Politics and Justice Without Borders
Global Community Newsletter main website


Volume 13 Issue 2 October 2014
 Noah's Ark came to rest over 4300 years ago on Mount Ararat, or on  Mount Judiby according to  some Muslim  scholars.

Noah's Ark came to rest over 4300 years ago on Mount Ararat, or on Mount Judiby according to some Muslim scholars.
Artwork by Germain Dufour
September 2014

Today, Global Community is Noah's Ark


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

AFP, Eddie Bautista, Noam Chomsky, Claude Cognard,Guy Crequie (2), La Tonya Crisp-Sauray, Peter Haisenko, Ted Hamilton , Chris , Alex Kirby, Clarissa A. León, Bill McKibben (2), Charles Mercieca, Chris Rose (2), Sherwood Ross, Avinay Umesh-Saiyogita, Cliff Weathers, Eric Zuesse

AFP, How Climate Change Is Destroying One of the World's Natural Wonders How Climate Change Is Destroying One of the World's Natural Wonders
Eddie Bautista, La Tonya Crisp-Sauray and Bill McKibben, We're Wrecking the Planet for the Next Millennia: Biggest Rally Over Climate Change in Human History Coming Up We're Wrecking the Planet for the Next Millennia: Biggest Rally Over Climate Change in Human History Coming Up
Noam Chomsky, Chomsky: U.S. Plunges the Cradle of Civilization into Disaster, While Its Oil-Based Empire Destroys the Earth's Climate Chomsky: U.S. Plunges the Cradle of Civilization into Disaster, While Its Oil-Based Empire Destroys the Earth's Climate
Claude Cognard, Toi, mon ami, mon frère. You, my friend, my brother. Você, meu amigo, meu irmão. Toi, mon ami, mon frère. You, my friend, my brother. Você, meu amigo, meu irmão.
Peter Haisenko, The Evidence: MH 017 The Evidence: MH 017
Ted Hamilton, The Rebellion to Save Planet Earth: Why Civil Disobedience Could Be Our Last, Best Hope  The Rebellion to Save Planet Earth: Why Civil Disobedience Could Be Our Last, Best Hope
Alex Kirby, We're Running Out of Time: Ocean Acidification and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Soar We're Running Out of Time: Ocean Acidification and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Soar
Clarissa A. León, Why Cows Are the 800 Lb. Gorillas of Climate Change Why Cows Are the 800 Lb. Gorillas of Climate Change
Bill McKibben, Energy East vs. The Climate Energy East vs. The Climate
Bill McKibben and Chris Hedges, The Climate March: Will It Be a Call to Arms For the Earth, Or Are More Radical Actions Needed?  The Climate March: Will It Be a Call to Arms For the Earth, Or Are More Radical Actions Needed?
Charles Mercieca, What to Do About ISIS? What to Do About ISIS?
Chris Rose, Fossil Fuels Causing Mercury Levels to Spike in Oceans  Fossil Fuels Causing Mercury Levels to Spike in Oceans
Chris Rose, Major Disasters Linked to Extreme Weather, Climate and Water Hazards On the Rise  Major Disasters Linked to Extreme Weather, Climate and Water Hazards On the Rise
Sherwood Ross, US - UK Genocide Against Iraq 1990-2012 Killed 3.3 Million , Including 750,000 Children Says Prof. Francis Boyle  US - UK Genocide Against Iraq 1990-2012 Killed 3.3 Million , Including 750,000 Children Says Prof. Francis Boyle
Avinay Umesh-Saiyogita, The Deafening Silence On Climate Change The Deafening Silence On Climate Change
Cliff Weathers, Climate Shocker: Warming Oceans Create Great Plumes of Methane Bubbles Near Atlantic Coast Climate Shocker: Warming Oceans Create Great Plumes of Methane Bubbles Near Atlantic Coast
Eric Zuesse, MH-17 ‘Investigation': Secret August 8th Agreement Seeps Out - Perpetrator of the Downing in Ukraine, of the Malaysian Airliner, Will Stay Hidden MH-17 ‘Investigation': Secret August 8th Agreement Seeps Out - Perpetrator of the Downing in Ukraine, of the Malaysian Airliner, Will Stay Hidden


Articles and papers from authors


Day data received Theme or issue Read article or paper
 August 25, 2014
The Deafening Silence On Climate Change
by Avinay Umesh-Saiyogita , Countercurrents

India is the third largest country in terms of carbon emission. India is the second largest country in terms of population. India is the the country to hold the biggest democratic elections in the world! To exclude the rest, these three factors are enough to highlight the rising importance of India globally. Still, why is there a deafening silence on climate change in India, not only by the media but also by the politicians, subsequently followed by the people as the two former agencies are responsible for prioritizing any agenda.

Politicians and public opinion

Any observer with sound knowledge of Indian society can easily differentiate between the real issues of the country and the not-so-real issues which the politicians exploit for their own benefit . A classic example of this is how, “.....both 1992 and 2002 (riots) did was to fool people into believing that the communal divide is greater than the class divide. “As soon as you convince a society that Muslims or whatever group is the problem, you have tricked them into overlooking the real problems like labour laws, corruption, housing shortages, and poor infrastructure (and climate change), Sinha said.” The point that I am trying to make is that, politicians have always deceived people into believing, prioritizing and acting on issues that are of less importance than the once that require immediate attention. And the same happened during the general elections. Issues like Congress free India, Modi's superiority over Rahul Gandhi, and the need to replicate the development model of western countries in India as the only solution for its problems. Amidst all this, not a single senior politician, be it Modi, Rahul Gandhi or any other influential leader ever questioned   this model of development, neither did they ever mentioned the threat of climate change, as if it were non-existent, as the $900 million anti-climate change think tanks in America would want us to believe.

Media on public opinion

The power that media yields is known by all and requires no in-depth explanation here. Yet, the media in India never chooses to exercise its power to influence public opinion on climate change. TV coverage of environment news in less than one percent! Be it print media or the TV. It's only on the internet that a few niche climate change media outlets and organizations along with a few individuals on social media that are busy doing the job of the mainstream news media. Instead on focusing on issues, the media focuses of personalities, as was evident by the complete surrender of media to Narendra Modi during the general elections. The root of the problem is the advertising-driven revenue system of the news media and also its slow but complete take over by big corporations. Now that Mukesh Ambani's Reliance has acquired complete ownership of India's biggest media company Network 18, there would be hardly be any report seen about Reliance's misdeeds in the news channels owned by the company. This is true not only for Reliance but also for other major companies who have heavily invested in other news companies.


We must question, why is it that neither the politicians, neither a “free” media and nor do the people ever talk about climate change with any seriousness? Why can't political parties not organize people again to fight climate change as it does during its political rallies? Why is it that some bolloywood personalities' personal life have become more important an issue than climate change which has fatal effects? Why is it that the climate change has not become an everyday issue with people? Why don't we take it with as seriousness as we take other things like celebrating a festival?

Invoking  conscientizacao on climate change is the primary responsibility of the media which must result in action by the politicians.

And what are the people and civil society to do?

Well, they must act together on their own and ensure that people who yield power in the name of democracy perform their duty well. This is our only hope.

Avinay Umesh-Saiyogita lives in Bombay and work with Centre for Education and Documentation .

  Read The Deafening Silence On Climate Change
 August 26, 2014
MH-17 ‘Investigation': Secret August 8th Agreement Seeps Out - Perpetrator of the Downing in Ukraine, of the Malaysian Airliner, Will Stay Hidden
by Eric Zuesse , Countercurrents

Regarding what caused the downing of the Malaysian airliner MH-17 in Ukraine on July 17th, the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, reported in  a brief Russian-language news story on August 12th , that four days earlier (August 8th) a representative of that nation's Prosecutor General office, Yuri Boychenko, had said that (as auto-translated by google), “the results [of the investigation] will be announced upon completion of the investigation and with the consent of all the parties who signed the corresponding agreement.” This UNIAN report said that, "As part of the four-party agreement signed on August 8 between Ukraine, the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia [all of which nations are allies of the United States and are cooperating with its new Cold War against Russia ], information on the investigation into the disaster Malaysian ‘Boeing-777' will not be disclosed." In other words: the official 'investigation' is being carried out by four nations that, as U.S. allies, are hostile toward Russia. One of those four nations, Ukraine, is not only a prime suspect in possibly having shot this airliner down , but is currently  waging a hot war to ethnically-cleanse the pro-Russian population out of southeastern Ukraine ; and the initial 'news' reports in Western 'news' media regarding the downing of MH-17 had stenographically repeated the Ukrainian Goverhment's line that said that this airliner was probably downed by the local rebels there, who were trying to shoot down the Ukrainian Government's bombers that are constantly bombing them . Some Western 'news' reports even speculated that perhaps Russia itself had shot this airliner down. If the UNIAN news-report is correct, then there is no way that the 'investigation' will be able to be released to the public if it indicates that the Ukrainian Government (which, according to that news-report has  veto power   over the making-public of the study's findings) is blamed for having shot the airliner down.

On August 12th, another pro-Ukrainian-Government 'news' site, gordonua.com , headlined, as auto-translated by google,  "GPU: The results of the investigation [into the] crash [of] the Boeing 777 will be released with the consent of the parties,"  and said, "Information about the accident MH17 in the Donetsk region will be published in obtaining the consent of all the parties that are involved in the investigation." UNIAN was cited there as gordonua's sole source. ‘News' media didn't probe the matter further. 

Until 23 August 2014, that seems to have been the last of the matter, as far as news reports were concerned, and both of those two news reports were just tiny squibs in the Russian language, published only in Ukraine, by supporters of the Obama-installed Ukrainian Government. The news was ignored both inside and outside Ukraine. 

Then, on 23 August 2014, Global Research News published the first English-language news-report on this matter; it was based on the second Russian-language news-report, the one that had appeared at gordonua.com on August 12th. Global Research concluded from it that,  “The Causes of the MH17 Crash are ‘Classified'."  Of course, this way of phrasing the matter is a slight oversimplification, because, actually, the findings will remain 'classified' only if, and to the extent that , the Ukrainian Government is found to have caused the airliner's downing. In other words: this 'investigation' will not be published unless the Ukrainian Government and the other three nations that are performing it agree unanimously to publish it.

So: imagine a murder-case in which 298 innocents are slaughtered, and in which there are only three suspects (here: Ukraine, the pro-Russian rebels, and Russia itself), and one of those three suspects has veto-power on the making-public of the 'investigation' into that crime. Well: this is that murder-case, and the veto-holding ‘investigator' and suspect is Ukraine. Neither of the other two suspects holds any such veto-power over this ‘investigation.'

In a sense, whether the official investigation into the downing will ever be made public is insignificant, just as would be any 'investigation' that is carried out by, or with veto-power from, one of the prime suspects in the crime that is being investigated.

The international public would obviously need to be fools in order for them to trust such an 'investigation' as that. Case closed?

President Obama got the economic-sanctions-increase against Russia, that he had wanted out of this shoot-down. Who needs any 'investigation' to determine this mass-killing's actual perpetrator? Certainly not Obama.  Ultimately, it is he who caused it, because he was the person behind this ethnic-cleansing campaign, without which ethnic-cleansing campaign the airliner itself wouldn't have been downed.

The downing of this airliner goes  straight back  to  the U.S. White House , which has already won what it wanted from it.

Those 298 corpses are just casualties of  this U.S.-caused war , like the Ukrainians are casualties of it  who live in the portions of Ukraine  that had overwhelmingly elected in 2010 the Ukrainian President whom Obama ousted from office in 2014. Obama doesn't want a President like that elected ever again in Ukraine; so, those voters are being gotten rid of, and ethnic cleansing is how it's being done. And  the residents there are likewise not being heard from in Western 'news' media, and nobody in the West is asking these victims what they think of the Ukrainian Government that Obama installed . Perhaps that's because they are increasingly becoming a guerilla army to defeat the regime that Obama installed. 

As to the specific operation that downed the plane, there is already a lot more information about that than the official 'investigation,' if that's ever published, is likely to reveal, and  it points clearly to the Ukrainian military as the perpetrator, in yet another of their 'false flag' operations. And unlike the Ukrainian Government's charges that rebels shot it down by mistake, Ukraine shot it down with deadly purpose and knowing full well what they were doing.


