Politics and Justice without borders

Global Community Newsletter

Volume 10 Issue 1 January 2012
Theme this month:

Lesson #4
Earth Management: Global Ministries
by Soullife

Lesson #4 Earth Management: Global Ministries

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Lesson #4: Earth Management

Read about the introductory text concerning Global Peace Village: the way forward. Read about the introductory text concerning Global peace Village: the way forward.

Short list of previous articles and papers on Global Peace

Short list of previous articles and papers on Energy and the protection of the global life-support systems

Letter to President Barack Obama concerning your re-election as President of the United States of America

All our Global Peace animation projects are listed here.

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See the following artboards promoting Lesson #4 Earth Management: Global Ministries and feel free to use them. The artboards have dimensions 2880x1800.


Artboard #1 of Lesson #4 Earth Management: Global Ministries

Soullife animation. Soullife walks across the University of Global Learning site and arrives at a place where a container was being filled by falling snow. Lesson #4 : Earth Management: Global Ministries  artboard

Artboard #2 of Lesson #4 Earth Management: Global Ministries

Soullife is holding the container full of snow and says:
I am Soullife.
And I am holding here the solutions to all down to Earth global problems.
Let me show you the way forward.
Lesson #4 : Earth Management: Global Ministries  artboard

Artboard #3 of Lesson #4 Earth Management: Global Ministries

The world is in a perpetual state of crisis of one kind or another: economic, civil unrest, unemployment, poverty, political, rights and Justice, and environmental.

Often, leaders who brought solutions forward have an agenda of their own as they represent specific interest groups. Instead of finding a solution through diplomacy they would rather force an entire population back to stone age which truly means the killing of people through bombing and the destruction of community infrastructures and homes. Evil permeates human tragedy.

Ask yourself why. We know how it is done. But what for? Why? Who gain most for the killing and destruction? What have you gain? Could you have got what you gain through diplomacy? Was is worth the killing and destruction?

Let us see the way forward. And yes, this time, down to Earth solutions!
Lesson #4 : Earth Management: Global Ministries  artboard

Artboard #4 of Lesson #4 Earth Management: Global Ministries

The Global Community has begun to establish the existence of the age of symbiotical relationships and global cooperation. An economically base symbiotical relationship exists between nations of the European Union. Other types (geographical, economical, social, business-like, political, religious, or personal) may be created all over the world between communities, nations, and businesses.

Symbiotical relationships may be based on common concerns and issues such as: the environment, peace, women's rights, and global rights. There is a whole spectrum of possible symbiotical relationships.

Any symbiotical relationship is for the good of all, for the good of the 'other'. It is based on a genuine group concern and unconditional support for the individual's well-being ~ a giant leap in human behaviour. The question is how can we improve the political symbiotical relationship to fulfill this goal?

The Global Community is inviting you to participate in the formation of global symbiotical relationships.

This can be accomplished through the formation of global ministries.
Lesson #4 : Earth Management: Global Ministries  artboard

Artboard #5 of Lesson #4 Earth Management: Global Ministries

The formation of global ministries is the most important event in human history.

Humanity sees the need to manage world affairs in several aspects of our lives: energy, agriculture, environment, health, Earth resources, Earth management, security and safety, emergencies and rescues, trade, banks, speculation on world markets, peace, family and human development, water resources protection, youth, education, justice, science and technology, finance, human resources, ethics, global rights, sustainable development, industry, and the manufacturing of products.

Global ministries will be given power to rule themselves in harmony with each other.

The Global Community has been promoting the formation of several global ministries for the proper governance of Earth. Global ministries are world wide organizations just like the World Trade Organization (WTO) for trade and therefore should have the same power to rule on cases.
Lesson #4 : Earth Management: Global Ministries  artboard

Artboard #6 of Lesson #4 Earth Management: Global Ministries

There are several important Global Ministries: Education, Employment, Security, Citizenship, Earth Environmental Governance, Energy, The Judiciary, Peace & Disarmament, Climate change, Water & Land Resources, Economic Development, Pollution Management, Earth Ministry of Health, Ecological Protection, Global Rights, Finance & Monetary, Communications, Transportation, Global Dialogue, Social Development, Emergency, Rescue, and Relief Centre, Earth Biodiversity Zone, Research & Development, Forestry Protection, Earth Management, Ministry of agriculture, food production and distribution, Global Protection Agency (GPA), Local Community Development Lesson #4 : Earth Management: Global Ministries  artboard

Artboard #7 of Lesson #4 Earth Management: Global Ministries

Global Ministries
Based on fundamental principles

Global Community
Global Law
Scale of Global Rights

4 types of essential services
Peace and disarmament
the Judiciary
Global Protection Agency (GPA)
Global Ministries Lesson #4 : Earth Management: Global Ministries  artboard

Artboard #8 of Lesson #4 Earth Management: Global Ministries

Global Law comprises four fundamental pillars:

Ecclesiastical teaching
Civic Law by government
Natural processes and laws
God Law

Each and everyone of those pillars are meant to reinforce one another for the protection and survival of life on our planet.

Global Law includes legislation covering all essential aspects of human activities.The work of the Global Community, the global civil society, and the determination of government worldwide, make it possible for everyone to comply with the law.

The building of global communities required a mean to enforce Global Law for the protection of life on Earth. The Global Protection Agency (GPA) will train and lead a global force that will enforce the law. And that is how we can stop the global warming of the planet and protect the global life support systems, thus largely improving the quality of life of the next generations. Lesson #4 : Earth Management: Global Ministries  artboard

Artboard #9 of Lesson #4 Earth Management: Global Ministries

The Global Justice Movement as developed by the Global Community has many inter-related components: monetary, social, economic, environmental, democracy, peace, and Earth life-support systems.

The Global Justice Movement promotes new thinking to benefit all economies and societies – the true, fair, democratic and efficient solution to poverty.

The Global Community has shown that corporate-style globalization that ignores the needs of the poor and the environment will no longer be tolerated. The Global Community is joining students, environmentalists, people of faith, human rights activists, and others, in the global struggle against corporate globalization being fought in cities and towns across the world.
Lesson #4 : Earth Management: Global Ministries  artboard

Artboard #10 of Lesson #4 Earth Management: Global Ministries

Global Protection Agency ( GPA )

Protection of the :
global life-support systems
Earth ecosystems

Global Community Emergency, Rescue, and Relief Centre
Agency of Global Police ( AGP )

Global Justice Network
The Judiciary
Earth Court of Justice
Global law, regulations and standards Lesson #4 : Earth Management: Global Ministries  artboard

Artboard #11 of Lesson #4 Earth Management: Global Ministries

The explanation about the Scale of Global Rights. Lesson #4 : Earth Management: Global Ministries  artboard

Artboard #12 of Lesson #4 Earth Management: Global Ministries

In Lesson #1 : the world now, I showed you the state of our planet today. It will only get worst unless we create Global Ministries to manage ourselves and the planet wisely. Lesson #4 : Earth Management: Global Ministries  artboard

Germain Dufour
Spiritual Leader of the Global Community
January 2012

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

Ward Anseeuw, Seth Borenstein, Farooque Chowdhury, Steve Connor, Lorenzo Cotula, Dr. Peter Custers, Justin Elliott, Dr. Mark Everard, Abdus Sattar Ghazali, Glenn Greenwald, Fiona Harvey, Eric Johnson, Naomi Klein, Rousbeh Legatis, Fred Magdoff,Charles Mercieca (2), Hasibur Rahman, Devinder Sharma, Vandana Shiva, Sarah Simpson, Michael Taylor, John Vidal,Liz Alden Wily

Ward Anseeuw, Dual Citizenship Impacting on Patriotism and Creating Unrest for the Global Peace, Land Rights And The Rush For Land
Seth Borenstein, Ticking Greenhouse Gas Time Bomb: Melting Permafrost, Ticking Greenhouse Gas Time Bomb: Melting Permafrost
Farooque Chowdhury, Democratic Struggle And The Struggle For The Environment Are Tied Together , Democratic Struggle And The Struggle For The Environment Are Tied Together
Steve Connor, Retreat Of Arctic Sea Ice Releases Plumes Of Methane: Climate Feedback Catastrophe? , Retreat Of Arctic Sea Ice Releases Plumes Of Methane: Climate Feedback Catastrophe?
Lorenzo Cotula, Dual Citizenship Impacting on Patriotism and Creating Unrest for the Global Peace, Land Rights And The Rush For Land
Dr. Peter Custers, Canada's Exit From The Kyoto Protocol: Selling Dirtiest Oil At All Cost, Canada s Exit From The Kyoto Protocol: Selling Dirtiest Oil At All Cost
Justin Elliott, The 20 Worst Wall Street Banks Funding Our Filthiest Polluters, The 20 Worst Wall Street Banks Funding Our Filthiest Polluters
Dr. Mark Everard, Common Ground: Securing A Future For All Who Share Our Planet?s Resources, Common Ground: Securing A Future For All Who Share Our Planet?s Resources
Abdus Sattar Ghazali, The Politics Of Gas Pipelines In Asia, The Politics Of Gas Pipelines In Asia
Glenn Greenwald, Three myths about the detention bill, Three myths about the detention bill
Fiona Harvey, Deal Reached in Durban But Scientists Say it Won't Avert Catastrophic Climate Change, Deal Reached in Durban But Scientists Say it Won't Avert Catastrophic Climate Change
Eric Johnson, Tar Sands Fight Goes Beyond Keystone: A Little-Known Pipeline Plan Could Prove Disastrous for British Columbia, Tar Sands Fight Goes Beyond Keystone: A Little-Known Pipeline Plan Could Prove Disastrous for British Columbia
Naomi Klein, To Conservatives, Climate Change is Trojan Horse to Abolish Capitalism, To Conservatives, Climate Change is Trojan Horse to Abolish Capitalism
Rousbeh Legatis, More and More Refugees Flee the Devastation of Climate Change, More and More Refugees Flee the Devastation of Climate Change
Fred Magdoff, Democratic Struggle And The Struggle For The Environment Are Tied Together , Democratic Struggle And The Struggle For The Environment Are Tied Together
Charles Mercieca, Real Source of Major World Problems, Real Source of Major World Problems
Charles Mercieca, Confucius: Great Chinese Teacher, Confucius: Great Chinese Teacher
Hasibur Rahman, Dual Citizenship Impacting on Patriotism and Creating Unrest for the Global Peace, Dual Citizenship Impacting on Patriotism and Creating Unrest for the Global Peace
Devinder Sharma, Saving And Sharing Food, Saving And Sharing Food
Vandana Shiva, Climate Justice Requires A New Paradigm, Climate Justice Requires A New Paradigm
Sarah Simpson, Earth's Biggest Doomsday Event: Death By CO2, Earth s Biggest Doomsday Event: Death By CO2
Michael Taylor, Dual Citizenship Impacting on Patriotism and Creating Unrest for the Global Peace, Land Rights And The Rush For Land
John Vidal, Deal Reached in Durban But Scientists Say it Won't Avert Catastrophic Climate Change, Deal Reached in Durban But Scientists Say it Won't Avert Catastrophic Climate Change
Liz Alden Wily, Dual Citizenship Impacting on Patriotism and Creating Unrest for the Global Peace, Land Rights And The Rush For Land

Articles and papers of authors
 Data sent
 Theme or issue
 December 21, 2011  

Download the full report (PDF)

Download Summary (PDF)

Originated by the rising concerns expressed by many International Land Coalition (ILC) members in 2008, the Commercial Pressures on Land research project is intended to go beyond the large-scale land acquisitions phenomenon, focussing on the wider set of converging drivers for investment interest in land, such as rising food consumption and predicted long-term food prices rises; demand for feedstock for agrofuels; increasing commodity prices; carbon-trading mechanisms such as REDD; and rent seeking and speculation practices on land by recontextualising them within longer term trends.

The research project has been undertaken in collaboration with the populations concerned and civil society organizations of the countries affected, not only as recipients of the results, but as project leaders and participants in the implementation of the research projects. The Commercial Pressures on Land Research Project therefore builds on the strengths of International Land Coalition’s diverse membership through a collaborative effort and creates the opportunity for a high level and inclusive debate on a core issue of the twenty first century.

Through the partnership of a wide group of research institutions, civil society organizations and independent researchers, the current project is leading to the development of over 30 studies, including a final crosscutting analysis, that have benefited from the work done by two ILC members – Agter and CIRAD - which have respectively developed the initial conceptual framework and provided technical assistance to all the parties involved throughout the process.

The set of studies developed by the ILC is composed of country case studies as well as regional overviews and global thematic studies. The research reports are completed by 11 policy briefs providing key findings and recommendations with respect to some of the key challenges posed by the current phenomenon.

From the 74-page report: (both the summary and the entire report can be downloaded from the website)


The International Land Coalition (ILC) was established by civil society and multilateral organisations who were convinced that secure access to land, water, and other natural resources is central to the ability of women and men to get out of, and stay out of, hunger and poverty.

In 2008, at the same time as the food price crisis pushed the number of hungry people over the one billion mark, ILC launched a global research project to better understand the implications of the growing wave of international large-scale investments in land. Smallholder producers have always faced competition for the land on which their livelihoods depend. It is evident, however, that the competition for land is becoming increasingly global and increasingly unequal.

This report represents the culmination of a collaboration with 40 partners, ranging from NGOs in affected regions, whose perspectives and voices are closest to most affected land users, to international research institutes. The process enabled organisations with little previous experience in undertaking such research projects, but with much to contribute, to participate in the global study and to have their voices heard. ILC believes that in an era of increasingly globalised land use and governance, it is more important than ever that the voices and interests of all stakeholders – and in particular those of local land users – are represented in the search for solutions to achieve equitable and secure access to land.

I am also pleased that some of the leading thinkers on land trends from different parts of the globe have joined us as co-authors and contributing authors to synthesise this huge body of research and produce this report. The implications of choices on how land and natural resources should be used, and for whom, are stark. In an increasingly resource-constrained and polarised world, choices made today on land use, access, and ownership will shape the economies, societies, and opportunities of tomorrow’s generations, and thus need to be carefully considered.

Madiodio Niasse
Director, International Land Coalition Secretariat

Table of Contents


Chapter One: Introduction
Commercial pressures on land: a new era
The Commercial Pressures on Land research project
The International Land Coalition
This report

Chapter Two: Features, triggers, and drivers of the global rush for land
The scale and pace of the land rush
Who is acquiring land?
Where are the main targets of acquisition?
What is driving the land rush?
Demand for food
Demand for biofuels
Demand for timber
Demand for other raw materials
Industrial development
Carbon markets

Chapter Three: Impacts
Returns for land acquirers
Government revenues
Access to land for local populations
Access to water
Access to adequate housing
Compensation for communities
Job creation
Opportunities for local smallholder producers
Impacts on women
Environmental impacts

Chapter Four: Factors shaping the land rush
Weak democratic governance
Land governance that fails the rural poor
Economic governance that fails the rural poor
The sidelining of smallholder agriculture
Conclusions: are we reaching a tipping point?

Chapter Five: Conclusions and policy considerations
The findings of this report
Policy considerations: halting the accelerated disenfranchisement of the rural poor
Implications for members of ILC
Land at the crossroads: time to change direction

Key Findings:
The conclusions of this report are based on case studies that provide indicative evidence of local and national realities, and on the ongoing global monitoring of large-scale land deals for which data are subject to a continuous process of veri!cation. But while research and monitoring need to continue, it is important to draw some conclusions and policy implications from the evidence we have already. Key messages can be stated as follows:

>> High global demand for land is likely to continue for the long term, although the steep increase witnessed between 2005 and 2008 may level off.

>> The land and resource rights and livelihoods of rural communities are being put in jeopardy by the prevailing model of large-scale land acquisition. There is little in the findings to suggest that the term “land grabbing” is not widely deserved.

>> The poor are bearing disproportionate costs, but reaping few benefits, because of poor governance, including the weak protection of the resource rights of the poor, corrupt and unaccountable decisionmaking, the sidelining of their rights within trade regimes, and the policy neglect of smallholder agriculture. Women are particularly vulnerable.

>> The weak legal protection of resources held under customary tenure makes local people vulnerable to dispossession as governments make land available for private acquisition. Lands and resources which they traditionally own and use in common are especially vulnerable to loss.

>> Insufficient action is being taken by host governments to limit the further impoverishment of rural communities that may be expected from the “land rush”. Nor is international law being properly put to work in service of this requirement.

>> The challenge is to stop dispossession and land allocations that do not serve a genuine public interest, to legally recognise the rights of the rural poor, and to steer towards more equitable models that give a key role to existing land users.

From Chapter 2:

...Who is acquiring land?

The term “investors” is commonly used as a catch-all term for economic actors engaged in acquiring land as part of the current land rush. However, this usage is problematic for two reasons. Firstly, the evidence suggests that many land acquisitions do not initially involve high levels of investment, being either speculative or involving production only on a small proportion of the land acquired. It is important to distinguish between such acquisitions and productive investment in agriculture and other land-based sectors. Secondly, the use of the term “investors” to mean foreign or elite national actors forgets the fact that the world’s foremost investors in land and agriculture are the 500 million smallholder households who invest time and money in food production and the maintenance and improvement of agricultural systems. In this report, we have therefore referred to “land acquisitions” rather than “investments in land”, and to “land acquirers” rather than “investors”, where it is not possible to distinguish investors from speculators. “Acquisition” is taken to refer to purchase, lease, or concession.

In later chapters, we also make an important distinction between “land acquisitions” and “investments” in emphasising that external investment can happen without acquiring land, and in fact that the best forms of investment are likely to be those that are not based on a model of land acquisition.

While media reports have emphasised the role of foreigners as land acquirers, national elites are also key players. Although the land areas involved in individual transactions may be smaller, the cumulative effect is significant. This has been illustrated in some earlier quantitative inventories (Cotula et al. 2009; Deininger et al. 2010) and also noted in some of the ILC case studies (O’Brien 2011; Calvan and Ablola 2011). However, national actors often fall below the radar of global-level studies because they are seldom regulated or facilitated by public agencies, and because individual transactions tend to be smaller (Hilhorst et al. 2011).

Moreover, the evidence emerging from the case studies suggests that the surge in foreign interest in land is fuelling land acquisitions by nationals; that host country companies offer their services to foreign enterprises (as documented in Madagascar by Andrianirina, Ratsialonana et al. 2011); that nationals may acquire land with a view to then entering into an agreement with a foreign company; and that national actors may serve as intermediaries between a foreign company and the local population. These actors usually belong to established elite groups, at local or national levels. Their financial, economic, and often political connections enable them to establish control over natural resources, and to position themselves at the interface with national or international companies.

Much public attention has been paid to acquisitions from emerging economies, including China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. In many cases such acquisitions have a substantial food security motive on the part of the home country. However, the Land Matrix data show that private acquirers motivated by profit are also prominent among the top investors. These originate from traditional investor countries, as well as emerging economies such as Brazil and South Africa...

...What is driving the land rush?

Is the land rush a short-lived phenomenon, or is it here to stay? In seeking to answer this question, it is helpful to differentiate between what we may call “triggers” and “drivers” of the phenomenon. The sudden rush for farmland that appeared to peak in 2009 was triggered primarily by the food price crisis of 2007 and 2008. The immediate causes of the food price crisis have been analysed in other studies (Headley and Fan 2008; Piesse and Thirtle 2009). Most commentators agree that the crisis was sparked by a convergence of events that included reduced grain stocks and a jump in oil prices that prompted a diversion of some food stocks to biofuels. As these were specific events, surges in cereal and basic commodity prices did not hold and prices fell significantly during the second half of 2008, although not to previous levels.

Nevertheless, the food crisis marked a turning point. No longer were some food-importing countries willing for their national food security to depend upon unpredictable world markets. It also provoked expectations that after two decades of stagnation, food prices would now rise over the longer term. This has so far proved correct, and food prices have again hit new highs in 2011.

Expectations of rising prices reflect longer-term trends that can be called the drivers of the rush for land. The food price crisis brought to attention trends of rising commodity prices that had been under way since 2000 (Deininger et al. 2010). Underlying these trends are the facts of a growing world population and, in particular, rising levels of consumption by the world’s growing middle classes. By 2050 the world will need and consume 70% more food than is consumed today (Ibid.).

However, demand for food is not the only driver of the land rush. Cross-referenced data from the Land Matrix show that in fact the highest demand for land comes from biofuel production, comprising 40% of the area acquired where the commodity is known. In comparison, 25% of cross-referenced deals are for the production of food crops, 3% for livestock production, and 5% for other nonfood crops. Farm production therefore accounts for 73% of cross-referenced acquisitions, while forestry and carbon sequestration, mineral extraction, industry, and tourism account for a combined 27% of land acquired. The relatively high proportion of land being acquired for biofuels is particularly striking, considering the displacement of real or potential food production on these lands. This also reflects the expected profitability of biofuels, despite that fact that they may be a more unpredictable investment, whose profitability may shift significantly in response to changes in subsidies or new technology....

Related Ecologist article by Laura Tuffrey: Biofuels not food the biggest driver of 'land grabbing' deals, says report

'Land grab' report highlights growing interest from speculators in ‘flex’ crops like soya, palm oil and sugarcane that can be used for biofuels or food

The amount of land acquired for biofuels globally is far higher than previously thought, according to one of the most comprehensive assessments yet by the International Land Coalition (ILC).

