Turning Tide of History #30: Reaching Critical Mass For Real Global Change
In a reply to an ERN subscriber who had sent me an article from a notorious global warming sceptic, I wrote the following with all the climate change deniers in mind:
"Just like all other people who do their best to skew the information to fit their opinions, including the scientists whose manipulations and concealment of data are at the origin of the recent ClimateGate spat, most of those who self-righteously proclaim their "truth" on both sides of the fence regarding the climate change debate are doing the same damn thing: ignoring what's not supporting their view and emphasizing only what supports them.
While this debate goes on, precious energy is wasted to address the wholesale destruction of our planet which, to me, and after 10 years of networking reliable information on all possible environmental crises, is a proven FACT. The image that comes to mind is that of two men fighting each other while slowly going down in a large patch of quicksand. Unless they stop squabbling and help each other out, they will both soon die.
Hopefully, by squarely addressing this issue (as I'm doing in this compilation), this will help people realize that neither side in this debate is entirely right or wrong. Everyone can offer valid arguments to try to better understand and address what is going on without resorting to attacking the other side's views to prop up their own.
We are beyond the time of fiddling and endlessly debating and doing ever more studies to try to make sure we perfectly grasp all aspects of this very complex planetary living system which is itself intricately connected with and responsive to the solar system and galactic environments in which it thrives.
The evidence of our misguided, shortsighted abuse of our planetary cradle of life is all around us... if we just accept to see and hear what nature is "telling" us. Millions of species worldwide are fast disappearing; the acidity level of the oceans is going up fast; storms, droughts and all kinds of weather extremes have nearly doubled in intensity and frequency over the past century; glaciers are quickly melting worldwide along with the North pole ice cap and parts of Antarctica; tropical forests are mowed down and going up in smoke everywhere; and our own fate as a species hangs by a thinning thread as the web of Life is unraveling all around us because of US..."
As you will see in this compilation. I took time - LOTS of time - to document and demonstrate the assertions I made above. I especially recommend to your attention the introductory comments I wrote for the item #9 below entitled Exposing the true Global Warming Hoaxers. George Monbiot from the Guardian has also nailed this issue quite roundly in his latest article The climate denial industry is out to dupe the public. And it's working which I recommend to your attention in my item #8 below.
I feel it is critical at this juncture that we stop wasting so much time and attention upon the destructive criticism of those whose views and attitudes towards climate change amount to a huge obstructionism at a time when we need a common global resolve and determined actions to move ahead and tackle the vast environmental challenges we have created for ourselves, so as to stop the unmitigated disasters unfolding before our very eyes - provided one is willing to actually look at them and not get distracted by the absurd claims of those who fell under the spell of the smear machine and spurious conspiracy claims so typical of the opponents of the green shift of the current US administration and much of the Western world, now finally beginning to provide some urgently needed environmental leadership after 8 years of complete domination of the US policies by the fossil fuel lobby.
Finally, before letting you discover what I've gathered for you in this compilation, here are the reasonable, measured and highly sensible requests made on November 27 by a group of global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela in a letter sent to 192 Heads of State and Government urging them to attend the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen and reach a deal that is "fair, ambitious and effective."
- Agree to a 2 degree Celsius target as the outer limit of global temperature increase that humankind can tolerate; - Agree that global greenhouse gas emissions must therefore be reduced by at least 50 percent by 2050 to stop further global warming; - Agree that developed countries must commit to emissions cuts of 25-40 percent by 2020, and 80-95 percent by 2050, relative to levels in 1990 and establish national mid-term targets that are binding, measurable and verifiable;
- Agree that all countries around the world should develop low carbon growth plans, which allow them to plan for the transition to sustainable low carbon prosperity;
- Agree that the big emerging economies limit their emissions through national action plans that are measurable, reported and verifiable;
- Agree to provide immediate large scale, predictable, adequate and additional funding for adaptation as well as mitigation, including reductions in emissions in forestry, agriculture and other land-use sectors in developing countries;
- Agree that industrialised countries governments together with the private sector will provide the majority of financial support (estimated to be at least ¤100 billion per year by 2020) to help developing countries particularly the poorest and most vulnerable to achieve to low carbon growth and adapt to the damaging effects of climate change that are already taking place;
- Agree that developing countries, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, receive technological and capacity building support to facilitate access to funding and action on adaptation and mitigation; - Agree on a process to review periodically the latest science and the early learning from the Copenhagen agreement to adjust our global and national targets, actions and funding accordingly.
- Taken from The Elders Letter to World Leaders (for the full text go HERE)
You will find several ways below to contribute to the solutions instead of perpetuating the problems. One of the key contributions you could make is to help with networking this material, or at least point your friends and contacts towards the archived copy of this material at http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com/Archives2009/TurningTide30.htm and encourage them to subscribe to this list.
While much of the world's attention is now focused on the global discussions and negotiations underway in Copenhagen, let us also remember, as suggested in the current Meditation Focus, to "hold in our heart a vision of global harmony and common determination to make this unique opportunity a real turning point towards a true sustainable relationship with our global living environment."
Many emphatic comments have been made to express the historic nature of this critical meeting of political will, environmental expertize and grass-root monitoring and sustained pressure to finally break the logjam of ill will, selfish interests and narrow-mindedness that has prevented our world so far from shifting out of the limiting sense of separation the "everyone fending for oneself" mind-set into the "all for one, one for all" reality of universal life. Holding in our heart this vision of true global unity, nurturing it with the infinite Power of unconditional Love and being ourselves living expressions of this emerging Reality, in resonant synch with the Universal Web of Life is making the critical difference towards a world of Peace, Love and Harmony for all living beings...
P.S. To ensure that these compilations are not blocked, please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your safe senders list. Your feedback is as always welcomed and may be included in a coming compilation - unless you prefer it is not. Circulating this compilation (or any part of it) and personally inviting your correspondents to subscribe to this list would also help enlarge the circle of people who have access to this material. Please include the following note and the URL address for the archived copy below along with your forwards, so others may have the opportunity to explore the original copy, if they so choose.
This compilation is archived at http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com/Archives2009/TurningTide30.htm
STATS for this compilation: Over 44,400 words and 244 links provided.
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"We are one humanity on this planet. All life is interconnected and interdependent. All share in the Universal bond of love. Love begins with self acceptance and forgiveness. With respect and compassion we embrace diversity. Together we make a difference through love."
- Taken from the Love Foundation's invitation to their Seventh Annual Art, Essay and Poetry in honor of Global Love Day - May 1, 2010 (Each submission is to be based on the theme "Love Begins With Me") Details through www.thelovefoundation.com
"More than one century of industrial development, economic growth and intensive exploitation of nature has led us to a world where we can travel cheaply to anywhere in the world, import food, clothes and materials from any country,yet we are slowly destroying the very earth which keeps us alive. Despite increases in automation, we are working harder and harder, and neglecting our home lives to fulfill the demands of industry. The brave new world promised to us by technology has not arrived. Instead it has led to an increased gap between rich and poor within most countries and between countries. cultures once unique and distinct are slowly merging into variations of Western popular culture. Languages and species are dying out. The outlook is gloomy! We have a very strong responsibility to the future which we will create. If we wish to provide a better environment to our children (and ourselves), we will thus have to modify our ways of life and our manner of consuming. Currently, to provide for his needs, Humanity must call upon the industry of consumption. « We must define the techniques together allowing us to build a better world. »
"Canada is a cultured, peaceful nation, which every so often allows a band of rampaging Neanderthals to trample all over it. Timber companies were licensed to log the old-growth forest in Clayaquot Sound; fishing companies were permitted to destroy the Grand Banks: in both cases these get-rich-quick schemes impoverished Canada and its reputation. But this is much worse, as it affects the whole world. The governments scheming at the climate talks is doing for its national image what whaling has done for Japan. I will not pretend that this country is the only obstacle to an agreement at Copenhagen. But it is the major one. It feels odd to be writing this. The immediate threat to the global effort to sustain a peaceful and stable world comes not from Saudi Arabia or Iran or China. It comes from Canada. How could that be true?
"Many people today still experience feelings of guilt and shame related to their childhood experiences. Shame and guilt are useless emotions and more - they are prisons of your own making for they hold you back right there in the past where your pain shame and guilt was first experienced. The way to heal such feelings and emotions is to come back to the present and stay centred. Remember your true identity as a spiritual being, a co-creator with Creator. Tell yourself that the past is over you did the best you could then and now your awareness is greater and you can do better. Release and let go by forgiving self and others for whatever resurfaces. Whenever you feel you can make amends do so anyway you can. Otherwise, speak to the person or persons in consciousness and know that this is often the sole and effective way to communicate at soul level and thus ensure that the person or persons understand also how you feel and how you need to feel liberated while liberating them too. Feeling liberated of such feelings will empower you Now and will set you free. Holding on to them will take you back to the past and hold you in bondage there, for, shame and guilt are simply that a bondage to the past. Focus on Now with love for self and others that is how you heal."
- Lady Nada - an Ascended Master - Adapted from a message received on November 14 through Lou Bognon (email@example.com) for her meditation group in Johannesburg, South Africa.
"Life is about taking responsibility not just for yourself, but others and progress is measured by how much you can extend your love to all life forms. It is really as simple as that, and what you should be working towards all of the time. Once you pass a certain stage, it becomes easier to maintain a constant level. It comes with being able to be non-judgmental, and making allowances for the different levels of understanding souls are at. The hardest part is being forgiving where you are yourself directly involved. Last but by no means least, forgiving yourself is also most important. "
Thought for the Day: Be Yourself, No Matter What... There was this man who saw a scorpion floundering around in the water. He decided to save it by stretching out his finger, but the scorpion stung him. The man still tried to get the scorpion out of the water, but the scorpion stung him again. Another man nearby told him to stop saving the scorpion that kept stinging him. But the man said, "It is the nature of the scorpion to sting. It is my nature to love. Why should I give up my nature to love just because it is the nature of the scorpion to sting?" LESSON: Don't give up loving. Don't give up your goodness even if the people around you sting you. The greatness comes not when things are always going well for you. But the greatness comes when you're really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes... Because only if you've been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.
- Also sent by Lou Bognon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"Most of humanity has been caught up and stuck in a third-/fourth-dimensional form of mind control throughout their many lifetimes, for they have been ensnared in the beliefs of their forefathers, both racial, political, cultural and religious. Many dear souls have hardly ever had any original thoughts of their own. The negative mass consciousness belief system is all about doom and gloom, unworthiness, strict rules and dogma that discourages original, independent thinking, which has kept everyone in a state of guilt, fear and inertia. This has been called the "Herd State," wherein everyone looked to their religious and ruling leaders to tell them what to do, think and be. (...) We have said before, "You are very brave to step outside of the popular belief system, the collective consciousness of humanity, which has been a prison of sorts for so long." We know you have been criticized, scoffed at, ostracized, and maligned in this and many other lifetimes, beloveds. However, we wish you to know that even though you may presently be in a minority, your numbers are growing by leaps and bounds. Many of what has been called "New Age concepts" are filtering into the minds and conversations of the masses, and the belief in angels and interaction with the Beings of Light from the higher realms is no longer totally discounted as it has been in the past. (...) The masses are beginning to question their leaders and are holding them accountable for their actions. More and more people are beginning to question the dogmatic rules and restrictions of organized religion and are seeking their own higher truth by alternative means."
"Many have speculated on the coming events in the days ahead, culminating in the much anticipated date in December 2012. Some believe the world will come to a catastrophic end. We are here to assure you that it will, and in some cases, very dramatically. That's the good news, because the following is scheduled for termination: Your bondage and indentured servitude; the quarantine of your planet; your hypnotic trance; fear as you know it; all prisons within prisons within prisons; the global war machine; all unholy corporate merger and treaties; your financial structures; despotic governance; career criminals and sponsored deception; mind control; all paper chains; the slave trade in human chattel property; rulership by powers and principalities. The bad news is, you will have to stand on your own feet. You cannot be crowned on your knees. Consciousness is your birthright, royalty is your identity, and this is what your captors fear most. We certainly intend to do so, and we are on our way in."
"There are few people that are unaware that time as you know it is passing faster than ever. Those who take time to understand and follow spiritual events, are fully prepared for the resulting changes. However, there is a sense of occasion, and a feeling that something important is on the verge of happening. This results from the effect of the incoming energies and the opening of your consciousness. It can be unsettling for some, yet others feel elated and experience higher levels of awareness. These conditions will gradually become more intense, and in the ultimate become too much for some people to withstand. Release for them comes with the end times when there is the inevitable dividing of the ways. It is quite natural and brings the cycle of duality to its conclusion."
A Billion for a Billion http://www.wfp.org/1billion
For the first time in human history, the number of hungry people worldwide will exceed one billion this year... there are also a billion online users today (including you) able to help like never before! Let's make a difference! Do Something...
Karen Armstrong: 2008 TED Prize wish: Charter for Compassion - INSPIRATIONAL SPEECH THAT LED TO... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJMm4RAwVLo
As she accepts her 2008 TED Prize, author and scholar Karen Armstrong talks about how the Abrahamic religions -- Islam, Judaism, Christianity -- have been diverted from the moral purpose they share to foster compassion. But Armstrong has seen a yearning to change this fact. People want to be religious, she says; we should act to help make religion a force for harmony. She asks the TED community to help her build a Charter for Compassion -- to help restore the Golden Rule as the central global religious doctrine.