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 MH-17 ‘Investigation': Secret August 8th Agreement Seeps Out - Perpetrator of the Downing in Ukraine, of the Malaysian Airliner, Will Stay Hidden
  September 4, 2014
The Evidence: MH 017
by Peter Haisenko , Paulcraigroberts.org, Countercurrents

Peter Haisenko was a pilot for Lufthansa for 30 years. In the article below he explains his conclusion that the Malaysian airliner downed in Ukraine was hit first by an air-to-air missile from a Ukrainian fighter jet and then by machine gun fire. As Ukrainian air control has refused to release its communications with the airliner and Washington refuses to release its satellite photos, we have to form a judgment based on experience and available evidence. This judgment is superior to unsupported propagandistic claims. The withholding of pertinent information suggests that Washington and/or Kiev are responsible for the downed airliner.

Seven weeks have passed since the downing of MH 017 and we have still not been provided with official investigation results. This is an extraordinary circumstance, but ultimately not surprising. Just a few days after the crash of the airliner a short message was published that in this case the debris of the wreck will not be collected to be put together like a puzzle. However, this would have been the normal procedure if there were serious interest to determine the cause of the accident objectively.

When an airplane crashes, within 24 hours there are usually legions of experts at the scene who register everything in detail and start collecting the debris. First of all experts of the plane manufacturer are sent to the scene — in this case Boeing – followed by the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), and by specialists and experts from the countries concerned. In addition to the flight recorder, these specialists are responsible for an examination of the debris. Normally, the airplane is reconstructed from the pieces in order to determine the cause of the crash.

Yet in the case of MH 017 normal procedures were not followed. No representatives from Boeing appeared on the site. The airliner was not pieced together in order to determine the cause of its destruction. The information in the black boxes has not been revealed. Therefore, we have to arrive at a conclusion based on experience and the information available.

Investigation is further impeded by the establishment in the media of the Western propaganda line that Russia and the separatists are responsible. This “guilt” has been established by insinuation and repetition of charges unsupported by any evidence. Those who challenge the “official” story that the airliner was destroyed by a missile fired from the ground by separatists are said to be “conspiracy theorists.” In other words, those with experience are discredited before they speak.

The West has control of the investigation and apparently has decided not to investigate. However, we do have two critical pieces of information. One is the report of the Canadian representative of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) that reports bullet holes in the cockpit section of the airliner. Photos are available that clearly show bullet holes in the pattern of machine gun fire on both sides of the airliner’s cockpit. The other piece of information comes from a report in the Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times that intelligence analysts have concluded that one of the airliner’s engines was hit by a heat-seeking air-to-air missile. We know that there were Ukrainian jets armed with such weapons close to the airliner at the time that it crashed. http://www.nst.com.my/node/20925&nbsp

These two pieces of information support my conclusion of what happened based on my experience and my research:

A warplane fired an air-to-air missile which hit the right engine of MH 017. In the cockpit of the MH 017 only a violent shock could be perceived, along with the fire alarm and the failure notice of engine number two. Pilots would be aware of engine failure, not of a missile strike. The missile hit might have caused a strong yawning moment and an immediate drop in speed. The pilots instantly had to initiate emergency procedures for this emergency, and were concentrated on it with full attention.

According to procedural rule, the pilots had to turn the engine off, isolate it, reduce speed and altitude. Afterwards they had to select and head for an emergency landing place and inform the ground control about their emergency situation as soon as possible. A captain in an emergency situation may do everything to save his plane, his own life and the lives of his passengers.

He has the so-called “emergency authority” that allows actions outside of any provision. The nearest major airport for the pilots of MH 017 for an emergency landing was probably Kiev. Rostov in Russia was closer, but in order to go to Rostov the pilots would have had to cope with a change of the control center and a border crossing, which would have meant extra stress.

MH 017 had therefore initiated a curve back towards Kiev in connection with a descent. Now just imagine, that MH 017 would have landed in Kiev. In Kiev it could not have been disguised that the airliner had been hit by an air-to-air missile. The emergency landing procedure had to be prevented – no matter on what airport. This was achieved by machine gun fire.

The fact that an investigation apparently has been stymied is strong circumstantial evidence for the account of the airliner’s demise offered in this article.

  Read The Evidence: MH 017
 September 4, 2014
Energy East vs. The Climate
by Bill McKibben, Ricochetmedia.ca, Countercurrents

By building a movement capable of shutting down the tar sands, we’re standing up for the future of the planet

The biggest tar sands pipeline proposal that industry has thrown out yet, Energy East, is larger than Keystone XL and would stretch over 4,000 kilometers from Alberta to New Brunswick and could move over a million barrels of tar sands crude each day, most of it destined for export.

Since the 2011 arrest of hundreds of people in Washington while protesting the Keystone XL pipeline, the fight against the tar sands has grown into one of the most important global fights against extreme energy.

Hundreds of thousands of people have come together to fight pipeline projects across the US and Canada, to stop mega-load shipments and above all to stand with First Nations in Northern Alberta and draw a clear line in the sand for politicians: being serious on climate change means rejecting the tar sands.

As it has grown in size, this movement has also grown in scale, beauty and ambition. And as it has done so, it has made life increasingly hard for the tar sands barons. Just this year, a lack of pipelines to transport tar sands to the coast played a key role in forcing Total to suspend its plans to build an $11-billion tar sands mine — something Big Oil doesn’t do very often, at least not willingly. As the movement has grown though, so too has the desperation of the fossil fuel industry, which will do anything to get tar sands to port. The most audacious “anything” so far is TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline project.

The biggest tar sands pipeline proposal that industry has thrown out yet, Energy East would stretch over 4,000 kilometers from Alberta to New Brunswick and could move over a million barrels of tar sands crude each day, most of it destined for export. That’s more than double the capacity of Northern Gateway, and hundreds of thousands of barrels per day more than Keystone XL.

It would cross half the provinces in Canada, threatening communities all along the route, including over 150 First Nations communities. With a carbon footprint equal to 7 million cars, this pipeline is the latest desperate bid to do something every climate scientist in the world has warned against: pump the massive concentrations of carbon in Alberta’s tar sands out into the atmosphere. There are plenty of reasons to resist this project, but it’s worth noting that when people along the route are fighting to protect their land and water, they’re also standing up for the future of the planet.

The sheer size and scale of the Energy East project is an indication of an industry desperate to lock us into a dig, burn and dump economy for decades to come. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called this pipeline a “nation builder” for Canada, but from what I’ve seen of tar sands resistance, this could instead be the lightning rod that galvanizes the climate movement in this country — a movement capable of making a tar sands moratorium happen.

The deck is already stacked against the tar sands. They’ve been called one of the riskiest investments on the planet, for good reason. Between the carbon bubble and the impact of tar sands and pipelines on the legal rights of First Nations communities, investing in the tar sands is a dangerous gambit. As my friend Naomi Klein recently said, “Any resource investment in Canada right now should be treated as an uncertain investment.” With more and more investors dropping coal investments because of the risk, tar sands could be next on the chopping block, especially with the support of the ever-growing fossil fuel divestment movement.

Now it feels like we’re approaching a new kind of tipping point, one that will see the climate movement build the kind of people power we need to bend the course of history.

This fight to slow climate change has always been defined by tipping points. In the past they have been those lines we fought so hard to keep from crossing, the thresholds of runaway warming to which we may never adapt. Now it feels like we’re approaching a new kind of tipping point, one that will see the climate movement build the kind of people power we need to bend the course of history.

This fight against Energy East, along with interconnected fights against tar sands pipelines from Line 9 in Southern Ontario to Keystone XL in Nebraska and Northern Gateway in BC, are pushing the tar sands movement to a tipping point. While stopping tar sands expansion at the source may not be right around the corner, it is certainly on the horizon — and that’s just one piece of this new climate momentum.

Later this September something that we’ve never seen in North America is going to happen in New York. Hundreds of thousands of people will take to the street for the People’s Climate March, which we’re hoping will be largest climate march in human history.

Of course we’ve seen mass mobilization before, from the Occupy movement to Idle No More and the Quebec student movement, but this will be a first for the climate movement, not just because of the size of this march, but because of who is coming. This march will not just be made up of environmentalists, but also labour unions, students, Indigenous peoples, communities still rebuilding from the impacts of Hurricane Sandy and so many more.

In many ways, this march will be a street-level view of the emergence of the kind of movement we need to confront climate change. Because to change everything, we need everyone.

Bill McKibben is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and co-founder of 350.org. His most recent book is Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.

© 2014 Ricochet Media

  Read Energy East vs. The Climate
 September 13, 2014
US - UK Genocide Against Iraq 1990-2012 Killed 3.3 Million , Including 750,000 Children Says Prof. Francis Boyle
by Sherwood Ross, Countercurrents
Approximately 3.3 million Iraqis, including 750,000 children, were “exterminated” by economic sanctions and/or illegal wars conducted by the U.S. and Great Britain between 1990 and 2012, an eminent international legal authority says.

The slaughter fits the classic definition of Genocide Convention Article II of, “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” says Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, and who in 1991 filed a class-action complaint with the UN against President George H.W. Bush.

The U.S. and U.K. “obstinately insisted” that their sanctions remain in place until after the “illegal” Gulf War II aggression perpetrated by President George W. Bush and UK’s Tony Blair in March, 2003, “not with a view to easing the over decade-long suffering of the Iraqi people and children” but “to better facilitate the U.S./U.K. unsupervised looting and plundering of the Iraqi economy and oil fields in violation of the international laws of war as well as to the grave detriment of the Iraqi people,” Boyle said.

In an address last Nov. 22 to The International Conference on War-affected Children in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Boyle tallied the death toll on Iraq by U.S.-U.K. actions as follows:

# The slaughter of 200,000 Iraqis by President Bush in his illegal 1991 Gulf War I.

# The deaths of 1.4 million Iraqis as a result of the illegal 2003 war of aggression ordered by President Bush Jr. and Prime Minister Blair.

# The deaths of 1.7 million Iraqis “as a direct result” of the genocidal sanctions.

Boyle’s class-action complaint demanded an end to all economic sanctions against Iraq; criminal proceedings for genocide against President George H.W. Bush; monetary compensation to the children of Iraq and their families for deaths, physical and mental injury; and for shipping massive humanitarian relief supplies to that country.

The “grossly hypocritical” UN refused to terminate the sanctions, Boyle pointed out, even though its own Food and Agricultural Organization’s Report estimated that by 1995 the sanctions had killed 560,000 Iraqi children during the previous five years.

Boyle noted that then U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright was interviewed on CBS-TV on May 12, 1996, in response to a question by Leslie Stahl if the price of half a million dead children was worth it, and replied, “we (the U.S. government) think the price is worth it.”

Albright’s shocking response provides “proof positive of the genocidal intent by the U.S. government against Iraq” under the Genocide Convention, Boyle said, adding that the government of Iraq today could still bring legal action against the U.S. and the U.K. in the International Court of Justice. He said the U.S.-U.K. genocide also violated the municipal legal systems of all civilized nations in the world; the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child; and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and its Additional Protocol 1 of 1977.

Boyle, who was stirred to take action pro bono by Mothers in Iraq after the economic sanctions had been imposed upon them by the Security Council in August, 1990, in response to pressure from the Bush Senior Administration. He is the author of numerous books on international affairs, including “Destroying World Order” (Clarity Press.)

(Sherwood Ross is a columnist, broadcast commentator and public relations consultant “for good causes.” He formerly reported for major dailies and wire services and is the author of “Gruening of Alaska”(Best). Reach him at sherwoodross10@gmail.com )

  Read US - UK Genocide Against Iraq 1990-2012 Killed 3.3 Million , Including 750,000 Children Says Prof. Francis Boyle
 September 14, 2014
We're Wrecking the Planet for the Next Millennia: Biggest Rally Over Climate Change in Human History Coming Up
by Eddie Bautista, La Tonya Crisp-Sauray and Bill McKibben , Tom Dispatch, AlterNet

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

On Sunday, September 21st, a huge crowd will march through the middle of Manhattan.  It will almost certainly be the largest rally about climate change in human history, and one of the largest political protests in many years in New York. More than 1,000 groups are coordinating the march -- environmental justice groups, faith groups, labor groups -- which means there’s no one policy ask. Instead, it’s designed to serve as a loud and pointed reminder to our leaders, gathering that week at the United Nations to discuss global warming, that the next great movement of the planet’s citizens centers on our survival and their pathetic inaction.

As a few of the march’s organizers, though, we can give some sense of why we, at least, are marching, words we think represent many of those who will gather at Columbus Circle for the walk through midtown Manhattan.

We march because the world has left the Holocene behind: scientists tell us that we’ve already raised the planet’s temperature almost one degree Celsius, and are on track for four or five by century’s end. We march because Hurricane Sandy filled the New York City subway system with salt water, reminding us that even one of the most powerful cities in the world is already vulnerable to slowly rising ocean levels.

