Politics and Justice without borders





Global Community Newsletter

Volume 10 Issue 6 June 2012
Theme this month:

Stop the madness of tar sands oil pipeline construction

President Obama
A) Thank you letter to President Obama concerning your decision not allowing the world dirtiest oil, tar sands oil from Alberta, to enter on American soil.
a) Animation movie in (.swf)
b) Animation movie in (.wmv)
c) Canadian tar sands oil a living insanity.
d) Stop the madness of tar sands oil pipeline construction.
B) Letter to President Barack Obama concerning your re-election as President of the United States of America

Stop the madness of tar sands oil pipeline construction:
click on the following animation of this monthly Newsletter.
(Note: it takes 2-3 minutes to download; be patient, thank you.)

Stop the madness of tar sands oil pipeline construction








Global Peace Village is a project of the Global Community. Global Peace Village

The theme of this Newsletter has been written by Global Peace Village.

Video games Listing and showing of all our animations so far Website of the Global Community Global Information Media main website Global Dialogue 2012 iconGDmain Current News Proceedings since 1985 Global Constitution Global Parliament Justice without borders Global Law Global Peace Movement Global Peace Earth Global Peace Village Ministry of Global Peace Scale of Global Rights Protection of the global life-support sustems Soul of all Life


Major partners and operators for the production of the Canadian (Alberta) dirty tar sands oil.

Stop the madness of tar sands oil pipeline construction

The list and links of all of our videos so far are found here.  The list and links to all of Global Community animations.
The list of all Global Community video games so far are found here.  The list and links to all of Global Community video games.



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

See the following artboards of
"Thank you letter to President Obama concerning your decision not allowing the world dirtiest oil, tar sands oil from Alberta, to enter on American soil".

Artboard #1 Thank you President Obama Artboard #2 Artboard #3 Artboard #4 Artboard #5 Artboard #6

The theme for this month Newsletter is best described by the following animations


Tar Sands Oil videos

a) swf file
b) html file
c) mp4 file

Text found in this month theme dirty tar sands oil animation.


Why am I doing this?
If instead of digging for the dirty tar sands oil we were investing in environmentally friendly projects, we would save the planet and its inhabitants, and we would create 10 times as many jobs; that would also save the global economy from collapsing on itself and stop fuelling the war industry.

Germain Dufour
Spiritual Leader of the Global Community
June 1st, 2012



Daily reminder

This is the way. Message from the Spiritual Leader of the Global Community
Message from the Editor.GIM  Message from the Editor
Politics and Justice without borders: what we stand for. Politics and Justice without borders: what we stand for
Message from the President of Global Parliament, the Federation of Global Governments.Message from the President of Earth Government
History of the Global Community organization, Earth Government and the Federation of Global Governments.History of the Global Community Organization and Interim Earth Government Since its beginning in 1985, many accomplishments can be claimed by the Global Community:History of the Global Community organization and Earth Government
Global Community days of celebration or remembering during the year.Global Community Days of Celebration
A reminder of her passing away. Virginie was a great global citizen, and we all owe her something that's forever. GIM  Message from the Editor
Life Day Celebration on May 26. Participate.Life Day Celebration May 26. Participate.
Participate now in Global Dialogue 2012, no fees. Participate now in Global Dialogue 2012
Global Dialogue 2012 Introduction.Global Dialogue 2012 Introduction
Global Dialogue 2012 Program Global Dialogue 2012 Program
Global Dialogue 2012 OVERVIEW of the process.  Global Dialogue 2012 OVERVIEW of the process
Global Dialogue 2012 Call for Papers.Global Dialogue 2012 Call for Papers
We seek more symbiotical relationships with people and organizations.We seek more symbiotical relationships
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We have now streamlined the participation process in the Global Dialogue.We have now streamlined the participation process in the Global Dialogue
Global Community Days of Celebration and Remembrance during the year.Global Community Days of Celebration and Remembering during the year


Top of the page

GIM Proclamations

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

Isolda Agazzi, John Scales Avery, Roger Bybee, Farooque Chowdhury, Common Dreams staff, Peter Goodchild, James Hansen, Chris Hedges, Jay Janson, Michael T. Klare, Tara Lohan, Bill McKibben, Guy R. McPherson, Dr Gideon Polya (2), Carrie Saxifrage, Shankar Sharma, Desmond Tutu, Tom Whipple, Mickey Z

Isolda Agazzi, Global Corporations Undermining Democracy Worldwide Global Corporations Undermining Democracy Worldwide
John Scales Avery, Adverse Effects Of Globalization Adverse Effects Of Globalization
Roger Bybee, Workers Battle ExxonMobil Over Safety at Baton Rouge Refinery Workers Battle ExxonMobil Over Safety at Baton Rouge Refinery
Farooque Chowdhury, The Poor And The Privileged And A Proposal On Resource Use The Poor And The Privileged And A Proposal On Resource Use
Common Dreams staff, Global Temperatures Could Rise By More Than 2?C By Mid-Century: Report Global Temperatures Could Rise By More Than 2?C By Mid-Century: Report
Peter Goodchild, Will China Survive? Will China Survive?
James Hansen, Game Over For The Climate Game Over For The Climate
Chris Hedges, The Globalization of Hollow Politics The Globalization of Hollow Politics
Jay Janson, US Armed Forces Day Pride In The Mass-Murder Of Millions US Armed Forces Day Pride In The Mass-Murder Of Millions
Michael T. Klare, 6 Global Conflicts That Have Flared Up Over Oil and Gas 6 Global Conflicts That Have Flared Up Over Oil and Gas
Tara Lohan, 'Last Call at the Oasis': Why Time Is Running Out to Save Our Drinking Water 'Last Call at the Oasis': Why Time Is Running Out to Save Our Drinking Water
Bill McKibben, Americans Wake Up to the Daily Reality of Climate Change Americans Wake Up to the Daily Reality of Climate Change
Guy R. McPherson, When All Is Said And Done When All Is Said And Done
Dr Gideon Polya, Western And Australian Pro-Zionist Mainstream Media Censorship Of Muslim Holocaust And Palestinian Holocaust Western And Australian Pro-Zionist Mainstream Media Censorship Of Muslim Holocaust And Palestinian Holocaust
Dr Gideon Polya, Australia 's Huge Coal, Gas & Iron Ore Exports Threaten Planet Australia 's Huge Coal, Gas & Iron Ore Exports Threaten Planet
Carrie Saxifrage, Fourteen Arrested Blocking BNSF Coal Train In White Rock Fourteen Arrested Blocking BNSF Coal Train In White Rock
Shankar Sharma, Coal Power Fiasco In India ? Karnataka's Case Study Coal Power Fiasco In India ? Karnataka's Case Study
Desmond Tutu, Justice Requires Action To Stop Subjugation Of Palestinians Justice Requires Action To Stop Subjugation Of Palestinians
Tom Whipple, The Peak Oil Crisis: Perspective The Peak Oil Crisis: Perspective
Mickey Z, Occupy For All Species Occupy For All Species


Articles and papers of authors
 Data sent
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 Read
 May 19, 2012  
US Armed Forces Day Pride In The Mass-Murder Of Millions
by Jay Janson , Countercurrents.org
"Presidential Proclamation -- Armed Forces Day, 2012

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

With every assignment and in every theater, America's men and women in uniform perform their duties with the utmost dignity, honor, and professionalism. Through their dauntless courage and dedication, they live up to our Nation's highest ideals in even the most perilous circumstances. On Armed Forces Day, we pay tribute to the unparalleled service of our Armed Forces and recall the extraordinary feats they accomplish in defense of our Nation."

At least a billion people in the so called undeveloped or developing world sustaining overwhelming US military attack since 1945 as they  attempted to liberate themselves from colonial and neo-colonial exploitation and being plundered same as before World War Two by the empires of the Europe and the US, will be reading or listening to President Obama's heartless words with their own thoughts reverberating in between his phrases.

"With every assignment and in every theater " (Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Lebanon, Dominican Republic, Panama, Grenada, Iraq, Libya etc.) , "America's men and women in uniform perform their duties," (killing now in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen), "with the utmost dignity" ( and superiority ) , "honor" (among the dishonor of atrocities from Sinchon and Go Run to Mai Lai to Fallujah to villages in Afghanistan) "and professionalism" (during genocidal extermination of the necessary significant portions of indigenous uncooperative populations all over the world.)  " Through their dauntless courage and dedication, they live up to our Nation's highest ideals" (of American exceptionalism, belief in predatory capitalism and the primacy of the interests of American investors) in even the most perilous circumstances" ('perilous' for fighting heroically determined armed defenders of their homelands from bombing, invasion and occupation by the world's superpower using devastating weapons of mass destruction) .   
"As individuals, our service members set extraordinary examples of character" (what could be in the President's mind as he says these words knowing of the constant wire services reporting of massacres by US and NATO armed forces) "for those whose freedom they protect." (no, they take away our freedom and kill us to protect US business interests from our own people ruling us?)   "Together, they comprise the greatest force for freedom and security the world has ever known." (? Truly, lying words of a madman or devil).  ...

"As we celebrate the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who make our way of life possible" (a desperate, self-centered, depressed, commercialized, ugly, frightened materialistic 'way of life' devoid of natural charm, grace and nobility and in pervading bad taste and inhumanity, unlike any ever seen on earth before 'made possible' as Martin Luther King, a wonderful internationally beloved African American said, by mass-murder of fellow human beings in order to maintain the unjust predatory investments of wealthy private Americans who control the wealth and resources of half the planet), "we also pay our deepest respect to their families, our missing, our wounded, and our fallen." (how insincere, in reality horribly disrespectful to those who died, deceived into participating in the murdering and maiming of millions of innocent and men, women and children for the profits of the immoral and incomprehensibly greedy in complete disregard of the taking lives of beautiful women and children of others). "Inspired by their service" (to wild and insane inexpressible evil) "and humbled by their sacrifice" (not humbled, instead disgustingly political pretending to care), "let us recommit to providing all those who have served our Nation" (no, to the Nation's ruling rich and powerful homicidal and criminally insane thieves) "the support they deserve." (how to support those poor Americans already dead, who died ignominiously for an inexpressibly  ignorant, depraved, villainous, demonic, monstrous, shocking, despicable, atrocious, heinous, odiously contemptible cause?)

"NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States" (winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize after just beginning the bombing of yet another nation, Pakistan), "continuing the precedent of my predecessors in office" (his immediate predecessor was Bush the second, just this week convicted by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal * of crimes against humanity), "do hereby proclaim the third Saturday of each May as Armed Forces Day."

"I direct the Secretary of Defense" (former Head of the infamous CIA) "... to plan for appropriate observances each year, with the Secretary of Defense responsible for encouraging the participation and cooperation of civil authorities and private citizens" (to thereby spread the feeling of complicity and guilt for the government ordered war crimes evenly among all Americans. ...).

"Finally, I call upon all Americans to display the flag of the United States" (so universally hated as a symbol of US illegal and undeclared wars on vulnerable peoples already poor from years of imperial occupation and domination of their countries) "at their homes on Armed Forces Day ...

BARACK OBAMA "

* an international tribunal founded by the anti-imperialist former long time Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir bin Mohamad, in view of the International Court of the Hague refusing to accept cases for prosecution of the US and its allies.

Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India and the US; now resides in NYC;. Howard Zinn lent his name to various projects of his; GlobalResearch, InformationClearingHouse, CounterCurrents, Minority Perspective, UK; DissidentVoice, OpEdNews, HistoryNewsNetwork and others have published his articles. He is coordinator of the King Condemned US Wars International Awareness Campaign (
King Condemned US Wars ) and creator of Prosecute US Crimes Against Humanity Now Campaign with a country by country history of US crimes. Studied history at CCNY, Columbia U., U. Puerto Rico,  Dolmetscher Institut München , Germany; Korean National University of Arts, Seoul; Radiotelevisione Italiana , Rome; Zagreb Radiotelevision ,Yugoslavia; Hong Kong Arts Academy.

  Read US Armed Forces Day Pride In The Mass-Murder Of Millions
 May 19, 2012  

"If you don't want to be beaten, imprisoned, mutilated, killed, or tortured then you shouldn't condone such behavior towards anyone, be they human or not." --Moby



There I was, walking along 30th Ave. in Astoria, Queens. Just a few steps in front of me, two men and a little girl were strolling at a casual pace. The men, in their late 20s, were deep in conversation but one was clearly keeping an eye on the girl. She was no more than five-years-old but had a precocious and confident air that you could detect in a single glance.

As we all passed one of the many Italian delis that dot the Astoria landscape, the young gal looked to her left and then turned to one of the men.

"Dad," she said, giggling uncontrollably. "The sign on that store said 'We carry frozen snails.'"

With comic timing that would make any Vaudevillian drool, he replied: "I bet their hands are cold." (insert rimshot here) And dig this: his daughter got the pun. She was laughing her little head off the rest of the way down the block.

What she didn't get -- what so few of us get -- is how the tragic realities of the standard American diet are rendered invisible.

As I continued my way down 30th Ave., I saw a butcher standing in front of his shop -- chatting amiably with passersby -- his white frock stained deep red with blood.

He was casually standing there -- as he does every day -- drenched in the blood of a murdered creature but essentially nobody chose to notice the crimson splatter. Those that did notice, well, they didn't even flinch.

Behind the butcher, sheep carcasses hung from large hooks in the window... their bulging lifeless eyes seemed to stare accusingly at the butcher's back. He didn't appear to notice. Essentially nobody noticed and those that did, well, they didn't even flinch.

The next block brought me in contact with a fish store. Wet cardboard boxes filled with marine corpses piled in front... the street reeking of death. Beyond the stench, essentially nobody noticed and those that did, well, they didn't even flinch.

Looking into the fish store window, I saw a tiny aquarium tank. At least a dozen doomed lobsters were piled atop one another... their claws taped shut. Essentially nobody noticed and those that did, well, they didn't even flinch.

What happens when someone points all this out, refuses to participate, and urges others to do the same? You can be damn fuckin' sure plenty of folks will notice and, yeah... the flinching will begin in earnest.

Mic Check: We need more flinching, we need less denial, and we must make holistic connections.

"One thing to remember is to talk to the animals. If you do, they will talk back to you. But if you don't talk to the animals, they won't talk back to you, then you won't understand, and when you don't understand you will fear and when you fear you will destroy the animals, and if you destroy the animals, you will destroy yourself." --Chief Dan George

The correlation between animal rights and the Occupy movement is clear. The corporate powers-that-be manipulate and twist our minds in the name of profit and they're damn sure not gonna let animal abuse get in their avaricious way.

Mic Check: If the new wave of occupants and the old guard of animal rights activists join hands, well... the 99% becomes that much more unstoppable.

As I've said over and over, the system being challenged by OWS is built, in a major way, on the exploitation of non-human animals and the eco-system. It's all connected within a culture constructed on the premise of unlimited growth and it must all remain connected within a movement aiming for holistic justice.

If you're already working to dismantle corporate power, expand freedoms, and create a safer, more sane culture, you already have plenty in common with animal rights activists.

Why not take things even further and recognize that the mighty 99% also includes non-human animals -- and the entire ecosystem itself?

Mic Check: If you're in the New York City area, join us for an afternoon of solidarity at the Veggie Pride Parade event at Union Square Park on Sun., May 27. I'm the keynote speaker and I will be connecting animal rights activists with occupiers that day.

We are the 99%. Expect us. Join us...

***

Mickey Z. is the author of 11 books, most recently the novel Darker Shade of Green. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on an obscure website called Facebook.

© WorldNewsTrust.com -- Share and re-post this story. Please include this copyright notice and a link to World News Trust.

  Read Occupy For All Species
 May 15, 2012  
Australia 's Huge Coal, Gas & Iron Ore Exports Threaten Planet
by Dr Gideon Polya , Countercurrents.org

In remorseless, greed-driven commitment to climate racism and climate criminality, Australia ignores top German climate change scientists who estimated in 2009 that the world must emit no more than 600 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) before 2050 if it is to have a  reasonable chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2 degree Centigrade temperature rise. Australia 's annual domestic plus exported greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution is so high that it exceeded its ?:fair share? of this terminal GHG pollution budget by mid-2011. Worse still, Australia 's commitment to unlimited gas, coal and iron ore exports means that it is committed to polluting the atmosphere with over 3 times the world's total terminal GHG pollution budget. Australia 's annual domestic plus exported per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution is about 70 times greater than the annual per capita GHG pollution of acutely climate change-threatened Bangladesh .   

In 2009 the German Advisory Council on Climate Change (WBGU) determined that for a 75% chance of avoiding a 2 degree C temperature rise, the World must pollute less than 600 Gt CO2 (600 billion tonnes CO2) between 2010 and essentially zero emissions in 2050.

This means that the "fair share" of this  global terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution budget of 600 Gt  CO2 (600 billion tonnes CO2) for Australia (population 22.9 million in 2012 as compared to a World population of 7,010 million ) is 600 billion tonnes CO2  x 22.9 million/7010 million  = 1.960 billion tonnes CO2 = 1,960 million tonnes CO2.

Australia's annual domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution was 578 million tonnes CO2-e in 2010 (this figure taking into account not just CO2 but other greenhouse gases (GHGs) excluding water (H2O) that were emitted e.g. methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) derived from land use) and accordingly Australia has 1,960/578 = 3.4 years at this rate to use up its ?fair share? of the world's terminal GHG pollution budget.  

However simple ?cause and effect? means that we must also consider the GHG impact of Australia's huge coal, natural gas and iron ore exports to the GHG pollution of the one common atmosphere of all countries.  If Australia left it all in the ground then this material would not be used to generate GHG pollution of the atmosphere.

Australia's domestic plus exported GHG pollution in 2010 was 1,708 million tonnes CO2-e, this being made up (in million tonnes of CO2-e) of   578 (Domestic) + 803 (coal exports) + 34 (LNG exports) + 293 (iron ore exports) (see "2011 Climate Change Course": https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course  ) and hence Australia had 1,960/1,708 = 1.1 years to get to zero emissions i.e. by the middle of 2011).

Australia has thus already used up its ?fair share? of the world's  terminal GHG pollution budget and is now stealing the entitlement of all of the countries in the world. For a detailed analysis see ?Shocking analysis by country of years left to zero emissions?, Green Blog, 1 August 2011: http://www.green-blog.org/2011/08/01/shocking-analysis-by-country-of-years-left-to-zero-emissions/ .

However, Australia has huge reserves of black coal, brown coal, natural gas (conventional gas and unconventional gas such as shale gas and coal seam gas or CSG) and iron ore (which contributes  to GHG pollution when processed industrially. It is accordingly useful to examine ti the implications of Australia extracting and exporting all of its reserves of these resources. The answers are quite shocking.

1. Natural gas.

Australian conventional  gas resources are 111 Tcf  (trillion cubic feet) of Economic Demonstrated Reserves (EDR), 53 Tcf  SDR (Sub-economic Reserves (SDR)  and 20 Tcf  Inferred resources (IR) for a total of 184 Tcf. (see ABARE and Geoscience Australia , ?Australian Energy Resource Assessment?, Chapter 4 ?Gas?: http://adl.brs.gov.au/data/warehouse/pe_aera_d9aae_002/aeraCh_04.pdf ).

However Australia also has unconventional gas resources, specifically Australian coal seam gas resources are 15.1 Tcf  Economic Demonstrated Reserves (EDR), 27.2 Tcf  SDR (Sub-economic Reserves (SDR)  and 111 Tcf  Inferred resources (IR) for a total of 153 Tcf plus tight gas resources (in shale deposits) of 20 Tcf (trillion cubic feet) of Inferred Reserves (IR), for an overall total of unconventional  gas reserves of coal seam gas and shale gas variously requiring ?fracking? of 173 Tcf.  