... THE CHARTER FOR COMPASSION (12 November 2009) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wktlwCPDd94
More on this through http://charterforcompassion.org/ -- As we close a decade marked by war, help us usher in a decade focused on compassion. The names of all affirmers on December 31 will be sent along with the Charter for Compassion to 5 world leaders whose countries are engaged in conflict. Add your name today. Share the Charter with your networks. Each additional name makes the compassionate voice a more potent force in the world. Let us make the silent majority a challenge to extremism and hatred. 27499 have affirmed so far.
Weather Forecast: Climatic Change Brings More Hunger (4 December 2009) http://www.wfp.org/stories/hunger-and-climate-change-copenhagen
World leaders meet in Copenhagen from December 7 to 18 in a bid to work out a new UN pact to address climate change. Its an issue WFP understands only too well thanks to decades spent fighting climate-related hunger. For more than 40 years, WFP has been helping people whose lives depend on the vagaries of the weather. For these people, the accelerated changes in climate in recent decades have spelt misery, loss and hunger. Example? see this photo gallery - The number of natural disasters in the world has doubled since the mid-1990s and WFP -- the UN agency that responds first when these disasters strike -- has seen its work intensify. In this sense, we see the human face of climate. One thing we do is bring food assistance to people during an emergency. But thats not all. Vulnerable people, whose access to food depends on an increasingly unpredictable climate, need help to adapt and prepare. We help them do this. CLIP
Bridging Heaven and Earth Art Project - COLLECTION OF INSPIRING ART http://www.heaventoearthart.com/
The Bridging Heaven & Earth International Healing Art Project is, simply: a world-wide energy amplifying process using art and the collective energies of many.....basically it is that each artist produces an all-new (so it is fresh, spontaneous and NOW) work of art (painting, sculpture, collage....anything that comes through them) based on the theme " Bridging Heaven & Earth "....the collective energies of so many unbelievable, creative, people, from all over the world thinking, meditating on, and manifesting Bridging Heaven & Earth " will be huge......
New chalk art from Julian Beever http://www.seekerstrove.com/emailmsgs/juliainBeeverMore.html
Julian Beever is an English artist who is famous for his anamorphic art on the pavements of England, France, Germany, USA, Australia and Belgium. Beever gives an amazing illusion to his drawings, so that the objects appear to be three dimensional rather than flat as they actually are. Julian works in chalk, so his art, which takes up to 3 days to complete, is there only as long as the elements allow. 'If it rains it means I've done a lot of hard work for nothing, but I usually manage to avoid that.'
Voices for Peace - A Collection of Statements on Peace http://www.grainofwheat.net/voices.html
Words on peace from many voices past and present. The message is timeless, and especially urgent today. An impressive collection of quotes - many from a Christian perspective - compiled by long-time ERN subscriber Stan Penner (email@example.com). It includes many letters from him on the folly of war and famous quotes on the outstanding evil of war such as "War is the only game in which both sides lose." Walter Scott -- "There never was a good war, or a bad peace." Benjamin Franklin -- "The loudest and most horrible scornful laughter of deepest hell is war." Klopstock -- "War is the sum total of human villainies." John Wesley -- "War is the blackest villainy of which human nature is capable." Erasmus
Ultra-Fast Nuclear Detonation Pictures http://waynesthisandthat.com/abombs.html
(...) The largest nuclear weapon ever exploded was Russia's "super-bomb," rated at 57 megatons. Detonated in 1961, it was largely for political purposes because at the time the Soviet Union had no airplane or missile that could carry the 27 ton bomb over any great distance. It was dropped for its one and only test from a specially modified Tu-95n (Bear) strategic bomber. Slowed by parachute, it detonated at an altitude of 13,000 feet 188 seconds after release. The fireball could be seen 900 miles away and had a diameter estimated at over 5 miles.The resulting mushroom cloud reached an altitude of 210,000 feet. The shock wave from the blast broke windows 800 miles away. The bomb was originally designed for a 100 megaton yield, but down sized to reduce radioactive contamination. If the full sized version had been detonated over the city of Ontario in Southern California the zone of total destruction would have been 100 miles in diameter, as indicated by the yellow circle in the following image:Los Angeles and all of it's surrounding cities would have been wiped from the face of the earth, killing fifteen million people in the blink of an eye.
Nuclear Explosions since 1945 http://www.seismo.ethz.ch/bsv/nuclear_explosions.html
USA (1039 Events) Soviet Union (718 Events) France (198 Events) China (45 Events) United Kingdom (45 Events) India (3 Events) Pakistan (2 Events) North Korea (1 Event) Unknown (1 Event)
ABC Shows Episode Tuesday Featuring Flu Vaccines as Biological Weapons in Storyline http://tinyurl.com/ycyyhl7
ABC screen an episode of the "V" series on Tuesday night involving a plot to use the flu vaccines as a biological weapon. The "X files" series showed a government plot to crash a plane into the World Trade Center 6 months before it happened.
A Conversation with Andrew D. Basiago (39) http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=2C72256B726A0C3B
A Conversation with Andrew D. Basiago about the Hidden History of His Discovery of Life on Mars In this fascinating, four-hour interview, American lawyer Andrew D. Basiago, 47, narrates the hidden history of his discovery of life on Mars in 2008 and reveals the fact that by 1968 the US intelligence community was already aware of aspects of his later Mars work. Andy relates his experiences in DARPAs Project Pegasus during the period 1969 to 1972, and describes probes to past and future events that he took via teleportation and chronovision during the early days of time-space exploration by the US government. He confirms that the United States has been teleporting individuals to Mars for decades, and recounts the awe-inspiring and terrifying trips that he took to Mars in 1981 after he was tapped to go there because he had teleported as a child participant in Project Pegasus. CLIP - Recommended by Russ Michael (firstname.lastname@example.org) who listened to the whole 4 hour interview. Check also Andrew D. Basiago - Pt 1 - Project Pegasus, Time Travel & Teleportation - TO ACCESS ALL OTHER RELATED VIDEOS CLICK HERE
Our Gaia Meditations are at 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time (Click here to see our local time), and usually last between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on who is offering the closing prayer.
Q'uo, from a channeling transcript dated September 16, 2001. (For the complete transcript, click here.)
We would recommend to each entity that within the meditative state one see the ruptures in this planet's beingness. Perhaps you can locate them geographically within your mind, seeing them as dark and hurting, in pain and confusion. And then, begin to bring the light and the love of the one Creator into the image. See that rupture of hurt and pain lightened by this love of the one Creator, shining forth through the eyes of all. Focus upon the injury, the hurt, and the pain until it is also as bright as the noonday sun. It is those within all cultures and religions, who have the deep desire to truly serve the one Creator in all, that may see beyond and behind the illusion of separation, to that which binds all entities into one.
We have been meditating twice a day for world peace and for the safe and easy birthing of Gaia's fourth-density self for some time now, and the group that joins us has grown to include thousands of meditators, prayers, visualizers and fellow travelers, who meet together in the room of silence and intention. We greatly appreciate every person's joining this group, and if you have not yet started taking just a minute or so with us, we invite you to join us in this service to Mother Earth.
How might you want to approach these meditations? Jim and I are focusing on affirming that we are part of one group being, one body of humankind on planet Earth. We are trying to see those who are acting in terrorism and war as part of our self. We are seeing that we are all connected. Thus, the image becomes the self, hurting the self. This leads to a deeper understanding of our true unity as the people of Earth, which opens our springs of forgiveness and compassion.
Jim has an opening ritual for the 9:00 PM meditations, which, here at L/L Research, are wholly devoted to peace and Gaia, unlike our morning offerings, which include many other things besides prayers for Gaia and peace. It runs as follows:
"Always seeking, seeing and serving the Creator in all."
"Always seeking, seeing and serving the Creator in all."
"Always seeking, seeing and serving the Creator in all."
"Opening my mind, my body, my spirit, my heart, my soul and my entire being to the infinite love, light and healing energy of the one Creator."
"Feeling the infinite love, light and healing energy of the one Creator moving through me, moving to Mother Earth, to heal Mother Earth as she brings forth a new Earth in fourth density."
"May every soul in pain on Earth tonight feel infinite love, light and healing energy."
"May there be peace and love in the hearts of the men and women on Earth tonight."
Visuals are also a good resource for those who wish to join in this meditation. You could envision yourself as a conduit for the Creator's infinite supply of light and love, or a crystal instrument of the spirit, vibrating for the Earth. In a powerful way, as incarnate beings of Earth, we are knit of these meadows and forests, rivers and oceans, winds and storms which are the living being of our Mother Earth.
You might envision a net or web of love, a golden seine that catches all the globe up in its skirts. I have seen this image myself sometimes in visions, with angels weaving ever more threads of light into the strands surrounding the planet.
You could also see this as the "Christ-consciousness grid" that Drunvalo Melchizedek writes about enhancing at this time. Another image you might like to use is one of myriad wanderers arriving on Earth, from the cover of our book A Wanderer's Handbook, which you can obtain by clicking here. You can simply see Gaia in labor and giving birth, and hold her hand. These are some suggestions. Please feel free to create your own way of working on this. If this is resonating with you, please join us in meditation at nine o'clock (Eastern time) each morning and evening, whenever you are able. The more we can open our hearts and bless the love flowing through us to the Earth, the more quickly she will be able to heal her distress, and her peoples' as well. I think as we work on opening our own hearts and helping the love energy have a free flow through them, we are doing significant and substantial work upon our world as well as upon ourselves. "As above, so below." To work on the heart of the self is to work on the heart of the planetary being (that is, all of us, all the souls of third density together) and the heart of the planet itself. That is an easy mental affirmation to create: "Earth, I love and thank you!" These days are excellent times for doing what we came to do, for being a witness and channel for the love and light of the infinite Creator. Join us in unity, power and peace when you can. In becoming more and more our whole selves, known to ourselves and beloved, we prepare ourselves to do the work we came to do. May we serve together with joy and thankfulness. This is one of those times when a few people can make a big difference!
"Long, long ago we humans were quite different. This oneness we all share was once understood and felt by everyone but things changed on this planet and we came to believe that we are separate from each other and from the Source. Before that belief took root in our consciousness we could communicate and experience in ways that only a few in today's modern world would even begin to understand. We could use a form of communication and sensing that does not involve the brain whatsoever, but rather comes from the sacred space within the human heart. From the Heart we could create and heal anything because in that place we humans are one with the Spirit that lives and breathes and moves through everything. (...) By remembering and living who we really are we can change the Dream we are living into one of great beauty, harmony, and ease. We do not have to experience this transition we are all in as turbulent and chaotic. In Unity we can do anything. Working as one, we can share our experiences and our wisdom and open to each other in ways that bring trust, harmony and healing in our lives so that ultimately the whole world can come into balance. It is your choice. It begins with you and me. "
Note from Jean: Remarkably, this whole affair has waned quickly in most mainstream media (check the telling graph at the right of this google search result page) as the vaccination campaign is coming to a resounding halt in most countries (suckered Canadians and, to a lesser extent, Americans, are the exception it appears), in view of the extremely low fatality rate of this virus worldwide with 8768 reported deaths in the past 9 months - compared to between 250,000 and 500,000 fatalities every year (although those figures are said to be highly inflated because "When an old person dies of respiratory failure after an influenza-like illness, they nearly always get coded as influenza.") with the other usual flu strains. So the only news headlines worth reporting at this point - if you are still interested in this miserable damp squib - are the following - see further below. Now what's needed is some serious "post-mortem" analysis and self-introspection by the mainstream media to assess whether their hyped-up coverage of this trivial pandemic was worth all the ink and saliva wasted on it, not to mention the significant risks taken by the millions of people who had themselves or their children injected with the adjuvant-laden vaccine provided by governments.
Also the World Health Organization will now be able to refocus its attention to what it does best, that is, promoting vaccination campaign in developing countries for diseases like measles which is, in the case of malnourished children, the cheapest, quickest means to lower child mortality. If you are interested in such efforts - which are currently under-funded to the tune of $59 millions (as compared to the $50 billion sunk by governments into the H1N1 vaccination campaign, a boon to the bottom line of pharmaceutical giants!) read Global measles deaths drop by 78% (3 December 2009) "450 deaths a day is still too many - stalled momentum puts millions more children at risk." Of course, the fact I mention - and thus support - measles vaccination in poor countries doesn't mean I agree with full scale vaccination of very young children in developed countries where the risk of contracting and dying from measles and other infant diseases is probably much lower than the risks incurred with the current over-vaccination regime. To assess this risk, you may want to read Immunizations & Health - The Pros and Cons of Infant Vaccines which concludes with "There are a projected 200 vaccines waiting to come on the medical market in the next decade, and many of them will be for infants and children. Until full and definitive scientific analysis of the risks and benefits of vaccines are made top priority by the FDA, the NVIC and other groups skeptical of vaccinations will most assuredly continue to make their voices heard."
The one good thing that came out at so far from this whole Swine flu scare is the increased exposure it has made possible - mostly on the Web, but also, in some indirect ways, in the mainstream media - to the arguments and concerns of those who have chosen to make a stand against vaccination, especially flu vaccination which, thanks in part to researches spearheaded by the Cochrane Collaboration and thanks to courageous medical investigation by Lisa Jackson, a physician and senior investigator with the Group Health Research Center, in Seattle, whose extensive examination through "eight years of medical data on more than 72,000 people 65 and older" led her to suggest that "the vaccine itself might not reduce mortality at all. (...) These results were also so unexpected that many experts simply refused to believe them." - as explained in this Atlantic Monthly's article Does the Vaccine Matter?