We march because we know that climate change affects everyone, but its impacts are not equally felt: those who have contributed the least to causing the crisis are hit hardest, here and around the world. Communities on the frontlines of global warming are already paying a heavy price, in some cases losing the very land on which they live. This isn’t just about polar bears any more.

But since polar bears can’t march, we march for them, too, and for the rest of creation now poised on the verge of what biologists say will be the planet’s sixth great extinction event, one unequalled since the last time a huge asteroid struck the Earth 66 million years ago.

And we march for generations yet to come, our children, grandchildren, and their children, whose lives will be systematically impoverished and degraded. It’s the first time one century has wrecked the prospects of the millennia to come, and it makes us mad enough to march.

We march with hope, too. We see a few great examples around the world of how quickly we could make the transition to renewable energy. We know that if there were days this summer when Germany generated nearly 75% of its power from renewable sources of energy, the rest of us could, too -- especially in poorer nations around the equator that desperately need more energy. And we know that labor-intensive renewables would provide far more jobs than capital-intensive coal, gas, and oil.

And we march with some frustration: why haven’t our societies responded to 25 years of dire warnings from scientists? We’re not naïve; we know that the fossil fuel industry is the 1% of the 1%. But sometimes we think we shouldn’t have to march. If our system worked the way it should, the world would long ago have taken the obvious actions economists and policy gurus have recommended -- from taxing carbon to reflect the damage it causes to funding a massive World War II-scale transition to clean energy.

Marching is not all, or even most, of what we do. We advocate; we work to install solar panels; we push for sustainable transit. We know, though, that history shows marching is usually required, that reason rarely prevails on its own. (And we know that sometimes even marching isn’t enough; we’ve been to jail and we’ll likely be back.)

We’re tired of winning the argument and losing the fight. And so we march. We march for the beaches and the barrios. We march for summers when the cool breeze still comes down in the evening. We march because Exxon spends $100 million every day looking for more hydrocarbons, even though scientists tell us we already have far more in our reserves than we can safely burn. We march for those too weak from dengue fever and malaria to make the journey. We march because California has lost 63 trillion gallons of groundwater to the fierce drought that won’t end, and because the glaciers at the roof of Asia are disappearing. We march because researchers told the world in April that the West Antarctic ice sheet has begun to melt “irrevocably”; Greenland’s ice shield may soon follow suit; and the waters from those, as rising seas, will sooner or later drown the world’s coastlines and many of its great cities.

We don’t march because there’s any guarantee it will work. If you were a betting person, perhaps you’d say we have only modest hope of beating the financial might of the oil and gas barons and the governments in their thrall. It’s obviously too late to stop global warming entirely, but not too late to slow it down -- and it’s not too late, either, to simply pay witness to what we’re losing, a world of great beauty and complexity and stability that has nurtured humanity for thousands of years.

There’s a world to march for -- and a future, too. The only real question is why anyone wouldn’t march.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us onFacebookandTumblr. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Rebecca Solnit'sMen Explain Things to Me.

Copyright 2014 Eddie Bautista, La Tonya Crisp-Sauray, and Bill McKibben

© 2014 TomDispatch. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175894/

Eddie Bautista is executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. LaTonya Crisp-Sauray is the recording secretary for the Transport Workers Union Local 100. Bill McKibben is the founder of 350.org and a TomDispatch regular.

  Read We're Wrecking the Planet for the Next Millennia: Biggest Rally Over Climate Change in Human History Coming Up
 August 12, 2014
Fossil Fuels Causing Mercury Levels to Spike in Oceans
by Chris Rose, DeSmogBlog, AlterNet

An alarming new study has found that human activities mostly associated with burning fossil fuels has resulted in a massive increase in the levels of toxic mercury in the world’s oceans.

Published last week in the prestigious international journal Nature, the study,  A global ocean inventory of anthropogenic mercury based on water column measurements, revealed that levels of the environmental poison in marine waters less than 100 metres deep have more than tripled since the Industrial Revolution.

Using water samples collected during research trips in the Pacific, Atlantic, Southern and Arctic oceans from 2006 until 2011, scientists analyzed mineral mercury levels attributed to fossil fuels, mining and sewage in both shallow and deep seawater.

While they found that mercury levels in ocean waters less than 100 metres deep had increased by a factor of 3.4 since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, concentrations of mercury throughout the entire ocean had only jumped about 10 percent.

The scientists were affiliated with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Wright State University, Observatoire Midi-Pyréneés in France, and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research.

“With the increases we’ve seen in the recent past, the next 50 years could very well add the same amount we’ve seen in the past 150,”  said Woods Hole marine chemist Carl Lamborg, who led the study.

“The trouble is, we don’t know what it all means for fish and marine mammals. It likely means some fish also contain at least three times more mercury than 150 years ago, but it could be more. The key is now we have some solid numbers on which to base continued work.”

Medical experts have long been warning people — especially pregnant women and small children — to limit or avoid eating some fish like albacore tuna and swordfish because toxic levels of mercury have been found to accumulate in certain species. Numerous studies have shown that  mercury can cause reproductive and neurological problems.

According to an accompanying Nature article, the scientists said ocean circulation patterns have helped to blunt the effects of some of the rise in marine mercury.

“Circulation patterns that drive very cold, salty and dense water to sink into the deep ocean carry large amounts of mercury from shallower depths where life abounds,” the  article said.

“That provides some protection to marine life, as mercury’s toxic effects magnify with every step up the food chain. For example, the mercury levels in a top predator such as tuna are 10 million times higher than those in the surrounding seawater.”

But Lamborg added that the deep water’s ability to sequester mercury may soon be exhausted.

“You’re starting to overwhelm the ability of deep water formation to hide some of that mercury from us, with the net result that more and more of our emissions will be found in progressively shallower water,” Lamborg was quoted as saying, an event that would increase the odds that mercury levels in key food species will rise, furthering humans’ exposure.

  Read Fossil Fuels Causing Mercury Levels to Spike in Oceans
 August 12, 2014
Why Cows Are the 800 Lb. Gorillas of Climate Change
by Clarissa A. León , AlterNet

The impact of climate change has some people turning to walking more and driving less. But the reality is that simply by eating less beef, you could have an even greater impact in the fight against global warming.

A recent report from the Guardian states that, “The popular red meat requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11 times more water and results in five times more climate-warming emissions. When compared to staples like potatoes, wheat, and rice, the impact of beef per calorie is even more extreme, requiring 160 times more land and producing 11 times more greenhouse gases.”

The reality is that agriculture has one of the most devastating impacts on global warming and accounts for 15% of all emissions. But livestock in particular plays the largest role accounting for half of the emissions.

Professor Gidon Eschel of Bard College in New York notes that part of the problem is government subsidies, which favor a meat-eating diet. "Remove the artificial support given to livestock industry and rising prices will do the rest. In that way you are having less government intervention in people's diets and not more," Eschel told the Guardian.

Professor Tim Benton at the University of Leeds agreed. "The biggest intervention people could make towards reducing their carbon footprints would not be to abandon cars, but to eat significantly less meat," he said.

Eschel published his findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The beef industry, he discovered, is the worst environmental offender, and grass-fed cattle have as great as impact as grain-fed beef. Not only does beef require more feed than pigs or chickens, but, "Only a minute fraction of the food consumed by cattle goes into the bloodstream, so the bulk of the energy is lost."

Next time you consider buying an ultra-efficient car, why not just skip the hamburger instead?

Clarissa A. Leon is AlterNet's food editor. She formerly served as an investigative research assistant at The Daily Beast and The Nation Institute. 

  Read Why Cows Are the 800 Lb. Gorillas of Climate Change
 August 13, 2014
How Climate Change Is Destroying One of the World's Natural Wonders
by AFP, AlterNet

The World Heritage site on the north-east coast is "under pressure" and its capacity to recover could be weakening, said a report from the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority, released late Tuesday.

"Climate change remains the most serious threat to the Great Barrier Reef," the report said.  "It is already affecting the reef and is likely to have far-reaching consequences in the decades to come."

The marine park authority said that despite actions taken to protect the area since its last report in 2009, "the greatest risks to the Great Barrier Reef have not changed." 

"Climate change, poor water quality from land-based run-off, impacts from coastal development, and some remaining impacts of fishing remain the major threats to the future vitality of the Great Barrier Reef."

It added that "the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is poor."

"Greater reductions of all threats at all levels, reef-wide, regional and local, are required to prevent the projected declines in the Great Barrier Reef and to improve its capacity to recover."

The report, which included contributions from the Australian and Queensland state governments, came two months after UNESCO deferred listing the reef as in danger.  The UN cultural body gave Australia until Feb. 1, 2015 to submit a report on what it was doing to protect the biodiverse site.  While key habitats, species and ecosystems in the central and southern inshore areas of the reef continue to deteriorate, its northern third has good water quality and its ecosystem is in good condition, the marine authority's report said.

The number of dugongs—a long-lived but slow-breeding sea mammal—continue to decline from very low levels, but the population of other species such as humpback whales, estuarine crocodiles and loggerhead turtles are growing.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said he is confident his government will be able to do enough to stop the reef from being listed as in danger, such as reducing port developments.

"The report is a mixture of pressure and progress," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.  "In the south, there were some real negatives, to be honest. Now is the moment that we have to turn around the reef."

The World Wildlife Fund said "billions not millions" of dollars need to be invested in the reef to reduce pollution and repair degraded ecosystems.  "One concrete step governments can take to reduce pressure on the reef is to prohibit dumping of dredge spoil in the World Heritage Area," WWF's Australian head Dermot O'Gorman said in a statement.

Conservationists have criticised the approval of a major coal port expansion at Abbot Point, on the Great Barrier Reef coast, that requires the dredging of three million cubic metres of material from the seabed so freighters can dock. 

  Read How Climate Change Is Destroying One of the World's Natural Wonders
 August 19, 2014
Major Disasters Linked to Extreme Weather, Climate and Water Hazards On the Rise
by Chris Rose, DeSmogBlog, AlterNet

Recently published data collected by the World Meteorological Organization shows there were close to five times as many weather- and climate-change-related disasters in the first decade of this century than in the 1970s.

As many as 1.94 million people lost their lives due to these catastrophic weather events between 1970 and 2012, which cost $2.4 trillion U.S. in economic losses, according to the  Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970–2012).

The 44-page atlas, a joint publication of the Geneva-based UN agency WMO and the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) of the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, examined major reported disasters linked to weather, climate and water extremes.

The atlas included 8,835 major disasters in the four decades between 1970 and 2010. The largest increase, however, was between 1971 and 1980 with 743 extreme events and 2001 and 2010 with 3,496 events.

Flooding and storms were the main cause of the disasters in the last decade but the data also shows heat waves are becoming more deadly and more common.

“Disasters caused by weather, climate, and water-related hazards are on the rise worldwide. Both industrialized and non-industrialized countries are bearing the burden of repeated floods, droughts, temperature extremes and storms,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in an accompanying media release.

“Improved early warning systems and disaster management are helping to prevent loss of life. But the socio-economic impact of disasters is escalating because of their increasing frequency and severity and the growing vulnerability of human societies.”

Written to help decision-makers better understand the disasters and efficiently plan for future similar events, the atlas found that the 10 costliest catastrophes accounted for 19% or $444 billion of overall economic losses.

“Storms and floods accounted for 79% of the total number of disasters due to weather, water and climate extremes and caused 54% of the deaths and 84% of economic losses,” the atlas said. “Droughts caused 35% of deaths, mainly due to the severe African droughts of 1975, 1983 and 1984.”

Ranking disasters according to the numbers of deaths, the atlas found that a 1983 drought in Ethiopia and a 1970 tropical cyclone in Bangladesh each killed 300,000 people, making them the most lethal weather-related events in the past 40 years.

In terms of economic losses by disaster types, hurricane Katrina in 2005 was the most expensive, costing $147 billion. Hurricane Sandy, in 2012, was the second most expensive storm, costing $50 billion.

The media release also noted the UN’s Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2013 concluded that direct and indirect losses from natural hazards of all kinds have been underestimated by at least 50% because of data collection challenges.

“Another challenge for users of risk information is the changing characteristics (frequency, location, severity) of weather-, climate- and water-related hazards,” the release added. “Natural climate variability is now exacerbated by long-term, human-induced climate change, so that yesterday’s norms will not be the same as tomorrow’s.”

  Read Major Disasters Linked to Extreme Weather, Climate and Water Hazards On the Rise
 August 27, 2014
Climate Shocker: Warming Oceans Create Great Plumes of Methane Bubbles Near Atlantic Coast
by Cliff Weathers, AlterNet

Streams of methane bubbles are percolating along the Atlantic coast between North Carolina’s Outer Banks and Massachusetts’ Cape Cod.