Now 1 tonne of LNG = 48,700 cubic feet of gas (0.0487 Mcf or million cubic feet of gas) and accordingly Australia 's conventional gas reserves = 184 million Mcf  x 1 t LNG/0.0487 Mcf = 3,778 million tonnes of LNG.

Australia 's unconventional gas reserves = 173 million Mcf x 1 t LNG/0.0487 Mcf = 3,552 million tonnes of LNG.

The major component of LNG is methane (CH4)  which on combustion yields CO2 and water : CH4 + 2O2 -> CO2 + 2 H2O. CH4 has a molecular weight of 16 and CO2 a molecular weight of 44. Accordingly combustion of 16 tonnes of CH4 yields 44 tonnes of CO2 and combustion of 1 tonne of CH4 yields 2.75 tonnes CO2.

However CH4 is a gas, it leaks (an average of 3.3% in the US and up to 7.9% for unconventional gas from fracking shale deposits according to Robert W. Howarth, Renee Santoro and Anthony Ingraffea, ?Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations?, Climatic Change, 2011: http://www.sustainablefuture.cornell.edu/news/attachments/Howarth-EtAl-2011.pdf  ) and is 105 times worse than CO2 as a GHG on a 20 year time frame and including aerosol impacts according to Drew T. Shindell , Greg Faluvegi, Dorothy M. Koch ,   Gavin A. Schmidt ,   Nadine Unger and Susanne E. Bauer , ?Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions?, Science, 30 October 2009:

Vol. 326 no. 5953 pp. 716-718: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5953/716  ).

For 100 tonnes CH4 from conventional gas, leakage of 3.3 tonnes CH4 yields 3.3 tonnes CH4x 105 tonnes CO2-e/ tonne CH4 = 346.5 tonnes CO2-e and combustion of  the remaining 96.3 tonnes CH4 yields 96.3 x 2.75 = 264.8 tonnes CO2 for a total of 611.3 tonnes CO2-e. Accordingly 1 tonne of CSG-derived CH4 yields 6.11 tonnes CO2-e and hence Australia 's conventional reserves of 3.778 billion tonnes would yield 3.778 x 6.11 =  23.1 billion tonnes of CO2-e.

For 100 tonnes CH4 from unconventional gas, leakage of 7.9 tonnes CH4 yields 7.9 tonnes CH4x 105 tonnes CO2-e/ tonne CH4 = 829.5 tonnes CO2-e and combustion of  the remaining 92.1 tonnes CH4 yields 92.1 x 2.75 = 253. 3 tonnes CO2 for a total of 1082.8 tonnes CO2-e. Accordingly 1 tonne of CSG-derived CH4 yields 10.83 tonnes CO2-e and hence Australia 's unconventional reserves of 3.552 billion tonnes would yield 3.552 x 10.82 =  38.4 billion tonnes of CO2-e.

Thus  exploitation of Australia's presently discovered conventional and unconventional gas resources would generate 61.5 billion tonnes of CO2-e or about 10% of the world's terminal GHG pollution budget of 600 billion tonnes CO2, noting that Australia's ?fair share? is only 2.0 billion tonnes CO2-e.

2. Coal.

Australian black coal resources are 39.2 Gt (billion tonnes) Economic Demonstrated Reserves (EDR), 8.3 Gt Sub-economic Reserves (SDR)  and 66.6 Inferred resources (IR) for a total of 114.1 Gt i.e. 114.1 billion tonnes black coal (ABARE and Geoscience Australia, ?Australian Energy Resource Assessment?, Chapter 5 ?Coal?: http://adl.brs.gov.au/data/warehouse/pe_aera_d9aae_002/aeraCh_05.pdf ).

Australian brown coal resources are 37.2 Gt Economic Demonstrated Reserves (EDR), 55.1 Gt Sub-economic Reserves (SDR)  and 101.8 Inferred resources (IR) for a total of 194.0 Gt i.e. 194.0 billion tonnes brown coal.

According to the ?Australian Energy Resource Assessment?, ? Australia ranks fourth in the world in terms of combined recoverable economic coal resources. Australia 's total coal resources are substantially larger than this with total identified resources of black coal being around 114 Gt and  brown coal resources of 194 Gt. However, the full extent of Australia 's very large coal resource base is not known: potential resources have not been assessed because the existing identified resource base is so large. The resource potential of coal is probably in excess of one trillion tonnes. There are over 25 sedimentary basins with identified resources or coal occurrences and there are areas within these basins that need further exploration. Significant potential also exists in poorly explored basins across the continent? (ABARE and Geoscience Australia , ?Australian Energy Resource Assessment?, Chapter 5 ?Coal?: http://adl.brs.gov.au/data/warehouse/pe_aera_d9aae_002/aeraCh_05.pdf ).

If the  ?resource potential? of  over ?one trillion tonnes? has the same proportion of brown/black as Australia's currently proven and inferred resources (194.0 Gt brown/114/1 Gt black) then this would involve 194.0 x 1 trillion t/(194.0 + 114.1) = 629.7 Gt brown coal and 370.3 Gt black coal.

Burning 12 t carbon yields 44 t CO2 i.e. burning 1 t carbon  yields  44 /12 = 3.67 t CO2 Accordingly  complete combustion of black coal (about 80% carbon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_coal ) would yield 0.8 x 3.67 = 2.9  t CO2 and  complete combustion of 1 t brown coal (about 30% carbon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_coal ) would yield 0.3 x 3.67 = 1.1  t CO2. Thus, for example,  because  a lot of brown coal (lignite) is used  for power generation in the US, on average burning 1t coal for electricity in the US yields 2.1 t CO2/t coal (see: http://kilowattcoalco.com/StatsAndLinks.html ).

Using these estimates of 2.9 t CO2/ t black coal and 1.1 t CO2/ t brown coal we can calculate the CO2 from combustion of Australian coal resources as set out below.

CO2 from combustion of established Australian black coal resources would be  113.7 Gt Economic Demonstrated Reserves (EDR), 24.1 Gt Sub-economic Reserves (SDR)  and 193.1 Inferred resources (IR) for a total of 330.9 Gt CO2 i.e. 330.9 billion tonnesCO2 or 55.2% of the world's  terminal pollution budget of 600 billion tonnes of CO2.

CO2 from combustion of established Australian brown coal resources are 40.9 Gt Economic Demonstrated Reserves (EDR), 60.6 Gt Sub-economic Reserves (SDR)  and 112.0 Inferred resources (IR) for a total of 213.4 Gt CO2 i.e. 213.4 billion tonnes of CO2 or 35.6% of the world's terminal pollution budget of 600 billion tonnes of CO2.

Thus CO2 from combustion of established Australian black and brown coal resources would total 544.3 billion tonnes CO2 or 90.7% of the world's terminal pollution budget of 600 billion tonnes of CO2.

However, CO2 from combustion of Australia's  coal resource potential of 1 trillion tonnes of coal would be 692.7 Gt CO2 (from brown coal) plus 1,073.9 Gt CO2 (from black coal) for a total of  1,766.6 Gt CO2 i.e. 1,766.6 billion tonnes CO2 or 294.4% (2.9 times) the world's terminal pollution budget of 600 billion tonnes of CO2.

3. Iron ore.

In 2010 the world produced 2,400 million tonnes of iron ore of which Australia 's production was 420 tonnes. (see ?Iron ore?, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_ore#Production_and_consumption ).

According to The Australian: ? Australia raised its forecast for 2011/12 iron ore exports to a record 473 million tonnes, from a previous projection of 460 million tonnes, reflecting expectations demand from top buyer China will remain strong?Australia exported 407 million tonnes of ore in 2010/11.   Longer term, Australia's exports are expected to rise by an annual rate of around 11 percent to reach 767 million tonnes in 2016/17, the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) predicted? (see ?Australia raises iron ore exports forecast to record?, The Australian, 20 March 2012: http://www.cnbc.com/id/46802742/Australia_Raises_Iron_Ore_Exports_Forecast_to_Record ). At this rate of increase one predicts Australian iron ore exports of 1,048 million tonnes by 2019/2020 and 1,164 million tonnes by 2020/2021 i.e. about 1,106 million tonnes in 2020.

SSAB (the major Swedish steel company ) states that: ?According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the iron and steel industry accounts for approximately 4-5% of the global CO2 emissions. This is due to the fact that steel production requires large amounts of energy, often based on fossil fuels. SSAB's steelworks are among the most efficient in the world? (see SSAB: http://www.ssab.com/en/Investor--Media/Sustainability/32/322/ ).

In 2010 world CO2 emissions totalled 33.5 billion tonnes (see ?List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions?, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions ).

Taking the upper estimate of the steel industry accounting for 5% of the global CO2 emissions (IEA), in 2010 Australia's production of 420 tonnes iron ore was associated with 0.05 x 33,500  million tonnes CO2 x 420 million tonnes iron ore/ 2,400 million tonnes iron ore = 293.1 million tonnes CO2. The predicted iron exports of 1,106 million tonnes in 2020 would correspond to 293.1 million tonnes CO2 x 1,106 million tonnes iron ore /420 million tonnes iron ore = 771.8 million tonnes CO2.

Australia 's ?economic demonstrated resources? of  iron ore total 24 billion tonnes, this corresponding  to 16.7 billion tonnes CO2 or 2.8% of the world's terminal GHG pollution budget, noting that Australia has only 0.3% of the World's population.

4. Australia 's domestic  plus exported GHG pollution.

From Treasury, ABARE, US EIA and the above data and assuming an 11% annual growth in iron ore exports, 2.4% annual growth in coal exports and 9% annual growth in gas exports, Australia's Domestic and Exported greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution is as follows (million tonnes CO2-e; see ?2011 Climate Change Course?: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course ):  

2000: 555 (Domestic) + 505 (coal exports) + 17 (LNG exports) + 105  (iron ore exports) = 1,182.

2009: 600 (Domestic) + 784 (coal exports) + 31 (LNG exports) + 97 (iron ore exports) = 1,512.

2010: 578 (Domestic) + 803 (coal exports) + 34 (LNG exports) + 293 (iron ore exports) = 1,708.

2020: 621 (Domestic) + 1,039 (black coal exports) + 80 (LNG exports) + 59 (brown coal exports) + 772 (iron ore exports) = 2,571

In 2009 the German Advisory Council on Climate Change (WBGU) determined that for a 75% chance of avoiding a 2 degree C temperature rise, the World must pollute less than 600 billion tonnes CO2 between 2010 and essentially zero emissions in 2050. Assuming an Australian population of 22.9  million and a world population of 7,010 million (2012) the Australia 's ?fair share?of this terminal GHG pollution budget is 600,000 million tonnes CO2 x 22.9 million /7,010 million = 1,960 million tonnes CO2 per year. Accordingly, in 2010 alone Australia used up 1,708 x 100/1,960 = 87% of its ?fair share? of the world's terminal 2010-2050 GHG pollution budget. However, on current projections, in 2020 Australia aims to use up 429% (4.3 times) of its ?fair share? of the world's terminal 2010-2050 GHG pollution budget.

5. Australian miners are stealing the GHG pollution entitlement of other Australians (notably farmers) as well as of all other people worldwide.

For 4 decades I have been teaching biochemistry  to second year university agricultural science students, many of whom come from farms. In recent years I have drawn their attention to the upwards revision by World Bank analysts Goodland and Anfang of  man-made GHG pollution Robert Goodland and Jeff Anfang. ?Livestock and climate change. What if the key actors in climate change are ? cows, pigs and chickens??, World Watch, November/December 2009: http://www.worldwatch.org/files/pdf/Livestock%20and%20Climate%20Change.pdf .   In short, Goodland and Anfang have estimated that man's GHG pollution is 50% bigger than hitherto thought and that livestock alone contribute over 51% of the bigger estimate. An alternative estimate is given by the Australian Government National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS) that states that ?Around 24 per cent of Australia's human-induced greenhouse gas emissions come from activities such as livestock and crop production, land clearing and forestry? (see ?National Carbon Accounting System?,  Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency: http://www.climatechange.gov.au/government/initiatives/national-carbon-accounting.aspx ).

I have told my students from animal husbandry farms that we are all in this together, that we all must face up honestly to the problem facing mankind  and that one group in society cannot be singled out  as we transition to zero emissions and thence the reduction of atmospheric CO2 from the present damaging 392 parts per million (ppm) to the circa 300 ppm required for a safe and sustainable existence for all peoples and all species (see ?300.org ? return atmosphere CO2 to 300 ppm?, 300.org: : https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org---return-atmosphere-co2-to-300-ppm )  . Put simply, I say ?You guys milk cows or raise sheep, I drive a car?.

However Australian farmers have common cause with environmentalists and scientists over Australia 's huge exported GHG pollution. The iron ore miners, coal miners and coal seam gas extractors are not merely despoiling the landscape, variously violating agricultural land (notably through strip mining and Coal Seam Gas extraction) ,  despoiling aquifers, and generating a 2-speed economy through revaluation upwards of the Australian dollar,  as shown above they are essentially stealing the terminal GHG pollution entitlement of other Australians as well as of all other people around the world.

According  to the Australian Greens, 83% of Australia 's mining industry is foreign-owned and it will ship $50 billion in profits overseas in the next 5 years (see  ?Greens target billionaires in tax push:, Australian Financial Review, 29 June 2011: http://afr.com/p/home/greens_target_mining_billionaires_xDJ3RMoByzqwCXgGQrvCJL ).  However, an RMIT University report has estimated that closure of the coal mining industry would cost 200,000 jobs and $34 billion pa to the GDP (see ?Greens' plan to shut down coal industry to cost Australia 200,000 jobs, $36b a year in GDP?, Courier Mail Business, 4 July 2011: http://www.couriermail.com.au/business/greens-plan-to-shut-down-coal-industry-to-cost-australia-200000-jobs-36b-a-year-in-gdp/story-e6freqmx-1226086761615 ).

 The  huge economic impact of the mining industry has horribly distorted public discussion in Australia . Thus Australia 's huge GHG exports are ignored  in the public debate by everyone except the Greens. The neoconservative, pro-coal, pro-gas, pro-iron ore  Liberal Party-National Party Coalition Federal Opposition (the Liberals or the Libs) and the neoconservative, pro-coal, pro-gas, pro-iron ore  Australian Labor Party Federal Government (the Laborals or the Labs)  have a common derisory, Business As Usual (BAU)  policy of ?5% off 2000 GHG pollution by 2020? coupled with unlimited coal, gas and iron ores exports. A common but utterly false BAU argument is that Australia is so small population-wise (22.9 million out of a global population of 7 billion)  and that any GHG pollution constraint by Australia would be negligible ? but as shown above, Australia has already exceeded it fair share of the terminal global GHG pollution budget and exploitation of its likely coal reserves would generate CO2 pollution about 3 times greater than the total permitted for the whole world before zero emissions in 2050. A difference between the Liberals and Laborals lies in the significant climate change denialism within  the Liberals and the fraudulent and ineffective Carbon Tax-ETS policy of the Laborals that pretends to ?tackle climate change? for a ?clean energy future? while actually doing the opposite (see ?Australian PM Julia Gillard's appalling record of climate change inaction?, Green Blog, 8 March 2012: http://www.green-blog.org/2012/03/08/australian-pm-julia-gillards-appalling-record-of-climate-change-inaction/ ). Indeed the Liberals have been aptly described as climate change deniers and the Laborals as climate change pretenders.  

The Mining Industry has a malignant effect on public life in Australia . Australia , like the other Western democracies,  is a Murdochracy (Big Money buys public perception of reality and votes) and a Lobbyocracy (Big Money buys politicians, policies, parties, public perception of reality and votes. Thus it cost the Mining Industry a mere $22 million in advertising to remove a very popularly elected Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in the June 23/24 2010 overnight Coup. The Mining Lobby is continuing a massive advertising campaign against the current Labor Government's Mining Tax   (the Labor voter has shrunk to 30%, one of  its lowest levels ever in Australian history). Australian Mining Australia reports ?The nation's leading counter-terrorism organisation is monitoring some environmentalists following Government warnings that protestors pose greater risks than terrorists. According to Fairfax Media Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson has warned coal protests could have "major trade and investment implications" for Australia's economy? (see ?Green groups are worse than terrorists: Government?, Australian Mining, 12 April 2012: http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/green-groups-are-worse-than-terrorists--government ).

There is a huge gulf between the  perception  of reality by scientists and that perceived by the general public. Scientists are intimidated by fear of losing research grants, by codes of conduct restricting comment (see Gideon Polya, ? Current academic censorship and self-censorship in Australian universities?, Public University Journal, volume 1, Conference Supplement, ?Transforming the Australia University?, Melbourne, 9-10 December 2001: http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/57092/20080218-1150/www.publicuni.org/jrnl/volume/1/jpu_1_s_polya.pdf ).and through outrageous censorship by media  including taxpayer-funded media (see ?Censorship by The Conversation?: https://sites.google.com/site/mainstreammediacensorship/censorship-by ; ?Censorship by ABC Late Night Live?: https://sites.google.com/site/censorshipbyabclatenightlive/ ; ?ABC Censorship?: https://sites.google.com/site/abccensorship/ ; ?Censorship by The Age?: https://sites.google.com/site/mainstreammediacensorship/censorship-by-the-age ;  and Gideon Polya, ? Australian Internet Censorship by Australian Government-funded ABC and Universities-backed The Conversation ? , Countercurrents, 10 May 2012: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya100512.htm ).

Summary.

In 2009 the German Advisory Council on Climate Change (WBGU) determined that for a 75% chance of avoiding a 2 degree Centigrade temperature rise, the World must pollute less than 600 Gt CO2 (600 billion tonnes CO2) between 2010 and essentially zero emissions in 2050. Australia 's high domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution means that Australia would use of its ?fair share? of this  global terminal GHG pollution budget within 3.4 years. However Australia's huge coal, gas and iron ore exports and its consequently high annual  domestic plus exported GHG pollution mean that in 2010 alone Australia used up 1,708 x 100/1,960 = 87% of its ?fair share? of the world's terminal 2010-2050 GHG pollution budget and, on current projections, in 2020 alone it will use up 4.3 times its ?fair share?.

However Australia's commitment to climate racism and climate injustice goes even further because the major parties (the Liberal-National Party Coalition and the Labor Party, aka the Lib-Labs or Liberal-Laborals) are committed to  the same derisory, Business As Usual (BAU)  policy of ?5% off 2000 GHG pollution by 2020? coupled with unlimited export of coal, gas and iron ore of which Australia has huge resources.

Australia's ?economic demonstrated resources? of  iron ore total 24 billion tonnes, this corresponding  after industrial steel making to 16.7 billion tonnes CO2 or 2.8% of the world's terminal GHG pollution budget, noting that Australia has only 0.3% of the World's population. Exploitation of Australia's presently discovered conventional and unconventional gas resources would generate 61.5 billion tonnes of CO2-e or about 10% of the world's terminal GHG pollution budget of 600 billion tonnes CO2, noting that Australia's ?fair share? is only 2.0 billion tonnes CO2-e. However, CO2 from combustion of Australia's  huge coal resource potential of 1 trillion tonnes of coal would be an estimated 692.7 Gt CO2 (from brown coal) plus 1,073.9 Gt CO2 (from black coal) for a total of  1,766.6 Gt CO2 i.e. 1,766.6 billion tonnes CO2 or 294.4% (2.9 times) the world's terminal pollution budget of 600 billion tonnes of CO2.