Biofuels are now the major driver for large-scale purchases of farmland or ‘land grabbing’ in the global south, with almost 53 per cent of the 71 million hectares cross-referenced in the report, being used for biofuels.

In Africa, the impact of biofuels was even stronger with 66 per cent of land purchases used for biofuels. Food was next highest at 15 per cent.

This is far higher than a World Bank’s analysis last year that just 21 per cent of global land grab deals conducted between 2008-9 were being used for biofuels.

Europe's biofuel demand

Campaigners say ‘land grabbing’ is being driven by EU targets to source 10 per cent of all transport fuels for buses and cars from biofuels rather than conventional fossil fuels by 2020.

‘These findings suggest that the scale of land-grabbing for biofuel production is far worse than previously imagined,’ Robbie Blake of Friends of the Earth Europe. ‘Europe’s appetite for land is already unsustainable, reaching well beyond its borders, with devastating social and environmental impacts.’

The report, ‘Land Rights and the Rush for Land’, involved the collaboration of over 40 different organisations in the research process – the biggest study to date. It says rural livelihoods have been put in jeopardy by the land grabbing deals, with the promise of jobs not, as yet, materialising.

  Read Land Rights And The Rush For Land
 December 14, 2011  

Dramatic and unprecedented plumes of methane – a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide – have been seen bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean by scientists undertaking an extensive survey of the region.

The scale and volume of the methane release has astonished the head of the Russian research team who has been surveying the seabed of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf off northern Russia for nearly 20 years.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Igor Semiletov, of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that he has never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed.

"Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of metres in diameter. This is the first time that we've found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures, more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It's amazing," Dr Semiletov said. "I was most impressed by the sheer scale and high density of the plumes. Over a relatively small area we found more than 100, but over a wider area there should be thousands of them."

Scientists estimate that there are hundreds of millions of tonnes of methane gas locked away beneath the Arctic permafrost, which extends from the mainland into the seabed of the relatively shallow sea of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. One of the greatest fears is that with the disappearance of the Arctic sea-ice in summer, and rapidly rising temperatures across the entire region, which are already melting the Siberian permafrost, the trapped methane could be suddenly released into the atmosphere leading to rapid and severe climate change.

Dr Semiletov's team published a study in 2010 estimating that the methane emissions from this region were about eight million tonnes a year, but the latest expedition suggests this is a significant underestimate of the phenomenon.

In late summer, the Russian research vessel Academician Lavrentiev conducted an extensive survey of about 10,000 square miles of sea off the East Siberian coast. Scientists deployed four highly sensitive instruments, both seismic and acoustic, to monitor the "fountains" or plumes of methane bubbles rising to the sea surface from beneath the seabed.

"In a very small area, less than 10,000 square miles, we have counted more than 100 fountains, or torch-like structures, bubbling through the water column and injected directly into the atmosphere from the seabed," Dr Semiletov said. "We carried out checks at about 115 stationary points and discovered methane fields of a fantastic scale – I think on a scale not seen before. Some plumes were a kilometre or more wide and the emissions went directly into the atmosphere – the concentration was a hundred times higher than normal."

Dr Semiletov released his findings for the first time last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

  Read Retreat Of Arctic Sea Ice Releases Plumes Of Methane: Climate Feedback Catastrophe?
 December 13, 2011  
Canada's Exit From The Kyoto Protocol: Selling Dirtiest Oil At All Cost
by Dr. Peter Custers,Countercurrents.org

It looks like a proxy war being fought on two fronts. On December 7 last, Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent stunned the audience of the World Climate Summit convened in Durban, South Africa. Even as the UN’s General secretary was making strenuous efforts to save the Kyoto Protocol, Kent publicly called on the international community to turn the page on the Protocol which he termed outdated. Any binding agreement, restricting Canada’s scope to expand its CO2 emissions, is seen as unacceptable. Hardly a week before, Kent’s colleague, the Canadian Minister for Natural Resources Joe Oliver, had made an equally startling public statement, against clauses of the European Union’s draft Directive on Fuel Quality. The draft Directive seeks to ensure that the overall carbon imprint of fossil fuels used in Europe be brought down by at least 6 percent before 2020, as compared to their imprint in 2010. Towards this objective, the Directive cites measurements for the emissions of greenhouse gases from different fuel sources, including conventional oil and oil extracted from tar sands. Thus, the European legislation reportedly estimates the negative value of conventional oil at 87,5 grams of CO2 equivalents per megajoule, whereas the polluting effect of tar sands oil is estimated to be 107 grams per megajoule, i.e. some 22 percent more. This, according to the Canadian Minister is unacceptable. Hence he called the EU Directive on Fuel Quality ‘unscientific’ and discriminatory’.

Oliver’s reaction to the Directive addressing fuel sources by name, itself indicates what´s at stake in Canada’s war of words. But what exactly are the merits of his case? First - the measurements on emission levels of conventional versus non-conventional oil are based on a peer reviewed study of academicians which the EU had commissioned in the beginning of this year. Hence, even at first view the Canadian Minister’s comment seems a bit off the mark. Further, researchers linked to environmental organizations in Europe point out that the measurements quoted are based on a well-to-wheel evaluation of emission levels. In fact, the key difference in emission effects occurs, when tar sands oil is extracted and brought from in-situ mines to the surface. For it is at this point that specially large quantities of energy are required to get mining results. If for instance a ´well-to-tank´ comparison of emission levels be relied on, - the outcome is far more unfavorable to tar sands oil. For emission levels then are almost 2.5 times higher! Moreover and most ominously, Oliver’s statement completely bypasses investigations which have been carried out by Canada´s own government. Research carried out under Canada’s Environment Ministry has also brought out that oil sands mining and extraction, in particular the in-situ mining that takes the lion’s share, is far more greenhouse gas- intensive than is conventional oil.

To gauge the actual meaning of the pronunciations by Canada’s Ministers we need to travel to the Northern part of that country’s province of Alberta. Here, in a area 140 thousand square kilometers in size largely covered by beautiful lakes and forests, deposits of tar sands oil are located below the earth´s surface which are truly gigantic in size. A safe estimate of recoverable reserves, cited widely, puts the total at 173 Billion barrels, or 85 percent of the world’s entire deposits of tar sands oil, also known as ´bitumen´. Many of the worlds’ leading oil corporations have already swarmed down on Alberta to invest in extraction here, and pressures to expand licensing are huge. One existing mine operated by a corporate consortium called Syncrude, for instance, is termed the very largest mine of any type in the world. A prominent ‘player’ is the British-Dutch Corporation Shell. According to 2008 figures, the company then produced 155 thousand barrels of tar sands oil per day in Alberta province, had already invested tens of Billions of Dollars in expansion of bitumen extraction and refining, and intended to raise its production level to five times the then level, i.e. to 770 thousand barrels per day! The French corporation Total, China’s state-controlled firms, and the US’s Chevron and ConocoPhillips too belong to the list of majors having invested in Alberta. Hence, it is easy to understand on whose behalf Canada’s government is waging its proxy wars.

Further, - the pressure which the oil corporations are exerting on and via the Canadian government, also needs to be seen in the light of ‘peak oil’, the fact that the world’s production of conventional crude a few years back has reached an all-time peak. Recent speculation has in particular focused on Saudi Arabia, which country as well known, for decades has been the world’s leading producer and exporter of crude oil. On an occasion such as the US’s Gulf war staged in 1991 Saudi Arabia could easily operate as a ‘swing- producer’ for the West, filling up supply gaps caused by the war by using its reserve production capacity. Yet reports indicate that Saudi Arabia has recently halted a 100 Billion Dollar production expansion plan; that the country has not been able to increase its production capacity for many years; and that its oil exports have started declining. Hence, not only has global oil production five years ago reached an all-time peak, - the world’s prime exporter of conventional oil has started on its post-peak downward trend. This, of course, only increases the likelihood that oil prices will remain at the high, 90 to 115 Dollar per barrel level at which they have been hovering off late. And it makes the option of investments in tar sands oil which are costly to extract, all the more attractive for the oil corporations – whatever be the consequences for the world’s climate.

Hence, the startling pronunciations by Canadian Ministers against the Kyoto Protocol and against the EU Directive on fuel quality are explainable, - no matter how unforgiveable they be. Leading international institutions, such as the International Energy Agency (I.E.A.) and the United Nation´s Environmental Program (UNEP), on the eve of the Durban Summit warned that, as matters stand now, the world´s climate on average may not just go upward by more than 2 degree Celsius, - we risk saddling future generations with a climate that is as much as 6 degree warmer than ours. If the world allows the oil corporations to expand tar sands oil extraction instead of winding down their dangerous operations in Alberta, - Canada will surely do the opposite from what it was committed to under Kyoto, and will contribute only more to the violence we are already perpetrating on future generations of humanity. It is not easy to differentiate or ´discriminate´ between what´s just and unjust when corporate profits at stake. Yet vulnerable countries of the Global South have no other option than to join the choir of Canadian indigenous people and environmentalists who warn that any extraction of tar sands oil is off limits, i.e. should be stopped.

Dr. Peter Custers

Leiden, the Netherlands, November 12, 2011



  Read Canada's Exit From The Kyoto Protocol: Selling Dirtiest Oil At All Cost
 Decmber 2, 2011  

We live in a fragmented landscape. This would matter a lot less if human populations were sparse and ecosystems across the globe were in a healthy state. However, the exact converse is the case today: human numbers have exceeded seven billion with the fastest rates of growth in developing and often already environmentally-stressed countries, and the UN’s authoritative Millennium Ecosystem Assessment provides solid evidence that virtually all major habitat types across the planet are substantially degraded with alarming implications for their continued capacity to support human well-being into the long-term future.

The causes of this fragmentation of landscapes, watersheds and seas are multiple. However, many, if not all, stem from the parochial way in which we have made decisions in the past. This parochialism extends beyond mere geographical localism, blind to wider-scale ramifications including for example localised flood defences exacerbating flooding elsewhere in inherently connected catchments or changing uses of land affecting water resources downstream.

We have also been decidedly parochial in terms of our limited consideration of timescales, of cross-disciplinary implications and, critically, the equity issues that arise from decisions founded on hegemony. As we know, decisions across many parts of the world have generally been taken favouring the interests of a few politically- and economically-influential stakeholders. The consequences of such privilege-based landscape management and development decisions, whether they wilfully discount or else are merely blind to the interests of broader constituencies of stakeholders, has implications for excluded communities that are at best uncertain and more often profoundly adverse. Practical examples range from the national level where policies favouring an imperial power or other ruling elite can result in hardships for other people living more directly natural resource-dependent lifestyles, where subsidies favour landowners but marginalise those dependent upon land over which they have no title, or in development schemes such as major dams and water diversion projects that tend to favour richer industrial sectors and urban centres often to the substantial detriment of those reliant on the diversity of natural processes performed by river systems. As a general rule, it is the powerless majority that loses out under such arrangements, running against fundamental democratic principles.

“We can change and indeed…have a long tradition of societal transformation once challenges become clear.”

The pre-twentieth century history of many European countries and the nations that fell under their imperial control repeatedly played out this story of governance primarily serving the interests of governing classes. It is also interesting that many of the uprisings that led to the independence former overseas colonies, quieter revolutions, regime changes and major restitution cases elsewhere, arose from a direct revolt against the annexation of vital resources. Examples range from salt protests in India to the redistribution of land and other rights in Zimbabwe and South Africa and to First Nations claims over land and for historic damages in the USA and Canada. The saga is also played out at a global as well as national scale.

It is not too controversial to reflect that political and industrial decision-making frameworks, and the instincts of many who ascend the ‘greasy pole’ to such strata of decision-making, operate at far remove from fully democratic ideals even in the more developed economies of the modern world. And it is also clear that the unintended consequences of developed-world resource exploitation has substantial, often devastating, implications for the vitality of natural resources at a global scale and for the livelihoods of the many people who share and depend upon them. Our historic path of development has been largely blind to, or perhaps wilfully myopic about, its ‘footprint’ on the biosphere, those who share it and the longer-term implications for all. The problem arises from too narrow a world view about technologies and demographics with world-wide reach.

Hardin’s well-known parable of ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’ is often cited as an inevitable outcome of the exploitation of common resources wherein, without private or corporate ownership and centralised governance, the rewards from private overexploitation but the sharing of ‘costs’ by all tend to result in the progressive destruction of commonly-owned resources. And there are certainly many instances of aggressive and competitive exploitation leading to the degradation or even collapse of marine and fresh water fisheries, grazing lands, water resources and other important ‘commons’. At a macro scale, we are even overloading the ‘global common’ of the atmosphere with waste gases, discharged without cost into this massive shared natural resource, with serious implications for the stability of both climate and the protective ozone layer as well as local health issues. However, countervailing this trend of degrading commons are very many examples of effective and largely sustainable management of common resources from across the world and throughout history. These range from contemporary statutory agreements such as the (far from perfect) EU Common Fisheries Policy which at least nods towards gearing fishing efforts to the sustainable limits of fish stocks, through to tribal and local community protocols governing rights and seasons for grazing of common land that can be witnessed from equatorial savannahs to long-established commoners’ rights in some parts of Great Britain. The concept of governance framed by equitable sharing of finite common resources, be that at scales from international Government through to less formal village level codes and practices and even some religious protocols, is therefore long-established in human resource exploitation. Indeed, most of the many definitions of the word ‘government’ relate to the manner in which resources are allocated across society.

We live today in an era when a burgeoning global human population is colliding with seriously degraded and degrading ecosystem quality, making increasingly evident and urgent the need for the moderation of human activities towards the achievement of a sustainable balance. This necessarily includes ensuring equitable access to resources, essential for social stability at everything from local to global scales but also reflecting the inherently connected nature of today’s pressing problems and their solutions. For example, carbon-rich emissions from anywhere in the world affect all who share this planet’s climate system, and equally carbon sequestered in any one locality represents a potential benefit to everyone on Earth including future generations.

So, how do we go about recognising and adapting our behaviours to manage in a sustainable way the many ‘environmental commons’ upon which we rely but have consistently overlooked in decision-making at the very least since the outset of the Industrial Revolution?

Lessons from recent history can help us. An interesting trend played out in Great Britain throughout the course of the twentieth century, replicated in part or full from the USA to Australia and across much of Europe and with ripples spreading to less developed and developing nations. This takes the form of a transition from the familiar saying that ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’, exemplifying the uncontested rights of (almost exclusively male) land-owning classes at the outset of that century, towards a progressively more egalitarian model secured incrementally by legal controls on development, protection of sites of wildlife and heritage interest, constraints on activities likely to contaminate water and air resources, as well as sanctions on noise, nuisance and a range of other impositions on civil society. This trend is well documented through additions to the statute book, but also within the development of common law as well as in subsidies and changing societal norms of acceptability. Viewed through the lens of hindsight, the cumulative effects of all these small steps amount to a radical and rapid societal transformation. So what lies behind this trend, replicated across much of the developed world?

The major transition lies in the distinction between, on the one hand, the ownership of land and other key natural resources and, on the other, the many benefits that these ecosystems provide to people regardless of ownership. In essence, the enjoyment of these benefits from nature, ranging from rights to clean water, visually-pleasant landscapes, flood management and the continued existence of socially-valued species, has progressively supplanted an absolute right of landowners to do whatever they please with assets under their ownership. This revolution is brought about by a shift in focus from natural resources as possessions towards the functions that they perform and the many benefits that flow from this to all in society.

Today, we describe these many societal benefits from the natural world as ‘ecosystem services’. Furthermore, through major international studies such as the UN’s Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (reporting in 2004/5) and also The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB reporting in 2010), we are increasingly aware of the irreplaceable value of these services to humanity, and also the parlous prognosis of allowing their continued degradation. Science and the global reach of the media and monitoring of the environment have illuminated how ecosystems provide us with a wide range of often unappreciated services that support all facets of our wellbeing from basic biophysical survival and health through to economic resources and broader opportunities to enjoy a decent quality of life.

“This Revolution is brought about by a shift in focus from natural resources as possessions towards the functions that they perform and the many benefits that flow from this to all society.”

Our new awareness extends also to a deeper and rapidly-developing understanding of the true value of the natural world. Far from being a net expense and constraint incurred for largely altruistic reasons, and therefore an unwelcome drag on a narrowly-framed misrepresentation of ‘development’, the many services provided by nature have real and substantial economic importance. Some, such as the storage and cleansing of water or the production of food and fibre from fertile soils and marine waters, have values that are (albeit imperfectly) captured in market prices. Others, such as climate stability and the regulation of air quality and flood peaks, we tend to value only in terms of health and property damage and civil disruption when they are lost or overridden. Other services, such as pollination, the recycling of nutrients and recruitment of stocks of fish of commercial and/or recreational value, remain external to current markets yet are vital for the production of other services and the future resilience of both ecosystems and the economy that it ultimately supports. And how are the diverse yet elusive values of aesthetic, inspiring, educational and spiritually-uplifting places adequately captured in purely monetary terms? This full breadth of services from the natural world contributes to the wellbeing of humanity, and the omission of any one necessarily impoverishes us all. It is therefore essential that we find out how to capture them in economic terms, which may be expressed as monetary values but are not necessarily restricted to that narrow metric, to ensure that they become progressively and completely included and safeguarded in far-seeing governance and business decisions.

This reawakening to our interdependence with the ecosystems with which we evolved is long overdue. However, it is now progressively beginning to influence the policy landscape as well as some leading business practices. The publication of the UK Government’s White Paper The Natural Choice in June 2011 is a very welcome example of national leadership recognising the importance of what is known as the ‘ecosystem approach’, or in other words rethinking how we go about future development with ecosystems and their many services as core considerations. Other countries are following suit in one way or another. Some business sectors most affected by resource scarcity or volatility of costs have also taken a leadership role. One example is the forest products sector, spanning everything from timber to paper and printed products, players within which have instituted a range of certification schemes including the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to drive sustainable forestry practices securing both dependable supplies into the future but also greater equity, environmental responsibility and market differentiation. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is achieving similar outcomes for marine and some freshwater fisheries. Both the FSC and the MSC were instigated by partnerships including major businesses aware of their impact on these ecosystems and alert to the need for more sustainable practices as a matter of corporate responsibility but also the security of future supplies. Further examples of business-led natural resource stewardship include Organic and other food chain certification schemes, as well as source protection actions of some bottled spring water providers.

There are also many instances of water service companies from the UK to France, the USA, Australia and South Africa actively working on catchment management and providing incentives for farmers and other land users to withhold practices that degrade the quantity and/or quality of water draining from landscapes beyond water company ownership. Indeed, many markets have been created, known as ‘paying for ecosystem services’ (or PES), recirculating a proportion of charges to water service customers into cash incentives for upstream land managers to maintain or revert to more sustainable practices which, in turn deliver real economic benefit to downstream water-users. The PES principle is gaining traction across the world to tackle other ecosystem services too, including the sequestration of carbon in forests and other land to address the increasing climate change concerns of governments and businesses. There are also PES markets developing for the safeguarding of biodiversity and a range of other socially-valued ecosystem services.

We are living in a time of profound change, with science providing the insights to help us understand today’s pressing problems and to determine progressive adaptations of policy, economic incentives, business practices, land uses and other customs reflecting the deep interconnections between people and ecosystems. We are witnessing some exemplars of the rebalancing of the historic rights of private land-owners progressively towards the beneficiaries (or victims) of the services provided by those ecosystems. However, this progress has been patchy to date, often localised and addressing one of just a few services. Opportunities for more true ‘joining up’ are available to us; the UK’s White Paper The Natural Choice is an emphatic statement, the international Convention on Biological Diversity’s championing of ‘the ecosystem approach’ since 1992 is another. We are learning more about how an improved environment has benefits for both physical and mental health, contributing also to ‘hard’ real estate values and so regional regenerations. However, converting these bold intentions into practical reality in a troubled, economically-challenged world laced with vested interests and established rights and expectations is no mean feat. We are talking, in reality, about a revolution of heroic scale that supplants an industrial model of liquidation of natural resources for short-term private profit, replacing it with measured development that serves the best interests of all in society in the long term. Yet the consequences for failing to bridge this gap are as clear as they are precarious.

Today, we are better armed with science, economic analyses, statements of political commitment to social equity, a never more active voluntary sector and some progressive businesses leading the way. And, as we have seen in the transition throughout twentieth century Great Britain, we are capable of progressive change that cumulatively leads to profound social transformation without bloodshed. But what we do lack, profoundly so, is the luxury of time. Political timidity now, or the retrenchment of policy towards protectionism and anachronistic models of ‘growth’ that continue to ignore serious ramifications for our planetary life support systems, is no longer morally nor even economically acceptable. Given the transparency of the consequences were we to step back from courageous action to secure a decent future for all, future generations would have solid grounds from which to condemn us for the continued maximisation of self-benefit whilst leaving them and their inevitably impoverished lives to pay the bill.