According to the journal Nature, surges of bubbles are flowing from hundreds of ocean-floor leaks. Researchers say the plumes likely contain methane and could add as much as 90 tons of methane—a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide — to the atmosphere each year. The methane bubbles may also hasten ocean acidification.

In the Geoscience newsletter published by Nature, researchers say that some two-thirds of the methane emissions come from methane-rich ices deep in the ocean that may be decomposing due to warming waters along the ocean floor. What effect these emissions will have on the atmosphere or the chemical makeup of the ocean is not immediately clear, but scientists are concerned. 

The bubbles first came into view on sonar scans of the ocean floor during oceanographic expeditions between 2011 and 2013. The expeditions ranged from Cape Hatteras in North Carolina to Georges Bank off Cape Cod and covered more than 36,000 square miles, an area about the size of Indiana. The scanned area includes the margin of the continental shelf and the sloping areas seaward and to the east.

Within a distance of about 590 miles, researchers found some 570 bubble plumes, which is considered to be an extraordinary amount. Previously, researchers studying the area had only detected an incidental number of bubble plumes. While some of the plumes extended far from the ocean floor, most of the bubbles dissolved into the water before they could reach the water’s surface.

The next step for the oceanographic researchers is to collect samples of the bubbles, says Carolyn Ruppel, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey at the Woods Hole, Massachusetts field center and a co-author of the study.

Ruppel found that the plumes contain methane by examining their sources. She says some of the plumes are coming from shallow ocean areas that were once methane-producing wetlands during the last Ice Age. During that period, sea levels were much lower than they are today.

Still, Ruppel notes that many of the seeps producing methane lie along the continental slope at cold depths. Ices there have formed in sea floor sediments under high pressure. These ices, which appear to be melting, hold methane produced by microbes that once lived on the ocean floor. It is surmised that warming ocean waters are now causing the ices to melt. Methane leaks aren’t typically found along continental shelves. The largest sources of methane in the oceans are known reservoirs near active tectonic regions.

Methane can react with oxygen in the water to create carbon dioxide, which in turn, can add to the acidification of ocean waters. Such acidification occurs when pH levels fall in the ocean. The lower the pH, the higher the acid. So falling pH levels in the ocean means that acid is increasing, which has major impacts for species that live in the sea, particularly animals that build calcium-based shells.

The observed increase of carbon-dioxide concentrations in our oceans is considered unparalleled in the Earth's history over the past 20 million years. Scientists are uncertain of the extent marine fauna can adapt to it over extended time periods.

“Studies have shown that a more acidic environment has a dramatic effect on some calcifying species, including oysters, clams, sea urchins, shallow water corals, deep sea corals, and calcareous plankton,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states. "When shelled organisms are at risk, the entire food web may also be at risk. Today, more than a billion people worldwide rely on food from the ocean as their primary source of protein. Many jobs and economies in the U.S. and around the world depend on the fish and shellfish in our oceans.”

While 90 tons may seem like an alarming figure, it’s still much smaller than the amount created by industry, agriculture and other known sources. However, researchers caution that there are far more than 570 of these plumes in our oceans, estimating that there could be 30,000 or more active methane plumes.

Cliff Weathers is a senior editor at AlterNet, covering environmental and consumer issues. He is a former deputy editor at Consumer Reports. His work has also appeared in Salon, Car and Driver, Playboy, and Detroit Monthly among other publications. Follow him on Twitter @cliffweathers and on Facebook.

  Read Climate Shocker: Warming Oceans Create Great Plumes of Methane Bubbles Near Atlantic Coast
 September 7, 2014
The Rebellion to Save Planet Earth: Why Civil Disobedience Could Be Our Last, Best Hope
by Ted Hamilton, Salon.com, AlterNet

The politics of climate change are shifting. After decades of halfhearted government efforts to stop global warming, and the failure of the “Big Green” NGOs to do much of anything about it, new voices — and new strategies — have taken the lead in the war against fossil fuels.

Jeremy Brecher, a freelance writer, historian, organizer and radio host based in Connecticut, has documented the environmental movement’s turn toward direct action and grass-roots activism. A scholar of American workers’ movements and author of the acclaimed labor history “Strike!,” Brecher argues that it’s time for green activists to address the social and economic impacts of climate change and for unions to start taking global warming seriously.

His latest book, “Climate Insurgency: A Strategy Against Doom,” which will be released early next year by Paradigm Publishers, examines the structural causes of our climate conundrum and calls for a “global nonviolent constitutional insurgency” to force environmental action from below. Brecher spoke to Salon about his vision for dealing with global warming, the changing face of environmental activism, and why he thinks the People’s Climate March in New York on Sep. 21 is so important.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

First, let’s unpack the book’s key term: What is a “global nonviolent constitutional insurgency”?

Around the world, we’re familiar with insurgencies where an armed group resists the government and says that it does not legitimately have the authority to make law and govern some area or some group of people. And the characteristic of an insurgency is that it denies the legitimacy or legal right of those who claim to be the legitimate authorities to rule.

The concept of nonviolent insurgency is of a kind of social movement where the same basic claim is made: that those who claim the right to rule actually don’t have the right to rule, but where the means of challenging their power is not an armed insurgency but is rather what’s come to be called “people’s power,” or mass civil disobedience or civil resistance. And so a nonviolent insurgency may sound paradoxical, but in fact it is quite a common thing around the world and happens a lot and has happened a lot in the past.

Now, “constitutional” insurgency: That also sounds paradoxical. But when you look historically at certain social movements, they make a claim that the existing rulers are not legitimate because they are violating fundamental aspects of their own constitution  — that is, the constitution that they claim gives them legitimate rule. And that’s come to be known [by legal historian James Gray Pope and others as] a “constitutional insurgency.” It denies the legitimacy of those who claim to be legitimate rulers, but it does so in the name of the very constitutional principle that they claim gives them their authority.

Some notable examples would be Gandhi’s Great Salt March and in general the Gandhian insurgency in India, where they violated English rule and said that it was legitimate to do so because they were representing the underlying principles of English constitutional law. The civil rights movement did not call itself a constitutional insurgency but if you look, say, at the movement in the South, essentially the participants engaged in civil disobedience said that they were upholding the law, that they were representing the fundamental constitutional principles of equality and justice.

So that’s a long way around to saying that if the president of the United States authorizes the Keystone XL Pipeline to be built, he is claiming that he is acting under legitimate authority. I would say he’s not acting under legitimate authority, he’s violating a fundamental constitutional duty of the president of the United States and the United States government: to protect the common property of the people that’s represented by the atmosphere.

[Finally,] climate change is a “global” problem, obviously, and we know that the solutions have to be global. If some countries protect the climate and all the corporations run away to the countries that are not protecting the climate, we won’t have any climate protection. We’ll just have a shift in where the greenhouse gases that are destroying our planet come from. So ultimately it has to be a global solution.

In your book, you speak a lot about the “public trust doctrine” as motivating force for such a solution. What is the doctrine, and why do you think it’s important for the climate movement?

The public trust doctrine is a fundamental principle of American law. It’s explicit in many state constitutions, [although] not all of them. It’s a principle of constitutional law at the state level and at the federal level. What the public trust doctrine in its various forms says is that certain aspects of the world are so important, we all depend on them so much, and they are so inappropriate to be private property, that they are universal common property. They belong to all, no one has the right to exclude others from them, no one has the right to destroy them; as they say legally: to “waste” them or “lay waste” to them.” They are a common property of all people.

The other critical point about the public trust doctrine is that the governments are the trustees for the people, both the current populations and for posterity. What is a trust duty? That’s when one person or one institution holds property in the interest of another, and they have a responsibility to protect the interests of the other. In fact, they have what’s called a “fiduciary” duty, and that means that it is the highest level of duty, that they have a duty to pay no attention to their own personal interests and no attention to the interests of some third party that might like to have the use of those trust assets — they have to act entirely in the interests of the beneficiary owners of that trust.

This is actually a relatively new idea. It was developed primarily by Mary Christina Wood, a law professor at University of Oregon. But it has taken legs to a great extent primarily because of the credible threat posed by climate change and the failure of other government institutions to address it. All the attempts to apply those to climate change have so far not succeeded. So the idea of using the public trust doctrine was taken up as another possible route to deal with this overwhelmingly desperate problem for which there seems to be a dearth of ways — especially law-based ways — to deal with.

You’re a historian of labor and social movements, and your book looks at bridging the divide between environmentalists and workers’ rights campaigns. Why have those two strands of social movements been so distant from each other and why do you have hope that now that gap can be bridged? 

The first thing to be aware of is that there has been a massive effort by those who want to go on polluting to play labor and environmental groups off against each other.

Let’s take the example of the Keystone Pipeline. The Keystone Pipeline has pitted a number of unions against the people who want to prevent the pipeline and it’s been a very, very divisive issue. That situation started when the pipeline companies did something that they don’t normally do: they went to four unions and said, “Hey, we’ll give you a labor contract agreement giving you preference on the jobs for the pipeline and we’ll just agree to that.” They don’t normally agree to that, these are normally anti-union companies. But they knew that if they did that, then when people attacked the Keystone Pipeline it wouldn’t just be the companies standing to make money out of their greedy efforts to do things that are going to be incredibly harmful to the people and the environment, it’s workers who desperately need jobs and who are looked at as the backbone of the nation and people who have been the victims of the Great Recession — they are the ones who are put into the role of being the spokespeople and the advocates for the KXL pipeline.  Same story happens when there are moves to regulate coal-powered power plants. The companies deliberately create a situation where unions become the spokespeople for pollution, on the grounds that preventing pouring this crap into the atmosphere is going to lead to the loss of jobs. So that is a fundamental part of the story of why it has happened.

The second reason is that unfortunately our society allows workers who haven’t done anything wrong, who just happened to be producing something that we’ve decided is not good to produce, we allow them to be thrown on the scrap heap. We allow them to be the victims of the policies that we adopt for protection of society as a whole. This means that people who are threatened with, say, closing the coal-fired power plant, they’re likely to spend years without finding another job. Their communities are going to be devastated because a large part of their working population is going to be unable to find another job, and when they do it’s likely to be a job that pays half as much as before. Their families are devastated. Many people are forced to migrate and leave to find jobs elsewhere. And we tolerate that as a society. It’s an outrage. A central part of what’s needed to counter this is what is called a plan for a just transition. Something that provides for the livelihood and well-being for the people who lose their jobs when it’s necessary to, for example, shut down a coal-fired power plant. 

You provide a pretty comprehensive and broad view for what the constitutional climate insurgency could force governments to do to finally start toppling global warming. What are the most important steps we can take immediately?

The first thing that is right on our radar screens right now is the People’s Climate March in New York in September. I think the very name of it is significant because it says this is not something for governments. You know there was a saying, “War is too important to be left to the generals.” I think this is a message that “Climate change is too important to be left to the politicians and business leaders.” The people who are being affected by it, the people who are now or soon to be the victims of it, can’t leave this to anyone else to look after: We have to look after it. It think that is actually the spirit that will animate and will lead to the kind of climate insurgency that I talk about.

The other thing [about the march] is that it’s tremendously varied in who’s participating in it. People have an image of bird-watching, polar bear-fancying environmentalists. This is a very different kettle of folks. I’d say it’s environmentalists in that, if you are against having our world destroyed by climate change, if you’re against environmental degradation from having your food and your water poisoned by the crap that’s being put in it, you’re an environmentalist. In that sense, everyone in this march is an environmentalist. But in Connecticut where I live and I’ve been working on the march, we actually have a coalition that includes a whole slew of unions, it involves wide participation of religious organizations, community groups, as well as what are known as environmental organizations, and it’s really a people’s movement, not an environmental movement. And I know that similar things are happening in other places.

To me, that’s a great next step. I personally think that the growth of the use of direct action and nonviolent civil disobedience has been a very important development in the climate protection movement.  So that’s the next stage. As that develops, an important piece of this will be to begin to identify what we’re doing when we commence civil disobedience or even just when we have a demonstration or an action or whatever we do — that this is necessary because the government is not meeting its constitutional obligations and we are demanding that it do so, and as part of that, we’re recognizing they’re not, therefore we do not accept their legitimacy. If they want our allegiance, they have to provide the protection that we need and that they have an obligation to provide. So I see mass movements and civil disobedience very naturally flowing into the idea of a climate insurgency.