Australia has had an appalling and ongoing secret genocide history that is hidden by a look-the-other-way culture, ignoring, censorship  and denial (see ? Australia 's secret genocide history?: https://sites.google.com/site/muslimholocaustmuslimgenocide/australia-s-secret-genocide-history  ). However Australia 's bipartisan commitment to climate racism and climate injustice means that it is committed to hugely disproportionate  GHG pollution that is making a disproportionate contribution to a worsening climate genocide that is set to kill 10 billion people this century. Australia 's annual domestic plus exported per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution is about 70 times greater than the annual per capita GHG pollution of acutely climate change-threatened Bangladesh .  Thus   ?annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution? in units of ?tonnes CO 2 -equivalent per person per year? (2005-2008 data) is 0.9 (Bangladesh), 0.9 (Pakistan), 2.2 (India), less than 3 (many African and Island countries), 3.2 (the Developing World), 5.5 (China), 6.7 (the World), 11 (Europe), 16 (the Developed World), 27 (the US) and 30 (Australia; or 64 in 2010 if Australia's huge Exported CO 2 pollution is included).  (see ?Climate Genocide?: https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/ ),

Australian politically correct racism (PC racism) asserts love for humanity while being disproportionately involved in war crimes and climate crimes. The world will eventually respond to Australia 's dog-in-the?manger climate criminality through Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, Green Tariffs, Sporting Boycotts, International Court of Justice (ICJ) litigations and International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutions. Decent people will respond by (a) informing others and (b) urging sanctions against all countries (notably Australia , Canada and the US ) involved in disproportionate deadly pollution of  our one common atmosphere.

Dr Gideon Polya has been teaching science students at a major Australian university for 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London , 2003). He has published ?Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950? (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ); see also his contributions ?Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality? in ?Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics? (edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/stories/s1445960.htm ) and ?Ongoing Palestinian Genocide? in ?The Plight of the Palestinians (edited by William Cook, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2010: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/4047-the-plight-of-the-palestinians.html ). He has published a revised and updated 2008 version of his 1998 book ?Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History? (see: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ ) as biofuel-, globalization- and climate-driven global food price increases threaten a greater famine catastrophe than the man-made famine in British-ruled India that killed 6-7 million Indians in the ?forgotten? World War 2 Bengal Famine (see recent BBC broadcast involving Dr Polya, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others: http://www.open2.net/thingsweforgot/ bengalfamine_programme.html ). When words fail one can say it in pictures - for images of Gideon Polya's huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: http://sites.google.com/site/artforpeaceplanetmotherchild/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/gideonpolya/ .

  Read Australia 's Huge Coal, Gas & Iron Ore Exports Threaten Planet
 May 11, 2012  

While waiting to see how the Iranian nuclear confrontation and the various Eurozone crises sort themselves out, there is time to step back and look at the interaction of the major forces that will shape our future. While the problems of oil depletion are already upon us, shrinking resources are only a part of global dynamics currently.

There are at least six major forces moving civilization in the world today: 1) population growth: 2) economic growth; 3) political stability; 4) technological innovation; and more recently 5) resource depletion and 6.) climate change. There are, of course, other less obvious change-producing forces at work in the world – theology, geology, and culture to name a few--but these six look like a good place to start thinking about the interaction of change. Our six forces are intertwined so that significant movement in one will eventually result in feedbacks affecting some or all of the others.

In the last 200 years a combination of better health technology and services, more productive agriculture, and improved transportation has allowed the world population to grow seven-fold. Although in some areas societal and even political measures are keeping population growth in check, as a whole the world's population is on course to increase markedly before the century is out. In a finite world this has, and will continue to have, serious implications for our other major engines of change. First is simply the need to grow and distribute food for the 78 million people that we are adding to our population each year. If one includes clothing, shelter, education, medical care, and a better-than-subsistence life style for the new arrivals, you can see that that the global economy needs to do some growing or at least rearrange the way resources are distributed.

This steadily growing population will add to resource depletion – fossil fuels, vegetation, and minerals -- for at a minimum all those additional people must eat and drink. If they are going to eat warm food or stay warm in the colder climates, they are likely to be adding to the atmosphere's growing concentration of greenhouse gases and the pace of global warming. The search for a better life is already resulting in mass migrations from poorer to richer regions which in turn is already contributing to political volatility.

Then we have the rapid economic growth of the last 250 years based on the exploitation of numerous technological discoveries coupled with the fossil fuels that supplied the excess energy for the increasingly complex societies and interdependent societies that most of us live in today. Today anything less than steady economic growth creates political problems – sometimes serious ones, for most peoples now look to their government to create the environment that will provide jobs and an adequate standard of living for all. Anything less eventually feeds back into social discontent – ranging from election upsets to bloody revolts as we have seen recently across the Middle East.

Although technological improvements have been changing civilization for untold millennia – stone tools, fire, wheels, gun powder, etc. – it is only in the last 250 years that science and technology came into its own allowing for rapid changes that we like to think of as "progress." This, of course led to population growth, more economic activity, and increasing complex political organization. In turn, this led to rapid depletion of the resources – fossil fuels, water, agricultural land, minerals, etc. – that are now on the verge of becoming a limiting factor for further economic growth. We are now coming to the realization that without increasing supplies of energy, and other raw materials, more economic growth will be impossible, which in turn will feed back into more political instability, more migration, and if we can't get the food supply right, a decline in global population.

Another important corollary to economic growth has been the over-loading of the earth's atmosphere with the combustion products of fossil fuels used for energy. It now seems that the global climate is becoming unstable at a rapid pace. Here the feedback is likely to come in the form of lower agricultural production as a combination of droughts, high temperatures, and floods take a higher-than-normal toll on crops and livestock.

This will eventually result in increased hunger, malnutrition and higher death rates. Somewhere along the line the effects of climate change may become so bad that a consensus will develop that the burning of fossil fuels must be sharply curtailed or the economic costs of rising temperatures become too much to bear or as some believe do us all in.

Interspersed with all the causes and effects that are driving our earth is the question of timing. While climate change may eventually be far more serious than any economic downturn or political discontent, it seems to move so slowly that so some believe we will be over the tipping point of no return before serious change is wrought by political agreement. The same seems to be true of resource depletion. In short we seem to be caught between the "could be extremely important" (climate change) and the obviously urgent (jobs).

Is there a way out of all this, or are we doomed to an unknown period of troubles of unforeseeable duration, with falling standards of living and interminable social upheavals? For now, much of the world seems fixated with using various financial tools – taxes, interest rates, money supplies – as solutions to perceived problems without much appreciation that energy supplies simply are becoming too expensive to use in the accustomed manner or that the atmosphere is becoming so unstable that our global food supply is endangered.

There are of course solutions. We know how to cut populations humanely and drastically, through limiting births, but this would require a far greater global social cohesiveness that we have presently. There may be something in the next few decades of technological developments – cheap, clean energy or even mining asteroids. For now there seems to be so little understanding of where we are likely to go that we can only wait for things to get worse.

Tom Whipple is a retired government analyst and has been following the peak oil issue for several years.

  Read The Peak Oil Crisis: Perspective
 May 11, 2012  

The science of the situation is clear — it’s time for the politics to follow

Global warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening. That is why I was so troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama in Rolling Stone in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves “regardless of what we do.”

If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate.

Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.

That is the long-term outlook. But near-term, things will be bad enough. Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels.

If this sounds apocalyptic, it is. This is why we need to reduce emissions dramatically. President Obama has the power not only to deny tar sands oil additional access to Gulf Coast refining, which Canada desires in part for export markets, but also to encourage economic incentives to leave tar sands and other dirty fuels in the ground.

The global warming signal is now louder than the noise of random weather, as I predicted would happen by now in the journal Science in 1981. Extremely hot summers have increased noticeably. We can say with high confidence that the recent heat waves in Texas and Russia, and the one in Europe in 2003, which killed tens of thousands, were not natural events — they were caused by human-induced climate change.

We have known since the 1800s that carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere. The right amount keeps the climate conducive to human life. But add too much, as we are doing now, and temperatures will inevitably rise too high. This is not the result of natural variability, as some argue. The earth is currently in the part of its long-term orbit cycle where temperatures would normally be cooling. But they are rising — and it’s because we are forcing them higher with fossil fuel emissions.

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from 280 parts per million to 393 p.p.m. over the last 150 years. The tar sands contain enough carbon — 240 gigatons — to add 120 p.p.m. Tar shale, a close cousin of tar sands found mainly in the United States, contains at least an additional 300 gigatons of carbon. If we turn to these dirtiest of fuels, instead of finding ways to phase out our addiction to fossil fuels, there is no hope of keeping carbon concentrations below 500 p.p.m. — a level that would, as earth’s history shows, leave our children a climate system that is out of their control.

We need to start reducing emissions significantly, not create new ways to increase them. We should impose a gradually rising carbon fee, collected from fossil fuel companies, then distribute 100 percent of the collections to all Americans on a per-capita basis every month. The government would not get a penny. This market-based approach would stimulate innovation, jobs and economic growth, avoid enlarging government or having it pick winners or losers. Most Americans, except the heaviest energy users, would get more back than they paid in increased prices. Not only that, the reduction in oil use resulting from the carbon price would be nearly six times as great as the oil supply from the proposed pipeline from Canada, rendering the pipeline superfluous, according to economic models driven by a slowly rising carbon price.

But instead of placing a rising fee on carbon emissions to make fossil fuels pay their true costs, leveling the energy playing field, the world’s governments are forcing the public to subsidize fossil fuels with hundreds of billions of dollars per year. This encourages a frantic stampede to extract every fossil fuel through mountaintop removal, longwall mining, hydraulic fracturing, tar sands and tar shale extraction, and deep ocean and Arctic drilling.

President Obama speaks of a “planet in peril,” but he does not provide the leadership needed to change the world’s course. Our leaders must speak candidly to the public — which yearns for open, honest discussion — explaining that our continued technological leadership and economic well-being demand a reasoned change of our energy course. History has shown that the American public can rise to the challenge, but leadership is essential.

The science of the situation is clear — it’s time for the politics to follow. This is a plan that can unify conservatives and liberals, environmentalists and business. Every major national science academy in the world has reported that global warming is real, caused mostly by humans, and requires urgent action. The cost of acting goes far higher the longer we wait — we can’t wait any longer to avoid the worst and be judged immoral by coming generations.

Dr. James Hansen is director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and adjunct professor in the department of earth and environmental sciences at Columbia University. He was the first scientist to warn the US Congress of the dangers of climate change and writes here as a private citizen. Hansen is the author of "Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity."

  Read Game Over For The Climate
 May 9, 2012  

40 years after original 'Limits to Growth' new report says 'short-termism' and 'over-consumption' killing planet

Rising carbon dioxide CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will continue to grow and cause an increase of 2°C in global temperatures by 2052 and could rise as much as 2.8°C by 2080, according to a new report sponsored by the international think tank Club of Rome. Such drastic temperature shifts are faster than other studies have predicted and would be high enough to trigger self-reinforcing climate change much sooner than previously thought. "Humankind might not survive on the planet if it continues on its path of over-consumption and short-termism," the report suggests.

The main cause of global warming and climate change -- and a panoply of future problems facing mankind -- is the dominance of excessively short-term political and economic models, suggests the report's author, Jorgen Randers.

“We already live in a manner that cannot be continued for generations without major change," said Professor Randers, speaking in the Netherlands for the book's launch on Monday. "Humanity has overshot the earth’s resources, and in some cases we will see local collapse before 2052 – we are emitting twice as much greenhouse gas every year as can be absorbed by the world’s forests and oceans.”

He continued: “We need a system of governance that takes a more long-term view. It is unlikely that governments will pass necessary regulation to force the markets to allocate more money into climate friendly solutions, and must not assume that markets will work for the benefit of humankind”.

Published in the run-up to the Rio Summit this June, the report, 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, looks at issues first raised in The Limits to Growth, 40 years ago. This earlier report, authored by Donella Meadows (Randers was a co-author) and sponsored by the Club of Rome, created shock waves by questioning the ideal of permanent growth.

Commenting on the findings of the study, Ian Johnson, Club of Rome Secretary General said: “Professor Randers’ analysis of where the world could be in 40 years has demonstrated that ‘Business as usual’ is not an option if we want our grand-children to live in a sustainable and equitable planet. It took 40 years before the full message of The Limits to Growth was properly understood. We cannot afford any more lost decades.”

Randers outlined four basic solutions to thwart the threat of mankind's pending collapse. They were: 1) Have less children, especially in the wealthier nations; 2) Lessen our ecological footprints, most importantly by ending our enormous consumption of fossil fuels; 3) He says, 'Construct a modern, low-carbon energy system' in the developing world. This system should be 'in the poor world, for the poor world, but built by the rich world'; And 4) Find a solution to 'extreme short-termism' in the form of better governments that can fend off the destruction nature of capitalism's greed and democracy's corruption.

* * *

Club of Rome: New Report issues a warning about humanity’s ability to survive without a major change in direction

In the Report author Jorgen Randers raises essential questions: How many people will the planet be able to support? Will the belief in endless growth crumble? Will runaway climate change take hold? Where will quality of life improve, and where will it decline? Using painstaking research, and drawing on contributions from more than 30 thinkers in the field, he concludes that:

>> While the process of adapting humanity to the planet’s limitations has started, the human response could be too slow.

>> The current dominant global economies, particularly the United States, will stagnate. Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and ten leading emerging economies (referred to as ‘BRISE’ in the Report) will progress.

>> But there will still be 3 billion poor in 2052.

>> China will be a success story, because of its ability to act.

>> Global population will peak in 2042, because of falling fertility in urban areas

>> Global GDP will grow much slower than expected, because of slower productivity growth in mature economies.

>> CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will continue to grow and cause +2°C in 2052; temperatures will reach +2.8°C in 2080, which may well trigger self-reinforcing climate change.

* * *

Reuters: Club of Rome sees 2 degree Celsius rise in 40 years

Two climate scientists said on Tuesday the report's findings seemed "in the right ballpark" and the organization was respected in particular since a report in the 1970s on limits to growth triggered considerable public attention.

Research last month by the University of Oxford and Princeton University said global warming was likely to be between 1.4 and 3 degrees by 2050, but that 3 degrees was at the upper end of what was likely.

CONSUMPTION

In 2010, countries agreed that deep emissions cuts had to be made to keep an increase in global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels this century.

Scientists say that crossing the threshold risks an unstable climate in which weather extremes are common but efforts so far to cut greenhouse gas emissions are not seen as sufficient to stop a rise beyond 2 degrees this century.

By 2052, China's per capita consumption will be at least two thirds that of the United States, while the average economic growth of 14 emerging nations including Brazil, India and South Africa, will treble over the next 40 years, Randers said.

"This growth will improve living standards for many, but it will come at a cost for the global climate. While growth will not be as explosive as in China, it will still be heavy enough to keep emissions from these nations growing until the 2040s," he added.

By contrast, the mature economies of the United States and Europe will see declining or stable consumption, which should help prevent the depletion of oil, food and water by 2052.

Last year, the United Nations' Environment Program said the gap between countries' emissions cut pledges and what was needed to remain under 2 degrees had widened and emissions in 2020 would rise to between 6 billion and 11 billion tons over what is needed to limit global warming to safe levels.

* * *

Video: '2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years' Launch in Rotterdam, Netherlands: PART I

Video: '2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years' Launch in Rotterdam, Netherlands: PART II

 

  Read Global Temperatures Could Rise By More Than 2C By Mid-Century: Report
 May 10, 2012  

Fascism has come to the industrialized world, and the evidence is particularly clear in the United States. As I wrote in a book published in 2004 regarding the executive branch of the U.S. government:

[The administration] is characterized by powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism, identification of enemies as a unifying cause, obsession with militaristic national security and military supremacy, interlinking of religion and the ruling elite, obsession with crime and punishment, disdain for the importance of human rights and intellectuals who support them, cronyism, corruption, sexism, protection of corporate power, suppression of labor, control over mass media, and fraudulent elections. These are the defining elements of fascism.

The situation has progressed, and not in a suitable manner from the perspective of the typical self-proclaimed progressive. Along with fascism, we’re firmly ensconced in a totalitarian, surveillance-obsessed police state. We’ve been in this state for many years and the situation grows worse every year, but most people prefer to look away and then claim ignorance while politicians claim we’re not the people indicated by our actions. As long as you’re not in jail (yet) or declared a terrorist (yet) and subsequently killed outright (yet), you’re unlikely to bring attention to yourself, regardless what you know and feel about the morality of the people running ruining the show.

But why? Is fear such a great motivator that we allow complete destruction of the living planet to give ourselves a few more years to enable and further the destruction? Is the grip of culture so strong we cannot break free in defense of planetary habitat for our children? Have we moved so far away from the notion of resistance that we can’t organize a potluck dinner without seeking permission from the Department of Homeland Security?

I know many parents who claim they can’t take action because they want a better world for their children. Their version of a “better world” is my version of a worse world, as they long for growth of the industrial economy at the expense of clean air, clean water, healthy food, the living planet, runaway greenhouse, and human-population overshoot. I’ve come to call this response “the parent trap.” Trapped by the culture of make believe, these parents cannot bring themselves to imagine a different world. A better world. A world without the boot of the police state on the necks of their children. A world with more carnivores every year, instead of fewer. A world with less pollution, less garbage, and less lying — to ourselves and others — each and every year.

All evidence indicates we prefer Fukushima forever, if it means we can have electric toys. We prefer near-term extinction by climate chaos, if it means we can cool the house to 68 F in the summer. We prefer genocide, if it comes with a milkshake and an order of fries. Henry Ford was wrong when he pointed out, “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” On the other hand, General Omar Bradley’s sentiments from 1948 ring true: “The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.”

Even though we’re willingly tapping six scary extreme energy sources to fuel the post-peak oil industrial economy, power outages have become exponential within the last decade, as indicated in the figure below. We clearly don’t care about the environmental consequences of our greed, so we keep soldiering on, wishing for a miracle and ignoring the evidence for imperial decline, human-population overshoot, runaway climate change, and a profound extinction crisis. Will the final power outage come in time to save us from our unrepentant selves?

Ultimately and sadly, I suspect it comes down to this: When all is said and done, a lot more is said than done. We simply can’t be bothered to contemplate a single issue of importance when the television calls or the shopping mall beckons. Political “activists” spend hours every day elaborating the many insignificant differences between the two dominant political parties in this country, but they cannot bring themselves to throw a wrench into the gears of industry. They continue to ignore the prescient words of Desmond Tutu long after the consequences of inaction are obvious: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

The only reason I can imagine wanting to retain this horrific system for a few more years is to safely shut down the nuclear reactors that are poised to kill us. But increasing the number of these uber-expensive sources of electricity, as President Obama desires, means shoving more ammunition into the Gatling gun pointed at our heads. One bullet does the trick. In classic American style, we prefer more. Always more.

How much of this is too much? When have you had enough?

 

Guy McPherson is professor emeritus of natural resources and the environment at the University of Arizona, where he taught and conducted research for 20 years. He's written well over 100 articles, ten books, the most recent of which is Walking Away From Empire, and has focused for many years on conservation of biological diversity. He lives in an off-grid, straw-bale house where he practices durable living via organic gardening, raising small animals for eggs and milk, and working with members of his rural community.

  Read When All Is Said And Done
 May 8, 2012  
Adverse Effects Of Globalization
by John Scales Avery, Countercurrents.org

Today, economic globalization aims at increased trade throughout the world. At first sight, this might seem to be a benefit. However, laws preventing the exploitation of labor are not universal. The same unspeakable conditions experienced by workers in factories and mines during the early phases of the Industrial Revolution in Europe can be found today among factory workers in Indonesia or children weaving oriental carpets in Pakistan; and it is estimated that in India alone there are 80,000,000 child laborers.

In many developing countries today, industrialization involves slave-like working conditions. Meanwhile, in the industrialized countries, workers may lose their jobs because they cannot compete with underpaid labor in the Third World. Large multinational corporations are tending to move their operations to regions where salaries and living standards are very low. For free trade to be truly beneficial to all the peoples of the world, universal laws must be established to regulate business and industry globally, and to ensure that multinationals act in a way that is both socially and ecologically responsible.