Expert questions continuing H1N1 vaccinations Health officials still urging people to get the shot (Dec 5, 09) http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/Expert+questions+continuing+H1N1+vaccinations/2307218/story.html
(...) With H1N1 poised to enter history as the least deadly of four global flu pandemics, some experts are calling for an end to Canada's mass vaccination program. Nature is achieving what we would hope by vaccinating, they say.H1N1's "reproductive number"-- the number of people each infected person passes the virus to -- was above one when the epidemic began, which led to the explosive initial increase in cases.Now it is less than one, because many people have become immune, and each old case is making less than one new case. When the reproductive number falls below one, the epidemic can't sustain itself and fades away. CLIP
New infections of swine flu 'on the way down' (3 December 2009) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8393651.stm
The number of new cases of swine flu has halved in England amid signs the second peak of the pandemic is petering out, latest figures show. There were 22,000 infections over the past seven days compared to 46,000 the week before, the government said. To put that in context, the levels of flu being reported now are comparable to what has been seen in past winters. CLIP
FOCUS ON THE UN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE IN COPENHAGUE
NOTE from Jean: Several other related articles are also included in this compilation. 'The World Wants a Real Deal' - Global Day of Action -- MOST EXCELLENT INITIATIVE!! http://tcktcktck.org/real-deal
DATE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009 - SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2009
TIME: 5:00PM - 9:00PM
On the weekend of December 12, people like you in every corner of the world will join TckTckTck and our partners for our next massive global day of action. Our message is clear: at the Copenhagen climate summit, the world wants a real deal!At very middle of the Copenhagen negotiations, thousands of candlelight vigils, marches, "signature walls", and other positive events will take place over the entire weekend. In Copenhagen, TckTckTck and our partners including The Elders will present this show of global solidarity using the photos, videos and pledges sent in from around the planet at a special vigil happening just outside the summit building. Use the maps and forms below to register an event in your city, town, neighbourhood, or community - just choose a local public place where you can easily get to that day. Our partners will help turn out a group of fellow citizens to participate in each event. We'll provide all the information you need to make your event a success. CLIP A map of all the events around the world -- World-wide (1790 events) - Countries (110) Over the next two weeks, our leaders will negotiate the most important agreement of our time one that must stop a climate catastrophe. But they will only aim as high as we demand. That's why on the weekend of December 12th we will gather at thousands of climate vigils in every corner of the planet to send a clear message: The World Wants a Real Deal!
The Elders http://www.theelders.org/
The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. Read the full text of The Elders' letter
Copenhagen heats up for talks (2009-12-07) http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-12/07/content_12605049.htm
BEIJING, Dec. 7 (Xinhuanet) -- The world is arriving in Copenhagen with unprecedented unity in order to seek a climate pact, although the historic UN Climate Change Conference has been overshadowed by hacked e-mails and protests around Europe. At a news conference in the Bella Center, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer called on the 192 nations represented at the UN climate summit starting Monday "to deliver a strong and long-term response to the challenge of climate change." Still, De Boer worried that e-mails pilfered would fuel skepticism among those who believe that scientists exaggerate global warming, but defended the research reviewed by some 2,500 scientists that shows man has fueled global warming by burning fossil fuels, according to the AP. E-mails stolen from the climate unit at the University of East Anglia appeared to show some of world's leading scientists discussing ways to shield data from public scrutiny and suppress others' work. Activists in Europe protested over the weekend to crank up the pressure on world leaders for a strong climate deal ahead of the 12-day UN climate conference. Thousands of people dressed in blue marched through central London on Saturday, and more than 100 environmental campaigners camped out overnight in London's famous Trafalgar Square. Similar protests were staged in Berlin, Paris, Brussels and Dublin.
'Hopenhagen' hot air and hurdles (7 December 2009) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/8398033.stm
(...) It's a huge media event, of course, but will bring together over 90 world leaders, about 15,000 delegates as well as countless businesses, pressure groups, charities, and any group which feels concerned about the environment. There'll also be seminars, protests, demonstrations and different events during the next two weeks. UN's top climate change official expressed confidence that the meeting would deliver: "Within two weeks from Monday, governments must give their adequate response to the urgent challenge of climate change," said United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Yvo de Boer. "Negotiators now have the clearest signal ever from world leaders to craft solid proposals to implement rapid action," he added. "Never in 17 years of climate negotiations have so many different nations made so many firm pledges together.." So whilst there will be more steps on the road to a safe climate future, Copenhagen is already a turning point in the international response to climate change." CLIP
Copenhagen climate summit: 1,200 limos, 140 private planes and caviar wedges (5 Dec 2009) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/copenhagen-climate-change-confe/6736517/Copenhagen-climate-summit-1200-limos-140-private-planes-and-caviar-wedges.html
Copenhagen is preparing for the climate change summit that will produce as much carbon dioxide as a town the size of Middlesbrough. (...) According to the organisers, the eleven-day conference, including the participants' travel, will create a total of 41,000 tonnes of "carbon dioxide equivalent", equal to the amount produced over the same period by a city the size of Middlesbrough. The temptation, then, is to dismiss the whole thing as a ridiculous circus. Many of the participants do not really need to be here. And far from "saving the world," the world's leaders have already agreed that this conference will not produce any kind of binding deal, merely an interim statement of intent. Instead of swift and modest reductions in carbon - say, two per cent a year, starting next year - for which they could possibly be held accountable, the politicians will bandy around grandiose targets of 80-per-cent-plus by 2050, by which time few of the leaders at Copenhagen will even be alive, let alone still in office. Even if they had agreed anything binding, past experience suggests that the participants would not, in fact, feel bound by it. Most countries - Britain excepted - are on course to break the modest pledges they made at the last major climate summit, in Kyoto. (...) Some campaigners' apocalyptic predictions and religious righteousness - funeral ceremonies for economic growth and the like - can be alienating, and may help explain why the wider public does not seem to share the urgency felt by those in Copenhagen this week. In a rather perceptive recent comment, Mr Miliband said it was vital to give people a positive vision of a low-carbon future. "If Martin Luther King had come along and said 'I have a nightmare,' people would not have followed him," he said. Over the next two weeks, that positive vision may come not from the overheated rhetoric in the conference centre, but from Copenhagen itself. Limos apart, it is a city filled entirely with bicycles, stuffed with retrofitted, energy-efficient old buildings, and seems to embody the civilised pleasures of low-carbon living without any of the puritanism so beloved of British greens. And inside the hall, not everything is looking bad. Even the sudden rush for limos may be a good sign. It means that more top people are coming, which means they scent something could be going right here. The US, which rejected Kyoto, is on board now, albeit too tentatively for most delegates. President Obama's decision to stay later in Copenhagen may signal some sort of agreement between America and China: a necessity for any real global action, and something that could be presented as a "victory" for the talks. The hot air this week will be massive, the whole proceedings eminently mockable, but it would be far too early to write off this conference as a failure.
Over 50 Papers Join in Front-Page Leader on Climate Change http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/dec/06/50-papers-leader-climate-change
The Guardian has teamed up with more 50 papers worldwide to run the same front-page leader article calling for action at the climate summit in Copenhagen, which begins tomorrow. This unprecedented project is the result of weeks of negotiations between the papers to agree on a final text, in a process that mirrors the diplomatic wrangling likely to dominate the next 14 days in Copenhagen. Fifty-six papers in 45 countries published in 20 different languages have joined the initiative, and will feature the leader in some form on their front pages. Among the titles taking part are two Chinese papers - the Economic Observer and the Southern Metropolitan - and India's second largest English-language paper, The Hindu. Some of the world's best known papers, such as Le Monde, El Pais, Russia's Novaya Gazeta and the Toronto Star, are also on board. The leader was the work of team of Guardian writers and editors and went through three drafts to arrive at a text that satisfied all the editors involved. Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of the Guardian, said: "Newspaper have never done anything like this before but they have never had to cover a story like this before. No individual newspaper editorial could hope to influence the outcome of Copenhagen but I hope the combined voice of 56 major papers speaking in 20 languages will remind the politicians and negotiators gathering there what is at stake and persuade them to rise above the rivalries and inflexibility that have stood in the way of a deal." The Guardian deputy editor Ian Katz, who co-ordinated the project, said: "The fact that papers from Moscow to Miami, with such different national and political perspectives, could agree on an editorial should offer some hope that our leaders might be able to do the same. We are bombarded with so much news and comment about climate change that many people are understandably tempted to go back to bed and pull the duvet over their heads hopefully this improbable alliance will capture people's attention, and perhaps their imagination too." The leader says that overcoming climate change "will take a triumph of optimism over pessimism, of vision over short-sightedness, of what Abraham Lincoln called 'the better angels of our nature'". "It is in that spirit that 56 newspapers from around the world have united behind this editorial. If we, with such different national and political perspectives, can agree on what must be done then surely our leaders can, too."
(...) Peter Cole, head of the journalism department at the University of Sheffield, praised the unprecedented collaboration between newspapers. "This is a tremendous initiative and a good counter to the idea that nobody notices that the world is falling apart," he said. "If editors from nearly 50 countries all over the world, including all the major countries that contribute so much to global warming, can all agree, then surely the politicians in Copenhagen would be foolish to ignore it." "Only one year ago, during the COP 14 summit in Poznan, governments promised us that they would deliver a breakthrough," said Konrad Niklewicz of Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza. "Yet as the Copenhagen summit approached, their courage and leadership started to disappear. Politicians started to behave as we had plenty of time and no disaster looming. Yet the opposite is the case. "Science tells us we have no more time, it is now or never. We can't let governments get away with yet another fudge and unfulfilled promises. Speaking with one voice, we will be heard." CLIP
Copenhagen climate change conference: 'Fourteen days to seal history's judgment on this generation' (7 December 2009) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/dec/06/copenhagen-editorial
This editorial calling for action from world leaders on climate change is published today by 56 newspapers around the world in 20 languages -- Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency. Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year's inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world's response has been feeble and half-hearted. Climate change has been caused over centuries, has consequences that will endure for all time and our prospects of taming it will be determined in the next 14 days. We call on the representatives of the 192 countries gathered in Copenhagen not to hesitate, not to fall into dispute, not to blame each other but to seize opportunity from the greatest modern failure of politics. This should not be a fight between the rich world and the poor world, or between east and west. Climate change affects everyone, and must be solved by everyone.
(...) Social justice demands that the industrialised world digs deep into its pockets and pledges cash to help poorer countries adapt to climate change, and clean technologies to enable them to grow economically without growing their emissions. The architecture of a future treaty must also be pinned down with rigorous multilateral monitoring, fair rewards for protecting forests, and the credible assessment of "exported emissions" so that the burden can eventually be more equitably shared between those who produce polluting products and those who consume them. And fairness requires that the burden placed on individual developed countries should take into account their ability to bear it; for instance newer EU members, often much poorer than "old Europe", must not suffer more than their richer partners. The transformation will be costly, but many times less than the bill for bailing out global finance and far less costly than the consequences of doing nothing. Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles. The era of flights that cost less than the taxi ride to the airport is drawing to a close. We will have to shop, eat and travel more intelligently. We will have to pay more for our energy, and use less of it.But the shift to a low-carbon society holds out the prospect of more opportunity than sacrifice. Already some countries have recognized that embracing the transformation can bring growth, jobs and better quality lives. The flow of capital tells its own story: last year for the first time more was invested in renewable forms of energy than producing electricity from fossil fuels. Kicking our carbon habit within a few short decades will require a feat of engineering and innovation to match anything in our history. But whereas putting a man on the moon or splitting the atom were born of conflict and competition, the coming carbon race must be driven by a collaborative effort to achieve collective salvation. CLIP - Check also In pictures: Climate change editorials on newspaper front pages (35 pictures)
UNEP urges world to seal the deal in Copenhagen http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-12/07/content_12601537.htm
COPENHAGEN, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- "During any negotiation, we have many different realities, different interests .. If we only focus on our own interests, we will never succeed," said Achim Steiner, the United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP), in an interview with Xinhua. "Climate change is a challenge for humanity. It requires that we look at each other and say how I can help you in order to help me?" he said ahead of the UN climate change conference which is set to begin on Monday. The Kyoto Protocol, in which the developed nations agreed to limit their greenhouse gas emissions, is due to expire at the end of 2012 and a new agreement will be decided upon in Copenhagen to deal with the issue of climate change. The United Nations is leading a campaign, Seal the Deal, with an aim to galvanize political will and public support for reaching a comprehensive global climate agreement in Copenhagen. Steiner said China's recent announcement on greenhouse gas emission reduction target has assisted in triggering fresh momentum in the weeks and days running up to the crucial climate convention meeting. "It underscores China's determination to continue and to accelerate the decoupling of C02 emissions from economic growth," he said. "And alongside commitments and pledges by other, the United States, the European Union and Japan as well as Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the Republic of Korea, China's announcement is bringing the opportunity of decisive agreement in the Danish capital this month far closer than perhaps was the case only a few months ago." Steiner said there is no doubt that industrialized countries should take the better part of responsibility for climate change and the developed countries should provide financial and technological assistance to the developing ones. "A key issue in Copenhagen is how the international community can support and accelerate this transition to a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy in developing countries via measures such as technology transfer," he said. Another test for the Copenhagen conference is whether it can develop a global financial partnership in which developing economies are given sufficient resource to adapt to the climate change already underway while being assisted towards a low carbon path, said the head of UNEP. "Sums of perhaps 100 billion U.S. dollars a year by 2020 may be needed and there needs to be a quick start fund of several billion dollars almost immediately." Steiner said while there is a great deal to be done in Copenhagen to realize a decisive and equitable agreement, there is now a real chance that the UN climate convention meeting can be a success. "Copenhagen could and must be the start of a really new and more creative development path for 6 billion people, rising to 9 billion by 2050," he added.