But let us finish on a positive note. We can change and indeed, as evidenced by past mass mobilisation to confront wars and diseases, have a long tradition of societal transformation once challenges become clear. Our scientific understanding will never be perfect, for such is the nature of science and the quest for ever deeper knowledge, but we certainly know enough to define the magnitude of today’s urgent challenges, their causes and the kinds of remedies that might best secure or restore the vitality of ecosystems essential for our continued wellbeing. We have seen political will expressed and hope to see it now put into action across all policy areas. We are beginning to articulate many formerly overlooked services in economic terms, including both monetised and non-monetised quanta, which is focussing the attentions of businesses and governments at local and national scales. And we have a wide range of global conventions and international institutions, from the UN to the EU and the IPCC (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), to make the connections that are essential for grappling in an integrated manner with the global scale of the grave issues now confronting our species.

Commitment to practical action to secure a better future for all, supported by the ecosystems that we now know to be vital in providing for our continuing needs, is currently the only generation-defining ‘big decision’ of any import. We must not fail in this audacious endeavour.

Dr Mark Everard’s new book Common Ground: The Sharing of Land and Landscapes for Sustainability is published by Zed Books, London. You can find out more about Mark’s other books and work at http://www.markeverard.co.uk

  Read Common Ground: Securing A Future For All Who Share Our Planet’s Resources
 Decmber 2, 2011  

Twenty Years ago, at the Earth Summit, the world’s Governments signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to create a legally binding framework to address the challenge of climate change.

Today, the Green House Gas emissions that contribute to climate change have increased not reduced.

The Climate Treaty is weaker not stronger.

The failure to reduce green house gases is linked to following the flawed route of carbon trading and emissions trading as the main objective of the Kyoto Protocol to the Climate Convention.

The Kyoto Protocol allows industrialized countries to trade their allocation of carbon emissions among themselves (Article 17). It also allows an “investor” in an industrialized country (industry or government) to invest in an eligible carbon mitigation project in a developing country in exchange for Certified Emission Reduction Units that can be used to meet obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is referred to as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol gave 38 industrialized countries that are the worst historical polluter’s emissions rights. The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) rewarded 11,428 industrial installations with carbon dioxide emissions rights. Through emissions trading Larry Lohmann observes, “rights to the earth’s carbon cycling capacity are gravitating into the hands of those who have the most power to appropriate them and the most financial interest to do so”. That such schemes are more about privatizing the atmosphere than preventing climate change is made clear by the fact that the rights given away in the Kyoto Protocol were several times higher than the levels needed to prevent a 2°C rise in global temperatures.

Climate activists focused exclusively on getting the Kyoto Protocol implemented in the first phase. They thus, innocently, played along with the polluters.

By the time the Copenhagen Summit took place, the polluters were even better organised and subverted a legally building outcome by having President Obama push the Copenhagen Accord.

Copenhagen and Beyond : The agenda for Earth Democracy

The UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen was probably the largest gathering of citizens and governments [ever? To do with what?]. The numbers were huge because the issue is urgent. Climate chaos is already costing millions of lives and billions of dollars. The world had gathered to get legally binding cuts in emissions by the rich North in the post Kyoto phase i.e. after 2010. Science tells us that to keep temperature rise within 2°C, an 80% cut is needed by 2020. Without a legally binding treaty, emissions of greenhouse gases will not be cut, the polluters will continue to pollute, and life on earth will be increasingly threatened.

There were multiple contests at Copenhagen, reflecting multiple dimensions of climate wars. These contests included those:

>> Between the earth’s ecological limits and limitless growth (with its associated limitless pollution and limitless resource exploitation).

>> Between the need for legally binding commitments and the U.S led initiative to dismantle the international framework of legally binding obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

>> Between the economically powerful historical polluters of the North and economically weak southern countries who are the victims of climate change, with the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) negotiating with the South but finally signing the Copenhagen Accord with the U.S.

>> Between corporate rule based on greed and profits and military power, and Earth Democracy based on sustainability, justice and peace.

The hundreds of thousands of people who gathered at Klimaforum and on the streets of Copenhagen came as earth citizens. Danes and Africans, Americans and Latin Americans, Canadians and Indian were one in their care for the earth, for climate justice, for the rights of the poor and the vulnerable, and for the rights of future generations.

Never before has there been such a large presence of citizens at a UN Conference. Never before have climate negotiations seen such a large people’s participation. People came to Copenhagen because they are fully aware of the seriousness of the climate crisis, and deeply committed to taking action to change production and consumption patterns.

Ever since the Earth Summit in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro the U.S has been unwilling to be part of the UN framework of international law. It never signed the Kyoto Protocol. During his trip to China, President Obama with Prime Minster Rasmussen of Denmark had already announced that there would only be a political declaration in Copenhagen, not a legally binding outcome.

And this is exactly what the world got – a non-binding Copenhagen Accord, initially signed by five countries, the US and the Basic Four, and then supported by 26 others – with the rest of the 192 UN member states left out of the process. Most countries came to know that an “accord” had been reached when President Obama announced the accord to the U.S Press Corp. Most excluded countries refused to sign the accord. It remained an agreement between those countries that chose to declare their adherence. But it nevertheless showed the willingness of the US and others to disregard the needs of those in the global South. Arguing against the accord, Sudan’s Ambassador Lumumba Di Aping said the 2°C increase accepted in the document would result in a 3 to 5 degree rise in temperature in Africa. He saw the pact as a suicide pact to maintain the economic dominance of a few countries.

As Jeffrey Sachs noted in his article “Obama undermines UN Climate Process”:

“Obama’s decision to declare a phoney negotiating victory undermines the UN process by signaling that rich countries will do what they want and must no longer listen to the “pesky” concerns of many smaller and poorer countries – International Law, as complicated as it is, has been replaced by the insincere, inconsistent, and unconvincing word of a few powers, notably the U.S. America has insisted that others sign on to its terms – leaving the UN process hanging by a thread.”[1]

Even though the intention of the award was to dismantle the UN process, the reports of the two ad-hoc working groups on the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the long term cooperative action (AWG-LCA) which have been negotiating for four years and two years were adopted in the closing plenary.

The Copenhagen Accord will undoubtedly interfere with the official UNFCC process in future negotiations as it did in Copenhagen. Like the earth’s future, the future of the UN now hangs in balance. There has been repeated reference to the emergence of a new world order in Copenhagen. But this is the world order shaped by corporate globalization and the WTO, not by the UN Climate Treaty. It is a world order based on the outsourcing of pollution from the rich industrialized North to countries like China and India. It is a world order based on the rights of polluters.

Climate change today is global in cause and global in effect. Globalisation of the economy has outsourced energy-intensive production to countries like China, which is flooding the shelves of supermarkets with cheap products. The corporations of the North and the consumers of the North thus bear responsibility for the increased emissions in the countries of the South.

In fact, the rural poor in China and India are losing their land and livelihood to make way for an energy-intensive industrialization. To count them as polluters would be doubly criminal; corporations, not nations, are the appropriate basis for regulations atmospheric pollution in a globalised economy.

Twelve years after citizens movements and African governments shut down the WTO Ministerial in Seattle, the same contest between corporate power and citizens power, between limitless profits and growth and the limits of a fragile earth was played out in Copenhagen. The only difference was that in trade negotiations the commercial interests of corporation’s stands naked, whereas in climate negotiations corporate power hides behind corporate states. The Copenhagen Accord is in reality the accord of global corporations to continue to pollute globally by attempting to dismantling the UN Climate Treaty. It should be called the “Right to Pollute Accord”. It has no legally binding emission targets.

The COP 15 talks in Copenhagen and COP 16 in Cancun did not show much promise of an outcome that would reduce Green House Gas Emissions and avoid catastrophic climate change. And the deadlock is caused by an outmoded growth paradigm. There are series of false assumptions driving the negotiations, or rather, blocking them.

>> False assumption No. 1: GNP measures Quality of Life

>> False assumption No. 2: Growth in GNP and improvement in Quality of Life is based on increased use of Fossil Fuel

>> False assumption No. 3: Growth and Fossil Fuel use have no limits

>> False assumption No. 4: Polluters have no responsibility, only rights.

These false assumptions are stated ad nauseum by corporations, governments and the media. As stated in an article in the Times of India, “Emissions are directly related to the quality of life and industrial production, and hence economic growth also has a direct link with it”.

Assumption No. 1 is false because even as India’s GNP has risen, the number of hungry people in India have grown. In fact, India is now the capital of hunger. The growth in GNP has in fact undermined the quality of life of the poor in India. And it has concentrated wealth in the hands of a few 100 billionaires now control 25% of India’s economy.

Assumption No. 2 is false because there are alternatives to fossil fuels such as renewable energy. Further, reduction in fossil fuel use can actually improve the quality of food and quality of life. Industrial agriculture based on fossil fuels uses ten units of energy to produce one unit of food. Ecological systems based on internal inputs produce 2 to 3 units out of every unit of energy used. We can therefore produce more and better quality of food by reducing fossil fuel use.

Assumption No. 3 is false because the financial collapse of 2008 showed that growth is not limitless, and Peak Oil shows that fossil fuels will increasingly become more difficult to access and will become costlier.

Assumption No. 4 formed the basis of carbon trading and emissions trading under the Kyoto Protocol. This allowed polluters to get paid billions of dollars instead of making the polluter pay. Thus ArcelorMittal has walked away with £1 billion in the form of carbon credits. ArcelorMittal was given the right to emit 90m tonnes of CO2 each year from its plants in EU from 2008 to 2012, while the company only emitted 68m tonnes in 2008.

To protect the planet, to prevent climate catastrophe through continued pollution, we will have to continue to work beyond Copenhagen by building Earth Democracy based on principles of justice and sustainability. The struggle for climate justice and trade justice are one struggle, not two. The climate crisis is a result of an economic model based on fossil fuel energy and resource intensive production and consumption systems. The Copenhagen Accord was designed to extend the life of this obsolete model for living on earth. Earth Democracy can help us build another future for the human species – a future in which we recognize we are members of the earth family that protecting the earth and her living processes is part of our species identity and meaning. The polluters of the world united in Copenhagen to prevent a legally binding accord to cut emissions and prevent disastrous climate change. They extended the climate war. Now citizens of the earth must unite to pressurize governments and corporations to obey the laws of the Earth, the laws of Gaia and make climate peace. And for this we will have to be the change we want to see.

As I have written in Soil Not Oil, food is where we can begin. 40% emissions are produced by fossil fuel based chemical, globalised food and agriculture systems which are also pushing our farmers to suicide and destroying our health. 40% reduction in emissions can take place through biodiverse organic farming, which sequesters carbon while enriching our soils and our diets. The polluters ganged up in Copenhagen for a non-solution. We as Earth Citizens can organize where we are for real solutions.


[1] Economic Times, 25th December, 2009

Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist, and eco feminist. Shiva, currently based in Delhi, has authored more than 20 books and over 500 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. She was trained as a physicist and received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. She was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1993. She is the founder of Navdanya

  Read Climate Justice Requires A New Paradigm
 December 1, 2011  

01 December, 2011
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Massive amounts of greenhouse gases trapped below thawing permafrost will likely seep into the air over the next several decades, accelerating and amplifying global warming, scientists warn.

Those heat-trapping gases under the frozen Arctic ground may be a bigger factor in global warming than the cutting down of forests, and a scenario that climate scientists hadn't quite accounted for, according to a group of permafrost experts. The gases won't contribute as much as pollution from power plants, cars, trucks and planes, though.

This handout photo, taken in 2009, provided by University of Alaska, Fairbanks, shows research assistant professor Katey Walter Anthony igniting trapped methane from under the ice in a pond on the Fairbanks campus. (AP Photo/Todd Paris, University of Alaska, Fairbanks)

The permafrost scientists predict that over the next three decades a total of about 45 billion metric tons of carbon from methane and carbon dioxide will seep into the atmosphere when permafrost thaws during summers. That's about the same amount of heat-trapping gas the world spews during five years of burning coal, gas and other fossil fuels

And the picture is even more alarming for the end of the century. The scientists calculate that about than 300 billion metric tons of carbon will belch from the thawing Earth from now until 2100.

Adding in that gas means that warming would happen "20 to 30 percent faster than from fossil fuel emissions alone," said Edward Schuur of the University of Florida. "You are significantly speeding things up by releasing this carbon."

Usually the first few to several inches of permafrost thaw in the summer, but scientists are now looking at up to 10 feet of soft unfrozen ground because of warmer temperatures, he said. The gases come from decaying plants that have been stuck below frozen ground for millennia.

Schuur and 40 other scientists in the Permafrost Carbon Research Network met this summer and jointly wrote up their findings, which were published in the journal Nature on Wednesday.

"The survey provides an important warning that global climate warming is likely to be worse than expected," said Jay Zwally, a NASA polar scientist who wasn't part of the study. "Arctic permafrost has been like a wild card."

When the Nobel Prize-winning panel of climate scientists issued its last full report in 2007, it didn't even factor in trapped methane and carbon dioxide from beneath the permafrost. Diplomats are meeting this week in South Africa to find ways of curbing human-made climate change.

Schuur and others said increasing amounts of greenhouse gas are seeping out of permafrost each year. Some is methane, which is 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide in trapping heat.

In a recent video, University of Alaska Fairbanks professor Katey Walter Anthony, a study co-author, is shown setting leaking methane gas on fire with flames shooting far above her head.

"Places like that are all around," Anthony said in a phone interview. "We're tapping into old carbon that has been locked up in the ground for 30,000 to 40,000 years."

That triggers what Anthony and other scientists call a feedback cycle. The world warms, mostly because of human-made greenhouse gases. That thaws permafrost, releasing more natural greenhouse gas, augmenting the warming.

There are lots of unknowns and a large margin of error because this is a relatively new issue with limited data available, the scientists acknowledge.

"It's very much a seat-of-the-pants expert assessment," said Stanford University's Chris Field, who wasn't involved in the new report.

The World Meteorological Organization this week said the worst of the warming in 2011 was in the northern areas - where there is permafrost - and especially Russia. Since 1970, the Arctic has warmed at a rate twice as fast as the rest of the globe.

The thawing permafrost also causes trees to lean - scientists call them "drunken trees" - and roads to buckle. Study co-author F. Stuart Chapin III said when he first moved to Fairbanks the road from his house to the University of Alaska had to be resurfaced once a decade.

"Now it gets resurfaced every year due to thawing permafrost," Chapin said.

  Read Ticking Greenhouse Gas Time Bomb: Melting Permafrost
 November 26, 2011  
Democratic Struggle And The Struggle For The Environment Are Tied Together
by Fred Magdoff & Farooque Chowdhury, Countercurrents.org

Interview of Professor Fred Magdoff by Farooque Chowdhury on climate crisis

?People's democratic struggle and the struggle for the environment should be intimately tied together. If the environmental issues are brought front and center within the people's struggles it might even result in more support for change?, said Fred Magdoff , co-author of What Every Environmentalist Needs To Know about Capitalism, A Citizen's Guide to Capitalism and the Environment (with John Bellamy Foster. MR Press). I n an interview, first carried by MRzine , Fred Magdoff, professor emeritus of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont and adjunct professor of crop and soil science at Cornell University said: ?We should oppose all ?market oriented' so-called ?solutions'. They are not actually solutions, but rather just a new way to make money.? Prof. Magdoff writes frequently on political economy. His most recent books are The Great Financial Crisis (written with John Bellamy Foster, MR Press) and Agriculture and Food in Crisis (edited with Brian Tokar, MR Press).

In the backdrop of climate crisis threatening millions of people around the world and their struggle for democratic life, and the coming climate talks in Durban, CoP 17, Fred Magdoff ( FM ) was interviewed in late-November, 2011 on climate crisis by Farooque Chowdhury ( FC ), a Dhaka-based freelancer. Following is the text of the interview:

FC: We know CoP 17 is going to begin in Durban . What issues should the most affected/vulnerable countries raise in the conference?

FM: The most affected and vulnerable countries are clearly concerned about the lack of urgency felt by the wealthy countries. The crux of the issue is to get a commitment from the United States , Europe, and Japan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There is some indication that China is beginning to move in that direction, although its rapid pace of growth may outweigh efforts to reduce emissions. Although effects are already felt in the U.S. and Europe , the most difficult results of climate change have been felt in the poorer countries and among vulnerable people. The sea level rise along with warming is necessitating the transfer of Alaskan villages away from the coast. Seawater intrusion in Vietnam 's Mekong Delta region is causing salinity to develop in some of the rice soils, reducing their productivity. The melting of the Andean glaciers has already resulted in water shortages during the dry season.

FC: There is the debt crisis in Europe . The Great Financial Crisis has not retreated to its den. What will be the probable impact of these on the CoP 17?

FM: The theme that is commonly expressed by those wishing to do nothing is that a movement to restrict greenhouse gas emission would cost jobs. Fewer coal miners, less electricity generated (if coal powered electric generating plants were closed down), and so on. So they say that this is not the time to do something that would cost jobs. Of course, it is just an excuse. If a transition was planned and done well many jobs could be created. Also, what kind of society and economy do we have that would say that we need to continue polluting so people can work? This is not only an irrational economic/social/political system but also a dangerous one.

FC: In the backdrop of conflicting interests of major polluters, which is essentially conflict of interest of related capitals for their accumulation, what should be the negotiating strategy of most vulnerable countries in CoP 17?

FM: Far be it from me to give advice to the most vulnerable countries. They seem to be very well aware of the political problems. They have previously tried a number of innovative strategies and I am sure that they will continue to do so.

FC: Is there any change in the climate crisis negotiation scenario since the CoP 16 in Cancun ?

FM: The position of the wealthy countries has if anything solidified and hardened. There is an Guardian (UK) article of November 20, 2011 that is titled ? Rich nations 'give up' on new climate treaty until 2020? and has as its subtitle: ? Ahead of critical talks and despite pledge for new treaty by 2012, biggest economies privately admit likelihood of long delay.? This, of course, has been greeted by the most vulnerable with dismay and anger.

FC: As a participant, you presented a key note paper in the Mother Earth conference in Bolivia . There is the Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia . A ministry in the country looks after these rights. Have the deliberations and call of the conference, and the step by Bolivia made any impact in today's discourse on climate crisis?

FM: I think that Bolivia played a very important role following the failure of Copenhagen meetings in December of 2009. Just bringing so many people together in Cochabamba , Bolivia in April of 2010 was quite a feat. The discussion was very good as was the final declaration of the conference. One of small things that happened was the exposure to the large group of how the United States was using a money offer in order to get Bolivia and Ecuador to sign on to the Copenhagen statement drafted mainly by the wealthy countries. A cabinet minister from Ecuador said that she was authorized to tell the assembled people that Ecuador refused the money but was prepared to offer the United States the same amount of money if it would agree to sign the Kyoto protocols. Needless to say, there was plenty of laughter after that statement.

FC: Is there any conflict, but not articulated, between the dominating economic interests and people's interests in the position emerging economies have taken in climate crisis negotiation?

FM: YES! The main conflict is one of the interests of capitalism as a system and of its most powerful representatives. Since at the heart of the issue is the normal way capitalism functions ? it has to continue growing or else it's in crisis and has no other goal other than the accumulation of more and more capital. It would take a VERY enlightened leader of one of the leading rich capitalist countries to even attempt to take on the vested interests that are perfectly happy with the way things are.

FC: If ?yes?, how to resolve this contradiction or what program should be there from people's perspective in the emerging economies?

FM: This is certainly a very difficult question to answer. Perhaps an equivalent of ?direct action? activism is needed by the most vulnerable. Maybe disrupting the workings of the UN or other world organizations might get some positive results.

FC: A portion of capital is now-a-days active to make a climate deal as climate crisis threatens its domain. At the same time, to a section of capital, climate crisis appears a potential market. How to ensure people's interests in this market that is making climate crisis a commodity?

FM: I think that we should oppose all ?market oriented? so-called ?solutions.? They are not actually solutions, but rather just a new way to make money. They give the appearance of accomplishing something, although they are rife with fraud and do not solve the problem even if well carried out.

FC: What role can people's organizations play in respective countries/societies that can impact climate crisis negotiation? Should these only be confined in raising demands, organizing demonstrations, etc. or along with these, widen public space through mobilizing people in positive, locally practicable approaches?

FM: It is up to the creativity and energy of the people to develop new approaches to the negotiations. It is not clear to me how to negotiate when one group is not really interested. This is something like what is happening in the U.S. Congress where the Republican Party has absolutely no interest in negotiations, whatever the consequences.

FC: Can participatory climate assessment at local level be a tool, a better one than mere forming human chains, etc. for a shorter period, to make people actively aware and to actively mobilize them on the climate crisis issue?

FM: Using a participatory assessment to make people aware of their climate and the implications of changes that are occurring can certainly be useful. It is also important to start discussions and even planning at the local level for sea level rise, droughts, floods, hot weather, etc. ? whatever is most relevant to the local or regional situation. There are low-tech ways of lessening some of the detrimental effects.

FC: Will not climate crisis negatively impact people's democratic struggle?

FM: I think that the people' democratic struggle and the struggle for the environment should be intimately tied together. The climate crisis, as well as the other environmental crises that are occurring, should make it clearer to people that these are crises of the system itself. And the only meaningful way to deal with social as well as environmental problems is to organize a new society based on equality, democracy, and care for the environment. So the issue itself provides another argument against the capitalist system.

FC: Should the crisis be viewed as a potential threat to people's struggle for a decent, democratic life?