Adam Smith's followers advocated complete freedom from governmental restraint, but the history of the Industrial Revolution demonstrates the need for regulatory social legislation. The historical perspective makes it clear that laws establishing minimum wage levels and laws prohibiting child labor are needed to avoid horrors such as those described by John Fielden in “The Curse of the Factory System”. Today, birth control is also necessary on a global scale, just as it once was needed in England, to raise workers above the starvation level. Finally, unions must be permitted everywhere in the world. If trade is globalized, the hard-won reforms achieved by Charles Knowlton, Annie Besant the Fabians and others must also be globalized.

The story of globalization has until now been a story of escape from regulatory legislation. For example, many Danish farmers have moved their operations to Poland or to the Baltic nations in order to escape from Denmark’s strict environmental regulations. Another example is escape from taxation: One might think that taxation of foreign resource-extracting firms would provide developing countries with large incomes. However, there is at present no international law governing multinational tax arrangements. These are usually agreed to on a bilateral basis, and the industrialized countries have stronger bargaining powers in arranging the bilateral agreements. As a result, such agreements are usually very unfair, and multinationals escape all but the mildest taxation.

We can also consider the “non-discrimination” principle adopted by GATT (the General Agreement on Terrifs and Trade). This principle states that participating countries “cannot discriminate between like products on the basis of the method of production”. This single principle allows multinational commerce to escape from all the humanitarian and environmental reforms that have been achieved since the start of the Industrial Revolution. No matter if the method of production involves destruction of a tropical rain forest, no matter if forced labor was used, we are not allowed to discriminate “on the basis of the method of production”.

The present situation is that agriculture, trade and industry have become global, but the world still lacks adequate institutions at the global level to watch over what is happening and to insure respect for human needs and respect for the natural environment.

Today’s global economic interdependence, instantaneous worldwide communication, and the need for peaceful resolution of international conflicts all call for strong governmental institutions at the global level, but the United Nations today lacks many things that would be necessary if it is to perform such a role: It lacks a legislature with the power to make laws binding on individuals and corporations. It lacks mechanisms for enforcing such laws. And it lacks a large and dependable source of income.

It would be logical to improve the United Nations by giving it the things just mentioned, and by giving it at the same time the task of regulating multinational corporations to ensure that they act in a socially and ecologically responsible manner. It would also be logical to entitle the UN to a fee for acting as a referee in relationships between multinationals and the developing countries. These reforms must come someday because of the logic of our present situation. I hope that they will come soon.

Suggestions for further reading

1. John Fielden, “The Curse of the Factory System”, (1836),
2. Charles Knowlton, “The Fruits of Philosophy”, (1832).
3. John A. Hobson, “John Ruskin, Social Reformer”, (1898).
4. John A. Hobson, “Imperialism, A Study”, (1902).
5. E. Pease, “A History of the Fabian Society”, Dutton, New York, (1916).

John Scales Avery is a theoretical chemist noted for his research publications in quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and history of science. Since the early 1990s, Avery has been an active World peace activist. During these years, he was part of a group associated with the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. In 1995, this group received the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. Presently, he is an Associate Professor in quantum chemistry at the University of Copenhagen

  Read Adverse Effects Of Globalization
 May 7, 2012  
Western And Australian Pro-Zionist Mainstream Media Censorship Of Muslim Holocaust And Palestinian Holocaust
by Dr Gideon Polya , Countercurrents.org

The insidious evil of censorship not only offensively inhibits free speech and human communication  but also short-circuits science-based risk management that is crucial for societal safety and which successively involves (a) accurate information, (b) scientific  analysis and (c) informed systemic change to minimize risk. Neocon- and Zionist-promoted Mainstream media censorship has perverted Western democracies which have become Murdochracies (Big Money buys public perception of reality and votes) and Lobbyocracies (Big Money buys politicians, parties, policies, public perception of reality and votes).

However intelligent analysis of censorship can help Humanity. M. Aarons and J. Loftus in ?The Secret War Against the Jews. How Western espionage betrayed the Jewish people? stated ?The hidden parts of history, the covert sides, are more orderly and rational, but can be seen and understood only if you are told where to look. The holes in history are what make sense of the thing.? In the example outlined below, analysis of censorship by the ABC ( Australia 's equivalent of the UK BBC), can reveal what They (with a capital T) do not want the people to know.  

The ABC Radio National Late Night Live (LNL) program is an interview program that is ostensibly progressive but which actually plus conservative views and regularly censors out comments by progressive and humanitarian listeners made on the LNL website, presumably because they contain facts or opinions the ABC (Australia's equivalent of the UK BBC) does not want its listeners to know about or think about. A consistent feature of listener comments attracting ABC censorship is criticism of war criminal US and/or Apartheid Israel human rights abuses and war crimes.

A detailed chronologically-ordered record is being kept of those comments by me on Late Night Live (LNL)  that the ABC permits  and those that it censors out, noting that I am a 5-decade career scientist who offers carefully researched and documented  comments under my own name, Dr Gideon Polya. The censored comments are recorded in bold and a quick scroll down reveals an ABC propensity to censor comments critical of the racist, genocidal war policies of neocon- and racist Zionist-dominated America and of racist Zionist-run Apartheid Israel . In particular the ABC LNL censors comments about  the appalling Palestinian Holocaust and Palestinian Genocide being perpetrated by US-backed Apartheid Israel    (see ?ABC Late Night Live (LNL) censors listener comments?: https://sites.google.com/site/abccensorship/abc-late-night-live-1 and ?Censorship by ABC Late Night Live?: https://sites.google.com/site/censorshipbyabclatenightlive/ ).

Thus, by way of example, on 2 May 2012 ABC LNL broadcast a program involving an interview with an American disaster recovery expert about  ?Post-Katrina recovery in New Orleans?: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/post-katrina-recovery-in-new-orleans/3983272 . However my following comments were completely censored out by the ABC:

? Of the various disasters mentioned in the program the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina on 29 August 2005 was the worst - 1,464 dead, 1 million (mostly temporary) refugees, and thousands of homes and businesses destroyed. The disaster was ultimately due to the failure of levees constructed by the US Army Corp of Engineers.

Successive Neocon- and Zionist-dominated US Administrations had more urgent if racist, genocidal and obscene fiscal priorities than protecting American lives and property e.g. hundreds of billions of dollars committed to shoring up racist, genocidal, racist Zionist-run Apartheid Israel (2 million Palestinian deaths since 1936, 0.1 million from violence and 1.9 million from war-, occupation- and expulsion-imposed deprivation, 7 million refugees, 90% of Palestine ethnically cleansed) and the post-2001 $5 trillion accrual cost of the Iraq and Afghan Wars alone (4.6 million war-related Iraqi deaths since 1990 and 5-6 million refugees; 5.6 million Afghan war-related deaths since 2001, 3-4 million refugees).

Of course resolutely kept under wraps by the traitorous, lying, neocon- and Zionist-beholden US Mainstream media (and their presstitutional ilk worldwide) is the ongoing American disaster of about 1 million American preventable deaths each year due to such obscene fiscal perversion by the murderous and traitorous 1% at the expense of the 99% of Americans (for details and documentation of this Awful Truth simply Google "1 million Americans die preventably each year". In Australia (population 22.3 million as compared to America's 314 million) an estimated 66,000 Australians die preventably each year in an ongoing disaster under neocon- and Zionist-beholden, pro-war, anti-Humanity, anti-science and anti-Biosphere Liberal-Laboral (Lib-Lab) governments (Google "66,000 Australians die preventably").?

Indeed the only comment surviving (so far) on the LNL website is a comment by me referring to the censorship: ? For LNL listener comments disgracefully censored out by the neocon American and Zionist imperialist-subverted ABC Google "LNL censors". ? This absence of comment suggests that other listener comments on this program  may have also been censored by the ABC (indeed I know that at least one other listener poster  has been censored on the LNL website by the ABC).

As illustrated by this example (and many others; see ?Mainstream media censorship?: https://sites.google.com/site/mainstreammediacensorship/ ), the neocon- and Zionist-subverted ABC (like the other neocon- and Zionist-subverted Western Mainstream media) censors the qualitative actuality and horrendous magnitude of the ongoing, Zionist-promoted  Muslim Holocaust and Muslim Genocide that includes the Palestinian Holocaust and Palestinian Genocide. It must be noted that the term ?holocaust? is used to describe events involving the deaths of huge numbers of people whereas the term ?genocide? is very precisely defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention as ?acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.?  The dimensions of these ongoing holocausts are summarized below.

Palestinian Holocaust, Palestinian Genocide.

In 1880 there were about 0.5 million Indigenous Palestinians. Of the  25,000 Jews in Palestine half were immigrants (see:   http://www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Palestine-Remembered/Story559.html and http://www.mideastweb.org/palpop.htm ).  Palestinian casualties of war violence total about 80,000 since 1948 and about 100,000 since 1936 (see ?Palestinian casualties of war?. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_casualties_of_war ). However one must also consider avoidable Palestinian deaths from war-, expulsion- and occupation-imposed deprivation that now total about 1.9 million since 1948. Palestinian refugees  total about 7 million. This has been a Palestinian Genocide as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention.

According to the  Israeli Foreign Ministry: ?From 1920 through 1999, a total of 2,500 residents of Mandatory Palestine and, since 1948, the State of Israel fell victims to hostile enemy action; in most cases, terrorist attacks? (see: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Palestinian+terror+before+2000/ ) and ?1,218 people have been killed by Palestinian violence and terrorism since September 2000? (see: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Palestinian+terror+since+2000/Victims+of+Palestinian+Violence+and+Terrorism+sinc.htm ).

 The race-based, racist Zionist-run Apartheid State of Israel is a democracy by genocide. Of about 12 million Palestinians only the adults of 1.6 million Palestinian  Israelis  (21% of the Israeli population) can vote for the government ruling all of Palestine plus part of Lebanon and a near-completely ethnically cleansed part of Syria , albeit as third class citizens. 1.6 million Occupied Palestinians are abusively confined to the Gaza Concentration Camp and 2.7 million Occupied Palestinians live under highly abusive military rule in West Bank Bantustans. About 6 million Palestinians are forbidden  to even live in Palestine . There are  5.9 million Jewish Israelis and 0.3 million non-Jewish and non-Arab Israelis.

Since 1936, the ongoing Palestinian Genocide has involved  about 2.0 million war- and occupation-related Palestinian deaths, 0.1 million Palestinians killed violently (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_casualties_of_war ), 1.9 million avoidable Palestinian deaths from  war- , occupation- and expulsion-imposed deprivation, 7 million refugees.  3,000 Palestinian infants are  passively murdered by Apartheid Israel each year, and 0.8 million Palestinian children are abusively  confined to the Gaza Concentration Camp for the "crime" of being Indigenous Palestinians.

Muslim Holocaust, Muslim Genocide.

The horrendous dimensions of the ongoing Muslim Holocaust are set out below.

Palestinian Holocaust, Palestinian Genocide : for Palestinians as a whole,  0.1 million violent deaths and 1.9 million war- and occupation-related avoidable deaths from deprivation,1936-2011; 0.75 million under-5 infant deaths (1950-2012). For Occupied Palestinians,  0.3 million post-invasion violent and non-violent excess deaths, 1967-2011; 0.2 million post-invasion under-5 infant deaths, 1967-2011 (75% avoidable and due to US Alliance-backed Apartheid Israel war crimes in gross violation of the Geneva  Convention and the UN Genocide Convention)  7 million refugees (see ?Palestinian Genocide? :   http://sites.google.com/site/palestiniangenocide/ ).

Afghan Holocaust, Afghan Genocide : as of October 2011, 5.6 million war-related deaths, 2001-2011; 1.4 million post-invasion violent deaths; 4.2 million non-violent excess deaths from deprivation; 2.9 million post-invasion under-5 infant deaths (90% avoidable and due to US Alliance war crimes in gross violation of the Geneva  Convention and the UN Genocide Convention), 3-4 million refugees plus 2.5 million NW Pakistan Pashtun refugees (see ?Afghan Holocaust, Afghan Genocide?: http://sites.google.com/site/afghanholocaustafghangenocide/ ).

Iraqi Holocaust, Iraqi Genocide : for the period  2003- 2011, 2.7 million post-invasion war-related deaths,  1.5 million violent deaths, 1.2 million non-violent excess deaths from war-imposed deprivation,  0.8 million post-invasion under-5 infant deaths, 5-6 million refugees; for the period 1990-2003, 0.2 million violent deaths, 1.7 million non-violent excess deaths from war-imposed deprivation,  1.2 million under-5 infant deaths; for the period 1990-2011, 4.6 million war-related deaths, 1.7 million violent deaths, 2.9 million deaths from war-imposed deprivation, 2.0 million under-5 infant deaths (90% avoidable and due to US Alliance war crimes in gross violation of the Geneva  Convention and the UN Genocide Convention) (see Iraqi Holocaust, Iraqi Genocide?: http://sites.google.com/site/iraqiholocaustiraqigenocide/ ).

Somali Holocaust, Somali Genocide : in the period 1992-2011 (this successively involving US, Ethiopian and most recently Kenyan invasion) , 0.4 million violent deaths, 1.8 million avoidable deaths from war-imposed deprivation, 1.3 million under-5 year old infant deaths( 90% avoidable and due to US Alliance war crimes in gross violation of the Geneva  Convention and the UN Genocide Convention), and 2.0 million refugees.

Libyan Holocaust, Libyan Genocide from 2011 onwards:  before the France-UK-US (FUKUS) Coalition invasion the under-5 infant mortality was only 19 per 1,000 births in Libya as compared to 8 in the US; the FUKUS Coalition  has killed 0.1 million  Libyans and wounded 50,000  already; the FUKUS-backed rebels are ethnically cleansing "Black Libyans"; Tawerga, formerly home to 10,000 mainly Black Libyans has been destroyed and completely ethnically cleansed; 1 million Black sub-Saharan refugees  have  fled; refugees total about 1.1 million; the Libyan Holocaust and Libyan Genocide has just begun.

Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust : the above  atrocities are dwarfed by the 1950-2005 excess deaths in the mostly post-colonial Muslim  World that totalled 0.6 billion (see my book "Body Count. Global voidable mortality since 1950" , G.M. Polya, Melbourne , 2007, and "Global avoidable mortality": http://globalavoidablemortality.blogspot.com/ ).

Climate Holocaust, Climate Genocide : man-made global warming increasingly impacts the current 18 million annual avoidable deaths from deprivation and deprivation-exacerbated disease; estimates from top UK climate scientists Dr James Lovelock and Professor Kevin Anderson point to 10 billion avoidable deaths this century due to unaddressed global warming, this including 6 billion infants, 3 billion Muslims in a near-terminal, 21st century Muslim Holocaust, 2 billion Indians, 1.3 billion non-Arab Africans,  0.5 billion Bengalis, 0.3 billion Pakistanis and 0.3 billion Bangladeshis) (see ?Climate Genocide?: http://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/ ).

Conclusions.

Analysis of censorship by Western mainstream media reveals the Awful Truth that they do not want their consumers to know about or think about, namely the ongoing Muslim Holocaust and Muslim Genocide (12 million war-related deaths in the post-1990 US War on Muslims and 20 million refugees) of which a part is the  Palestinian Holocaust and Palestinian Genocide (2 million war-related deaths since 1936, 7 million refugees).

Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity. Numerous outstanding anti-racist scholars have written about the ongoing Palestinian Holocaust and Palestinian Genocide (for details see ?Palestinian Genocide?: https://sites.google.com/site/palestiniangenocide/  ). All decent people must take action by (a) informing everyone they can about the Muslim Holocaust and Muslim Genocide and the Palestinian Holocaust and Palestinian Genocide  and (b) by urging and applying Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Apartheid Israel and its racist supporters just as the world successfully boycotted Apartheid Israel-supported Apartheid South Africa after the Sharpeville Massacre (69 Africans killed).

Fundamentally, decent people must expose Zionist-promoted censorship and oppose Zionist subversion of Western politics, academia and media. The racist Zionists and their supporters, notably the Neocon American and Zionist Imperialists (NAZIs),  must be sidelined in public life as have been like racists such as the Nazis, neo-Nazis, Apartheiders and KKK. A slice of this Zionist perversion of Western democracies is given by the following websites: ?ABC Censorship: https://sites.google.com/site/abccensorship/ ; ?Censorship by The Conversation?: https://sites.google.com/site/mainstreammediacensorship/censorship-by ; ?ABC Late Night Live (LNL) censors listener comments?: https://sites.google.com/site/abccensorship/abc-late-night-live-1 ;  ?Censorship by ABC Late Night Live?: https://sites.google.com/site/censorshipbyabclatenightlive/ ; ?Censorship by the BBC?: https://sites.google.com/site/censorshipbythebbc/ ; ?Boycott Murdoch Media?: https://sites.google.com/site/boycottmurdochmedia/ ; Mainstream Media Censorship?: https://sites.google.com/site/mainstreammediacensorship/ ; ?Mainstream Media Lying?: https://sites.google.com/site/mainstreammedialying/ ; and ?Censorship by the ABC?: https://sites.google.com/site/censorshipbytheabc/  .

It is one thing for a media mogul to bias the reportage by his presstitute employees, quite another thing entirely for taxpayer-funded media to variously lie or censor against the national interest but to the benefit of racist, genocidal, nuclear terrorist rogue states like the US and Apartheid Israel. Media in general should not censor, lie by commission or lie by omission, an injunction that applies with great stringency to media funded by taxation or licence fee imposts on ordinary citizens e.g. the taxpayer-funded Australian ABC , the Australian university- backed and academic-based The Conversation  and the licence-fee funded UK BBC, which is in effect a propaganda arm of the British Government.

Genocide ignoring  and holocaust ignoring are far, far worse than genocide denial or holocaust denial because the latter at least admit the possibility of public debate. Nazi collaborator journalist Lord Haw Haw (William Joyce ) was hanged by the British in 1946 but,  in the interests of free speech,  genocide ignoring and holocaust ignoring (and hence genocide-complicit and holocaust-complicit) journalists today must only be punished by simple public exposure of their offences and removal of consumer and government support for the media concerned. Taxpayers must insist that taxpayer-funded media do not lie or censor under pain of reduction in taxpayer funding.

Dr Gideon Polya has been teaching science students at a major Australian university for 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London , 2003). He has published ?Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950? (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ); see also his contributions ?Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality? in ?Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics? (edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/stories/s1445960.htm ) and ?Ongoing Palestinian Genocide? in ?The Plight of the Palestinians (edited by William Cook, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2010: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/4047-the-plight-of-the-palestinians.html ). He has published a revised and updated 2008 version of his 1998 book ?Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History? (see: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ ) as biofuel-, globalization- and climate-driven global food price increases threaten a greater famine catastrophe than the man-made famine in British-ruled India that killed 6-7 million Indians in the ?forgotten? World War 2 Bengal Famine (see recent BBC broadcast involving Dr Polya, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others: http://www.open2.net/thingsweforgot/ bengalfamine_programme.html ). When words fail one can say it in pictures - for images of Gideon Polya's huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: http://sites.google.com/site/artforpeaceplanetmotherchild/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/gideonpolya/ .

  Read Western And Australian Pro-Zionist Mainstream Media Censorship Of Muslim Holocaust And Palestinian Holocaust
 may 7, 2012  
The Poor And The Privileged And A Proposal On Resource Use
by Farooque Chowdhury, Countercurrents.org

>Cutting class line and ideological spectrum looming environmental catastrophe makes its presence bold with each passing moment. Even the blind, ignorant, moron, and greedy can’t deny it.

The powerful, the rich blames the weak, the poor for the catastrophe. The poor are being made scapegoat. It is the law of power.

One of the “punishable” acts by the poor, as the powerful claims, is the number of the poor. It’s huge and big and overwhelming, it’s teeming billions in poor and poorer and poorest countries. And, to the powerful, it is the problem although they need poor in huge number.

