, if you can’t see it, it’s not there. There are upwards of 10 billion farm animals slaughtered every year in the United States. But where are these 10 billion animals? We live in a country with 320 million humans. We see humans everywhere. But where are these billions of animals? They are hidden away in sheds. It allows the industry to carry out these atrocities, whether it’s how they treat the animals or how they treat the environment.”

“You also have the marketing of grass-fed animals on smaller farms,” Andersen said, “and while it initially appears better, it is actually worse. The factory farming is horrific for the animals, but it is better for the environment than pasture-fed beef because of methane emissions, feces excretion and all the horses and wolves that are killed so cattle can graze on public land, which we pay for with our public dollars. We didn’t focus in the film on the factory farms. Everyone knows about that. We wanted to look at these so-called sustainable farms, as if this so-called humane farming is the answer. In most situations, these farms are worse for the environment, although it is better for the animals.”

“If we had a different timeline, or if we had 1.5 billion people on the planet, then there might be halfway measures we could take,” Kuhn said. “The situation we are dealing with ecologically, however, means there is no way left but an immediate shift to a plant-based lifestyle.”

“How can we best use our resources?” Oppenlander asks in “Comfortably Unaware.” “What foods will have the very least effect on our planet? Which foods best promote our own human health and wellness, and which are the most compassionate? Do we really need to slaughter another living thing in order for us to eat? Or, sadly, is it because we want to?”

We have only a few years left, at best, to make radical changes to save ourselves from ecological meltdown. A person who is vegan will save 1,100 gallons of water, 20 pounds CO2 equivalent, 30 square feet of forested land, 45 pounds of grain, and one sentient animal’s life13 every day. We do not, given what lies ahead of us, have any other option.


1. “Water Footprint Assessment.” University of Twente, the Netherlands.

2. “What’s the Problem?” United States Environmental Protection Agency. “Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2006.

3. Ibid.

4. Goodland, R; Anhang, J. “Livestock and Climate Change: What if the key actors in climate change were pigs, chickens and cows?” WorldWatch, November/December 2009. Worldwatch Institute, Washington, D.C., USA. Pp. 10-19.

5. “Lifestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2006.

6. Jacobson, Michael F. “More and Cleaner Water.” In “Six Arguments for a Greener Diet: How a More Plant-Based Diet Could Save Your Health and the Environment.” Washington, D.C.: Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2006.

7. Oppenlander, Richard A. “Comfortably Unaware: What We Choose to Eat Is Killing Us and Our Planet.” New York City: Beaufort Books, 2012.

8. Ibid.

9. “Water Trivia Facts.” United States Environmental Protection Agency.

10. Oppenlander, Richard A. “Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work.” Minneapolis, MN: Langdon Street, 2013. Margulis, Sergio. Causes of Deforestation of the Brazilian Rainforest. Washington: World Bank Publications, 2003.

11. Thornton, Phillip, Mario Herrero, and Polly Ericksen. “Livestock and Climate Change.” Livestock Exchange, No. 3 (2011).

12. Pimental, D., Pimental, M. “Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 78, 660s-663S, September 2003.

13. “Water Footprint Assessment.” University of Twente, the Netherlands.

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

© 2014 TruthDig

  Read Saving The Planet, One Meal At A Time
 November 12, 2014
Global Warming To Worsen Global 'Dead Zones'
by Andrea Germanos, Countercurrents


Map of known dead zones (white dots) and predicted changes in annual air temperature for 2080-2099 versus 1980-1999. (Credit: Keryn Gedan and Andrew Altieri/Smithsonian)

Global warming will expand the world's "dead zones," a new study has found.

The study, published Monday in the journal Global Change Biology, looked at over 400 of these aquatic dead zones, which refer to areas where the levels of oxygen have dropped and cannot support life.

They often form as a result of agricultural runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus. The nutrient excess sparks algal blooms, whose decomposition depletes oxygen.

The researchers with the Smithsonian found that this oxygen depletion will worsen because of a number of warming-related factors, bringing economic consequences as well as risks to human health and ecosystems.

Nearly all the dead zones studied would be hit with 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit of warming by the end of the century, and warmer waters hold less oxygen. But it's not just a matter of rising ocean temperatures themselves, the researchers found. Rising sea levels will also destroy wetlands, which help filter the nutrients that cause the dead zones. Another of among roughly two dozen factors they point to is shifting ocean currents, which could mean areas are resuscitated by the colder, more oxygen-filled waters they had.

"Our study is the first to consider more than a dozen direct and indirect effects of climate change on dead zones, and suggests that we’ve underestimated its contribution to the growing dead zone problem and impacts on marine life," stated Andrew Altieri, lead author and ecologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Previous research found that the number of global dead zones has been increasing exponentially since the 1960s.

One of the world's worst, in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Texas and Louisiana, was about the size of Connecticut this year, measuring just over 5,000 square miles. Gene Turner, a researcher at Louisiana State University's Coastal Ecology Institute, called it "a poster child for how we are using and abusing our natural resources."

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

  Read Global Warming To Worsen Global 'Dead Zones'
 November 14, 2014
Media Blackout As U.S. Sponsors Genocide In Southeastern Ukraine
by Eric Zuesse , Countercurrents

Here's a typical example of what's being blacked-out:

This is a photo of a Ukrainian soldier guiding a truck-full of prisoners toward a ditch, to which the prisoners are then dragged one-by-one, and thrown in, and shot — then covered over with dirt after all the corpses (and perhaps some living bleeding survivors) are piled in it. (Of course, any survivors then quickly choke to death, from the dirt):


And  here's an explanation  of how this extraordinary video of a genocide being carried out, came to be found by the resistance-fighters against Ukraine's war to exterminate the residents in Ukraine's southeast, Ukraine's region where the vast majority of the people are ethnic Russians, or commonly called “Moskals” by many people in northwestern Ukraine, which term employed by them is equivalent to the terms “nigger,” and “kike” that are used in some other countries: all psychological terms of de-humanization.

Though this video of a genocide-in-action is rare, the event itself is routinely happening in southeastern Ukraine, so that the Ukrainian Government can reduce the population in the area of Ukraine that had voted over 80% for the Ukrainian President whom the Obama Administration overthrew in  a violent CIA-paid, U.S.-State-Department planned-and-run, coup, that climaxed on 22 February 2014 . The new Government is trying to eliminate enough of the people who had voted for him so that the coup-imposed regime will be able to stay in power ‘democratically,' with those Russia-friendly voters gone — enough of those voters gone so that America's coup-regime can continue even as a democracy.

This is the video from which that still-photo is taken — you can see this entire event (except the burial), here:  http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=3f9_1413978229 .

As is evident from that video, the troops who are executing these people don't care whether any one of the bodies down in that ditch are still alive; the next victim just gets thrown promptly on top, and shot. These troops are interested only in speed, without concern for victims.

Their only “concern” for the victims is to rape the ones they want, and to kill as many of the residents who live there as possible. The objective is officially called “punishment.” That's the Ukrainian Government's term. The aim is to make them suffer.

Here  is how deeply immersed in hatred of “Moscals” these people are. The Ukrainians who fought on Hitler's side in WWII are heroes to them. An American friend who happens to live in the conflict-zone, the southeast, where the “Moskals” are predomionant, wrote me today about the city of “Mariupol. The hospital there is being inundated with rape victims. A lot of girls are just going missing. People are disappearing constantly. The photo enclosed is from Artemosk yesterday. The Ukraine army ran over the car killing two people. It got stuck on top of the car.” Kill them however you can, is their assignment. Soldiers in the Ukrainian Army are taught that everyone who lives in these areas is the enemy. Killing the residents there is considered to be ‘patriotic.'

There is also  plenty of bombing, and firing missiles at, the cities and villages there, to destroy people and buildings , so that many of the surviving residents will flee over the border into neighboring Russia, from whence they'll never again be allowed to vote in a Ukrainian election — thereby further reducing the number of those voters in Ukrainian national elections. Such  bombing and shelling seem to be the Government's main methods of eliminating residents in the southeast . Also,  white phosphorous and other illegal weapons of terror are used, in order to especially induce the residents to evacuate into Russia .

This is a “genocide” against ethnic Russians whose families have lived inside Ukraine, in many cases, for centuries. It is also, and in the very same sense, an “ethnic cleansing,” to lock-in the anti-Russian regime that Obama installed earlier this year.

Here are some of the people who have been fleeing into Russia . Every one of those busloads of refugees exiting Ukraine is further success for Obama's plan, because it means fewer pro-Eastern, anti-Western, voters.

So, as you can see, the new Ukrainian Government is having considerable success in its efforts to murder and terrorize enough of the residents there, for Ukraine's electoral map to be no longer as favorable as it formerly was toward political candidates who prefer Russia over the United States. This is a way to gain a new ally against Russia, right next door to Russia. It's conquest of Ukraine's southeast, by Ukraine's northwest.

Here is a  Gallup poll that had been taken throughout Ukraine in April 2014, just after the coup . As you can see, the northwest liked the U.S., the European Union, and NATO, while the southeast liked Russia and didn't want to join either the EU or NATO. Furthermore, Crimeans, the residents in what had been the far-southernmost part of Ukraine, loathed Ukraine, and were relieved to be restored again to Russia. Sectional differences in Ukraine are extreme. Obama forced the Russia-haters into power, and wants to keep them in power.

Moreover,  Gallup had polled 500 Crimeans during May 16-30 in 2013, and found  that only 15% considered themselves “Ukrainian” at all. This was when Crimea was still part of Ukraine. 24% considered themselves simply “Crimean,” which nonetheless was a renunciation of any Ukrainian identity for themselves; so, that's 24% who didn't think of themselves as being Ukrainian. And additionally, 40% — a number virtually matching the totality of the other two, and nearly three times larger than the percentage who called themselves “Ukrainian” — considered themselves already to be “Russian,” even before the coup. The people there overwhelmingly wanted to secede from Ukraine, and they preferred to be part of Russia, just as Crimea had been prior to 1954.

Immediately after the coup, Russia sent troops into Crimea to preserve its Black Sea Fleet which has always been stationed there; and this military presence protected Crimeans, too, against the ethnic cleansing that was quickly started by the new Ukrainian regime to eliminate the residents in other areas of Ukraine's southeast than Crimea. You'll see those areas in purple on Ukraine's 2010 electoral map, with the purple areas being the ones where the election's pro-Russian winner, Viktor Yanukovych, had received over 80% of the vote. Here is the  map of that 2010 vote, with the purple areas  being the same areas that are now being ethnically cleansed.  This map shows the exact voting-percentages: the three districts that voted more than 80% for the man whom Obama overthrew  are now the ones that either broke away from Ukraine or are trying to. This is where the genocide is being concentrated. The people who live there aren't wanted by Kiev's new Government; only their land is.

Back when the U.S-engineered “Maidan” demonstrations had first placed into power a  pro -U.S. Ukrainian President, Yanukovych's opponent in 2004,  here is the election map, which showed just the same areas that were strongly pro-Russian then as now .

Obviously, the U.S. CIA, and State Department, and President Barack Obama, can read electoral maps; and, as long as those voters in Ukraine's far-east stayed alive where they were, inside Ukraine, no anti-Russian regime in Ukraine would be able to remain securely in power.

However, a pretext needed to be established in order to ‘justify' this ethnic cleansing; and that pretext was that they were separatists who threatened the presumed (but always  fictional ) unity of the Ukrainian culture and State.

In order to scare the residents in the pro-Russian areas and get them to become separatists — to become terrified enough for them to want to become part of Russia or else flee into safety inside Russia rather than to be attacked, bombed, and shot, by this new regime in Kiev — the Government, or actually one of its officials who happens to be  one of Ukraine's oligarchs, with a fortune over five billion dollars , held a  massacre of peaceful pro-Russian demonstrators they trapped inside the Odessa Trade Unions Building on 2 May 2014 , and then  the army itself invaded other cities in the southeast on May 9th . By this time, many residents throughout the southeast, basically in the areas where Yanukovych had received over 80% of the vote, formed themselves into militias and moved to secede from Ukraine (to protect themselves and their families from the new regime), which this new Ukrainian Government promptly called ‘terrorism,' and the Government announced an “Anti-Terrorist Operation,” or “ATO,” in order to exterminate them. Also, many people in Ukraine's northwest  openly mocked the people who had been burnt and clubbed to death at the Trade Unions Building massacre . The victims of that massacre were  blamed for the massacre , because they had been ‘terrorists.'

Here is how  Ukraine's Defense Minister described his plan :

“There will be a thorough filtration of people. There will be special filtration measures put in place. We will filter out people, including women, who are linked to separatism, who were committing crimes on Ukrainian territory, crimes related to terrorist activities. We have a lot of information regarding this, and we have a formidable framework to combat this, and respective power structures will carry out this operation. Besides, this is a serious issue, related to the fact that people will be resettled to other regions.”

The new Government is also  training Ukraine's children to view extermination of Russians as being a patriotic necessity  for Ukrainians. There are summer camps to which children are sent to be taught Ukrainian nazi ideology, where they march under both the Ukrainian flag and also various nazi flags, sometimes including the swastika. Both at such camps, and inside the parliament, the  German nazi salute of the stiff right arm raised upward, with the hand and fingers positioned stiffly forward, is commonly given, as a sign of the individual's loyalty to the country . Also,  Ukraine's military is increasingly filled with men who are tattooed with the swastika and other German nazi insignia . The common heritage back to Adolf Hitler (whom America's WWII veterans went to war to defeat, of course) is being honored, not merely more overtly, but also more privately, by right-wing Ukrainians, as having been the leading edge of the new Ukraine, which U.S. President Barack Obama — the United States Government — installed on February 22nd, and which perpetrated  the Odessa massacre on May 2nd , as well as the civil war that followed. These are America's  new   allies.

But it's all being blacked-out, in countries that claim to represent democracy. This black-out adds insult to the injury that the present regime is causing, and not only to Ukraine, but to US. It's complicity in this Administration's criminality. And it is  dangerous .

This is no mere game. The public needs to know that this is happening, and why it's happening. Otherwise, there is no democracy, because what's at stake here is not only the character of today's America, but is America's future, and the world's. If the American people are manipulated about this, then they are no free people, and American democracy is then itself fake, no longer real, in any significant sense. Just a sham. And a shame — not of the public, but of the people who hide the truth from the public.

Due to the Internet, this is the first genocide that is being documented in real time, as it occurs. Historians will note this genocide, and will also note where it was reported, and where it was not reported.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of   They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 ,   and of  CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .

  Read Media Blackout As U.S. Sponsors Genocide In Southeastern Ukraine
 November 20, 2014
Russia Invades Ukraine. Again. And Again. And Yet Again … Using Saddam’s WMD
by William Blum, Countercurrents


“Russia reinforced what Western and Ukrainian officials described as a stealth invasion on Wednesday [August 27], sending armored troops across the border as it expanded the conflict to a new section of Ukrainian territory. The latest incursion, which Ukraine’s military said included five armored personnel carriers, was at least the third movement of troops and weapons from Russia across the southeast part of the border this week.”

None of the photos accompanying this New York Times story online showed any of these Russian troops or armored vehicles.

“The Obama administration,” the story continued, “has asserted over the past week that the Russians had moved artillery, air-defense systems and armor to help the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk. ‘These incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway’, Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said. At the department’s daily briefing in Washington, Ms. Psaki also criticized what she called the Russian government’s ‘unwillingness to tell the truth’ that its military had sent soldiers as deep as 30 miles inside Ukraine territory.”

Thirty miles inside Ukraine territory and not a single satellite photo, not a camera anywhere around, not even a one-minute video to show for it. “Ms. Psaki apparently [sic] was referring to videos of captured Russian soldiers, distributed by the Ukrainian government.” The Times apparently forgot to inform its readers where they could see these videos.

“The Russian aim, one Western official said, may possibly be to seize an outlet to the sea in the event that Russia tries to establish a separatist enclave in eastern Ukraine.”

This of course hasn’t taken place. So what happened to all these Russian soldiers 30 miles inside Ukraine? What happened to all the armored vehicles, weapons, and equipment?

“The United States has photographs that show the Russian artillery moved into Ukraine, American officials say. One photo dated last Thursday, shown to a New York Times reporter, shows Russian military units moving self-propelled artillery into Ukraine. Another photo, dated Saturday, shows the artillery in firing positions in Ukraine.”

Where are these photographs? And how will we know that these are Russian soldiers? And how will we know that the photos were taken in Ukraine? But most importantly, where are the fucking photographs?

Why am I so cynical? Because the Ukrainian and US governments have been feeding us these scare stories for eight months now, without clear visual or other evidence, often without even common sense. Here are a few of the many other examples, before and after the one above:

>> The Wall Street Journal (March 28) reported: “Russian troops massing near Ukraine are actively concealing their positions and establishing supply lines that could be used in a prolonged deployment, ratcheting up concerns that Moscow is preparing for another [sic] major incursion and not conducting exercises as it claims, US officials said.”

>> “The Ukrainian government charged that the Russian military was not only approaching but had actually crossed the border into rebel-held regions.” (Washington Post, November 7)

>> “U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove told reporters in Bulgaria that NATO had observed Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems and Russian combat troops enter Ukraine across a completely wide-open border with Russia in the previous two days.” (Washington Post, November 13)

>> “Ukraine accuses Russia of sending more soldiers and weapons to help rebels prepare for a new offensive. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied aiding the separatists.” (Reuters, November 16)

Since the February US-backed coup in Ukraine, the State Department has made one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s very unclear and wholly inconclusive, such as unmarked vehicles, or unsourced reports, or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. The Ukrainian government has matched them.

On top of all this we should keep in mind that if Moscow decided to invade Ukraine they’d certainly provide air cover for their ground forces. There has been no mention of air cover.

This is all reminiscent of the numerous stories in the past three years of “Syrian planes bombing defenseless citizens”. Have you ever seen a photo or video of a Syrian government plane dropping bombs? Or of the bombs exploding? When the source of the story is mentioned, it’s almost invariably the rebels who are fighting against the Syrian government. Then there’s the “chemical weapon” attacks by the same evil Assad government. When a photo or video has accompanied the story I’ve never once seen grieving loved ones or media present; not one person can be seen wearing a gas mask. Is it only children killed or suffering? No rebels?

And then there’s the July 17 shootdown of Malaysia Flight MH17, over eastern Ukraine, taking 298 lives, which Washington would love to pin on Russia or the pro-Russian rebels. The US government – and therefore the US media, the EU, and NATO – want us all to believe it was the rebels and/or Russia behind it. The world is still waiting for any evidence. Or even a motivation. Anything at all. President Obama is not waiting. In a talk on November 15 in Australia, he spoke of “opposing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine – which is a threat to the world, as we saw in the appalling shoot-down of MH17”. Based on my reading, I’d guess that it was the Ukranian government behind the shootdown, mistaking it for Putin’s plane that reportedly was in the area.

Can it be said with certainty that all the above accusations were lies? No, but the burden of proof is on the accusers, and the world is still waiting. The accusers would like to create the impression that there are two sides to each question without actually having to supply one of them.

The United States punishing Cuba

For years American political leaders and media were fond of labeling Cuba an “international pariah”. We haven’t heard that for a very long time. Perhaps one reason is the annual vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the resolution which reads: “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”. This is how the vote has gone (not including abstentions):

This year Washington’s policy may be subject to even more criticism than usual due to the widespread recognition of Cuba’s response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

Each fall the UN vote is a welcome reminder that the world has not completely lost its senses and that the American empire does not completely control the opinion of other governments.

Speaking before the General Assembly before last year’s vote, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez declared: “The economic damages accumulated after half a century as a result of the implementation of the blockade amount to $1.126 trillion.” He added that the blockade “has been further tightened under President Obama’s administration”, some 30 US and foreign entities being hit with $2.446 billion in fines due to their interaction with Cuba.

However, the American envoy, Ronald Godard, in an appeal to other countries to oppose the resolution, said:

The international community … cannot in good conscience ignore the ease and frequency with which the Cuban regime silences critics, disrupts peaceful assembly, impedes independent journalism and, despite positive reforms, continues to prevent some Cubans from leaving or returning to the island. The Cuban government continues its tactics of politically motivated detentions, harassment and police violence against Cuban citizens. 1

So there you have it. That is why Cuba must be punished. One can only guess what Mr. Godard would respond if told that more than 7,000 people were arrested in the United States during the Occupy Movement’s first 8 months of protest in 2011-12 2
; that many of them were physically abused by the police; and that their encampments were violently destroyed.

Does Mr. Godard have access to any news media? Hardly a day passes in America without a police officer shooting to death an unarmed person.

As to “independent journalism” – What would happen if Cuba announced that from now on anyone in the country could own any kind of media? How long would it be before CIA money – secret and unlimited CIA money financing all kinds of fronts in Cuba – would own or control most of the media worth owning or controlling?

The real reason for Washington’s eternal hostility toward Cuba has not changed since the revolution in 1959 – The fear of a good example of an alternative to the capitalist model; a fear that has been validated repeatedly over the years as many Third World countries have expressed their adulation of Cuba.

How the embargo began: On April 6, 1960, Lester D. Mallory, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, wrote in an internal memorandum: “The majority of Cubans support Castro … The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. … every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.” Mallory proposed “a line of action which … makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.” 3

Later that year, the Eisenhower administration instituted its suffocating embargo against its everlasting enemy.

The United States judging and punishing the rest of the world

In addition to Cuba, Washington currently is imposing economic and other sanctions against Burma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, China, North Korea, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, Germany, Malaysia, South Africa, Mexico, South Sudan, Sudan, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, India, and Zimbabwe. These are sanctions mainly against governments, but also against some private enterprises; there are also many other sanctions against individuals not included here. 4

Imbued with a sense of America’s moral superiority and “exceptionalism”, each year the State Department judges the world, issuing reports evaluating the behavior of all other nations, often accompanied by sanctions of one kind or another. There are different reports rating how each lesser nation has performed in the previous year in areas such as religious freedom, human rights, the war on drugs, trafficking in persons, and sponsors of terrorism. The criteria used in these reports are often political. Cuba, for example, is always listed as a sponsor of terrorism whereas anti-Castro exile groups in Florida, which have committed literally hundreds of terrorist acts over the years, are not listed as terrorist groups or supporters of such.

Cuba, which has been on the sponsor-of-terrorism list longer (since 1982) than any other country, is one of the most glaring anomalies. The most recent State Department report on this matter, in 2012, states that there is “no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups.” 5

There are, however, some retirees of Spain’s Basque terrorist group ETA (which appears on the verge of disbanding) in Cuba, but the report notes that the Cuban government evidently is trying to distance itself from them by denying them services such as travel documents. Some members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been allowed into Cuba, but that was because Cuba was hosting peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government, which the report notes.

The US sanctions mechanism is so effective and formidable that it strikes fear (of huge fines) into the hearts of banks and other private-sector organizations that might otherwise consider dealing with a listed state.

Some selected thoughts on American elections and democracy

In politics, as on the sickbed, people toss from one side to the other, thinking they will be more comfortable.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

>> 2012 presidential election:

223,389,800 eligible to vote
128,449,140 actually voted
Obama got 65,443,674 votes
Obama was thus supported by 29.3% of eligible voters

>> There are 100 million adults in the United States who do not vote. This is a very large base from which an independent party can draw millions of new votes.

>> If God had wanted more of us to vote in elections, he would give us better candidates.

>> “The people can have anything they want. The trouble is, they do not want anything. At least they vote that way on election day.” – Eugene Debs, American socialist leader (1855-1926)

>> “If persons over 60 are the only American age group voting at rates that begin to approximate European voting, it’s because they’re the only Americans who live in a welfare state – Medicare, Social Security, and earlier, GI loans, FHA loans.” – John Powers

>> “The American political system is essentially a contract between the Republican and Democratic parties, enforced by federal and state two-party laws, all designed to guarantee the survival of both no matter how many people despise or ignore them.” – Richard Reeves (1936- )

>> The American electoral system, once the object of much national and international pride, has slid inexorably from “one person, one vote”, to “one dollar, one vote”.

>> Noam Chomsky: “It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars. Their professional concern in their regular vocation is not to provide information. Their goal, rather, is deceit.”

>> If the Electoral College is such a good system, why don’t we have it for local and state elections?

>> “All the props of a democracy remain intact - elections, legislatures, media - but they predominantly function at the service of the oligarchy.” – Richard Wolff

>> The RepDem Party holds elections as if they were auctions; indeed, an outright auction for the presidency would be more efficient. To make the auction more interesting we need a second party, which must at a minimum be granted two privileges: getting on the ballot in all 50 states and taking part in television debates.

>> The US does in fact have two parties: the Ins and the Outs … the evil of two lessers.

>> Alexander Cockburn: “There was a time once when ‘lesser of two evils’ actually meant something momentous, like the choice between starving to death on a lifeboat, or eating the first mate.”

>> Cornel West has suggested that it’s become difficult to even imagine what a free and democratic society, without great concentrations of corporate power, would look like, or how it would operate.

>> The United States now resembles a police state punctuated by elections.

>> How many voters does it take to change a light bulb? None. Because voters can’t change anything.

>> H.L. Mencken (1880-1956): “As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

>> “All elections are distractions. Nothing conceals tyranny better than elections.” – Joel Hirschhorn

>> In 1941, one of the country’s more acerbic editors, a priest named Edward Dowling, commented: “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”

>> “Elections are a necessary, but certainly not a sufficient, condition for democracy. Political participation is not just a casting of votes. It is a way of life.” – UN Human Development Report, 1993

>> “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain!” I reply, “You have it backwards. If you DO vote, you can’t complain. You asked for it, and they’re going to give it to you, good and hard.”

>> “How to get people to vote against their interests and to really think against their interests is very clever. It’s the cleverest ruling class that I have ever come across in history. It’s been 200 years at it. It’s superb.” – Gore Vidal

>> We can’t use our democracy/our vote to change the way the economy functions. This is very anti-democratic.

>> What does a majority vote mean other than that the sales campaign was successful?

>> Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius: “The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.”

>> We do have representative government. The question is: Who does our government represent?

>> “On the day after the 2002 election I watched a crawl on the bottom of the CNN news screen. It said, ‘Proprietary software may make inspection of electronic voting systems impossible.’ It was the final and absolute coronation of corporate rights over democracy; of money over truth.” – Mike Ruppert, RIP

>> “It’s not that voting is useless or stupid; rather, it’s the exaggeration of the power of voting that has drained the meaning from American politics.” – Michael Ventura

>> After going through the recent national, state and local elections, I am now convinced that taxation without representation would have been a much better system.

>> “Ever since the Constitution was illegally foisted on the American people we have lived in a blatant plutocracy. The Constitution was drafted in secret by a self-appointed elite committee, and it was designed to bring three kinds of power under control: Royalty, the Church, and the People. All were to be subjugated to the interests of a wealthy elite. That’s what republics were all about. And that’s how they have functioned ever since.” – Richard K. Moore

>> “As demonstrated in Russia and numerous other countries, when faced with a choice between democracy without capitalism or capitalism without democracy, Western elites unhesitatingly embrace the latter.” – Michael Parenti

>> “The fact that a supposedly sophisticated electorate had been stampeded by the cynical propaganda of the day threw serious doubt on the validity of the assumptions underlying parliamentary democracy as a whole.” – British Superspy for the Soviets Kim Philby (1912-1988), explaining his reasons for becoming a Communist instead of turning to the Labour Party

>> US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941): “We may have democracy in this country, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”

>> “We don’t need to run America like a business or like the military. We need to run America like a democracy.” – Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate 2012

1. Democracy Now!, October 30, 2013
2. Huffingfton Post, May 3, 2012
3. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Volume VI, Cuba (1991), p.885 (online here)
4. For the complete detailed list, see U.S. Department of State, Nonproliferation Sanctions
5. U.S. Department of State, “Country Reports on Terrorism 2012, Chapter 3: State Sponsors of Terrorism,” May 20, 2013

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

William Blum is the author of:
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower
West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire
Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.williamblum.org
Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website.
Email bblum6 [at] aol.com

  Read Russia Invades Ukraine. Again. And Again. And Yet Again … Using Saddam’s WMD
 December 8, 2014
Ten Reasons Why A Severe Drop In Oil Prices Is A Problem
by Gail Tverberg, Countercurrents

08 December, 2014

Not long ago, I wrote Ten Reasons Why High Oil Prices are a Problem. If high oil prices can be a problem, how can low oil prices also be a problem? In particular, how can the steep drop in oil prices we have recently been experiencing also be a problem?