FM: The way I view it, while making things more difficult for people, climate changes provide another argument against the capitalist system and provides more urgency to seek systemic changes. If the environmental issues are brought front and center within the people's struggles it might even result in more support for change.

FC: Is not there the need to include climate demands in the program for democratic struggle, targeting the global and local climate criminal capitals that are snatching away atmospheric space from people?

FM: Absolutely. This must become a central part of the struggle. And I would broaden the issue to other types of environmental degradation ? chemical pollution of air, water, and food; overfishing by factory-size boats causing depletion of fish stocks; soil erosion and degradation; depletion of fresh water supplies; etc.

FC: Can organizing climate crime tribunals at respective levels be a forum for active mobilization and protest by climate-poor?

FM: Yes. I think that this is one of the ways that more attention can be focused on the issues and on the intransigence of the wealthy countries.

FC: Thank you, for the interview.

  Read Democratic Struggle And The Struggle For The Environment Are Tied Together
 November 26, 2011  

World produces enough food for the year 2050. The problem is access and distribution

With the world population crosses 7 billion, feeding the teeming population is becoming a major concern. At times of diminishing land resources, and in an era of climate change, ensuring food security is the biggest challenge.

All efforts are aimed at increasing food production. Somehow an impression has been created that the world needs to increase crop production manifold if it has to meet the food requirement for the year 2050. The global population would then be 9 billion. What is however deliberately being glossed over is that there is at present no shortage of food. It is not production, but access and distribution that need immediate attention.

At present, the total quantity of food that is produced globally is good enough to meet the daily needs of 11.5 billion people. If every individual were to get his daily food requirement as per the WHO norms, there would be abundant food supplies. In terms of calories, against the average per capita requirement of 2,300, what is available is a little more than 4,500 calories. In other words, the world is already producing more food than what would be required in 2050. So where is the need to panic?

Why then is the world faced with hunger? Simply put, one part of the world is eating more and the other is left to starve. Hunger has grown over the years because of gross food mismanagement. Let me explain. At the 1996 World Food Summit, political leaders had pledged to pull out half the world's hungry (at that time the figure was somewhere around 840 million) by the years 2015. In other words, by 2010, the world should have removed at least 300 million people from the hunger list.

Instead it has added another 85 million to raise the hunger tally to 925 million. In my understanding, this too is a gross understatement. The horrendous face of hunger is being kept deliberately hidden. But nevertheless, let’s again go back to the question we posed earlier: If there is no shortage of food than why the growing pangs of hunger?

Consider this. An average American consumes about 125 kg of meat, including 46 kg of poultry meat. While the Indians are still lagging behind, the Chinese are fast catching up with the American lifestyle. The Chinese consume about 70 kg of meat on average each year, inclusive of 8.7 kg of poultry meat. The Indian average is around 3.5 kg of meat, much of it (2.1 kg) coming from poultry. If you put all this together, the Chinese are the biggest meat eaters, and for obvious reasons - devouring close to 100 million tonnes every year. America is not far behind, consuming about 35 million tonnes of meat in a year.

When I said earlier that one part of the world is eating more, this is what I meant. Six times more grain is required to provide the proteins that are consumed by the meat-eaters. Changing the dietary habits therefore assumes importance. But still worse, Americans throw away as much as 30 percent of their food, worth $ 48.3 billion. Why only blame the Americans, walk into any marriage ceremony in India and you would be aghast to see the quantity of food that goes waste.

Food wastage has therefore become our right.

Considering FAO's projections of the number of people succumbing to hunger and malnutrition at around 24,000 a day, I had calculated that by the year 2015, the 20 years time limit that World Food Summit had decided to work on to pull out half the hungry, 172 million people would die of hunger. These people are succumbing to hunger because both at the household and at the national level, we have allowed food to go waste.

In America, for instance, hunger has broken a 14-year record and one in every ten Americans lives in hunger. In Europe, 40 million people are hungry, almost equivalent to the population of Spain. In India, nearly 320 million people live in hunger. The International Institute for Food Policy’s Global Hunger Index 2011 ranks India 67th among 81 countries. While India ranks lower than Rwanda, what is still more shocking is that Punjab – the food bowl – ranks below Sudan and Honduras in ensuring food security.

Is it so difficult to remove hunger? The answer is No.

A simple act of saving and sharing food is the best way to fight hunger. It can begin at the household level, at the community level and of course at the regional and national levels. If every household were to ensure that no food is wasted, and then organise the left over to be delivered to the poor and needy, much of the hunger that we see around can be taken care of. A small initiative in Rewari town in Haryana has galvanised the township into saving and sharing food. If it can happen in Rewari, it can happen in your neighbourhood too. Try it, and you will see you too can make a difference.

Devinder Sharma is a food and agriculture policy analyst. His writings focus on the links between biotechnology, intellectual property rights, food trade and poverty. His blog is Ground Reality

  Read Saving And Sharing Food
 November 22, 2011  

Earth's biggest mass extinction rolled over the planet like hell on wheels.

For the first time, paleontologists have pinned down exactly when and how fast the granddaddy of all mass extinctions took place, and their findings leave the finger of blame pointing squarely at a colossal and long-lived injection of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Sound familiar?

That ancient carbon dioxide came not from cars and factories, of course, but from massive volcanic eruptions, brush fires, and possibly even the combustion of coal seams ignited by hot lava.

The greenhouse gas increase, in turn, raised global temperatures and turned the oceans acidic and oxygen-deprived, among other trying consequences. Needless to say, life did not fare well. An oft-quoted estimate suggests that 90 percent of all marine life went extinct.

The new study, published this week in Science, puts that stark statistic into a fresh, rigorous perspective: At the peak of the crisis, right around 252.28 million years ago, and for at least 20,000 years, the planet was losing 3 percent of species every millennium.

“If we had continued losing at that rate for another 20,000 years, we wouldn’t be here to talk about it,” paleontologist Charles Henderson of the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, told Discovery News.

Henderson is among an international team of scientists, led by Shu-zhong Shen of the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology in China, who compiled an intensive calibration of this most extreme of all biological crises, known to scientists as the end-Permian extinction, which occurred millions of years before the cosmic collisions that may have paved the way for dinosaurs.

Asteroid Fingered for Dino Era Boom—Not Just Bust

For years the standard summary for the end-Permian extinction has been that 90 percent of life on earth was wiped out. But that number was just a statistical extrapolation. No study had ever considered more than a handful of samples at a time, Henderson explains.

This new study took into account the changes and disappearances of a total of 1,485 species, including shellfish, eel-like creatures called conodonts (see conondont teeth in the photo below) and various animals living on land. The team also took advantage of great improvements of dating techniques to determine absolute ages of the fossils.

A major conclusion of the study is that terrestrial and marine extinctions happened at the same time, a conclusion that has been controversial until recently.

The Annihilation Was Not Just in the Seas

Curiously, though, this new-and-improved analysis of the end-Permian extinction does not corroborate the oft-quoted 90 percent. “If you look at our species richness curve, it’s really only about a 60 percent extinction,” Henderson says.

No need to rewrite headlines, though. The end-Permian extinction is still the worse the planet has ever experienced—so far.

  Read Earth's Biggest Doomsday Event: Death By CO2
 November 21, 2011  
The Politics Of Gas Pipelines In Asia
by Abdus Sattar Ghazali, Countercurrents.org

On November 14, Pakistan and Turkmenistan signed an agreement to build the $7.6 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project under which Pakistan will get 1.3 billion cubic feet per day of gas. The agreement was signed during a visit by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan to Islamabad.

The trans-Afghanistan pipeline, first proposed in early 1990s, will transport Caspian Sea natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India.

Under the proposed project, the 1,680 kilometre-long gas pipeline, backed by the Asian Development Bank, will bring 3.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day (bcfd) from Turkmenistan’s gas fields to Multan and end at the northwestern Indian town of Fazilka. Under the agreement, Afghanistan’s share will be 500 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd), Pakistan’s share will be 1,325 mmcfd and India’s 1,325 mmcfd.

The original project started on 15 March 1995 when an inaugural memorandum of understanding between the governments of Turkmenistan and Pakistan for a pipeline project was signed. This project was promoted by Argentinian company Bridas Corporation.

The U.S. company Unocal, in conjunction with the Saudi oil company Delta, promoted alternative project without Bridas' involvement. In 1995, Unocal signed an $8 billion deal with Turkmenistan to construct two pipelines (one for oil, one for gas), as part of a larger plan for two pipelines intended to transport oil and gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and into Pakistan. In August 1996, the Central Asia Gas Pipeline, Ltd. (CentGas) consortium for construction of a pipeline, led by Unocal, was formed.

Since the pipeline was to pass through Afghanistan, it was necessary to work with the Taliban. In January 1998, the Taliban regime, selected CentGas over Argentinian competitor Bridas Corporation, and signed an agreement that allowed the proposed project to proceed.

In 1997, representatives of the Taliban are invited to the Texas headquarters of Unocal to negotiate their support for the pipeline. Future President George W. Bush is Governor of Texas at the time. The Taliban appear to agree to a $2 billion pipeline deal, but will do the deal only if the US officially recognizes the Taliban regime. The Taliban meet with US officials. According to the Daily Telegraph, “the US government, which in the past has branded the Taliban’s policies against women and children ‘despicable,’ appears anxious to please the fundamentalists to clinch the lucrative pipeline contract.”

It was reported that the Taliban met with Enron officials while in Texas. Enron, headquartered in Texas, had a large financial interest in the pipeline at the time.

On April 17, 1998, Bill Richardson, the US Ambassador to the UN, meets Taliban officials in Kabul. (All such meetings were illegal, because the US still officially recognizes the government the Taliban ousted as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan.) US officials at the time call the oil and gas pipeline project a “fabulous opportunity” and are especially motivated by the “prospect of circumventing Iran, which offers another route for the pipeline.” [Boston Globe, 9/20/2001]

On December 5, 1998, Unocal announces it is withdrawing from the CentGas pipeline consortium, and closing three of its four offices in Central Asia. President Clinton refuses to extend diplomatic recognition to the Taliban, making business there legally problematic.

Interestingly, the 9/11 Commission later concludes that some State Department diplomats are willing to “give the Taliban a chance” because it might be able to bring stability to Afghanistan, which would allow a Unocal oil pipeline to be built through the country. [9/11 Commission, 3/24/2004]

The TAP project was revived less than one month after the 9/11 attacks when US Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin meets (Oct 9, 2001) with the Pakistani oil minister to brief on the gas pipeline project from Turkmenistan, across Afghanistan, to Pakistan, which appears to be revived “in view of recent geopolitical developments.” [Frontier Post – 10/10/2011]

On May 30, 2002, Afghanistan’s interim leader, Hamid Karzai (who formerly worked for Unocal), Turkmenistan’s President Niyazov, and Pakistani President General Musharraf meet in Islamabad to sign a memorandum of understanding on the trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline project.

TAP is consistent with the US declared policy of linking Central and South Asia and diversifying export routes for Turkmen gas.

The proposed 1,680 kilometres pipeline could carry one trillion cubic metres of Turkmen gas over a 30-year period, according to Turkmen Oil and Gas Minister Bayramgeldy Nedirov. But the route, particularly the 735 kilometres Afghan leg, presents significant security challenges.

In January 2009, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, then NATO Secretary General, said, “Protecting pipelines is first and foremost a national responsibility. And it should stay like that. NATO is not in the business of protecting pipelines. But when there's a crisis, or if a certain nation asks for assistance, NATO could, I think, be instrumental in protecting pipelines on land.” These comments suggest that NATO troops could be called upon to assist Afghanistan in protecting the pipeline. Since pipelines last 50 years or more, this could auger a very long commitment in Afghanistan. [Journal of Energy Security, March 23, 2010]

Interestingly, in February 2002 the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv pointed out: “If one looks at the map of the big American bases created [in the Afghan war], one is struck by the fact that they are completely identical to the route of the projected oil pipeline to the Indian Ocean.” [Chicago Tribune, 3/18/2002]

Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline

The trans-Afghanistan pipeline (TAPI) agreement was signed at a time when Washington is pressing Islamabad to abandon the pipeline project to supply Iranian gas to Pakistan.

Washington has never tried to hide its opposition to Pakistan`s plans for importing gas from Iran and has always pressured it to seek alternate options. The purpose has been to isolate Tehran in the region over its nuclear program. Apparently, it was under US pressure that India decided to opt out of the project in 2009. In return, New Delhi successfully secured US cooperation for its civil nuclear power projects in 2008.

In January 2010, the United States asked Pakistan to abandon the pipeline project. If canceling the project, Pakistan would receive assistance from the United States for construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal and importing electricity from Tajikistan through Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor. [Times of India – Sept 7, 2009]

On April 12, 2010, Iran announced that it has completed construction of 1,000 kilometers of the pipeline out of the 1,100 kilometers portion on Iranian soil. On this Iranian ambassador to Pakistan said that "Iran has done her job and it now depends on Pakistan". The construction of the pipeline on Iranian side is on pace to be completed by 2011. On November 6, 2010, Iran announced that in view of energy crisis in Pakistan, Iran has already expedited the work on the Iranian part of the pipeline and the construction of the project is in its final stages on the Iranian side adding that "the ball is in Pakistan’s court now and it depends on them how long they take to complete work on the project". [Wikipedia]

According to newspaper reports on 17 June 2011, Iran has given up talks with India on the pipeline and is pursuing the pipeline bilaterally with Pakistan. In July 2011, Pakistani minister for petroleum and natural resources announced that Iran has finished its work on laying the pipeline and Pakistan would start the work for building the pipeline within the next six months.

In November 2010, a Wikileaks cable disclosed that American diplomats had said it was "unlikely that Iran would build a gas pipeline to Pakistan." Washington opposes the deal because of the economic benefits for Tehran, which has been subject to the United States and international community's sanctions against Iran. The diplomatic cable noted that the planned pipeline would not move forward because, "the Pakistanis don't have the money to pay for either the pipeline, or the gas." [Wikipedia]

The 2,775-kilometre (1,724 mi) pipeline will be supplied from the South Pars field. It will start from Asalouyeh and stretch over 1,100 kilometres (680 mi) through Iran. In Pakistan, it will pass through Baluchistan and Sindh. In Khuzdar, a branch would spur-off to Karachi, while the main pipeline will continue towards Multan. From Multan, the pipeline may be expanded to India.

Commenting on the TAPI agreement, Pakistan’s leading newspaper The Nation said: “Pakistan seems to have succumbed to US pressure and sacrificed its national interest in pursuit of the American desire to bypass Iran.”

The paper said, apart from the relative merits of the projects, one of the biggest services the present government can perform for the USA is to give the impression that the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline is in any way a substitute for the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline. The Nation emphasized that Pakistan needs both the projects if it is to meet the gas shortages that have already hit the country in the past, and which will further worsen, reaching new heights this winter.

Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Executive Editor of the online magazine American Muslim Perspective: www.amperspective.com email: asghazali2011 (@) gmail.com

  Read The Politics Of Gas Pipelines In Asia
 December 13, 2011  

Think "climate change" and the companies that come to mind are oil giants like Exxon Mobil or BP - not JP Morgan or Bank of America.

But a new study by Urgewald, a German environmental organization, establishes a strong link between large multinational banks and the coal industry, one of the biggest contributors to climate change.

The study (.pdf), "Bankrolling Climate Change," identifies the top 20 "climate killer" banks by the amount of financial support they give the coal industry. Number one is JP Morgan Chase, followed by Citi and Bank of America. That's despite lofty rhetoric from these companies about their work to address climate change.

To learn more about the banks' role in climate change, I spoke with Heffa Schuecking, the director of Urgewald and the principal author of the new study. She recently returned from a week at the U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa.

What was the goal of embarking on this study?

Increasingly over the past few years, banks have begun to do a lot of climate speak. I'm from Germany, and Deutsche Bank calls itself "climate ambassador." Many U.S. companies also talk about how they are going carbon neutral in their own operations and how they want to help the world transition to a low-carbon economy. So we thought we'd take a real look into the portfolios of the banks to see if their words and their deeds matched up to each other.

The other part of it is that in 2010 we had the highest CO2 emissions since the beginning of industrialization. And there's a question of who is financing these emissions? Who is paying for the plants that are causing these emissions?

How important are banks in getting a coal plant built or a coal mine up and running?

Building a 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant - a typical size - is going to cost over $2 billion. That's not money that utilities usually have just lying around in the corner. Bank financing pays an important role, either through direct lending or banks organizing capital for utilities to pursue these projects. The two most important roles of banks are as providers of corporate loans for the coal industry and as providers of investment banking services, meaning helping the company to sell shares or bonds. In terms of our calculations of the amounts of money in the "climate killer bank" rankings, we didn't differentiate between these roles. We figured it's secondary whether a bank directly gives its own money or plays an organizing role: This is support the banks give to the coal industry.

What sort of sums of money are we talking about here?

We found $308 billion in coal financing since 2005, the year the Kyoto Protocol came into force. That includes our analysis of the 40 largest utilities operating coal-fired power plants and the 30 largest companies doing coal mining, which amounts to roughly half of the industry. We also found that since 2005, the annual amount of financing provided by banks to the coal industry has doubled. That's really worrying.

You found that the three biggest offenders are JP Morgan, Citi and Bank of America. What sort of activities are these and other banks specifically financing?

One of the worst companies in the mining sector is Coal India. It is the largest coal mining company in the world in terms of production, and almost every problem connected with the industry you find in this company. That includes use of child laborers (which is against the law in India) and huge environmental problems, including underground coal fires in a heavily populated area. People are constantly confronted with carbon monoxide and huge volumes of toxic fumes.

At the same time, you have Bank of America, Citi, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank who organized an IPO for Coal India. They helped craft the prospectus for the IPO, which in 500 pages doesn't mention the word "environment" or "climate change."

What sort of rhetoric are we hearing from these banks about the environment?

Well, JP Morgan claims they are helping the world transition to a low-carbon economy. Citi calls itself on its website the most innovative bank in climate change. Bank of America calls global climate change the most formidable challenge we are facing.

Do you have proposals for how you want the banks to change their behavior?

Well, first, if you look at the overall picture, even the World Bank says that if all the new coal-fired power plants in the pipeline are built over the next 25 years, then we're going to emit more CO2 than everything that has been emitted up till now since the beginning of industrialization. It's insane. We have to quit coal. It's much more difficult to quit oil because that involves transforming the transport system - we're going to need longer for that. But substituting coal-fired power plants is a much easier thing.

As for banks, they need to start managing their portfolios and setting emissions reduction targets for their portfolios. In discussing the study with banks in Germany, for example, we found bankers actually have no idea what's in their portfolios. It's like the subprime crisis in that way - they don't know. They don't measure it. They don't count it. They don't keep track of it. There is one positive example in the U.S., which is the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). It's a public financial institution that in 2008 made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of their portfolio by 50 percent within 15 years. And they've begun implementing that plan. 

  Read The 20 Worst Wall Street Banks Funding Our Filthiest Polluters
 December 11, 2011  

Scientists and environmental groups warned that urgent action was still needed to rescue the world from climate change, despite the deal sealed on Sunday morning in Durban after two weeks of talks.

Andy Atkins, executive director of Friends of the Earth, said: "This empty shell of a plan leaves the planet hurtling towards catastrophic climate change. If Durban is to be a historic stepping stone towards success the world must urgently agree ambitious targets to slash emissions." Although governments managed to find a last-minute deal that should lead to the first legally binding global agreement on climate change covering developed and developing countries, they did not discuss whether their pledges to cut emissions would prevent dangerous levels of global warming.

Under the Durban agreement, governments will now spend four years negotiating how far and how fast each country should cut carbon emissions.

Atkins said the science was clear – the current emissions targets set by developed and developing countries were inadequate, and if they were not strengthened, the poorest would be hurt most. "Millions of the poorest people around the globe are already facing the impacts of climate change – countries like the US who have done most to create this crisis must now take the lead in tackling it," he said.

Other environmental groups and scientists agreed.

"What is positive in Durban is that governments have reopened the door to a legally binding global agreement involving the world's major emitters, a door which many thought had been shut at the Copenhagen conference in 2009," said Bill Hare, director at Climate Action Tracker.

"What remains to be done is to take more ambitious actions to reduce emissions, and until this is done we are still headed to over 3C warming. There are still no new pledges on the table and the process agreed in Durban towards raising the ambition and increasing emission reductions is uncertain in its outcome."

Bob Ward of the Grantham Institute at the London School of Economics said the current pledges from countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions were not enough to hold global temperatures to 2C above pre-industrial levels, beyond which scientists say climate change becomes catastrophic and irreversible.

He said that, according to the United Nations environment programme, countries' current emissions pledges would collectively mean that global annual emissions of greenhouse gases would be about 50bn tonnes in 2020, similar to the total in 2011.

But to have a 50-50 chance of avoiding global warming over 2C, scientists estimate that global annual emissions would need to fall to about 44bn tonnes in 2020, to less than 35bn tonnes in 2030 and less than 20bn tonnes in 2050.

Ward said: "[That means the current] pledges for emissions reductions are not consistent with the two degrees target, although they would, if delivered, move us halfway between 'business as usual' and the path on which we would need to be in 2020."