“There are significant numbers of people in the wealthy countries”, writes 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, “who believe that the great issues of resource depletion and global environmental pollution are caused primarily by the huge number of people on the globe…” Rapidly decrease the world’s population is their suggested solution. (“Reducing Resource Use and Environmental Degradation: A Modest Proposal”)

Fred’s observation is substantiated by The Sunday Times. Some leading billionaires including Bill Gates, David Rockefeller Jr, Warren Buffett, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Ted Turner and Oprah Winfrey met “secretly to consider how their wealth could be used to slow the growth of the world’s population.” Described as the Good Club by one insider the billionaires were in complete agreement that “they would back a strategy in which population growth would be tackled as a potentially disastrous environmental, social and industrial threat.” (“Billionaire club in bid to curb overpopulation”, The Sunday Times, May 24, 2009)

But, the reality is different. The issue of consumption by the rich can not be denied although the rich like to hide it.

The Royal Society in the UK in a recent report focuses on the impact of “human population and consumption on the planet”. It suggests richest countries to consume less, and a more egalitarian pattern of consumption. The wealthiest group must urgently reduce their consumption to save the Earth, the report concludes.

Sir John Sulston, Nobel prize-winning biologist and leader of the 23 academics who produced the report, said some persons are consuming far too much food while others starve.

The report, in one of its recommendations, expresses concern with “countries where the unmet need for contraception is high.” Contraception must be offered to all women who want it and consumption should be cut to reduce inequality, says the report.

While mentioning population and the environment are not separate issues, and reproductive health and family planning programs “urgently require political leadership and financial commitment” the report recommends to “bring the 1.3 billion people living on less than $1.25 per day out of absolute poverty, and reduce the inequality that persists in the world today.” It recommends that the most developed and the emerging economies “reduce material consumption levels”, and the need “to develop socio-economic systems and institutions that are not dependent on continued material consumption growth.”

The Royal Society report shows a significant shift by establishment. Although it fails to discard the narrowly defined, now almost a cliché, population problem it raises the issue of unequal and wasteful consumption, now a well-recognized fact.

A single example exposes the magnitude of wasteful consumption. Amanda D. Cuéllar and Michael E. Webber at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, The University of Texas at Austin, estimated the energy embedded in wasted food annually in the US. In 1995 approximately 27% of edible food was wasted. In 2007 in wasted food, 2030 ± 160 trillion BTU of energy were embedded. The energy embedded in wasted food represents approximately 2% of annual energy consumption in the US. It was not a negligible quantity. The energy wasted in the perfectly edible food discarded in the US each year is more than the energy extracted annually from the oil and gas reserves off the US coastlines. In the US, 16% of the consumed energy is used to produce food and at least 25% of food is wasted each year. The waste is equivalent to about 2150 trillion kilojoules lost each year.

The population issue is by and large “tricky”, and a clumsy presentation of the issue ultimately echoes voice of the privileged. The correlation between super-high consumption by the rich and destruction of environment should be identified. And, the rich should not be hidden under the broad term “rich nations” as the poor in breadlines, the homeless poor, the poor looking for job are many now in “rich nations”. Similarly, poor, and even poorest “nations” are home of many ultra-rich, nouveau rich. Consumption of the rich in all countries, poor and rich, should be the issue.

David Satterthwaite in his paper “The implications of population growth and urbanization for climate change” (presented in end-June 2009) showed the places where population grew fastest but carbon dioxide grew at slowest rate, and vice versa. Between 1980 and 2005, population growth in sub-Saharan region was 18.5% of the world’s but the CO2 growth was only 2.4% while North America’s population growth was only 4% with as much as 14% of extra emissions. Places with very low emissions had 63% of the world’s population growth. About one-sixth of the world’s population is so poor that they produced no significant emissions. Households in India earning less than Rupees, Indian currency, 3,000 (£40) a month use a fifth of the electricity per head and one-seventh of the transport fuel of households earning 30,000 rupees or more.

David’s findings help lessen the over-burdened population-mind frame and direct to “mindless” consumption of those, who own riches in unimaginable quantity and number.
About three years ago, George Monbiot wrote:
“Many of the emissions for which poorer countries are blamed should in fairness belong to the developed nations. Gas flaring by companies exporting oil from Nigeria, for instance, has produced more greenhouse gases than all other sources in sub-Saharan Africa put together. Even deforestation in poor countries is driven mostly by commercial operations delivering timber, meat and animal feed to rich consumers. The rural poor do far less harm.” (“Stop blaming the poor. It’s the wally yachters who are burning the planet”, guardian.co.uk, Sept. 28, 2009)

With the help of an allegory George continues:
“I’ve been taking a look at a few super-yachts, as I’ll need somewhere to entertain Labour ministers in the style to which they are accustomed. First I went through the plans for Royal Falcon Fleet’s RFF135, but when I discovered that it burns only 750 litres of fuel per hour I realised that it wasn’t going to impress Lord Mandelson. I might raise half an eyebrow in Brighton with the Overmarine Mangusta 105, which sucks up 850 litres per hour. But the raft that’s really caught my eye is made by Wally Yachts in Monaco. The WallyPower 118 (which gives total wallies a sensation of power) consumes 3,400 litres per hour when travelling at 60 knots. That’s nearly a litre per second. Another way of putting it is 31 litres per kilometre.

“Of course, to make a real splash I’ll have to shell out on teak and mahogany fittings, carry a few jet skis and a mini-submarine, ferry my guests to the marina by private plane and helicopter, offer them blue fin tuna sushi and beluga caviar, and drive the beast so fast that I mash up half the marine life of the Mediterranean. As the owner of one of these yachts I’ll do more damage to the biosphere in 10 minutes than most Africans inflict in a lifetime.”

Then, he raises the issue of the wealthy:
“Someone I know who hangs out with the very rich tells me that in the banker belt of the lower Thames valley there are people who heat their outdoor swimming pools to bath temperature, all round the year. They like to lie in the pool on winter nights, looking up at the stars. The fuel costs them £3,000 a month. One hundred thousand people living like these bankers would knacker our life support systems faster than 10 billion people living like the African peasantry.”

He raises the population issue:
There are “dozens of campaigns and charities whose sole purpose is to discourage people from breeding in the name of saving the biosphere. But I haven’t been able to find any campaign whose sole purpose is to address the impacts of the very rich. People breed less as they become richer, but they don’t consume less – they consume more. As the habits of the super-rich show, there are no limits to human extravagance.”

Consumption of the rich is not overlooked by others also. Agrimonde, the joint report based on five-year modeling exercise published in January 12, 2011 by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and the Centre for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD) worked with the existing trend-based scenario, Agrimonde GO, and the current perspective change-based scenario, Agrimonde 1. The study on worldwide food and agricultural issues in the year 2050 said excessive food consumption, losses and waste should be reduced. Losses and waste that occur at the distribution stage, and at the time of final consumption was estimated at around 25% in the OECD zone. “[T]he rich must stop consuming so much”, said Hervé Guyomard of INRA. He pointed out that food amounting to 800 calories is lost per person each day as waste in richer nations.

While formulating Millennium Consumption Goals on April 25, 2011 Erik Assadourian, Transforming Cultures Project Director at Worldwatch Institute, suggested a better distribution of “wealth by raising taxes on the wealthiest members of society”.

Consumption by the rich leads George to ask:

“So where are the movements protesting about the stinking rich destroying our living systems? Where is the direct action against super-yachts and private jets? Where’s Class War when you need it?”

Then, he observes:
“It’s time we had the guts to name the problem. It’s not sex; it’s money. It’s not the poor; it’s the rich.”

Contrary to the rich, the poor play vital role in circular economy, in zero carbon economy. The poor have almost nothing that can be wasted. Rather, to sustain their lives, they make maximum possible use of whatever they can collect: pieces of a discarded rag, thrown away cardboard box, plastic bottle, food thrown away by the rich. Shouldn’t there be a comparison between the quantity of CO2 emitted while a poor family, 4-5-6 persons, cooks and while a rich, a single one, drives simply for enjoyment or the size of land required feed a poor family and a single rich person?

But the fact is mostly ignored. Otherwise, it would have unmasked the face of a savage economy, which is totally for the rich. Consumption by the poor, insignificant compared to those of the rich, and essential for regeneration of capital, ultimately, in a sense, contributes to the environment. With this level of consumption the poor toil, produce wealth, and suffer. The rich thus tax the poor. It’s not an irony; it’s the rule of this predatory economy! What would have happened had the poor consumed like the rich?

With the sophistication of shameless appropriator the rich and the privileged love, conspire and scramble to possess everything between the sky and the seas: spacecraft, airplane, helicopter, yacht, automobile, island, ranch, palace, chateau, mountain and country houses, and what-not. They are hungry for diamond, they are hungry for gold. The blood of children, of humanity spilled and spent for the diamonds and gold is not the consideration of the rich. Their obscene obsession with consumption is mechanical in nature. Embodying all hunger, thirst, lust, and love thyself psychology their ideological heart of greed living within their life cycle of profit loves to indulge in eating, drinking, riding, flying, gambling and shopping that goes to the level of unnecessary, and makes deeper and wider footprint of destruction on environment. This reality compels any citizen concerned with environment to review environmental impact of consumption by the rich.
So, a modest and functional proposal has recently been made.

Citing estimate in the World Development Indicators (2008) of the World Bank, Fred Magdoff, co-editor of Agriculture and Food in Crisis (with Brian Tokar, 2010) says: “[The] wealthiest 10% of the [world population] use approximately 60% of the world’s resources. Because of the close correlation between resource use and pollution, the wealthiest 10% are, therefore, responsible for about 60% of the world’s pollution, contributing to global warming, water pollution, etc. […The] poorest 40% of the population use less than 5% of the world’s resources.”

Temporarily setting aside ideology, Fred observes: “[T]hese numbers lead to an absolutely inescapable conclusion. Trying to reduce the population of poor people will not help deal with this at all. It is the wealthy of the world that are overwhelmingly responsible for the resource/environmental problems we face.”

With this background, Fred, co-author of What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism: A Citizen's Guide to Capitalism and the Environment (with John Bellamy Foster, 2011), says: “The world ecosystem and its people desperately need a reduction in the consumption by the richest 10%.”

He, therefore, makes a “Modest Proposal” for immediate implementation, which is specific instead of a broad, sweeping comment. The proposal says: “enforce either a ‘no-child’ or a ‘one-child’ policy on the wealthy; immediately introduce a 100% inheritance tax on the wealthy; and lower the income of the wealthy by having a very modest maximum compensation (analogous to a minimum wage).”

Fred expects that following these measures approximately half of all resource use and pollution in the world can be rapidly reduced. “The previously wealthy would then either disappear (as they die out) or live a life in which they consume at the rate of the average person in the world.”

Fred’s modest proposal is based on the morality of humanity’s and the planet’s survival, upholds the principles of democracy and equity, and takes into consideration the current environmental divide.

Creative and productive environment can’t survive in a biased and dominated distribution structure. A trampled environment turned toxic or burned into ashes can’t support life in any form. Rather, destitution is created. History of nature and society puts the evidence. This fact makes Fred’s proposal rational and needs early consideration. Agrimonde, in its conclusion, reminded that in “a world of rare resources, the rarest of all may be time.” This makes Fred’s proposal an issue of urgent consideration.

Farooque Chowdhury from Dhaka contributes on socioeconomic issues.

  Read The Poor And The Privileged And A Proposal On Resource Use
 May 7, 2012  

Fourteen Canadians were arrested for civil disobedience at 6 p.m. after sitting down on the tracks in front of an oncoming coal train in White Rock. Their vigil began at midnight, but Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) cancelled many of its scheduled runs in anticipation of the protest.


Climate activists arrested at behest of Warren Buffett's BNSF railway over coal blockade

Coal is a likely target for climate stability advocates because it has the highest greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy of all fossil fuels and because there is enough economically available coal to trigger run away climate change. Over eight million tons of coal from Powder River Basin, Montana traveled through the lower BC mainland in 2011. BNSF transports the coal through White Rock to the Westshore terminals. BNSF is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Will Horter, one of those arrested, stated, “We brought attention to the massive size and increase in the transport of coal through BC and took an action that we hope will ill inspire citizens to assert control in a dangerous situation in which the political leaders are failing to protect our children’s future.”

The climate stability advocates were charged under the Railway Act and fined $115. They have a right to a hearing to contest the charges.

Mark Jaccard, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, among those arrested

Nobel Prize Laureate and SFU professor Dr. Mark Jaccard was among those arrested. “I’m a naïve product of working class Burnaby,” he said. “I’ve never broken a law in my life. I’m very uncomfortable taking this position.”

Dr. Mark Jaccard, being handcuffed, follows a precedent set by Dr. James Hansen, another Nobel Laureate arrested for civil disobedience related to climate change.

“If governments were acting to reduce GHG emissions, or slow the rate of increase, I wouldn’t be here today,” he continued. “I’d be helping those governments to do that. But in the last few years, especially in Canada under Harper, the emphasis has been on accelerating the rate at which we are destroying the planet. So I have to ask myself and I have to ask everyone else, ethically, what is the right thing to do? It’s made me read more about civil disobedience, people like Mahandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Henry David Thoreau.”

Rather than appreciation for his civil disobedience, Jaccard encourages participation. “I really think that we should all be doing this,” he said. “I’m here drawing attention to myself for ethical reasons, but I don’t want to be a martyr. I’d much rather that there were 10,000 of us out here. Everyone has the ability to know how dangerous the current situation is.”

Jaccard’s career as an environmental economist focuses on developing policies to move toward a sustainable economy. He’s participated in numerous governmental and intergovernmental assessments, including work for the International Panel on Climate Change. He has advised the US, collections of European governments, the State of California, and provincial governments including BC, Ontario and Quebec.

“We are heading for a real crisis in which we’ll have to start ripping infrastructure apart,” he stated in response to a question by another protester. “We can avoid that. Over 100 coal plants in the US were cancelled or put on hold because of people like us. It created a big increase in renewable energy and it is happening rapidly. Those places are avoiding a crisis.”

BC: Carbon gateway of North America

According to one source, Warren Buffett considered BNSF a promising investment because he foresaw the growing need to transport coal out of the US, where it is losing its market due to its notoriety as a potent instrument of climate change. According to one activist, the transport of coal from the US to the Westshore Terminals has increased by 60% in the last two years.

Author and founder of 350.org Bill McKibben finds Buffett’s association with coal puzzling: Buffettt is known for his support for tax equity and his planned legacy to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Yet he enables massive coal emissions with climate impacts which will hit hardest on the world’s most vulnerable people. Scholars such as Jaccard and McKibben believe that BC must take responsibility, not only for the emissions resulting from the extraction and transportation of fossil fuels, but also for the emissions from their use at a final destination.

While the US has either stopped or put on hold 100 coal plants, Jim Pattison’s Westshore Terminals are still an eager recipient for BNSF’s coal delivery. Its website boasts:

Coal from the United States Powder River Basin is being exported through Westshore at record levels, exceeding 8 million tonnes in 2011. Westshore's future has never been brighter, with the most bullish coal market in the past 30 years. With this in mind, Westshore has signed long-term contracts with its major customers [including the United States Powder River Basin] to ensure security of supply well into the future.

The coal from Powder River Basin contributes to BC’s dubious distinction of being North America’s largest export gateway for fossil fuels. Westshore Terminals alone shipped 27.3 million tons of coal in 2011. That’s about 55 million tons of carbon dioxide, the amount of carbon dioxide that BC gives off in burning all its fossil fuels combined.

According to Kevin Washbrook of stopcoal.ca, the coal transport through BC benefits the 1% at the expense of everyone else: profit for Buffett, the third wealthiest man in the world, and Jimmy Pattison, the 5th wealthiest man in Canada. It creates no jobs for BC residents and creates conditions that hit vulnerable people the hardest. Washbrook was among those arrested for blocking the coal train.

Statements by persons arrested for civil disobedience:

“These actions are necessary because they are commensurate with what is really going on. A lot of people are doing stuff but it falls short of what we need. We have to say that fossil fuel pollution is destroying the earth and it has to stop. It’s plain and simple. No more discussions, no more half measures. It’s time to say “let’s stop it” and to figure out the best way to do that. The science is so clear. David Suzuki said 10-15 years ago that we have 10 to 15 years left to act. It’s clear as can be that these trains are taking coal to places where it will be burned and put into the air and it has to be stopped.”

“We are on the wrong course as far as climate goes and rational appeals aren’t being listened to so this is the last avenue. To not do something would just be ignorant or ignoring the facts. Terrible things are ahead if we don’t take action now. That’s why I’m here. There’s so much information out there. I wouldn’t be able to face my grandchildren or children if I didn’t do anything with what I know now. I think other people will be catalyzed into action when they realize that there are lots of us involved and they won’t be a lone person on an island. With other people to support them and armed with the facts, people will increasingly take part. The truth is out there. The science has been telling us for decades that we are responsible for it and capable of changing it.”

“I’m a big believer in taxation on energy and then taking that revenue to do what we need to do in our society. And I’m a big believer in the jobs that that will create for young adults in Canada. All we have to do is raise taxes on energy.”

“I graduated from university a year ago in environment and policy science. I now have important has knowledge and that creates an obligation to pass it on to other people, to be someone that others can come to . I feel emotional today because I know a lot of passionate young people who are ready to act and today I see older people willing to act as well. Some big change is going to happen soon and I’m excited about that.”

“I care about the planet. I grew up as a hiker and I care about the environment. The fact that I have children has nothing to do with it. All the planet’s children are my children.”

"Everything I read about climate change says that we have only a few years left to turn it around or it's going to be out of our control. We are putting so much pollution in the atmosphere, even if we stop burning fossil fuels right now, the earth is still getting warmer.”

The day in White Rock

Activists arrived at midnight, hoping to catch the first of the three coal trains scheduled for the pre-dawn hours. Police arrived on the scene in force at about 8 am. RCMP Police Chief Roseberry, also on the scene in White Rock, stated that her concern was for public safety, and preventing human injury as a result of protesters on the train tracks.

All morning, the citizens of White Rock strolled and jogged past the bristling strategy scrums of both police and climate stability advocates, expressing frustration with the inconvenience of a controversy that landed squarely on their lovely sea wall on a sunny day.

At about 10:30 a.m., activists and police gathered for a discussion of the terms of the injunction that BNSF had obtained the day before. The RCMP acknowledged that interpretation of the injunction would be subject to the on-the-ground discretion of its officers, and that officers could charge blockaders either pursuant to the injunction or to the criminal code.

According to one of those arrested, the police exercised their discretion in arresting the protesters under the Railway Act rather than under the injunction.

Activists tend to prefer arrest under the criminal code because it allows them the opportunity to offer the court a statement regarding the purpose of their civil disobedience and allows them to assert defenses under the Charter of Rights. For the same reasons, civil injunctions are favored as the enforcement mechanism of choice by corporate property owners.

At around noon, the police officers dispersed, to regroup later in the afternoon. Protesters asked BNSF to provide the time of the next coal train so that they could resolve the safety issues up front, but BNSF refused to provide that information. Negotiations between the parties resulted in a tentative agreement that the protesters would disperse at dusk with no arrests. However, BNSF chose to go forward with moving the coal train into the area before dusk and having the protesters arrested.

Onward, the train

Following the arrests, the tracks were cleared for a train with 125 cars carrying 13,000 tons of coal that will eventually emit 26,000 tons of CO2. That much CO2 would bring $650,000 to the province in revenues if coal for export was subject to the BC carbon tax.

Gus Melonas, Corporate Relations for BNSF

By telephone, Melonas made no comment regarding the protester’s rationale for action.

©Observer Media Group

  Read Fourteen Arrested Blocking BNSF Coal Train In White Rock
 May 7, 2012  

GENEVA - In a world where governments are increasingly subservient to global finance capital, multinationals are gaining ground in the fight against state regulations that aim to protect the environment, public health or social policies.