Gordon Brown: EU cuts must go deeper to get Copenhagen climate deal (8 December 2009) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/07/gordon-brown-eu-emissions-cuts
Gordon Brown is pushing European leaders to commit to deeper cuts in carbon emissions in an attempt to seal a global deal, he revealed as representatives of 192 countries began negotiations at the climate change summit in Copenhagen.The prime minister told the Guardian he hoped the EU would agree to cut its output of greenhouse gases by 30% on 1990 levels by 2020 a cut 10 percentage points deeper than Europe is currently offering. So far, the EU has said it will cut by 30% only if an ambitious global deal is reached.Brown said: "We've got to make countries recognise that they have to be as ambitious as they say they want to be. It's not enough to say 'I may do this, I might do this, possibly I'll do this'. I want to create a situation in which the European Union is persuaded to go to 30%."Any move to increase Europe's emissions reduction target would be fiercely resisted by eastern European countries as well as Italy and Austria, who have opposed deeper cuts.An increase in the European pledge would mean the UK would have to achieve a cut of 42% by 2020, compared with the current British target of 34%. Because the UK is already racing to build renewable energy as fast as it can, the additional cuts would probably require measures such as road charging, increased fuel taxes and tougher emissions standards for cars. CLIP
Obama, in Shift, Expects Climate Deal at Summit (DECEMBER 5, 2009) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125996482372477029.html
WASHINGTON -- The White House said late Friday that President Barack Obama now expects a "meaningful" climate deal at a United Nations summit in Copenhagen, possibly involving a commitment for rich nations to provide $10 billion a year by 2012 to help developing countries fight climate change. The White House said the U.S. is prepared to pay its "fair share" of the $10 billion. The U.S. and some European governments have played down expectations for the Copenhagen conference over the past few weeks, saying it won't yield a legally binding accord. But in a statement Friday that cited signs of "progress being made towards a meaningful Copenhagen accord" the White House said Mr. Obama has decided to change his plans for attending the summit so that he can be in Copenhagen Dec. 18 when other world leaders are expected to be there, the White House said.CLIP
EPA Poised to Declare CO2 a Public Danger (DECEMBER 5, 2009) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126003232518778287.html
WASHINGTON--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will early next week, possibly as soon as Monday, officially declare carbon dioxide a public danger, a trigger that could mean regulation for emitters across the economy, according to several people close to the matter. Such an "endangerment" decision is necessary for the EPA to move ahead early next year with new emission standards for cars. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said it could also mean large emitters such as power stations, cement kilns, crude-oil refineries and chemical plants would have to curb their greenhouse gas output. The announcement would also give President Barack Obama and his climate envoy negotiating leverage at a global climate summit starting next week in Copenhagen, Denmark and increase pressure on Congress to pass a climate bill that would modify the price of polluting. While environmentalists celebrate EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases, it has caused many large emitters to cringe at the potential costs of compliance. According to a preliminary endangerment finding published in April, EPA scientists fear that man-made carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are contributing to a warming of the global climate. Senior EPA officials said in November the agency would likely make a final decision in December around the time of the summit. Joe Mendelson, Global Warming Policy Director for National Wildlife Federation, said the endangerment decision, would happen at "absolutely the right time." "With House legislation passed, a bipartisan Senate bill in the works, and strong EPA action a virtual certainty, the president goes to Copenhagen with a very strong hand to play," Mr. Mendelson said. CLIP
Business Fumes Over EPA Rule Carbon-Dioxide Emissions to Face Curbs (December 7, 2009) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126013960013179181.html
(...) The vast majority of increased greenhouse-gas emissions is expected to come from developing countries such as China and India, not from rich countries like the U.S. But developing countries have made it clear that their willingness to reduce growth in emissions will depend on what rich countries do first. That puts a geopolitical spotlight on the U.S.At the heart of the fight over whether U.S. emission constraints should come from the EPA or Congress is a high-stakes issue: which industries will have to foot the bill for a climate cleanup. A similar theme will play out in Copenhagen as rich countries wrangle over how much they should have to pay to help the developing world shift to cleaner technologies."There is no agreement without money," says Rosário Bento Pais, a top climate negotiator for the European Commission, the European Union's executive arm. "That is clear." An endangerment finding would allow the EPA to use the federal Clean Air Act to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions, which are produced whenever fossil fuel is burned. Under that law, the EPA could require emitters of as little as 250 tons of carbon dioxide per year to install new technology to curb their emissions starting as soon as 2012. The EPA has said it will only require permits from big emitters -- facilities that put out 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year. But that effort to tailor the regulations to avoid slamming small businesses with new costs is expected to be challenged in court. Legislators are aware that polls show the public appetite for action that would raise energy prices to protect the environment has fallen precipitously amid the recession.Congressional legislation also faces plenty of U.S. industry opposition. Under the legislation, which has been passed by the House but is now stuck in the Senate, the federal government would set a cap on the amount of greenhouse gas the economy could emit every year. The government would distribute a set number of emission permits to various industries. Companies that wanted to be able to emit more than their quota could buy extra permits from those that had figured out how to emit less.Proponents of the cap-and-trade approach say emission-permit trading will encourage industries to find the least-expensive ways to curb greenhouse-gas output. But opponents say it will saddle key industries with high costs not borne by rivals in China or India, and potentially cost the U.S. jobs. The oil industry has warned that climate legislation could force some U.S. refineries to shut down, because importing gasoline from countries without emission caps could be cheaper than making the gasoline on domestic soil.Legislators "have decided that coal and electric users don't bear the burden" of emissions constraints for many years, said John Felmy, chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group. "Early in the program, oil users are the ones who are hammered."The Iron and Steel Institute, which represents more than 75% of steel made in the U.S., said that successful climate policy -- whether through the EPA or Congress -- must "reduce emissions without altering the competitiveness of American steelmakers."The issue of how curbing emissions would affect jobs in developed countries is likely to erupt in Copenhagen in the battle over how much rich countries should pony up for cleaner technologies in developing nations.Estimates of the cost for reducing emissions in developing countries vary widely, but the European Commission said in September that the bill could reach $150 billion annually by 2020. Leaders of the EU's 27 nations have said only that the EU would pay its "fair share" of the total, without committing to an amount.Yet EU industry lobbies are weighing in against that proposal. It is "not realistic," said Axel Eggert, spokesman for Eurofer, the trade group for European steelmakers. S
Introduction to climate economics: Why even strong climate action has such a low total cost one tenth of a penny on the dollar (March 30, 2009) http://climateprogress.org/2009/03/30/global-warming-economics-low-cost-high-benefit/
Since the nation is about to launch into a long debate about the costs of climate action versus the cost of inaction, here is an overview of the major cost analyses of global climate action. (...) A 20% reduction in global emissions might be possible in a quarter century with net economic benefits! The technology-by-technology cost-curve from McKinsey demonstrates this finding more concretely. Whereas the IPCC merely says that 450 ppm could be achieved for a total GDP reduction of 3% in 2030 (the cumulative impact of the 0.12% of GDP per year cost), McKinsey believes it could be even less costly: The macroeconomic costs of this carbon revolution are likely to be manageable, being in the order of 0.61.4 percent of global GDP by 2030. To put this figure in perspective, if one were to view this spending as a form of insurance against potential damage due to climate change, it might be relevant to compare it to global spending on insurance, which was 3.3 percent of GDP in 2005. Borrowing could potentially finance many of the costs, thereby effectively limiting the impact on near-term GDP growth. In fact, depending on how new low-carbon infrastructure is financed, the transition to a low-carbon economy may increase annual GDP growth in many countries. I want to be clear here that stabilizing at 445 ppm CO2-eq does require a significant annual investment, as the IEA analysis shows. The IEA puts the investment at $45 trillion, which sounds like an unimaginably large amount of money but spread over more than four decades and compared to the worlds total wealth during that time, it is literally a drop in the bucket 1.1% or one part in 90 of the worlds total wealth. CLIP AND AMONG THE COMMENT POSTED THERE, HERE IS A MOST COMPELLING ONE: "Your point, while true as far as it goes, ignores the rest of the story. Which is, that we will have to invest a similar amount on new infrastructure to continue using fossil fuels. Oil exploration and development (tapping increasingly lower-grade and increasingly scarcer reserves from harder to get at places), new grid capacity, digging up deeper and less concentrated coal from ever more remote places all this will impose costs comparable to investing in new infrastructure. So we can spend on a finite resource that is rapidly disappearing, leaving stranded investments littering our economic landscape within a few decades or we can spend a similar amount on efficiency and renewables, which essentially last forever. Hmmmmmmmm. seems like a no-brainer to me."
Climate change to cost trillions, say economists (Nov 25, 2009) http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jQ_IXP6DZV_pEhouxIuT4oztHM6Q
PARIS Estimates vary widely on the costs of damage from climate change, easing these impacts and taming the carbon gas stoking the problem, but economists agree the bill is likely to be in the trillions of dollars.Figures depend on different forecasts for greenhouse-gas emissions and the timeline for reaching them. In addition, key variables remain sketchy. How will rainfall, snowfall, storm frequency and ocean levels look a few decades from now? How will they affect a specific country or region? And how fast will nations introduce low-carbon technologies, carbon taxes and other policies that alter energy use? Despite these uncertainties, economists share a broad consensus: climate change will ultimately cost thousands of billions of dollars, a tab that keeps rising as more carbon enters the atmosphere."The cost of climate impacts goes up with the delay on emissions mitigation," said Sam Fankhauser of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics (LSE)."On the cost of adaptation, there's a timing issue. For instance, there's no point building sea walls now if the sea levels are only going to rise gradually over the next 50 years. But we do know that costs of adaptation will go up non-linearly, in other words exponentially, with the degree of warming that we have."Following is a snapshot of the main items on the tab.-- IMPACTS: Warming of between two to three degrees Celsius (3.6-5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial times would inflict a permanent loss in global world output of up to three percent, according to the 2006 Stern Review, authored by British economist Nicholas Stern. But this would rise to an average of five to 10 percent loss of GDP with warming of five to six C (9.0 F), with poor countries suffering costs "in excess" of 10 percent of GDP. On current trends, Earth is headed for an average increase of 4 C (7.2 F) this century, to which 0.74 C (1.33 F) of warming from the 20th century must be added, according to the so-called A1F1 emissions scenario of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). CLIP
UN hits back at climate sceptics amid e-mails row (5 December 2009) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8397265.stm
The UN's official panel on climate change has hit back at sceptics' claims that the case for human influence on global warming has been exaggerated. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said it was "firmly" standing by findings that a rise in the use of greenhouse gases was a factor. It was responding to a row over the reliability of data from East Anglia University's Climatic Research UnitLeaked e-mail exchanges prompted claims that data had been manipulated. Last month, hundreds of messages between scientists at the unit and their peers around the world were put on the internet along with other documents.Some observers alleged one of the e-mails suggested head of the unit Professor Phil Jones wanted certain papers excluded from the UN's next major assessment of climate science. Professor Jones, who denies this was his intention, has stood down from his post while an independent inquiry takes place. In a statement, Professor Thomas Stocker and Professor Qin Dahe, co-chairmen of the IPCC's working group 1, condemned the act of posting the private e-mails on the internet, but avoided commenting on their content. They went on to point to a key finding that states: "The warming in the climate system is unequivocal."[It] is based on measurements made by many independent institutions worldwide that demonstrate significant changes on land, in the atmosphere, the ocean and in the ice-covered areas of the Earth." Through further independent scientific work involving statistical methods and a range of different climate models, these changes have been detected as significant deviations from natural climate variability and have been attributed to the increase of greenhouse gases." They added: "The internal consistency from multiple lines of evidence strongly supports the work of the scientific community, including those individuals singled out in these e-mail exchanges." The row comes ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit which starts on Monday. Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, vice-chairman of the IPCC, said it was no coincidence the information was released in the run-up to the summit. He claimed unnamed conspirators could have paid for Russian hackers to break into the university computers to steal the e-mails. He said the theft was a scandal and was "probably ordered" to disrupt the confidence negotiators have in the science. CLIP
Colleague defends 'ClimateGate' professor (4 December 2009) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8396035.stm
A colleague of the UK professor at the centre of the climate e-mails row says "sceptics" have embarked on a "tabloid-style character assassination". Professor Andrew Watson rallied to the defence of climate scientist Phil Jones, whose e-mail exchanges prompted claims that data had been manipulated. There was no evidence of attempting to mislead people, Professor Watson added. The University of East Anglia has commissioned an independent inquiry into the affair. "Despite the best efforts of the sceptics, there is no instance in these e-mails that anyone has found so far - and there are millions of people looking - that suggests the scientists manipulated their fundamental data," Professor Watson, from the university's School of Environmental Sciences, stated. (...) Professor Watson added: "The climate sceptics would have us believe the e-mails invalidate the CRU data set, but they don't. They would have us believe that the warming that has occurred during the 20th Century is a construct entirely in the minds of a few climate scientists. But this point of view surely has some difficulty in explaining why Arctic sea ice is declining so rapidly, mountain glaciers around the world are retreating so rapidly, and Spring is coming much earlier now than it did 50 years ago." CLIP
Why do climate deniers hold sway in Australia? (1 December 2009) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/01/climate-change-climate-change-scepticism
If Australia does not silence its sceptics and reduce its emissions there is a real risk of the nation becoming uninhabitable -- Australia is the hottest and driest continent on Earth. Parts have been embroiled in record drought for the past decade, leaving reservoirs empty and agriculture decimated. Things got so bad last week that thousands of camels besieged a small town in the Northern Territory in search of water. Even the "ships of the desert" couldn't cope.Yet, while many Aussies embrace a love of the outdoors both in body and spirit, something in the frontier ethic of the "lucky country" still leads some to peer at the horizon and declare: "Mate, we don't believe in climate change." Maybe they have been out in the sun too long, for the country is living on the edge.Aussie scientists were among the first to warn about global warming. Back in 1988, they printed off posters showing the fin-shaped roof of the Sydney Opera House poking out of a blue sea.But Australia also has a history of climate denial. Twelve years ago at the Kyoto climate negotiations, other rich nations promised cuts in carbon emissions. But Australia won permission to increase its emissions by 8%. And even that wasn't good enough for the prime minister John Howard, who eventually pulled out of the Kyoto protocol with George W Bush.Recently, the Labour prime minister Kevin Rudd rejoined Kyoto. But the sceptics are unrepentant. The Aussie geologist Ian Plimer is the latest international pin-up among climate sceptics.Why do the deniers hold such sway? For one thing, Australians have the highest per capita carbon emissions of any major developed country thanks to its sprawling suburbs and heavy coal use. According to figures submitted by Canberra to the UN, Australia's emissions from burning fossil fuel have risen by 30% from 1990 to 2007 more even than the US.Also, Australia is by some way the world's largest exporter of coal, the world's dirtiest fuel. They are the boys with the black stuff. Giant ports like Gladstone and Newcastle export ship out enough coal each year to put more than half a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air. When the Chinese coal mines can't keep up with domestic demand, they phone Digger.Australia's industrialists have lobbied loudly against any limits on their carbon emissions. Last year, the Business Council of Australia called Rudd's cap-and-trade climate plan a "company killer", and declared war on the policy. Now they have seen off the leader of the opposition Liberal Party, Malcolm Turnbull, because he backed the Rudd plan.They will be pleased with themselves. But whatever happens in Copenhagen this month, Australia's climate policy will still be in a mess. Either the world adopts tough emissions cuts in which case demand for Australian coal will shrink and the country will face painful economic reforms to cut its soaring domestic emissions. Or the world fails to come up with tough emissions cuts in which case, say its scientists, there is a real risk of the entire nation becoming uninhabitable.