Let me explain some of the issues:

Issue 1. If the price of oil is too low, it will simply be left in the ground.

The world badly needs oil for many purposes: to power its cars, to plant it fields, to operate its oil-powered irrigation pumps, and to act as a raw material for making many kinds of products, including medicines and fabrics.

If the price of oil is too low, it will be left in the ground. With low oil prices, production may drop off rapidly. High price encourages more production and more substitutes; low price leads to a whole series of secondary effects (debt defaults resulting from deflation, job loss, collapse of oil exporters, loss of letters of credit needed for exports, bank failures) that indirectly lead to a much quicker decline in oil production.

The view is sometimes expressed that once 50% of oil is extracted, the amount of oil we can extract will gradually begin to decline, for geological reasons. This view is only true if high prices prevail, as we hit limits. If our problem is low oil prices because of debt problems or other issues, then the decline is likely to be far more rapid. With low oil prices, even what we consider to be proved oil reserves today may be left in the ground.

Issue 2. The drop in oil prices is already having an impact on shale extraction and offshore drilling.

While many claims have been made that US shale drilling can be profitable at low prices, actions speak louder than words. (The problem may be a cash flow problem rather than profitability, but either problem cuts off drilling.) Reuters indicates that new oil and gas well permits tumbled by 40% in November.

Offshore drilling is also being affected. Transocean, the owner of the biggest fleet of deep water drilling rigs, recently took a $2.76 billion charge, among a “drilling rig glut.”

3. Shale operations have a huge impact on US employment.

Zero Hedge posted the following chart of employment growth, in states with and without current drilling from shale formations:

Figure 1. Jobs in States with and without Shale Formations, from Zero Hedge.

Clearly, the shale states are doing much better, job-wise. According to the article, since December 2007, shale states have added 1.36 million jobs, while non-shale states have lost 424,000 jobs. The growth in jobs includes all types of employment, including jobs only indirectly related to oil and gas production, such as jobs involved with the construction of a new supermarket to serve the growing population.

It might be noted that even the “Non-Shale” states have benefited to some extent from shale drilling. Some support jobs related to shale extraction, such as extraction of sand used in fracking, college courses to educate new engineers, and manufacturing of parts for drilling equipment, are in states other than those with shale formations. Also, all states benefit from the lower oil imports required.

Issue 4. Low oil prices tend to cause debt defaults that have wide ranging consequences. If defaults become widespread, they could affect bank deposits and international trade.

With low oil prices, it becomes much more difficult for shale drillers to pay back the loans they have taken out. Cash flow is much lower, and interest rates on new loans are likely much higher. The huge amount of debt that shale drillers have taken on suddenly becomes at-risk. Energy debt currently accounts for 16% of the US junk bond market, so the amount at risk is substantial.

Dropping oil prices affect international debt as well. The value of Venezuelan bonds recently fell to 51 cents on the dollar, because of the high default risk with low oil prices. Russia’s Rosneft is also reported to be having difficulty with its loans.

There are many ways banks might be adversely affected by defaults, including

>> Directly by defaults on loans held be a bank
>> Indirectly, by defaults on securities the bank owns that relate to loans elsewhere
>> By derivative defaults made more likely by sharp changes in interest rates or in currency levels
>> By liquidity problems, relating to the need to quickly sell or buy securities related to ETFs

After the many bank bailouts in 2008, there has been discussion of changing the system so that there is no longer a need to bail out “too big to fail” banks. One proposal that has been discussed is to force bank depositors and pension funds to cover part of the losses, using Cyprus-style bail-ins. According to some reports, such an approach has been approved by the G20 at a meeting the weekend of November 16, 2014. If this is true, our bank accounts and pension plans could already be at risk.1

Another bank-related issue if debt defaults become widespread, is the possibility that junk bonds and Letters of Credit2 will become outrageously expensive for companies that have poor credit ratings. Supply chains often include some businesses with poor credit ratings. Thus, even businesses with good credit ratings may find their supply chains broken by companies that can no longer afford high-priced credit. This was one of the issues in the 2008 credit crisis.

Issue 5. Low oil prices can lead to collapses of oil exporters, and loss of virtually all of the oil they export.

The collapse of the Former Soviet Union in 1991 seems to be related to a drop in oil prices.

Figure 2. Oil production and price of the Former Soviet Union, based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2013.

Oil prices dropped dramatically in the 1980s after the issues that gave rise to the earlier spike were mitigated. The Soviet Union was dependent on oil for its export revenue. With low oil prices, its ability to invest in new production was impaired, and its export revenue dried up. The Soviet Union collapsed for a number of reasons, some of them financial, in late 1991, after several years of low oil prices had had a chance to affect its economy.

Many oil-exporting countries are at risk of collapse if oil prices stay very low very long. Venezuela is a clear risk, with its big debt problem. Nigeria’s economy is reported to be “tanking.” Russia even has a possibility of collapse, although probably not in the near future.

Even apart from collapse, there is the possibility of increased unrest in the Middle East, as oil-exporting nations find it necessary to cut back on their food and oil subsidies. There is also more possibility of warfare among groups, including new groups such as ISIL. When everyone is prosperous, there is little reason to fight, but when oil-related funds dry up, fighting among neighbors increases, as does unrest among those with lower subsidies.

Issue 6. The benefits to consumers of a drop in oil prices are likely to be much smaller than the adverse impact on consumers of an oil price rise.

When oil prices rose, businesses were quick to add fuel surcharges. They are less quick to offer fuel rebates when oil prices go down. They will try to keep the benefit of the oil price drop for themselves for as long as possible.

Airlines seem to be more interested in adding flights than reducing ticket prices in response to lower oil prices, perhaps because additional planes are already available. Their intent is to increase profits, through an increase in ticket sales, not to give consumers the benefit of lower prices.

In some cases, governments will take advantage of the lower oil prices to increase their revenue. China recently raised its oil products consumption tax, so that the government gets part of the benefit of lower prices. Malaysia is using the low oil prices as a time to reduce oil subsidies.

Most businesses recognize that the oil price drop is at most a temporary situation, since the cost of extraction continues to rise (because we are getting oil from more difficult-to-extract locations). Because the price drop this is only temporary, few business people are saying to themselves, “Wow, oil is cheap again! I am going to invest a huge amount of money in a new road building company [or other business that depends on cheap oil].” Instead, they are cautious, making changes that require little capital investment and that can easily be reversed. While there may be some jobs added, those added will tend to be ones that can easily be dropped if oil prices rise again.

Issue 7. Hoped for crude and LNG sales abroad are likely to disappear, with low oil prices.

There has been a great deal of publicity about the desire of US oil and gas producers to sell both crude oil and LNG abroad, so as to be able to take advantage of higher oil and gas prices outside the US. With a big drop in oil prices, these hopes are likely to be dashed. Already, we are seeing the story, Asia stops buying US crude oil. According to this story, “There’s so much oversupply that Middle East crudes are now trading at discounts and it is not economical to bring over crudes from the US anymore.”

LNG prices tend to drop if oil prices drop. (Some LNG prices are linked to oil prices, but even those that are not directly linked are likely to be affected by the lower demand for energy products.) At these lower prices, the financial incentive to export LNG becomes much less. Even fluctuating LNG prices become a problem for those considering investment in infrastructure such as ships to transport LNG.

Issue 8. Hoped-for increases in renewables will become more difficult, if oil prices are low.

Many people believe that renewables can eventually take over the role of fossil fuels. (I am not of view that this is possible.) For those with this view, low oil prices are a problem, because they discourage the hoped-for transition to renewables.

Despite all of the statements made about renewables, they don’t really substitute for oil. Biofuels come closest, but they are simply oil-extenders. We add ethanol made from corn to gasoline to extend its quantity. But it still takes oil to operate the farm equipment to grow the corn, and oil to transport the corn to the ethanol plant. If oil isn’t around, the biofuel production system comes to a screeching halt.

Issue 9. A major drop in oil prices tends to lead to deflation, and because of this, difficulty in repaying debts.

If oil prices rise, so do food prices, and the price of making most goods. Thus rising oil prices contribute to inflation. The reverse of this is true as well. Falling oil prices tend to lead to a lower price for growing food and a lower price for making most goods. The net result can be deflation. Not all countries are affected equally; some experience this result to a greater extent than others.

Those countries experiencing deflation are likely to eventually have problems with debt defaults, because it will become more difficult for workers to repay loans, if wages are drifting downward. These same countries are likely to experience an outflow of investment funds because investors realize that funds invested these countries will not earn an adequate return. This outflow of funds will tend to push their currencies down, relative to other currencies. This is at least part of what has been happening in recent months.

The value of the dollar has been rising rapidly, relative to many other currencies. Debt repayment is likely to especially be a problem for those countries where substantial debt is denominated in US dollars, but whose local currency has recently fallen in value relative to the US dollar.

Figure 3. US Dollar Index from Intercontinental Exchange

The big increase in the US dollar index came since June 2014 (Figure 3), which coincides with the drop in oil prices. Those countries with low currency prices, including Japan, Europe, Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa, find it expensive to import goods of all kinds, including those made with oil products. This is part of what reduces demand for oil products.

China’s yuan is relatively closely tied to the dollar. The collapse of other currencies relative to the US dollar makes Chinese exports more expensive, and is part of the reason why the Chinese economy has been doing less well recently. There are no doubt other reasons why China’s growth is lower recently, and thus its growth in debt. China is now trying to lower the level of its currency.

Issue 10. The drop in oil prices seems to reflect a basic underlying problem: the world is reaching the limits of its debt expansion.

There is a natural limit to the amount of debt that a government, or business, or individual can borrow. At some point, interest payments become so high, that it becomes difficult to cover other needed expenses. The obvious way around this problem is to lower interest rates to practically zero, through Quantitative Easing (QE) and other techniques.

(Increasing debt is a big part of pumps up “demand” for oil, and because of this, oil prices. If this is confusing, think of buying a car. It is much easier to buy a car with a loan than without one. So adding debt allows goods to be more affordable. Reducing debt levels has the opposite effect.)

QE doesn’t work as a long-term technique, because it tends to create bubbles in asset prices, such as stock market prices and prices of farmland. It also tends to encourage investment in enterprises that have questionable chance of success. Arguably, investment in shale oil and gas operations are in this category.

As it turns out, it looks very much as if the presence or absence of QE may have an impact on oil prices as well (Figure 4), providing the “uplift” needed to keep oil prices high enough to cover production costs.

Figure 4. World “liquids production” (that is oil and oil substitutes) based on EIA data, plus OPEC estimates and judgment of author for August to October 2014. Oil price is monthly average Brent oil spot price, based on EIA data.

The sharp drop in price in 2008 was credit-related, and was only solved when the US initiated its program of QE started in late November 2008. Oil prices began to rise in December 2008. The US has had three periods of QE, with the last of these, QE3, finally tapering down and ending in October 2014. Since QE seems to have been part of the solution that stopped the drop in oil prices in 2008, we should not be surprised if discontinuing QE is contributing to the drop in oil prices now.

Part of the problem seems to be differential effect that happens when other countries are continuing to use QE, but the US not. The US dollar tends to rise, relative to other currencies. This situation contributes to the situation shown in Figure 3.

QE allows more borrowing from the future than would be possible if market interest rates really had to be paid. This allows financiers to temporarily disguise a growing problem of un-affordability of oil and other commodities.

The problem we have is that, because we live in a finite world, we reach a point where it becomes more expensive to produce commodities of many kinds: oil (deeper wells, fracking), coal (farther from markets, so more transport costs), metals (poorer ore quality), fresh water (desalination needed), and food (more irrigation needed). Wages don’t rise correspondingly, because more and more labor is needed to provide less and less actual benefit, in terms of the commodities produced and goods made from those commodities. Thus, workers find themselves becoming poorer and poorer, in terms of what they can afford to purchase.

QE allows financiers to disguise growing mismatch between what it costs to produce commodities, and what customers can really afford. Thus, QE allows commodity prices to rise to levels that are unaffordable by customers, unless customers’ lack of income is disguised by a continued growth in debt.

Once commodity prices (including oil prices) fall to levels that are affordable based on the incomes of customers, they fall to levels that cut out a large share of production of these commodities. As commodity production drops to levels that can be produced at affordable prices, so does the world’s ability to make goods and services. Unfortunately, the goods whose production is likely to be cut back if commodity production is cut back are those of every kind, including houses, cars, food, and electrical transmission equipment.


There are really two different problems that a person can be concerned about:

1. Peak oil: the possibility that oil prices will rise, and because of this production will fall in a rounded curve. Substitutes that are possible because of high prices will perhaps take over.

2. Debt related collapse: oil limits will play out in a very different way than most have imagined, through lower oil prices as limits to growth in debt are reached, and thus a collapse in oil “demand” (really affordability). The collapse in production, when it comes, will be sharper and will affect the entire economy, not just oil.

In my view, a rapid drop in oil prices is likely a symptom that we are approaching a debt-related collapse–in other words, the second of these two problems. Underlying this debt-related collapse is the fact that we seem to be reaching the limits of a finite world. There is a growing mismatch between what workers in oil importing countries can afford, and the rising real costs of extraction, including associated governmental costs. This has been covered up to date by rising debt, but at some point, it will not be possible to keep increasing the debt sufficiently.

The timing of collapse may not be immediate. Low oil prices take a while to work their way through the system. It is also possible that the world’s financiers will put off a major collapse for a while longer, through more QE, or more programs related to QE. For example, actually getting money into the hands of customers would seem to be temporarily helpful.

At some point the debt situation will eventually reach a breaking point. One way this could happen is through an increase in interest rates. If this happens, world economic growth is likely to slow greatly. Oil and commodity prices will fall further. Debt defaults will skyrocket. Not only will oil production drop, but production of many other commodities will drop, including natural gas and coal. In such a scenario, the downslope of all energy use is likely to be quite steep, perhaps similar to what is shown in the following chart.

Figure 5. Estimate of future energy production by author. Historical data based on BP adjusted to IEA groupings.

Related Articles:

Low Oil Prices: Sign of a Debt Bubble Collapse, Leading to the End of Oil Supply?

WSJ Gets it Wrong on “Why Peak Oil Predictions Haven’t Come True”

Eight Pieces of Our Oil Price Predicament


[1] There is of course insurance by the FDIC and the PBGC, but the actual funding for these two insurance programs is tiny in relationship to the kind of risk that would occur if there were widespread debt defaults and derivative defaults affecting many banks and many pension plans at once. While depositors and pension holders might try to collect this insurance, there wouldn’t be enough money to actually cover these demands. This problem would be similar to the issue that arose in Iceland in 2008. Insurance would seem to be available, but in practice, would not pay out much.

[2] LOCs are required when goods are shipped internationally, before payment has actually been made. They offer a guarantee that a buyer will be able to “make good” on his promise to pay for goods when they arrive.

Gail Tverberg is an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to inadequate supply. Her website is http://ourfiniteworld.com

  Read Ten Reasons Why A Severe Drop In Oil Prices Is A Problem
 December 11, 2014
This Changes Everything. Capitalism vs. the Climate” by Naomi Klein - Green Socialist Revolution ASAP
by Dr Gideon Polya, Countercurrents

Naomi Klein's important new book “This Changes Everything. Capitalism vs. the Climate” [1] sets out the dire state of the planet due to neoliberal-driven, man-made climate change. Her very well written but lengthy book is an indignant catalogue of the machinations of the Big Polluters and their Big Green collaborators, and concludes with the faint hope of a Revolution “when societies suddenly decide they have had enough” ([1], page 464). However before the societal tipping point is reached for Naomi Klein's Green Revolution, science-informed people must urge and apply comprehensive Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the terracidal politicians, parties, countries and corporations that are destroying a decent future.

Naomi Klein (born 8 May 1970) is an anti-racist Jewish Canadian author and social activist who is very well known for her criticism of corporate globalization, man-made climate change and human rights abuse, She is the author of “No Logo” and “The Shock Doctrine” [2]. Naomi Klein is a trenchant critic of the genocidal policies of Apartheid Israel, famously stating “There is a debate among Jews - I'm a Jew by the way. The debate boils down to the question: "Never again to everyone, or never again to us?... [Some Jews] even think we get one get-away-with-genocide-free card...There is another strain in the Jewish tradition that say[s], “Never again to anyone.””, and advocating Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Apartheid Israel: “It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa” [3].

Of course exactly the same anti-racism and anti-genocide notions and actions should apply to the worsening Climate Genocide in which currently an estimated 5 million people die annually from climate change (0.5 million) or from carbon burning (4.5 million) [4]. Currently about 17 million people die avoidably every year from deprivation [5] but top climate scientists have estimated that only about 0.5 billion people will survive this century if man-made climate change is not properly addressed, this amounting to a Climate Genocide this century of about 10 billion people and an average annual avoidable death rate of 100 million per year [6]. Avoidable death (avoidable mortality, excess death, excess mortality, deaths that need not happen) is the bottom-line in any discussion of social options but this fundamental quantitative consideration is absent from “This changes everything”, possibly because my heroine Naomi Klein is an economics writer and not a scientist. However Naomi Klein at least indicates that we are heading in the right intellectual and moral direction: “The climate movement has yet to find its full moral voice on the world's stage, but it is now certainly clearing its throat – beginning to put the very real thefts and torments that ineluctably flow from the decision to mock international climate commitments alongside history's most damned crimes” ([1], page 464).

Before making a detailed review of “This Changes Everything” by non-scientist Naomi Klein, it is useful to provide a succinct, science-based and quantitative summary of the current Climate Crisis and what needs to be done to address man-made global warming.

(a) The World is badly running out of time to deal with man-made climate change brought about by the introduction of greenhouse gases - mainly carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) – into the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century. As discovered by UK chemist John Tyndall in the mid-19th century, greenhouse gases (GHGs) like CO2 absorb radiation with a consequent warming. There is 700- 750 GtC (billions of tonnes of carbon, C) in the atmosphere (mostly as 750 x 3.67 Gt CO2 / GtC = circa 2,800 Gt CO2 ) with about half, 1,400 Gt CO2 , due to historical fossil fuel combustion). There is about 700 GtC in biomass (mostly wood), 1,600 GtC in soil, and 36,000 GtC in ocean as bicarbonate ion (HCO3-) There is no net CO2 from vulcanism and weathering (on a time scale of less than 100,000 years) [7].

(b) There is a huge terrestrial and ocean fixing of CO2 by photosynthetic organisms (plants) as carbohydrate (mainly cellulose) but nearly all of this is returned to the atmosphere as CO2 through re-oxidation by living organisms or fire (the Carbon Cycle). Terrestrial carbon fixation of 121.3 GtC/y x 3.67 Gt CO2 / GtC = 445 Gt CO2 of which about half returns annually to the atmosphere through plant and animal respiration and most of the remaining half returns to the air through the action of soil fungi and bacteria. About 2 Gt C (7 Gt CO2) ends up stored as soil carbon or cellulosic biomass (wood). Net terrestrial biome production of fixed CO2 is 0.7 GtC/year (2.6 Gt CO2/year) . Ocean photosynthesis (prokaryotic cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae) fixes 50 GtC /year (184 Gt CO2/year) of which all but circa 2 Gt C is thence re-oxidized back to CO2 [7].

(c ) The term CO2-equivalent (CO2-e) measures all GHGs in terms of their CO2 equivalent but this depends upon the value of the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of each gas. Thus World Bank analysts have recently re-assessed annual man-made (anthropogenic) global GHG pollution as 64 Gt CO2-e (17.4 GtC), about 50% bigger than the 42 Gt CO2-e (11.4 GtC) hitherto thought and that the livestock contribution is over 51% of the bigger figure [8]. A major element in this re-assessment was that it considered a GWP for CH4 on 20 year time frame of 72 ( as compared to 21 on a 100 year time frame), noting that the CH4 GWP on a 20 year time frame with aerosol impacts considered is 105 times greater than that of CO2.

(d) The international consensus-based latest IPCC Summary for Policymakers (2014)[9] argues for a limitation of temperature rise to 2 degrees C through limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution of the atmosphere to 450 ppm (parts per million) CO2-equivalent but hard evidence says that we have already reached 478 ppm CO2-equivalent (CO2-e), that 2C is dangerous and essentially inevitable (leading to a Pliocene-like sea level rise of 25 meters at equilibrium), and that the world will use up its 600 Gt CO2 Carbon Budget for a 75% chance of avoiding a 2C rise within about 4 years [10]. On the basis of their annual Domestic GHG pollution both Australia and Canada exceeded their “fair share” of the World's' Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget in 2013 and in terms of its Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution Australia exceeded its “fair share” in 2011. The US used up its “fair share” in 2014 [11].

(e) The atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration is now 400 parts per million (ppm) and increasing at over 2ppm per year. Until recently the atmospheric CO2 concentration was in the range of 180-300 ppm for the last 800,000 years, fluctuations in this range giving rise to successive glacial and inter-glacial periods that imposed selection pressures upon evolving humanity. The average surface temperature is now +0.8C above that in 1900 and this has already been associated with major climate, weather and biological disruptions. Indeed the species extinction rate is now 100-1,000 timers greater than normal. Basically we know what the problem is (man-made GHG pollution) and how to solve it. Fundamentally, as enunciated by 300.org, we need to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentration to about 300 ppm for a safe planet for all peoples and all species [12]. Naomi Klein is on the board of directors of the otherwise laudable 350.org that urges a 350 ppm CO2 target but numerous climate scientists and biologist and science-informed activists demand a circa 300 ppm CO2 target to stop mass species extinction, to stop the loss of coral that commenced at 320 ppm CO2 and to restore and sustain Arctic summer sea ice [13].

(f) To achieve 300 ppm CO2 ASAP we must achieve (1) a change of societal philosophy to one of scientific risk management and biological sustainability with complete cessation of species extinctions and zero tolerance for lying; (2) an urgent reduction of atmospheric CO2 to a safe level of about 300 ppm as recommended by leading climate and biological scientists; and (3) a rapid switch to the best non-carbon and renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tide and hydro options that are currently roughly the same market price as coal burning-based power) and to energy efficiency, public transport, needs-based production, re-afforestation and return of carbon to soils as biochar (from anaerobic pyrolysis of cellulosic waste) and to the oceans as bicarbonate (from reaction of CO2 with carbonate from limestone through Accelerated Weathering of Limestone, AWL), with all of this coupled with correspondingly rapid cessation of fossil fuel burning, deforestation, methanogenic livestock production and population growth [12].

(g) To illustrate the scale of the problem facing the world, Carbon Tracker reports: “ Between 60-80% of coal, oil and gas reserves of publicly listed companies are ‘unburnable' if the world is to have a chance of not exceeding global warming of 2C. The total coal, oil and gas reserves listed on the world's stock exchanges equals 762 GtCO2 – approximately a quarter of the world's total reserves [i.e. of 4 x 762 Gt CO2 =3,048 Gt CO2]” [14, 15]. Furthermore, Professor Peter Wadhams of 90-Nobel-Laureate University Cambridge says that the Arctic Summer Sea Ice “is now on the point of collapse” and that 50 Gt C as methane (CH4) (i.e. 50 Gt C x 105 Gt CO2-e/ Gt C = 5,250 Gt CO2-e) will be released from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf in coming decades [12] . This means that the world's terminal Carbon Budget of 600 Gt CO2 that must not be exceeded for a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature rise will be exceeded by (a) 762 Gt CO2 of stock exchange-listed fossil fuel reserves, (b) 3,048 Gt CO2 of total fossil fuel reserves, and (c) 5,250 Gt CO2-e from methane release in the Arctic in coming decades.

Below is a succinct summary of Naomi Klein's “This changes everything” [with my comments informed by (a) to (g) above appended in square brackets]:

Introduction. “One way or another, everything changes”. In her Introduction Naomi Klein summarizes the seriousness of our predicament and the need for rapid and radical change to our economic system: “Indeed emissions are rising so rapidly that unless something radical changes within our economic structure, 2 degrees now looks like a utopian dream… Can we pull it off? All I know is that nothing is inevitable . Nothing except that climate change changes everything . And for a very brief time, the nature of that change is still up to us” ([1], pages 13 and 28). Buried in Naomi Klein's 566 page tome is the key reality that “We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe – and would benefit the vast majority – are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets” ([1}, page 18). [ While there's life there's hope but that hope is fragile because of evidence that 2C is inevitable (see (d) above) and the huge predicted exceedances of the world's terrninal Carbon Budget for a 75% probability of avoiding a 2C temperature rise (see (g) above). The Western democracies instead of having “one person one vote” have eroded to “one dollar one vote” Plutocracies, Murdochracies , Lobbyocracies and Cotporatocraces in which One Percenter Big Money purchases people, politicians, parties, policies, public perception of reality, votes and political power].

Chapter 1. “The Right is right. The revolutionary power of climate change”. Klein observes that “Many deniers are quite open about the fact that their distrust of the science grew out of the powerful fear that if climate change is real, the political implications would be catastrophic … I think these hard-core ideologues understand the real significance of climate change better than most of the “warmists” in the political center , the ones who are still insisting that the response can be gradual and painless and that we don't need to go to war with anybody, including the fossil fuel companies… the real reason we are failing to rise to the climate moment is because the actions required directly challenge our reigning economic paradigm (deregulated capitalism combined with public austerity)… [and] spell extinction for the richest and most powerful industry the world has ever known – the oil and gas industry)” ([1], pages 42, 43 and 63). [Naomi Klein is correct. Politicians who recognize the problem but who refuse to take requisite urgent action are effective climate change deniers. Indeed as summarized in (c) above, Naomi Klein's own 350.org for all its numerous merits ignores the reality that 350 ppm CO2 is insufficient and that 300 ppm CO2 is the correct target for a safe planet for all peoples and all species].

Chapter 2. “Hot Money. How free market fundamentalism helped over heat the planet”. Naomi Klein describes the world-wide triumph in recent decades of neoliberalism that demands maximal freedom for the smart and advantaged to exploit the world's human, biological and physical resources. [Melbourne philosopher Professor Brain Ellis in his book “Social Humanism. A New Metaphysics” has argued for an alternative to greedy and destructive neoliberalism, namely a humanity- and environment-respecting, social democratic social humanism or democratic socialism that involves evolving national and global contracts for maximizing human happiness and opportunity. Due to rampant neoliberalism the top One Percent own about half the world's wealth and the bottom 50% own about 1%. This obscene maldistribution has perverted democracy and is associated with 17 million deaths from deprivation each year [5] with the looming and worsening prospect of a 10 billion victim climate genocide this century [6]].