  Read  The Rebellion to Save Planet Earth: Why Civil Disobedience Could Be Our Last, Best Hope
 September 8, 2014
The Climate March: Will It Be a Call to Arms For the Earth, Or Are More Radical Actions Needed?
by Bill McKibben and Chris Hedges, Democracy Now!, Truthdig, AlterNet

On September 21, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to march in New York and other cities across the globe to pressure world leaders to take more aggressive action on global warming. The organizers of the People's Climate March believe it will be one of the biggest social-change marches in history. 

The march precedes a United Nations Climate Summit — a meeting of world leaders in New York — by two days. Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. Secretary General has said he hopes the summit will inject momentum in reaching a global deal on greatly reducing greenhousegas emissions by the end of 2015, when leaders will convene again in Paris.

Organizers think the demonstration will send a message to the assembled world powers that swift and dynamic action must be taken (China and India will not be represented).

But not everyone in the enviornmental and progressive movement thinks the organized march is the best way to create the needed social change. Chris Hedges, the activist journalist who writes for the news website Truthdig, likens the rally, which will be nowhere near the United Nations building, to a big “climate-change street fair” and laments that anyone can join. This means organizations such as the Climate Group and the Environmental Defense Fund, which include chemical, banking and oil interests among their members and supporters, will be represented at the march.

“These faux environmental organizations are designed to neutralize resistance,” says Hedges. “And their presence exposes the march’s failure to adopt a meaningful agenda or pose a genuine threat to power.”

Hedges hopes the real march comes later, after the organized march is disbanded, and it won’t be limited to a designated demonstration area far from the U.N. Hedges anticipates that more radical social-change organizations will descend on New York to take more significant direct action.

Bill McKibben, the environmental writer and founder of 350.org, an environmental organization that raises awareness about the risks of climate change, says the Climate March is "the only way we’ll change any of these equations, here or elsewhere.”

McKibben argues that an organized and diverse populist movement is the best way to demonstrate that there’s a growing consensus against man-made climate change.

McKibben joined Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now! late last month to talk about climate change and to promote the Climate March, of which 350.org is a core sponsor. Below are ​​excerpts from the interview. Following th​e ​transcript is Chris Hedges​'​ retort, a column he wrote on August 31, in which he argues that climate activists need to take more aggressive actions. 

Democracy Now!August 28, 2014 transcript

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the latest U.N. report and then what President Obama, at least according to The New York Times in this major front-page piece, is planning to do?

BILL McKIBBEN: Sure. The new U.N. report is more of the same. In a sense, it’s the scientific community, through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, telling us what they’ve been telling us now for two decades, that global warming is out of control and the biggest threat that human beings have ever faced. They’re using what was described as blunter, more forceful language.

At this point, you know, short of self-immolation in Times Square, there’s really not much more that the scientific community could be doing to warn us. Our early warning systems have functioned, you know? The alarm has gone off. All our satellites and sensors and supercomputers have produced the information that we need to know. The question is: Will we act on it?

And the answer so far is no. It’s been no in Congress, that’s for sure. Nothing is going to move through Congress, and there’s no hope of a treaty that would get ratified by two-thirds of the Senate. That’s the complication at the moment in international negotiations. We can’t reach any kind of binding treaty. Everyone’s known this. The Times story about the new Obama approach is pretty much old news. Everybody’s known for years that there’s not going to be a treaty ratified by the U.S. Senate. And everyone’s been looking for some kind of workaround.

The workaround would involve some kind of different, voluntary commitments by different countries, but done publicly so one could keep track of them. If this all sounds a little dubious to you, it will sound even more dubious to all the countries that are, you know, watching themselves disappear beneath the waves, so on and so forth, as global warming accelerates. The real question, though, is less the form of the agreement than the content. And here’s where we’ll find out, in the next few months, whether the Obama administration is actually serious or not.

If we’re going to do anything about the problem on the scale that the scientists describe it, then we’re going to need far, far more ambitious attempts than the Obama administration has put forward so far. Yes, they’ve put a cap on coal-fired power plants. That’s good. At the same time, they’ve helped expedite the rise of the United States to become the biggest coal and gas producer in the world, passing the Saudis and the Russians, and they’ve watched coal exports steadily grow. That’s not compatible with what the scientists tell us, that we need to keep 75 or 80 percent of the fossil fuel that we know about underground. So the Obama administration, which likes to poke fun at recalcitrant congressmen, hasn’t been willing to really endure much in the way of political pain itself in order to slow things down. The rest of the world can see that.

The only way we’ll change any of these equations, here or elsewhere, is by building a big movement. That’s why September 21st in New York, which all these groups are coordinating, is such an important day.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ:[G]iven the stark nature of this latest report, talking about a 3.6-degree Fahrenheit increase in temperatures by 2050, as much as 6.7 degrees by the end of the century, do you see any—and that’s given the continued greenhouse gas emissions rates now—do you see any hope anywhere in the world for, in one particular nation or other, where the people have managed to get their governments to tackle this problem?

BILL McKIBBEN: Absolutely. Look, the thing that’s changed in the 25 years since I wrote the first book about all this was that we now know that the answers are technologically available. As I said, the Germans have done a fantastic job of deploying renewable energy. But it’s not because Germany has so much wind and so much sun. I mean, in fact, it’s at a far northern latitude. Munich is north of Montreal. It’s because, instead, they have the more important natural resource of political will.

The good news is, political will is something we can create. And that’s why we’ll all be in the streets of New York on September 21st. That’s going to be an amazing day. That march is going to be led by environmental justice advocates, especially from New York City, but from around the country and around the world, the people who are on the front lines of this fight and have borne the brunt of it. It will be joined by the entire progressive spectrum, including, really for the first time, the labor movement in a big way. It’s an attempt to show that there’s powerful demand for change around climate.

If people out there have long thought to themselves, "I wish I could do something about global warming, but it seems so overwhelming. What can one individual do?" in one sense, that’s true. Changing your light bulb isn’t going to do it at this point. But changing the system still could. And that means that your body is badly needed in the streets of New York on September 21st for a peaceful, festive, but ultimately very powerful demonstration of political will.

AMY GOODMAN: And the student movement around the country to have their universities and colleges divest from oil companies, Yale just became the latest, joining with Harvard and Brown, to say no to divestment; of course, others have said yes. What is your assessment of that movement?

BILL McKIBBEN: So, Oxford University, in a study last year, said that it’s the fastest-growing such movement in history. We’re way ahead of where we thought we would be. Yeah, the Ivy Leagues are so far not divesting, but they will. It took them eight or nine years when the subject was apartheid in South Africa. Others are going at a blistering pace. The World Council of Churches, representing 580 million Christians, this summer, there’s now a drive underway—you can find out about it at 350.org—to persuade Pope Francis to have the Vatican divest. A big Roman Catholic research university, University of Dayton in Ohio, divested this summer. Yesterday, Sydney University in Australia, center of the Australian establishment in the biggest coal nation on Earth, announced that it was divesting from coal.

This is an exciting fight. And the point is the point we’ve been making in it, that there’s—that the fossil fuel industry has four times as much carbon as we could possibly burn. It’s no longer just a point that I’m making in Rolling Stone or that university students are making. Now the World Bank is making it, now the International Energy Agency and, on Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Everybody’s doing that math. It’s only a matter of time before people at universities and other institutions begin to do it, too. I think we’ll see some powerful announcements about divestment out of the United Nations summit right after the big march on the 21st.

The Last Gasp of Climate Change Liberals

by Chris Hedges, Truthdig

The climate change march in New York on Sept. 21, expected to draw as many as 200,000 people, is one of the last gasps of conventional liberalism’s response to the climate crisis. It will take place two days before the actual gathering of world leaders in New York called by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the November 2015 U.N. Climate Conference in Paris. The marchers will dutifully follow the route laid down by the New York City police. They will leave Columbus Circle, on West 59th Street and Eighth Avenue, at 11:30am on a Sunday and conclude on 11th Avenue between West 34th and 38th streets. No one will reach the United Nations, which is located on the other side of Manhattan, on the East River beyond First Avenue—at least legally. There will be no speeches. There is no list of demands. It will be a climate-themed street fair.

The march, because its demands are amorphous, can be joined by anyone. This is intentional. But as activist Anne Petermann has pointed out, this also means some of the groups backing the march are little more than corporate fronts. The Climate Group, for example, which endorses the march, includes among its members and sponsors BP, China Mobile, Dow Chemical Co., Duke Energy, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Greenstone. The Environmental Defense Fund, which says it “work[s] with companies rather than against them” and which is calling on its members to join the march, has funding from the oil and gas industry and supports fracking as a form of alternative energy. These faux environmental organizations are designed to neutralize resistance. And their presence exposes the march’s failure to adopt a meaningful agenda or pose a genuine threat to power.

Our only hope comes from radical groups descending on New York to carry out direct action, including Global Climate Convergence and Popular Resistance. March if you want. But it should be the warmup. The real fight will come once people disperse on 11th Avenue.

“The march is symbolic,” said Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance when I reached him by phone, “but we are past the time of symbolism. What we need is direct action against the United Nations during the meeting. This should include blockades and disruption of the meeting itself. We need to highlight the fact that the United Nations has sold out to corporate interests. At U.N. meetings on climate change you see corporate logos on display. During the last meeting on climate change in Poland, the U.N. held a simultaneous conference to promote coal as a clean energy source. These U.N. meetings have become corporate trade shows where discussions on climate are hijacked to promote corporate interests. Barack Obama has announced he will continue the U.S. stance of only calling for voluntary climate goals in advance of the upcoming climate summit in Paris next year.”

The fossil fuel industry and corporations, from ExxonMobil to Koch Industries, underwrite political campaigns and author our legislation. They have stacked the courts with their judges and the airwaves with their apologists. They fund our scientific research and have effectively silenced dissidents. This corporate reach extends to the United Nations. Companies set up exhibition halls at U.N. climate summits promoting various corporate schemes to profit from the climate crisis, from “clean” coal and biofuel to nuclear power and carbon trading. Those who attempt to offer a counter narrative, especially after the disruptions at the climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009, are swiftly silenced by U.N. security. Fences and security barriers now ring heavily guarded U.N. climate conferences. Protesters are herded into police-controlled “free speech” zones outside—like the march in New York—and ruthlessly dealt with if they deviate from the approved routes or make their voices heard among the delegates. The U.N. security at climate summits, which includes physically removing journalists so they cannot photograph or document protests that are shut down by force, is so absolute that the U.N. demands preapproved wording for T-shirts worn at its gatherings. The elites, whether in Congress or attending U.N. summits, have no intention of cutting off their access to wealth, power and privilege. They know where the money is. They know what they have to do to get it. And we are not part of the equation.

Our democracy is an elaborate public relations charade. And the longer we accept this charade the longer we will be irrelevant. Only when we understand power can we fight it. This fight must be waged on two fronts. We must disrupt the machinery of corporate capitalism and at the same time build parallel, autonomous structures for self-governance that address basic needs such as food and green energy. Capitalism, as Karl Marx pointed out, is not merely a system of economic exploitation. It justifies itself by hijacking the ruling political and economic ideologies—ideologies that buttress capitalism’s ceaseless expansion and commodification of the natural world and human beings. “The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships,” Marx wrote, “the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.” And this makes our struggle a battle for ideas as well as a battle for power.

This is not a battle I would have picked. I prefer incremental and piecemeal reform. I prefer a system in which we can elect politicians to represent the governed and thwart corporate abuse. I prefer a United Nations that serves the interests of people around the globe rather than corporate profit. I prefer a vigorous and free debate in the public arena. I prefer a judiciary that is not a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporate state. I prefer the freedom to express dissent without government monitoring of my communications and control of my movements. I prefer to have my basic civil liberties protected. But we do not live in such a system.

The corporate state’s response to climate change has been to pass a series of Draconian laws and set up a vast security and surveillance apparatus that obliterates our privacy, allows us to be snatched off the streets by the military and held without due process in indefinite detention, and criminalizes dissent. The corporate state holds in its hands the legal and physical tools to shut us down. Its response to climate change is not to alter course, but to silence any who resist.

Joe Sacco and I spent two years writing Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt. We wrote the book out of the nation’s most impoverished sacrifice zones, places such as Indian reservations, abandoned manufacturing centers, the coalfields of southern West Virginia and the nation’s produce fields. Corporate capitalism holds total, unchallenged power in these sacrifice zones. The politicians, the judges, the press, even the boards of education bow before the dictates of corporate power. And in these sacrifice zones activists have learned something many Americans have yet to understand—corporations are willing to poison Earth and all of its inhabitants for profit. There are no limits.