Several participants in the talks said current pledges had been covered at last year's conference in Cancún where countries confirmed their emissions targets. Instead, this year was about diplomacy: chiefly, the issue of whether countries should be bound to cut emissions through an international treaty, or should make voluntary pledges. The question has dogged the talks for over a decade.

At the climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009, nations failed to write a treaty though they did sign up to a lesser form of agreement, in which the world's biggest emitters – developed and developing – set out targets to curb their carbon by 2020.

However, the targets that have been set will be subject to review from 2013-15 to decide whether they should be toughened, especially in the light of a scientific report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change due out in 2014. The climate change secretary, Chris Huhne, said: "The direction of travel is clear – the targets can only be strengthened. The scientific evidence is growing clearer."

For some, including the US and China, this "pledge and review" process of voluntary pledges offers an adequate way of ensuring carbon is reduced globally. But for others, including the EU and many developing countries, it is inferior to a legally binding international treaty, because the voluntary process is too prone to politicians reneging on their commitments.

Brazil's chief negotiator, ambassador Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, said: "This is a landmark achievement that creates real possibilities for scaling up the fight against climate change. It's an excellent text that clearly sets points of action, points of commitment, and timetables, and it is legally-binding, so it is extremely effective, potentially, for responding to the need of climate change. We got what we came to Durban to get.''

In return for the Durban agreement, the EU conceded to developing country demands to continue the Kyoto protocol after its current emission-cutting targets expire next year.

The EU is the only major developed country bloc to agree to a continuation. Japan, Canada and Russia have all refused, and the US has never ratified the pact.

  Read Deal Reached in Durban But Scientists Say it Won't Avert Catastrophic Climate Change
 November 30, 2011  

 A whopping 90 percent of all disaster displacement within countries in 2010 was caused by climate- related disasters, the international body Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) reported. That year, 38.3 million women, men and children were forced to move, mainly by floods and storms. 

Out of 16 countries with the highest risk of being severely affected by environmental changes in the next 30 years, ten are in Asia, according to the 2010 Climate Change Vulnerability Index, released by global risks advisory firm Maplecroft. 

In Southeast Asia alone, extreme weather events like rising sea levels and storm surges "could cause economic losses of 230 billion dollars, or equivalent of 6.7 percent of GDP, each year, endangering the livelihoods of millions of people", as Bart Édes, director of the Poverty Reduction, Gender and Social Development Division of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), told IPS. 

Climate change adaptation costs for Asia and the Pacific are estimated in the order of 40 billion dollars annually, the expert said. 

Sea level rise particularly affects the poorest of the poor living in coastal areas 10 metres above sea level and in small island states. 

Already facing the consequences of a changing environment, some Pacific Islands, including Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, are also considered among the least developed countries, meaning they possess limited resources to implement measures to effectively support those in need. 

"About 100 million people would be affected by sea level rise of one metre. There are more than 30 small island developing states that would be impacted by sea level rise as well as the populations of large delta systems in Egypt, Bangladesh, Niger and Vietnam," said Mary-Elena Carr, associate director of the Columbia Climate Centre in New York. 

In the early 21st century, frequent flooding in most small island states is likely to be a reality, added Carr. 

Off the radar 

A clear understanding of the situation of people's livelihoods in the Pacific region remains elusive so far due to a lack of data. Although the Islands are spread over a vast geographical area, their population and combined area make them an otherwise comparatively small region that tends to be overlooked in international discussions on climate change. 

The infrastructure and housing of the poor cannot withstand cyclones, floods, landslides or king tides, all of which have been exacerbated by accelerated sea level rise. 

In the region, climate change-related migration follows inward paths, meaning people flee from outer to main islands, as they typically lack the means to move abroad. 

Protection issues can arise from this situation. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are not protected by any internationally binding legal framework. They frequently face discrimination as well as increased vulnerability to exploitation and violence. 

IDPs are often deprived of rights to social services, livelihoods, housing and property. 

"Specific strategies need to be developed to ensure that disaster-displaced find durable solutions, including in situations where return is not an option," explained Kate Halff, head of IDMC, in an interview with IPS. 

Such methods include displacement monitoring systems to track population movements and ensure timely and adequate responses as well as joint approaches by disaster risk reduction, development and humanitarian actors. 

The struggle to take action 

To highlight the key characteristics and challenges of displacement, "Protecting the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons in Natural Disasters – Challenges in the Pacific", a studyrecently published by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), compared cases and responses in Samoa, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. 

Indicating major flaws in governmental responses to the needs of IDPs, the study determined that planning and prevention measures to assist the displaced were inadequate. 

Political decision-makers have not taken into account complaints from the displaced or even acknowledged them as "internally displaced". They refer to them instead as "affected" or "homeless", the UN report showed. 

"A lot of change is happening within a country because of climate change. Lots of decisions need to be made about where, how and who to resettle,"  Matilda Bogner, regional OHCHR representative for the Pacific, told IPS. 

Additionally, hierarchical traditional systems in some countries exclude certain groups from decision- making. "Women are fairly systematically excluded from decision-making within most countries of the Pacific," Bogner said. 

Resettlement efforts are further complicated by land issues on the Islands, where the majority of territory is commonly owned by different communities and individuals and not available for public use. 

Since regional governments depend heavily on international development assistance, "donor governments in the region also have a particular responsibility to promote and protect human rights within the Pacific," the OHCHR study emphasised. 

Understanding environmental migration in Asia and the Pacific is of paramount importance in adopting policies and programmes capable of coping with future migration flows in the region, stated an ADB paper in September. 

As the number of people displaced from their homes by both sudden and slow-onset climatic events will increases, multiple aspects of migration policies - including financial - will have to fall into place to create solutions beneficial to both guest and host communities. 

*This is the second in a three-part series on the impacts of climate change in the Pacific region.

Rousbeh Legatis is a political scientist and a journalist specializing in media, peacebuilding and media assistance.
  Read More and More Refugees Flee the Devastation of Climate Change
 November 27, 2011  

The following article first appeared on the Web site of the Nation. For more great content from the Nation, sign up for its email newsletters. 

There is a question from a gentleman in the fourth row.

He introduces himself as Richard Rothschild. He tells the crowd that he ran for county commissioner in Maryland’s Carroll County because he had come to the conclusion that policies to combat global warming were actually “an attack on middle-class American capitalism.” His question for the panelists, gathered in a Washington, DC, Marriott Hotel in late June, is this: “To what extent is this entire movement simply a green Trojan horse, whose belly is full with red Marxist socioeconomic doctrine?”

Here at the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, the premier gathering for those dedicated to denying the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet, this qualifies as a rhetorical question. Like asking a meeting of German central bankers if Greeks are untrustworthy. Still, the panelists aren’t going to pass up an opportunity to tell the questioner just how right he is.

Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who specializes in harassing climate scientists with nuisance lawsuits and Freedom of Information fishing expeditions, angles the table mic over to his mouth. “You can believe this is about the climate,” he says darkly, “and many people do, but it’s not a reasonable belief.” Horner, whose prematurely silver hair makes him look like a right-wing Anderson Cooper, likes to invoke Saul Alinsky: “The issue isn’t the issue.” The issue, apparently, is that “no free society would do to itself what this agenda requires…. The first step to that is to remove these nagging freedoms that keep getting in the way.”

Claiming that climate change is a plot to steal American freedom is rather tame by Heartland standards. Over the course of this two-day conference, I will learn that Obama’s campaign promise to support locally owned biofuels refineries was really about “green communitarianism,” akin to the “Maoist” scheme to put “a pig iron furnace in everybody’s backyard” (the Cato Institute’s Patrick Michaels). That climate change is “a stalking horse for National Socialism” (former Republican senator and retired astronaut Harrison Schmitt). And that environmentalists are like Aztec priests, sacrificing countless people to appease the gods and change the weather (Marc Morano, editor of the denialists’ go-to website, ClimateDepot.com).

Most of all, however, I will hear versions of the opinion expressed by the county commissioner in the fourth row: that climate change is a Trojan horse designed to abolish capitalism and replace it with some kind of eco-socialism. As conference speaker Larry Bell succinctly puts it in his new book Climate of Corruption, climate change “has little to do with the state of the environment and much to do with shackling capitalism and transforming the American way of life in the interests of global wealth redistribution.”

Yes, sure, there is a pretense that the delegates’ rejection of climate science is rooted in serious disagreement about the data. And the organizers go to some lengths to mimic credible scientific conferences, calling the gathering “Restoring the Scientific Method” and even adopting the organizational acronym ICCC, a mere one letter off from the world’s leading authority on climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But the scientific theories presented here are old and long discredited. And no attempt is made to explain why each speaker seems to contradict the next. (Is there no warming, or is there warming but it’s not a problem? And if there is no warming, then what’s all this talk about sunspots causing temperatures to rise?)

In truth, several members of the mostly elderly audience seem to doze off while the temperature graphs are projected. They come to life only when the rock stars of the movement take the stage—not the C-team scientists but the A-team ideological warriors like Morano and Horner. This is the true purpose of the gathering: providing a forum for die-hard denialists to collect the rhetorical baseball bats with which they will club environmentalists and climate scientists in the weeks and months to come. The talking points first tested here will jam the comment sections beneath every article and YouTube video that contains the phrase “climate change” or “global warming.” They will also exit the mouths of hundreds of right-wing commentators and politicians—from Republican presidential candidates like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann all the way down to county commissioners like Richard Rothschild. In an interview outside the sessions, Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, proudly takes credit for “thousands of articles and op-eds and speeches…that were informed by or motivated by somebody attending one of these conferences.”

The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based think tank devoted to “promoting free-market solutions,” has been holding these confabs since 2008, sometimes twice a year. And the strategy appears to be working. At the end of day one, Morano—whose claim to fame is having broken the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth story that sank John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign—leads the gathering through a series of victory laps. Cap and trade: dead! Obama at the Copenhagen summit: failure! The climate movement: suicidal! He even projects a couple of quotes from climate activists beating up on themselves (as progressives do so well) and exhorts the audience to “celebrate!”

There were no balloons or confetti descending from the rafters, but there may as well have been.

* * *

When public opinion on the big social and political issues changes, the trends tend to be relatively gradual. Abrupt shifts, when they come, are usually precipitated by dramatic events. Which is why pollsters are so surprised by what has happened to perceptions about climate change over a span of just four years. A 2007 Harris poll found that 71 percent of Americans believed that the continued burning of fossil fuels would cause the climate to change. By 2009 the figure had dropped to 51 percent. In June 2011 the number of Americans who agreed was down to 44 percent—well under half the population. According to Scott Keeter, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, this is “among the largest shifts over a short period of time seen in recent public opinion history.”

Even more striking, this shift has occurred almost entirely at one end of the political spectrum. As recently as 2008 (the year Newt Gingrich did a climate change TV spot with Nancy Pelosi) the issue still had a veneer of bipartisan support in the United States. Those days are decidedly over. Today, 70–75 percent of self-identified Democrats and liberals believe humans are changing the climate—a level that has remained stable or risen slightly over the past decade. In sharp contrast, Republicans, particularly Tea Party members, have overwhelmingly chosen to reject the scientific consensus. In some regions, only about 20 percent of self-identified Republicans accept the science.

Equally significant has been a shift in emotional intensity. Climate change used to be something most everyone said they cared about—just not all that much. When Americans were asked to rank their political concerns in order of priority, climate change would reliably come in last.

But now there is a significant cohort of Republicans who care passionately, even obsessively, about climate change—though what they care about is exposing it as a “hoax” being perpetrated by liberals to force them to change their light bulbs, live in Soviet-style tenements and surrender their SUVs. For these right-wingers, opposition to climate change has become as central to their worldview as low taxes, gun ownership and opposition to abortion. Many climate scientists report receiving death threats, as do authors of articles on subjects as seemingly innocuous as energy conservation. (As one letter writer put it to Stan Cox, author of a book critical of air-conditioning, “You can pry my thermostat out of my cold dead hands.”)

This culture-war intensity is the worst news of all, because when you challenge a person’s position on an issue core to his or her identity, facts and arguments are seen as little more than further attacks, easily deflected. (The deniers have even found a way to dismiss a new study confirming the reality of global warming that was partially funded by the Koch brothers, and led by a scientist sympathetic to the “skeptic” position.)

The effects of this emotional intensity have been on full display in the race to lead the Republican Party. Days into his presidential campaign, with his home state literally burning up with wildfires, Texas Governor Rick Perry delighted the base by declaring that climate scientists were manipulating data “so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects.” Meanwhile, the only candidate to consistently defend climate science, Jon Huntsman, was dead on arrival. And part of what has rescued Mitt Romney’s campaign has been his flight from earlier statements supporting the scientific consensus on climate change.

But the effects of the right-wing climate conspiracies reach far beyond the Republican Party. The Democrats have mostly gone mute on the subject, not wanting to alienate independents. And the media and culture industries have followed suit. Five years ago, celebrities were showing up at the Academy Awards in hybrids, Vanity Fair launched an annual green issue and, in 2007, the three major US networks ran 147 stories on climate change. No longer. In 2010 the networks ran just thirty-two climate change stories; limos are back in style at the Academy Awards; and the “annual” Vanity Fair green issue hasn’t been seen since 2008.

This uneasy silence has persisted through the end of the hottest decade in recorded history and yet another summer of freak natural disasters and record-breaking heat worldwide. Meanwhile, the fossil fuel industry is rushing to make multibillion-dollar investments in new infrastructure to extract oil, natural gas and coal from some of the dirtiest and highest-risk sources on the continent (the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline being only the highest-profile example). In the Alberta tar sands, in the Beaufort Sea, in the gas fields of Pennsylvania and the coalfields of Wyoming and Montana, the industry is betting big that the climate movement is as good as dead.

If the carbon these projects are poised to suck out is released into the atmosphere, the chance of triggering catastrophic climate change will increase dramatically (mining the oil in the Alberta tar sands alone, says NASA’s James Hansen, would be “essentially game over” for the climate).

All of this means that the climate movement needs to have one hell of a comeback. For this to happen, the left is going to have to learn from the right. Denialists gained traction by making climate about economics: action will destroy capitalism, they have claimed, killing jobs and sending prices soaring. But at a time when a growing number of people agree with the protesters at Occupy Wall Street, many of whom argue that capitalism-as-usual is itself the cause of lost jobs and debt slavery, there is a unique opportunity to seize the economic terrain from the right. This would require making a persuasive case that the real solutions to the climate crisis are also our best hope of building a much more enlightened economic system—one that closes deep inequalities, strengthens and transforms the public sphere, generates plentiful, dignified work and radically reins in corporate power. It would also require a shift away from the notion that climate action is just one issue on a laundry list of worthy causes vying for progressive attention. Just as climate denialism has become a core identity issue on the right, utterly entwined with defending current systems of power and wealth, the scientific reality of climate change must, for progressives, occupy a central place in a coherent narrative about the perils of unrestrained greed and the need for real alternatives.

Building such a transformative movement may not be as hard as it first appears. Indeed, if you ask the Heartlanders, climate change makes some kind of left-wing revolution virtually inevitable, which is precisely why they are so determined to deny its reality. Perhaps we should listen to their theories more closely—they might just understand something the left still doesn’t get.

* * *

The deniers did not decide that climate change is a left-wing conspiracy by uncovering some covert socialist plot. They arrived at this analysis by taking a hard look at what it would take to lower global emissions as drastically and as rapidly as climate science demands. They have concluded that this can be done only by radically reordering our economic and political systems in ways antithetical to their “free market” belief system. As British blogger and Heartland regular James Delingpole has pointed out, “Modern environmentalism successfully advances many of the causes dear to the left: redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, greater government intervention, regulation.” Heartland’s Bast puts it even more bluntly: For the left, “Climate change is the perfect thing…. It’s the reason why we should do everything [the left] wanted to do anyway.”

Here’s my inconvenient truth: they aren’t wrong. Before I go any further, let me be absolutely clear: as 97 percent of the world’s climate scientists attest, the Heartlanders are completely wrong about the science. The heat-trapping gases released into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels are already causing temperatures to increase. If we are not on a radically different energy path by the end of this decade, we are in for a world of pain.

But when it comes to the real-world consequences of those scientific findings, specifically the kind of deep changes required not just to our energy consumption but to the underlying logic of our economic system, the crowd gathered at the Marriott Hotel may be in considerably less denial than a lot of professional environmentalists, the ones who paint a picture of global warming Armageddon, then assure us that we can avert catastrophe by buying “green” products and creating clever markets in pollution.

The fact that the earth’s atmosphere cannot safely absorb the amount of carbon we are pumping into it is a symptom of a much larger crisis, one born of the central fiction on which our economic model is based: that nature is limitless, that we will always be able to find more of what we need, and that if something runs out it can be seamlessly replaced by another resource that we can endlessly extract. But it is not just the atmosphere that we have exploited beyond its capacity to recover—we are doing the same to the oceans, to freshwater, to topsoil and to biodiversity. The expansionist, extractive mindset, which has so long governed our relationship to nature, is what the climate crisis calls into question so fundamentally. The abundance of scientific research showing we have pushed nature beyond its limits does not just demand green products and market-based solutions; it demands a new civilizational paradigm, one grounded not in dominance over nature but in respect for natural cycles of renewal—and acutely sensitive to natural limits, including the limits of human intelligence.

So in a way, Chris Horner was right when he told his fellow Heartlanders that climate change isn’t “the issue.” In fact, it isn’t an issue at all. Climate change is a message, one that is telling us that many of our culture’s most cherished ideas are no longer viable. These are profoundly challenging revelations for all of us raised on Enlightenment ideals of progress, unaccustomed to having our ambitions confined by natural boundaries. And this is true for the statist left as well as the neoliberal right.

While Heartlanders like to invoke the specter of communism to terrify Americans about climate action (Czech President Vaclav Klaus, a Heartland conference favorite, says that attempts to prevent global warming are akin to “the ambitions of communist central planners to control the entire society”), the reality is that Soviet-era state socialism was a disaster for the climate. It devoured resources with as much enthusiasm as capitalism, and spewed waste just as recklessly: before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Czechs and Russians had even higher carbon footprints per capita than their counterparts in Britain, Canada and Australia. And while some point to the dizzying expansion of China’s renewable energy programs to argue that only centrally controlled regimes can get the green job done, China’s command-and-control economy continues to be harnessed to wage an all-out war with nature, through massively disruptive mega-dams, superhighways and extraction-based energy projects, particularly coal.

It is true that responding to the climate threat requires strong government action at all levels. But real climate solutions are ones that steer these interventions to systematically disperse and devolve power and control to the community level, whether through community-controlled renewable energy, local organic agriculture or transit systems genuinely accountable to their users.

Here is where the Heartlanders have good reason to be afraid: arriving at these new systems is going to require shredding the free-market ideology that has dominated the global economy for more than three decades. What follows is a quick-and-dirty look at what a serious climate agenda would mean in the following six arenas: public infrastructure, economic planning, corporate regulation, international trade, consumption and taxation. For hard-right ideologues like those gathered at the Heartland conference, the results are nothing short of intellectually cataclysmic.

1. Reviving and Reinventing the Public Sphere

After years of recycling, carbon offsetting and light bulb changing, it is obvious that individual action will never be an adequate response to the climate crisis. Climate change is a collective problem, and it demands collective action. One of the key areas in which this collective action must take place is big-ticket investments designed to reduce our emissions on a mass scale. That means subways, streetcars and light-rail systems that are not only everywhere but affordable to everyone; energy-efficient affordable housing along those transit lines; smart electrical grids carrying renewable energy; and a massive research effort to ensure that we are using the best methods possible.

The private sector is ill suited to providing most of these services because they require large up-front investments and, if they are to be genuinely accessible to all, some very well may not be profitable. They are, however, decidedly in the public interest, which is why they should come from the public sector.

Traditionally, battles to protect the public sphere are cast as conflicts between irresponsible leftists who want to spend without limit and practical realists who understand that we are living beyond our economic means. But the gravity of the climate crisis cries out for a radically new conception of realism, as well as a very different understanding of limits. Government budget deficits are not nearly as dangerous as the deficits we have created in vital and complex natural systems. Changing our culture to respect those limits will require all of our collective muscle—to get ourselves off fossil fuels and to shore up communal infrastructure for the coming storms.

2. Remembering How to Plan

In addition to reversing the thirty-year privatization trend, a serious response to the climate threat involves recovering an art that has been relentlessly vilified during these decades of market fundamentalism: planning. Lots and lots of planning. And not just at the national and international levels. Every community in the world needs a plan for how it is going to transition away from fossil fuels, what the Transition Town movement calls an “energy descent action plan.” In the cities and towns that have taken this responsibility seriously, the process has opened rare spaces for participatory democracy, with neighbors packing consultation meetings at city halls to share ideas about how to reorganize their communities to lower emissions and build in resilience for tough times ahead.

Climate change demands other forms of planning as well—particularly for workers whose jobs will become obsolete as we wean ourselves off fossil fuels. A few “green jobs” trainings aren’t enough. These workers need to know that real jobs will be waiting for them on the other side. That means bringing back the idea of planning our economies based on collective priorities rather than corporate profitability—giving laid-off employees of car plants and coal mines the tools and resources to create jobs, for example, with Cleveland’s worker-run green co-ops serving as a model.