California water allocation hits record-low level (Dec 1, 2009) http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5B105D20091202
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California officials said on Tuesday that drought and environmental restrictions have forced them to cut planned water deliveries to irrigation districts and cities statewide to just 5 percent of their contracted allotments. Although the state Water Resources Department typically ends up supplying more water than first projected for an upcoming year, its 5 percent initial allocation for 2010 marks the smallest on record since the agency began delivering water in 1967.Drastic cutbacks in irrigation supplies this year alone from both state and federal water projects have idled some 23,000 farm workers and 300,000 acres of cropland in California, according to researchers at the University of California at Davis.Water shortages also have forced California cities large and small to raise rates they charge and to ration supplies.The state water allocation initially set for this year was 15 percent of the amount users are entitled to receive under their contracts. That figure was later raised to 40 percent, still well below the 68 percent averaged over the past decade. While a return to wetter weather in the months ahead could quickly ease the crunch, the initial 2010 allotment was greeted with alarm up and down a state already beset with chronic budget problems and jobless levels above the national average."On the heels of three years of drought and ongoing regulatory restrictions, we are now bracing for yet another year of painfully limited water supplies," said Laura King Moon, assistant general manager for the State Water Contractors. CLIP
Europe's post-Soviet greening gains and failures (Nov 29) http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091129/ap_on_sc/eu_the_polluted_east
DNIPRODZERZHYNSK, Ukraine Twenty years ago, when the Iron Curtain came down, the world gagged in horror as it witnessed firsthand the ravages inflicted on nature by the Soviet industrial machine. Throughout the crumbling communist empire, sewage and chemicals clogged rivers; industrial smog choked cities; radiation seeped through the soil; open pit mines scarred green valleys. It was hard to measure how bad it was and still is: The focus was more on production quotas than environmental data. Today, Europe has two easts one that has been largely cleaned up with the help of a massive infusion of Western funds and the prospect of membership in the prosperous European Union; another that still looks as though the commissars never left. The contrasting story lines are written in the ripple and flow of two rivers. CLIP
Klimaforum09 - The Declaration process http://www.klimaforum09.org/
One of the central outcomes of Klimaforum09 will be a global climate declaration expressing the hopes, ideas, and visions of citizens groups and social movements from all corners of the planet.The fear is that the official climate deal likely to come out the UN conference in Copenhagen will be focused on »technological fixes« and biased towards the interests of the corporate lobby and the rich and powerful nations. Declaration In contrast, the declaration to be finalized at Klimaforum09 will put forth a vision of a more socially just world society. In addition it will emphasize the need to create substantial changes in the social and economic structures of society in order to meet the challenges of global warming and food sovereignty. During the fall of 2009 the Klimaforum09-declaration group is inviting civil society groups, grassroots, indigenous people, and local communities from all over the world to come forth with ideas and solutions rooted in their local experience with climate change.The development of the declaration will take place via internet-based debates. The actual declaration will be finalized during the first four days of Klimaforum09 thus giving the participants a possibility to influence the process. When finished, the declaration will be handed over to the political leaders at the COP15 supplying them with inspiration as to how a fair and just climate deal can be put together. Above all the declaration will be another stepping stone in building of a planetary movement for climate justice. CHECK The Klimaforum09 Declaration draft two
Eat less meat, climate experts urge (December 3, 2009 - Video) http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2009/12/2009123101215322751.html
With just days to go before the climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, the meat industry is being targeted by environmentalists. The UN's top climate scientist says a reduction in meat consumption would help combat global warming. It's claimed that the farming of meat contributes to 18 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, more than transportation. Nicole Itano reports from Greece, where eating less meat is part of a traditional Mediterranean diet.
Sir Paul to tell EU: 'Less meat means less heat' (29 November 2009) http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/sir-paul-to-tell-eu-less-meat-means-less-heat-1830669.html
Rearing fewer animals for food will slow global warming, says the former Beatle and he's interrupting his European tour to tell world leaders how -- Sir Paul McCartney will this week throw his weight behind a growing campaign to address global warming by reducing the amount of meat we eat, lobbying EU politicians for their backing. The former Beatle will interrupt a European tour to fly to Brussels on Thursday, where he will make his case at a special hearing of the European Parliament. Sir Paul said yesterday: "The message that I am taking to the European Parliament is less meat equals less heat. I will appeal to world leaders converging on Copenhagen for the climate-change talks to remember that sustainable food policy is an essential weapon in the fight against global warming. At the same time we should not forget our individual capacity to act in ways that will help such as limiting our consumption of meat. This simple act can help slow global warming and help to feed the world." It is a perfect fit, for the McCartneys are Britain's best-known vegetarian family. Sir Paul's late wife, Linda, established one of the country's leading brands of ready-made vegetarian meals. And his daughter Stella, the designer, has extended her approach to food to fabrics, refusing to use fur on grounds of animal cruelty.The very fact of Sir Paul's public involvement is focusing attention on the huge environmental costs of producing meat something that environmentalists have spent years trying to highlight. CLIP
Meatless Mondays - one day a week cut out meat - TIMELY INITIATIVE WORTH SUPPORTING!! http://www.meatlessmonday.com/
Our goal is to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.
Meatless Monday: Leftovers, Encores, It's All Good (November 30, 2009) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-kanner/meatless-monday-leftovers_b_372780.html
(...) In fact, American consumers waste billions of pounds of food a year, up at 14 percent of what we buy. And that's on top of the colossal waste that comes from bringing food from the farm to your table. A study from the United National Environment Program estimates as much as half of the food produced globally gets tossed. In his new book Waste, Brit author Tristram Stuart outs companies who routinely discard food people desperately need. A proud freegan and adept dumpster diver, Stuart writes "By the time I left school, I had learnt that I could live off the food being thrown away by supermarkets and other retailers." We're not talking slop, either. Stuart's recent haul from his local market's dumpster included organic carrots and leeks, bread, containers of prepared lasagne, unopened cartons of yogurt and a chocolate cake."We need to ensure that the food and grocery industries get food to us before it ends up in a landfill," says Ron Fraser of Feeding America, the food bank network supplying food to more than 25 million Americans each year. In rare bit of good news, Fraser says American companies "have made giant strides in this regard." CLIP
Green Revolution with a Capital G is Needed to Feed the World http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=562&ArticleID=6084&l=en
Cutting Food Losses from Farm to Kitchen and Converting Wastes into Animal Feeds a Key Opportunity -- Nairobi, 17 February 2009 - A seven point plan to reduce the risk of hunger and rising food insecurity in the 21st century is outlined in new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).Changing the ways in which food is produced, handled and disposed of across the globe- from farm to store and from fridge to landfill - can both feed the world's rising population and help the environmental services that are the foundation of agricultural productivity in the first place.Unless more intelligent and creative management is brought to the world's agricultural systems, the 2008 food crisis - which plunged millions back into hunger - may foreshadow an even bigger crisis in the years to come, says the rapid assessment study. The report, entitled 'The Environmental Food crises: Environment's role in averting future food crises', has been compiled by a wide group of experts from both within and outside UNEP. It supports UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's task force on the world food crisis.
- The one hundred year trend of falling food prices may be at an end, and food prices may increase by 30-50 per cent within decades with critical impacts for those living in extreme poverty spending up to 90 per cent of their income on food. These findings are supported by a recent report from the World Bank stating that if agricultural production is depressed further, food prices may rise.
- Up to 25 per cent of the worlds food production may become lost due to 'environmental breakdowns' by 2050 unless action is taken. Already, cereal yields have stagnated worldwide and fish landings are declining.
- Today, over one third of the world's cereals are being used as animal feed, rising to 50 per cent by 2050. Continuing to feed cereals to growing numbers of livestock will aggravate poverty and environmental degradation.
- The report instead suggests that recycling food wastes and deploying new technologies, aimed at producing biofuels, to produce sugars from discards such as straw and even nutshells could be a key environmentally-friendly alternative to increased use of cereals for livestock.
- The amount of fish currently discarded at sea - estimated at 30 million tonnes annually - could alone sustain more than a 50 per cent increase in fish farming and aquaculture production, which is needed to maintain per capita fish consumption at current levels by 2050 without increasing pressure on an already stressed marine environment.
The report shows that many of the factors blamed for the current food crisis - drought, biofuels, high oil prices, low grain stocks and especially speculation in food stocks may worsen substantially in the coming decades.
Climate change emerges as one of the key factors that may undermine the chances of feeding over nine billion people by 2050. Increasing water scarcities and a rise and spread of invasive pests such as insects, diseases and weeds - may substantially depress yields in the future.This underlines yet another reason why governments at the UN climate convention meeting in Copenhagen in some 300 days' time must agreed a deep and decisive new global deal.