Chapter 3. “Public and paid for: overcoming ideological blocks in the next economy”. Naomi Klein argues for a bottom-up, locally-controlled, public interest, renewable energy sector (as now occurring in Germany) as opposed to the current One Percenter-controlled, dirty energy that is killing the planet. This transformation would be paid for by making polluters pay and through the abolition of corrupt fossil fuel subsidies. [However this ideal for the collective and environmental good requires a return to Democracy from the current Big Money-run Corporatocracy underpinned by massive Mainstream media lying].

Chapter 4. “Planning and banning: slapping the invisible hand, building a movement”. Naomi Klein sadly comments that “Free market ideology continues to suffocate the potential for climate action” ([1], page120) and describes how just at the time when both the economic crisis and Nature are warning us to adopt a rational system, greedy neoliberalism-driven One Percenter interests demand more of the same. [One could envisage popularly-driven change in the First World when too many First Worlders start dying. Thus the First World is still committed to greedy neoliberalism and suicidal GHG pollution as 17 million die avoidably from deprivation each year in the Developing World [5], 5 million from climate change or carbon burning pollution [4]. However when, for example, the appalling reality of 1.5 million American preventable deaths annually [16] finally gets through the Mainstream Media Wall of Silence, then there is some hope that the long-suffering American people will start to demand action, notably disempowerment of the greedy, merciless and traitorous One Percenters].

Chapter 5. “Beyond extractivism: confronting the denier within”. Naomi Klein details the case of the Pacific Island nation of Nauru as an example of rapacious extractivism in which nearly a century of phosphate mining for Australia left a moonscape and a tiny country that now earns money from overseas investments and by hosting appalling Australian concentration camps for refugees. Naomi Klein cites Rachel Carson's seminal early 1960s book “Silent Spring” and the early 1970s “The Limits to Growth” of the Club of Rome as critiques of thoughtless and non-sustainable exploitation of Nature. Man-made global warming from using the atmosphere and oceans as an industrial sewer now threatens Humanity and the Biosphere. Naomi Klein comments: “The Earth's capacity to absorb the filthy byproducts of global capitalism's voracious metabolism is maxing out” ([1], page 186). [A classic work detailing unsustainable exploitation is Jared Diamond's book “Collapse” [17] but this was not quoted by Naomi Klein].

Chapter 6. “Fruits not roots: the disastrous merger of Big Business and Big Green”. Naomi Klein gives the example of The Nature Conservancy “renowned for buying up ecologically important tracts of land and turning them into preserves” ([1], p192) buying up a huge tract of Texas from oil giant Mobil (now ExxonMobil) to preserve Attwater's prairie chicken. Unfortunately, The Nature Conservancy eventually started drilling for oil and gas itself on the land which now contains no Attwater's prairie chickens. Naomi Klein comments “The “market-based” climate solutions favored by so many large foundations and adopted by many greens have provided an invaluable service to the fossil fuel sector as a whole”. ([1], page 199). The moral compromise arises from funding by Big Business [Many examples can be given of typically well-funded Green groups being compromised and insufficiently “strong” (i.e. being “green-lite” ), this resulting in dangerous and counterproductive policies such as support for the disastrous coal-to-gas transition that locks in GHG pollution for decades (yet because methane can have a GWP 105 times greater than that of CO2, depending on the rate of gas leakage, gas burning can be dirtier GHG-wise than coal burning [18]) and support for fraudulent :market-based” cap-and-trade emissions trading scheme (ETS) approaches (that have been empirically unsuccessful, are accordingly counterproductive, invite gross market manipulation, and are utterly fraudulent in that they involve particular governments selling licence to pollute the one common atmosphere and ocean of all nations. In contrast, a transparent Carbon Tax on GHG pollution is an unambiguous way of making polluters pay for polluting the Earth and ending an effective $10 trillion per year subsidy or Carbon Debt for GHG pollution [19, 20]].

Chapter 7. “No messiahs: the Green Billionaires won't save us”. Naomi Klein describes how multi-billionaires and major GHG polluters have backed climate action schemes that avoid the clear imperative of cessation of GHG pollution. Thus Richard Branson backed biofuel (that contrary to industry propaganda carries a huge Carbon Debt), Warren Buffett made green noises but remains a major polluter, and Michael Bloomberg has backed a coal-to-gas transition (that is disastrously counterproductive). An insidious aspect explored in Chapter 6 is Big Money funding Big Green with a consequent “softening” of the Green agenda. A serious trend is Big Money (e.g. Bill Gates) and Big Polluter (e.g. Richard Branson) backing of “carbon sucking machines” as alternatives to the obvious imperative of cessation of GHG pollution. [In the West we have a situation of Big Polluter, Big Money, and Big Money-funded Big Green versus poorly-funded, science-informed Greens who back the clear imperatives of ceasing and reversing GHG pollution as set out in (f) above. Indeed even Naomi Klein's own well-funded and laudable 350.org organization ignores the reality that 350 ppm CO2 is insufficiently low and that 300 ppm CO2 is the correct atmospheric target for a safe planet for all peoples and all species. Further, non-scientist Naomi Klein incorrectly dismisses biochar as “controversial on a mass scale” ([1], page 245) and doesn't even mention trapping CO2 as bicarbonate through Accelerated Weathering of Limestone (AWL) even though these are the 2 major, established, workable means of actually reducing atmospheric CO2 to 350 ppm CO2 or, as required, to 300 ppm CO2 [7] ].

Chapter 8. “Dimming the sun: the solution to pollution is… pollution?” Naomi Klein provides an overview of growing corporate and scientific enthusiasm for geo-engineering as a “solution” to man-made global warming. Naomi Klein sensibly points out the key problem with, for example, global dimming through injecting sulphur dioxide (SO2) into the stratosphere and consequent formation of light-reflecting aerosols – if the global dimming geo-engineering system fails or has to be switched off because of unpredicted dangerous consequences (e.g. mass starvation due to monsoon failure) there will be an enormous increase in warming due to unaddressed accumulated CO2. [Clive Hamilton's negative attitude to geo-engineering is described by Naomi Klein as “most provocative” ([1], page 264) but his carefully argued book “Earth Masters. Playing God with the climate” [21] (praised by Naomi Klein on its back cover) is a cogent demolition of geo-engineering. Of course Big Polluters are already geo-engineering the world by increasing atmospheric CO2 (now 400 ppm CO2 as compared to the pre-Industrial Revolution 280 ppm CO2). Clive Hamilton makes the surprising point that Big Polluters are paradoxically becoming major backers not just of climate change denialism but also of geo-engineering (there are Big Bucks to be made either way by neoliberal climate criminals. Clive Hamilton contrasts the Promethians (after Prometheus, the Greek deity for technological mastery) and the Soterians (after Soteria, the Greek goddess for safety, preservation and deliverance from harm) i.e. in Naomi Klein's parlance the “extractivists” versus the “environmentalists” ].

Chapter 9. “Blockadia: the new climate warriors”. Naomi Klein outlines resolute and unyielding opposition around the world to despoilation of land by oil, coal and gas extraction, giving examples of communities in Canada, the US, France, Greece, Romania, Australia, Nigeria, and Ecuador. Naomi Klein: “The fossil fuel companies, in short, are no longer dealing with these Big Green groups that can be silenced with a generous donation or a conscience-clearing carbon offset program. The communities they are facing are, for the most part, not looking to negotiate a better deal – whether in the form of local jobs, higher royalties, or better safety standards. More and more these communities are simply saying “No.” No to the pipeline. No to Arctic drilling. No to the coal and oil trains. No to the heavy hauls. No to the export terminal. No to fracking. And not just “Not in My Back-Yard” but as the French anti-fracking activist say, “Ni ici, ni ailleurs” – neither here, nor elsewhere. In other words, no new carbon frontiers” ([1], page 335). [Whether rape of women or rape of the environment, “No” means “No”].

Chapter 10. “Love will save this planet: democracy, divestment, and the wins so far”. Naomi Klein recounts how communities around the world are resisting despoliation of their environment and water supply by fossil fuel extraction. Naomi Klein : “So often these battles seem to come to this stark choice: water vs. gas. Water vs. oil;. Water vs. coal. In fact, what has emerged in the movement against extreme extraction is less an anti-fossil fuels movement than a pro-water movement” ([1], page 344). Naomi Klein encapsulates the Divestment movement: “The divestment campaign is based on the idea – outlined so compellingly by Bill McKibben [of 350.org] – that anyone with a basic grasp of arithmetic can look at how much carbon the fossil fuel companies have in their reserves, subtract how much carbon scientists tell us we can emit and still keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, and conclude that the fossil fuel companies have every intention of pushing the planet beyond the boiling point” ([1], pages 353-354). [The point is powerfully made but of course the scientists are expressing this in probabilistic terms e.g. a 600 Gt CO2 Carbon Budget that must not be exceeded for a 75% chance of avoiding a 2 degree Centigrade temperature rise ([7]; see (d) and (g) above). Thus. the using the IPCC data-based Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator [22] we find that the Exceedance Probability for a 2C temperature rise with an equilibrium greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration of 450 ppm CO2-eq is 58.4% , and that if this were the annual probability of fatal flight accidents there would be 17,520,000 fatal flight accidents per year instead of 30 per year (the atmospheric GHG concentration in 2013 was 478 ppm CO2-e [23]). For details of successful Divestment campaigns see “Divest from fossil fuels” [15] ].

Chapter 11. You and what army? Indigenous Rights and the power of keeping our word”. In this fascinating chapter Naomi Klein points to the legal power of Treaties between the Indigenous Peoples of North America and the Anglo invaders and suggests that a combination of Indigenous Treaty Rights to enjoy an unpolluted hunting environment and non-Indigenous money and legal expertise may halt devastation by fossil fuel companies. However Naomi Klein points out that “ the call to Honour the Treaties needs to go a whole lot further than raising money for legal battlers. Non-Natives will have to become the treaty and land-sharing partners that our ancestors failed to be, making good on the full panoply of promises they made, from providing health care and education to creating economic opportunities that do not jeopardize the right to engage in traditional ways of life” )[1], page 387). [The Big Polluters are violating Indigenous lands in Australia where there are no Treaties and scant protection from miners, drillers and frackers through limited and circumscribed successful Indigenous Land Rights claims [24]].

Chapter 12. “Sharing the sky: the atmospheric commons and the power of paying our debts”. Naomi Klein discusses the concept of “Climate Debt” that recognizes the differential historical contribution of various countries to atmospheric GHG pollution and consequent differential moral and legal obligation [noting that the half-life for CO2 in the atmosphere is about 100 years] : “Developed countries, which represent less than 20 percent of the world's population, have emitted almost 70 percent of all the greenhouse gas pollution that is now destabilizing the climate” ([1], page 409). [Unfortunately, the climate criminal and effective climate change denialist government of Australia, a world leader in annual per capita GHG pollution and recently named as the worst-performing industrial country on climate change, ignores these notions of Climate Debt and per capita accountability, and on this basis is trying to sabotage the Lima Climate Change Conference just as previous Australian governments have helped sabotage all previous climate change conferences. An alternative expression of Climate Debt is Carbon Debt. Dr Chris Hope from 90-Nobel-Laureate Cambridge University has estimated a damage-related Carbon Price for effective climate change action of $150 per tonne CO2-equivalent. The US already has a 1751-2006 Historical Carbon Debt of 92.12 GtC or 92.12 Gt C x (3.67 Gt CO2-e/Gt C) = 338.0 Gt CO2-e . To this we can add 8 years x 10.3 Gt CO2-e /year = 82.4 Gt CO2-e to give a total US Carbon Debt of 338.0 + 82.4 = 420.4 Gt CO2-e, this corresponding to a Carbon Debt of 420.4 Gt CO2-e x $150/t CO2-e = $63,060 billion. The $3 billion Obama is offering to the Developing World for the Green Climate Fund is a derisory $3 billion x100/ $63,060 billion = 0.005% of the American Carbon Debt and $3 billion x100/ $1,545 billion =. 0.2% of the annual increase in the US Carbon Debt. The inescapable Carbon Debt cost for future generations to restore a safe planet for all peoples and all species - by reducing atmospheric CO2 concentration from the current dangerous and deadly 400 ppm CO2 to the previous safe 300 ppm CO2 maximum for the pre-Industrial Revolution last 1 million years - is now 1,400 Gt CO2 x $150 per tonne CO2 = $210 trillion and increasing by about $10 trillion each year [19]. This Carbon Debt must be repaid – individuals can go bankrupt but not Humanity as a whole. Thus, for example, if future sea walls are not constructed then towns, cities and indeed whole countries will be flooded].

Chapter 13. “The right to regenerate: moving from extraction to renewal”. In this penultimate chapter Naomi Klein takes us on a very moving personal journey in relation to her first child and the impact of industrial pollution on reproduction in wild nature (shades of Rachel Carson's “Silent Spring”): “Becoming a mother in an age of extinction brought the climate crisis into my heart in a new way… from here on, when we take, we must not only give back, but we must also take care” ” ([1], pages 419 and 448). [I became a committed environmentalist after reading Rachel Carson's “Silent Spring” as a Zoology and Chemistry undergraduate student at the University of Tasmania, an Australian island state of great beauty and ecological diversity where there is a passionate divide between committed exploiters of nature (neoliberal, Promethean “extractivists”) and the Soterian environmentalists who resolutely oppose the irreversible destruction of species and ecosystems on the basis that you cannot destroy what you cannot replace].

Conclusion. “The leap years: just enough time for impossible”. In the conclusion to this huge book, Naomi Klein considers – as all not quite despairing environmentalists do - the time when “societies suddenly decide they have had enough , defying all experts and forecasters”. Naomi Klein concludes “The real question is what progressive forces will make of that moment, the power and confidence with which it will be seized. Because these moments when the impossible seems suddenly possible are excruciatingly rare and precious. That means that more must be made of them. The next time one arises, it must be harnessed not only to denounce the world as it is, and build fleeting pockets of liberated space. It must be the catalyst to actually build the world that will keep us all safe. The stakes are simply too high, and the time too short, to settle for anything less” ([1], page 466). [As we agonize over environmental “tipping points” (already evidently reached in relation to total loss of Arctic summer sea ice in coming years and mass species extinction with a present rate 100-1,000 times greater than normal), we hope that these current tragedies will at some point inform a sociological “tipping point” in which people – and especially young people – will run into the streets and declare “We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore”. My money is on the money – that the key instigator of Naomi Klein's Green Revolution will be the World's Carbon Debt of about $200 trillion that is increasing at $10 trillion per year and which will inescapably have to be paid by young people and future generations. Climate Justice and Intergenerational Equity [19, 20] demand a radical change from terracidal neoliberal capitalism to sustainable economics and achievement of the social humanist ideal [25] of a safe planet for all peoples and all species dictated by a return of the atmosphere to about 300 ppm CO2 [13]].


“This Changes Everything. Capitalism vs. the Climate” by Naomi Klein is an important book that passionately describes the presently rather one-sided battle between the Big Polluter One Percenters who dominate our “one dollar one vote” Corporatocracies versus the Good Guys, the Soterian environmentalists trying to save Humanity and the Biosphere from a global warming catastrophe that is becoming progressively more and more likely in the absence of effective action.

Naomi Klein concludes with the hope of a “tipping point” for a Green Revolution – hopefully when it is not too late - “when societies suddenly decide they have had enough” ([1], page 464). Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity. Before that societal tipping point is reached for Naomi Klein's Green Revolution, science-informed people must (a) inform everyone they can about the worsening climate crisis, and (b) urge and apply comprehensive Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the terracidal politicians, parties, countries and corporations that are destroying a decent future for Humanity and what remains of the Earth's Biosphere.

  Read This Changes Everything. Capitalism vs. the Climate” by Naomi Klein - Green Socialist Revolution ASAP
 December 11, 2014
EU Demands Russia Bail Out EU & Ukraine
by Eric Zuesse, Countercurrents

EU Demands Russia Bail Out EU & Ukraine

By Eric Zuesse

11 December, 2014

IMF says Ukraine will be bankrupt ‘within weeks' and needs $15 billion more for war against eastern Ukraine; EU threatens Russia with more sanctions if Russia lets Ukraine go bankrupt; EU will lose billions on Ukraine if Russia won't bail them out.

The details are here and here.

And here's the back-story to that:

Mark Adomanis of Forbes is the clearest and most honest writer in the West about Ukraine's financial situation, though he propagandizes constantly against Russia just like all the rest of the West's aristocracy-paid ‘reporters' do (and must do, in order to keep their jobs). He wrote on 15 April 2014, that, “when it bought $3 billion worth of [Ukrainian Government] bonds at the end of 2013 Russia inserted a clause that stipulates that the total volume of Ukrainian state-guaranteed debt cannot exceed 60% of its annual GDP. If that threshold is breached, Russia can legally demand repayments on an accelerated schedule. Given the parlous state of the Ukrainian economy and its government's extremely weak finances, this essentially means that if Ukraine's debt exceeds 60% of its GDP Russia can legally force it to default.”

Ukraine's foreign debt has soared above that $60 billion limit, because of a demand that the IMF placed upon its $17 billion loan on 1 May 2014, namely that Ukraine eliminate or otherwise crush the people in the area of Ukraine where the public had voted 90% for the pro-Russian Ukrainian President whom Obama had overthrown on February 22nd. The way that CNBC headlined it on May 1st, the day before pro-Government thugs massacred this new Government's resistors at the Trade Unions Building in Odessa and so started the program to exterminate the residents of that region, was “IMF Warns Ukraine on Bailout if It Loses East.” What that meant was that, without the gas-fields and the other assets in the east, the Ukrainian Government wouldn't have valuable-enough assets to sell off or “privatize” so as to be able to make good on the IMF's $17 billion loan to Ukraine, and taxpayers in the U.S. and Europe would then need to absorb losses on those loans; so, the Ukrainian Government needed to follow-through and exterminate those people in order for the loans to keep coming. The aristocrats want to control their land, not the people on it. The residents are just an obstruction. This money was loaned by the IMF in order to enable Western corporations (mainly Big Oil and Big Ag and Big Military) to take over Ukraine. For examples: the residents in the areas that are being bombed did not want fracking there, and did not want a NATO missile base there.

In addition, the EU itself loaned the Ukrainian Government a further half-billion-euros on December 10th, at the way-below-market interest-rate of only 1.375% for 15 years. This money is being given away by EU taxpayers, and the interest-rate has become almost irrelevant, because it's now absolutely clear that even the principal won't be able to be repaid. Both the U.S. and Europe are investing heavily in this extermination-campaign, but taxpayers are paying for it; the aristocratic potential beneficiaries are not — so, they don't care about those losses to the taxpaying public. But, they want to blame “Putin” for the inevitable losses to taxpayers, and that's what the new PR campaign against Russia is really all about. The West's aristocrats want to destroy Russia, and want Russia to get the blame for everything along that rocky road.

So, now Russia is not only being blamed for supporting the residents whom Western aristocrats want to exterminate, but the propagandists for western aristocracies are already starting to blame Russia for not bailing out Western taxpayers — the people who will be absorbing the losses no matter what, even if aristocrats' business-bets on Ukraine score those ‘entrepreneurs' a few gains.

Few people are stupid enough to think that Russia will bail out the West for its aggression against Russia and against Ukraine's ethnic Russians. However, the propaganda-campaign to blame Russia for Ukraine's coming economic collapse is already well under way.

The Western ‘news' media don't lose their audiences even when their ‘news reports' blame Russia's leader Vladimir Putin for the hundreds of thousands of southeastern Ukrainians who have been fleeing into Russia, to escape the Western-sponsored ethnic-cleansing against them. Thus, for example, on December 9th, The New York Times bannered “Driving Ukrainians into Putin's Arms” and opened by ‘reporting' that:

“A recent United Nations report says that nearly half a million Ukrainians have fled the country since April.

The fact that families run from a war zone is heartbreaking but hardly unexpected. The disturbing part lies in the details — of the roughly 454,000 people who had fled Ukraine by the end of October, more than 387,000 went to Russia.

Most of those who fled were Russian speakers from the east, but this still raises a sobering question: If this is a conflict between Ukraine and Russia, why did so many Ukrainians choose to cast their lot with the enemy?”

The ‘reporter' shows his ‘independence' from Washington by denying a statement he alleges to Washington but that the Administration isn't even asserting:

“Mr. Putin and the Russian news media say that western Ukrainians in Mr. Poroshenko's government are neo-Nazis. The West denies these claims, averring that there are no neo-Nazi elements in the Kiev government. [But even Victoria Nuland did not deny that some ‘neo-Nazis' helped bring the new Ukrainian Government to power, and she was never even asked whether some members of that Government are nazi; this ‘reporter' is lying.] Both are wrong. The Kiev government and the armies fighting in eastern Ukraine contain a small minority of neo-Nazi ultranationalists.

To eastern Ukrainians, however, even one is too many.”

Actually, however, that Government is run by nazis; and the residents in Ukraine's southeast are fleeing into Russia (or “Putin's Arms”) in order to escape from them.

Why do people subscribe to lying ‘news'papers, even ones (such as the NYT) that were similarly stenographers for George W. Bush's lies about “Saddam's WMD” and “Saddam's support for Al Qaeda”?

When will the consumer-boycott against America's lying press begin? Or do the American people still trust them — and, if so, then why, and how long will that trust go on?

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

  Read EU Demands Russia Bail Out EU & Ukraine
 December 14, 2014
Embracing The Specter Of Systemic Collapse
by Tristan A. Shaw, Countercurrents

Let us evaluate our collective despondency as activists (the categorical minority of those who care) attempting to sustain the existence of human life. We think our role is defined by the perpetual struggle against imperial empire and capitalism – that the elite class must be vanquished through repeated protests and social organization. But limited is our mental landscapes, for their does exist an unrecognized alternative out of which our efforts will culminate great impact and change.Its essence can be discovered within your latent potential as a spiritual being, an inscribed message from our ancient past.

Awakening to this extraordinary realization – of intrinsic human wisdom – sets in motion an organic process of personal transformation. It unravels from a sacred seed of timeless beauty, spoken to by all great movements of old. And once this seed is implanted within your consciousness, you recognize the vital philosophical error in externalizing moral culpability and blame. That we, as those who care, are the only ones who cultch in our hands the destiny of human life, not the elite and its corporations. Our actions comprise the future, our behavior determines the outcome of the human experiment on planet Earth, no one elses.

Protesting the excesses of the system, although important, is not the ultimate demonstration of alternative avenues of being, as liberals believe. The system will inevitably buckle under its own weight of hubris and stupidity. Even if all protests were completely successful, if Wall Street capitulates and the Albertan tar sands is left in the ground, our global dissonance of systemic darkness would surely persist. It is a fight against the symptoms of disorder and does not strike at the root-cause of illness. Indeed, the collapse of industrial civilization is an irrevocable reality that must be assimilated into our reckoning. All endeavours to sustain our current system, through faith in modern science or some sanguine hope in a mass awakening, will, in the end, only deepen our philosophical apathy.

But there are those among us who are demonstrating the Gandhian method of “becoming the change you want to see in the world.” They access a higher octave of mind by harmonizing the creative intelligence between Heaven and Earth, Fire and Water, Male and Female, Logic and Intuition. They understand that our institutional conditioning is designed to unbalance mind with the discord of hypermasculinity – left-brained instrumental rationality. Thus, the justification of the entire system is made possible. Patriarchy is the ultimate perversion of nature, and its result is the elevation of those who can best exploit, manipulate, and dominate others. It describes how we all operate within the modern epoch: we serve the idea of linear time, of a virulent professionalism, individual self-promotion and a blind faith in the presupposition of belief. We organize our whole realities to suit this gross fabrication, this deluded worship of the Male polarity. Because when you can effectively bring those two polar dimensions into equilibrium, by virtue of nature’s perfection, we break through our imposed mental confines, our imposed intellectual prison, and instantaneously become the living, breathing solution to all our ills.

The intelligence of the human heart, spoken to by so many, becomes palpable, and therefore we begin to “feel” the travesties of modern materialism. Nihilism is the engine that compels the masses toward perpetual consumption and blind subservience; inner harmony rejects this endless pursuit to fill a spiritual void. No more searching for answers, like how to bring about external revolution, for the answer lies only within. From the Emerald Tablets of Thoth:


“Seek ye forever in the veil of the darkness,

somewhere ye shall surely find Light.

Hidden and buried, lost to man's knowledge,

deep in the finite the Infinite exists.

Lost, but existing, flowing through all things,

living in ALL is the INFINITE BRAIN.

In all space, there is only ONE wisdom.”


“Turn thy thoughts inward not outward.

Find thou the Light-Soul within.

Know that thou art the MASTER.

All else is brought from within.

Grow thou to realms of brightness.

Hold thou thy thought on the Light.”

Thus, the corruption of liberal thought, and the mainstream scientific world at large, is made evident. We saturate our day-to-day lives in a constant repetition of liberal analyses, the same old monolithic approach to current affairs. An ancient principle of philosophy is that one must be challenged by a plural contrast of honest thinkers. That we all ascend within an infinite degree of spiritual development, and therefore, to truly illuminate Truth, discourse must seek to challenge and question the honest difference between intellectuals. This eviscerates blind subservience to an institutionally crafted, socially perceived ideal (what I call the liberal method). And if we accept the premise that it is only our group of committed, caring activists who can determine the human outcome through irrevocable collapse, what analytical value does someone like Noam Chomsky provide? If we really do seek a pragmatic articulation of our current purpose, how does Russell Brand challenge our perception? Or does someone like Chris Hedges repeat to us a kind of liberal sloganeering against capitalism and its elite that is already overwhelmingly unambiguous and clear? We cannot seek to enlighten the benighted hide of mass human ignorance (those who do not care), for such an attempt will always fail. Hence, liberal thinking actually restricts our psychologies; it doesn’t challenge us in any form. By externalizing the moral responsibility of our crisis we ignore the ancient truths that speak to us from the depths of history.

Michael Parenti has long challenged the limitations of liberal analysis. They have been called the “liberal gatekeepers,” a name denoting their function as institutional guardians of the system. They call on us to look at the implicit effects of capitalism and elite control, but ostracize those who involve conspiracy within their thinking. Noam Chomsky tells us that nano thermite found within building 7’s rubble is meaningless to anyone who isn’t a professional (that is, institutional) engineer or physicist. He sidesteps the issue, as all liberals do, by blindly adhering to formal structures of institutional power. We are taught not to question these professional fiefdoms of knowledge, these hyper-specialized disciplines, for if we cross that invisible line we breach established parameters of permissible thought and challenge the very basis of our hierarchical system. Philosophy, as an art, is inter-disciplinary. It seeks the attainment of existential relevance by unifying fields of knowledge – a holistic approach lost to the institutional methodology.

Free your Self’s from the prevailing darkness of disease. Realize the pathologies that pervade our dialect. Be fooled and pacified no longer. Despite what a textbook or modern writer may tell you, there are super-essential qualities underlying the manifestation of the material universe: there does exist both immutable and mutable forces within the cosmos. This is naturally apprehensable to a purity of intuitive-reason, that deep within the Eternal Present Moment, the self-emergent awakening of human consciousness is unveiled. The universal intelligence of Spirit, spoked to by Einstein, reveals the absolute beauty of natural law, of divine wisdom. Harmony is achieved when the higher mind, the higher Self, is activated through reconciling the infinite with the finite, the absolute with the relative, spirit with matter, soul with body, Heaven with Earth, micro with macro, and so on. We have not outgrown the usefulness of philosophy in a technological age, we have merely regimented and repressed its intrinsic value ... because it competes with the way in which we all think and behave.