According to the most recent data released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the number of lawsuits brought against governments by companies evoking clauses in bilateral investment treaties (BITs) was 450 at the end of 2011.

These are only the known cases; most are kept secret.

In the many instances in which these lawsuits have been successful, governments have been made to pay fines amounting to tens, sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars or euros.

The highly controversial BITs – which establish the conditions for investment by companies of one country in another state – have handed multinational corporations an arsenal of clauses with which to fight state regulations against harmful investment.

In 2011, Argentina held the record of known cases (51), followed by Venezuela (25), Ecuador (23) and Mexico. Most of the claims against Argentina are related to the 2011 financial crisis and many to the privatisation of water. In total, Buenos Aires has been fined more than one billion dollars by multinational corporations.

Last year, Ecuador was forced to pay fines of 78 million dollars to the United States’ oil company Chevron, which claims that the country’s efforts to protect the Amazon from pollution have negatively affected business.

This year, Argentina may face a new case, after the government moved to regain state control over the country’s biggest oil firm, which had been owned by the private Spanish oil company Repsol for many years.

According to UNCTAD, the year 2011 saw 40 percent of cases decided in favour of states and 30 percent in favour of investors, while the remaining 30 percent resulted in settlements.

Ironically, BITs allow companies to sue governments but not vice versa.

In December 2011, for instance, the Stockholm-based Vattenfall threatened to sue Germany for the federal government’s decision, in the aftermath of the Fukushima catastrophe, to phase out nuclear energy by 2022.

The Swedish nuclear company was poised to rake in compensation amounting to more than a billion euros. Evoking the Energy Charter Treaty – a multilateral agreement that protects investment in the energy sector – Vattenfall first tried, unsuccessfully, to convince the federal government to accommodate its requests.

The deadline for peaceful dispute settlement expired last March and now Vattenfall could sue the government at any time.

"Germany has around 130 BITs that could potentially severely restrain its environmental policy," Nathalie Bernasconi, of the Geneva-based International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), told IPS.

"Foreign investors may challenge, in an international arbitration process, any change in law and policy to protect the environment and public health, to promote social or cultural goals, or to grapple with financial or economic crises. However, it is impossible to predict the outcome with any precision because each will depend in large part on the composition of the arbitral tribunal deciding the case, which consists of three highly-paid individuals, typically specialised in commercial rather than public law."

It is the second time that Vattenfall has attacked Germany on environmental charges. In 2009, it challenged the standards set out in an environmental permit required for the operation of its coal-fired power plant situated on the river Elbe, which runs through Hamburg.

Claiming that the regulations – aimed at limiting the increase in water temperatures caused by the plant’s operations – were too strict, the company brought the case to an arbitral tribunal at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

In order to settle, Germany agreed to change the conditions under which the permit was delivered and the case was dropped.

"A legal analysis by a German law firm commissioned by Greenpeace confirms that the environmental standards in the permit were diluted in a way that was probably not required under German law. It is a typical case where a government... (has) abandon legislation or standards it originally planned to adopt out of fear of being sued or condemned in an international procedure," Bernasconi commented.

Another emblematic example of the power corporations wield over governments is the case brought by Philip Morris International against Uruguay and Australia under BITs the countries had signed with Switzerland and Hong Kong respectively.

The U.S. tobacco giant is using these treaties to challenge new legislation concerning the health warnings and advertising on cigarette packages - even though the regulations are in compliance with and encouraged by the World Health Organisation (WHO) framework convention on tobacco control.

According to Veijo Heiskanen, a specialist in international arbitration at Lalive law firm in Geneva, "From the 1960s to the 1970, states had a direct role in economies. With the privatisation (wave) of the 1990s, this direct role was replaced by regulation."

This led to questions about whether the implementation of these regulations was adversely affecting investors, particularly foreign ones, which is often the case.

While investor protection was initially necessary to regulate government measures like nationalisation, the trend now seems to be leaning heavily on corporations challenging these regulations.

For example, in the late 1990s, Mexico was fined 16.7 million dollars for forbidding the U.S.-based company Metalclad from dumping toxic waste in the Guadalcazar County in the northern part of the north-central state of San Luis Potosí.

"The real question is whether (BITs) regulations are appropriate and states should seek (sound) legal advice to make sure that they are in compliance with international standards," stressed Heiskanen. "These disputes are politically sensitive because there are (millions of dollars) at stake."

Prior to paying fines to Chevron last year, Ecuador was sentenced to the payment of 700 million dollars back in 2010. That same year the Swiss cement supplier Holcim obtained 650 million dollars from Venezuela, when the country nationalised cement production.

All experts are agreed that legislation and regulations need to find a better equilibrium so that they cannot be exploited by states or investors.

"Investment protection treaties must be modernised to strike a better balance between investors’ and states rights," Bernasconi concluded. "The old model doesn’t work any more."

States and citizens alike have become extremely mistrustful of the dispute settlement process. "The commercial arbitration model on which investment arbitration is built is just not adequate for resolving sensitive issues of public policy," she added.

"A lack of transparency, unpredictability and conflicts of interest have simply become unacceptable. This discontent has led countries like Australia to disfavor investor-state dispute settlement entirely and others to terminate their investment treaties.

"Watching these developments, countries like Brazil, which never ratified any of its investment treaties, must count themselves lucky," she added.

© 2012 IPS North America

  Read Global Corporations Undermining Democracy Worldwide
 May 4, 2012  
Coal Power Fiasco In India Karnataka's Case Study
by Shankar Sharma, Countercurrents.org

A large number of coal power plants in excess of 700,000 MW (as per one estimate) are reported to be in the various stages of planning, approval and implementation. All these are being claimed as necessary to meet the growing demand for electricity, and most importantly to electrify those houses/villages which are without electricity even after 6 decades of huge growth. Without the processes of due diligence in realistic demand projection, project design, analysis of costs & benefits to the society, approvals etc. these projects have the potential to become a huge liability in view of the need for large tracts of land, fresh water and coal. The social, economic and environmental implications of such projects; lack of adequate public consultations; poor regulatory regimes; inadequate/absence of approval mechanisms, global warming implications etc. should be of major concern to the communities. Unless these issues are addressed objectively, the true potential for social, economic and environmental distress for the vulnerable sections of our society can be massive.

With many such coal power projects being planned for the state, Karnataka can be cited as a case study to highlight some of the contentious issues.

NTPC's huge size coal power plant near Bijapur, Karnataka (4,000 MW) is scheduled to begin construction shortly. Other coal power projects proposed in Karnataka amounts to about 17,000 MW. In view of the huge deleterious impacts of coal power plants on the social, environment and economic aspects of the state, it is sad that the need for an effective public debate on the costs and benefits to the society as a whole from such power plants is not realised by the authorities. In particular, the total costs and real benefits to our communities of Bijapur power plant need to be analysed as a case study so that the public can decide whether it is in the best interest of the state.

It is critical to note that Karnataka has no known reserve of any type of fossil fuels, including coal, and hence coal for all the coal power plants in the state has to be brought from a far off place. As per well established power plant economics, a coal power plant would be most economical if it is situated either at coal pit head or near the electrical load centre. All the power plants proposed in the state, being neither near a coal mine nor being a major load centre, cannot be suitable sites. For the same reasons the Chief Minister of Karnataka was known to have said some time ago that since setting up a coal power plant in Karnataka is not economical, a coal power plant for the exclusive use of the state was being set up in Chhattisgarh.

It should be highlighted that t he existing coal power plants at Raichur and Bellary in the state are repeatedly getting affected from unreliable coal supply. Even though NTPC may get priority in getting coal supply , the logistics involved in bringing the same from the far off coal fields are immense, as has been experienced in the case of Raichur power plant. NTPC power plants in the country are also reported to be suffering from shortage of coal. Due to various technical, logistics and price related issues adequate coal supply to Bijapur plant cannot be fully assured.

The districts of North Karnataka , where most of these coal power plants are proposed, have been facing water crises since many decades. All the reservoirs such as Almatti, Hidkal, Malaprabha, Tunga Bhadra, Narayanapura etc. in this region, were built primarily to supply water for households and agriculture in the region. Most of these reservoirs, including Almatti, are getting dry generally during summer. If 5.2 TMC/year of water is to be diverted to NTPC plant from Almatti reservoir, how will the people in the districts of Bijapur and Bagalakote be compensated for this quantity of water? One can realistically expect aggravated water shortage and hence popular opposition for diversion of water in summer months since it will result in deprivation of water to the locals.

The Karnataka Government has already identified water as the biggest impediment for industrialisation. About 77% of the total geographical area of the state is arid or semi-arid; drought is a threat to reckon with as two thirds of the state receives less than 50 mm rainfall per annum. Karnataka ranks second in India , next only to Rajasthan, in terms of total geographical area prone to drought. 54% of total geographical area of the state is drought prone, affecting 88 of 176 taluks and 18 of the 33 districts. Global Warming is projected to severely impact the state worsening the water problem. Hence the drought prone characteristics of the sate should be a critical consideration for any developmental plan for the state. In this grim scenario, can the state afford to divert 5.2 TMC per year for this NTPC plant? Can we also afford to divert such huge quantities of fresh water for other coal plants?

This NTPC project may need about 3,200 acres of land. Not all of the land identified for this purpose can be said to be unfit for agriculture. The agricultural lands to be diverted for this project will impact the agricultural/horticultural output in the state. Can our state, with a growing population, afford to loose agricultural land for this plant and many other coal power plants planned in the state?

The NTPC plant will burn enormous quantity of coal and generate mountains of ash, particulate matter, huge quantities of CO 2, Sulphur di-oxide and mercury and many other flue gases. Such a high level of pollution of the environment invariably leads to serious health problems and will affect horticulture and food crops in the two districts. As per media reports this NTPC plant, when fully commissioned, may emit around 800 ton per day ( tpd ) of SO 2 (at 100 per cent load factor, 0.7 per cent sulphur content in coal), 160 tpd of NO 2 and 20 tpd of particulate matter (at 34 per cent ash content, 99.9 per cent electrostatic precipitator efficiency) and around 24,000-30,000 tpd of coal ash. Emission of Mercury is another concern from Indian coal power plants. There appears to be no formal emission standards for SO 2 , NOx and mercury emissions in coal-based power plants. How can the people, flora and fauna in the region face this much of pollution year after year for about 30 years of plant life? Will the resultant pollution of water in Almatti dam and the Krishna river be acceptable?

Taking into account the constraints of a coal power plant and the requirement for its own use (80% PLF; 10% aux. consumption) , one can expect a daily maximum output of about 2,880 MW on an average. As per reports Karnataka will get 50% of this which will be 1,440 MW. In view of the prevailing losses in Karnataka power system of about 25%, about 1,080 MW only may be available for economic and welfare usage of the state. This much power will be meager when compared to the enormous cost to the state in the form of land, water, pollution, loss of agricultural/horticultural production etc. Similarly, the benefits of other coal power plants also will be meager when compared to the enormous costs to the state.

In this backdrop, a modest understanding of the electricity sector in Karnataka can clearly establish that the state can realise much more virtual additional capacity than 1,080 MW by efficiency improvement measures alone in generation, transmission, distribution and utilisation. As per well established norms these measures are expected to cost only about 25% of the cost of new coal power plants without any other attendant costs such as land, water and pollution. Additionally, the measures like Demand Side Management, energy conservation and widespread use of distributed type renewable energy sources such as roof top solar power, community based bio-mass, hybrid of wind/solar etc. can meet most of the additional electricity demand satisfactorily in the near future. In this context few credible alternative available to the state in order to bridge the gap between demand and supply of electricity should be considered.

Alternative Option 1: Loss reduction in transmission and distribution from 25% to 5% can provide about 1,200 MW virtual additional power. Alternative Option 2: Technical loss reduction in IP sets can provide about 1,100 MW virtual additional power.

Alternative Option 3: Demand Side Management, such as use of CFLs and efficient domestic applicances can provide about 1,100 MW virtual additional power .

It can be noted that each of these alternatives can provide virtual additional power equivalent at much less cost and without impacting the state's agriculture, water, and environment.

Karnataka also has huge potential in wind, solar and bio-mass energy sources. The true potential of these renewable energy sources can be very huge if they are harnessed effectively in distributed mode such as roof top solar PV panels, community based solar, wind and bio-mass plants. A high level estimate indicates that if on average 1,000 Sq. ft of roof top in each of the 20% of the total households in the state (those houses which are structurally and economically strong) are used to set up solar photo voltaic panels a total solar power capacity of about 20,000 MW can be achieved with virtually nil GHG emission addition, nil water requirement and nil displacements of people. Such roof top solar photo voltaic panels will drastically reduce the energy lost in transmission and distribution, and if connected to the existing grid network can minimise the need for additional conventional power plants. If the roof tops of various types of other buildings in the state such as schools, colleges, industries, offices, ware house etc. also are effectively used the total solar capacity which can be realized will be mind boggling.

An objective consideration of the electricity scenario in the state will reveal that in reality there is no shortage of the electricity generating capacity if we can achieve international standards in the performance of the assets in generation, transmission, distribution and utilization. Hence, efficiency improvement, energy conservation, DSM, and optimum deployment of distributed renewable energy sources will not only enable us to eliminate the deficits, but also will reduce the reliance on conventional power generating sources. In the long term the scope for eliminating the conventional power sources entirely (including the coal and nuclear power) is credible, and hence should be pursued with determination. There is huge potential for this approach to ensure much improved status in social, environmental and economical aspects of the state.

Major issues with coal based power policy

Economic

Puts huge pressure on natural resources such as land, water and minerals; demands a lot of

construction materials like cement, steel, sand; will increase average cost of power; road and rail transportation infrastructures need a lot more strengthening; pressure on ports will increase due to the need for import of coal; land costs around coal power projects will become unaffordable to locals; overall efficiency from coal energy to end use of electrical energy is very poor of the order of about 10% only.

Social and health

Peoples' displacement will cause additional unemployment & increase in slums; will affect

agricultural production and health; prospect of displacement will create social tensions and stiff opposition; local buildings of heritage importance will degenerate; nearby places of tourist and religious importance loose prominence; causes serious erosion of local community development; livelihood and drinking water needs of the local communities will be threatened. Coal plant emissions contribute to some of the most widespread diseases, including asthma, heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer

Environmental

Safe use for all the ash generated is not available yet; acid rain will affect flora and fauna including forests and agricultural crops; coastal power plants will affect marine creatures; destruction of forest lands to open more of coal mines; have to contend with nuclear radiation in coal ash; credible threat to bio-diversity; fresh water sources will be polluted; reduces the access to fresh water sources near mines; huge contribution to Global Warming and Climate Change; negates the purpose of National action Plan on Climate Change.

These issues are relevant to any state which is planning/operating coal power plants; may be with different magnitude. In the background of all these glaring issues, the public has to decide how prudent it is for the STATE to spend thousands of crores of rupees of its revenue and precious natural resources in establishing coal power plants without first harnessing all the techno-economically viable and environmentally benign alternatives.

At a time when the entire nation is looking to reduce the total Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, and when the state should honestly be looking at credible ways and means of preserving our water resources, fertile agricultural land and tropical forests, the cumulative impact of so many coal based power projects should be objectively studied keeping in view the welfare of all sections of our state.

Keeping all these issues in objective consideration, the state and the union governments should involve all the concerned stake holders in detailed discussions regarding the total costs to the society and benefits from coal power projects, and their true relevance to our society.


Shankar Sharma is a Power Policy Analyst

  Read Coal Power Fiasco In India  Karnataka's Case Study
 May 4, 2012  
Will China Survive?
by Peter Goodchild , Countercurrents.org
Groups larger than that of the band or the small tribe simply do not do as well in providing for the happiness of their individual members. A social group of a million or a billion may have military advantages but is more likely to operate as a tyranny than as a democracy, and China is the obvious case. A Communist dictatorship is, to put it mildly, an anachronism, and keeping the populace in submission to the central government is a struggle that cannot go on forever. The basic problem is that the country is an ecological disaster, and there is little sign of a solution forthcoming. China may have large amounts of cash, but it is nevertheless short of almost everything needed to maintain human life. It may be wondered where its population is planning to live in the future, when China itself cannot hold those numbers.

The Chinese effort at dealing with excess population growth has not been entirely successful. Since 1953, the year of the first proper Chinese census and approximately the start of concerns with excessive fertility, the population has gone from 583 million to over 1.3 billion. For that matter, since the official starting of the one-child campaign in 1979 the population has grown by over 300 million (Riley, 2004, June); in other words, China's increase is equal to the entire population of the US. By a curious coincidence, Canada and China are very similar geographically, in terms of size, ranges of climate and terrain, amount of arable land, and so on, yet China's population is 43 times greater.

Because of the global decline in fossil fuels, and the lack of any viable form of "alternative energy" on the necessary scale, as well as a decline in a great many minerals, large numbers of people throughout the world are likely to die of famine over the next few decades, in one way or another. Many of these will not be deaths by famine directly; famine will result in a lowering of the birth rate (Devereux, 2000; Ó Gráda, 2007, March). This will sometimes happen voluntarily, as people realize they lack the resources to raise children, or it will happen involuntarily when famine and general ill health result in infertility. China is already quite familiar with famine. The number of famine deaths during China's Great Leap Forward (1958-1961) was perhaps 30 million, and the number of lost births was perhaps 33 million. This was the worst famine in human history.

There is a common misconception that if all else fails, China will still have enormous amounts of coal. That is not the case, any more than it is anywhere else in the world. The US has almost 30 percent of the world's coal reserves, while China has only the third-largest reserves, totaling 14 percent, but China accounts for 43 percent of the world's production (Höök, Zittel, Schindler, & Aleklett, 2010, June 8). With its enormous growth in consumption, it is unlikely that China's coal supply will last until 2030 (Heinberg, 2009; 2010, May).

China is also losing water. As is true of many other countries, China is pumping at rates that cannot be maintained. The shallower aquifers could be replenished if pumping were reduced, but the deeper ?fossil? aquifers cannot be rejuvenated when their levels are allowed to fall. Among the latter is the deeper aquifer of the North China Plain (Brown, 2008).

Combined with excessive population, the loss of water in China is leading, in turn, to a loss of food. Agriculture uses more than 70 percent of the world's fresh water and is mainly responsible for the depletion of aquifers (UN Environment Program, 2007). In China, four-fifths of the grain harvest depends on irrigation. The fossil aquifer of the North China Plain maintains half of China's wheat production and a third of its corn. As a result of the depletion of water, Chinese annual grain production has been in decline since 1998.

References:

Brown, L. (2008). Plan B: Mobilizing to save civilization. New York: Norton & Co.
Devereux, S. (2000). Famine in the twentieth century. IDS Working Paper 105. Retrieved from
http://www.sarpn.org.za/documents/d0000076/Devereux.pdf

Heinberg, R. (2009). Blackout. Gabriola Island, British Columbia: New Society.

------. (2010, May). China's coal bubble . . . and how it will deflate U.S. efforts to develop ?clean coal.? MuseLetter #216. Retrieved from http://richardheinberg.com/216-chinas-coal-bubble-and-how-it-will-deflate-u-s-efforts-to-develop-clean-coal

Höök, M., Zittel, W., Schindler, J., & Aleklett, K. (2010, June 8). Global coal production outlooks based on a logistic model. Retrieved from http://www.tsl.uu.se/uhdsg/Publications/Coal_Fuel.pdf/Publications/Coal_Fuel.pdf

Ó Gráda, C. (2007, March). Making famine history. Journal of Economic Literature. Retrieved from http://www.ucd.ie/economics/research/papers/2006/WP06.10.pdf

Riley, N. E. (2004, June). China's population: New trends and challenges. Population Reference Bureau. Population Bulletin, 59 (2).