Agriculture, too, will have to see a revival in planning if we are to address the triple crisis of soil erosion, extreme weather and dependence on fossil fuel inputs. Wes Jackson, the visionary founder of the Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, has been calling for “a fifty-year farm bill.” That’s the length of time he and his collaborators Wendell Berry and Fred Kirschenmann estimate it will take to conduct the research and put the infrastructure in place to replace many soil-depleting annual grain crops, grown in monocultures, with perennial crops, grown in polycultures. Since perennials don’t need to be replanted every year, their long roots do a much better job of storing scarce water, holding soil in place and sequestering carbon. Polycultures are also less vulnerable to pests and to being wiped out by extreme weather. Another bonus: this type of farming is much more labor intensive than industrial agriculture, which means that farming can once again be a substantial source of employment.

Outside the Heartland conference and like-minded gatherings, the return of planning is nothing to fear. We are not talking about a return to authoritarian socialism, after all, but a turn toward real democracy. The thirty-odd-year experiment in deregulated, Wild West economics is failing the vast majority of people around the world. These systemic failures are precisely why so many are in open revolt against their elites, demanding living wages and an end to corruption. Climate change doesn’t conflict with demands for a new kind of economy. Rather, it adds to them an existential imperative.

3. Reining in Corporations

A key piece of the planning we must undertake involves the rapid re-regulation of the corporate sector. Much can be done with incentives: subsidies for renewable energy and responsible land stewardship, for instance. But we are also going to have to get back into the habit of barring outright dangerous and destructive behavior. That means getting in the way of corporations on multiple fronts, from imposing strict caps on the amount of carbon corporations can emit, to banning new coal-fired power plants, to cracking down on industrial feedlots, to shutting down dirty-energy extraction projects like the Alberta tar sands (starting with pipelines like Keystone XL that lock in expansion plans).

Only a very small sector of the population sees any restriction on corporate or consumer choice as leading down Hayek’s road to serfdom—and, not coincidentally, it is precisely this sector of the population that is at the forefront of climate change denial.

4. Relocalizing Production

If strictly regulating corporations to respond to climate change sounds somewhat radical it’s because, since the beginning of the 1980s, it has been an article of faith that the role of government is to get out of the way of the corporate sector—and nowhere more so than in the realm of international trade. The devastating impacts of free trade on manufacturing, local business and farming are well known. But perhaps the atmosphere has taken the hardest hit of all. The cargo ships, jumbo jets and heavy trucks that haul raw resources and finished products across the globe devour fossil fuels and spew greenhouse gases. And the cheap goods being produced—made to be replaced, almost never fixed—are consuming a huge range of other nonrenewable resources while producing far more waste than can be safely absorbed.

This model is so wasteful, in fact, that it cancels out the modest gains that have been made in reducing emissions many times over. For instance, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences recently published a study of the emissions from industrialized countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol. It found that while they had stabilized, that was partly because international trade had allowed these countries to move their dirty production to places like China. The researchers concluded that the rise in emissions from goods produced in developing countries but consumed in industrialized ones was six times greater than the emissions savings of industrialized countries.

In an economy organized to respect natural limits, the use of energy-intensive long-haul transport would need to be rationed—reserved for those cases where goods cannot be produced locally or where local production is more carbon-intensive. (For example, growing food in greenhouses in cold parts of the United States is often more energy-intensive than growing it in the South and shipping it by light rail.)

Climate change does not demand an end to trade. But it does demand an end to the reckless form of “free trade” that governs every bilateral trade agreement as well as the World Trade Organization. This is more good news —for unemployed workers, for farmers unable to compete with cheap imports, for communities that have seen their manufacturers move offshore and their local businesses replaced with big boxes. But the challenge this poses to the capitalist project should not be underestimated: it represents the reversal of the thirty-year trend of removing every possible limit on corporate power.

5. Ending the Cult of Shopping

The past three decades of free trade, deregulation and privatization were not only the result of greedy people wanting greater corporate profits. They were also a response to the “stagflation” of the 1970s, which created intense pressure to find new avenues for rapid economic growth. The threat was real: within our current economic model, a drop in production is by definition a crisis—a recession or, if deep enough, a depression, with all the desperation and hardship that these words imply.

This growth imperative is why conventional economists reliably approach the climate crisis by asking the question, How can we reduce emissions while maintaining robust GDP growth? The usual answer is “decoupling”—the idea that renewable energy and greater efficiencies will allow us to sever economic growth from its environmental impact. And “green growth” advocates like Thomas Friedman tell us that the process of developing new green technologies and installing green infrastructure can provide a huge economic boost, sending GDP soaring and generating the wealth needed to “make America healthier, richer, more innovative, more productive, and more secure.”

But here is where things get complicated. There is a growing body of economic research on the conflict between economic growth and sound climate policy, led by ecological economist Herman Daly at the University of Maryland, as well as Peter Victor at York University, Tim Jackson of the University of Surrey and environmental law and policy expert Gus Speth. All raise serious questions about the feasibility of industrialized countries meeting the deep emissions cuts demanded by science (at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050) while continuing to grow their economies at even today’s sluggish rates. As Victor and Jackson argue, greater efficiencies simply cannot keep up with the pace of growth, in part because greater efficiency is almost always accompanied by more consumption, reducing or even canceling out the gains (often called the “Jevons Paradox”). And so long as the savings resulting from greater energy and material efficiencies are simply plowed back into further exponential expansion of the economy, reduction in total emissions will be thwarted. As Jackson argues in Prosperity Without Growth, “Those who promote decoupling as an escape route from the dilemma of growth need to take a closer look at the historical evidence—and at the basic arithmetic of growth.”

The bottom line is that an ecological crisis that has its roots in the overconsumption of natural resources must be addressed not just by improving the efficiency of our economies but by reducing the amount of material stuff we produce and consume. Yet that idea is anathema to the large corporations that dominate the global economy, which are controlled by footloose investors who demand ever greater profits year after year. We are therefore caught in the untenable bind of, as Jackson puts it, “trash the system or crash the planet.”

The way out is to embrace a managed transition to another economic paradigm, using all the tools of planning discussed above. Growth would be reserved for parts of the world still pulling themselves out of poverty. Meanwhile, in the industrialized world, those sectors that are not governed by the drive for increased yearly profit (the public sector, co-ops, local businesses, nonprofits) would expand their share of overall economic activity, as would those sectors with minimal ecological impacts (such as the caregiving professions). A great many jobs could be created this way. But the role of the corporate sector, with its structural demand for increased sales and profits, would have to contract.

So when the Heartlanders react to evidence of human-induced climate change as if capitalism itself were coming under threat, it’s not because they are paranoid. It’s because they are paying attention.

6. Taxing the Rich and Filthy

About now a sensible reader would be asking, How on earth are we going to pay for all this? The old answer would have been easy: we’ll grow our way out of it. Indeed, one of the major benefits of a growth-based economy for elites is that it allows them to constantly defer demands for social justice, claiming that if we keep growing the pie, eventually there will be enough for everyone. That was always a lie, as the current inequality crisis reveals, but in a world hitting multiple ecological limits, it is a nonstarter. So the only way to finance a meaningful response to the ecological crisis is to go where the money is.

That means taxing carbon, as well as financial speculation. It means increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy, cutting bloated military budgets and eliminating absurd subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. And governments will have to coordinate their responses so that corporations will have nowhere to hide (this kind of robust international regulatory architecture is what Heartlanders mean when they warn that climate change will usher in a sinister “world government”).

Most of all, however, we need to go after the profits of the corporations most responsible for getting us into this mess. The top five oil companies made $900 billion in profits in the past decade; ExxonMobil alone can clear $10 billion in profits in a single quarter. For years, these companies have pledged to use their profits to invest in a shift to renewable energy (BP’s “Beyond Petroleum” rebranding being the highest-profile example). But according to a study by the Center for American Progress, just 4 percent of the big five’s $100 billion in combined 2008 profits went to “renewable and alternative energy ventures.” Instead, they continue to pour their profits into shareholder pockets, outrageous executive pay and new technologies designed to extract even dirtier and more dangerous fossil fuels. Plenty of money has also gone to paying lobbyists to beat back every piece of climate legislation that has reared its head, and to fund the denier movement gathered at the Marriott Hotel.

Just as tobacco companies have been obliged to pay the costs of helping people to quit smoking, and BP has had to pay for the cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico, it is high time for the “polluter pays” principle to be applied to climate change. Beyond higher taxes on polluters, governments will have to negotiate much higher royalty rates so that less fossil fuel extraction would raise more public revenue to pay for the shift to our postcarbon future (as well as the steep costs of climate change already upon us). Since corporations can be counted on to resist any new rules that cut into their profits, nationalization—the greatest free-market taboo of all—cannot be off the table.

When Heartlanders claim, as they so often do, that climate change is a plot to “redistribute wealth” and wage class war, these are the types of policies they most fear. They also understand that, once the reality of climate change is recognized, wealth will have to be transferred not just within wealthy countries but also from the rich countries whose emissions created the crisis to poorer ones that are on the front lines of its effects. Indeed, what makes conservatives (and plenty of liberals) so eager to bury the UN climate negotiations is that they have revived a postcolonial courage in parts of the developing world that many thought was gone for good. Armed with irrefutable scientific facts about who is responsible for global warming and who is suffering its effects first and worst, countries like Bolivia and Ecuador are attempting to shed the mantle of “debtor” thrust upon them by decades of International Monetary Fund and World Bank loans and are declaring themselves creditors—owed not just money and technology to cope with climate change but “atmospheric space” in which to develop.

* * *

So let’s summarize. Responding to climate change requires that we break every rule in the free-market playbook and that we do so with great urgency. We will need to rebuild the public sphere, reverse privatizations, relocalize large parts of economies, scale back overconsumption, bring back long-term planning, heavily regulate and tax corporations, maybe even nationalize some of them, cut military spending and recognize our debts to the global South. Of course, none of this has a hope in hell of happening unless it is accompanied by a massive, broad-based effort to radically reduce the influence that corporations have over the political process. That means, at a minimum, publicly funded elections and stripping corporations of their status as “people” under the law. In short, climate change supercharges the pre-existing case for virtually every progressive demand on the books, binding them into a coherent agenda based on a clear scientific imperative.

More than that, climate change implies the biggest political “I told you so” since Keynes predicted German backlash from the Treaty of Versailles. Marx wrote about capitalism’s “irreparable rift” with “the natural laws of life itself,” and many on the left have argued that an economic system built on unleashing the voracious appetites of capital would overwhelm the natural systems on which life depends. And of course indigenous peoples were issuing warnings about the dangers of disrespecting “Mother Earth” long before that. The fact that the airborne waste of industrial capitalism is causing the planet to warm, with potentially cataclysmic results, means that, well, the naysayers were right. And the people who said, “Hey, let’s get rid of all the rules and watch the magic happen” were disastrously, catastrophically wrong.

There is no joy in being right about something so terrifying. But for progressives, there is responsibility in it, because it means that our ideas—informed by indigenous teachings as well as by the failures of industrial state socialism—are more important than ever. It means that a green-left worldview, which rejects mere reformism and challenges the centrality of profit in our economy, offers humanity’s best hope of overcoming these overlapping crises.

But imagine, for a moment, how all of this looks to a guy like Heartland president Bast, who studied economics at the University of Chicago and described his personal calling to me as “freeing people from the tyranny of other people.” It looks like the end of the world. It’s not, of course. But it is, for all intents and purposes, the end of his world. Climate change detonates the ideological scaffolding on which contemporary conservatism rests. There is simply no way to square a belief system that vilifies collective action and venerates total market freedom with a problem that demands collective action on an unprecedented scale and a dramatic reining in of the market forces that created and are deepening the crisis.

* * *

At the Heartland conference—where everyone from the Ayn Rand Institute to the Heritage Foundation has a table hawking books and pamphlets—these anxieties are close to the surface. Bast is forthcoming about the fact that Heartland’s campaign against climate science grew out of fear about the policies that the science would require. “When we look at this issue, we say, This is a recipe for massive increase in government…. Before we take this step, let’s take another look at the science. So conservative and libertarian groups, I think, stopped and said, Let’s not simply accept this as an article of faith; let’s actually do our own research.” This is a crucial point to understand: it is not opposition to the scientific facts of climate change that drives denialists but rather opposition to the real-world implications of those facts.

What Bast is describing—albeit inadvertently—is a phenomenon receiving a great deal of attention these days from a growing subset of social scientists trying to explain the dramatic shifts in belief about climate change. Researchers with Yale’s Cultural Cognition Project have found that political/cultural worldview explains “individuals’ beliefs about global warming more powerfully than any other individual characteristic.”

Those with strong “egalitarian” and “communitarian” worldviews (marked by an inclination toward collective action and social justice, concern about inequality and suspicion of corporate power) overwhelmingly accept the scientific consensus on climate change. On the other hand, those with strong “hierarchical” and “individualistic” worldviews (marked by opposition to government assistance for the poor and minorities, strong support for industry and a belief that we all get what we deserve) overwhelmingly reject the scientific consensus.

For example, among the segment of the US population that displays the strongest “hierarchical” views, only 11 percent rate climate change as a “high risk,” compared with 69 percent of the segment displaying the strongest “egalitarian” views. Yale law professor Dan Kahan, the lead author on this study, attributes this tight correlation between “worldview” and acceptance of climate science to “cultural cognition.” This refers to the process by which all of us—regardless of political leanings—filter new information in ways designed to protect our “preferred vision of the good society.” As Kahan explained in Nature, “People find it disconcerting to believe that behaviour that they find noble is nevertheless detrimental to society, and behaviour that they find base is beneficial to it. Because accepting such a claim could drive a wedge between them and their peers, they have a strong emotional predisposition to reject it.” In other words, it is always easier to deny reality than to watch your worldview get shattered, a fact that was as true of die-hard Stalinists at the height of the purges as it is of libertarian climate deniers today.

When powerful ideologies are challenged by hard evidence from the real world, they rarely die off completely. Rather, they become cultlike and marginal. A few true believers always remain to tell one another that the problem wasn’t with the ideology; it was the weakness of leaders who did not apply the rules with sufficient rigor. We have these types on the Stalinist left, and they exist as well on the neo-Nazi right. By this point in history, free-market fundamentalists should be exiled to a similarly marginal status, left to fondle their copies of Free to Choose and Atlas Shrugged in obscurity. They are saved from this fate only because their ideas about minimal government, no matter how demonstrably at war with reality, remain so profitable to the world’s billionaires that they are kept fed and clothed in think tanks by the likes of Charles and David Koch, and ExxonMobil.

This points to the limits of theories like “cultural cognition.” The deniers are doing more than protecting their cultural worldview—they are protecting powerful interests that stand to gain from muddying the waters of the climate debate. The ties between the deniers and those interests are well known and well documented. Heartland has received more than $1 million from ExxonMobil together with foundations linked to the Koch brothers and Richard Mellon Scaife (possibly much more, but the think tank has stopped publishing its donors’ names, claiming the information was distracting from the “merits of our positions”).

And scientists who present at Heartland climate conferences are almost all so steeped in fossil fuel dollars that you can practically smell the fumes. To cite just two examples, the Cato Institute’s Patrick Michaels, who gave the conference keynote, once told CNN that 40 percent of his consulting company’s income comes from oil companies, and who knows how much of the rest comes from coal. A Greenpeace investigation into another one of the conference speakers, astrophysicist Willie Soon, found that since 2002, 100 percent of his new research grants had come from fossil fuel interests. And fossil fuel companies are not the only economic interests strongly motivated to undermine climate science. If solving this crisis requires the kinds of profound changes to the economic order that I have outlined, then every major corporation benefiting from loose regulation, free trade and low taxes has reason to fear.

With so much at stake, it should come as little surprise that climate deniers are, on the whole, those most invested in our highly unequal and dysfunctional economic status quo. One of the most interesting findings of the studies on climate perceptions is the clear connection between a refusal to accept the science of climate change and social and economic privilege. Overwhelmingly, climate deniers are not only conservative but also white and male, a group with higher than average incomes. And they are more likely than other adults to be highly confident in their views, no matter how demonstrably false. A much-discussed paper on this topic by Aaron McCright and Riley Dunlap (memorably titled “Cool Dudes”) found that confident conservative white men, as a group, were almost six times as likely to believe climate change “will never happen” than the rest of the adults surveyed. McCright and Dunlap offer a simple explanation for this discrepancy: “Conservative white males have disproportionately occupied positions of power within our economic system. Given the expansive challenge that climate change poses to the industrial capitalist economic system, it should not be surprising that conservative white males’ strong system-justifying attitudes would be triggered to deny climate change.”

But deniers’ relative economic and social privilege doesn’t just give them more to lose from a new economic order; it gives them reason to be more sanguine about the risks of climate change in the first place. This occurred to me as I listened to yet another speaker at the Heartland conference display what can only be described as an utter absence of empathy for the victims of climate change. Larry Bell, whose bio describes him as a “space architect,” drew plenty of laughs when he told the crowd that a little heat isn’t so bad: “I moved to Houston intentionally!” (Houston was, at that time, in the midst of what would turn out to be the state’s worst single-year drought on record.) Australian geologist Bob Carter offered that “the world actually does better from our human perspective in warmer times.” And Patrick Michaels said people worried about climate change should do what the French did after a devastating 2003 heat wave killed 14,000 of their people: “they discovered Walmart and air-conditioning.”

Listening to these zingers as an estimated 13 million people in the Horn of Africa face starvation on parched land was deeply unsettling. What makes this callousness possible is the firm belief that if the deniers are wrong about climate change, a few degrees of warming isn’t something wealthy people in industrialized countries have to worry about. (“When it rains, we find shelter. When it’s hot, we find shade,” Texas Congressman Joe Barton explained at an energy and environment subcommittee hearing.)

As for everyone else, well, they should stop looking for handouts and busy themselves getting unpoor. When I asked Michaels whether rich countries have a responsibility to help poor ones pay for costly adaptations to a warmer climate, he scoffed that there is no reason to give money to countries “because, for some reason, their political system is incapable of adapting.” The real solution, he claimed, was more free trade.

* * *

This is where the intersection between hard-right ideology and climate denial gets truly dangerous. It’s not simply that these “cool dudes” deny climate science because it threatens to upend their dominance-based worldview. It is that their dominance-based worldview provides them with the intellectual tools to write off huge swaths of humanity in the developing world. Recognizing the threat posed by this empathy-exterminating mindset is a matter of great urgency, because climate change will test our moral character like little before. The US Chamber of Commerce, in its bid to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon emissions, argued in a petition that in the event of global warming, “populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological, and technological adaptations.” These adaptations are what I worry about most.

How will we adapt to the people made homeless and jobless by increasingly intense and frequent natural disasters? How will we treat the climate refugees who arrive on our shores in leaky boats? Will we open our borders, recognizing that we created the crisis from which they are fleeing? Or will we build ever more high-tech fortresses and adopt ever more draconian antiimmigration laws? How will we deal with resource scarcity?

We know the answers already. The corporate quest for scarce resources will become more rapacious, more violent. Arable land in Africa will continue to be grabbed to provide food and fuel to wealthier nations. Drought and famine will continue to be used as a pretext to push genetically modified seeds, driving farmers further into debt. We will attempt to transcend peak oil and gas by using increasingly risky technologies to extract the last drops, turning ever larger swaths of our globe into sacrifice zones. We will fortress our borders and intervene in foreign conflicts over resources, or start those conflicts ourselves. “Free-market climate solutions,” as they are called, will be a magnet for speculation, fraud and crony capitalism, as we are already seeing with carbon trading and the use of forests as carbon offsets. And as climate change begins to affect not just the poor but the wealthy as well, we will increasingly look for techno-fixes to turn down the temperature, with massive and unknowable risks.

As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed. And it will only get colder, as theories of racial superiority, barely under the surface in parts of the denial movement, make a raging comeback. These theories are not optional: they are necessary to justify the hardening of hearts to the largely blameless victims of climate change in the global South, and in predominately African-American cities like New Orleans.

In The Shock Doctrine, I explore how the right has systematically used crises—real and trumped up—to push through a brutal ideological agenda designed not to solve the problems that created the crises but rather to enrich elites. As the climate crisis begins to bite, it will be no exception. This is entirely predictable. Finding new ways to privatize the commons and to profit from disaster are what our current system is built to do. The process is already well under way.

The only wild card is whether some countervailing popular movement will step up to provide a viable alternative to this grim future. That means not just an alternative set of policy proposals but an alternative worldview to rival the one at the heart of the ecological crisis—this time, embedded in interdependence rather than hyper-individualism, reciprocity rather than dominance and cooperation rather than hierarchy.

Shifting cultural values is, admittedly, a tall order. It calls for the kind of ambitious vision that movements used to fight for a century ago, before everything was broken into single “issues” to be tackled by the appropriate sector of business-minded NGOs. Climate change is, in the words of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, “the greatest example of market failure we have ever seen.” By all rights, this reality should be filling progressive sails with conviction, breathing new life and urgency into longstanding fights against everything from free trade to financial speculation to industrial agriculture to third-world debt, while elegantly weaving all these struggles into a coherent narrative about how to protect life on earth.