The collapse of the ecosystem in sacrifice zones brings with it despair, joblessness, high cancer rates, the loss of hope and increased state repression. Those trapped in these sacrifice zones often retreat into drugs and alcohol, the only way for many to blunt the pain. They believe they have no agency. And this misery and despair serve the ends of corporate power. As the environment devolves, the planet becomes one vast sacrifice zone. Joe and I wrote the book as a warning.

The New York Times published a story based on a draft of a new report from the U.N. ’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that speaks of climate change with uncharacteristic bluntness and alarm. The article reads in part:

Runaway growth on the emission of greenhouse gases is swamping all political efforts to deal with the problem, raising the risk of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” over the coming decades, according to a draft of a major new United Nations report.

Global warming is already cutting grain production by several percentage points, the report found, and that could grow much worse if emissions continue unchecked. Higher seas, devastating heat waves, torrential rain and other climate extremes are also being felt around the world as a result of human emissions, the draft report said, and those problems are likely to intensify unless the gases are brought under control.

The world may already be nearing a temperature at which the loss of the vast ice sheet covering Greenland would become inevitable, the report said. The actual melting would then take centuries, but it would be unstoppable and could result in a sea level rise of 23 feet, with additional increases from other sources like melting Antarctic ice, potentially flooding the world’s major cities.

We have known about the deleterious effects of carbon emissions for decades. The first IPCC report was published in 1990. Yet since the beginning of the Kyoto Protocol Era in the late 1980s, we have emitted as much carbon dioxide as was emitted in the prior 236 years. The rising carbon emissions and the extraction of tar sands—and since the industry has figured out how to transport tar sands without building the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, this delivery seems assured—will continue no matter how many police-approved marches are held. Play by the rules and we lose.

Resistance will come from those willing to breach police barricades. Resistance will mean jail time and direct confrontation. Resistance will mean physically disrupting the corporate machinery. Resistance will mean severing ourselves from the dominant culture to build small, self-sustaining communities. This resistance will be effective only when we refuse to do what we are told, when we turn from a liberal agenda of reform to embrace a radical agenda of revolt.  

  Read The Climate March: Will It Be a Call to Arms For the Earth, Or Are More Radical Actions Needed?
 September 9, 2014
We're Running Out of Time: Ocean Acidification and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Soar
by Alex Kirby, AlterNet

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports that the amounts of atmospheric greenhouse gases reached a new high in 2013, driven by rapidly rising levels of carbon dioxide.

The news is consistent with trends in fossil fuel consumption. But what comes as more of a surprise is the WMO’s revelation that the current rate of ocean acidification, which greenhouse gases (GHGs) help to cause, appears unprecedented in at least the last 300 million years.

The details of growing GHG levels are in the annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, published by the WMO—the United Nations specialist agency that plays a leading role in international efforts to monitor and protect the environment.

They show that between 1990 and 2013 there was a 34 percent increase in radiative forcing—the warming effect on our climate—because of long-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide.

Complex interactions

The Bulletin reports on atmospheric concentrations—not emissions—of greenhouse gases. Emissions are what go into the atmosphere, while concentrations are what stay there after the complex system of interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere (the entire global ecological system) and the oceans.

About a quarter of total emissions are taken up by the oceans and another quarter by the biosphere, cutting levels of atmospheric CO2.

In 2013, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 was 142 percent higher than before the Industrial Revolution started, in about 1750. Concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide had risen by 253 percent and 121 percent respectively.

The observations from WMO’s Global Atmosphere Watch network showed that CO2 levels increased more from 2012 to 2013 than during any other year since 1984. Scientists think this may be related to reduced CO2 absorption by the Earth’s biosphere, as well as by the steady increase in emissions.

Although the oceans lessen the increase in CO2 that would otherwise happen in the atmosphere, they do so at a price to marine life and to fishing communities—and also to tourism. The Bulletin says the oceans appear to be acidifying faster than at any time in at least the last 300 million years.

“We know without any doubt that our climate is changing and our weather is becoming more extreme due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels,” said the WMO’s secretary-general, Michel Jarraud.

Running out of time

“The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that, far from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years. We are running out of time. The laws of physics are non-negotiable.

“The Bulletin provides a scientific base for decision-making. We have the knowledge and we have the tools for action to try to keep temperature increases within 2°C to give our planet a chance and to give our children and grandchildren a future. Pleading ignorance can no longer be an excuse for not acting.”

Wendy Watson-Wright, executive secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, said: “It is high time the ocean, as the primary driver of the planet’s climate and attenuator of climate change, becomes a central part of climate change discussions.

“If global warming is not a strong enough reason to cut CO2 emissions, ocean acidification should be, since its effects are already being felt and will increase for many decades to come.”

The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere reached 396.0 parts per million (ppm) in 2013. At the current rate of increase, the global annual average concentration is set to cross the symbolic 400 ppm threshold within the next two years.

More potent

Methane, in the short term, is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2—34 times more potent over a century, but 84 times more over 20 years.

Atmospheric methane reached a new high of about 1,824 parts per billion (ppb) in 2013, because of increased emissions from human sources. Since 2007, it has started increasing again, after a temporary period of levelling-off.

Nitrous oxide’s atmospheric concentration in 2013 was about 325.9 ppb. Its impact on climate, over a century, is 298 times greater than equal emissions of CO2. It also plays an important role in the destruction of the ozone layer that protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet solar radiation.

The oceans currently absorb a quarter of anthropogenic CO2 emissions—about 4kg of CO2 per day per person. Acidification will continue to accelerate at least until mid-century, according to projections from Earth system models.

  Read We're Running Out of Time: Ocean Acidification and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Soar
 September 5, 2014
Chomsky: U.S. Plunges the Cradle of Civilization into Disaster, While Its Oil-Based Empire Destroys the Earth's Climate
by Noam Chomsky, AlterNet
Photo Credit: Kelly Maeshiro/Creative Commons
It is not pleasant to contemplate the thoughts that must be passing through the mind of the Owl of Minerva as the dusk falls and she undertakes the task of interpreting the era of human civilization, which may now be approaching its inglorious end.
The era opened almost 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, stretching from the lands of the Tigris and Euphrates, through Phoenicia on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean to the Nile Valley, and from there to Greece and beyond. What is happening in this region provides painful lessons on the depths to which the species can descend.
The land of the Tigris and Euphrates has been the scene of unspeakable horrors in recent years. The George W. Bush-Tony Blair aggression in 2003, which many Iraqis compared to the Mongol invasions of the 13th century, was yet another lethal blow. It destroyed much of what survived the Bill Clinton-driven UN sanctions on Iraq, condemned as "genocidal" by the distinguished diplomats Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, who administered them before resigning in protest. Halliday and von Sponeck's devastating reports received the usual treatment accorded to unwanted facts.
One dreadful consequence of the US-UK invasion is depicted in aNew York Times "visual guide to the crisis in Iraq and Syria": the radical change of Baghdad from mixed neighborhoods in 2003 to today's sectarian enclaves trapped in bitter hatred. The conflicts ignited by the invasion have spread beyond and are now tearing the entire region to shreds.
Much of the Tigris-Euphrates area is in the hands of ISIS and its self-proclaimed Islamic State, a grim caricature of the extremist form of radical Islam that has its home in Saudi Arabia. Patrick Cockburn, a Middle East correspondent for The Independent and one of the best-informed analysts of ISIS, describes it as "a very horrible, in many ways fascist organization, very sectarian, kills anybody who doesn't believe in their particular rigorous brand of Islam."
Cockburn also points out the contradiction in the Western reaction to the emergence of ISIS: efforts to stem its advance in Iraq along with others to undermine the group's major opponent in Syria, the brutal Bashar Assad regime. Meanwhile a major barrier to the spread of the ISIS plague to Lebanon is Hezbollah, a hated enemy of the US and its Israeli ally. And to complicate the situation further, the US and Iran now share a justified concern about the rise of the Islamic State, as do others in this highly conflicted region.
Egypt has plunged into some of its darkest days under a military dictatorship that continues to receive US support. Egypt's fate was not written in the stars. For centuries, alternative paths have been quite feasible, and not infrequently, a heavy imperial hand has barred the way.

After the renewed horrors of the past few weeks it should be unnecessary to comment on what emanates from Jerusalem, in remote history considered a moral center.

Eighty years ago, Martin Heidegger extolled Nazi Germany as providing the best hope for rescuing the glorious civilization of the Greeks from the barbarians of the East and West. Today, German bankers are crushing Greece under an economic regime designed to maintain their wealth and power.

The likely end of the era of civilization is foreshadowed in a new draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the generally conservative monitor of what is happening to the physical world.

The report concludes that increasing greenhouse gas emissions risk "severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems" over the coming decades. The world is nearing the temperature when loss of the vast ice sheet over Greenland will be unstoppable. Along with melting Antarctic ice, that could raise sea levels to inundate major cities as well as coastal plains.

The era of civilization coincides closely with the geological epoch of the Holocene, beginning over 11,000 years ago. The previous Pleistocene epoch lasted 2.5 million years. Scientists now suggest that a new epoch began about 250 years ago, the Anthropocene, the period when human activity has had a dramatic impact on the physical world. The rate of change of geological epochs is hard to ignore.

One index of human impact is the extinction of species, now estimated to be at about the same rate as it was 65 million years ago when an asteroid hit the Earth. That is the presumed cause for the ending of the age of the dinosaurs, which opened the way for small mammals to proliferate, and ultimately modern humans. Today, it is humans who are the asteroid, condemning much of life to extinction.

The IPCC report reaffirms that the "vast majority" of known fuel reserves must be left in the ground to avert intolerable risks to future generations. Meanwhile the major energy corporations make no secret of their goal of exploiting these reserves and discovering new ones.

A day before its summary of the IPCC conclusions, The New York Times reported that huge Midwestern grain stocks are rotting so that the products of the North Dakota oil boom can be shipped by rail to Asia and Europe.

One of the most feared consequences of anthropogenic global warming is the thawing of permafrost regions. A study in Science magazine warns that "even slightly warmer temperatures [less than anticipated in coming years] could start melting permafrost, which in turn threatens to trigger the release of huge amounts of greenhouse gases trapped in ice," with possible "fatal consequences" for the global climate.

Arundhati Roy suggests that the "most appropriate metaphor for the insanity of our times" is the Siachen Glacier, where Indian and Pakistani soldiers have killed each other on the highest battlefield in the world. The glacier is now melting and revealing "thousands of empty artillery shells, empty fuel drums, ice axes, old boots, tents and every other kind of waste that thousands of warring human beings generate" in meaningless conflict. And as the glaciers melt, India and Pakistan face indescribable disaster.

Sad species. Poor Owl.


Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics and philosophy at MIT.

  Read Chomsky: U.S. Plunges the Cradle of Civilization into Disaster, While Its Oil-Based Empire Destroys the Earth's Climate
 August 23, 2014

Cercle Universel des Ambassadeurs de la Paix
Universal Ambassador Peace Circle
Toi, mon ami, mon frère. You, my friend, my brother. Você, meu amigo, meu irmão.
by Claude Cognard
Toi, mon ami, mon frère.
(Que tu habites Mars ou Jupiter).
Tu as construit des terres sur les rochers jaunis,
Tu as construit le ciel, sous le soleil brûlant.
Tu as choisi ta femme et engendré tes enfants,
Construit des lieux de prière avec ces pierres,
Qui ont aussi servi de chapelets et de rosaires,
Bâti les murs et les toits contre les militaires,
Avec la glaise de l’amour, de la tolérance fière,
Sans pouvoir te protéger des ogives incendiaires,
Qui ont anéanti ta vie et la vie de tes frères.

Peu importe ton camp, le monde pleure, pour toi.
Peu importe ta religion, les autres pleurent pour toi.
Tu n’es ni politique, encore moins chef de guerre.
Tu es une femme, un enfant, un homme sincère,
Exposé là-bas à ces canons, aux bouches meurtrières.

Tu as choisi d’inscrire en lettres grasses le mot PAIX.
Tu as construit des textes, sous la chaux et la craie.
Tu as nourri des idées aux mamelles du strict respect,
Exprimées ta volonté de tendresse et de pur fair-play
Les mots ne suffisent pas, la mort rode, c’est un fait
Sans distinction, elle menace, elle prend, elle emporte
Écoute, un enfant pleure, là-bas, derrière la porte.
C’est un innocent, peu importe d’où il est ou il va,
Du Sud, du Nord, Noir, Jaune, blanc, il hurle comme ça
Ouvrons ensemble pour découvrir qui est cet enfant.
Voilà, c’est fait … il est là…
Il est rouge et silencieux, il baigne dans le sang …

You, my friend, my brother.
(You live March or Jupiter).
You have built land on the yellowed rocks,
You have built the sky, under the burning sun.
You have chosen your wife and caused your children,
Built places of prayer with these stones,
Which have also served as chaplets and rosaries,
Built the walls and roofs against the military,
With the clay of love, of proud tolerance,
Without being able to protect yourself from the incendiary warheads,
That wiped out your life and the life of your brethren.
Regardless of your camp, the world Weeps for you.
No matter your religion, others crying for you.
You are neither political, still less war chief.
You are a woman, a child, a sincere man.
Presentation there in these guns to deadly mouths.
You chose to include bold the word peace.