UN Environment Program. (2007). Global environment outlook 4. Retrieved from http://www.unep.org/geo/geo4/report/GEO-4_Report_Full_en.pdf

Peter Goodchild is the author of Survival Skills of the North American Indians, published by Chicago Review Press. His email address is prjgoodchild{at} gmail.com
  Read Will China Survive?
 May 2, 2012  
Justice Requires Action To Stop Subjugation Of Palestinians
by Desmond Tutu, The Tampa Times, Countercurrents.org

A quarter-century ago I barnstormed around the United States encouraging Americans, particularly students, to press for divestment from South Africa. Today, regrettably, the time has come for similar action to force an end to Israel's long-standing occupation of Palestinian territory and refusal to extend equal rights to Palestinian citizens who suffer from some 35 discriminatory laws.

I have reached this conclusion slowly and painfully. I am aware that many of our Jewish brothers and sisters who were so instrumental in the fight against South African apartheid are not yet ready to reckon with the apartheid nature of Israel and its current government. And I am enormously concerned that raising this issue will cause heartache to some in the Jewish community with whom I have worked closely and successfully for decades. But I cannot ignore the Palestinian suffering I have witnessed, nor the voices of those courageous Jews troubled by Israel's discriminatory course.

Within the past few days, some 1,200 American rabbis signed a letter — timed to coincide with resolutions considered by the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA) — urging Christians not "to selectively divest from certain companies whose products are used by Israel." They argue that a "one-sided approach" on divestment resolutions, even the selective divestment from companies profiting from the occupation proposed by the Methodists and Presbyterians, "damages the relationship between Jews and Christians that has been nurtured for decades."

While they are no doubt well-meaning, I believe that the rabbis and other opponents of divestment are sadly misguided. My voice will always be raised in support of Christian-Jewish ties and against the anti-Semitism that all sensible people fear and detest. But this cannot be an excuse for doing nothing and for standing aside as successive Israeli governments colonize the West Bank and advance racist laws.

I recall well the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail in which he confesses to his "Christian and Jewish brothers" that he has been "gravely disappointed with the white moderate … who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: 'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action;' who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom. ..."

King's words describe almost precisely the shortcomings of the 1,200 rabbis who are not joining the brave Palestinians, Jews and internationals in isolated West Bank communities to protest nonviolently against Israel's theft of Palestinian land to build illegal, Jewish-only settlements and the separation wall. We cannot afford to stick our heads in the sand as relentless settlement activity forecloses on the possibility of the two-state solution.

If we do not achieve two states in the near future, then the day will certainly arrive when Palestinians move away from seeking a separate state of their own and insist on the right to vote for the government that controls their lives, the Israeli government, in a single, democratic state. Israel finds this option unacceptable and yet is seemingly doing everything in its power to see that it happens.

Many black South Africans have traveled to the occupied West Bank and have been appalled by Israeli roads built for Jewish settlers that West Bank Palestinians are denied access to, and by Jewish-only colonies built on Palestinian land in violation of international law.

Black South Africans and others around the world have seen the 2010 Human Rights Watch report which "describes the two-tier system of laws, rules, and services that Israel operates for the two populations in areas in the West Bank under its exclusive control, which provide preferential services, development, and benefits for Jewish settlers while imposing harsh conditions on Palestinians." This, in my book, is apartheid. It is untenable. And we are in desperate need of more rabbis joining the brave rabbis of Jewish Voice for Peace in speaking forthrightly about the corrupting decadeslong Israeli domination over Palestinians.

These are among the hardest words I have ever written. But they are vitally important. Not only is Israel harming Palestinians, but it is harming itself. The 1,200 rabbis may not like what I have to say, but it is long past time for them to remove the blinders from their eyes and grapple with the reality that Israel becoming an apartheid state or like South Africa in its denial of equal rights is not a future danger, as three former Israeli prime ministers — Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert and David Ben Gurion — have warned, but a present-day reality. This harsh reality endured by millions of Palestinians requires people and organizations of conscience to divest from those companies — in this instance, from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett Packard — profiting from the occupation and subjugation of Palestinians.

Such action made an enormous difference in apartheid South Africa. It can make an enormous difference in creating a future of justice and equality for Palestinians and Jews in the Holy Land.

Desmond Tutu, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, is archbishop-emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa.

  Read Justice Requires Action To Stop Subjugation Of Palestinians
 April 28, 2012  

I went to Lille in northern France a few days before the first round of the French presidential election to attend a rally held by the socialist candidate François Holland. It was a depressing experience. Thunderous music pulsated through the ugly and poorly heated Zenith convention hall a few blocks from the city center. The rhetoric was as empty and cliché-driven as an American campaign event. Words like “destiny,” “progress” and “change” were thrown about by Holland, who looks like an accountant and made oratorical flourishes and frenetic arm gestures that seemed calculated to evoke the last socialist French president, François Mitterrand. There was the singing of “La Marseillaise” when it was over. There was a lot of red, white and blue, the colors of the French flag. There was the final shout of “Vive la France.” I could, with a few alterations, have been at a football rally in Amarillo, Texas. I had hoped for a little more gravitas. But as the French cultural critic Guy Debord astutely grasped, politics, even allegedly radical politics, has become a hollow spectacle. Quel dommage.

 

The emptying of content in political discourse in an age as precarious and volatile as ours will have very dangerous consequences. The longer the political elite—whether in Washington or Paris, whether socialist or right-wing, whether Democrat or Republican—ignore the breakdown of globalization, refuse to respond rationally to the climate crisis and continue to serve the iron tyranny of global finance, the more it will shred the possibility of political consensus, erode the effectiveness of our political institutions and empower right-wing extremists. The discontent sweeping the planet is born out of the paralysis of traditional political institutions.

The signs of this mounting polarization were apparent in incomplete returns Sunday with the far-right National Front, led by Marine Le Pen, winning a staggering vote of roughly 20 percent. This will make the National Front the primary opposition party in France if Holland wins, as expected, the presidency in the second round May 6. Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s leftist coalition, the Front de Gauche, was pulling a disappointing 11 percent of the vote. But at least France has a Mélenchon. He was the sole candidate to attack the racist and nationalist diatribes of Le Pen. Mélenchon called for a rolling back of austerity measures, preached the politics “of love, of brotherhood, of poetry” and vowed to fight what he termed the “parasitical vermin” who run global markets. His campaign rallies ended with the singing of the leftist anthem “The Internationale.”

“Long live the Republic, long live the working class, long live France!” he shouted before a crowd of supporters Saturday night.

Every election cycle, our self-identified left dutifully lines up like sheep to vote for the corporate wolves who control the Democratic Party. It bleats the tired, false mantra about Ralph Nader being responsible for the 2000 election of George W. Bush and warns us that the corporate technocrat Mitt Romney is, in fact, an extremist.

The extremists, of course, are already in power. They have been in power for several years. They write our legislation. They pick the candidates and fund their campaigns. They dominate the courts. They effectively gut regulations and environmental controls. They suck down billions in government subsidies. They pay no taxes. They determine our energy policy. They loot the U.S. treasury. They rigidly control public debate and information. They wage useless and costly imperial wars for profit. They are behind the stripping away of our most cherished civil liberties. They are implementing government programs to gouge out any money left in the carcass of America. And they know that Romney or Barack Obama, along with the Democratic and the Republican parties, will not stop them.

The abrasive Nicolas Sarkozy is France’s oilier version of Bush. Sarkozy, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has done the dirty work for bankers. He and Merkel have shoved draconian austerity measures down the throats of Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Spain and Italy. The governments of all these countries, not surprisingly, have been deposed by an enraged electorate. And if the new governments in these distressed European states continue to be ineffectual—which is inevitable given the sacrifices demanded by the banks—the instability will get worse.

Politicians such as Obama—and, I fear, Holland—who carry out corporate agendas while speaking in the language of populism become enemies of liberal democracies. Labor unions, environmentalists, anti-war activists and civil libertarians, blinded by the images and lies disseminated by public relations offices, stop watching what these politicians do. They mute their criticism to give these politicians, whose rhetoric is rarely matched by reality, a chance. The result accelerates our disempowerment. It is also, more ominously, a discrediting of traditional liberal democratic values. The longer the liberal class does not vigorously denounce expanded oil drilling, our corporate health insurance bill and the National Defense Authorization Act, simply because these initiatives have been pushed through by the Democrats, the more marginal the left becomes. If Bush had carried these policies, “liberal” pundits would have thundered with feigned outrage. The hypocrisy of the American left is too blatant to ignore. And it has effectively left us disempowered as a political force.

The political theater staged by the Democrats and Republicans, bloated with corporate money, will not work much longer. The game will soon be up. There are four countries in Europe with socialist governments—Belgium, Austria, Denmark and Slovenia. All have had to implement austerity programs. None have effectively defied the power of the banks. This paralysis is a ticking bomb both in the U.S. and abroad. And when it explodes it will be far more deadly than anything cooked up by a group of radical jihadists.

Paris was convulsed by riots led by unemployed youths in 2005, many of them immigrants living in the depressing high-rise housing projects in the poor suburbs of Paris known asbanlieues. These riots swiftly spread across France. The French government declared a state of national emergency. Now, the simmering rage of the underclass could easily boil over again. The French unemployment rate of 10 percent is the highest in 12 years, but for those in the banlieues the rate is more than 40 percent. We in the United States have similar numbers, only without France’s health care system or safety net. And public unrest could soon pit the disorganized rage of the dispossessed against organized crypto-fascists such as Le Pen, who once compared Muslims praying on France streets in front of overcrowded mosques to the Nazi occupation.

A breakdown of liberal democracy, which seems to be where we are headed, may not bring with it a salutary change. The most retrograde forces within the corporate state, such as the Koch brothers, will lavish racists, homophobes, demagogues, birthers, creationists and gun-carrying, flag-waving idiots with money once the political center crumbles. The left in Europe, and most certainly in the United States, could prove to be too weak to battle against figures like Le Pen or those in the U.S. who rally around the perverted ideologies of the Christian right and the tea party and who receive tens of millions of dollars in corporate backing. The left, in short, may find that it has done too little too late to be an effective counterweight. And widespread discontent could very easily be manipulated by the corporate elites to ensure our enslavement. I watched this happen in the former Yugoslavia. This is the real battle before us. And it has nothing to do with the election charade between Obama and Romney and, I expect, Holland and Sarkozy.

Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, is a senior fellow at the Nation Institute. He writes a regular column for TruthDig every Monday. His latest book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.
  Read The Globalization of Hollow Politics
 May 4, 2012  
Americans Wake Up to the Daily Reality of Climate Change
by Bill McKibben, AlterNet
The Williams River was so languid and lovely last Saturday morning that it was almost impossible to imagine the violence with which it must have been running on August 28, 2011. And yet the evidence was all around: sand piled high on its banks, trees still scattered as if by a giant’s fist, and most obvious of all, a utilitarian temporary bridge where for 140 years a graceful covered bridge had spanned the water.

The YouTube video of that bridge crashing into the raging river was Vermont’s iconic image from its worst disaster in memory, the record flooding that followed Hurricane Irene’s rampage through the state in August 2011.  It claimed dozens of lives, as it cut more than a billion-dollar swath of destruction across the eastern United States.

I watched it on TV in Washington just after emerging from jail, having been arrested at the White House during mass protests of the Keystone XL pipeline.  Since Vermont’s my home, it took the theoretical -- the ever more turbulent, erratic, and dangerous weather that the tar sands pipeline from Canada would help ensure -- and made it all too concrete. It shook me bad.

And I’m not the only one.

New data released last month by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities show that a lot of Americans are growing far more concerned about climate change, precisely because they’re drawing the links between freaky weather, a climate kicked off-kilter by a fossil-fuel guzzling civilization, and their own lives. After a year with a record number of multi-billion dollar weather disasters, seven in ten Americans now believe that “global warming is affecting the weather.” No less striking, 35% of the respondents reported that extreme weather had affected them personally in 2011.  As Yale’s Anthony Laiserowitz told the New York Times, “People are starting to connect the dots.”

Which is what we must do. As long as this remains one abstract problem in the long list of problems, we’ll never get to it.  There will always be something going on each day that’s more important, including, if you’re facing flood or drought, the immediate danger.

But in reality, climate change is actually the biggest thing that’s going on every single day.  If we could only see that pattern we’d have a fighting chance. It’s like one of those trompe l’oeil puzzles where you can only catch sight of the real picture by holding it a certain way. So this weekend we’ll be doing our best to hold our planet a certain way so that the most essential pattern is evident. At 350.org, we’re organizing a global day of action that’s all about dot-connecting; in fact, you can follow the action at climatedots.org.

The day will begin in the Marshall Islands of the far Pacific, where the sun first rises on our planet, and where locals will hold a daybreak underwater demonstration on their coral reef already threatened by rising seas. They’ll hold, in essence, a giant dot -- and so will our friends in Bujumbura, Burundi, where March flooding destroyed 500 homes. In Dakar, Senegal, they’ll mark the tidal margins of recent storm surges.  In Adelaide, Australia, activists will host a “dry creek regatta” to highlight the spreading drought down under.

Pakistani farmers -- some of the millions driven from their homes by unprecedented flooding over the last two years -- will mark the day on the banks of the Indus; in Ayuthaya, Thailand, Buddhist monks will protest next to a temple destroyed by December’s epic deluges that also left the capital, Bangkok, awash.

Activists in Ulanbataar will focus on the ongoing effects of drought in Mongolia.  In Daegu, South Korea, students will gather with bags of rice and umbrellas to connect the dots between climate change, heavy rains, and the damage caused to South Korea’s rice crop in recent years. In Amman, Jordan, Friends of the Earth Middle East will be forming a climate dot on the shores of the Dead Sea to draw attention to how climate-change-induced drought has been shrinking that sea.

In Herzliya, Israel, people will form a dot on the beach to stand in solidarity with island nations and coastal communities around the world that are feeling the impact of climate change. In newly freed Libya, students will hold a teach-in.  In Oman, elders will explain how the weather along the Persian Gulf has shifted in their lifetimes. There will be actions in the cloud forests of Costa Rica, and in the highlands of Peru where drought has wrecked the lives of local farmers.  In Monterrey, Mexico, they’ll recall last year’s floods that did nearly $2 billion in damage. In Chamonix, France, climbers will put a giant red dot on the melting glaciers of the Alps.

And across North America, as the sun moves westward, activists in Halifax, Canada, will “swim for survival” across its bay to highlight rising sea levels, while high-school students in Nashville, Tennessee, will gather on a football field inundated by 2011’s historic killer floods. 

In Portland, Oregon, city dwellers will hold an umbrella-decorating party to commemorate March’s record rains. In Bandelier, New Mexico, firefighters in full uniform will remember last year’s record forest fires and unveil the new solar panels on their fire station.  In Miami, Manhattan, and Maui, citizens will line streets that scientists say will eventually be underwater. In the high Sierra, on one of the glaciers steadily melting away, protesters will unveil a giant banner with just two words, a quote from that classic of western children’s literature, The Wizard of Oz. “I’m Melting” it will say, in letters three-stories high.

This is a full-on fight between information and disinformation, between the urge to witness and the urge to cover-up. The fossil-fuel industry has funded endless efforts to confuse people, to leave an impression that nothing much is going on.  But -- as with the tobacco industry before them -- the evidence has simply gotten too strong. 

Once you saw enough people die of lung cancer, you made the connection. The situation is the same today.  Now, it’s not just the scientists and the insurance industry; it’s your neighbors. Even pleasant weather starts to seem weird.  Fifteen thousand U.S. temperature records were broken, mainly in the East and Midwest, in the month of March alone, as a completely unprecedented heat wave moved across the continent.  Most people I met enjoyed the rare experience of wearing shorts in winter, but they were still shaking their heads. Something was clearly wrong and they knew it.

The one institution in our society that isn’t likely to be much help in spreading the news is... the news. Studies show our papers and TV channels paying ever less attention to our shifting climate.  In fact, in 2011 ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox spent twice as much time discussing Donald Trump as global warming. Don’t expect representatives from Saturday’s Connect the Dots day to show up on Sunday’s talk shows.  Over the last three years, those inside-the-Beltway extravaganzas have devoted 98 minutes total to the planet’s biggest challenge. Last year, in fact, all the Sunday talk shows spent exactly nine minutes of Sunday talking time on climate change -- and here’s a shock: all of it was given over to Republican politicians in the great denial sweepstakes.

So here’s a prediction: next Sunday, no matter how big and beautiful the demonstrations may be that we’re mounting across the world, “Face the Nation” and “Meet the Press” won’t be connecting the dots. They’ll be gassing along about Newt Gingrich’s retirement from the presidential race or Mitt Romney’s coming nomination, and many of the commercials will come from oil companies lying about their environmental efforts. If we’re going to tell this story -- and it’s the most important story of our time -- we’re going to have to tell it ourselves.

  Read Americans Wake Up to the Daily Reality of Climate Change
 May 11, 2012  

The first voice you hear in the new documentary Last Call at the Oasis is Erin Brockovich's -- the famed water justice advocate whom Julia Roberts portrayed on the big screen.

"Water is everything. The single most necessary element for any of us to sustain and live and thrive is water," says Brockovich as her voice plays over clips of water abundance -- gushing rivers and streams. "I grew up in the midwest and I have a father who actually worked for industry ... he promised me in my lifetime that we would see water become more valuable than oil because there will be so little of it. I think that time is here."

The film then cuts to images of water-scarce populations in the world: crowds of people at water tankers, stricken children, news reports of drought in the Middle East, Brazil, China, Spain.

The images are heart-wrenching and alarming ... and so are the ones that come next, which are all in the U.S. Water parks, golf courses, car washes, triple shower heads, outside misters -- all point to our folly when it comes to water.

We live with a false sense of water abundance and it may be our great undoing. Even though the film opens with Brockovich's prophecy that water is more valuable than oil, Last Call at the Oasis mostly focuses on how we've yet to grasp this news. The film, which is the latest from Participant Media (Inconvenient Truth, Food Inc., Waiting for Superman), delves into our addiction to limitless growth, our blindness to pressures from global warming, and the free pass that industry and agriculture get to pollute.

The narrative of the film, which is directed by Jessica Yu, is driven by interviews, historical footage and some outstanding cinematography. We're taken to Las Vegas, so often the starting point for discussions of our impending water crisis. We see a receding Lake Mead, learn that Hoover Dam may be close to losing its ability to generate power as water levels drop, and that the intake valve for Las Vegas' water supply may soon be sucking air.

We hear from Pat Mulroy, Las Vegas' infamous water manager, about a plan for the city to pipe water over 250 miles from a small agricultural community. The town of Baker, population 150, looks to be on the sacrificial altar for Sin City. As Mulroy says, it is a "project out of sheer desperation." But that will be little consolation to the folks in Baker. Or to the rest of us. Because what we learn next is that "we're all Vegas."

Phoenix and LA also face water pressures, as the Colorado River strains to meet growing demands. The film shows hotspots like the California’s Central Valley, where 7 million acres of irrigated agriculture have turned near desert into the source of one-quarter of the nation's food -- at a steep environmental price.

California is often warned it will be the next Australia, where a decade of drought has devastated the agricultural sector. At the peak of Australia's drought, the film tell us, one farmer committed suicide every four days. We meet families who are struggling to save their farms, faced with having to slaughter all of their animals. The scenes of heartbreak in Australia are one of the few times in the film the narrative ventures outside the U.S. Mostly the storyline is focused on America's own evolving plight.

We see Midland, Texas where a community is stricken by cancer from hexavalent chromium in its drinking water. A reoccurring voice throughout the film is Brockovich, who works as a legal consultant all over the U.S. for communities that often find themselves powerless in the face of industry pollution. "There are 1,200 Superfund sites the EPA can't deal with," says Brockovich. "The government won't save you."