So let it be known once again: carnal desire is the manifestation of sickness within the human condition. Whether that desire be for material objects, the accretion of financial wealth, or prestige, or, more subtly, for the implementation of some conceptual ideal through external revolution. Know this above all else to be true: that all human discontent stems from the same frequency of imbalance. The Buddhist articulation of enlightenment through “nirvana” is a recognition of naked Truth preeminent within nature’s perfection, a recognition of the larger cosmic beauty that compels humility and appreciation. We all have the capacity to channel this sacred impulse, this transcendent state of mind, if we could only extinguish the inordinate noise of Western culture.

Conditioned to flee from our moments of silence, we are taught to replace the tranquility of emptiness with things, to distract ourselves from ourselves. But deep within these fleeting moments of silence, of what has been called ‘secret Silence’ or ‘Divine Darkness’, deep within this ‘no-thingness’ state of mind, lies the golden key that may open the many doors of awakening. “Know thyself and ye shall know the universe.”


We all stand upon the cusp of modernity’s complete annihilation – a global breakdown of such magnitude that the very existence of our species is challenged. The questions are yet to be answered: does the human race have the capacity to overcome its spiritual impoverishment? Will we employ the necessary moral codes that will ensure the maintenance of our species? Can each one of us consummate the radical transformation of consciousness that will spawn a new narrative throughout the world? Or will the human race descend into collective barbarity and primitivism? Human destiny will unfold according to our ability (not the elite’s or the mass’s) to implement spiritual awakening, to demonstrate the only pragmatic solution, the only pragmatic alternative, to the virulent mutation of modern culture.

So ... the solution, dear brothers and sisters, is not found within the battle between rich and poor. It is not found within any particular protest or ideology. It does not concern itself with the plethora of rational treatise that outline an ideal state and society. It is not measured by the accumulation of ammunition or of Heinz beans. Free yourselves from confusion! The sanctity of Spirit, silently awaiting our recognition, is impervious to such mortal scheming.

Instead: to successfully vanquish the great seismic implosion of industrial civilization, of complete and utter systemic breakdown, to carry our kind through the impending chaos and mass panic, we must (each and every one of us) ground ourselves to the universal wisdom that defines our potential for greatness as a species. We must unlock our beauty as divine beings. From predynastic Egypt to the Renaissance, all human artistic and philosophical achievements point to this one great eternal truth: we are all divine beings endued with the creative intelligence to determine our fate through time. So just remember: spiritual power is infinitely larger than all the world’s financial and military power combined. Once this sacred seed sprouts within your consciousness, when you awaken to your intrinsic human wisdom and reharmonize your body with Spirit, reality will transform itself into something so joyful and awe-inspiring (so beautiful and happy!) that the cosmos becomes one perfect, harmonic symphony emanating the pure light of compassion and love.

The collapse of modernity is not such a problem after all. In fact, it is the solution!

Tristan A. Shaw is a young writer residing on an island off the West coast of Canada. He may be reached at "tristanshw@gmail.com".

  Read Embracing The Specter Of Systemic Collapse
 December 15, 2014
'A Roadmap To Global Burning': COP20 Closes With Even Weaker Climate Pact
by Lauren McCauley, CommonDreams.org, Countercurrents

After two weeks of negotiations, the world community has yet again failed to take any meaningful actions to prevent landmark global warming and instead has produced a "roadmap to global burning," leading climate campaigners lamented upon the close of the United Nations COP20 climate talks in Lima, Peru on Sunday.

In the wee hours of the morning, two days past the intended close of the conference, delegates from 195 nations cemented the text intended to serve as the building blocks for the next round of international climate negotiations in Paris next year.

Under the adopted text, named the Lima Call for Climate Action, governments will submit plans for how their country intends to reign in emissions by the "informal" deadline of March 31, 2015.

However, according to RTCC journalist Ed King, reporting from Lima, nations "will not be compelled to offer up front information explaining how their national plans are fair or ambitious, nor will they face any rigorous assessment process ahead of the Paris summit."

"Instead," King notes, "the UN will deliver its own analysis on the 'aggregate effect' of all pledges by November 1, a month before talks in the French capital commence."

Environmentalists warn that these individual pledges, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), will likely be too week to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, beyond which scientists say increasingly severe heatwaves, rainfall, flooding and rising sea levels will likely occur.

Responding to the deal, Pablo Solon, former Bolivian ambassador and current director of the activist think tank Focus on the Global South, wrote that the COP20 outcome is "unacceptable for the people and Mother Earth and represents a roadmap to global burning in COP21 in Paris."

"We are on a path to three or four degrees with this outcome," Tasneem Essop, international climate strategist for World Wildlife Fund, told the Guardian's Suzanne Goldberg after reviewing the final draft text on Saturday.

"We are really unhappy about the weakening of the text," Essop continued. "This gives us no level of comfort that we will be able to close the emissions gap to get emissions to peak before 2020."

And Saleemul Huq, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development, agreed: "It sucks. It is taking us backwards."

The pact, for the first time, also lays out a commitment for all countries to lower their greenhouse gas emissions, despite the fact that developing nations have repeatedly called on richer countries to take the lead in tackling emissions because of their outsized contribution to global warming.

"Once again poorer nations have been bullied by the industrialized world into accepting an outcome which leaves many of their citizens facing the grim prospect of catastrophic climate change," said Friends of the Earth’s International climate campaigner Asad Rehman in a statement on the pact. "The only thing these talks have achieved is to reduce the chances of a fair and effective agreement to tackle climate change in Paris next year."

"Countries have failed to represent the interests of their people in these negotiations," said Niranjali Amerasinghe, Director of the Climate & Energy Program at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). Amerasinghe said that the failure of the negotiators to set concrete milestones for emissions levels and specify how developed countries will support mitigation and adaption actions in developing countries leaves the world at great risk. "The decision they adopted is empty and does not come close to the ambition required to deal with the climate crisis. It is unacceptable."

Environmental groups did note one silver lining included in the text, which is a provision that leaves open the possibility of setting a goal of zero net global emissions by 2100, which 350.org communications director Jamie Henn said is a "win for the fossil fuel divestment movement." However, Henn added that action on that front "must begin now, not after decades of delay."

While government negotiators dithered until 3 AM, civil society and climate justice groups protested outside the conference chanting: "No justice? No deal!"

  Read A Roadmap To Global Burning: COP20 Closes With Even Weaker Climate Pact
 December 18, 2014
Ukrainian Soldier Confirms: Ukraine's Military Shot Down Malaysian MH17 Plane
by Eric Zuesse , Countercurrents

A Ukrainian soldier who was part of the crew that operated the supposed missile-battery that the Ukrainian Government claims shot down the Malaysian MH17 airliner on July 17th has testified publicly for the first time, saying that the missile-battery was operated by the Ukrainian military, not by the rebels as asserted, and that he and his former crew-mates who operated it laughed when they heard their Government say that this missile-battery was operated by rebels and had shot the airliner down.

An English-translated transcript of the December 15th Russian-language interview with this soldier was posted at UkraineWar.Info on December 17th by Michael Collins, an investigative journalist with UkraineWar.Info who has been following very closely the multiple investigations that are proceeding into the cause of the downing.

This testimony confirms the accumulating prior, already overwhelming and even-more-convincing evidence, which is linked to in my latest article on the topic, here, all of which evidence indicates that either one or else two Ukrainian fighter-jets intentionally shot this airliner down — that it was not an error by rebels who had mis-identified this airliner as being a bomber from the Ukrainian Government, such as the Ukrainian Government and its sponsor the U.S. Government claim.

Regarding the reason why the Ukrainian Government did this, it, too, is clear: U.S. President Obama needed a startling incident in order to obtain from the EU and other U.S.-allied nations their participation in heavily increased economic sanctions to weaken Russia. As soon as this plane was downed, both the Ukrainian Government and the Obama Administration claimed that they possessed convincing proof that it had been downed by pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine's former southeast. All U.S. allies got on board with that and agreed to hiked sanctions against Russia.

This “false flag” event (as such government fakeries are called in the intelligence communities) succeeded, just as did Hitler's burning down the Reichstag and blaming it on leftists, which was the event that enabled him to seize total power in Germany.

THIS JUST IN (3:21PM Eastern time in U.S.) from Michael Collins: “George [Eliason, a third member of our team at UkraineWar.Info, and a resident inside the conflict-zone] says that due to the pub from the article, the ukraine govt took down their ‘damning' pic of BUK 312 today and that the reporter who did the interview is underground and fleeing the country.”

So, the reason why Ukrainians are reluctant to go public about their lying Government is obvious. And, all of the ‘news' media there are owned by Ukrainian, or, in some cases, by American, oligarchs. (The American ones do it through ‘nonprofit' foundations they create, which are co-funded by the American Government. The U.S. oligarch then gets tax-write-offs, plus co-funding by U.S. taxpayers, to save him still more money on his scheme.)

  Read  Ukrainian Soldier Confirms: Ukraine's Military Shot Down Malaysian MH17 Plane
 November 17, 2014
Russia and China Are Teaming Up as the World's New Power Elite
by Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, AlterNet
Russia and China Are Teaming Up as the World's New Power Elite

If there were any remaining doubts about the unlimited stupidity Western corporate media is capable of dishing out, the highlight of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing has been defined as Russian President Vladimir Putin supposedly “hitting” on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s wife – and the subsequent Chinese censoring of the moment when Putin draped a shawl over her shoulders in the cold air where the leaders were assembled. What next? Putin and Xi denounced as a gay couple?Let’s dump the clowns and get down to the serious business. Right at the start, President Xi urged APEC to “add firewood to the fire of the Asia-Pacific and world economy”. Two days later, China got what it wanted on all fronts.

1) Beijing had all 21 APEC member-nations endorsing the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) – the Chinese vision of an “all inclusive, all-win” trade deal capable of advancing Asia-Pacific cooperation – see South China Morning Post (paywall). The loser was the US-driven, corporate-redacted, fiercely opposed (especially by Japan and Malaysia) 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). [See also here].

2) Beijing advanced its blueprint for “all-round connectivity” (in Xi’s words) across Asia-Pacific – which implies a multi-pronged strategy. One of its key features is the implementation of the Beijing-based US$50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. That’s China’s response to Washington refusing to give it a more representative voice at the International Monetary Fund than the current, paltry 3.8% of votes (a smaller percentage than the 4.5% held by stagnated France).

3) Beijing and Moscow committed to a second gas mega-deal – this one through the Altai pipeline in Western Siberia – after the initial “Power of Siberia” mega-deal clinched last May.

4) Beijing announced the funneling of no less than US$40 billion to start building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Predictably, once again, this vertiginous flurry of deals and investment had to converge towards the most spectacular, ambitious, wide-ranging plurinational infrastructure offensive ever attempted: the multiple New Silk Roads – that complex network of high-speed rail, pipelines, ports, fiber optic cables and state of the art telecom that China is already building across the Central Asian stans, linked to Russia, Iran, Turkey and the Indian Ocean, and branching out to Europe all the way to Venice, Rotterdam, Duisburg and Berlin.Now imagine the paralyzed terror of the Washington/Wall Street elites as they stare at Beijing interlinking Xi’s “Asia-Pacific Dream” way beyond East Asia towards all-out, pan-Eurasia trade – with the center being, what else, the Middle Kingdom; a near future Eurasia as a massive Chinese Silk Belt with, in selected latitudes, a sort of development condominium with Russia.

Vlad doesn’t do stupid stuff

As for “Don Juan” Putin, everything one needs to know about Asia-Pacific as a Russian strategic/economic priority was distilled in his intervention at the APEC CEO summit.

This was in fact an economic update of his by now notorious speech at the Valdai Club meeting in Sochi in October, followed by a wide-ranging Q&A, which was also duly ignored by Western corporate media (or spun as yet more “aggression”).The Kremlin has conclusively established that Washington/Wall Street elites have absolutely no intention of allowing a minimum of multipolarity in international relations. What’s left is chaos.

There’s no question that Moscow pivoting away from the West and towards East Asia is a process directly influenced by President Barack Obama’s self-described “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” foreign policy doctrine, a formula he came up with aboard Air Force One when coming back last April from a trip to – where else – Asia.

But the Russia-China symbiosis/strategic partnership is developing in multiple levels.

On energy, Russia is turning east because that’s where top demand is. On finance, Moscow ended the pegging of the rouble to the US dollar and euro; not surprisingly the US dollar instantly – if only briefly – dropped against the rouble. Russian bank VTB announced it may leave the London Stock Exchange for Shanghai’s – which is about to become directly linked to Hong Kong. And Hong Kong, for its part, is already  attracting Russian energy giants.

Now mix all these key developments with the massive yuan-rouble energy double deal, and the picture is clear; Russia is actively protecting itself from speculative/politically motivated Western attacks against its currency.

The Russia-China symbiosis/strategic partnership visibly expands on energy, finance and, also inevitably, on the military technology front. That includes, crucially, Moscow selling Beijing the S-400 air defense system and, in the future, the S-500 – against which the Americans are sitting ducks; and this while Beijing develops surface-to-ship missiles that can take out everything the US Navy can muster.

Anyway, at APEC, Xi and Obama at least agreed to establish a mutual reporting mechanism on major military operations. That might – and the operative word is “might” – prevent an East Asia replica of relentless NATO-style whining of the “Russia has invaded Ukraine!” kind.

Freak out, neo-cons

When Little Dubya Bush came to power in early 2001, the neo-cons were faced with a stark fact: it was just a matter of time before the US would irreversibly lose its global geopolitical and economic hegemony. So there were only two choices; either manage the decline, or bet the whole farm to consolidate global hegemony using – what else – war.We all know about the wishful thinking enveloping the “low-cost” war on Iraq – from Paul Wolfowitz’s “We are the new OPEC” to the fantasy of Washington being able to decisively intimidate all potential challengers, the EU, Russia and China.

And we all know how it went spectacularly wrong. Even as that trillionaire adventure, as Minqi Li analyzed in The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy, “has squandered US imperialism’s remaining space for strategic maneuver”, the humanitarian imperialists of the Obama administration still have not given up, refusing to admit the US has lost any ability to provide any meaningful solution to the current, as Immanuel Wallerstein would define it, world-system.

There are sporadic signs of intelligent geopolitical life in US academia, such as this at the Wilson Center website (although Russia and China are not a “challenge” to a supposed world “order”: their partnership is actually geared to create some order among the chaos.)

And yet this opinion piece at USNews is the kind of stuff passing for academic “analysis” in US media.

On top of it, Washington/Wall Street elites – through their myopic Think Tankland – still cling to mythical platitudes such as the “historical” US role as arbiter of modern Asia and key balancer of power.

So no wonder public opinion in the US – and Western Europe – cannot even imagine the earth-shattering impact the New Silk Roads will have in the geopolitics of the young 21st century.

Washington/Wall Street elites – talk about Cold War hubris – always took for granted that Beijing and Moscow would be totally apart. Now puzzlement prevails. Note how the Obama administration’s “pivoting to Asia” has been completely erased from the narrative – after Beijing identified it for what it is: a warlike provocation. The new meme is “rebalance”.

German businesses, for their part, are absolutely going bonkers with Xi’s New Silk Roads uniting Beijing to Berlin – crucially via Moscow. German politicians sooner rather than later will have to get the message.

All this will be discussed behind closed doors this weekend at key meetings on the sidelines of the Group of 20 in Australia. The Russia-China-Germany alliance-in-the-making will be there. The BRICS, crisis or no crisis, will be there. All the players in the G-20 actively working for a multipolar world will be there.

APEC once again has shown that the more geopolitics change, the more it won’t stay the same; as the exceptional dogs of war, inequality and divide and rule keep barking, the China-Russia pan-Eurasian caravan will keep going, going, going – further on down the (multipolar) road.

This essay originally appeared on Asia Times.

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His latest book is "Obama Does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009)." He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

  Read Russia and China Are Teaming Up as the World's New Power Elite
 December 16, 2014
How China Is Transforming the World
by Pepe Escobar,TomDispatch, AlterNet
How China Is Transforming the World

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

November 18, 2014: it’s a day that should live forever in history. On that day, in the city of Yiwu in China’s Zhejiang province, 300 kilometers south of Shanghai, the first train carrying 82 containers of export goods weighing more than 1,000 tons left a massive warehouse complex heading for Madrid. It arrived on December 9th.

Welcome to the new trans-Eurasia choo-choo train.  At over 13,000 kilometers, it will regularly traverse the longest freight train route in the world, 40% farther than the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway. Its cargo will cross China from East to West, then Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, France, and finally Spain.

You may not have the faintest idea where Yiwu is, but businessmen plying their trades across Eurasia, especially from the Arab world, are already hooked on the city “where amazing happens!” We're talking about the largest wholesale center for small-sized consumer goods -- from clothes to toys -- possibly anywhere on Earth.

The Yiwu-Madrid route across Eurasia represents the beginning of a set of game-changing developments. It will be an efficient logistics channel of incredible length. It will represent geopolitics with a human touch, knitting together small traders and huge markets across a vast landmass. It’s already a graphic example of Eurasian integration on the go. And most of all, it’s the first building block on China’s “New Silk Road,” conceivably the project of the new century and undoubtedly the greatest trade story in the world for the next decade.

Go west, young Han. One day, if everything happens according to plan (and according to the dreams of China’s leaders), all this will be yours -- via high-speed rail, no less.  The trip from China to Europe will be a two-day affair, not the 21 days of the present moment. In fact, as that freight train left Yiwu, the D8602 bullet train was leaving Urumqi in Xinjiang Province, heading for Hami in China’s far west. That’s the first high-speed railway built in Xinjiang, and more like it will be coming soon across China at what is likely to prove dizzying speed.

Today, 90% of the global container trade still travels by ocean, and that’s what Beijing plans to change.  Its embryonic, still relatively slow New Silk Road represents its first breakthrough in what is bound to be an overland trans-continental container trade revolution.

And with it will go a basket of future “win-win” deals, including lower transportation costs, the expansion of Chinese construction companies ever further into the Central Asian “stans,” as well as into Europe, an easier and faster way to move uranium and rare metals from Central Asia elsewhere, and the opening of myriad new markets harboring hundreds of millions of people.

So if Washington is intent on “pivoting to Asia,” China has its own plan in mind.  Think of it as a pirouette to Europe across Eurasia.

Defecting to the East?

The speed with which all of this is happening is staggering. Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the New Silk Road Economic Belt in Astana, Kazakhstan, in September 2013. One month later, while in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, he announced a twenty-first-century Maritime Silk Road. Beijing defines the overall concept behind its planning as “one road and one belt,” when what it’s actually thinking about is a boggling maze of prospective roads, rail lines, sea lanes, and belts.

We’re talking about a national strategy that aims to draw on the historical aura of the ancient Silk Road, which bridged and connected civilizations, east and west, while creating the basis for a vast set of interlocked pan-Eurasian economic cooperation zones.  Already the Chinese leadership has green-lighted a $40 billion infrastructure fund, overseen by the China Development Bank, to build roads, high-speed rail lines, and energy pipelines in assorted Chinese provinces. The fund will sooner or later expand to cover projects in South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and parts of Europe. But Central Asia is the key immediate target.

Chinese companies will be investing in, and bidding for contracts in, dozens of countries along those planned silk roads. After three decades of development while sucking up foreign investment at breakneck speed, China’s strategy is now to let its own capital flow to its neighbors. It’s already clinched $30 billion in contracts with Kazakhstan and $15 billion with Uzbekistan. It has provided Turkmenistan with $8 billion in loans and a billion more has gone to Tajikistan.

In 2013, relations with Kyrgyzstan were upgraded to what the Chinese term “strategic level.” China is already the largest trading partner for all of them except Uzbekistan and, though the former Central Asian socialist republics of the Soviet Union are still tied to Russia’s network of energy pipelines, China is at work there, too, creating its own version of Pipelineistan, including anew gas pipeline to Turkmenistan, with more to come.

The competition among Chinese provinces for much of this business and the infrastructure that goes with it will be fierce. Xinjiang is already being reconfigured by Beijing as a key hub in its new Eurasian network. In early November 2014, Guangdong -- the “factory of the world” -- hosted the first international expo for the country’s Maritime Silk Road and representatives of no less than 42 countries attended the party.

President Xi himself is now enthusiastically selling his home province, Shaanxi, which once harbored the start of the historic Silk Road in Xian, as a twenty-first-century transportation hub. He’s made his New Silk Road pitch for it to, among others, Tajikistan, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, and Afghanistan.

Just like the historic Silk Road, the new one has to be thought of in the plural.  Imagine it as a future branching maze of roads, rail lines, and pipelines. A key stretch is going to run through Central Asia, Iran, and Turkey, with Istanbul as a crossroads site. Iran and Central Asia are alreadyactively promoting their own connections to it. Another key stretch will follow the Trans-Siberian Railway with Moscow as a key node. Once that trans-Siberian high-speed rail remix is completed, travel time between Beijing and Moscow will plunge from the current six and a half days to only 33 hours. In the end, Rotterdam, Duisburg, and Berlin could all be nodes on this future “highway” and German business execs are enthusiastic about the prospect.

The Maritime Silk Road will start in Guangdong province en route to the Malacca Strait, the Indian Ocean, the Horn of Africa, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, ending essentially in Venice, which would be poetic justice indeed.  Think of it as Marco Polo in reverse.

All of this is slated to be completed by 2025, providing China with the kind of future “soft power” that it now sorely lacks. When President Xi hails the push to “break the connectivity bottleneck” across Asia, he’s also promising Chinese credit to a wide range of countries.

Now, mix the Silk Road strategy with heightened cooperation among the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), with accelerated cooperation among the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), with a more influential Chinese role over the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) -- no wonder there's the perception across the Global South that, while the U.S. remains embroiled in its endless wars, the world is defecting to the East.

New Banks and New Dreams

The recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing was certainly a Chinese success story, but the bigger APEC story went virtually unreported in the United States.  Twenty-two Asian countries approved the creation of an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) only one year after Xi initially proposed it. This is to be yet another bank, like the BRICS Development Bank, that will help finance projects in energy, telecommunications, and transportation.  Its initial capital will be $50 billion and China and India will be its main shareholders.

Consider its establishment a Sino-Indian response to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), founded in 1966 under the aegis of the World Bank and considered by most of the world as a stalking horse for the Washington consensus. When China and India insist that the new bank’s loans will be made on the basis of “justice, equity, and transparency,” they mean that to be in stark contrast to the ADB (which remains a U.S.-Japan affair with those two countries contributing 31% of its capital and holding 25% of its voting power) -- and a sign of a coming new order in Asia.  In addition, at a purely practical level, the ADB won’t finance the real needs of the Asian infrastructure push that the Chinese leadership is dreaming about, which is why the AIIB is going to come in so handy.

Keep in mind that China is already the top trading partner for India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.  It’s in second place when it comes to Sri Lanka and Nepal.  It’s number one again when it comes to virtually all the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), despite China’s recent well-publicized conflicts over who controls waters rich in energy deposits in the region. We’re talking here about the compelling dream of a convergence of 600 million people in Southeast Asia, 1.3 billion in China, and 1.5 billion on the Indian subcontinent.

Only three APEC members -- apart from the U.S. -- did not vote to approve the new bank: Japan, South Korea, and Australia, all under immense pressure from the Obama administration. (Indonesia signed on a few days late.) And Australia is finding it increasingly difficult to resist the lure of what, these days, is being called “yuan diplomacy.”

In fact, whatever the overwhelming majority of Asian nations may think about China’s self-described “peaceful rise,” most are already shying away from or turning their backs on a Washington-and-NATO-dominated trade and commercial world and the set of pacts -- from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) for Europe to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for Asia -- that would go with it.

When Dragon Embraces Bear

Russian President Vladimir Putin had a fabulous APEC. After his country and China clinched a massive $400 billion natural gas deal in May -- around the Power of Siberia pipeline, whose construction began this year -- they added a second agreement worth $325 billion around the Altai pipeline originating in western Siberia.

These two mega-energy deals don’t mean that Beijing will become Moscow-dependent when it comes to energy, though it’s estimated that they will provide 17% of China's natural gas needs by 2020. (Gas, however, makes up only 10% per cent of China's energy mix at present.)  But these deals signal where the wind is blowing in the heart of Eurasia. Though Chinese banks can’t replace those affected by Washington and EU sanctions against Russia, they are offering a Moscow battered by recent plummeting oil prices some relief in the form of access to Chinese credit.  

On the military front, Russia and China are now committed to large-scale joint military exercises, while Russia’s advanced S-400 air defense missile system will soon enough be heading for Beijing.  In addition, for the first time in the post-Cold War era, Putin recently raised the old Soviet-era doctrine of “collective security” in Asia as a possible pillar for a new Sino-Russian strategic partnership.

Chinese President Xi has taken to calling all this the “evergreen tree of Chinese-Russian friendship” -- or you could think of it as Putin’s strategic “pivot” to China.  In either case, Washington is not exactly thrilled to see Russia and China beginning to mesh their strengths: Russian excellence in aerospace, defense technology, and heavy equipment manufacturing matching Chinese excellence in agriculture, light industry, and information technology.

It’s also been clear for years that, across Eurasia, Russian, not Western, pipelines are likely to prevail. The latest spectacular Pipelineistan opera -- Gazprom’s cancellation of the prospective South Stream pipeline that was to bring yet more Russian natural gas to Europe -- will, in the end, only guarantee an even greater energy integration of both Turkey and Russia into the new Eurasia. 

So Long to the Unipolar Moment 

All these interlocked developments suggest a geopolitical tectonic shift in Eurasia that the American media simply hasn’t begun to grasp. Which doesn’t mean that no one notices anything.  You can smell the incipient panic in the air in the Washington establishment.  The Council on Foreign Relations is already publishing laments about the possibility that the former sole superpower’s exceptionalist moment is “unraveling.” The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission can only blame the Chinese leadership for being “disloyal,” adverse to “reform,” and an enemy of the “liberalization” of their own economy.

The usual suspects carp that upstart China is upsetting the "international order," will doom “peace and prosperity” in Asia for all eternity, and may becreating a "new kind of Cold War" in the region. From Washington’s perspective, a rising China, of course, remains the major “threat” in Asia, if not the world, even as the Pentagon spends gigantic sums to keep its sprawling global empire of bases intact. Those Washington-based stories about the new China threat in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, however, never mention that China remains encircled by U.S. bases, while lacking a base of its own outside its territory. 

Of course, China does face titanic problems, including the pressures being applied by the globe’s “sole superpower.” Among other things, Beijing fears threats to the security of its sea-borne energy supply from abroad, which helps explain its massive investment in helping create a welcoming Eurasian Pipelineistan from Central Asia to Siberia. Fears for its energy future also explain its urge to “escape from Malacca” by reaching for energy supplies in Africa and South America, and its much-discussed offensive to claim energy-rich areas of the East and South China seas, which Beijing is betting could become a “second Persian Gulf,” ultimately yielding 130 billion barrels of oil.

On the internal front, President Xi has outlined in detail his vision of a “results-oriented” path for his country over the next decade. As road maps go, China’s “must-do” list of reforms is nothing short of impressive. And worrying about keeping China’s economy, already the world’s number one by size, rolling along at a feverish pitch, Xi is also turbo-charging the fight against corruption, graft, and waste, especially within the Communist Party itself.

Economic efficiency is another crucial problem. Chinese state-owned enterprises are now investing a staggering $2.3 trillion a year -- 43% of the country’s total investment -- in infrastructure. Yet studies at Tsinghua University’s School of Management have shown that an array of investments in facilities ranging from steel mills to cement factories have only added to overcapacity and so actually undercut China’s productivity.