'Climate change fuelling conflict' (Nov 22, 09. - with a video) http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/climatesos/2009/11/20091122135135472602.html
Billions of people around the world are facing political instability as a result of climate change, and international negotiations are failing to address the issue, a prominent peace-building organisation has said.In a report entitled Climate Change, Conflict and Fragility due to be released this week, International Alert says that poorer, badly governed countries are at risk of falling victim to climate related conflict. "Effects of climate change such as more frequent natural disasters, long term water shortages and food insecurity could combine with other factors and lead to violent conflict," the report says. The report warns that the current talks, which will reach a climax in Copenhagen next month when negotiators will meet to seek an international deal on climate change, are failing to take into account the inter-related nature of climate, social change and the potential conflict that could follow as a result. "The issue remains the elephant in the negotiating room," the organisation says."Specialists in climate change are not generally well informed about it and nor, very often are development specialists."Adaption costs -- International Alert believe that unless there is a change in approach, 3.9 billion people in 102 countries around the world - more than half the world's population - are at an increased risk of political instability as a result of the knock on consequences of climate change, with 2.7 billion facing a high risk of violent conflict. The potential scale of the problem may be huge, but the organisation says that climate negotiators and development agencies are underestimating the level of funding required to tackle the issue. The report quotes figures that suggest adapting to climate change peacefully could cost an estimated $300-380bn a year by 2030, double the current UN projections. Even this figure may be inaccurate, the report says, because no comprehensive studies have been done on the issue." These deficiencies in current estimates are especially worrying if these are the figures that financing negotiations are being based on," the report says. "What is needed now is a properly resourced, large scale and comprehensive study of the costs of adaption." CLIP
Scientists Himalayan mission provides unwelcome proof: glaciers are dying (December 5, 2009) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/copenhagen/article6945249.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=3392178
Inching over the treacherous surface of the Rathong glacier, almost 5,000 metres (16,400ft) high in the eastern Himalayas, Dr Shresth Tayal stooped to inspect a 7m steel rod he buried vertically in the ice six months ago. After a decade studying Himalayan glaciers, he had expected to find at least half the rod exposed an alarming enough indication of how fast the Rathong is melting but even he was surprised by what he found last week.Six metres in six months, he cried, breathing hard in the thin mountain air as The Times and the rest of his team stepped gingerly between hidden crevasses and gushing rivulets of freshly melted ice.Its pathetic, he said. The glacier is dying. (...) But such setbacks are routine for Dr Tayal, one of a handful of intrepid Indian scientists studying a crucial question in the climate change debate: are the Himalayan glaciers disappearing and with them the biggest fresh water store outside the polar icecaps? The short answer is yes.There is plenty of anecdotal, photographic and piecemeal scientific evidence to suggest the glaciers which feed the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Salween, Irrawaddy, Mekong, Yangtze and Yellow rivers and provide fresh water to two billion people in the dry season are indeed melting fast. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned in 2007 that they could disappear by 2035, causing famine, water wars and hundreds of millions of climate change refugees. CLIP
Climate change already a reality in Africa (Nov 26, 2009) http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j0I0q8b0A-8MB_DSqk0AznNhnL0w
NAIROBI From prolonged droughts to melting ice caps to heavy flooding and unpredictable weather patterns, climate change effects are already wrecking lives in Africa, the continent that pollutes the least. Around 23 million people currently face starvation across east Africa as successive failed rainy seasons have decimated crops, livestock and devastated livelihoods.Residents of Turkana, a region of northern Kenya withered by severe drought, recently found respite when an NGO bought off their emaciated livestock and slaughtered them to feed the starving."It's the worst drought since 1969, the year when the dromedaries died," recalled Esta Ekouam, a grandmother who has no idea how old she is.Across the border in Ethiopia, poor harvests have left millions at the mercy of relief aid. "The weather has changed, it's not as it used to be before," lamented Tuke Shika, a farmer in southern Ethiopia. "The rains are increasingly erratic and we are getting less and less yields." Experts say the east African drought is the worst in decades. The continent accounts for just four percent of global greenhouse gas emissions but suffers the most from its effects.African countries want rich nations responsible for much of the emissions to make huge cuts and have demanded billions of dollars to cope with the effects of climate change. To limit warming to around two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), rich nations must cut emissions by between 25 and 40 percent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says. CLIP
Climate change will hit Africa hardest (28 November 2009) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2009/nov/28/africa-climate-change
Having bailed out bankers, can developed counties really oppose funds to help developing nations fight global warming? -- Climate change will hit Africa a continent that has contributed virtually nothing to bring it about first and hardest.Aside from Antarctica, Africa is the only continent that has not industrialised. Indeed, since the 1980s the industrialisation that had taken place in Africa has by and large been reversed. Africa has thus contributed nothing to the historical accumulation of greenhouse gases through carbon-based industrialisation. Moreover, its current contribution is also negligible, practically all of it coming from deforestation and degradation of forests and farmland. Yet climate change will hit Africa hardest, because it will cripple the continent's vulnerable agricultural sector, on which 70% of the population depends. All estimates of the possible impact of global warming suggest that a large part of the continent will become drier, and that the continent as a whole will experience greater climatic variability. We know what the impact of periodic droughts have been on the lives of tens of millions of Africans. We can therefore imagine what the impact of a drier climate on agriculture is likely to be. Conditions in this vital economic sector will become even more precarious than they currently are. Africa will not only be hit hardest, but it will be hit first. Indeed, the long dreaded impact of climate change is already upon us. The current drought covering much of east Africa far more severe than past droughts has been directly associated with climate change. CLIP
As emissions increase, carbon 'sinks' get clogged (December 3, 2009) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/02/AR2009120203732_pf.html
In the race to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, scientists have been looking to forests and oceans to absorb the pollution people generate.Relying on nature to compensate for human excesses sounds like a win-win situation -- except that these resources are under stress from the very emissions we are asking them to absorb, making them less able partners in the pact.Consider it the latest inconvenient truth about climate change.The benefits of these natural carbon "sinks" are many: Their diverse ecosystems soak up carbon dioxide. What's more, the international carbon enables industries to compensate for their emissions at a fraction of the price of installing cleaner technology, essentially by investing in forests; meanwhile, poorer countries that are rich in woodland profit from selling not lumber but carbon credits.Now, a global society of conservation biologists has launched a lobbying campaign, asking key decision-makers -- from the Danish officials chairing next week's climate talks in Copenhagen to U.S. lawmakers -- to push for steeper emission cuts to ensure that humans do not exhaust forests' capacity to store carbon in the decades to come. Earlier this year, a team of nearly 70 researchers published a paper in the journal Science showing that the drought-stressed Amazon rain forest emitted roughly as much carbon dioxide in 2005 as it usually stores -- about the same amount as the European Union and Japan together emit in a single year. "This dramatic new information confirms that unsustainable human demands on the Earth's dwindling primary and old-growth forests have pushed them to the wall," said Dominick DellaSala, president-elect of the Society for Conservation Biology's North America section. A separate article published last month in the journal Nature analyzed the sea's uptake of carbon between 1765 and 2008, finding that the proportion of fossil-fuel emissions absorbed by the oceans since 2000 may have declined by as much as 10 percent. The study's lead author, Samar Khatiwala, an oceanographer at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said oceans are becoming more acidic as more carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere, so they are losing their ability to soak up emissions produced by people. "What our ocean study and other recent land studies suggest is that we cannot count on these sinks operating in the future as they have in the past and keep on subsidizing our ever-growing appetite for fossil fuels," Khatiwala said. Absorption rate slowing - According to the Global Carbon Project, which tracks emissions, land and ocean carbon sinks took up 57 percent of human-generated carbon emissions between 1958 and 2008. While the size of these sinks has expanded in the past few decades, their absorption rate is slowing as greenhouse gas emissions have risen (by 41 percent since 1990). CLIP
Peat Fires Drive Temperatures Up: Burning Rainforests Release Huge Amounts of Greenhouse Gases (Nov. 29, 2009) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091127132838.htm
Peatlands, especially those in tropical regions, sequester gigantic amounts of organic carbon. Human activities are now having a considerable impact on these wetlands. For example, drainage projects, in combination with the effects of periodic droughts, can lead to large-scale fires, which release enormous amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, and thus contribute to global warming. Using laser-based measurements, Professor Florian Siegert and his research group at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich have now estimated the volume of peat burned in such fires with unprecedented accuracy. The new data imply that, in 2006, peatland fires in Indonesia released up to about 900 million metric tons of CO2. This is more than the total amount of CO2 emitted in Germany in that year, and represents about 16 % of the emissions associated with deforestation worldwide. CLIP
Earth More Sensitive to Carbon Dioxide Than Previously Thought (Dec. 7, 2009) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091206162955.htm
In the long term, the Earth's temperature may be 30-50% more sensitive to atmospheric carbon dioxide than has previously been estimated, reports a new study published in Nature Geoscience. The results show that components of the Earth's climate system that vary over long timescales -- such as land-ice and vegetation -- have an important effect on this temperature sensitivity, but these factors are often neglected in current climate models. CLIP
Greenhouse Gas Effect Consistent Over 420 Million Years (Mar. 29, 2007) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070328155540.htm
New calculations show that sensitivity of Earth's climate to changes in the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) has been consistent for the last 420 million years, according to an article in Nature by geologists at Yale and Wesleyan Universities. A popular predictor of future climate sensitivity is the change in global temperature produced by each doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere. This study confirms that in the Earth's past 420 million years, each doubling of atmospheric CO2 translates to an average global temperature increase of about 3° Celsius, or 5° Fahrenheit. CLIP
Mark Pittman, Reporter Who Challenged Fed Secrecy, Dies at 52 (November 30, 2009) http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=af7QohP8YdRo&pos=12
Mark Pittman, the award-winning reporter whose fight to make the Federal Reserve more accountable to taxpayers led Bloomberg News to sue the central bank and win, died Nov. 25 in Yonkers, New York. He was 52. Pittman suffered from heart-related illnesses. He was one of the great financial journalists of our time, said Joseph Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University in New York and the winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for economics. His death is shocking. A former police-beat reporter who joined Bloomberg News in 1997, Pittman wrote stories in 2007 predicting the collapse of the banking system. That year, he won the Gerald Loeb Award from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, the highest accolade in financial journalism, for "Wall Streets Faustian Bargain," a series of articles on the breakdown of the U.S. mortgage industry. Pittmans push to open the Fed to more scrutiny resulted in an Aug. 24 victory in Manhattan Federal Court affirming the publics right to know about the central banks more than $2 trillion in assistance to financial firms. Note: To see a one-minute video of mind-blowing US Congressional testimony on a CIA dart gun which can easily cause a heart attack, click here. The poison from this gun is undetectable on autopsy. Could such a weapon be used by the rich and powerful bankers who might want to silence someone who threatens literally billions of dollars of profits, someone like Mark Pittman?
C.I.A. to Expand Use of Drones in Pakistan December 4, 2009) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/04/world/asia/04drones.html
The White House has authorized an expansion of the C.I.A.s drone program in Pakistans lawless tribal areas. More C.I.A. drone attacks have been conducted under President Obama than under President George W. Bush. The political consensus in support of the drone program ... and its secrecy have obscured just how radical it is. For the first time in history, a civilian intelligence agency is using robots to carry out a military mission, selecting people for killing in a country where the United States is not officially at war. The drone warfare pioneered by the C.I.A. in Pakistan and the Air Force in Iraq and Afghanistan is the leading edge of a wave of push-button combat that will raise legal, moral and political questions around the world, said P. W. Singer, a scholar at the Brookings Institution and author of the book Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century. So far, only the United States and Israel have used the planes for strikes, but that number will grow. It is impossible to judge whether the program violates international law without knowing whether Pakistan permits the incursions, how targets are selected and what is done to minimize civilian casualties.
The Secret US War in Pakistan (November 23, 2009) http://www.thenation.com/doc/20091207/scahill
At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus. The previously unreported program, the military intelligence source said, is distinct from the CIA assassination program. "This is a parallel operation to the CIA," said the source. "They are two separate beasts." Blackwater's presence in Pakistan is "not really visible, and that's why nobody has cracked down on it," said the source. Blackwater's operations in Pakistan, he said, are not done through State Department contracts or publicly identified Defense contracts. "It's Blackwater via JSOC, and it's a classified no-bid [contract] approved on a rolling basis. Some of these strikes are attributed to [the CIA], but in reality it's JSOC. So when you see some of these hits, especially the ones with high civilian casualties, those are almost always JSOC strikes." Note: Don't miss this key report in it's entirety. Why haven't other major media outlets mentioned the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) drone operations in Pakistan, running parallel to the CIA's?
US builds up its bases in oil-rich South America (22 November 2009) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-builds-up-its-bases-in-oilrich-south-america-1825398.html
From the Caribbean to Brazil, political opposition to US plans for 'full-spectrum operations' is escalating rapidly -- The United States is massively building up its potential for nuclear and non-nuclear strikes in Latin America and the Caribbean by acquiring unprecedented freedom of action in seven new military, naval and air bases in Colombia. The development and the reaction of Latin American leaders to it is further exacerbating America's already fractured relationship with much of the continent. The new US push is part of an effort to counter the loss of influence it has suffered recently at the hands of a new generation of Latin American leaders no longer willing to accept Washington's political and economic tutelage. President Rafael Correa, for instance, has refused to prolong the US armed presence in Ecuador, and US forces have to quit their base at the port of Manta by the end of next month. So Washington turned to Colombia, which has not gone down well in the region. The country has received military aid worth $4.6bn (£2.8bn) from the US since 2000, despite its poor human rights record. Colombian forces regularly kill the country's indigenous people and other civilians, and last year raided the territory of its southern neighbour, Ecuador, causing at least 17 deaths. President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who has not forgotten that US officers were present in government offices in Caracas in 2002 when he was briefly overthrown in a military putsch, warned this month that the bases agreement could mean the possibility of war with Colombia.In August, President Evo Morales of Bolivia called for the outlawing of foreign military bases in the region. President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras, overthrown in a military coup d'état in June and initially exiled, has complained that US forces stationed at the Honduran base of Palmerola collaborated with Roberto Micheletti, the leader of the plotters and the man who claims to be president. And, this being US foreign policy, a tell-tale trail of oil is evident. Brazil had already expressed its unhappiness at the presence of US naval vessels in its massive new offshore oilfields off Rio de Janeiro, destined soon to make Brazil a giant oil producer eligible for membership in Opec. The fact that the US gets half its oil from Latin America was one of the reasons the US Fourth Fleet was re-established in the region's waters in 2008. The fleet's vessels can include Polaris nuclear-armed submarines a deployment seen by some experts as a violation of the 1967 Tlatelolco Treaty, which bans nuclear weapons from the continent. Indications of US willingness to envisage the stationing of nuclear weapons in Colombia are seen as an additional threat to the spirit of nuclear disarmament. After the establishment of the Tlatelolco Treaty in 1967, four more nuclear-weapon-free zones were set up in Africa, the South Pacific, South-east Asia and Central Asia. Between them, the five treaties cover nearly two-thirds of the countries of the world and almost all the southern hemisphere. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the world's leading think-tank about disarmament issues, has now expressed its worries about the US-Colombian arrangements. With or without nuclear weapons, the bilateral agreement on the seven Colombian bases, signed on 30 October in Bogota, risks a costly new arms race in a region. SIPRI, which is funded by the Swedish government, said it was concerned about rising arms expenditure in Latin America draining resources from social programmes that the poor of the region need.