For all our clean water laws, we aren't very good at enforcement. From 2004 to 2005 an investigation found that the Clean Water Act was violated more than half a million times. It's not just industry, but pesticides like atrazine, which we learn can be detected in the rain water in Minnesota when it's being applied in Kansas. In Michigan we see another awful side to Big Ag, the liquid waste from factory "farming," known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. These CAFOs threaten drinking water with chemicals, antibiotics and growth hormones.

So what do we do in the face of these threats to our drinking water? Apparently we buy bottled water -- which the film details is not only potentially less safe (it has different regulations from tap water) but is environmentally destructive as well.

There are a few bright spots in the film, including strides that have been made in Singapore and other places to recycle water for drinking. (We could at least start in the U.S. by recycling water for re-use in toilet flushing, irrigation and other non potable uses.) And we get to see a hilarious behind-the-scenes look at an advertising company trying to come up with a campaign to pursuade Americans to drink recycled water. Porcelain Springs anyone?

If you don't know much about water issues, the film is an essential wake-up call. And judging from the way Americans use water, this film looks like it should have a large audience. It covers a lot of ground, but how well?

"Last Call offers a few solutions but -- except for a segment on recycled wastewater -- little about how to traverse the tangled political, social and economic pathways to achieve them. In fact, at times its 'stars' show the exasperation and resignation that comes from years spent seeing the tires spin in the same wheel ruts," writes Brett Walton at Circle of Blue. "With so many problems to choose from, some worthy candidates are excluded and some issues are insufficiently explored, but the writers make good use of the material they have selected. They explain technical issues, while never losing sight of the lives that are affected."

Overall the film is beautiful and compelling but misses the mark in one important place -- it fails to address energy in any meaningful way. There are split-second clips of tap water being lit on fire (fracking!) and what looks to be a flyover of a mountaintop removal mining site, but the filmmakers never talk in depth to any of the people who live in our energy sacrifice zones in this country. What about the devastation in Appalachia and the growing threats from fracking and tar sands extraction?

The issues of energy and water are inextricably linked. It takes energy to move and treat water and it takes water to keep our lights on and our cars running. The more we ignore the reality of our fossil-fuel addiction, the more we become tethered to a future of climate chaos -- droughts, floods and more turbulent storms. It'd be nice to see a film about U.S. water issues that starts in West Virginia, Pennsylvania or Nebraska instead of Las Vegas. This is the most significant lost opportunity in a film that will hopefully have a large reach across the country as it imparts its other important messages.

Look for a screening near you and check out the trailer below.

Tara Lohan is a senior editor at AlterNet and editor of the new book Water Matters: Why We Need to Act Now to Save Our Most Critical Resource. You can follow her on Twitter @TaraLohan.
  Read 'Last Call at the Oasis': Why Time Is Running Out to Save Our Drinking Water
 May 13, 2012  

The following article first appeared at Working In These Times, the labor blog of In These Times magazine. For more news and analysis like this, sign up to receive In These Times' weekly updates.

 With almost $500 billion in annual revenues, ExxonMobil is one of the world's truly powerful corporations. With all its resources and riches, the mammoth energy firm—the largest on the Fortune 500 list—Texas-based ExxonMobil is not loyal to America. Former CEO Lee Raymond made clear that his company’s only loyalty was to maximizing returns for shareholders when he pronounced, “I’m not a U.S. company and I don’t make decisions based on what’s good for the U.S.” Or, Raymond might have added, based on what’s good for U.S. workers and communities."

The company has been resisting implementing a safety agreement at a Louisianan refinery that it already has agreed to around the country. “ExxonMobil has been trying to undercut rest of oil industry on health and safety standards,” says Patrick Young of the United Steelworkers (USW) special campaigns department.

At a refinery employing 900 workers in Baton Rouge, La., the company has been resisting the appointment of a person for the crucial newly-created post of “process safety management representative,” Young says. The Process Safety Management Representative, under the terms of a national agreement reached February 1 between the USW and the oil industry, would be selected by the union, subject to approval by the company and responsible for calling attention to safety hazards and demanding that they be addressed. 

The issue is part of larger negotiations between USW Local 13-12 and ExxonMobil, which are a new three-year contract. Local 13-12 members refused to vote on the company's latest offer because it didn't include the safety measure that is part of other union contracts at other refineries.

“Exxon Mobil is the only company in the industry not living up to safety standards,” Young says. ExxonMobil has agreed to follow the safety agreement at refineries in Chalmette, La., Beaumont,, Texas,  Billings, Mont., Torrance, Calif., but refuses to implement this provision at Baton Rouge.

Reuters reported two weeks ago:

An Exxon spokeswoman said the company was disappointed that workers did not have an opportunity to vote on its most recent contract offer at Baton Rouge.
 
"We are disappointed that the United Steelworkers rejected our most recent offer, including wage increases that match the industry pattern," said Exxon spokeswoman Stephanie Cargile.

For USW Local 13-12 members at the Baton Rouge refinery, the safety issue is a critical concern, explains Young. “These people are working in one of the most dangerous industries in the world," he says. They have eight times the likelihood of dying on the job as the average American worker. With the stakes so high, “the Process Safety Management Representative should be answerable to workers whose lives are on the line, not management, [which is] seeking to maximize production and profits.”

Adding to the need for careful safety monitoring is the extensive amount of overtime demanded from the workers. “These folks are working lots and lots of overtime,” Young says. “They work 12-hour shifts regularly, but there may be more hours demanded within any given day day and lots of consecutive 12-hour shifts over long periods. “

But the workers face a corporation that is unwilling to treat any elected leader, any nation, or other entity as an equal. A new book about Exxon Mobil, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power by Steven Coll, details the vast tentacles that the corporation has extended around the world to exercise raw power, as summarized in a New York Times review :

Private Empire details ExxonMobil’s harassment of environmental scientists], its messy entanglements in small wars in far-flung countries, its withholding of information from Congress, its dissembling about global warming, its arrogant culture, its obscene stockpiles of cash. “

ExxonMobil’s power is so overwhelming that, “As President George W. Bush said to the prime minister of India in 2001, “Nobody tells those guys what to do.”

But with the lives of their members on the line every day, USW Local 13-12 is not backing down on enforcing the safety provisions of the contract.

The USW has been waging a vigorous campaign to force ExxonMobil to live up to the contract. Friday, it gathered USW leaders from the other refineries where Exxon Mobil acceded to the Process Safety Management Representative provision to demonstrate that the Baton Rouge workers’ demands are reasonable and achievable.

On May 30, Young relates, the Steelworkers will be partnering with Occupy Dallas for a major demonstration outside the ExxonMobil annual stockholders’ meeting to ratchet up the pressure on the Baton Rouge safety issue.

The Steelworkers and their allies are determined to show that even if Congress and foreign governments capitulate to ExxonMobil, they are not giving in.

Full disclosure: The United Steelworkers is a sponsor of In These Times.

  Read Workers Battle ExxonMobil Over Safety at Baton Rouge Refinery
 May 10, 2012  

From the Atlantic to the Pacific, Argentina to the Philippines, here are the six areas of conflict -- all tied to energy supplies -- that have made news in just the first few months of 2012:

 

 

A brewing war between Sudan and South Sudan: On April 10th, forces from the newly independent state of South Sudan occupied the oil center of Heglig, a town granted to Sudan as part of a peace settlement that allowed the southerners to secede in 2011.  The northerners, based in Khartoum, then mobilized their own forces and drove the South Sudanese out of Heglig.  Fighting has since erupted all along the contested border between the two countries, accompanied by air strikes on towns in South Sudan.  Although the fighting has not yet reached the level of a full-scale war, international efforts to negotiate a cease-fire and a peaceful resolution to the dispute have yet to meet with success.

This conflict is being fueled by many factors, including economic disparities between the two Sudans and an abiding animosity between the southerners (who are mostly black Africans and Christians or animists) and the northerners (mostly Arabs and Muslims).  But oil -- and the revenues produced by oil -- remains at the heart of the matter.  When Sudan was divided in 2011, the most prolific oil fields wound up in the south, while the only pipeline capable of transporting the south’s oil to international markets (and thus generating revenue) remained in the hands of the northerners.  They have been demanding exceptionally high “transit fees” -- $32-$36 per barrel compared to the common rate of $1 per barrel -- for the privilege of bringing the South’s oil to market.  When the southerners refused to accept such rates, the northerners confiscated money they had already collected from the south’s oil exports, its only significant source of funds.  In response, the southerners stopped producing oil altogether and, it appears, launched their military action against the north.  The situation remains explosive.

Naval clash in the South China Sea: On April 7th, a Philippine naval warship, the 378-foot Gregorio del Pilar, arrived at Scarborough Shoal, a small island in the South China Sea, and detained eight Chinese fishing boats anchored there, accusing them of illegal fishing activities in Filipino sovereign waters.  China promptly sent two naval vessels of its own to the area, claiming that the Gregorio del Pilar was harassing Chinese ships in Chinese, not Filipino waters.  The fishing boats were eventually allowed to depart without further incident and tensions have eased somewhat.  However, neither side has displayed any inclination to surrender its claim to the island, and both sides continue to deploy warships in the contested area.

As in Sudan, multiple factors are driving this clash, but energy is the dominant motive.  The South China Sea is thought to harbor large deposits of oil and natural gas, and all the countries that encircle it, including China and the Philippines, want to exploit these reserves.  Manila claims a 200-nautical mile “exclusive economic zone” stretching into the South China Sea from its western shores, an area it calls the West Philippine Sea; Filipino companies say they have found large natural gas reserves in this area and have announced plans to begin exploiting them.  Claiming the many small islands that dot the South China Sea (including Scarborough Shoal) as its own, Beijing has asserted sovereignty over the entire region, including the waters claimed by Manila; it, too, has announced plans to drill in the area.  Despite years of talks, no solution has yet been found to the dispute and further clashes are likely.

Egypt cuts off the natural gas flow to Israel: On April 22nd, the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company informed Israeli energy officials that they were “terminating the gas and purchase agreement” under which Egypt had been supplying gas to Israel.  This followed months of demonstrations in Cairo by the youthful protestors who succeeded in deposing autocrat Hosni Mubarak and are now seeking a more independent Egyptian foreign policy -- one less beholden to the United States and Israel.  It also followed scores of attacks on the pipelines carrying the gas across the Negev Desert to Israel, which the Egyptian military has seemed powerless to prevent.

Ostensibly, the decision was taken in response to a dispute over Israeli payments for Egyptian gas, but all parties involved have interpreted it as part of a drive by Egypt’s new government to demonstrate greater distance from the ousted Mubarak regime and his (U.S.-encouraged) policy of cooperation with Israel.  The Egyptian-Israeli gas link was one of the most significant outcomes of the 1979 peace treaty between the two countries, and its annulment clearly signals a period of greater discord; it may also cause energy shortages in Israel, especially during peak summer demand periods.  On a larger scale, the cutoff suggests a new inclination to use energy (or its denial) as a form of political warfare and coercion.

* Argentina seizes YPF: On April 16th, Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, announced that her government would seize a majority stake in YPF, the nation’s largest oil company.  Under President Kirchner’s plans, which she detailed on national television, the government would take a 51% controlling stake in YPF, which is now majority-owned by Spain’s largest corporation, the energy firm Repsol YPF.  The seizure of its Argentinean subsidiary is seen in Madrid (and other European capitals) as a major threat that must now be combated.  Spain’s foreign minister, José Manuel García Margallo, said that Kirchner’s move “broke the climate of cordiality and friendship that presided over relations between Spain and Argentina.”  Several days later, in what is reported to be only the first of several retaliatory steps, Spain announced that it would stop importing biofuels from Argentina, its principal supplier -- a trade worth nearly $1 billion a year to the Argentineans.

As in the other conflicts, this clash is driven by many urges, including a powerful strain of nationalism stretching back to the Peronist era, along with Kirchner’s apparent desire to boost her standing in the polls.  Just as important, however, is Argentina’s urge to derive greater economic and political benefit from its energy reserves, which include the world’s third-largest deposits of shale gas.  While long-term rival Brazil is gaining immense power and prestige from the development of its offshore “pre-salt”petroleum reserves, Argentina has seen its energy production languish.  Repsol may not be to blame for this, but many Argentineans evidently believe that, with YPF under government control, it will now be possible to accelerate development of the country’s energy endowment, possibly in collaboration with a more aggressive foreign partner like BP or ExxonMobil.

Argentina re-ignites the Falklands crisis: At an April 15th-16th Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia -- the one at which U.S. Secret Service agents were caught fraternizing with prostitutes -- Argentina sought fresh hemispheric condemnation of Britain’s continued occupation of the Falkland Islands (called Las Malvinas by the Argentineans).  It wonstrong support from every country present save (predictably) Canada and the United States.  Argentina, which says the islands are part of its sovereign territory, has been raising this issue ever since it lost a war over the Falklands in 1982, but has recently stepped up its campaign on several fronts -- denouncing London in numerous international venues andpreventing British cruise ships that visit the Falklands from docking in Argentinean harbors.  The British have responded by beefing up their military forces in the region and warning the Argentineans to avoid any rash moves.

When Argentina and the U.K. fought their war over the Falklands, little was at stake save national pride, the stature of the country’s respective leaders (Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher vs. an unpopular military junta), and a few sparsely populated islands.  Since then, the stakes have risen immeasurably as a result of recent seismic surveys of the waters surrounding the islands that indicated the existence of massive deposits of oil and natural gas.  Several UK-based energy firms, including Desire Petroleum and Rockhopper Exploration, have begun off-shore drilling in the area and have reported promising discoveries.  Desperate to duplicate Brazil’s success in the development of offshore oil and gas, Argentina claims the discoveries lie in its sovereign territory and that the drilling there is illegal; the British, of course, insist that it’s their territory.  No one knows how this simmering potential crisis will unfold, but a replay of the 1982 war -- this time over energy -- is hardly out of the question.

U.S. forces mobilize for war with Iran: Throughout the winter and early spring, it appeared that an armed clash of some sort pitting Iran against Israel and/or the United States was almost inevitable.  Neither side seemed prepared to back down on key demands, especially on Iran’s nuclear program, and any talk of a compromise solution was deemed unrealistic.  Today, however, the risk of war has diminished somewhat -- at least through this election year in the U.S. -- as talks have finally gotten under way between the major powers and Iran, and as both have adopted (slightly) more accommodating stances.  In addition, U.S. officials have been tamping down war talk and figures in the Israeli military and intelligence communities have spoken out against rash military actions.  However, the Iranians continue to enrich uranium, and leaders on all sides say they are fully prepared to employ force if the peace talks fail.

For the Iranians, this means blocking the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow channel through which one-third of the world’s tradable oil passes every day.  The U.S., for its part, has insisted that it will keep the Strait open and, if necessary, eliminate Iranian nuclear capabilities.  Whether to intimidate Iran, prepare for the real thing, or possibly both, the U.S. has been building up its military capabilities in the Persian Gulf area, deploying two aircraft carrier battle groups in the neighborhood along with an assortment of air and amphibious-assault capabilities.

One can debate the extent to which Washington’s long-running feud with Iran is driven by oil, but there is no question that the current crisis bears heavily on global oil supply prospects, both through Iran’s threats to close the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for forthcoming sanctions on Iranian oil exports, and the likelihood that any air strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities will lead to the same thing.  Either way, the U.S. military would undoubtedly assume the lead role in destroying Iranian military capabilities and restoring oil traffic through the Strait of Hormuz. This is the energy-driven crisis that just won’t go away.

How Energy Drives the World

All of these disputes have one thing in common: the conviction of ruling elites around the world that the possession of energy assets -- especially oil and gas deposits -- is essential to prop up national wealth, power, and prestige.

This is hardly a new phenomenon.  Early in the last century, Winston Churchill was perhaps the first prominent leader to appreciate the strategic importance of oil.  As First Lord of the Admiralty, he converted British warships from coal to oil and then persuaded the cabinet to nationalize theAnglo-Persian Oil Company, the forerunner of British Petroleum (now BP).  The pursuit of energy supplies for both industry and war-fighting played a major role in the diplomacy of the period between the World Wars, as well as in the strategic planning of the Axis powers during World War II.  It also explains America’s long-term drive to remain the dominant power in the Persian Gulf that culminated in the first Gulf War of 1990-91 and its inevitable sequel, the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The years since World War II have seen a variety of changes in the energy industry, including a shift in many areas from private to state ownership of oil and natural gas reserves.  By and large, however, the industry has been able to deliver ever-increasing quantities of fuel to satisfy the ever-growing needs of a globalizing economy and an expanding, rapidly urbanizing world population.  So long as supplies were abundant and prices remained relatively affordable, energy consumers around the world, including most governments, were largely content with the existing system of collaboration among private and state-owned energy leviathans.

But that energy equation is changing ominously as the challenge of fueling the planet grows more difficult.  Many of the giant oil and gas fields that quenched the world’s energy thirst in years past are being depleted at a rapid pace.  The new fields being brought on line to take their place are, on average, smaller and harder to exploit.  Many of the most promising new sources of energy -- like Brazil’s “pre-salt” petroleum reserves deep beneath the Atlantic Ocean, Canadian tar sands, and American shale gas -- require the utilization of sophisticated and costly technologies.  Though global energy supplies are continuing to grow, they are doing so at a slower pace than in the past and are continually falling short of demand.  All this adds to the upward pressure on prices, causing anxiety among countries lacking adequate domestic reserves (and joy among those with an abundance).

The world has long been bifurcated between energy-surplus and energy-deficit states, with the former deriving enormous political and economic advantages from their privileged condition and the latter struggling mightily to escape their subordinate position.  Now, that bifurcation is looking more like a chasm.  In such a global environment, friction and conflict over oil and gas reserves -- leading to energy conflicts of all sorts -- is only likely to increase.

Looking, again, at April’s six energy disputes, one can see clear evidence of these underlying forces in every case.  South Sudan is desperate to sell its oil in order to acquire the income needed to kick-start its economy; Sudan, on the other hand, resents the loss of oil revenues it controlled when the nation was still united, and appears no less determined to keep as much of the South’s oil money as it can for itself.  China and the Philippines both want the right to develop oil and gas reserves in the South China Sea, and even if the deposits around Scarborough Shoal prove meager, China is unwilling to back down in any localized dispute that might undermine its claim to sovereignty over the entire region.

Egypt, although not a major energy producer, clearly seeks to employ its oil and gas supplies for maximum political and economic advantage -- an approach sure to be copied by other small and mid-sized suppliers.  Israel, heavily dependent on imports for its energy, must now turn elsewhere for vital supplies or accelerate the development of disputed, newly discovered offshore gas fields, a move that could provoke fresh conflict with Lebanon, which says they lie in its own territorial waters.  And Argentina, jealous of Brazil’s growing clout, appears determined to extract greater advantage from its own energy resources, even if this means inflaming tensions with Spain and Great Britain.

And these are just some of the countries involved in significant disputes over energy.  Any clash with Iran -- whatever the motivation -- is bound to jeopardize the petroleum supply of every oil-importing country, sparking a major international crisis with unforeseeable consequences.  China’s determination to control its offshore hydrocarbon reserves has pushed it into conflict with other countries with offshore claims in the South China Sea, and into a similar dispute with Japan in the East China Sea.  Energy-related disputes of this sort can also be found in the Caspian Sea and in globally warming, increasingly ice-free Arctic regions.

The seeds of energy conflicts and war sprouting in so many places simultaneously suggest that we are entering a new period in which key state actors will be more inclined to employ force -- or the threat of force -- to gain control over valuable deposits of oil and natural gas.  In other words, we’re now on a planet heading into energy overdrive.

Michael Klare is a TomDispatch regular, professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, and the author, most recently, ofThe Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for the World’s Last Resources. To listen to Timothy MacBain's latest Tomcast audio interview in which Klare discusses global energy conflicts, click here or download it to your iPod here.

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Copyright 2012 Michael T. Klare

Michael T. Klare is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., and the author of Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Petroleum Dependency.
  Read 6 Global Conflicts That Have Flared Up Over Oil and Gas