Xiaolu Wang and Yixiao Zhou, authors of the academic paper “Deepening Reform for China's Long-term Growth and Development,” contend that it will be difficult for China to jump from middle-income to high-income status -- a key requirement for a truly global power. For this, an avalanche of extra government funds would have to go into areas like social security/unemployment benefits and healthcare, which take up at present 9.8% and 15.1% of the 2014 budget -- high for some Western countries but not high enough for China’s needs.

Still, anyone who has closely followed what China has accomplished over these past three decades knows that, whatever its problems, whatever the threats, it won’t fall apart. As a measure of the country’s ambitions for economically reconfiguring the commercial and power maps of the world, China’s leaders are also thinking about how, in the near future, relations with Europe, too, could be reshaped in ways that would be historic. 

What About That “Harmonious Community”?

At the same moment that China is proposing a new Eurasian integration, Washington has opted for an “empire of chaos,” a dysfunctional global system now breeding mayhem and blowback across the Greater Middle East into Africa and even to the peripheries of Europe.

In this context, a “new Cold War” paranoia is on the rise in the U.S., Europe, and Russia.  Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who knows a thing or two about Cold Wars (having ended one), couldn’t be more alarmed. Washington’s agenda of “isolating” and arguably crippling Russia is ultimately dangerous, even if in the long run it may also be doomed to failure. 

At the moment, whatever its weaknesses, Moscow remains the only power capable of negotiating a global strategic balance with Washington and putting some limits on its empire of chaos.  NATO nations still follow meekly in Washington’s wake and China as yet lacks the strategic clout.

Russia, like China, is betting on Eurasian integration.  No one, of course, knows how all this will end.  Only four years ago, Vladimir Putin was proposing “a harmonious economic community stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok,” involving a trans-Eurasian free trade agreement. Yet today, with the U.S., NATO, and Russia locked in a Cold War-like battle in the shadows over Ukraine, and with the European Union incapable of disentangling itself from NATO, the most immediate new paradigm seems to be less total integration than war hysteria and fear of future chaos spreading to other parts of Eurasia.

Don’t rule out a change in the dynamics of the situation, however.  In the long run, it seems to be in the cards.  One day, Germany may lead parts of Europe away from NATO’s “logic,” since German business leaders and industrialists have an eye on their potentially lucrative commercial future in a new Eurasia. Strange as it might seem amid today’s war of words over Ukraine, the endgame could still prove to involve a Berlin-Moscow-Beijing alliance.

At present, the choice between the two available models on the planet seems stark indeed: Eurasian integration or a spreading empire of chaos. China and Russia know what they want, and so, it seems, does Washington.  The question is: What will the other moving parts of Eurasia choose to do?

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT, and a TomDispatch regular. His latest book is Empire of Chaos (Nimble Books). Follow him on Facebook.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2014 Pepe Escobar


Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His latest book is "Obama Does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009)." He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

  Read  How China Is Transforming the World
 November 25, 2014
The Myth of Human Progress
by Chris Hedges, Truthdig, AlterNet
The Myth of Human Progress

Clive Hamilton in his “Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change” describes a dark relief that comes from accepting that “catastrophic climate change is virtually certain.” This obliteration of “false hopes,” he says, requires an intellectual knowledge and an emotional knowledge. The first is attainable. The second, because it means that those we love, including our children, are almost certainly doomed to insecurity, misery and suffering within a few decades, if not a few years, is much harder to acquire. To emotionally accept impending disaster, to attain the gut-level understanding that the power elite will not respond rationally to the devastation of the ecosystem, is as difficult to accept as our own mortality. The most daunting existential struggle of our time is to ingest this awful truth—intellectually and emotionally—and continue to resist the forces that are destroying us.

The human species, led by white Europeans and Euro-Americans, has been on a 500-year-long planetwide rampage of conquering, plundering, looting, exploiting and polluting the Earth—as well as killing the indigenous communities that stood in the way. But the game is up. The technical and scientific forces that created a life of unparalleled luxury—as well as unrivaled military and economic power—for the industrial elites are the forces that now doom us. The mania for ceaseless economic expansion and exploitation has become a curse, a death sentence. But even as our economic and environmental systems unravel, after the hottest year in the contiguous 48 states since record keeping began 107 years ago, we lack the emotional and intellectual creativity to shut down the engine of global capitalism. We have bound ourselves to a doomsday machine that grinds forward, as the draft report of the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee illustrates.

Complex civilizations have a bad habit of destroying themselves. Anthropologists including Joseph Tainter in “The Collapse of Complex Societies,” Charles L. Redman in “Human Impact on Ancient Environments” and Ronald Wright in “A Short History of Progress” have laid out the familiar patterns that lead to systems breakdown. The difference this time is that when we go down the whole planet will go with us. There will, with this final collapse, be no new lands left to exploit, no new civilizations to conquer, no new peoples to subjugate. The long struggle between the human species and the Earth will conclude with the remnants of the human species learning a painful lesson about unrestrained greed and self-worship.

“There is a pattern in the past of civilization after civilization wearing out its welcome from nature, overexploiting its environment, overexpanding, overpopulating,” Wright said when I reached him by phone at his home in British Columbia, Canada. 

They tend to collapse quite soon after they reach their period of greatest magnificence and prosperity. That pattern holds good for a lot of societies, among them the Romans, the ancient Maya and the Sumerians of what is now southern Iraq. There are many other examples, including smaller-scale societies such as Easter Island. The very things that cause societies to prosper in the short run, especially new ways to exploit the environment such as the invention of irrigation, lead to disaster in the long run because of unforeseen complications. This is what I called in ‘A Short History of Progress’ the ‘progress trap.’ We have set in motion an industrial machine of such complexity and such dependence on expansion that we do not know how to make do with less or move to a steady state in terms of our demands on nature. We have failed to control human numbers. They have tripled in my lifetime. And the problem is made much worse by the widening gap between rich and poor, the upward concentration of wealth, which ensures there can never be enough to go around. The number of people in dire poverty today—about 2 billion—is greater than the world’s entire population in the early 1900s. That’s not progress.

If we continue to refuse to deal with things in an orderly and rational way, we will head into some sort of major catastrophe, sooner or later. If we are lucky it will be big enough to wake us up worldwide but not big enough to wipe us out. That is the best we can hope for. We must transcend our evolutionary history. We’re Ice Age hunters with a shave and a suit. We are not good long-term thinkers. We would much rather gorge ourselves on dead mammoths by driving a herd over a cliff than figure out how to conserve the herd so it can feed us and our children forever. That is the transition our civilization has to make. And we’re not doing that.

Wright, who in his dystopian novel “A Scientific Romance” paints a picture of a future world devastated by human stupidity, cites “entrenched political and economic interests” and a failure of the human imagination as the two biggest impediments to radical change. And all of us who use fossil fuels, who sustain ourselves through the formal economy, he says, are at fault.

Modern capitalist societies, Wright argues in his book “What Is America?: A Short History of the New World Order,” derive from European invaders’ plundering of the indigenous cultures in the Americas from the 16th to the 19th centuries, coupled with the use of African slaves as a workforce to replace the natives. The numbers of those natives fell by more than 90 percent because of smallpox and other plagues they hadn’t had before. The Spaniards did not conquer any of the major societies until smallpox had crippled them; in fact the Aztecs beat them the first time around. If Europe had not been able to seize the gold of the Aztec and Inca civilizations, if it had not been able to occupy the land and adopt highly productive New World crops for use on European farms, the growth of industrial society in Europe would have been much slower. Karl Marx and Adam Smith both pointed to the influx of wealth from the Americas as having made possible the Industrial Revolution and the start of modern capitalism. It was the rape of the Americas, Wright points out, that triggered the orgy of European expansion. The Industrial Revolution also equipped the Europeans with technologically advanced weapons systems, making further subjugation, plundering and expansion possible.

Wright explained this further on our call. 

The experience of a relatively easy 500 years of expansion and colonization, the constant taking over of new lands, led to the modern capitalist myth that you can expand forever. It is an absurd myth. We live on this planet. We can’t leave it and go somewhere else. We have to bring our economies and demands on nature within natural limits, but we have had a 500-year run where Europeans, Euro-Americans and other colonists have overrun the world and taken it over. This 500-year run made it not only seem easy but normal. We believe things will always get bigger and better. We have to understand that this long period of expansion and prosperity was an anomaly. It has rarely happened in history and will never happen again. We have to readjust our entire civilization to live in a finite world. But we are not doing it, because we are carrying far too much baggage, too many mythical versions of deliberately distorted history and a deeply ingrained feeling that what being modern is all about is having more. This is what anthropologists call an ideological pathology, a self-destructive belief that causes societies to crash and burn. These societies go on doing things that are really stupid because they can’t change their way of thinking. And that is where we are.

And as the collapse becomes palpable, if human history is any guide, we like past societies in distress will retreat into what anthropologists call “crisis cults.” The powerlessness we will feel in the face of ecological and economic chaos will unleash further collective delusions, such as fundamentalist belief in a god or gods who will come back to earth and save us.

As Wright told me:

Societies in collapse often fall prey to the belief that if certain rituals are performed all the bad stuff will go away. There are many examples of that throughout history. In the past these crisis cults took hold among people who had been colonized, attacked and slaughtered by outsiders, who had lost control of their lives. They see in these rituals the ability to bring back the past world, which they look at as a kind of paradise. They seek to return to the way things were. Crisis cults spread rapidly among Native American societies in the 19th century, when the buffalo and the Indians were being slaughtered by repeating rifles and finally machine guns. People came to believe, as happened in the Ghost Dance, that if they did the right things the modern world that was intolerable—the barbed wire, the railways, the white man, the machine gun—would disappear.

We all have the same, basic psychological hard wiring. It makes us quite bad at long-range planning and leads us to cling to irrational delusions when faced with a serious threat. Look at the extreme right’s belief that if government got out of the way, the lost paradise of the 1950s would return. Look at the way we are letting oil and gas exploration rip when we know that expanding the carbon economy is suicidal for our children and grandchildren. The results can already be felt. When it gets to the point where large parts of the Earth experience crop failure at the same time then we will have mass starvation and a breakdown in order. That is what lies ahead if we do not deal with climate change.

If we fail in this great experiment, this experiment of apes becoming intelligent enough to take charge of their own destiny, nature will shrug and say it was fun for a while to let the apes run the laboratory, but in the end it was a bad idea.

Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, writes a regular column for Truthdig every Monday. Hedges' most recent book is "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle."

  Read  The Myth of Human Progress
 November 26, 2014
Explosions, Evacuations and Death: The Incredible Risks of Transporting Crude Oil Via Train
by Isaiah Thompson, ProPublica, AlterNet

The oil boom underway in North Dakota has delivered jobs to local economies and helped bring the United States to the brink of being a net energy exporter for the first time in generations.

But moving that oil to the few refineries with the capacity to process it is presenting a new danger to towns and cities nationwide; a danger many appear only dimly aware of and are ill-equipped to handle.

Much of North Dakota's oil is being transported by rail, rather than through pipelines, which are the safest way to move crude. Tank carloads of crude are up 50 percent this year from last. Using rail networks has saved the oil and gas industry the time and capital it takes to build new pipelines, but the trade-off is greater risk: Researchers estimates that trains are three and a half times as likely as pipelines to suffer safety lapses.

Since 2012, when petroleum crude oil first began moving by rail in large quantities, there have been eight major accidents involving trains carrying crude in North America. In the worst of these incidents, in July 2013, a train derailed at Lac-Mégantic, Quebec and exploded, killing 47 people and burning down a quarter of the town. Six months later, another crude-bearing train derailed and exploded in Casselton, North Dakota, prompting the evacuation of most of the town's 2,300 residents.

Local emergency responders were overwhelmed by the conflagrations resulting from these accidents. Residents often had no idea that such dangerous cargo, and in such volume, was being transported through their towns.

Out of the disasters came a scramble for information. News outlets around the country began reporting the history of problems associated with the DOT-111 railroad tank cars carrying virtually all of the crude. Local officials, environmental groups, and concerned citizens began to ask what routes these trains were taking and whether the towns in their paths were ready should an accident occur.

In July, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation ordered railroads to disclose route information to state emergency management officials. Railroads had fought hard to keep this information private, citing security concerns. Even after federal regulators required more disclosure, railroads pressured many state governments to withhold their reports from the public. Some have come out, often as a result of public records requests by news organizations: the Associated Press has obtained disclosures in several states initially unwilling to release them. Still, those disclosures offer scant detail, often consisting of little more than a list of counties through which crude oil is passing, without further specifics.

There have been attempts to fill in the blanks. KQED in Northern California, for example, combined the information disclosed in federal route reports with maps of the major railroads to show where trains carrying crude passed through California. The environmental group Oil Change International superimposed major refineries and other facilities that handle crude oil onto a national railroad map.

A ProPublica analysis of data from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration adds new details by plotting out where trains carrying crude have experienced safety incidents, most of them minor. The data shows such incidents in more than 250 municipalities over the last four years. We've used the data to create an interactive map showing where safety incidents on trains were reported, where each train began its journey, and where it was ultimately headed.

The data also shows that factors that contributed to major, or even catastrophic, accidents have also been present in hundreds of minor ones: outdated tank car models; component failures; and missing, damaged and loose parts. Bit by bit, a more realistic notion of where the dangers of crude-bearing trains are most substantial is emerging.

"Frankly, the [previous] disclosures weren't of that much use," says Kelly Huston, a spokesman for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, one of the first state agencies to make those disclosures available for anyone on its website. When it comes to a detailed picture of where crude is moving, Huston says, "The expectation of the public is very far from the reality of what we're actually getting."

The hazardous materials data reviewed by ProPublica adds to that picture. Only a handful of places around the country have the refinery capacity and infrastructure necessary to handle the massive amounts of oil being extracted from North Dakota's Bakken Shale: Bakersfield, Carson, and Long Beach in California; St. James, Lake Charles, Lacassine in coastal Louisiana; Philadelphia, Paulsboro, New Jersey. Delaware City, Delaware in the Mid-Atlantic.

These cities have become the terminuses for "unit trains" carrying up to 100 tank cars, each containing as much as 30,000 gallons of crude oil. These endpoints also have shaped the paths along which crude-bearing trains now cross hundreds of communities, many of which have never seen such traffic. Tracks all but abandoned for years have sprung back to life on account of the oil boom.

The vulnerabilities of the DOT-111 tank cars in which much of the oil is moved are well known by now. For decades, federal officials have cited concerns over their relatively thin shells, which are prone to puncturing or rupturing in an accident and releasing the hazardous material inside. They also have other components prone to damage, including protruding fittings often left unprotected, and hinged lids held on by bolts that have a history of coming loose, especially if not properly tightened by the original shipper.

When a tank car full of oil ruptures, the consequences can be dire. At a panel held by the National Transportation Safety Board in April, one technical expert with the agency described a "fireball release," in which "the entire content of the tank car, up to 30,000 gallons, is instantly released, along with the potential for rocketing car parts." When one tank car ignites, the heat can set off a chain reaction, causing other cars to explode as well.

In most cases, the tanks cars used to transport crude are supplied by railroad shipping companies, not railroads themselves. Railroads have typically pushed for more stringent safety requirements since they have to move the cars. Shipping companies and oil producers have pushed back against stricter proposals.

In 2011, as the crude-by-rail industry was ramping up and federal regulators were preparing to introduce new rules, industry groups adopted voluntary safety modifications to add thicker shells and other protections to new tank cars. But roughly 85 percent of the fleet currently carrying flammable liquids still consists of the older models. And while PHMSA is expected to issue rules requiring safer tank cars, railroads will have years to phase in the upgrades and it's not yet clear to what extent they will be required to retrofit existing cars.

For most local fire departments, a blaze involving even a single tank car, let alone many, would be too much to handle, emergency response officials acknowledge.

"[Most] fire departments don't have the capacity to deal with more than a standard gasoline tank [fire], which is about 9,000 or 10,000 gallons of fuel," said Richard Edinger, vice chairman of the International Association of Fire Chief's hazardous materials committee. "Well, one DOT-111 car holds about 30,000 gallons — that pretty much exceeds our capacity."

Complicating matters, many towns don't even know that trains carrying crude oil are passing through.

Along the journey south from North Dakota, for example, many trains now make a stop in the tiny town of El Dorado, Arkansas, population 18,500, bound for a refinery that recently added capacity to accommodate Bakken crude. The PHMSA hazmat data includes more than a dozen leaks found on trains headed for the town.

Yet Union County Emergency Management Services deputy director Bobby Braswell, a former Chief Deputy for the El Dorado Fire Department, was unaware of the new crude traffic and its potential risks.

"We've got a little old railroad here, but if they transport crude, I don't know," said Braswell in an interview. If state emergency management officials have a plan to respond to oil train derailments, they haven't shared it with El Dorado yet: "I don't remember anybody calling about crude," Braswell said.

Along the trains' route to the Mid-Atlantic, according to PHMSA's hazmat data, is Mineral City, Ohio, where Tuscarawas county emergency services director Patty Levengood said she didn't know whether fire departments in her jurisdiction had been trained or otherwise advised on the new oil traffic. Such planning was "pretty much left to the individual chiefs," she said.

Other responders said they are acutely aware of the new risks facing their towns, and some expressed alarm. Asked whether his fire department had the capacity to handle a single tank car fire, Duane Hart, fire chief for Juniata County, Pennsylvania, answered with an emphatic "I know we don't!" Crude trains now pass through Port Royal, a town of 925 in Juniata County for which Hart's department provides services.

In many circumstances, all local responders would be able to do in the event of a large tank car fire is simply let it burn, experts say. At the recent NTSB rail safety panel, Gregory Noll, a chairperson for the hazardous materials committee of the National Fire Protection Association, summarized the situation bluntly.

"There's very little that we as a responder are going to do," he said, "other than... to isolate the area, remove people from the problem, and allow the incident to go its natural course until it essentially burns down to a level where we can extinguish it."

But that approach would still involve tremendous damage in the many densely populated areas through which crude is now moving by rail, officials acknowledge.

"The standard evacuation is typically a half-mile," said Jeff Simpson, a 30-year firefighter who lives in North Virginia and teaches a course called "Training for Railroad Emergencies."

"But if you're in the middle of a big city, the footprint is going to be much bigger."

The Pittsburgh-based nonprofit news organization PublicSource reported in August that up to 40 percent of that city's roughly 300,000 residents live within the potential evacuation zone of trains carrying crude through the city.

Another Pennsylvania metropolis, Philadelphia, has become one of the biggest destinations in the U.S. for Bakken crude thanks to newly retrofitted refineries and a brand new rail unloading facility opened just two years ago.

The city appears frequently in hazmat reports: In at least 65 cases over the last two years, tank cars bound for or arriving in Philadelphia were found to have loose, leaking or missing safety components. These parts are meant to prevent flammable contents from escaping in the event of an accident.

There was a more serious incident last January, when a train full of oil derailed a few miles from the city's downtown. Luckily, no one was injured. The train was soon righted and the railroad made repairs, assuring city officials that the danger had passed.

But even after the derailment, Philadelphia "has not issued new plans, directives, or protocols in response to the increase of crude oil shipments," wrote city director of Emergency Management Samantha Phillips in an email to ProPublica.

The Philadelphia County Local Emergency Planning Committee "has not been active on the transportation of Bakken crude oil," Phillips added.

The agency's website contains no emergency information specific to a fire involving crude oil, or any other hazardous substance, other than a video featuring " Wally Wise-Guy, the Shelter in Place Turtle."

The video advises that "in the event of a hazardous materials emergency ... do what Wally Wise Guy does — go inside."

  Read  Explosions, Evacuations and Death: The Incredible Risks of Transporting Crude Oil Via Train
 November 29, 2014
Why India Is Unlikely to Do Much About Cutting Its Emissions
by Alex Ellefson , AlterNet

The climate agreement reached by the United States and China at the end of the APEC summit has turned the spotlight on India, the world’s third largest emissions producer behind the U.S and China. As the global climate conference in Peru approaches next week, India has been reluctant and even hostile to suggestions that it step up and pledge to lower its emissions.

Indian officials insist their priority is to tackle the chronic poverty and energy shortages that plague the country. India will likely resist international pressure to adopt cleaner energy practices. Here’s why:

The U.S.-China deal doesn’t accomplish a lot.

Although the agreement has been hailed as an historic step toward addressing climate change, the emissions goals set by China and the United States fall far short of preventing global warming.

For its part, China agreed to reach peak emissions by 2030. Even if China’s economy does not continue to grow by 10 percent per year, which it probably won’t, economic growth will likely cause China’s emissions to double by that time. Essentially, China is vowing to fight global warming by producing twice as much pollution in the next 15 years.

The promise by the United States is equally inconsequential. Obama pledged the U.S. would lower emissions 28 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2025. However, 2005 was the year the United States produced the most carbon. Pollution by the U.S. has fallen 10 percent since then. So the United States is actually promising to lower emissions by only 18 percent.

The U.S. and China produce half of the world’s carbon emissions. Taken together, the agreement actually means that the two countries will increase their emissions by one-third. Earlier this month, the director for an India-based environmental think tank told the news site India Climate Dialogue that the agreement was “neither historic nor ambitious, but just a self-serving agreement between the world’s two biggest polluters.”

The U.S. and China built their monstrous economies by burning cheap coal. Why can’t India do the same?

Although India’s economy is growing rapidly, it’s not as developed as China or the United States. In 2011, according to the World Bank, 6 percent of China’s population lived below the global poverty limit while in India, 25 percent of the population lived below the poverty line. Meanwhile, India is struggling to provide energy to its more than 2 billion citizens. The country frequently experiences enormous power blackouts. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has committed to providing adequate energy throughout the country and to increase the standard of living.

"India has the largest number of poor people. Our income levels are several times lower than those of China. There is no way India could be asked to take the same kind of climate actions as China," Suresh Prabhu, an informal adviser to Modi on climate issues, told the Indian Express in early November.

A lot of India’s emissions come from producing items that are consumed abroad.

At the climate conference in Peru, Indian officials are expected to challenge the way that individual country’s emissions are measured. Currently, a nation’s emissions are measured by how much pollution they produce at home. India wants nations to also take responsibility for the pollution they create in other countries.

According to a report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:

"A growing share of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion in middle-income countries is released in the production of goods and services exported, notably from upper middle-income countries to high-income countries."

A study by the UK Energy Research Centre found that, although Britain’s emission fell by 19 percent between 1990 and 2008, emissions caused by goods imported to Britain increased by 20 percent over the same time period.

Between 2011 and 2012, 19 percent of India’s total exports, worth $142 billion, went to Europe while more than 40 percent of its exports were delivered to Asia.

India’s emissions per person are far below the United States and China.

India’s total emissions increased more last year than in China or the United States. However, on a per capita basis, India’s emissions are well below those of the world’s top two polluters. India emits 1.7 tons of carbon per person, compared with 6.2 for China and 17.6 for the United States, according to the World Bank.

The issue of per-capita emissions highlights the challenge of bringing countries with developing economies into the global mission to address climate change. While India might be the third greatest polluter in the world, its citizens are far less responsible for global warming than people in the United States, Europe and now China. If the U.S. and China want to be leaders in the transition toward greener energy, they’re going to have to do more than lord a measly and ineffective energy deal over the Global South.

Alex Ellefson is an AlterNet Editorial Assistant and an Editorial Fellow at The Indypendent.

  Read  Why India Is Unlikely to Do Much About Cutting Its Emissions
 December 3, 2014
The Ethics of Climate Hope: Naomi Klein's Response to Elizabeth Kolbert's Review of 'This Changes Everything'
by Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything, AlterNet
The Ethics of Climate Hope: Naomi Klein's Response to Elizabeth Kolbert's Review of This Changes Everything

Note: This letter will be published in the next issue of the New York Review of Books, along with a response by Kolbert. The letter I submitted is followed here by a short additional note, and I may update this post when I read Kolbert’s response.

To the Editors:

According to Elizabeth Kolbert’s review of my book, This Changes Everything, humans are too selfish to respond effectively to the climate crisis. “Here’s my inconvenient truth,” she writes, “when you tell people what it would actually take to radically reduce carbon emissions, they turn away. They don’t want to give up air travel or air conditioning or HDTV or trips to the mall or the family car.”

Kolbert’s only proof for this sweeping judgment is her partial account of a single Swiss research project that began in 1998. The researchers behind the 2,000-Watt Society, as the project is known, determined that if humans are to live within ecological limits, then every person on earth will need to keep their energy consumption below 2,000 watts. They created several fictional characters representing different lifestyles to illustrate what that would entail and, according to Kolbert, “Only ‘Alice,’ a resident of a retirement home who had no TV or personal computer and occasionally took the train to visit her children, met the target.”

From this Kolbert concludes that my argument—that responding to climate change could be the catalyst for a positive social and economic transformation—is a “maddeningly” optimistic “fable.” Fortunately, Kolbert’s grim conclusions are based on several mischaracterizations of the most current research on emissions reduction, as well as of the contents of my book.

Let’s start with the Swiss project. It is indeed difficult to reach a 2,000-watt target while living in a society that systematically encourages wasteful energy use (through long daily commutes, for instance) and when energy is overwhelmingly derived from fossil fuels. But that’s precisely why we need the kind of bold energy transformations described in my book and already underway in some countries: there is no need to accept the outdated fossil-fueled infrastructure that we have now, let alone what we had in 1998.

Big investments in renewables and efficiency, as well as re-imagining how we live and work, can deliver a low-carbon, high quality of life to everyone on this planet. And as I write on page 101, “In 2009, Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, and Mark A. Delucchi, a research scientist at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, authored a groundbreaking, detailed road map for ‘how 100 percent of the world’s energy, for all purposes, could be supplied by wind, water and solar resources, by as early as 2030.” Today, low-emission living is considered so achievable that the city of Zurich has adopted the 2,000 Watt Society as an official government target, a piece of good news Kolbert chose not to share.

To make sure I wasn’t missing something, I ran Kolbert’s invocation of the Swiss study by one of the world’s leading experts on radical emissions reduction, Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director of the U.K.’s Tyndall Centre on Climate Change Research. He was also baffled by the reliance on such out of date assumptions. “Arguably back in 1998 there may have been some merit in the sole focus on energy consumption as an adequate proxy for emissions—as the prospect of large-scale low carbon alternatives was still a long way off—both technically and in terms of economics. Sixteen or so years later and many of the alternatives are now sufficiently mature to compete with fossil fuels.” In short, the world has moved on.

It is true that it will take time to roll out the infrastructure and technologies to get off fossil fuels, and we will burn a lot of fossil fuel in the process. As a result, those of us who consume a great deal now will need to consume less in order to drive emissions down. In the book, I explain that, “we would need to return to a lifestyle similar to the one we had in the 1970s, before consumption levels went crazy in the 1980s.” The majority of the world’s population, however, would be able to consume more than they do at the moment.

Kolbert’s review makes the quite extraordinary claim that my book “avoids looking at all closely at what [emission reduction] would entail.” In fact the book contains an in-depth discussion of emission reduction strategies employed by large economies like Germany and Ontario. It dissects the policies that work and those that do not and explores how international trade policy needs to change to make such policies more effective. It delves into which agricultural practices carry the most climate benefits, goes into detail about how to pay for green transitions (from luxury taxes to public control over energy grids). It calls for a revolution in public transit and high-speed rail, for shorter workweeks and serious climate financing so that developing nations can leapfrog over fossil fuels. It also calls for moratoriums on particularly high risk forms of extraction—and much, much more.