(...) The Colombian forces, for many years notorious for atrocities inflicted on civilians, have cheekily suggested that with US help they could get into the lucrative business of "instructing" other armies about human rights. Civil strife in Colombia meant some 380,000 Colombians were forced from their homes last year, bringing the number of displaced since 1985 to 4.6 million, one in ten of the population. This little-known statistic indicates a much worse situation than the much-publicised one in Islamist-ruled Sudan where 2.7 million have fled from their homes. Amnesty International said: "The Colombian government must urgently bring human rights violators to justice, to break the links between the armed forces and illegal paramilitary groups, and dismantle paramilitary organisations in line with repeated UN recommendations." CLIP
Food Stamp Use Soars, and Stigma Fades (November 29, 2009) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/29/us/29foodstamps.html
With food stamp use at record highs and climbing every month, a program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children. It has grown so rapidly in places so diverse that it is becoming nearly as ordinary as the groceries it buys. More than 36 million people use inconspicuous plastic cards for staples like milk, bread and cheese, swiping them at counters in blighted cities and in suburbs pocked with foreclosure signs. Virtually all have incomes near or below the federal poverty line, but their eclectic ranks testify to the range of people struggling with basic needs. They include single mothers and married couples, the newly jobless and the chronically poor, longtime recipients of welfare checks and workers whose reduced hours or slender wages leave pantries bare. There are 239 counties in the United States where at least a quarter of the population receives food stamps, according to an analysis of local data collected by The New York Times. In more than 750 counties, the program helps feed one in three blacks. In more than 800 counties, it helps feed one in three children. In the Mississippi River cities of St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans, half of the children or more receive food stamps. Even in Peoria, Ill. Everytown, U.S.A. nearly 40 percent of children receive aid. While use is greatest where poverty runs deep, the growth has been especially swift in once-prosperous places hit by the housing bust.
Israel must end Gaza blockade, evictions, alleged abuse of young Palestinians
(16 November 2009) http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=32967&Cr=palestin&Cr1=
Israel should end the blockade of Gaza, cease evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes, and ensure that the rights of children are respected and that all allegations of torture and ill-treatment are promptly investigated and perpetrators prosecuted, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in an annual report, released today. "In particular, the Government of Israel should allow unimpeded access to Gaza for humanitarian aid and the non-humanitarian goods needed for the reconstruction of properties and infrastructure," he writes in the report to the General Assembly on the human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. "Israel should also address effectively and immediately the water, sanitation and environmental crisis in Gaza," he stressed, citing the devastating damage stemming from Israels military action against Hamas last winter and its blockade of many materials other than foodstuffs, medical supplies, stationery and some industrial or electrical appliances. "Those heavy import restrictions, coupled with a near total prohibition on exports, have had a devastating effect on the Gaza economy. The blockade has also severely impaired the realization of a wide range of economic, social and cultural rights, as well as civil and political rights." Mr. Ban says the reported ill-treatment of children includes beatings, being forced to stand or sit for long periods in extremely painful and harmful positions, in most cases with hands tied together and eyes blindfolded, threats of sexual abuse and hooding the head and face in a sack. CLIP
Note from Jean: An ERN subscriber forwarded to me an excerpt from an inflammatory speech given by Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician who is labelled by many as and "islamophobe" - see a brief excerpt below of his speech to have an idea of his extreme views.
America as the Last Man Standing http://www.cicentre.com/articles/gw_america_last_man_standing.html
Speech by Geert Wilders, chairman of the Party for Freedom, the Netherlands, 25 September 2008, Hudson Institute.
(...) All throughout Europe a new reality is rising: entire Muslim neighbourhoods where very few indigenous people reside or are even seen. And if they are, they might regret it. This goes for the police as well. Its the world of head scarves, where women walk around in figureless tents, with baby strollers and a group of children. Their husbands, or slaveholders if you prefer, walk three steps ahead. With mosques on many street corner. The shops have signs you and I cannot read. You will be hard-pressed to find any economic activity. These are Muslim ghettos controlled by religious fanatics. These are Muslim neighbourhoods, and they are mushrooming in every city across Europe. These are the building-blocks for territorial control of increasingly larger portions of Europe, street by street, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, city by city. There are now thousands of mosques throughout Europe. With larger congregations than there are in churches. And in every European city there are plans to build super-mosques that will dwarf every church in the region. Clearly, the signal is: we rule. Many European cities are already one-quarter Muslim: just take Amsterdam, Marseille and Malmo in Sweden. In many cities the majority of the under-18 population is Muslim. Paris is now surrounded by a ring of Muslim neighbourhoods. Mohammed is the most popular name among boys in many cities. In some elementary schools in Amsterdam the farm can no longer be mentioned, because that would also mean mentioning the pig, and that would be an insult to Muslims. Many state schools in Belgium and Denmark only serve halal food to all pupils. In once-tolerant Amsterdam gays are beaten up almost exclusively by Muslims. Non-Muslim women routinely hear whore, whore. Satellite dishes are not pointed to local TV stations, but to stations in the country of origin. In France school teachers are advised to avoid authors deemed offensive to Muslims, including Voltaire and Diderot; the same is increasingly true of Darwin. The history of the Holocaust can in many cases no longer be taught because of Muslim sensitivity. In England sharia courts are now officially part of the British legal system. Many neighbourhoods in France are no-go areas for women without head scarves. Last week a man almost died after being beaten up by Muslims in Brussels, because he was drinking during the Ramadan. Jews are fleeing France in record numbers, on the run from the worst wave of anti-Semitism since World War II. French is now commonly spoken on the streets of Tel Aviv and Netanya, Israel. I could go on forever with stories like this. Stories about Islamization. A total of fifty-four million Muslims now live in Europe. San Diego University recently calculated that a staggering 25 percent of the population in Europe will be Muslim just 12 years from now. Bernhard Lewis has predicted a Muslim majority by the end of this century. CLIP
This speech was introduced in the following manner in the forwarded email:
GEERT WILDERS - Snopes said this is CORRECTLY ATTRIBUTED in other words it is true. Take time to read it. It makes one shudder!
AND MY REPLY WAS:
Just because Snopes confirms this is indeed from him does not make his outrageous statements either acceptable or accurate.
This man makes one shudder indeed for under the guise of giving a voice - and a very acerbic one at that - to the popular discontent over the growing number of Muslims in Europe, he is radicalizing public opinion and sowing the seeds of hatred - just like Hitler did against the Jews. The fact he lived for 2 years in Israel during his youth and travelled there 40 times in the last 25 years has also something to do with his vitriolic statements against Islam for he clearly supports Israel whose disgusting, brutal treatment of Palestinians is no good example to anyone.
After reviewing his public stance as expressed in his film Fitna, 3 British judges ruled he was inciting hatred:
Dutch court says anti-Islam MP must face race hatred prosecution (21 January 2009) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/21/dutch-islam-race-hatred-prosecution
A Dutch MP who made a provocative anti-Islam film and branded the Qur'an a "fascist book" is to be prosecuted for inciting racial hatred, Amsterdam's appeals court ruled today The decision against Geert Wilders, the populist leader of the rightwing Freedom party, sets the stage for a high-profile trial likely to expose changing attitudes towards Islam in the Netherlands.Traditionally a highly tolerant society, attitude towards its large Muslim immigrant population hardened after the 2004 murder of the filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a radical Dutch Muslim. Wilders, whose party has nine MPs, has largely built his popularity on the fear and resentment among many Dutch voters towards immigrants. Wilders provoked widespread outrage in March 2008 with his film Fitna and its portrayal of the Qur'an as a manifesto for violence. The film interspersed images of the September 11 attacks with quotations from the Muslim holy book. In 2007, Wilders called for the Qur'an to banned and likened it Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. Today, the appeals court called Wilders' film, newspaper articles and media interviews "one-sided generalisations which can amount to inciting hatred". CLIP
Wilders is a very controversial figure in the Netherlands, and around the world. He has been labeled in the world news media as "extreme right" and far right, and is accused of building his popularity on the fear and resentment among Dutch voters toward immigrants. Der Spiegel has called his statements "disrespectful", "hate-filled tirades" and has stated that "the elite in the Netherlands despise him for his demagogic manner". According to NRC Handelsblad, "his critics say he has become obsessed with Islam and impervious to reason and alternative points of view."Muslim critics of Wilders accuse him of using Koranic verses out of context. Due to Wilders' perceived positions on Islam, the DutchMoroccan rapper Appa, when interviewed about Wilders for a newspaper, said "if someone were to put a bullet in his head, I wouldn't mind". Wilders' views on Islam prompted the Muslim Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, to severely reprimand him.On 15 December 2007, Wilders was declared "politician of the year" by NOS-radio, a mainstream Dutch radio station. The parliamentary press praised his ability to dominate political discussion and to attract the debate and to get into publicity with his well-timed one-liners. The editors eventually gave the title to Wilders because he was the only one who scored high both among the press as well as the general public.Editorials by Alternet, The Montreal Gazette, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and The New York Times have accused Wilders of hypocrisy given that, in their view, Wilders has called for the ban of the sale of the Koran while simultaneously arguing for his own personal freedom of speech. CLIP
I will certainly concede that Islam as it is practised in some countries is similar in some ways to medieval Christianity in Europe because of the backwardness of some practices that have in fact more to do with local cultures and secular traditions than to the tenets of Islam themselves which can be interpreted in many different ways depending on the cultural bent of people in various countries. Because of this and of their complete ignorance of what is in the Koran, many people in the West have a tainted view of Muslims and intolerance is easily stirred when a politician like GEERT WILDERS capitalizes on the lowest impulses of people - as Slobodan Milosevic did in Yugoslavia to get elected and ramp up public rage against all Muslims, which led to many crimes against humanity - to prop up his own political career.
Imagine for a second what would happen if this cunning manipulator was elected prime minister of The Netherlands... He would help radicalize the views on both sides of the political and religious spectrums and soon enough you would get blood in the streets and probably much worst...
In conclusion, may I add that the way to help people from different cultural and religious background to be better integrated in and comfortable with the mainstream views and culture of European societies is certainly not through insulting them and rejecting with such bilious statements their beliefs and traditions, but through trying to better know them and welcoming them with an open heart and respect while offering them as many opportunities as possible to better appreciate the freedoms and open-minded views that are normally thriving in these modern, open societies.
In short, the more you open your heart and emphasize our common humanity, the more bridges will be built - instead of walls motivated by fear and rejection! - to narrow over time the gap between cultures. Our whole planet is experiencing the birth pangs of an emerging new global culture and sense of unity nourished by the wonderful diversity of its inhabitants and the ever deepening sense of forming a global community of souls.
This is the kind of visionary, love-infused perspective we should all focus on, otherwise our civilization will be rushing into a dead end and soon vanish into oblivion.
Much Love to you ;-)
P.S. Because I believe it is important to be aware of the ease with which many people on the Web fall for such ill-conceived forwarding of material that only heighten some of the worst aspects of human nature, thus fanning the flames of hatred and fear, I've included a web reference to the material you sent me, but not your name and email, and my reply in my next compilation.
AND HERE IS THE FEEDBACK I RECEIVED:
"I so much appreciate your input. I had no idea. As visionary author Rasha says: "The present moment's clarity does not invalidate the journey that was necessary in order to attain it" And so I thank you for the clarity and for taking the time to detail the situation. I will most certainly pass your information on to those that I shared this with. It's an infinitely blessed, divinely abundant day! As ever, thank you for all you do! Only love..."
The so-called anti-war movement currently finds itself in somewhat of a quagmire: What to do when the man you raised money for, volunteered for, and yes, even voted for, actually fulfills one of his most repulsive campaign promises?
First of all, I never understood why, or how, peace people could support someone who voted to pay for the wars while he was a Senator and was quite clear on the fact that he would increase violence in Afghanistan and perform a slow, painful and very incomplete withdrawal from Iraq. Principles that were proclaimed so loudly while Bush was president get shoved aside and buried now that a Democrat is president and how do you get your principles back from the dung-pile of selling out?
Secondly, On January 23rd of a rapidly dissipating 2009, Barack Obama perpetrated his first war crime (as president) by authorizing a drone attack in Pakistan. In February of this same year, he ordered an increase of roughly 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan: more war crimes, no corresponding outcry. However, when I cried out, I was roundly attacked by the left for not giving Obama a chance. 2009 is going to be the most deadly year for our troops and Afghan and Pakistani civilians on record. I think George Bush is calling: he wants his Nobel Peace Prize back.
It is being widely reported (and it seems hotly anticipated by some)that even though the anti-war movement wrote a letter to Obama and asked him to pretty please not send any more troops to Afghanistan and had us calling the White House all day on Monday the 23rd when Obama was scheduled to hold his final war summit"that the U.S. will commit 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan which is a 50 percent increase in troop strength in the Land of Certain Empire Death.