But that isn’t happening, at least not so far. It is a painful irony that while the Heartlanders are busily calling climate change a left-wing plot, most leftists have yet to realize that climate science has handed them the most powerful argument against capitalism since William Blake’s “dark Satanic Mills” (and, of course, those mills were the beginning of climate change). When demonstrators are cursing out the corruption of their governments and corporate elites in Athens, Madrid, Cairo, Madison and New York, climate change is often little more than a footnote, when it should be the coup de grâce.

Half of the problem is that progressives—their hands full with soaring unemployment and multiple wars—tend to assume that the big green groups have the climate issue covered. The other half is that many of those big green groups have avoided, with phobic precision, any serious debate on the blindingly obvious roots of the climate crisis: globalization, deregulation and contemporary capitalism’s quest for perpetual growth (the same forces that are responsible for the destruction of the rest of the economy). The result is that those taking on the failures of capitalism and those fighting for climate action remain two solitudes, with the small but valiant climate justice movement—drawing the connections between racism, inequality and environmental vulnerability—stringing up a few swaying bridges between them.

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and syndicated columnist and the author of the international and New York Times bestseller The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (September 2007); an earlier international best-seller, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies; and the collection Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (2002). Read more at Naomiklein.org. You can follow her on Twitter @naomiaklein.
  Read To Conservatives, Climate Change is Trojan Horse to Abolish Capitalism
  November 18, 2011  

Environmentalists from DC to California are praising last week's State Department decision to delay approval of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline -- a move that could kill the project once and for all. But in Western Canada, where activists have been battling the massive tar sands development at the head of the pipeline for decades, the fight is nowhere near over.

In fact, at an impromptu sideline meetup at the APEC Summit in Hawaii this past weekend, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty scolded Pres. Barack Obama for delaying the Keystone project, and reminded him that the US is not the only oil-buyer in the world market.

The delay, Flaherty said, "may mean we may have to move quickly to ensure we can sell our oil to Asia through British Columbia." He was referring to a pipeline proposal that is extremely controversial in Canada but virtually unknown here -- the Enbridge oil company's Northern Gateway, which would pump tar sands bitumen 731 miles to the coast of northwestern British Columbia, where it would be put on supertankers destined for China.

A week earlier, on Sunday Nov. 5, while 10,000 people encircled the White House to protest the Keystone XL, judges at the prestigious Banff Mountain Film Festival were on stage giving an award to a powerful documentary about the Northern Gateway and Alberta's oil-sands strip-mines, 520 miles to the northeast.

The film, Spoil, takes place in the Great Bear Rainforest, one of the wildest pieces of land on earth. The Northern Gateway's proposed path takes it through a sensitive section of the Great Bear, and, according to the film, threatens the livelihoods of the people of the Gitga'at First Nation. It also could destroy the habitat of the Kermode bear -- an extremely rare, all-white creature also known as the spirit bear.

Trip Jennings, who directed and edited the film, says the existence of the spirit bear was a secret that the Gitga'at rarely spoke of, even among themselves. "They knew what the trappers had done for centuries," Jennings said in an interview last week. "So it became a taboo passed down from the elders--if they happened to see a spirit bear they kept it to themselves."

The Giga'at were at first reluctant to make the spirit bear the symbol of their quest to protect its (and their) home. But as Giga'at leader and guide Marvin Robinson explains in Spoil, the prospect of supertankers plying their narrow intercoastal waterways moved his community to allow the mysterious, charismatic animal to become "the icon for the whole pipeline issue."

Ian McCallister, who lives on an island in the Great Bear and heads the BC-based environmental group Pacific Wild, has worked with the Gitga'at for more than 20 years--when he first arrived, the place was officially known as the Midcoast Timber Supply Area--and it's largely through his and his wife Karen's efforts that it has won protection from logging and open-net fish-farms.

"This place is being viewed in a much different light than it was 20 years ago," McCallister says. "It was a place to extract [British Columbia's] raw resources; today it's a place to celebrate its natural beauty, its ecology, its First Nations culture. So right when we're at this turning point, making good on this promise to protect the place, we're sideswiped by this proposal to put big oil here. Living in fear of a catastrophic oil spill has become very real."

McCallister felt that the place's unparalleled wildness and beauty -- and the spirit bear -- offered a unique opportunity to attract national and attention to its plight. So he contacted Cristina Mittermeier, director of the International League of Conservation Photographers. Spoil follows an innovative artistic/political intervention developed by that organization -- a Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition (RAVE).

The brainchild of photographer Patricio Robles Gil, a RAVE involves deploying a dozen or so of the League's members -- all top-shelf wildlife shooters -- to quickly assemble a visual chronicle of a special place that is in peril. Invented in 2007, RAVEs have been staged in a dozen locales form Patagonia to the Chesapeake Bay.

The ultimate photographic target of the Great Bear RAVE was, of course, the charismatic spirit bear. And the hunt for the elusive creature creates a narrative that culminates with a riveting bit of screen magic involving Marvin Robinson and the Canadian photographer Paul Nicklen.

Nature, Art and Politics

Most of the debate that preceded last week's State Department decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline focussed on the dangers it posed to the domestic environment: the likelihood of a spill somewhere along the pipeline's 1,700-mile US route, and specifically the threat to Nebraska's Sandhills preserve and the huge aquifer that flows beneath it. That political focus was perfectly reasonable given the goal, but it left the bigger part of the tar sands story untold.

Over the course of its 44 minutes, Spoil provides a compelling introduction to the larger issue and places it in cultural context. The film includes footage of the enormous tar-sands strip mines located in the outback of northeastern Alberta and the refineries that turn its slurry into the very crudest of crude oil--a complex frequently described as the most destructive industrial project on earth. This is contrasted with footage and images of the Great Bear Rainforest -- salmon leaping up waterfalls; moose wandering through 1,000-year-old red cedar forests; time-lapse footage of subarctic starfields set to a soundtrack of a howling wolfpack. The film also documents the efforts of the Gitga'at and their environmentalist allies, including the RAVE photographers.

Jennings gives most of the credit for the film to the Gitga'at and the ILCP shooters, joking that he and his partner, cinematographer Andy Maser, are "the ultimate paratrooping filmmakers."

"We don't do the planning or any of the hard work," he says. "We just show up at the end and point our cameras at the people who did."

While the RAVE provides a big piece of the narrative, the stars of the film are definitely Robinson and the spirit bear he has known since it was a cub--an animal he describes as a "friend." The dramatic climax comes when (spoiler alert) Robinson essentially brings Nicklen to meet the bear in its riparian hunting grounds.

Cinematographer and co-producer Andy Maser was there to capture the moment.

"It was stressful," he recalls. "We'd been there shooting for 15 days and hadn't seen one spirit bear. It was our second-to-last day. Then the planets aligned--we got a hold of Marvin, Paul was on the scene, and the spirit bear showed up."

Spoil is only the third film produced by Jennings, 29, and Maser, 26, and is definitely a breakout effort. But the two are well known in the adventure-sports world as extreme kayakers and world explorers; a Google search of either turns up eye-popping photos and videos of the paddlers plummeting off huge waterfalls or making first descents of remote rivers.

The two men began their filmmaking careers making straightforward kayaking videos. But following a 2007 journey to Papua New Guinea, documented in the 19-minute documentary "The Final Frontier," the young filmmakers pursued a new direction.

"Kayaking has taken me to a lot of pristine places," Maser says. "But to get to them you go through a lot of destruction -- places that have been ruined by bad mining or logging practices. At some point I gained an appreciation for the rivers and the ecosystems, beyond just kayaking them. We decided that it's important to protect the places we love to play."

A New Economy

While the Gitga'at and their allies see the Keystone XL delay as a victory, they also fear that it could mean more pressure to approve the Northern Gateway project. Art Sterritt, executive director of Coastal First Nations, which has been leading the fight against the pipeline, told Canada's Globe and Mail that his coalition will redouble its efforts.

"I would expect [the US State Department decision] would increase the resolve for the oil companies to try to come west, as opposed to south. It will also increase the resolve of the federal government," Sterritt said last week. Meanwhile, Brian Topp, a writer and leading member of the progressive New Democratic Party, criticized Finance Minister Flaherty for "threatening Uncle Sam with a tighter embrace of Mao's heirs," and suggested that his country "invest in a new Western Canadian economy that is not dependent on the mining of raw bitumen. "One way or another, the world will soon act to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, and so will Canada. If the best hockey players play where the puck is going to be, then the Western Canadian energy industry -- and our economy as a whole -- need to do the same." 

  Read Tar Sands Fight Goes Beyond Keystone: A Little-Known Pipeline Plan Could Prove Disastrous for British Columbia
 December 8, 2011  

(updated below)

Condemnation of President Obama is intense, and growing, as a result of his announced intent to sign into law the indefinite detention bill embedded in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). These denunciations come not only from the nation’s leading civil liberties and human rights groups, but also from the pro-Obama New York Times Editorial Page, which today has a scathing Editorial describing Obama’s stance as “a complete political cave-in, one that reinforces the impression of a fumbling presidency” and lamenting that “the bill has so many other objectionable aspects that we can’t go into them all,” as well as from vocal Obama supporters such as Andrew Sullivan, who wrote yesterday  that this episode is “another sign that his campaign pledge to be vigilant about civil liberties in the war on terror was a lie.” In damage control mode, White-House-allied groups are now trying to ride to the rescue with attacks on the ACLU and dismissive belittling of the bill’s dangers.

For that reason, it is very worthwhile to briefly examine — and debunk — the three principal myths being spread by supporters of this bill, and to do so very simply: by citing the relevant provisions of the bill, as well as the relevant passages of the original 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), so that everyone can judge for themselves what this bill actually includes (this is all above and beyond the evidence I assembled in writing about this bill yesterday):

Myth # 1: This bill does not codify indefinite detention

Section 1021 of the NDAA governs, as its title says, “Authority of the Armed Forces to Detain Covered Persons Pursuant to the AUMF.”  The first provision — section (a) — explicitly “affirms that the authority of the President” under the AUMF  ”includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons.” The next section, (b), defines “covered persons” — i.e., those who can be detained by the U.S. military — as “a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” With regard to those “covered individuals,” this is the power vested in the President by the next section, (c):

It simply cannot be any clearer within the confines of the English language that this bill codifies the power of indefinite detention. It expressly empowers the President — with regard to anyone accused of the acts in section (b) – to detain them “without trial until the end of the hostilities.” That is the very definition of “indefinite detention,” and the statute could not be clearer that it vests this power. Anyone claiming this bill does not codify indefinite detention should be forced to explain how they can claim that in light of this crystal clear provision.

It is true, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, that both the Bush and Obama administrations have argued that the 2001 AUMF implicitly  (i.e., silently) already vests the power of indefinite detention in the President, and post-9/11 deferential courts have largely accepted that view (just as the Bush DOJ argued that the 2001 AUMF implicitly  (i.e., silently) allowed them to eavesdrop on Americans without the warrants required by law). That’s why the NDAA can state that nothing is intended to expand the 2001 AUMF while achieving exactly that: because the Executive and judicial interpretation being given to the 20o1 AUMF is already so much broader than its language provides.

But this is the first time this power of indefinite detention is being expressly codified by statute (there’s not a word about detention powers in the 2001 AUMF). Indeed, as the ACLU and HRW both pointed out, it’s the first time such powers are being codified in a statute since the McCarthy era Internal Security Act of 1950, about which I wrote yesterday.

Myth #2: The bill does not expand the scope of the War on Terror as defined by the 2001 AUMF

This myth is very easily dispensed with. The scope of the war as defined by the original 2001 AUMF was, at least relative to this new bill, quite specific and narrow. Here’s the full extent of the power the original AUMF granted:

(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

Under the clear language of the 2001 AUMF, the President’s authorization to use force was explicitly confined to those who (a) helped perpetrate the 9/11 attack or (b) harbored the perpetrators. That’s it. Now look at how much broader the NDAA is with regard to who can be targeted:

Section (1) is basically a re-statement of the 2001 AUMF. But Section (2) is a brand new addition. It allows the President to target not only those who helped perpetrate the 9/11 attacks or those who harbored them, but also: anyone who “substantially supports” such groups and/or “associated forces.” Those are extremely vague terms subject to wild and obvious levels of abuse (see what Law Professor Jonathan Hafetz told me in an interview last week about the dangers of those terms). This is a substantial statutory escalation of the War on Terror and the President’s powers under it, and it occurs more than ten years after 9/11, with Osama bin Laden dead, and with the U.S. Government boasting that virtually all Al Qaeda leaders have been eliminated and the original organization (the one accused of perpetrating 9/11 attack) rendered inoperable.

It is true that both the Bush and Obama administration have long been arguing that the original AUMF should be broadly “interpreted” so as to authorize force against this much larger scope of individuals, despite the complete absence of such language in that original AUMF. That’s how the Obama administration justifies its ongoing bombing of Yemen and Somalia and its killing of people based on the claim that they support groups that did not even exist at the time of 9/11 –  i.e., they argue: these new post-9/11 groups we’re targeting are associated forcesof Al Qaeda and the individuals we’re killing “substantially support” those groups. But this is the first time that Congress has codified that wildly expanded definition of the Enemy in the War on Terror. And all anyone has to do to see that is compare the old AUMF with the new one in the NDAA.

Myth #3: U.S. citizens are exempted from this new bill

This is simply false, at least when expressed so definitively and without caveats. The bill is purposely muddled on this issue which is what is enabling the falsehood.

There are two separate indefinite military detention provisions in this bill. The first, Section 1021, authorizes indefinite detention for the broad definition of “covered persons” discussed above in the prior point. And that section does provide that “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.” So that section contains a disclaimer regarding an intention to expand detention powers for U.S. citizens, but does so only for the powers vested by that specific section. More important, the exclusion appears to extend only to U.S. citizens “captured or arrested in the United States” — meaning that the powers of indefinite detention vested by that section apply to U.S. citizens captured anywhere abroad (there is some grammatical vagueness on this point, but at the very least, there is a viable argument that the detention power in this section applies to U.S. citizens captured abroad).

But the next section, Section 1022, is a different story. That section specifically deals with a smaller category of people than the broad group covered by 1021: namely, anyone whom the President determines is “a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force” and “participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners.” For those persons, section (a) not only authorizes, but requires (absent a Presidential waiver), that they be held “in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.” The section title is “Military Custody for Foreign Al Qaeda Terrorists,” but the definition of who it covers does not exclude U.S. citizens or include any requirement of foreignness.

That section — 1022 — does not contain the broad disclaimer regarding U.S. citizens that 1021 contains. Instead, it simply says that the requirement of military detention does not apply to U.S. citizens, but it does not exclude U.S. citizens from the authority, the option, to hold them in military custody. Here is what it says:

The only provision from which U.S. citizens are exempted here is the “requirement” of military detention. For foreign nationals accused of being members of Al Qaeda, military detention is mandatory; for U.S. citizens, it is optionalThis section does not exempt U.S citizens from the presidential power of military detention: only from the requirement of military detention.

The most important point on this issue is the same as underscored in the prior two points: the “compromise” reached by  Congress includes language preserving the status quo. That’s because the Obama administration already argues that the original 2001 AUMF authorizes them to act against U.S. citizens (obviously, if they believe they have the power to target U.S. citizens for assassination, then they believe they have the power to detain U.S. citizens as enemy combatants). The proof that this bill does not expressly exempt U.S. citizens or those captured on U.S. soil is that amendments offered by Sen. Feinstein providing expressly for those exemptions were rejected. The “compromise” was to preserve the status quo by including the provision that the bill is not intended to alter it with regard to American citizens, but that’s because proponents of broad detention powers are confident that the status quo already permits such detention.

In sum, there is simply no question that this bill codifies indefinite detention without trial (Myth 1). There is no question that it significantly expands the statutory definitions of the War on Terror and those who can be targeted as part of it (Myth 2). The issue of application to U.S. citizens (Myth 3) is purposely muddled — that’s why Feinstein’ s amendments were rejected — and there is consequently no doubt this bill can and will be used by the U.S. Government (under this President or a future one)  to bolster its argument that it is empowered to indefinitely detain even U.S. citizens without a trial (NYT Editorial: “The legislation could also give future presidents the authority to throw American citizens into prison for life without charges or a trial”;  Sen. Bernie Sanders: “ This bill also contains misguided provisions that in the name of fighting terrorism essentially authorize the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens without charges”).

Even if it were true that this bill changes nothing when compared to how the Executive Branch has been interpreting and exercising the powers of the old AUMF, there are serious dangers and harms from having Congress — with bipartisan sponsors, a Democratic Senate and a GOP House — put its institutional, statutory weight behind powers previously claimed and seized by the President alone. That codification entrenches these powers. As the New York Times Editorial today put it: the bill contains “terrible new measures that will make indefinite detention and military trials a permanent part of American law.

What’s particularly ironic (and revealing) about all of this is that former White House counsel Greg Craig assured The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer back in February, 2009 that it’s “hard to imagine Barack Obama as the first President of the United States to introduce a preventive-detention law.Four months later, President Obama proposed exactly such a law — one that The New York Times described as “a departure from the way this country sees itself, as a place where people in the grip of the government either face criminal charges or walk free” — and now he will sign such a scheme into law.


UPDATE: There’s an interview with me in Harper’s today regarding American justice and With Liberty and Justice for Some.

  Read Three myths about the detention bill
 December 7, 2011  
Real Source of Major World Problems
by 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
Download full WORD document of this Research Paper

When people face a problem there are generally two ways that may be adopted to hopefully reach a successful outcome. One of these ways will enable us to solve the problem we face on a permanent basis, that is, in a way that such a problem will not likely to ever surface again. The other way, which seems to have been quite dominant in history to this very day, will enable us to bring the problem under control in a number of ways but never on a permanent basis.

Two Distinct Approaches

In order to comprehend the nature of these two approaches to the solution of a problem we come across, it would be better to start with the illustration of an example. Let us imagine there is a nice hall in town, which people tend to use every now and then to hold some special event. Just a few days before the event, some committee members visit this hall to make sure everything is in order and under control. They soon discover that there has been some water on the floor and the furniture was not in place.

Needless to say, they proceed to dry the water away and put the furniture in order after which they return home satisfied looking anxiously forward for the projected event. The day before, they double-check the hall again and they find everything was in perfect order the way they had arranged it. However, they do discover some water scattered here and there on the floor. Of course, without hesitation they dried it up and everything was ready to go. In fact, the following day the event went smoothly and every participant was fully satisfied.

This was one way of solving the problem on the spare of the moment. Unfortunately, this has been the dominant approach adopted throughout the centuries when quite a number of people were faced with a problem. They use methods that would solve the problem fast and smooth visibly on the surface for the specified time that was needed. In fact, other groups in the past that needed to use this same hall did experience the same problem and they all tended to adopt the same approach for a solution.

The stated solution of the problem involved was based on an approach that would enable us to overcome the obstacle of water on the floor simply by wiping it out properly and effectively. If the problem we face anywhere in the world keeps on being repeated that would mean that we have to get to the source that causes such an involved problem to take place over and over again. Our first step is to think and meditate while raising to ourselves seriously the question: Where did such water come from in the first place? Was there any leak somewhere, like from a pipe or even the roof?

Getting to the Source

If, say, we find out the leak was in the roof, then we need to go on the top of the roof and cement the crack or small hole from where the water was coming. Once we block the very source of the problem, we may feel virtually certain that such a problem of finding water on the floor of the involved hall will not likely ever to be repeated again. This would be the best and most effective way to solve a problem on a permanent basis, no matter how long it may take us. As we may fully realize, our world is literally saturated with serious problems.

There is surely one thing that all people from every walk of life and profession have strongly in common. No one would like to be confronted with problems of any kind whatsoever. Problems tend to create tension which may lead to high blood pressure. They tend to make us lose our inner joy and the full power of concentration when we are in the process of doing something that is especially positive and constructive. Besides, problems in general tend to be a nuisance, something that is generally undesirable.

Some 2,500 years ago, Greek philosopher Socrates underlined the fact that we are capable of solving any problem in life we come across provided, he added, we take seriously the first step. What is the first step? He said this would be to bring the problem into the open for everyone to see because, he continued, unless people are aware of the existence of a problem they will do nothing to bring it under control. History has shown that when people become aware of a serious problem, they would do anything to solve it fearlessly.

However, he stressed, once the people become aware of the existence of a problem, they will immediately begin to figure out how such problem may eventually affect them. And once they see that with clarity action is immediately taken and the problem is solved. Since then, Socrates has been fully vindicated century after century with no exceptions whatsoever. It is good that we talk about problems and try to discuss them the best we can. Yet, if we do not take positive and constructive actions nothing should be expected to happen.

If we were to visit every single major country in the world we would soon discover that people share similar problems, regardless of their background, nationality, cultural heritage, philosophical orientation and religious profession. And if we were to go to the very source of all major problems we would quickly see with crystal clarity that, on the whole, their respective government emerges to become the real source of all their headaches. This reason is very simple and fully clear. While the job of the government is to serve the people, in practice such a government makes it a point to boss the people around.

Violence Replacing Diplomacy

This governmental approach has been the source of enormous suffering that has resulted in so many people being poor and homeless as well as being deprived of adequate health care, if any at all. Besides, people are deprived ruthlessly from most of their sacrosanct human rights, which includes free education from the cradle to the grave. A government that provides such an element to its own people is enabling its nation to be fully developed as to become highly constructive in all national endeavors.