I know Kolbert didn’t miss all of this because that would have meant missing hundreds of pages of text. It seems she would prefer me to have written a book focused on individual consumer behavior: how much people can drive and turn on their TVs. Yet there have been dozens of books that reduce the climate challenge to a question of individual consumer choices. My book is about the huge public policy shifts needed to make those low carbon choices far easier and accessible to all. It is therefore, a book first and foremost about ideology, and the need for a dramatic move away from the dominant free-market logic that has made so many of these necessary policies seem politically impossible.

This part of my thesis has been well understood by a great many reviewers, yet strangely ideology was not even mentioned by Kolbert. Her bleak conclusion, however, is confirmation of precisely why no real solutions have a chance unless this ideology is challenged. Right now we have an economic system that encourages and relies on selfishness and rampant consumption. Unless we change, well, everything, many of us can be counted on to cling to our HDTVs as the screens flash ever more apocalyptic images of a world in collapse. It may be wild optimism, but I insist on believing that humanity can do better.

Naomi Klein

After submitting this letter, someone pointed me to a review Kolbert wrote several years ago of a very different kind of climate change book, No Impact Man by Colin Beavan. Beavan’s book could scarcely be more different from This Changes Everything. Indeed No Impact Man does exactly what Kolbert criticizes me for notdoing: it spells out in minute detail exactly what comfortable, middle-class Americans would have to give up in order to dramatically lower their emissions. And yet in her long New Yorker review, Kolbert mocks Beavan quite mercilessly for turning his life into a low-carbon P.R. “stunt,” taking shots at several other writers focused on personal carbon consumption along the way (Beavan’s response is here).

But with hindsight, the most striking part of Kolbert’s piece on Beavan is her conclusion about the kind of book she would preferred to have read: “The real work of ‘saving the world’ goes way beyond the sorts of action that ‘No Impact Man’ is all about,” she writes. “What’s required is perhaps a sequel. In one chapter, Beavan could take the elevator to visit other families in his apartment building. He could talk to them about how they all need to work together to install a more efficient heating system. In another, he could ride the subway to Penn Station and then get on a train to Albany. Once there, he could lobby state lawmakers for better mass transit. In a third chapter, Beavan could devote his blog to pushing for a carbon tax. Here’s a possible title for the book: ‘Impact Man.'”

Kolbert, in other words, wanted Beavan to write a book about movement building and big policy shifts—a little like the book that I actually wrote.  Which makes it particularly strange that she now longs for me to write a book a lot more like Beavan’s.

Or maybe there is something else going on here. Kolbert’s review contained a couple of digs at my lack of earlier engagement with climate change. Including this painfully revealing line: “Back in 1998, which is to say more than a decade before Klein became interested in climate change…” (This was the set up for her invocation of the Swiss study.) So… yes, Kolbert has been writing about climate change longer than I have. And it’s quite true that, back in 1998, I was writing a book about consumption and corporate power, not climate change specifically. But does this kind of petty turf-protection really have a place in the face of a collective crisis of such magnitude? Personally, I much prefer the spirit of the slogan of New York City’s People’s Climate March: “To Change Everything, We Need Everyone.”

Writing this response has not been fun. I have long admired Elizabeth Kolbert’s vivid reporting from the front lines of ecological collapse and the climate movement unquestionably owes her a debt of gratitude. Which is why I find it particularly troubling that someone so intimately aware of the stakes in this struggle would devote so much intellectual energy to describing why change of the scale we need is a “fable.” Why should hope—even deeply qualified hope like mine—be maddening?

I have yet to meet anyone professionally focused on the science of our warming planet who does not wrestle with despair, myself included. Yet surely the decision about whether to maintain some hope in the face of an existential crisis that is still technically preventable is not just a matter of cold calculation. It’s also a question of ethics. If there is any chance of turning the tide, and if taking action could actually lead to all kinds of ancillary benefits, then it seems to me that those of us with public platforms have a responsibility to share that good news, alongside all the painful truths.

At the very least, we should refrain from digging up fictionalized residents of Swiss nursing homes to make responding to the climate crisis seem infinitely more grim and punishing than it actually is.

Despair in the face of difficult odds is understandable. It is also highly contagious.

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and syndicated columnist and the author of the international and New York Times bestseller The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (September 2007); an earlier international best-seller, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies; and the collection Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (2002). Read more at Naomiklein.org. You can follow her on Twitter @naomiaklein.
  Read  The Ethics of Climate Hope: Naomi Klein's Response to Elizabeth Kolbert's Review of 'This Changes Everything'
 December 5, 2014
Serious Question: Should Humans Extend Personhood to Animals?
by Maureen Nandini Mitra, Earth Island Journal, AlterNet
Serious Question: Should Humans Extend Personhood to Animals?

Roused from his afternoon nap to meet with visitors, Eddie gamely obliged, coming up to the large glass windows to gaze at us. After a while, he pointed an index finger at his caregiver, Margaret Rousser, who was standing beside us, touched his forehead, then his mouth, puckered his lips, and made loud smooching sounds. It was a trick Eddie had been taught during his days as a Hollywood performer. He often uses the signs, which more-or-less mean “I love you,” with the keepers at the Oakland Zoo, where the 24-year-old primate and his brother, Bernie, 20, live along with five other chimpanzees.

Once he got started, Eddie kept making the gestures over and over again, sometimes using both his hands, in an effort to engage with Rousser from across the thick glass barrier. There was something sad about his persistence. It seemed desperate rather than cute or funny. It reminded me of a study I had just read about how captive chimpanzees with regular human exposure find it difficult to integrate with others of their kind after their lives as pets and performers are over. It reminded me that Eddie could never be released back into the wild; he no longer has the skills to survive in the forests of Africa. His “humanlike” gestures reinforced all the things about being an ape in the wild that Eddie had lost.

I had gone to the zoo in Oakland, California specifically to meet with its seven resident chimpanzees, all of whom are either entertainment industry retirees or former lab animals released from biomedical research facilities. I was hoping for some sort of a personal encounter with at least one of them. I had a vague notion that if I could look into a chimpanzee’s eyes and connect with him or her on a more intimate level, I might be able to better tell their story, and the larger story of our complicated relationship with our fellow living beings – a relationship that is now more than ever in the spotlight because of the controversial effort by a group of animal rights activists to get chimpanzees recognized as “persons” in the eyes of US law.

But Eddie never held my gaze very long. None of the chimpanzees in the enclosure showed much interest in this particular human gawking from across the barriers that held them in. Their accommodations seem humane enough. The chimpanzees’ keepers clearly take good care of them, using mental “enrichments” like big climbing structures, toys, and “puzzle-feeders” (tasty treats hidden within toys) in an effort to simulate their lives in the wild. They have plenty of access to sunshine and fresh air. There’s no doubt that they are living much better lives than at their previous locations. Yet, as with all living things, Eddie and his companions’ inherent drive to be free persists. A thick web of cracks on one of the massive glass windows of the enclosure bears testament to this. Not too long ago, one of the keepers had overlooked a big rock lying inside the enclosure, and a chimpanzee put it to use. Now there’s a sign stuck on the cracked window:

“Yes, the glass is broken; 
it is made of several layers and 
is designed so that it will 
splinter, not shatter.
No, the chimpanzees cannot get out!”

Three thousand miles away, on the East Coast, attorney Steven M. Wise, too, has lobbed a rock – a legal one – which he hopes will shatter the glass, so to speak, and ensure that chimpanzees like Eddie and Bernie ultimately do manage to get out.

In December 2013, Wise, who is founder and president of the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), and his colleagues filed the first-ever lawsuits in the world demanding four captive chimpanzees in New York State – Tommy, Kiko, Hercules, and Leo – be recognized as “persons.”

Twenty-six year old Tommy is owned by a man who sells and rents reindeer. He lives in a small cement cage in a shed in the back of a used trailer lot in Gloversville, NY. Kiko, also 26, is a former Hollywood chimpanzee who used to be known as “the karate chimp.” He is the property of a couple in Niagara Falls, NY and also lives in a cage. Hercules and Leo, young males who are locked up at Stony Book University, are owned by the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana. They are being used for locomotion research.

The lawsuits, three in all (Hercules and Leo are joint plaintiffs), are the first in a series of cases the NhRP plans to file throughout the United States on behalf of animal species whose unusually high level of intelligence and self-awareness have been established by a growing body of scientific research. In addition to chimpanzees, the list includes gorillas, bonobos, orangutans, elephants, whales, and dolphins.

The NhRP – which comprises a team of attorneys and legal experts, as well as a Science Working Group led by biopsychologist Lori Marino – aims to change the legal status of these animals from mere “things,” with no legal rights, to “persons” who possess, at the very least, the basic rights to life and liberty. Recognition as legal persons, Wise believes, would protect these animals from being held captive by private citizens, or in zoos, circuses, and theme parks such as SeaWorld and Six Flags. Legal personhood would also protect them from being subject to invasive experiments in laboratories.

“For hundreds and hundreds of years there has been a legal wall that separates all nonhuman animals from human beings,” Wise told me over the phone from Coral Springs, Florida, where the NhRP is headquartered. “On one side are human beings, but also corporations and other nonhuman entities that are recognized as persons, and on the other side are nonhuman animals, who are defined as legal things that can be owned and are essentially invisible to the law. What we are trying to do is change the entire legal conversation and really punch a hole through that wall.”

A legal person, Wise clarifies, is not necessarily a human being. A legal person is an entity of whatever kind – living or nonliving – that the legal system agrees has interests that should be protected. For example, Indian law recognizes the personhood of the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib. In 2012 the Whanganui River in New Zealand was recognized as a legal person following years of advocacy by the Maoris. Here in the United States, corporations have been considered legal persons since the early 1800s, when the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the same rights as natural persons.

Sixty-three-year old Wise has spent nearly three decades developing the legal strategy for his cases. Originally a criminal and personal injury lawyer, he had an epiphany in 1980 after reading Animal Liberation, philosopher Peter Singer’s groundbreaking 1975 treatise that argued that the interests of animals should be considered because of their ability to suffer. “It changed me, almost literally, overnight,” he says. “I hadn’t realized what was going on in biomedical research and factory farms and all the ways animals were being used.”

A year later, Wise joined Attorneys for Animal Rights, which would go on to become Animal Legal Defense Fund – the pioneering nonprofit organization that litigates for stronger enforcement of anti-cruelty laws and more humane treatment of animals. But Wise soon grew frustrated with the existing animal welfare laws which, he says, failed to stem animal abuse. He was losing “a lot of cases” in which he sought to represent suffering animals. “I realized the problem was the fact that nonhuman animals were ‘legal things,’ and that as long as they were legal things in our jurisprudence their interests would never be protected,” Wise says.

In 1996, after years of research into the nature and origins of legal rights and animal law, Wise founded the Center for the Expansion of Human Rights, which in 2007 morphed into the Nonhuman Rights Project. The team at the NhRP built on Wise’s research, putting in another 30,000 hours of work, gathering evidence of animal sentience, affidavits from scientists, and, most critically, deciding to take their petitions to state courts, rather than federal ones. They wanted their cases to be considered under common law, which is the domain of state courts.

“The reason that we filed our suits under the common law is because it is the kind of law that the judges themselves make, based on the evidence presented and on their sense of what is good and right,” Wise says. Common law allows for quite a bit of flexibility, enabling judges to factor in new information, societal trends, and scientific facts while making their judgments, instead of being bound strictly by precedent or by what Congress and the state legislatures establish as law.

Under the common law system, when a judge decides a case, the decision becomes part of the body of law and can be used in later cases involving similar matters. The NhRP’s argument that chimpanzees are entitled to liberty is based on precedents regarding the status of slaves, women, and children, all of whom were once treated as property of men.

State courts are also the ones that hear most habeas corpus cases. That is, cases based on the legal principle that requires that an imprisoned person, or an individual who is unable to personally appear in court (for example, a severely disabled person or infant), be allowed to make a plea in court. Habeas corpus (Latin for “you have the body”) is critical to the NhRP’s legal offensive because it allows a proxy like Wise to plead for his nonhuman clients, who can’t speak for themselves.

Choosing clients also required careful consideration. Chimpanzees topped the list because of the huge volume of research into their cognitive abilities. It made sense to focus on chimpanzees because the NhRP team had managed to line up sanctuaries in the US that were ready to take the animals in. (There are no sanctuary sea pens for dolphins or whales in the US, and the two elephant sanctuaries that the NhRP prefers weren’t capable of taking in more elephants at the time.) The NhRP chose to represent the four New York chimpanzees because the state’s common laws are the most open to habeas corpus lawsuits.

Wise harbors no illusions that the NhRP will win any of the cases straight away. He works on the premise that it could take decades, probably even past his lifetime, before any court would acknowledge an animal as a person. Indeed, all the petitions, filed within days of each other in three different judicial regions, were rejected by the supreme court judges who heard them. (In New York State, the supreme courts are the lower, or trial, courts.) But Wise found reason for hope in the dismissals.

“We had expected to meet a wall of hostility from the three courts,” he says. “We had expected the judges to deny [the petitions] without even giving us any kind of a hearing. And that only happened one time [in Leo and Hercules’ case] out of the three. The other two judges gave us hearings, asked questions, heard us out.… One of them said, ‘What a great job you did. I just can’t be the first judge to do this, but good luck with your appeal.’”

The NhRP filed appeals in all three cases earlier this year. Tommy’s case, which has been drawing worldwide attention, was heard on October 8 in an appellate court in Albany packed with reporters. The judges allowed Wise and his team to speak long past the allotted 10 minutes. “We were up there for 22 minutes and they were just throwing questions at us,” Wise told me. The court is expected to come out with a ruling in early December. Wise is prepared either way: “It would be arrogant to think that we will win in the first case… but we are hopeful, and we think we have a reasonable chance.”

Kiko’s appeal is scheduled to be heard in a court in Rochester, NY on December 2, and the NhRP will be re-filing Hercules and Leo’s petition – which was dismissed on technical grounds – in a Manhattan court in late December. Also in the works is a petition for a pair of captive elephants. Additionally, the NhRP is working on launching similar legal challenges in England, Switzerland, Spain, and Portugal in collaboration with lawyers and activists in those countries.

For Wise and his team, the lawsuits are just the first salvo of a long-term campaign. “We were prepared to keep litigating,” he says. “One reason we filed [these petitions] is to test the judicial waters. I knew in 1985, when I began thinking about it, that it was going to take almost 30 years before we [would be] in a position where it was even worth it [to file a personhood case].… And it only took 28! We think we have already begun to change the legal conversation, which is also one of our goals.”

At the heart of the issue that Wise and his team are trying to address lies the moral dilemma of how we should treat animals – a question that has vexed humanity for thousands of years. There is little consistency in how we relate to our many fellow creatures. Some we love and treat as family members. Some we revere, while others we fear. Some we enslave as beasts of burden, or for use in invasive lab experiments, or simply for our entertainment. And then, of course, there are the billions of animals we slaughter and eat.

Overwhelmingly, though, the dominant idea – which spans many, though not all, of the globe’s cultures – has been that animals live only in the moment; have little or no sense of their own self; lack morals; don’t suffer the same way as we do; and basically exist for our use. It’s an idea that has helped many of us avoid the prick of conscience that tells us we might have it all wrong. Most of us loathe cruelty to animals, yet support some of the worst forms of abuse because of the food and clothing and entertainment choices we make.

But there has always been a dissident faction of humanity that has challenged this notion and argued that animals have social and emotional lives and deserve to be free. This idea sparked the modern animal welfare and rights movement in the 1970s that inspired Wise and many other animal rights activists. Nearly half a century later, beliefs about animals that were once considered fringe, or even fantasy, are one-by-one being validated by science.

In the past four decades, shelves of studies on animal behavior and cognition by researchers in the fields of ethology, neurobiology, endocrinology, and psychology have provided new insights into the inner lives of creatures great and small. We now know that many animals experience of a range of emotions – joy, love, grief, shame, embarrassment, despair – and have a basic sense of justice and what we call “morality”: all traits long believed to be unique to humans, and that supposedly set us above the rest of the animal kingdom.

We know, for instance, that elephants mourn their dead even many years after their passing, stopping by the place a loved one died and gently caressing the bones of the deceased with their trunks. We have learned that dolphins nurse sick and injured pod members, that baboons can form deep friendships with non-family members and appear to mope for a long time when they are separated from their pals. We have discovered that mice can laugh, and show concern when other mice are feeling pain, and that cows experience eureka moments when they solve a problem like opening a gate to get to food. We have found that even fruit flies display primitive emotion-like behavior, getting frantic when exposed to certain unpleasant stimuli.

We know, too, that empathy crosses species borders. A quick Web search produces a wealth of viral videos to corroborate scientific observations: a leopard caring for an infant baboon, a deformed dolphin adopted by a family of sperm whales, a zoo bear helping a drowning crow, an orphaned baby hippo befriending a 130-year-old tortoise at a shelter. These fascinating scenes seem to prove the theory of some researchers, like Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal, that human ethics are based on evolutionary processes that promote cooperation and the moral high ground. “Sure, [animals] can be mean and nasty too… but on the whole their social lives are based on compassion and cooperative behavior,” says Marc Bekoff, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

“I always say that science is catching up to what many people have already known,” says Bekoff, who is also the co-founder of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (primatologist Jane Goodall is the other founder). He points out that, not unlike humans, animal sentience has a dark side. Elephants, great apes, and many other animals suffer from mood and anxiety disorders when faced with adversity. Captive animals engage in self-mutilation, repetitive rocking, ceaseless pacing, and loss of appetite. And, as revealed in the documentary Blackfish – which tells the tale of the SeaWorld orca Tilikum and the human trainers he killed or injured – sometimes captive animals can simply go mad, with terrible consequences.

The volume of research into animal cognition is conclusive enough that in July 2012 a group of leading scientists signed “The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in Human and Nonhuman Animals.” The declaration says that humans are not the only conscious beings and that many other animals, including those that are unlike humans, possess consciousness and, in all likelihood, self-awareness. Using typical scientific jargon the document declares that:

The absence of a neocortex does not appear to preclude an organism from experiencing affective states.… The weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.

Bottom line: We are not quite as special as we’d like to think. Or, as Charles Darwin theorized 150 years ago, the difference between man and other animals is one of degree, and not of kind.

Yet the declaration and the scientific evidence that supports it only underscore the huge disconnect between what we now know about animal sentience and how we treat other creatures. At no other time has our awareness of other animals’ similarity to us been so thorough. And at no other time has our subjugation of the animal kingdom been so complete.

Every year, we kill more than 56 billion farmed animals, with 10 billion slaughtered in the US alone, according to Farm Animal Rights Movement. This number doesn’t include fish and other sea life, where the numbers “harvested” are so large that they are usually measured in tons. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reports that 20 million animals are used in US research laboratories annually. (Not all of this research is health related. A section of the cosmetics industry still tests its products on animals.) This number also doesn’t include the tens of millions of rats and mice used in labs. APHIS doesn’t require their numbers to be reported because the US Animal Welfare Act doesn’t cover rodents.

“The problem is that all that data has not been set down into regulations,” Bekoff says. “For example, we’ve known for more than eight years that mice display empathy, but it’s not been factored into the way in which mice are treated in laboratories in America. So, in a sense, the knowledge is not having any impact on the quality of life for the millions upon millions of animals.… That’s why if animals, maybe just chimpanzees for now, were viewed as persons, that would make it a lot harder for people to abuse them.”

As Wise’s lawsuits wend their way through the New York courts, some countries have already established laws or regulations that recognize, in varying degrees, the sentience and rights of some animals. Switzerland, where animals enjoy greater protections than anywhere in the world, amended its constitution in 1992 to categorize animals as “beings” and not “things.” The Swiss canton of Zurich even has a state-funded public prosecutor for abused pets and farm animals. New Zealand granted basic rights to five great ape species in 1999, forbidding their use in research or teaching. In 2002, Germany amended its constitution to guarantee rights to animals, becoming the first European Union member to do so. The Balearic Islands, a province of Spain, were the first place in the world to grant personhood to great apes in 2007. And in 2008, the Spanish parliament passed a resolution saying great apes should have the right to life and freedom. The EU’s Treaty of Lisbon, which went into effect in 2009, recognizes that animals are “sentient beings,” and requires that all EU policy having to do with the use of animals “pay full regard” to their welfare. Most recently, in 2013, India recognized dolphins as nonhuman persons, banning their captivity for entertainment purposes as a moral violation of their right to life and freedom.

But, needless to say, the idea of nonhuman personhood remains controversial. For many people, it provokes worries about a snowball effect: If personhood becomes a reality for chimpanzees and whales, won’t it just be a matter of time before horses, cows, dogs, cats, and even mice are brought into the fold? Some researchers who work with animals are concerned that animal personhood could lead to the demise of animal research, ranching, and perhaps pet ownership.

“The personhood project tries to give some animals equal standing to humans and I think that creates some practical issues, at least with chimpanzees,” says Stephen Ross, the director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. Ross has studied chimpanzees for more than two decades and helped draft the National Institutes of Health’s recent decision to phase out all but 50 chimpanzees from its laboratories. He advocates ending invasive research and private ownership of chimpanzees, and housing retired apes in large enclosures in zoos, sanctuaries, and universities. “I think we share a common goal,” he says of Wise’s effort. “We want to make things better for chimpanzees. But we have differing ideas on how to pursue that goal.”

Unlike Wise, Ross believes that a captive chimpanzee population with a “viable gene pool” is necessary since the species is endangered in the wild, though he admits that the reintroduction of a US-based chimpanzee population in Africa “is a real long shot, a last ditch Hail Mary.”

Other researchers cite a more conventional argument: Personhood would directly affect their work, which seeks to benefit humans. The National Association for Biomedical Research, for instance, is opposed to any attempts to grant research animals personhood. It says chimpanzees are crucial for behavioral research and for developing vaccines against human diseases, such as Hepatitis C. Association president Frankie Trull says assigning rights to animals would be “chaotic” for researchers.

Animal personhood advocates counter that although it’s true that research on animals has helped save both human and animal lives in the past, there’s no reason why medical research needs to continue using animals as models. “Look at veterinary schools, for instance. None of them, I think, now use live animals,” says Lori Marino, the NhRP’s science director. “And it’s actually been shown that using models, computer animated models, cell cultures, and humans as well, to study anesthesia, actually creates a better learning experience. We just have to have to have the courage to shift out of this paradigm.” In order to help make that shift happen, Marino founded the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy, which she says will work to help students who don’t want to do invasive research on animals pursue careers as scientists. “It still has to be good science, and that’s important. No one’s going to get away with publishing scientific papers unless it’s good science, whether they are advocates or not.”

While there’s a general agreement among animal advocates that the movement for legal personhood is helping bring the discussion about how we treat animals to the forefront, there are some concerns about the NhRP lawsuits. Some worry about the narrow focus on animals that are “humanlike.” Others question whether Wise’s legal strategy is the best way to proceed.

“I think one of the weak sides of the legal approach here is that we are focusing too much on cognitive superstars like chimpanzees,” says Paul Waldau, an anthrozoology professor at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, who has written several books on animal rights and speciesism. “Clearly they deserve to be recognized [as legal persons], but it’s partly parasitic on how special we think we humans are.” Philosopher Lori Gruen worries that stressing chimpanzees’ anthropomorphic traits “overemphasizes certain capacities as being valuable.” This overemphasis might be to the detriment of other sentient animals whose cognitive capacities may be totally different from our own, though not necessarily less complex. “When we start to think of them in these very sweeping terms, we may overlook differences that are really important in our understanding of these animals,” says Gruen, who coordinates the animal studies program at Wesleyan University. But she agrees that the personhood approach makes “a certain amount of sense” given that the law is a blunt instrument, and “is not meant to be a nuanced, philosophical structure.”

Which, of course, is exactly Wise’s point. He is starting with animals like great apes, elephants, dolphins, and whales precisely because the volume of research into the intelligence of these animals and their similarity to us might make judges less resistant to accepting them as legal persons. “We are litigating in front of judges who are members of our society, who have their opinions, who read books and magazines, and watch television,” he says.

But Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), one of America’s most effective animal welfare champions, isn’t convinced that the NhRP’s strategy will bring much success. “While I think the personhood notion is evocative and it stretches our conventional notions about animals and our responsibilities toward them, I think the methodical approach that we’ve been taking and gaining incremental ground in the courts is really the best strategy to advance our gains,” he says. During the past decade, HSUS, which has a large, sophisticated legal team, has helped pass more than 1,000 state laws and 25 federal statutes to protect animals, including bans on cockfighting, cruel factory farming practices, and negligent puppy-mill operations. Pacelle says the organization has managed to do that by “building the law” through public awareness campaigns, lobbying for legislative reforms, state ballot initiatives, and by working to defend the laws that are already in place, rather than “relying on a judge to make a declaration.”

“I think it’s very difficult to just have a single courtroom strategy. You really have to have the legislative strategy and the public opinion strategy all working in concert together,” he says. “You know, in football terms, I would say we are more of a ‘ball control offense,’ rather than just throw the ball seven yards down the field.”

Pacelle also thinks the term “rights” is fraught with too much philosophical baggage. “The way that we at the Humane Society frame the issue is: It’s really more about humans than it is about animals. It’s how we conduct ourselves. Because we are the ones with all the power in our relationship with animals.” The law, he says, should be about checking human behavior rather than granting animals rights.

David Favre, professor of animal law at Michigan State University and a former colleague of Wise from his Animal Legal Defense Fund days, suggests that a third, intermediate legal strategy – designating animals as “living property” – might find more traction. Favre doesn’t share Wise’s optimism, not in a society in which a large chunk of the economy is based on the exploitation of animals. “There needs to be this intermediate step where we move animals into a different category of property… and call it ‘living property,’” he says. “And in that category, we can then sort of make a transition where we can take into account more and more the nature and interests of the animals and less and less the fact that they are simply owned by somebody.”

Favre notes that these kinds of “incremental changes” already are happening in the area of wills and trusts. Companion animals have long been allowed to be named as beneficiaries – the most notorious example being the late hotel tycoon Leona Helmsley’s $12 million bequest to her Maltese dog, Trouble. Favre believes property law can be transformed so that ownership is redefined as guardianship, allowing animals to receive the legal respect they deserve.

Wise is unfazed by these critiques. “I’m kind of in a hurry to get certain rights for animals, and I can’t see how it can be done without personhood,” he told me. “It’s the keystone for everything. Without it you are invisible in the eyes of law.”

On an Indian summer afternoon in late September, I met with Mara, Maggie, and Lulu on a grassy knoll at the Performing Animals Welfare Sanctuary in San Andreas, a small town on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, about 130 miles from San Francisco. The elephant habitat in the 2,300-acre sanctuary includes several acres of rolling slopes and valleys with small lakes to soak in, and is one of the places the NhRP plans to send its elephant clients if it manages to win them personhood rights. The three wild-born, middle-aged African elephants, all retired from zoos across the US, like to stick together. Maggie is the charmer of the lot. She steals food from the others and takes up the best spots at the mud holes. Yet Mara and Lulu let her get away with it, treating her more like a young calf than a peer.

Watching the three elephants gently reach out their trunks to greet a human keeper and then stand there under the wide open sky, chewing large clumps of hay, it was hard to imagine that we ever thought of these magnificent creatures as incapable of experiencing pleasure and pain. Then again, anyone who has had a companion animal – who has seen a house cat stretch out languorously in a patch of sunlight on a cold day, or a dog lie on its back begging to be scratched – would say the same about them, too.