You have built texts, lime and chalk.
You have fed ideas to the teats of the strict observance,
Expressed your desire for tenderness and pure fair play
The words are not enough, death rode, it is a fact
Regardless, it threatens, she takes, she takes
Listen, a child cries, there, behind the door.
It is an innocent person, no matter where it is or it will
Southern, Northern, black, yellow, white, he screams like that
Open together to find out who is this child.
Now, it's done... it's there...
It is red and silent, he bathes in the blood...

Você, meu amigo, meu irmão.
(Você vive março ou Júpiter).
Você construiu terra nas pedras amareladas,
Você construiu o céu, sob o sol ardente.
Você tem escolhido sua esposa e causado a seus filhos,
Lugares construídos de oração com estas pedras,
Que também serviram como chapelins e rosários,
Construído nas paredes e telhados contra os militares,
Com a argila do amor, da tolerância de orgulhosa,
Sem ser capaz de se proteger as ogivas incendiárias,
Que me limpou sua vida e a vida de seus irmãos.
Independentemente do seu acampamento, o mundo chora por você.
Não importa sua religião, outros chorando por você.
Você não é nenhum político, ainda menos guerra chefe.
Você é uma mulher, uma criança, um homem sincero.
Apresentação lá nestas armas para bocas mortais.
Você optou por incluir em negrito a paz da palavra.
Construíram textos, limão e giz.
Você alimentou idéias para as tetinas da estrita observância,
Expressou seu desejo de ternura e puro fair-play
As palavras não são suficientes, andava de morte, é um fato
Independentemente disso, a ameaça, ela toma, ela toma
Ouça, uma criança chora, lá, atrás da porta.
É uma pessoa inocente, não importa onde está ou será
Sul, norte, preto, amarelo, branco, grita assim
Abrir junto para descobrir quem é essa criança.
Agora, está feito... está lá...
É vermelho e em silêncio, ele banha no sangue...

Usted, mi amigo, mi hermano.
(Vives marzo o Júpiter).
Has construido sobre las rocas amarillentas, tierra
Se ha construido el cielo, bajo el ardiente sol.
Escogido a tu esposa y tus hijos,
Construido lugares de oración con estas piedras,
Que también han servido como rosarios y rosarios,
Construido en las paredes y los techos contra los militares,
Con la arcilla del amor, de la tolerancia orgulloso,
Sin ser capaz de protegerse de las ojivas incendiarias,
Que acabaron con su vida y la de tus hermanos.
Independientemente de su campo, el mundo llora por ti.
No importa tu religión, otros llorando por ti.
Eres ni político, menos aún la guerra jefe.
Eres una mujer, un niño, un hombre sincero.
Presentación allí en estas armas a boca mortal.
Se optó por incluir la palabra paz en negrilla.
Se han construido los textos, cal y tiza.
Ha alimentado ideas a los pezones de la estricta observancia,
Expresaron su deseo de ternura y juego limpio puro
Las palabras no son suficientes, muerte montó, es un hecho
A pesar de todo, es una amenaza, toma, toma
Escucha, un niño llora, allí, detrás de la puerta.
Es una persona inocente, no importa de donde es o será
Del sur, del norte, negro, amarillo, blanco, él grita así
Abierta para averiguar quién es este niño.
Ahora, ya está... está ahí...
Es rojo y silencioso, se baña en la sangre...
  Read Toi, mon ami, mon frère.   You, my friend, my brother.   Você, meu amigo, meu irmão.
 September 1, 2014  
What to Do About ISIS?

Dr. Charles Mercieca

by Charles Mercieca
Charles Mercieca, Ph.D.
International Association of Educators for World Peace
Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education
Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament
Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University
Hon President & Professor, SBS Swiss Business School, Zurich

Originally published on warisacrime.org What to Do About ISIS
by David Swanson

Start by recognizing where ISIS came from. The U.S. and its junior partners destroyed Iraq, left a sectarian division, poverty, desperation, and an illegitimate government in Baghdad that did not represent Sunnis or other groups. Then the U.S. armed and trained ISIS and allied groups in Syria, while continuing to prop up the Baghdad government, providing Hellfire missiles with which to attack Iraqis in Fallujah and elsewhere.

Real Source of the Problem

ISIS has religious adherents but also opportunistic supporters who see it as the force resisting an unwanted rule from Baghdad and who increasingly see it as resisting the United States. It is in possession of U.S. weaponry provided directly to it in Syria and seized from the Iraqi government.

At last count by the U.S. government, 79 percent of weapons transferred to Middle Eastern governments come from the United States, not counting transfers to groups like ISIS, and not counting weapons in the possession of the United States.

So, the first thing to do differently going forward: stop bombing nations into ruins, and stop shipping weapons into the area you've left in chaos. Libya is of course another example of the disasters that U.S. wars leave behind them—a war, by the way, with U.S. weapons used on both sides, and a war launched on the pretext of a claim well documented to have been false that Gaddafi was threatening to massacre civilians.

Political Deceit at Work

So, here's the next thing to do: be very skeptical of humanitarian claims. The U.S. bombing around Erbil to protect Kurdish and U.S. oil interests was initially justified as bombing to protect people on a mountain. But most of those people on the mountain were in no need of rescue, and that justification has now been set aside, just as Benghazi was.

Recall also that Obama was forced to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq when he couldn't get the Iraqi government to give them immunity for crimes they commit. He has now obtained that immunity and back in they go, the crimes preceding them in the form of 500-pound bombs.

While trying to rescue hostages and discovering an empty house, and racing to a mountain to save 30,000 people but finding 3,000 and most of those not wanting to leave, the U.S. claims to know exactly whom the 500-pound bombs are killing. But whomever they are killing, they are generating more enemies, and they are building support for ISIS, not diminishing it.

So, now the U.S. finds itself on the opposite side of the war in Syria, so what does it do? Flip sides! Now the great moral imperative is not to bomb Assad but to bomb in defense of Assad, the only consistent point being that "something must be done" and the only conceivable something is to pick some party and bomb it.

Things USA Could Do

But why is that the only conceivable thing to be done? I can think of some others:

1. Apologize for brutalizing the leader of ISIS in Abu Ghraib and to every other prisoner victimized under U.S. occupation.
2. Apologize for destroying the nation of Iraq and to every family there.
3. Making restitution as a start by delivering aid (not "military aid" but actual aid, food, medicine) to the entire nation of Iraq.
4. Apologize for role in war in Syria.
5. Making restitution as a start by delivering actual aid to Syria.
6. Announce a commitment not to provide weapons to Iraq or Syria or Israel or Jordan or Egypt or Bahrain or any other nation anywhere on earth and to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from foreign territories and seas, including Afghanistan. (The U.S. Coast Guard in the Persian Gulf has clearly forgotten where the coast of the U.S. is!)
7. Announce a commitment to invest heavily in solar, wind, and other green energy and to provide the same to democratic representative governments.
8. Providing Iran as a start with free wind and solar technologies -- at much lower cost of course than what it is costing the U.S. and Israel to threaten Iran over a nonexistent nuclear weapons program.
9. End economic sanctions.
10. Send diplomats to Baghdad and Damascus to negotiate aid and to encourage serious reforms.
11. Send journalists, aid workers, peace workers, human shields, and negotiators into crisis zones, understanding that this means risking lives, but fewer lives than further militarization risks.
12. Empower people with agricultural assistance, education, cameras, and internet access.
13. Launch a communications campaign in the United States to replace military recruitment campaigns, focused on building sympathy and desire to serve as critical aid workers, persuading doctors and engineers to volunteer their time to travel to and visit these areas of crisis.
14. Work through the United Nations on all of this.
15. Sign the United States on to the International Criminal Court and voluntarily propose the prosecution of top U.S. officials of this and the preceding regimes for their crimes.
________________________________________ Tikkun Magazine, 2342 Shattuck Avenue, #1200,
Berkeley, CA 94704
Phone: 510-644-1200, Fax 510-644-1255
  Read What to Do About ISIS?
 August 20, 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
Information de l’ONG transmise à Guy CREQUIE messager de la culture de la paix

La population mondiale vit à crédit à partir de mardi 19 août. En 2014, elle a consommé en huit mois l'intégralité des ressources que la Terre peut produire sans compromettre leur renouvellement, a calculé l'ONG Footprint Network qui réalise ce bilan chaque année.

"Pour le reste de l'année, notre consommation résultera en un déficit écologique croissant qui puisera dans les stocks de ressources naturelles et augmentera l'accumulation du CO2 dans l'atmosphère", souligne l'ONG dont le siège est situé aux Etats-Unis.

De plus en plus tôt chaque année

Le "jour du dépassement" ne cesse d'intervenir de plus en plus tôt dans l'année, c'est-à-dire que l'humanité engloutit son "budget écologique" de plus en plus vite. Ce jour était tombé le 21 octobre en 1993, le 22 septembre en 2003, et l'an dernier, il avait eu lieu le 20 août.

L'humanité est "entrée en situation de dette écologique" dans les années 1970, selon l'ONG WWF. "Aujourd'hui, 86% de la population mondiale vit dans des pays qui demandent plus à la nature que ce que leurs propres écosystèmes peuvent renouveler", poursuit-elle dans un communiqué.

Selon Global Footprint Network, il faudrait une planète et demie pour produire les ressources écologiques renouvelables nécessaires pour soutenir l'empreinte actuelle de l'humanité.

Il est possible d'inverser la tendance

Même si les chiffres sont mauvais, "nous pouvons encore prendre des mesures audacieuses et construire un avenir prospère, fondé sur l'utilisation durable des ressources. Mais il faut agir maintenant", déclare une responsable de WWF France.

Favoriser les énergies renouvelables, ainsi que les régimes alimentaires moins riches en viande ; mettre fin à l'économie linéaire (produire-jeter) ; se convertir à l'économie circulaire où les déchets des uns sont les ressources des autres, ou encore repenser l'urbanisme : autant de pistes mises en avant par l'ONG.


Information of ONG transmitted to Guy CREQUIE messenger of the culture of peace

The world population lives with credit as from Tuesday, August 19. In 2014, it consumed in eight month the entirety of the resources that the Earth can produce without compromising their renewal, calculated the ONG Footprint Network which carries out this assessment each year.

“For the remainder of the year, our consumption will result in an ecological deficit crescent which will draw from stocks of natural resources and will increase the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere”, the ONG underlines whose seat is located at the United States.

More and more early each year

The “day of the going beyond” does not cease intervening more and more early in the year, i.e. humanity absorbs its “ecological budget more and more quickly”. This day had fallen on October 21st in 1993, on September 22nd in 2003, and last year, it had taken place on August 20th.

Humanity “entered in ecological situation of debt” the years 1970, according to ONG WWF. “Today, 86% of the world population live in countries which require more of nature than what their own ecosystems can renew”, she continues in an official statement.

According To Total Footprint Network, one would need a planet and half to produce the renewable ecological resources necessary to support the current print of humanity.

It is possible to reverse the tendency

Even if the figures are bad, “we can still take daring measures and build a prosperous future, founded on the durable use of the resources. But it is necessary to act now”, a person in charge of WWF France declares.

To Support renewable energies, as well as the food modes less rich in meat; to put an end to the linear economy (produce-to throw); to convert with the circular economy where waste of the ones is the resources of the others, or to reconsider town planning: as many tracks put ahead by ONG.

Copyright Guy CREQUIE
Poet, writer and singer French
 August 19, 2014

by Guy Crequie

Guy Crequie

Email: guy.crequie@wanadoo.fr
Guy CREQUIE Global file
Ecrivain français à finalité philosophique. Blog http://guycrequie.blogspot.com
Messager de la paix de l'UNESCO
Représentant français d'ONG internationales de paix et d'harmonie-la situation du monde ne me laisse aucun temps pour des congés cette quinzaine d'août

Le cas africain ci-dessous, mais chaque continent doit revoir ses pratiques, et impulser des politiques de consommation réfléchies, des choix énergétiques adaptés, diversifiés et innovants, la remise en cause des conforts issus de la période coloniale pour l’Occident, l’arrêt des égoïsmes nationaux, de la fuite en avant ou du temps gagné à tergiverser ;ceci, pour des vraies réformes en profondeur nécessitant de résister aux lobbies qui défendent leurs positions, tout en réfléchissant intelligemment aux transitions, reconversions, élaborations qui nécessitent une partie importante d’investissement dans la recherche et la formation.