People of all nations do not want their government to resort to wars to solve human differences. Yet, as we have witnessed in history, the people are fully ignored and wars are waged that always end up with tragic consequences. This means people are forced to experience unnecessarily that in a war everyone is a loser and no one is a winner. Today we have reached a point in history where conventional wars do not make sense any longer. It has been predicted that World War II might have been the last conventional war in human history.

We all remember the so called 9/11 attack on New York and Washington, DC in 2001. The attackers did not represent any government. They consisted merely of 19 young men, mostly from Saudi Arabia, whose only major war equipment they carried consisted mostly of a few knives. These are described as terrorists who do not carry any badge or identification. On the other hand, the USA, which was trained in conventional wars, invaded Afghanistan and demolished the structure of cities while killing thousands of innocent people.

As though this was not enough, the USA invaded Iraq under false pretences where tens of thousands of innocent people were massacred, in addition to causing some 2 million refugees, while creating thousands of orphans. Nowadays the real enemy consists merely of a handsome of young individuals who want to take matters in hand since they feel their respective government is eventually corrupt and cannot do things right for the people. The best way to deal with future enemies of this type is through education.

Let us here bring to our mind the preamble of UNESCO, which states: Since wars being in the minds of men it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed. Of course, we cannot expect to solve the manifold problems we face overnight. We have to educate a new generation that views the entire world as its "native-land," as Roman philosopher Seneca advocated in the first century. In fact he insisted saying: We will have a permanent world peace when we educate all of our children to look at the world and say: 'Omnis orbs terrarium patria mea est - the whole world is my native land.'

Importance of Global Community

Since Seneca made such a statement, 2,000 years have passed and there has never been a sizeable period of world peace. All of these 20 centuries that passed since then have been characterized by struggles and wars that inflicted suffering and death on several millions of innocent people. Confronted with this reality we should not be discouraged. We still have a chance, an opportunity to turn things around fast and smooth to the best we can. Recent events across the USA and other countries have been a gigantic step in the right direction.

We are referring here to the "occupy" peaceful protests where highly concerned citizens demonstrate in front of governmental buildings as well as in squares and parks. People want to show that the time for continued suppression of their sacrosanct human rights is over. If we were to make a careful study of the human rights in virtually every major country we would soon discover that there is hardly one nation in the world that literally respects human rights, not just on the surface by words but especially in practice as evidenced in actions.

Ironically, the United States is perhaps the most vocal country in the world that condemns violations of human rights as they occur from time to time. This is good and quite encouraging. The only tragedy we witness here lies in the fact that in its own territory, the USA does not practice what it preaches to others. For example, the USA was quick to condemn the brutal ways that were used recently in such countries as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria against young people who protested peacefully the tyranny they have experienced for years.

When recently American young men and women demonstrated in New York and other cities to protest the way the poor and the middle class were exploited by US corporations, hundreds of police dressed with helmets and full military equipment went to confront these peaceful demonstrators. They went like they were soldiers going after their enemies to destroy them if that were needed. In fact, they hand-cuffed and arrested several of them without mercy. They also sprayed pepper on them that some of them could hardly see.

When students in California gathered peacefully to protest the exorbitant fees increase of their university that would make it literally impossible to finish their studies, hundreds of police went to confront them dressed in helmets like they constituted a part of the military. These police, directed by local government officials, used violence against these innocent and harmless students that injured quite a number of them. These American police were no more or less brutal than the police in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria in addition to a few other countries that we witnessed in recent times.

Safeguard of Human Rights

While the US government condemns the brutalities of police against peaceful demonstrators in other countries, it condones and even instigates such police brutalities against peaceful demonstrators in its own territory. The sole purpose of the United States to have hundreds of military bases around the world is not to bring freedom and democracy to other nations. All these elements serve merely as instruments for the USA to police the whole world and to control it in any way possible.

As stated earlier, the job of the government is to serve the people and not to boss them around. To this end, the government must listen periodically to what the people have to say especially relative to their imminent vital needs. One of the best documents on human rights is the United Nations Charter on Human Rights. In spite of this, there is hardly any country that observes fully well this well-written and inspired charter. Let us quote a few examples for us to realize what has been stated with great clarity.

In accordance with this UN document, all human beings have a sacrosanct right to move around freely anywhere they wish in the world. Yet, a number of governments, the USA included, prevent their people from visiting a number of countries. For example, Americans are not allowed to visit Cuba, their peaceful neighbor and quite a few other countries. By way of contrast, Canadians are not prohibited by their government to visit any nation of their choice. Needless to say, when people travel they need to have some kind of identification.

The most common identification that has been used for centuries is known as the passport. In spite of this, for many countries, a valid passport is not enough. Unless they issue you with the so called "visa" you are not free to visit your chosen nation even if you have many friends there. If this were a matter of routine or a means of making an extra income, since one has to pay a fee to secure the visa, then perhaps we may close our eyes. But in a number of instances, the visa is mysteriously denied.

We are especially referring to the refusal of issuing a visa to teachers whose sole purpose to travel is to participate in an international academic conference or even a global peace convention. These are all governmental blatant violations of human rights. It would be appropriate if we were to make serious studies relative to what motivates governments to violate constantly and systematically the human rights of so many people in general. Among possible reasons we may enlist ignorance, indifference, paranoia, irresponsibility, prejudice, stubbornness, machismo, stupidity and abuse, in addition to others.

Eventual Control of World Problems

The tremendous violations of human rights we witness periodically in the world at large are too many to enumerate. However, it would be appropriate if we were to study the violations of human rights in every single country while trying to pin point with clarity their very source so that we may go after it and block it for good. Since power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, we cannot have the same people in government for the rest of their lives. We have to devise a plan to have people in government for only a fixed time.

This is important because even if those in government happen to be good people initially, they will eventually, sooner or later, begin to demonstrate the symptoms of eventual corruption as time rolls on. Let us also keep in mind what Blessed Pope John Paul II said in Mexico during the decade of the eighties when asked as to whether he thought world peace was possible. He said: Yes but only after two great evils of the 20th century are gone: communism and capitalism, because they both advance their causes through the exploitation of people.

Some leading political scientists tell us that if we were to eliminate all of the evil of communism and capitalism and try to preserve anything good we may possibly find in these two systems, we may hopefully create a viable and desirable government for all people to have and to cherish. This would involve the election of all governmental officials where the news media will bring systematic news about all those running for office free-of-charge. This would also involve that all people will have free health care and free education for life.

After all, the people are the backbone of the nation. If they are healthy and well educated we will surely have a strong nation. If people are unhealthy and barely educated then we will have a weak nation. This type of government may be referred to by a number of names including such names as social democracy or democratic socialism. This will certainly bring to an end the monopoly that that big corporations have on government officials whose job nowadays ceased to serve the people but to boss them around.
  Read Real Source of Major World Problems
 November 30, 2011  
Confucius: Great Chinese Teacher
by 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
Download full WORD document of this Research Paper

One of the greatest Chinese teachers of all time was Confucius, who was also known as Kong Fu Zi. He has been viewed as a good scholar to this very day. This admired philosopher was born in 551 B.C. in Lu, China, which is today known as Shandong province. He died in 479 B.C. In his teachings he adopted a humanitarian approach to social harmony based on the belief that, deep inside, all people want to live at peace with each other. His main instructions were conveyed to us by his students under the name of Analects.

Nature of Teachings

By the process of time, his teachings evolved into a political and religious system. This was during the Han Dynasty in the 3rd century. His teachings soon evolved into becoming the state religion of China until the latter part of the 20th century. Nowadays, some critics condemned Confucianism because it had been perceived as an impediment to modernization. Confucius was born into a poor family. He was mostly self-educated and developed mastery of six arts known as rites, music, archery, charioteering, calligraphy and mathematics.

In his thirties he became involved into a teaching career. He viewed education as constant self-improvement with its primary goal to produce noblemen. Throughout his life-time he emphasized the importance of family, school, community, state and kingdom. Most of the quotations of Confucius have evolved to become very popular. Among these we find: Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it…… Forget injuries, never forget kindness…. Ignorance is the right of the mind, but the night without moon and stars….

In addition, we find also: Men's natures are alike, it is their habits that carry them far apart….. Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do…. Respect yourself and others will respect you…. Study the past if you would define the future…. It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop…. Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves… When anger rises, think of the consequences…..

Confucius was a deeply spiritual man who felt convinced he had special and privileged relation with Heaven. He seems to have viewed Heaven as a spiritual power that was capable of providing peace and harmony in the world among all people. For him a good life was revealed in one's compassion and love for others. He always advocated the Golden Rule: What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others. This man of wisdom often advocated devotion to parents and older siblings in addition to the practice of self-discipline.

Harmonious Relationships

Besides, Confucius also advocated harmonious relationship between ruler and subjects, between husbands and wives as well as between friends. He also emphasized the importance of the practice of self-discipline. The educational goal of Confucius was simple. He concentrated on creating gentlemen who carry themselves everywhere with grace, speak correctly, and show integrity in all things. Confucius spent most of his adult life travelling from town to town in China accompanied by his students and friends.

In these journeys he took the opportunity to provide rulers he came across with adequate advices. In quite a few instances, his advice was not appreciated and, as a result, he was put in jail for quite a few times. At 67 Confucius returned to his native place of Lu where he remained until he passed away five years later. Throughout his life he tried to provide peace and harmony among all people, which explains why he was viewed as a deeply spiritual man who was revered and admired by all those who came across him.

When scholars analyze his teachings and writings they tend to view him as one of the greatest spiritual figures in history. Among such great spiritual figures we find Buddha, Jesus of Nazareth, all the way to Francis of Assisi, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and even the late Pope John Paul II. What did all of these great spiritual figures have in common? They all revealed detachment from the material things of this world. They all attached great importance on the spiritual aspect of the human being.

Besides, it was systematically noticed that all those who followed the teachings of these great spiritual teachers never regretted it. On the contrary, such teachers tended to feel deeply self-confident and fully satisfied with what they had at their disposal. Each statement they made was so spiritually deep and significant that books could eventually be written for everyone to enjoy and cherish. Considering that Confucian philosophy had dominated China for some 3,000 years we need to listen carefully to this great Chinese teacher since this way we do have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
  Read Confucius: Great Chinese Teacher
  December 7, 2011  
Dual Citizenship Impacting on Patriotism and Creating Unrest for the Global Peace
by Hasibur Rahman
Hasibur Rahman
Computer Instructor (Acting)
Management Information Systems
Dhaka University, Dhaka, Bangladesh
E-mail: hasibur77@yahoo.com
Download full WORD document of this Research Paper

Dual Citizenship is very vulnerable for global peace and ultimately vanishing patriotism from a person. In a particular a person with dual citizenship has greater flexibility of choices of where to live and works. In fact when someone has multiple citizenship then the person never be a patriot equal to the people living in homeland/motherland. Dual citizens never pay actual tax to any country, where they born or migrated, they move around for their own benefit not for any nation They never invest to any country only procure houses, flats and business shares for their own purpose, because they have multiple choices and facilities to reside. Dual citizens can have diverse advantages; they are just like the birds of spring. In this way, countries safety and security remain in a delicate position. Thus, the behaves of anyone with dual or multiple citizenship need to investigate for the specific situation very carefully. We are the people of global village so we have to love this earth and take-care this global village for the present and future generation. Global peace can't be established without cancellation of dual citizenship and implement single citizenship policy. Indian government's and law maker understand the impacts of dual citizenship and they permitted Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) and Person of Indian Origin (POI) programs are often incorrectly described as offering "dual nationality" or "dual citizenship." The OCI and POI programs do offer card holders some travel and residency privileges. So, the government of Bangladesh and law makers needs to implement the law for dual citizenship for the peace of the country. It is time to take initiative steps from the world leaders and policy makers to phase-out the dual citizenship and to re-arrange the international immigration law for the multinational citizen. On the other hand, it is global rights to create trouble-free visa policy for job seeker, students and travelers to reduce poverty, hunger, retribution, jealousy to mitigate of world unrest and to established global peace.

Key words: Dual citizenship, Patriotism, Global rights, Global peace

What is dual citizenship?

A person having two passport for two countries, one of his original country another one where, which country he/she migrated as a citizen. Then the personal can hold dual passport for dual citizenship. Citizens not lose his/her original citizenship if you become a U.S. citizen through naturalization. However, because some countries do not recognize dual citizenship, it is important to check the nationality laws and policies of home country. If any one automatically granted foreign citizenship, you will not lose U.S. citizenship. However, if any one granted foreign citizenship because he/she applied for it, he/she may lose U.S. citizenship. The application must have been made by free choice with the intention of giving up your U.S. citizenship. The concept of dual nationality means that a person is a citizen of two countries at the same time. Each country has its own citizenship laws based on its own policy. Persons may have dual nationality by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice. For example, a child born in a foreign country to U.S. citizen parents may be both a U.S. citizen and a citizen of the country of birth.

Reflection of Dual Citizenship:

What is the reflection of dual citizenship; it is vanishing patriotism from a citizen. The person never can love any country when having multiple citizenships, multiple passports and having multiple choices. They became like a birds of spring. They never pay actual tax to any country, where they born or migrated, they move around for their own benefit not for any nation. They never invest to any country only buy house and flat for their own purpose because they have multiple choice and facilities. We are the people of global village so we have to love this earth and take-care this global village for the present and future generation. The love of a country means patriotism; it is natural feelings and emotion. When a person think about a country as a motherland or only one country to live and invest then the feelings patriotism will come in his/her mind automatically. If anyone has a multiple choices then the feelings of patriotism will become weaken and ultimately it will vanish some day from their mind. Global peace can't be established without cancellation of dual citizenship and implement single citizenship policy.

Dual citizenship can have distinct advantages. In particular, a person with dual citizenship has greater flexibility of choices where to live and works. Those people of Bangladeshi having dual passport they enter to the country with their Bangladeshi passport take the facilities without paying any arrival tax and having other facilities as a Bangladeshi citizen but after end of their visit they shows their foreign countries passport such as (USA, Canada, UK, EU citizenship passport) and get VIP treatment during departure. How many days they stay to country and how much they spend in Bangladesh there shouldn't be any accountability? So, anyone with dual or multiple citizenship needs to investigate for the specific situation very carefully. What a dull idea of international immigrant law about permitting dual citizenship? In this way global peace can't be established by permitting dual citizenship.

Brief overview on dual citizenship:

In general, countries define citizenship based on one's descent, place of birth, marriage, and/or naturalization. That is, you might be a citizen of a given country for one or more of the following reasons (Richard, 1991-2011):

" You were born on territory belonging to, or claimed by, that country (often called ius soli, or sometimes jus soli -- Latin for "right of the soil").

" One or both of your parents were citizens of that country (often called ius sanguinis or jus sanguinis -- Latin for "right of the blood").

" You married a citizen of that country (though please note that the practice of granting immediate, automatic citizenship to a foreign spouse is far less prevalent today than it was decades ago).

" You (or one or both of your parents) obtained that country's citizenship by going through a legal process of naturalization.

The exact details will, not surprisingly, depend on the laws of the country in question. For example, the US limits its application of ius sanguinis by requiring American parents to have lived for a certain period of time in the US before foreign-born children can be entitled to US citizenship by birth. Many countries (Switzerland is one example) do not confer citizenship via ius soli at all, and those which do generally make exceptions for children of foreign diplomats. Automatic citizenship via marriage is rare nowadays; more commonly, marriage may allow one spouse a "fast track" to immigration to the other spouse's country, but a period of non-citizen permanent residence would still be required before the immigrant spouse could obtain a new citizenship via naturalization. Since there can be several ways to acquire a given country's citizenship, it is possible for someone to be considered a citizen under the laws of two (or more) countries at the same time. This is what is meant by dual (or multiple) citizenship.

In 2006, India launched the "Overseas Citizens of India" (OCI) program, which has often been mischaracterized as a dual nationality program. It does not grant Indian citizenship. An OCI card holder, however, does not receive an Indian passport, cannot vote in Indian elections, and is not eligible for Indian government employment. The Indian government's Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) and Person of Indian Origin (POI) programs are often incorrectly described as offering "dual nationality" or "dual citizenship." The OCI and POI programs do offer card holders some travel and residency privileges. The Constitution of India does not allow holding Indian citizenship and citizenship of a foreign country simultaneously. Based on the recommendation of the High Level committee on Indian Diaspora, the Government of India decided to grant Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) commonly known as 'dual citizenship'. Persons registered as OCI have not been given any voting rights, election to Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha/Legislative Assembly/Council, holding Constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, Judge of Supreme Court/High Court etc.

Impacts of dual citizenship:

Countries usually frame their citizenship laws with little or no regard for the citizenship laws of other countries. In some cases, a country may seek to restrict dual citizenship by requiring one of its citizens born with some other citizenship to renounce (give up) the other citizenship upon reaching adulthood. Similarly, newly naturalized citizens in some (but not all) countries are required to renounce their previous citizenship(s); the US has such a requirement, for example, but Canada does not. And in some (but, again, not all) cases, a country will automatically revoke the citizenship of one of its citizens who acquires another country's citizenship by naturalization, even if no explicit renunciation was involved. Where one country requires a citizen to renounce the citizenship of another country, this renunciation may or may not be acknowledged or accepted by the other country. This can sometimes lead to sticky legal situations. Also, countries which require such renunciations differ in how seriously they treat this requirement. In some cases (such as Singapore), an applicant for naturalization may be required by his new country to go to an embassy or consulate of his old country and renounce his old citizenship in a manner prescribed by his old country's laws.

As a general rule, dual citizens have dual voting rights, the problem is overestimated even if voting rights are exercised in two or more countries and dual citizen residing abroad usually have voting rights. So, despite the benefit of dual citizenship some countries resist the increasing tolerance towards it because of fears about the consequence of dual voting, lack of integration, loyalty, and of a devaluation of citizenship (Thomas etal. 2008). So, anyone with dual or multiple citizen needs to investigate about their investment and movement very observantly.

Every country has its won safety and security law for the state and citizen. But when migrated peoples become a citizen then the person will be treated as equal citizen rights. In fact when some one has multiple citizenship then the person never be a patriot equal to the people of homeland or motherland. Because, dual citizen have multiple choices for investment and residency. In this way, countries safety and security remain in a delicate position. Anti-Western terrorist groups, some on the U.S. government's list of foreign terrorist organizations, are active in different country, including religion extremist groups. The U.S. government continues to receive information that terrorist groups are planning attacks that could take place in different locations. Though not directed specifically at Westerners, the violence frequently occurs in densely-populated or high-traffic areas for maximum impact areas in different country. Now, time to think about why recession of world economy increasing poverty and job crisis all over the world. Why the occurrence held 9/11 and London unrest? Find out the fact is there lots of migrated peoples having dual citizenship all over the world and there is lack of patriotism among the migrated citizen? Dual citizenship now becomes as a big issue for the unrest of global peace and economical instability.


It is time to take initiative steps from the world leaders and policy makers to phase-out the dual citizenship and to re-arrange the international immigration law for the multinational citizen. If a citizen migrates to foreign country the person must hold only one passport for one contrary's citizenship. When we think about migrated country as a mother land then patriotism will reflect in our mind and soul. The citizen will realize that now to hold single passport for single citizenship forever not any multinational or dual citizenship facility. Then ultimately the citizen will concentrate to participate in development activities for better economy. Because any terrible economy or broken social environment he/she and their inheritors will suffer now-and-then in future. So patriotism will reveal for the country where the citizen will reside. It is very significant to cancellation of dual citizenship policy for the peace of the earth. On the other hand, it is global rights to create trouble-free visa policy for job seeker, students, and travelers to reduce poverty, hunger, retribution, jealousy and mitigation of world unrest.

Dual Citizenship is very vulnerable for global peace it's vanishing patriotism from a person from the earth. Now-a-days, Bangladeshi politicians, government's higher level officers, diplomats, industrialist all are having dual citizenship. They just stay in this country for earning money and fame. All of their children's are staying abroad like England, Canada, USA, Australia and other country. At the end of their earning money they just leave this country and stay with their family at abroad. What is the meaning of patriotism a dual citizen never be realized. Indian government and department of Immigration Law came to realize this situation and not permitting dual citizenship they have permitted Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) (Not a Dual Citizenship). So, the government of Bangladesh and law makers needs to rearrange the law for dual citizenship for the peace of the country. Otherwise there would be a dangerous future for Bangladesh; there could be no patriotism activities in near future in Bangladesh well as in migrated countries.


1. Dual Citizenship FAQ: Dual Nationality and United States Law by Rich Wales (Copyright © 1991-2011 Richard B. Wales).

2. India Country Specific Information

3. OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India (not a Dual Citizenship) (www.immihelp.com/nri/overseascitizenshipindia/)

4. Permanent residence (United States) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Permanent_Resident_Card)

5. Thomas, etal, (2008). "Dual Citizenship in an Age of Mobility" MPI Migration Policy Institute, 2008.

6. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Citizenship_and_Immigration_Services)

7. US State Department Services Dual Nationality (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1753.html).
  Read Dual Citizenship Impacting on Patriotism and Creating Unrest for the Global Peace