Nature, ultimately, is indifferent to our anthropocentric worldview. It draws no bright line separating humans from other life. The pleasure or pain or fear that a mouse or a seal or a tiger feels is probably no less intense to it than the pleasure or pain or fear that you and I feel. We don’t need a law to tell us that. In the same way, just because an animal doesn’t have legal status as a “person” doesn’t mean that we have no moral responsibility toward that animal. Claiming we don’t know what other animals want or need is a cop out. We know, at the very least, that they want to live out their lives in peace and safety. We know that they want to either be treated with dignity, or simply left alone – the same as any other person.

Maureen Nandini Mitra is managing editor of Earth Island Journal.
  Read  Serious Question: Should Humans Extend Personhood to Animals?
 December 9, 2014
2014 Will Likely Be The Hottest Year on Record, Ocean Temps Spike
by Environment News Service , AlterNet
2014 Will Likely Be The Hottest Year on Record, Ocean Temps Spike

LIMA, Peru -- The year 2014 is likely to go down in the record books as one of the hottest years in modern history, according to estimates released today by the World Meteorological Organization. One cause is record high global sea surface temperatures, which the WMO expects to remain above normal until the end of the year.

High sea temperatures contributed to exceptionally heavy rainfall and floods in many countries and extreme drought in others.

WMO’s provisional statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2014 was released at the 20th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, now underway in Lima, to inform the annual climate change negotiations.

Final updates and figures for 2014 will be published in March 2015, said the WMO, which gathers weather and climate data from its 191 member governments.

“The provisional information for 2014 means that 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “There is no standstill in global warming.”

“What is particularly unusual and alarming this year are the high temperatures of vast areas of the ocean surface, including in the northern hemisphere,” he said.“What we saw in 2014 is consistent with what we expect from a changing climate. Record-breaking heat combined with torrential rainfall and floods destroyed livelihoods and ruined lives,” said Jarraud.

Ocean heat content for January to June was estimated down to depths of 700 and 2,000 meters; both were the highest ever recorded.

Around 93 percent of the excess energy trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and other human activities ends up in the oceans, so the heat content of the oceans is key to understanding the climate system.

From January through October, the global average air temperature over land and sea was about 0.57° Centigrade (1.03 Fahrenheit) above the average of 14.00°Celsius (57.2°Fahrenheit) for the 1961-1990 reference period.

The global temperature over the past 10 years (2004-2013) spiked at 0.09°C (0.16°F) above the average.

If November and December maintain the same tendency, then 2014 will likely be the hottest on record, ahead of 2010, 2005 and 1998. This confirms the underlying long-term warming trend.

The WMO points out that the rankings of the warmest years differ by only a few hundredths of a degree, and different data sets show slightly different rankings.

Greenhouse gases jumped in 2013, with atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) hitting new highs. Data for 2014 have not yet been processed.

The overall increase in atmospheric CO2 from 2003 to 2013 corresponds to around 45 percent of the CO2 emitted by human activities. The remaining 55 percent is absorbed by the oceans and forests.Globally-averaged atmospheric levels of CO2 reached 396.0 parts per million (ppm), about 142% of the pre-industrial average, according to WMO data. The increase from 2012 to 2013 was 2.9 ppm, which is the largest year-to-year increase, with several Northern hemisphere monitoring stations recording levels above 400 ppm.

Methane concentrations in the atmosphere reached a new high of 1,824 parts per billion (ppb) in 2013. That is about 253 percent of the pre-industrial level. Global concentrations of N2O reached 325.9 ± 0.1 ppb, 121 percent of the pre-industrial level.

NOAA’s Annual Greenhouse Gas Index shows that from 1990 to 2013, radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases increased by 34 percent. CO2 alone accounted for 80 percent of the increase.

“Record-high greenhouse gas emissions and associated atmospheric concentrations are committing the planet to a much more uncertain and inhospitable future. WMO and its members will continue to improve forecasts and services to help people cope with more frequent and damaging extreme weather and climate conditions,” said Jarraud.

The high January to October temperatures occurred in the absence of a full El Niño-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO.

El Niño conditions occur when warmer than average sea-surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific combine with atmospheric pressure systems, affecting weather patterns across the globe.

During 2014, sea surface temperatures increased nearly to El Niño levels but this was not coupled with an atmospheric response. Still, weather and climate patterns associated with El Niño were observed in many parts of the world.

Antarctic daily sea ice reached a maximum daily extent of 20.11 million km2 on September 22, setting a new record for the third consecutive year.Arctic sea-ice extent reached its annual minimum extent of 5.02 million km2 on September 17 and was the sixth lowest on record, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Average surface air temperatures over land for January to October 2014 were about 0.86°C above the 1961-1990 average, the fourth or fifth warmest on record for this period.

Western North America, Europe, eastern Eurasia, much of Africa, large areas of South America and southern and western Australia were especially warm.

Cooler-than-average conditions for the year-to-date were recorded across large areas of the United States and Canada and parts of central Russia.

Heatwaves occurred in South Africa, Australia and Argentina in January. Australia saw another prolonged warm spell in May.

Record heat affected northern Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and southern Brazil in October.

Notable cold waves were reported in the United States during the winter, Australia in August and in Russia in October.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, said, “Our climate is changing and every year the risks of extreme weather events and impacts on humanity rise.”

“Fortunately our political climate is changing too with evidence that governments, supported by investors, business and cities are moving towards a meaningful, universal climate agreement in Paris 2015 – an agreement that keeps a global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius by putting in place the pathways to a deep de-carbonization of the world’s economy and climate neutrality or ‘net zero’ in the second half of the century,” said Figueres.

The WMO global temperature analysis is based on three complementary datasets maintained by:
* – the Hadley Centre of the UK’s Met Office and the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom (combined);
* – the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center;
* – the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Global average temperatures are also estimated using reanalysis systems, which use a weather forecasting system to combine many sources of data to provide a more complete picture of global temperatures. WMO uses data from the reanalysis produced by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

  Read 2014 Will Likely Be The Hottest Year on Record, Ocean Temps Spike
 December 15, 2014
Earth Faces Sixth ‘Great Extinction’ with 41% of Amphibians Set to Go the Way of the Dodo
by Robin McKie , The Guardian, AlterNet
Earth Faces Sixth ‘Great Extinction’ with 41% of Amphibians Set to Go the Way of the Dodo

A stark depiction of the threat hanging over the world’s mammals, reptiles, amphibians and other life forms has been published by the prestigious scientific journal, Nature. A special analysiscarried out by the journal indicates that a staggering 41% of all amphibians on the planet now face extinction while 26% of mammal species and 13% of birds are similarly threatened.

Many species are already critically endangered and close to extinction, including the Sumatran elephant, Amur leopard and mountain gorilla. But also in danger of vanishing from the wild, it now appears, are animals that are currently rated as merely being endangered: bonobos, bluefin tuna and loggerhead turtles, for example.

In each case, the finger of blame points directly at human activities. The continuing spread of agriculture is destroying millions of hectares of wild habitats every year, leaving animals without homes, while the introduction of invasive species, often helped by humans, is also devastating native populations. At the same time, pollution and overfishing are destroying marine ecosystems.

“Habitat destruction, pollution or overfishing either kills off wild creatures and plants or leaves them badly weakened,” said Derek Tittensor, a marine ecologist at the World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge. “The trouble is that in coming decades, the additional threat of worsening climate change will become more and more pronounced and could then kill off these survivors.”

The problem, according to Nature, is exacerbated because of the huge gaps in scientists’ knowledge about the planet’s biodiversity. Estimates of the total number of species of animals, plants and fungi alive vary from 2 million to 50 million. In addition, estimates of current rates of species disappearances vary from 500 to 36,000 a year. “That is the real problem we face,” added Tittensor. “The scale of uncertainty is huge.”

In the end, however, the data indicate that the world is heading inexorably towards a mass extinction – which is defined as one involving a loss of 75% of species or more. This could arrive in less than a hundred years or could take a thousand, depending on extinction rates.

The Earth has gone through only five previous great extinctions, all caused by geological or astronomical events. (The Cretaceous-Jurassic extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was triggered by an asteroid striking Earth, for example.) The coming great extinction will be the work of Homo sapiens, however.

“In the case of land extinctions, it is the spread of agriculture that has been main driver,” added Tittensor. “By contrast it has been the over-exploitation of resources – overfishing – that has affected sealife.” On top of these impacts, rising global temperatures threaten to destroy habitats and kill off more creatures.

This change in climate has been triggered by increasing emissions – from factories and power plants – of carbon dioxide, a gas that is also being dissolved in the oceans. As a result, seas are becoming more and more acidic and hostile to sensitive habitats. A third of all coral reefs, which support more lifeforms than any other ecosystem on Earth, have already been lost in the last few decades and many marine experts believe all coral reefs could end up being wiped out before the end of the century.

Similarly, a quarter of all mammals, a fifth of all reptiles and a seventh of all birds are headed toward oblivion. And these losses are occurring all over the planet, from the South Pacific to the Arctic and from the deserts of Africa to mountaintops and valleys of the Himalayas.

A blizzard of extinctions is now sweeping Earth and has become a fact of modern life. Yet the idea that entire species can be wiped out is relatively new. When fossils of strange creatures – such as the mastodon – were first dug up, they were assumed to belong to creatures that still lived in other lands. Extant versions lived elsewhere, it was argued. “Such is the economy of nature,” claimed Thomas Jefferson, who backed expeditions to find mastodons in the unexplored interior of America.

Then the French anatomist Georges Cuvier showed that the elephant-like remains of the mastodon were actually those of an “espèce perdue” or lost species. “On the basis of a few scattered bones, Cuvier conceived of a whole new way of looking at life,” notes Elizabeth Kolbert in her book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. “Species died out. This was not an isolated but a widespread phenomenon.”

Since then the problem has worsened with every decade, as the Nature analysis makes clear. Humans began by wiping out mastodons and mammoths in prehistoric times. Then they moved on to the eradication of great auks, passenger pigeons – once the most abundant bird in North America – and the dodo in historical time. And finally, in recent times, we have been responsible for the disappearance of the golden toad, the thylacine – or Tasmanian tiger – and the Baiji river dolphin. Thousands more species are now under threat.

In an editorial, Nature argues that it is now imperative that governments and groups such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature begin an urgent and accurate census of numbers of species on the planet and their rates of extinction. It is not the most exciting science, the journal admits, but it is vitally important if we want to start protecting life on Earth from the worst impacts of our actions. The loss for the planet is incalculable – as it is for our own species which could soon find itself living in a world denuded of all variety in nature. As ecologist Paul Ehrlich has put it: “In pushing other species to extinction, humanity is busy sawing off the limb on which it perches.”

  Read  Earth Faces Sixth ‘Great Extinction’ with 41% of Amphibians Set to Go the Way of the Dodo
 November 4, 2014
Role of Management Information System (MIS) in Disaster Management

Md. Hasibur Rahman
(see also 'Ali' in Participants List)
Advisory Board to the Global Constitution Global Constitution Adviser
Global Government of Asia Adviser  Global Governments Federation
Research Fellow
Land Quality Assessment Project
Department of Soil, Water and Environment
Dhaka University, Dhaka 1000
Executive Director
Environment and Agricultural Development Studies Center
Mirpur-11, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Email:     hasibur77@yahoo.com
hasibur@du.ac.bd vv

Download full WORD document of this Research Paper
  Read Role of Management Information System (MIS) in Disaster Management
 December 15, 2014

by Guy Crequie

Guy Crequie

Email: guy.crequie@wanadoo.fr
Guy CREQUIE Global file
Ecrivain francais à finalité philosophique. Blog http://guycrequie.blogspot.com

la Conférence de Paris sur le climat qui débutera le 30 novembre 2015, sera lourde de conséquences selon ce qui en résultera !

Dans quel état : laisserons nous la planète aux générations futures ? la Globalisation : c’est aussi au plan humain = s’interroger et agir en se préoccupant et de la dette financière laissée aux générations futures comme de l’air que les peuples respireront qui selon ce qu’il en sera vivront plus ou moins longtemps !

L’instruction scolaire n’est pas à confondre avec l’intelligence de la nécessité : la sagesse articulant avec acuité : comment produire et servir sans détruire !

Ainsi, dans nos grandes villes, dans un pays comme la France, nos énarques et autres polytechniciens ont encouragé la voiture au diesel dont le prix du carburant était moins cher, mais qui pollue davantage malgré des progrès avec les nouveaux pots d’échappement.

Ailleurs, la déforestation détruit l’Amazonie = le poumon à oxygène de la planète ! Ailleurs encore, la fonte des glaciers va relever le niveau des océans, submerger des îles, conduire des populations à l’exode au risque de conflits politique set économiques, et de pénuries alimentaires, de transport de maladies en des lieux…..

PARIS 2015 : il est prévu de signer le premier accord mondial engageant pays industrialisés et pays en développement dans une action commune contre le réchauffement climatique. Sera--t- il le moment du sursaut planétaire limitant le réchauffement et ses risques ?

Le compromis auquel sont parvenus les 195 Etats membres de la convention des Nations unies sur le changement climatique, dimanche 14 décembre à Lima, après deux semaines de tractations et près de trente-six heures de prolongation, n'est pas celui auquel on pouvait s'attendre après l'élan suscité par le sommet des chefs d'Etat organisé par le secrétaire général des Nations Unies, Ban Ki-moon, à New York en septembre, et l'accord bilatéral entre les Etats-Unis et la Chine quelques semaines plus tard.

« Les gouvernements à Lima ont fait le strict minimum pour garder le processus de négociations multilatéral en vie, mais ils n'ont pas fait assez pour convaincre que le monde est prêt à adopter un accord sur le climat ambitieux et équitable l'an prochain à Paris », a déploré Mary Robinson, envoyée spéciale des Nations unies pour le climat. L'objectif de l'accord en discussion depuis 2011 doit permettre de limiter la hausse des températures à 2° C d'ici à la fin du siècle, seuil jugé dangereux par les scientifiques du GIEC (Groupe d'experts intergouvernemental sur le climat).

Dimanche, la France, qui endossera la présidence des négociations à partir de janvier, a fait bonne figure. Mais la faiblesse des textes adoptés à Lima complique sa tâche, et démontre que derrière les effets d'estrade, la confiance, au fond, n'est toujours pas là. Le ministre de l'environnement de Singapour, Vivian Balakristan, après avoir tenté de jouer les médiateurs pendant près de neuf heures, n'a pu échapper à ce constat : « Nous partageons tous le sens de l'urgence [à agir contre le réchauffement], mais nous n'avons pas confiance les uns dans les autres », a-t-il reconnu en séance plénière samedi matin, avant que la séance ne soit à nouveau suspendue pour un nouveau round de consultations.

Un compromis a donc été finalement trouvé. Pour cela, les Etats-Unis ont dû admettre que l'adaptation au changement climatique ne pouvait être traitée comme une question de second ordre. Les pays moins avancés ou les petites îles dont les émissions de gaz à effet de serre sont négligeables ont mis en avant le coût que représente déjà pour eux la nécessité de faire face aux impacts du réchauffement. Au détriment des investissements dans leur développement et la lutte contre la pauvreté.

Une déléguée se repose pendant une interruption de séance plénière de la conférence sur le climat à Lima, qui s'est prolongée de 30 heures.

Dans cette bataille, la Chine, comme les autres pays émergents, ont fait front uni avec les autres pays en développement. L'alliance avec les Etats-Unis a trouvé ses limites dans l'arène des négociations climatiques, où Pékin conserve comme priorité d'afficher sa solidarité avec les plus vulnérables.

L'enjeu s'est cristallisé sur la définition des contributions nationales que devront remettre les Etats d'ici au mois de mars, « pour ceux qui le peuvent ». Entièrement tournée vers les efforts de réduction des émissions de CO2, leur définition a dû être rééquilibrée pour donner satisfaction aux pays du sud. Le principe d'« une responsabilité commune, mais différenciée », gage d'un traitement distinct pour les pays en développement, a été réaffirmé.

Une « synthèse » de ces efforts d'atténuation aura lieu en novembre, soit très tard, et sans qu'un mécanisme d'évaluation n'ait pu être adopté. La Chine s'y est durement opposée. Autant dire que la « corde de rappel » sur laquelle certains comptaient pour demander aux pays de faire davantage se dérobe. Le texte stipule cependant que les propositions mises sur la table représentent « un progrès supplémentaire » par rapport aux politiques déjà engagées.

Si la capitalisation du Fonds vert pour le climat, à hauteur de 10,2 milliards de dollars, reste la bonne nouvelle de ces deux dernières semaines, elle ne masque pas le fait qu'aucune réponse n'a été donnée sur la façon de parvenir à rassembler les 100 milliards de dollars d'aide annuelle annoncée lors de la conférence de Copenhague en 2009. Cinq ans après, cette promesse non tenue continue d'alimenter la défiance des pays en développement.


De même, la question des efforts supplémentaires de réduction d'émissions d'ici à 2020, c'est-à-dire avant que n'entre en vigueur le futur accord, ne trouve aucune réponse concrète. Le fossé entre la croissance actuelle des émissions mondiales, qui conduit vers un réchauffement compris entre 3° C et 4° C, et la trajectoire qu'il faudrait retrouver, a été évaluée à 10 milliards de tonnes d'équivalent-CO2. par les Nations unies.

La rédaction du brouillon du futur accord de Paris, dont on pouvait imaginer qu'elle concentrerait les affrontements, n'a finalement pas été un véritable lieu de bataille. Un texte de 37 pages a été adopté. Il laisse ouvertes toutes les options. Les plus ambitieuses, comme celle consistant à se fixer pour objectif de parvenir à un bilan mondial des émissions de gaz à effet de serre neutre d'ici à la fin du siècle. Comme les plus minimalistes.

C'est à partir de tout cela que les Français, avec le secrétariat de la convention sur le climat, vont devoir construire la route vers Paris. Les négociations reprendront en février à Genève pour ne plus vraiment s'arrêter jusqu'à l'échéance de décembre 2015. Les diplomates, qui ont l'habitude des soubresauts de ce processus, se remettront de ce nouvel épisode chaotique. Le texte qui a été adopté permet d'avancer pour peu que la volonté politique existe. Or, c'est elle qui est interrogée par l'épisode péruvien. Quelle est la volonté réelle derrière les déclarations faites par les chefs d'Etat à New York en septembre ? Après Lima, les 400 000 personnes qui ont défilé dans les rues de la ville américaine pour réclamer de l'action et une « justice climatique » ont de nouvelles raisons de douter.

Les engagements doivent permettre une baisse globale des émissions de 40 à 70 % d'ici à 2050 : une nécessité pour parvenir à limiter à 2°C la hausse de la température de la planète, seuil jugé dangereux par les scientifiques du GIEC (Groupe d'experts intergouvernemental sur l'évolution du climat).

Le secrétariat de la Convention de l'ONU sur le climat sera chargé de préparer pour le 1er novembre 2015 une synthèse de l'ensemble des contributions, afin de vérifier qu'elles permettront de tenir l'objectif des 2°C.

La définition des règles qui régissent ces contributions, et leur processus d'évaluation (au niveau global, et par rapport à la capacité de chaque pays) étaient un sujet de friction. Chine et Inde notamment étaient opposées à une démarche trop exigeante. Les pays africains, qui ne représentent qu'une fraction marginale des émissions de gaz à effet de serre (quelque 3 %), conditionnaient une évaluation précise à des garanties financières. Et les Etats-Unis et l'Union européenne souhaitaient que ces contributions se concentrent sur l'effort de réduction des gaz à effet de serre.

Autre point de discorde, la différenciation entre pays développés et en voie de développement, que certains pays très pollueurs voulaient maintenir. La Convention de l'ONU sur le climat de 1992 reconnaît « une responsabilité commune mais différenciée » pour ces deux catégories de pays. Chine et Inde en tête, désormais le premier et le quatrième émetteurs de GES, plaidaient pour un statu quo, considéré comme inacceptable par les Etats-Unis et l'Union européenne, notamment. Les pays en développement, après une rude bataille, ont obtenu que l'adaptation au changement climatique soit davantage prise en compte dans les négociations.

L'aide aux pays du Sud pour faire face au réchauffement était enfin un sujet de grande défiance. Certains pays, notamment la Chine, le Brésil, le Mexique, l'Arabie saoudite et la Bolivie (qui préside le groupe G77) exigent plus de visibilité sur la manière de tenir la promesse que le Nord a faite en 2009 d'atteindre 100 milliards de dollars d'aide annuelle en 2020. Ils n'ont pas obtenu gain de cause. Le Fonds vert pour le climat a finalisé sa première capitalisation à hauteur de 10,2 milliards de dollars

Copyright Guy CREQUIE
Ecrivain français observateur social
Messager de la culture de la paix de l’UNESCO


the Conference of Paris on the climate which will begin on November 30th, 2015, will be heavy consequences according to what will result from it!

In which state: will leave us to it planet with the future generations? Globalisation: it is also with human plan = to question and to act in alarming and of debt financial left with future generations as of air that the people will breathe which according to what it will be will live more or less a long time!

The school instruction is not to confuse with the intelligence of the need: wisdom articulating with acuity: how to produce and be useful without destroying!

Thus, in our big cities, in a country like France, our énarques and other polytechnicians encouraged the car with the diesel whose price of the fuel was less expensive, but which pollutes more in spite of progress with the new mufflers. appement.

Ailleurs, la déforestation détruit l’Amazonie = le poumon à oxygène de la planète ! Ailleurs encore, la fonte des glaciers va relever le niveau des océans, submerger des îles, conduire des populations à l’exode au risque de conflits politique set économiques, et de pénuries alimentaires, de transport de maladies en des lPARIS 2015: it is envisaged to sign the first world agreement engaging industrialized countries and developing countries in an united action against climate warming. Will Be--T it moment of the planetary start limiting the warming and its risks?

The compromise to which the 195 Member States of the convention of the United Nations arrived on the climate change, Sunday, December 14 in Lima, after two weeks of negotiations and close to thirty-six hours of prolongation, is not that which one could expect after the dash caused by the top of the Heads of State organized by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, in New York in September, and the bilateral agreement between the United States and China a few weeks later.

“The governments in Lima made the strict minimum to keep the multilateral negotiation process in life, but they did not make enough to convince that the world is ready to adopt an agreement on the ambitious and equitable climate the next year in Paris”, deplored Mary Robinson, special correspondent of the United Nations for the climate. The objective of the agreement under discussion since 2011 must make it possible to limit the rise of the temperatures to 2° C by the end of the century, threshold considered to be dangereous because of the scientists of the GIEC (intergovernmental Group of expert on the climate).

Sunday, France, which will endorse the presidency of the negotiations starting from January, made good figure. But the weakness of the texts adopted in Lima complicates its task, and shows that behind the effects of platform, confidence, at the bottom, is still not there. The Minister of Environment of Singapore, Vivian Balakristan, after having tried to play the mediators during nearly nine hours, could not escape this report: “We divide all the direction of the urgency [to be acted against the warming], but we do not have confidence one in another”, he recognized during plenary session Saturday morning, before the meeting is again adjourned for a new round of consultations.

A compromise finally was thus found. For that, the United States had to admit that the adaptation to the climate change could not be treated like a question of second order. The less advanced countries or the small islands whose gas emissions for greenhouse effect are negligible proposed the cost that for them the need represents already for facing the impacts of the warming. To the detriment of the investments in their development and the fight against poverty.

Deputy rests during an interruption of plenary session of the conference on the climate in Lima, which was prolonged 30 hours.

In this battle, China, like the other emerging countries, made united front with the other developing countries. Alliance with the United States found its limits in the arena of the climatic negotiations, where Beijing preserves like priority to post its solidarity with most vulnerable.

The challenge crystallized on the definition of the national contributions which will have to give the States from here to March, “for those which can it”. Entirely turned towards the efforts of reduction of the CO2 emissions, their definition had to be rebalanced to give satisfaction to the countries of the south. The principle of “a common, but differentiated responsibility”, guarantees of a distinct treatment for the developing countries, was reaffirmed.

A “synthesis” of these efforts of attenuation will take place in November, that is to say very late, and without a mechanism of evaluation not being able to be adopted. China is hard opposite there. As Much to say that the “cord of recall” on which some hoped to require of the countries to make more is concealed. The text stipulates however that the proposals put on the table represent “an additional progress” compared to the already committed policies.

If the capitalization of the Funds green for the climate, with height of 10.2 billion dollars, remains the good news of these two last weeks, it does not mask the fact that no answer was given on the way of managing to gather the 100 billion dollars in 2009 of annual assistance announced at the time of the conference of Copenhagen. Five years after, this continuous promise not kept to feed the distrust of the developing countries.


In the same way, the question of the extra efforts of reduction of emissions by 2020, i.e. before the future agreement comes into effect, does not find any concrete answer. The gap between the current growth of the world emissions, which leads towards a warming ranging between 3° C and 4° C, and the trajectory which would have to be found, was evaluated to 10 billion tons of equivalent-CO2. by the United Nations.

Drafting of draft of future agreement of Paris, which one could imagine that it would concentrate the confrontations, was not finally a true place of battle. A text of 37 pages was adopted. It leaves open all the options. Most ambitious, like that consistent to fix itself for objective to arrive to a world assessment of the gas emissions for neutral greenhouse effect by the end of the century. Like more the minimalists.

It is from all that the French, with the secretariat of convention on the climate, will have to build the road towards Paris. The negotiations will begin again in February in Geneva to more really stop until the expiry of December 2015. The diplomats, who have the habit of the sudden starts of this process, will recover from this new chaotic episode. The text which was adopted makes it possible to advance for little that the political will exists. However, it is it which is questioned by the Peruvian episode. Which is the negative image in September behind the statements made by the Heads of State to New York? After Lima, the 400,000 people who ravelled in the streets of the American city to claim action and a “climatic justice” have new reasons to doubt.

The commitments must allow a total fall of the emissions from 40 to 70% by 2050: a need to manage to limit to 2°C the rise of the temperature of planet, threshold considered to be dangereous because of the scientists of the GIEC (intergovernmental Group of expert on the evolution of the climate).

The secretariat of the Convention of UNO on the climate will be charged to prepare for November 1st, 2015 a synthesis of the whole of the contributions, in order to check that they will make it possible to hold the objective of the 2°C.

The definition of the rules which govern these contributions, and their process of evaluation (at the total level, and compared to the capacity of each country) was a subject of friction. China and India in particular were opposed to a too demanding approach. The African countries, which represent only one marginal fraction of the gas emissions for greenhouse effect (some 3%), conditioned a precise evaluation with financial guarantees. And the United States and the European Union wished that these contributions concentrate on the effort of reduction of greenhouse gases.

Another point of discord, differentiation between developed countries and in the process of development, that certain countries very pollutants wanted to maintain. The Convention of UNO on the climate of 1992 recognizes “a responsibility common but differentiated” for these two categories of country. China and India at the head, from now on the first and the fourth transmitters of GES, pled for a status quo, regarded as unacceptable by the United States and the European Union, in particular. The developing countries, after a hard battle, obtained that the adaptation to the climate change is more taken into account in the negotiations.

The assistance with the countries of the South to face the warming was finally a subject of great distrust. Certain countries, in particular China, Brazil, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Bolivia (which chairs the G77 group) require more visibility on the manner of keeping the promise than North made in 2009 reach 100 billion dollars of annual assistance in 2020. They did not win the case. The Funds green for the climate finalized its first capitalization with height of 10.2 billion dollars

Copyright Guy CREQUIE
Social observant French Writer
Messenger of the culture of the peace of UNESCO
 November 5, 2014

by Guy Crequie

Guy Crequie

Email: guy.crequie@wanadoo.fr
Guy CREQUIE Global file
Ecrivain francais à finalité philosophique. Blog http://guycrequie.blogspot.com
Depuis les temps les plus reculés, notre terre abrite des cultures fondamentalement pacifiques, riches d'une sagesse leur permettant de maintenir des relations harmonieuses avec l’environnement naturel et humain.