Ensuite des problèmes comme ceux de l’eau, de l’énergie, de l’accès à certains médicaments génériques,…..peuvent provoquer des conflits, exodes, déséquilibrant des équilibres déjà fragiles…

Copyright Guy CREQUIE

La question du sens et de la totalité renvoie au rôle du philosophe et à sa relation avec les diverses disciplines scientifiques

Le rapport 2014 de l’Africa Panel Progress présente les montants importants que perd le continent chaque année. Le pillage organisé des ressources naturelles du continent plombent son développement et maintient les Africains dans une situation de pauvreté permanente. Pour le panel, il est grand temps de mettre fin à ce bradage afin que les sommes perdues soient affectées aux investissements.

Le rapport 2014 de l’African Progress Panel (APP) est très accablant. L’Afrique perd chaque année des milliards de dollars en raison du pillage de ses ressources naturelles et des flux financiers illicites, ce qui est de nature à plomber le développement du continent, alors que celui-ci affiche pourtant des taux de croissance parmi les plus prometteurs du monde. Pour cette édition, l’APP, un think tank que dirige l’ancien secrétaire général de l’ONU, Kofi Annan, a mis l’accent sur le potentiel dont regorge le continent en matière de ressources naturelles. Intitulé «Céréales, pêche et capitaux : financer la révolution verte et la révolution bleue de l’Afrique», les auteurs du rapport ont démontré que les abondantes ressources naturelles de l’Afrique représentent une occasion unique d’améliorer considérablement la vie des citoyens africains. Cependant, relève le document, «ces ressources sont trop souvent pillées par des fonctionnaires corrompus et des investisseurs étrangers». De même, la hausse des inégalités empêche aussi l’Afrique de saisir cette opportunité.

«Après plus de dix années de croissance, il y a matière à se réjouir» a souligné Kofi Annan lors de la présentation du rapport il y a quelques jours. Pour l’ancien diplomate, «il est temps de se demander pourquoi une telle croissance n’a que si peu contribué à sortir la population de la pauvreté, et pourquoi une si grande partie des richesses naturelles de l’Afrique est gaspillée dans des pratiques de corruption et des activités d’investissement peu scrupuleuses». Le rapport démontre que, bien que le revenu moyen ait augmenté d’un tiers ces dix dernières années, il y a davantage d’Africains qui vivent dans la pauvreté aujourd’hui -environ 415 millions- qu’à la fin des années 1990.

Le rapport 2014 de l’APP ne fait pas seulement dans la critique. Sur la base des observations contenues dans le rapport, ses auteurs ont recommandé aux dirigeants politiques africains de prendre dès maintenant des mesures concrètes afin de réduire les inégalités en investissant dans l’agriculture. Selon les membres de l’APP, l’agriculture constitue la clé pour une croissance qui réduira la pauvreté. «En Afrique, la plupart des pauvres vivent et travaillent dans des zones rurales, généralement en tant que petits exploitants agricoles», ont justifié les auteurs du rapport qui ont également incité la communauté internationale à soutenir les efforts de développement de la région. «Il y a en Afrique une résilience et une créativité extraordinaires», a affirmé Kofi Annan, en prenant comme exemple les jeunes, de plus en plus nombreux et énergiques, ainsi que les entrepreneurs, très dynamiques. «Il est temps pour les dirigeants africains de libérer ce potentiel considérable», a estimé l’ancien secrétaire général de l’ONU.

Flux financiers illégaux : 50 milliards de dollars perdus chaque année Chaque année, ce ne sont pas moins de 50 milliards de dollars que le continent perd (en moyenne) en raison des flux financiers illégaux. Selon le rapport de l’Africa Progress Panel, cela représente 5,7% du PIB de la région, le plus fort taux au monde. Il est de 3,5% pour la région MENA, 4,1% pour l'Asie et 4,5% l'Europe centrale et orientale. Selon les estimations faites dans le rapport, les montants extraits chaque année de manière illégale des pays d’Afrique subsaharienne dépassent en volume les investissements publics consacrés à la santé par l’ensemble des pays concernés.

En plus des pertes subies à cause du pillage des ressources naturelles et d’une mauvaise gestion financière, le rapport souligne que «les Africains ne bénéficient pas pleinement de l’argent provenant de l’extérieur, que ce soit quand certains donateurs de l’aide ne respectent pas leurs engagements ou quand des membres de la diaspora africaine envoient de l’argent à leur famille en Afrique». Le continent perd ainsi près de 1,85 milliard de dollars par an en raison des frais excessifs appliqués par les sociétés de transferts d’argent sur ces envois.

Pêche illicite : un pillage de plusieurs dizaines de milliards Selon le rapport de l’APP, la pêche illicite, non déclarée et non réglementée, a atteint des proportions épidémiques dans les eaux côtières africaines. Les estimations faites à ce niveau font ressortir que les pertes annuelles s’élèvent à plus de 1,3 milliard de dollars, pour les seuls pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest. De même, l’Afrique perd également 17 milliards de dollars du fait des activités illégales d’abattage. «Au-delà du coût financier, ce pillage anéantit les communautés de pêcheurs en les privant d’opportunités essentielles en matière de pêche, de transformation et de commerce», ont estimé les auteurs du rapport pour qui le pillage des ressources naturelles est «un vol organisé sous couvert de commerce». Le rapport a par exemple démontré que certains chalutiers commerciaux opèrent sous pavillon de complaisance et déchargent leur pêche dans des ports qui ne consignent pas leurs captures, ce qui est contraire à l’éthique. Selon Kofi Annan, «ces activités criminelles aggravent le problème de l’évasion fiscale et des sociétés-écrans». De ce fait, le rapport 2014 sur les progrès en Afrique préconise un système multilatéral de gestion des pêches qui appliquerait des sanctions aux bateaux de pêche qui n’enregistrent et ne déclarent pas leurs captures.

Exploitation forestière illégale : 17 milliards de perte chaque année L’exploitation forestière en Afrique est un autre fléau qui pénalise le développement du continent. Chaque année, les pays d’Afrique subsaharienne perdent en moyenne près de 17 milliards de dollars en raison de ce fléau qui ne cesse de prendre de l'ampleur dans le sillage de la hausse d'une demande émanant principalement des pays émergents. Pour l’APP, il existe pourtant des moyens de mettre fin à cette situation qui met en péril la vie de plusieurs communautés ainsi que leur environnement, en plus du manque à gagner pour l’État. De ce fait, les auteurs du rapport préconisent que les contrats de concession d’exploitation forestière commerciale soient rendus publics, ainsi que la structure de propriété effective des entreprises en question. «Les concessions doivent être délivrées avec le consentement éclairé des communautés concernées, sur la base d’une présentation claire et exacte des coûts et avantages potentiels», recommande également le rapport.

Transmis par Guy CREQUIE

CRY FOR the XXI E century! (Enough speech of the acts citizens impelled by the responsible government policies)

The African case below, but each continent must re-examine its practices, and impel reflected policies of consumption, energy choices adapted, diversified and innovating, the reconsideration of comforts resulting from the colonial period for the Occident, the stop of national selfishnesses, the escape ahead or time saved to tergiversate; this, for true in-depth reforms requiring to resist the lobbies which defend their positions, while thinking intelligently of the transitions, reconversions, developments which require an important part of investment in research and the formation.

Then problems like those of water, energy, the access to certain generic drugs, ..... can cause conflicts, exoduses, unbalancing already fragile balances…

The question of the direction and totality returns to the role of the philosopher and its relationship to the various scientific disciplines

Copyright Guy CREQUIE

The report 2014 of Africa Panel Progress presents the important amounts that the continent loses each year. The organized plundering of the natural resources of the continent lead its development and maintains the Africans in a situation of permanent poverty. For the panel, it is high time to put an end to this cut-price selling so that the lost sums are assigned to the investments.

The report 2014 of African Progress Panel is very overpowering. Africa loses each year of the billion dollars because of plundering of its natural resources and of illicit financial flows, which is likely to lead the development of the continent, whereas this one however posts growth rates among most promising of the world. For this edition, the APP, a think tank which the former general secretary of UNO directs, Kofi Annan, focussed on the potential in which the continent as regards natural resources abounds. Heading “Cereals, fishing and capital: to finance the green revolution and the blue revolution of Africa”, the authors of the report showed that the abundant natural resources of Africa represent a unique opportunity to improve considerably the life of the African citizens. However, the document raises, “these resources are too often plundered by corrupted civils servant and foreign investors”. In the same way, the rise of the inequalities prevents also Africa from seizing this opportunity.

(APP)“After more than ten years of growth, there are grounds for to be delighted” underlined Kofi Annan at the time of the presentation of the report a few days ago. For the former diplomat, “it is time to wonder why such a growth has only if little contributed to leave the population the poverty, and why so most of the natural wealths of Africa is wasted in practices of corruption and not very scrupulous activities of investment”. The report shows that, although the average income increased by a third these ten last years, there are more Africans who live in poverty today - approximately 415 million that at the end of the years 1990.

The report 2014 of the APP does not make only in criticism. On The Basis Of observation contained in the report, its authors recommended to the African political leaders to take as of now concrete measures in order to reduce the inequalities while investing in agriculture. According To the members of the APP, agriculture constitutes the key for a growth which will reduce poverty. “In Africa, most the poor live and work in rural areas, generally as agricultural smallholders”, the authors of the report justified who also incited the international community to support the development efforts of the area. “There are in Africa an extraordinary impact strength and a creativity”, Kofi Annan affirmed, by taking as example the young people, increasingly many and energetic, as well as the entrepreneurs, very dynamic. “It is time for the African leaders to release this considerable potential”, the former general secretary of UNO estimated.

Illegal Financial flows: 50 billion dollars lost each year Each year, it is not less than 50 billion dollars that the continent loses (on average) because of illegal financial flows. According To the report of Africa Progress Panel, that accounts for 5.7% of the GDP of the area, the strongest rate in the world. It is of 3.5% for the area CARRIED OUT, 4.1% for Asia and 4.5% the Central and Eastern Europe. According To the estimates made in the report, the amounts extracted each year in an illegal way of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa exceed in volume the public investments devoted to health by the whole of the countries concerned.

Besides the losses undergone because of plundering of the natural resources and a bad financial management, the report stresses that “the Africans do not profit fully from the money coming from outside, that they are when certain givers of the assistance do not respect their commitments or when members of the African diaspora send money to their family in Africa”. The continent loses thus nearly 1.85 billion dollar a year because of the excessive expenses applied by the companies of transfers of money to these sendings.

Illicit Fishing: a plundering of several tens of billion According To the report of the APP, illicit fishing, not declared and not regulated, reached epidemic proportions in African coastal water. The estimates made on this level emphasize that the annual losses rise with more than 1.3 billion dollar, for the only countries of West Africa. In the same way, Africa also loses 17 billion dollars because of the illegal activities of demolition. “Beyond the financial costs, this plundering destroys the communities of fishermen by depriving them of essential opportunities as regards fishing, transformation and trade”, the authors of the report thought for which the plundering of the natural resources is “a flight organized in the guise of trade”. The report for example showed that certain commercial trawlers operate under flag of convenience and discharge their fishing in ports which do not consign their captures, which is contrary with ethics. According To Kofi Annan, “these criminal activities worsen the problem of tax avoidance and the company-screens”. So the report 2014 on progress in Africa recommends a multilateral system of fishery management which would apply sanctions to the fishing boats which do not record and their captures do not declare.

Illegal Forestry holding: 17 billion loss each year Forestry holding in Africa east another plague which penalizes the development of the continent. Each year, the countries of sub-Saharan Africa lose on average nearly 17 billion dollars because of this plague which does not cease gaining in importance in the emanating wake of the rise of a request mainly of the emerging countries. For the APP, there however exist means of putting an end to this situation which puts in danger the life of several communities like their environment, besides the shortfall for the State. So the authors of the report recommend that the concession contracts of commercial forestry holding are made public, as well as the structure of effective property of the companies in question. “The concessions must be delivered with the enlightened assent of the communities concerned, on the basis of clear and exact presentation of the costs and potential advantages”, also the report recommends.

Transmitted by Guy CREQUIE




Go to the top of the page