« Les trains qui arrivent à l'heure n'intéressent personne », répètent les journalistes. Prôner la paix entre les peuples est un message difficile à faire entendre, qui peut vous faire passer pour un grand naïf. C’est d’autant plus vrai dans une société hyper médiatisée comme la nôtre, où téléspectateurs et internautes réclament leur dose quotidienne d’émotions fortes.

Les êtres humains ont toujours eu un attrait – teinté d’appréhension – pour ce qui est interdit, sensationnel ou magique. Ils ont toujours éprouvé une certaine inquiétude face à la nouveauté, l’inconnu, l’étranger. Les cultures à tendance impérialiste jouent avec ces sentiments humains. Elles savent se mettre en valeur, au détriment des autres. A l’extrémité d’une telle logique, ces « autres » sont relégués au rang d'animaux ou de barbares. Il faut donc les conquérir pour les civiliser ou les éliminer. C’est l’histoire du monde telle que la racontent nos manuels scolaires et dans laquelle domine une culture de guerres.

La cruauté supposée de certains peuples

Certaines idées ont la peau dure : les êtres humains sont foncièrement mauvais ; les peuples dits primitifs, essentiellement cruels. Des recherches récentes remettent toutefois en cause la supposée « férocité » de ces derniers. La parution du livre, en 1979, de l’anthropologue américain William Arens, Le Mythe du cannibalisme1, a levé un doute sur l’existence réelle du cannibalisme rituel. L’étude de Napoleon Chagnon, Les Yanomami, le peuple féroce, qui fit sensation lors de sa parution en 1968, est quant à elle critiquée pour son manque d'objectivité. Chagnon serait « obnubilé » par sa volonté de fournir la preuve anthropologique de la cruauté humaine2. Ses travaux constituent pourtant « la pièce anthropologique maîtresse utilisée comme caution scientifique par les adeptes de la croyance en la violence naturelle de l’être humain ».3 Or, aujourd’hui, Davi Kopenawa, chaman des Yanomami, est parfois appelé « le dalaï-lama de la forêt amazonienne », pour son action en faveur de la protection de la nature et du respect des droits des Indiens d’Amazonie...

La dévalorisation est, en fait, un moyen d’avilir l’autre afin de justifier de pratiques inhumaines. Comme le dit Claude Lévi-Strauss : « Le barbare, c’est d’abord l’homme qui croit à la barbarie. »4 Si certains sont cannibales, alors on n’aura pas de scrupules à les réduire en esclavage. S’ils ont des comportements condamnables, alors on pourra plus facilement en faire des bêtes de somme... C’est la fonction du bouc émissaire : l’animal sur lequel, le jour du Pardon, le prêtre du Temple de Jérusalem chargeait les péchés d’Israël. Les juifs et les chrétiens du IIe siècle sont aussi accusés de cannibalisme par les Romains. Plus tard, ce sont des chrétiens qui accusent les juifs de cannibalisme et de pratiquer le meurtre rituel d’enfants chrétiens, etc.

Nous croyons facilement que les autres peuvent être déviants, mais avons du mal à croire que certains nous considèrent comme tels. Pourtant, lorsque Tanzaniens ou Mélanésiens ont rencontré pour la première fois des Européens, ils en eurent peur, car ils croyaient qu’ils étaient cannibales5...

Les caractéristiques d'une culture de paix :

Les peuples pacifiques sont présents sur les cinq continents, mais ils ont été largement ignorés par des anthropologues avides de sensation. La sociologue américaine Elise Boulding, pionnière des études en matière de culture de paix, définit celle-ci comme une culture « qui promeut la diversité et qui gère avec créativité les conflits et les propres à chaque société, parce qu’aucun être humain n’est semblable à un autre. »6 Elle distingue ainsi conflit et violence, cette dernière étant « la souffrance intentionnelle infligée, pour ses propres fins, à autrui. »7 Il n’y a pas de société sans conflits, mais il peut y en avoir sans violence. La violence ne résout pas les problèmes, elle les envenime.

Ces peuples promeuvent des valeurs permettant de prévenir les conflits : égalité, contrôle de soi, non-violence (considérée comme une force), évitement (une personne, voire la population entière, se déplacera si un conflit risque de dégénérer), négociation (présentation d’excuses, échanges de dons), médiation (lors de celle-ci, la réconciliation est considérée comme plus importante que de savoir qui a raison), éducation ouverte (essentielle dans la transmission).

De nombreuses cultures défendent ces valeurs : Tasaday, des Philippines (ils n’ont pas de mots pour la colère, le meurtre ou la guerre) ; Ifaluk du nord de l’Australie ; !Kung, de Namibie et du Botswana ; Zatopec, du Mexique ; Semai, de Malaisie8... Le sociologue Johan Van der Dennen recense ainsi jusqu’à 520 peuples chez lesquels la guerre est absente ou défensive.

Un exemple significatif est la Ligue des Iroquois qui, pendant plus de trois siècles (de 1450 à 1777), rassemblait cinq, puis six nations d’Indiens d’Amérique du Nord. Cette ligue a permis d’é1iminer la guerre entre ses membres. Les Iroquois ont codifié leurs principes, fondés sur la négociation et la consultation, dans une Grande Loi de paix, ébauche de Constitution pacifique er démocratique. Dans son dialogue avec Elise Boulding, Daisaku Ikeda dit à leur propos : « Les femmes avaient un pouvoir considérable dans la tradition iroquoise. Elles choisissaient les chefs de clans et pouvaient au besoin les révoquer. »9 Ceci explique peut-être cela...

Il écrit plus loin : « En nous consacrant entièrement à la cause de la paix, nous pouvons honorer la mémoire des victimes des guerres passées et édifier un monde dans lequel les peuples de demain connaîtront le bonheur. »10

La paix est source de prospérité. Comme l’a bien montré le scientifique américain Jared Diamond, ce sont les conflits répétés, la perte de partenaires commerciaux ou la dégradation environnementale qui provoquent le déclin, voire la disparition des sociétés.11

Tiré de Valeurs humaines n°30-avril 2013.


Since the most moved back times, our ground shelters basically peaceful, rich cultures of a wisdom enabling them to maintain relationships harmonious to natural environment and human.

“The trains which arrive per hour do not interest anybody”, the journalists repeat. To Preach peace between the people is a message difficult to make hear, which can make you pass for large naive. It is all the more true in a company very popularized through the media like ours, where televiewers and Net surfers claim their daily amount of strong emotions.

The human beings always had an attraction - tinted apprehension - as regards interdict, sensational or magic. They always tested a certain concern vis-a-vis the innovation, the unknown, the foreigner. The cultures with imperialist tendency play with these human feelings. They can be emphasized, to the detriment of the others. At the end of such a logic, these “others” are relegated to the row of animals or barbarians. They thus should be conquered to civilize them or eliminate them. It is the history of the world such that our school handbooks say it and in which a culture of wars dominates.

The supposed cruelty of certain people

Certain ideas have the hard skin: the human beings are fundamentally bad; people known as primitive, primarily cruel. Recent research calls however into supposed question “the ferocity” of the latter. The publication of the book, in 1979, of the American anthropologist William Arens, the Myth of the cannibalisme1, raised a doubt about the real existence of the ritual cannibalism. The study of Napoleon Chagnon, Yanomami, the wild people, which created sensation at the time of his publication in 1968, as for it is criticized for its lack of objectivity. Chagnon “would be obnubilated” by its will to provide the anthropological proof of cruelty humaine2. Its work however constitutes “the main anthropological part used like scientific guarantee by the followers of the belief in natural violence human being” .3 Gold, today, Davi Kopenawa, Shaman of Yanomami, is sometimes called “the Dalai Lama of the Amazon forest”, for its action in favor of the protection of nature and the respect of the rights of the Indians of Amazonia…

The devalorization is, in fact, a means of degrading the other in order to justify inhuman practices. Like Claude Lévi-Strauss says it: “The barbarian, it is initially the man who believes in cruelty. ” 4 Si some are cannibals, then one will not have scruples to reduce them in slavery. If they have condemnable behaviors, then one will be able more easily to make beasts of burden of them… It is the function of the scapegoat: the animal on which, the day of Forgiveness, the priest of the Temple of Jerusalem charged the sins with Israel. The Jews and the Christians of the 2rd century are also accused of cannibalism by the Romans. Later, they are Christians who show the Jews of cannibalism and to practice the ritual murder Christian children, etc

We believe easily that the others can be deviating, but have difficulty believing that some regard us as such. However, when Tanzanians or Melanesian met for the first time of Europeans, they were afraid of it, because they believed that they were cannibales5…

Characteristics of a culture of peace:

The peaceful people are present on the five continents, but they were largely ignored by avid anthropologists of feeling. The American sociologist Elects Boulding, pionnière of the studies as regards culture of peace, defines this one as a culture “which promotes diversity and which manages with creativity the conflicts and the specific ones to each company, because no human being is similar to another. ” 6 It distinguishes thus conflict and violence, the latter being “the inflicted intentional suffering, for its own ends, with others. ” 7 There is no company without conflicts, but there can be without violence. Violence does not solve the problems, it poisons them.

These people promote values allowing to prevent the conflicts: equality, self-control, non-violence (regarded as a force), avoidance (person, even population whole, will move if a conflict is likely to degenerate), negotiation (presentation of excuses, exchanges of gifts), mediation (at the time of this one, the reconciliation is regarded as more important than to know which is right), open education (essential in the transmission).

Many cultures defend these values: Tasaday, of Philippines (they do not have words for anger, the murder or the war); Ifaluk of the north of Australia; !Kung, of Namibia and Botswana; Zatopec, of Mexico; Sowed, of Malaisie8… The sociologist Johan Van der Dennen counts thus to 520 people among whom the war is absent or defensive.

A significant example is the League of the Iroquois one which, during more than three centuries (of 1450 to 1777), gathered five, then six nations of Indians of North America. This league allowed é1iminer the war between its members. The Iroquois ones codified their principles, based on the negotiation and the consultation, in a Great Law of peace, peaceful outline of Constitution democratic er. In its dialog with Elects Boulding, Daisaku Ikeda says about them: “The women had a considerable power in the Iroquois tradition. They chose the chiefs of clans and could with the need to revoke them. Perhaps” 9 This explains that…

He writes further: “By devoting us entirely to the cause of peace, we can honour the memory with the victims of the last wars and build a world in which the people of tomorrow will know happiness. ” 10

Peace is source of prosperity. As indeed showed it the American scientist Jared Diamond, in fact the repeated conflicts, the loss of business partners or the environmental degradation cause the decline, even the disappearance of the sociétés.11

Drawn from Human values n°30- April 2013.
 December 15, 2014

Cercle Universel des Ambassadeurs de la Paix
Universal Ambassador Peace Circle
Le meilleur destin de l'Humanité ou le pire O melhor destino da humanidade, ou pior El mejor destino de la humanidad o algo peor:
by Guy Moreau
Le meilleur destin de l'humanité ou le pire : Il est bon de préparer l'avenir en parlant ou en correspondant pour parler vrai et juste, pour penser juste car toute erreur sera désormais fatale ; entre un monde guerrier tel qu'est le monde depuis plusieurs siècles et un monde pacifique qui n'a pas encore vu le jour car chaque pays vit une paix armée, donc une paix incertaine à la merci de la course aux armements notamment ; il n'y a pas un juste milieu, c'est l'exception à une vérité de Confucius. Concevoir "un monde meilleur", tout le monde en a parlé, et ça n'a fait qu'empirer, donc cette réponse n'est pas la bonne. Concevoir un monde meilleur serait concevoir un juste milieu entre un monde guerrier et un monde pacifique, ça n'a jamais rien donné sinon des crises et des conflits sans cesse pire et une course aux armements faisant proliférer les armes nucléaires, le terrorisme, le chantage... Nous ne pouvons par sortir de la logique du monde guerrier en continuant à préparer des guerres, et nous ne pouvons pas passer au désarmement et à la paix gratuite, sans construire l'accès à tout le monde à toute la culture, à toutes les richesses de l'Art sans exclusion ; sans construire un sociétal fidèle aux valeurs universelles ; sans construire ainsi la sécurité gratuite, la paix gratuite. La sécurité par des forces de répression et d'incarcération, la paix par la force armée, sont des atteintes à des vies humaines directes et à indirectes envers d'autres vies par les répercussions économiques et sociales. Pour remplacer le monde guerrier qu'est le vieux monde, comme concevoir « un meilleur monde » n'a jamais donné aux Hommes un meilleur monde car ce monde est en proie à la barbarie moderne cruelle par l'économie inadaptée frappant une partie importante de la population dans chaque pays et n'a jamais permis de mettre fin à la guerre en série au cours de chaque siècle car chaque siècle a connu une guerre ou plus tout au long de l'histoire du Monde et souvent plus d'une. Il faut donc construire le meilleur monde et non un monde meilleur car cette illusion contribue à perdre l'humanité. Il est impossible de mettre fin à la logique de guerre sans passer à la réalisation de la sécurité gratuite, de la paix gratuite, en réalisant des grands projets déjà écrits pour l'essentiel. Il faut pour cela deux volontés qui échappent à tout ultra populisme et à tout populisme : la volonté populaire voire le choix de la paix sans armes et la volonté de construire la vie de chaque peuple avec cette paix gratuite ; la volonté politique voire surtout la volonté d'hommes politiques intègres de servir les Citoyennes et les Citoyens voulant remplacer le vieux monde, guerrier depuis la nuit des temps ; par le Monde tel qu'il doit être, sans guerre, sans logique de guerre, sans préparation d'une quelconque guerre contre des Hommes, en réalisant le sociétal du vingt et unième siècle car quel que soit le choix des Hommes entre le meilleur et le pire, le vingt et unième siècle ne sera pareil à aucun siècle précédent. L'humanité peut encore réussir mais la construction de la sécurité gratuite et de la paix gratuite qui seule pourra supplanter toute logique guerrière qui menace la vie de l'humanité ; est une course contre la montre, car chaque jour dans différents pays, des Hommes fabriquent et commercialisent des armes, au mépris des vies humaines qui souffrent de l'économie inadaptée ainsi que du retard de sociétal tel qu'il doit être. Il faut s'unir au regard des certitudes d'écrivains qui ont toujours chassé les solutions sans amour et non se diviser tous les jours au nom d'opinions qui en général constituent des solutions sans amour, et remplacent des solutions sans amour par des solutions sans amour.

Tout dépend du choix humain ; le choix humain veut-il résolument le meilleur monde ou la l'autodestruction de la Terre des Hommes ? Un monde meilleur n'a jamais eu la moindre réalité, le monde n'a jamais cessé de construire plus des logiques guerrières et de préparer des guerres et il continue ainsi tous les jours. Faire le choix humain, c'est choisir de réaliser le meilleur monde ; et pour cela il faut préférer les certitudes fidèles aux valeurs universelles et l'esprit d'union pour un monde de paix et d'harmonie réelles, aux opinions entretenues par le quatrième pouvoir voire les médias dans le monde entier et ce que répand le quatrième pouvoir n'a jamais empêcher une seule guerre, qui divisent les femmes et les hommes en favorisant les chefs de guerre et fait sombrer les peuples en entretenant les fléaux alors qu'ils ont toujours été éliminables et peuvent être éliminés en passant au sociétal tel qu'il doit être... L'esprit du meilleur monde est un esprit qui a toujours divisé les Hommes, l'esprit du meilleur monde, c'est la force de l'esprit, et cet esprit peut unir tous les Hommes de bonne volonté qui ont a fournir la preuve chaque jour qu'ils aiment la Paix authentique et qu'il n'aiment pas la moindre logique guerrière et la moindre guerre contre les Hommes. La violence et la bêtise et la cruauté ou la non violence et la douceur et la tendresse, il n'y a pas de juste milieu entre les choix, il n'y a pas un choix intermédiaire, la Paix véritable c'est la violence zéro.

O melhor destino da humanidade, ou pior:

É bom se preparar para o futuro por falar ou correspondente para falar a verdade e só de pensar que só porque qualquer erro será fatal; num mundo de guerreiro, como é o mundo de vários séculos e um mundo de paz, quem ainda não viu o dia porque cada país vive um exército de paz, então uma paz incerta à mercê da corrida por armamentos incluindo; Não há um equilíbrio, é a exceção a uma verdade de Confúcio. Projeto "um mundo melhor", todo mundo falou e é agravado que, por esta resposta não é boa. Concepção de um mundo melhor seria desenvolver um equilíbrio entre um guerreiro e um mundo de paz, Deu nada já senão ataques e conflitos sempre piores e a corrida armamentista que proliferar armas nucleares, terrorismo, chantagem... Não podemos ir sem a lógica do mundo guerreiro continua a preparar-se para as guerras, e não podemos sem desarmamento e paz livre, compilação de acesso a todos para qualquer cultura, todas as riquezas da arte sem exclusão; sem construir uma societal fiel aos valores universais; sem construção e sem segurança, paz livre. As forças de segurança de repressão e encarceramento, paz através da força armada, são violações de vidas humanas diretas e indiretas para outras vidas pelas repercussões económicas e sociais. Para substituir o guerreiro mundial que é o velho mundo como projeto "um mundo melhor" nunca deu aos homens um mundo melhor, porque este mundo é presa para a barbárie moderna cruel por economia inadequada atingindo grande parte da população em cada país e nunca autorizados a pôr fim à guerra em série em cada século e cada século tem testemunhado uma guerra ou mais ao longo da história do mundo e muitas vezes mais de um. Ele deve, portanto, construir o mundo melhor e um mundo melhor como esta ilusão contribui para a humanidade perdida. É impossível acabar com a lógica da guerra sem a realização de segurança gratuita, livre de paz, através da realização de grandes projectos já escritos na sua maior parte. Isso requer duas vontades que escaparem ultrapopulisme todo e qualquer populismo: a vontade do povo ou até mesmo a escolha de paz sem armas e a vontade de construir a vida de todas as pessoas com esta paz livre; vontade política ou mesmo especialmente os políticos irão integrar para servir os cidadãos e os cidadãos que desejam substituir o velho mundo, guerreiro desde a aurora dos tempos; pelo mundo como deve ser, sem guerra, sem lógica de guerra, sem preparar uma guerra contra os homens, pela sociedade do século XXI, porque independentemente da escolha de homens entre o melhor e o pior, a vinte anos e o primeiro século será semelhantes à qualquer do século anterior. Humanidade ainda pode ter sucesso mas a construção da enciclopédia de segurança e paz livre que sozinho pode suplantar toda a lógica guerreiro que ameaça a vida da humanidade. é uma corrida contra o relógio, porque todos os dias em diferentes países, os homens produzem e comercializam armas, desafio das vidas humanas que sofrem atraso inadequada, bem como da sociedade economia tais como deve ser. Ele deve unir-se sob as convicções de escritores que sempre caçaram soluções sem amor e não ser divididos todos os dias em nome de opiniões que são geralmente soluções sem amor e substituir soluções sem amor por soluções sem amor.

Tudo depende da escolha humana; escolha humana fortemente quer o melhor do mundo ou a auto-destruição da Terre des Hommes? Um mundo melhor, nunca foi a menor realidade, o mundo nunca deixou de construir lógicas mais bélicas e preparar guerras e continua todos os dias. Faça a escolha humana, está escolhendo alcançar o melhor do mundo; e por isso ele deve preferir as certezas fiel aos valores universais e espírito de unidade para um mundo de paz e de harmonia real as opiniões mantidas pelo quarto poder ou até mesmo a mídia do mundo e este se espalha a quarta nunca pode impedir uma guerra única que dividir homens e mulheres, promovendo os senhores da guerra e está afundando pessoas mantendo os flagelos como sempre eram descartáveis e pode ser eliminado, passando para a sociedade como deveria ser... O espírito do mundo melhor é um espírito que sempre dividiu os homens, o espírito do mundo melhor, é a força do espírito, e este espírito pode unir todas as pessoas de boa vontade que têm de fornecer provas todos os dias que gozam de uma paz verdadeira e como não a lógica menos bélica e o gue menor

El mejor destino de la humanidad o algo peor:

Es bueno prepararse para el futuro hablando o correspondientes a hablar verdad y pensar porque cualquier error será fatal; entre un mundo de Guerrero como es el mundo varios siglos y una pacífica que ha aún no visto el día porque cada país vive un ejército de paz, así que una paz incierta a merced de la carrera de armamentos entre ellos; No hay un equilibrio, es la excepción a una verdad de Confucio. Diseño de "un mundo mejor", todo el mundo habló e hizo peor, así que esta respuesta no es buena. Diseño de un mundo mejor sería desarrollar un equilibrio entre un guerrero y un mundo de paz, No dio nunca lo contrario ataques y conflictos siempre peores y la carrera armamentista que proliferan las armas nucleares, el terrorismo, chantaje... No podemos ir fuera de la lógica del mundo Guerrero continúa para prepararse para la guerra, y no podemos sin desarme y paz gratis, construir acceso a todo el mundo para cualquier cultura, todas las riquezas del arte sin exclusión; sin la construcción de una sociedad fiel a los valores universales; sin construir y sin seguridad, paz gratis. Las fuerzas de seguridad de represión y encarcelamiento, paz a través de las fuerzas armadas, constituyen violaciones de la vida humana directa e indirecta a otras vidas por las repercusiones económicas y sociales. Para reemplazar el Guerrero mundo que es el viejo mundo como no diseñar "un mundo mejor" nunca dio a los hombres un mundo mejor porque este mundo es presa de la barbarie moderna cruel por inadecuado economía golpea una gran parte de la población de cada país y nunca permitió poner fin a la guerra en serie en cada siglo y cada siglo ha sido testigo de una guerra o más a lo largo de la historia de la humanidad y a menudo más de uno. Por lo tanto se deben construir el mundo mejor y un mundo mejor como esta ilusión contribuye a la humanidad perdida. Es imposible poner fin a la lógica de la guerra sin la realización de seguridad gratuito, libre de la paz, mediante la realización de grandes proyectos ya escritos en su mayor parte. Esto requiere de dos voluntades que se escapan a toda ultrapopulisme y cualquier populismo: la voluntad de las personas o incluso la opción de la paz sin armas y la voluntad de construir la vida de todos los que padecen esta paz libre; integrarán la voluntad política o incluso especialmente los políticos para servir a los ciudadanos y los ciudadanos querer reemplazar el viejo mundo, Guerrero desde los albores del tiempo; por el mundo como debe ser, sin guerra, sin lógica de la guerra, sin preparar una guerra contra los hombres, por la sociedad del siglo XXI porque independientemente de la elección de los hombres entre el mejor y lo peor, el veinte y el siglo XXI será similares a cualquier siglo anterior. La humanidad todavía puede tener éxito pero la construcción de la seguridad y paz gratis que solo puede suplantar a toda lógica guerrera que amenaza la vida de la humanidad. es una carrera contra el reloj, porque cada día en distintos países, los hombres producen y comercializan armas, desafío de vidas humanas que sufren retraso social inadecuada, así como economía tal como debe ser. Debe unir bajo las certezas de escritores que siempre han buscado soluciones sin amor y no divididas cada día en nombre de opiniones que generalmente son soluciones sin amor y sustituir las soluciones sin amor por soluciones sin amor.

Todo depende de la elección humana; elección humana quiere fuertemente la mejor del mundo o la autodestrucción de la Terre des Hommes. Un mundo mejor nunca ha sido la más mínima realidad, el mundo no ha dejado de construir lógicas más belicosa y preparar guerras y continúa cada día. Hacer la elección humana, es elegir para lograr la mejor del mundo; y para ello debe prefiere las certezas fiel a los valores universales y espíritu de unidad para un mundo de paz y armonía real las opiniones mantenidas por el cuarto poder o incluso los medios de comunicación en el mundo y este se extiende la cuarta nunca puede evitar una guerra sola que dividen a hombres y mujeres mediante la promoción de los caudillos y gente se está hundiendo por mantener las lacras como siempre eran desechables y puede serán eliminados por pasar a la sociedad como debe ser... El espíritu de la mejor del mundo es un espíritu que siempre ha dividido a los hombres, el espíritu de la mejor del mundo, es la fortaleza de espíritu y ese espíritu pueda unir a todas las personas de buena voluntad que tienen que aportar pruebas cada día que disfrutan de una paz auténtica y como no la lógica menos belicosa y el gue menor.

The best destiny of mankind or worse:

It is good to prepare for the future by talking or corresponding to speak true and just to think just because any error will now be fatal; between a warrior world as is the world several centuries and a peaceful world who has not yet seen the day because each country lives a peace army, so an uncertain peace at the mercy of the race for armaments including; There is not a balance, it is the exception to a truth of Confucius. Design "a better world", everyone spoke, and it made that worse, so this answer is not good. Design a better world would be to develop a balance between a warrior and a peaceful world, It gave nothing ever otherwise attacks and ever worse conflicts and the arms race that proliferate nuclear weapons, terrorism, blackmail... We cannot come out of the logic of the Warrior world continuing to prepare for wars, and we cannot without disarmament and free peace, build access to everyone for any culture, all the riches of Art without exclusion; without building a societal faithful to universal values; without building and free security, free peace. The security forces of suppression and incarceration, peace through armed force, are violations of direct human lives and indirect to other lives by the economic and social repercussions. To replace the Warrior world that is the old world as design "a better world" never gave men a better world because this world is prey to the modern barbarity cruel by inappropriate economy hitting a large part of the population in each country and never allowed to put an end to the war in series in each century and each century has witnessed a war or more throughout the history of the world and often more than one. It must therefore build the better world and a better world as this illusion contributes to lost humanity. It is impossible to put an end to the logic of war without the realization of free security, free peace, by carrying out major projects already written for the most part. This requires two wills that escape all ultrapopulisme and any populism: the will of the people or even the choice of peace without weapons and the will to build the life of every people with this free peace; political will or even especially the politicians will integrate to serve citizens and citizens wanting to replace the old world, Warrior since the dawn of time; by the world as it must be, without war, without logic of war, without preparing a any war against men, by the society of the twenty-first century because regardless of the choice of men between the best and the worst, the twenty and first century will be similar to any previous century. Humanity can still succeed but the construction of the free security and free peace which alone can supplant all Warrior logic that threatens the lives of mankind. is a race against the clock, because every day in different countries, men produce and market weapons, defiance of human lives who suffer from inadequate as well as societal lagging economy such as it should be. It must unite under the certainties of writers who have always hunted solutions without love and not be divided every day on behalf of opinions that are generally solutions without love, and replace solutions without love by solutions without love. Everything depends on human choice; human choice strongly wants the best world or the self-destruction of the Terre des Hommes? A better world has never been the slightest reality, the world has never ceased to build more warlike logics and prepare wars and it continues every day. Make human choice, is choosing to achieve the best world; and for this he must prefer the certainties faithful to universal values and spirit of unity for a world of peace and real harmony to the opinions maintained by the fourth power or even the media in the world and this spreads the fourth can never prevent a single war that divide women and men by promoting the warlords and is sinking people by maintaining the scourges as they were always disposable and can be eliminated by passing to the societal as it should be... The spirit of the best world is a spirit that has always divided the men, the spirit of the best world, it is the strength of spirit, and this spirit can unite all people of good will who have to provide evidence every day that they enjoy genuine peace and it is like not the least warlike logic and the slightest gue
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