What is the anti-war movement's response going to be? Candlelight vigils; honk if you love peace rallies; a hundred rounds of We Shall Over Come" (someday, not today or tomorrow); or, is the anti-war movement going to say: Phew, McChrystal asked for 80,000, but our letter workedhe's only sending 34,000?
True story: in October of 2005, U.S. troop deaths were going to reach 2000, within days and the movement was planning its response. I called for a die-in, with risk of arrest, in front of the White House and MoveOn.org called for a candlelight vigil in Lafayette Park. MoveOn.org moved their vigil to another location because they told me that their members weren't ready to do civil disobedience and some of them may be accidentally swept up in some kind of a "peace sweep." I said, Fine, MoveOn.org, have a candlelight vigil for 2000 like you did for 1000 and next year you'll have one for 3000, then 4000, and then 5000. I think many of MoveOn.org's members were ready, I just don't think that MoveOn.org was then, or is now. They didn't do it when Bush was president, I can't imagine MoveOn.org standing up for peace when their man is the one doing the killing.
So, here we are four years, thousands of U.S. troops deaths and hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths later, and the Pope of Hope, the Dalai O'bama, the Nobel Laureate will soon be condemning thousands of more to the same fate and his supporters have given him permission to do so, no matter how many letters they write, petitions they sign or phone calls they make.
In the end, you always get what you vote for.
I knew that this surge was a done deal no matter how much political posturing and pandering occurred. I chained myself to the White House fence on October 5th and was arrested with 60 other people protesting the wars and demanding that peace be put on the proverbial table. But those were symbolic actions and the problems we are facing are deadly and in full Techno-Color, real. The time for symbolism and street-theater ended years ago, but moribund actions won't seem to just go away gracefully, so we will have to cut them off, cold turkey!
An Open Letter to President Obama from Michael Moore (November 30th, 2009) http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mikes-letter/open-letter-president-obama-michael-moore
Do you really want to be the new "war president"? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike. I simply can't believe you're about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn't so. (...) What would Martin Luther King, Jr. do? What would your grandmother do? Not send more poor people to kill other poor people who pose no threat to them, that's what they'd do. Not spend billions and trillions to wage war while American children are sleeping on the streets and standing in bread lines.All of us that voted and prayed for you and cried the night of your victory have endured an Orwellian hell of eight years of crimes committed in our name: torture, rendition, suspension of the bill of rights, invading nations who had not attacked us, blowing up neighborhoods that Saddam "might" be in (but never was), slaughtering wedding parties in Afghanistan. We watched as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were slaughtered and tens of thousands of our brave young men and women were killed, maimed, or endured mental anguish -- the full terror of which we scarcely know.When we elected you we didn't expect miracles. We didn't even expect much change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that doesn't even function as a nation and never, ever has.Stop, stop, stop! For the sake of the lives of young Americans and Afghan civilians, stop. For the sake of your presidency, hope, and the future of our nation, stop. For God's sake, stop.Tonight we still have hope. Tomorrow, we shall see. The ball is in your court. You DON'T have to do this. You can be a profile in courage. You can be your mother's son. We're counting on you. LOTS OF HEATED COMMENTS THERE!
Obama issues Afghan war plan to military (November 30, 2009) http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/nov/30/obama-issues-afghan-war-plan-military-officials/
President Obama ordered top military leaders to begin carrying out his new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, a move that is believed to include the deployment of more than 30,000 additional troops into the 8-year-old conflict, the White House confirmed Monday. (...) In the speech, the president will explain his plan to impose benchmarks for progress, both in the training of Afghan security forces and in the development of a functioning government in Afghanistan. He will discuss the stress on American resources and reaffirm that the deployment of additional troops will not lead to an open-ended commitment.The new strategy comes after months of deliberations with his top military, political and domestic advisers. In the end, it appears the president plans largely to fulfill the request by Gen. McChrystal for a major increase in troop strength in order to carry out a counterinsurgency strategy that aims not only to defeat extremists but to win over the loyalties of the Afghan people. clip
Americans Are Deeply Involved In Afghan Drug Trade (11/24/2009) http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/americans-are-deeply-involved-afghan-drug-trade
The U.S. set the stage for the Afghan (and Pakistan) war eight years ago, when it handed out drug dealing franchises to warlords on Washington's payroll. Now the Americans, acting as Boss of All Bosses, have drawn up hit lists of rival, Taliban drug lords. It is a gangster occupation, in which U.S.-allied drug dealers are put in charge of the police and border patrol. If youre looking for the chief kingpin in the Afghanistan heroin trade, its the United States. The American mission has devolved to a Mafiosi-style arrangement that poisons every military and political alliance entered into by the U.S. and its puppet government in Kabul. It is a gangster occupation, in which U.S.-allied drug dealers are put in charge of the police and border patrol, while their rivals are placed on American hit lists, marked for death or capture. As a result, Afghanistan has been transformed into an opium plantation that supplies 90 percent of the worlds heroin. An article in the current issue of Harpers magazine explores the inner workings of the drug-infested U.S. occupation, its near-total dependence on alliances forged with players in the heroin trade. The story centers on the town of Spin Boldak, on the southeastern border with Pakistan, gateway to the opium fields of Kandahar and Helmand provinces. The chief Afghan drug lord is also the head of the border patrol and the local militia. The author is an undercover U.S.-based journalist who was befriended by the drug lords top operatives and met with the U.S. and Canadian officers that collaborate with the drug dealer on a daily basis. The alliance was forged by American forces during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and has endured and grown ever since. The drug lord, and others like him throughout the country, is not only immune to serious American interference, he has been empowered through U.S. money and arms to consolidate his drug business at the expense of drug-dealing rivals in other tribes, forcing some of them into alliance with the Taliban. On the ground in Pashtun-speaking Afghanistan, the war is largely between armies run by heroin merchants, some aligned with the Americans, others with the Taliban. The Taliban appear to be gaining the upper hand in this Mafiosa gang war, the origins of which are directly rooted in U.S. policy. It is a war whose order of battle is largely defined by the drug trade. Is it any wonder, then, that the United States so often launches air strikes against civilian wedding parties, wiping out the greater part of bride and groom's extended families? Americas drug-dealing allies have been dropping dimes on rival clans and tribes, using the Americans as high-tech muscle in their deadly feuds. Now the Americans and their European occupation partners have institutionalized the rules of gangster warfare with official hit lists of drug dealers to be killed or captured on sight lists drawn up by other drug lords affiliated with the occupation forces.This is the war of necessity that President Barack Obama has embraced as his own. It is a war whose order of battle is largely defined by the drug trade. Obama's generals call for tens of thousands of new U.S. troops in hopes of lessening their dependency on the militias and police forces currently controlled by American-allied drug dealers. But of course, that will only push America's Afghan partners in the drug trade into the arms of the Taliban, who will cut a better deal. Then the generals were argue that they need even more U.S. troops. The Americans created this drug-saturated hell, and their occupation is now doomed by it. Unfortunately, they have also doomed millions of Afghans in the process.
NOTE: Please go at the URL below to access the many embedded links in this excellent article.
Will Nuclear Power Blow Up Obama's Climate Goals for Copenhagen?
by: Art Levine, t r u t h o u t | Report --29 November 2009
With Wednesday's announcement that President Obama plans to personally visit the UN-sponsored Copenhagen climate change conference next month, there are mounting hopes that his pledge that the US will cut greenhouses gases by 17 percent over a decade will jump-start world action on climate change. (What's been generally overlooked, though, is that the 17 percent figure is based on a pollution high point in 2005 used in Congressional legislation, so the proposed reduction is actually as little as 20 percent of the targeted reduction goals - based on 1990 levels - recommended by the UN-sponsored international scientific body that suggests treaty standards.)
Yet even that modest proposed reduction may not be met. That's because of industry-driven compromises and delays in the Senate after the House passed its own watered-down bill, so the Senate won't consider climate legislation until the spring. Meanwhile, the nuclear power industry, despite its dangers, is poised to make a major comeback as a purported panacea for global warming. President Obama, first as a candidate and now as president, expressed his willingness to use nuclear power.
Despite the surprising acceptance so far of nuclear power by most environmental groups as a necessary evil to get a final climate bill, dissenting groups, including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Beyond Nuclear, are running a rear-guard action trying to head off the rush to nuclear power. It's a troubled industry that hasn't seen a new order placed since the 70s and a new plant built in over a decade, with even Wall Street steering clear.
Yet a tri-partisan proposal, the Kerry-Lieberman-Graham bill, aims to win 60 votes by adding more subsidies for nuclear power and fossil fuel industries, while a bill co-sponsored by centrist Senator Jim Webb would offer the struggling nuclear power industry - repackaged as clean energy - as much as $100 billion in added loan guarantees. As Nuclear Power Daily reported:
"Nuclear power needs to be a core component of electricity generation if we are to meet our emission reduction targets," Kerry and Graham wrote in an editorial published by The New York Times last month.
In any revised bill, Graham insisted on "a renaissance of nuclear power that will help us solve the climate problem, as well as create millions of new jobs."
But some environmental critics contend that the hype is misguided on several fronts. Linda Gunter, a spokesperson for the Beyond Nuclear advocacy group, points out, "It's an incredible amount of expense to bring online and pour hundreds of billions into a slow industry that endangers the public with waste, radioactivity and chemical releases." Meanwhile, the billions in federal guarantees and the funds available from selling "cap-and-trade" emissions permits would, they fear, largely be funneled to the nuclear industry - instead of building renewable energy industries and the green jobs potentially available in solar power, wind power and conservation.
"Renewables and energy efficiency will be completely strangled by investing in nuclear power, and will eliminate those opportunities," Gunter says. And with each nuclear plant taking between six to ten years to start operating - and costs running between $12-$25 billion each for ratepayers, investors or taxpayers - "we've got a finite amount of time to face this [global warming]," she says.
Beyond Nuclear - allied with such progressive stalwarts as Greenpeace, Public Citizen, Friends of the Earth and Physicians for Social Responsibility (see its Nuclear Bailout site) - opposes nuclear power as a solution for global warming on other grounds, as well:
- A meltdown could cause tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of billions of dollars in damages and spread radioactive contamination across vast areas for centuries.
- Security at reactors is inadequate, due to cost-cutting by an industry otherwise unable to compete in the electricity market.
- Most reactors still remain vulnerable to aircraft and other attacks, making them potential dirty bombs in our backyards.
- Civilian nuclear programs provide the materials, knowledge and technology to transition to nuclear weapons production as happened in India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Nuclear expansion impedes the goals of nonproliferation and disarmament.
- No country has an operating repository for radioactive waste. Instead, waste is stored in unsecured fuel pools and casks at reactor sites. There is no solution to the seven-decade old radioactive waste problem.
- Nuclear power is not an emissions-free energy source. Reactors routinely release radioactivity and toxic chemicals, both harmful to health. From uranium mining to waste storage, nuclear power emits greenhouse gases.
- Exposure to radiation alters DNA which can cause cancer and genetic mutations and shorten lives. Wildlife near the Chernobyl reactor explosion have demonstrated decreased longevity.
And for taxpayers weary of the trillions in bailouts and guarantees that have put us on the hook for Wall Street's future risky bets that can blow up the economy, major recent reports show what could happen if taxpayer-backed nuclear plants literally blew up or defaulted on their loans. As Beyond Nuclear observed about this months Forbes magazine report on an ambitious nuclear company angling for current federal loan guarantees:
As described in the current issue of Forbes magazine, federal nuclear loan guarantees would transfer the financial risks of the "nuclear renaissance" onto U.S. taxpayers. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that "well over half" of nuclear loan guarantees will default, leaving taxpayers to hold the bag for many billions of dollars per failed project. In February 1985, Forbes reported that "[t]he failure of the U.S. nuclear power program ranks as the largest managerial disaster in business history, a disaster on a monumental scale. The utility industry has already invested $125 billion in nuclear power, with an additional $140 billion to come before the decade is out, and only the blind, or the biased, can now think that most of the money has been well spent." If Energy Secretary Chu rushes nuclear loan guarantees out the door by the end of the year, as he has threatened to do, this ugly history could easily repeat itself.
And nuclear opponents wonder: Can we afford the risk of banking on nuclear power when the latest report from the top international panel of scientific experts shows that the dangers are mounting faster than previously thought? As recounted by The Washington Independent in the context of a new right-wing campaign over stolen internal emails of global warming scientists:
A study released today by 26 leading climatologists, which finds that the climate situation is actually far more dire than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had led us to believe.
The new report, dubbed "The Copenhagen Diagnosis," seeks to fill in the gaps since the last IPCC assessment, published in 2007 but drafted earlier. Its authors include 14 members of the IPCC, the world's top climate change authority.
Jonathan Hiskes, who's compared the two reports in greater depth than I have, writes:
The new diagnosis finds that arctic sea ice is melting 40 percent faster than the panel estimated just a few years ago. Another startling finding: Satellites have found that the global average for rising sea levels was 3.4 millimeters per year from 1993-2008. The IPCC estimated it would be 1.9 mm for that period--short by 80 percent.
In addition, a recent analysis of the economic dangers posed by nuclear power - based on the well-justified wariness of Wall Street - should also give its cheerleaders pause. If an investment is too risky for Wall Street high-flyers willing to gamble on fuel options, Singapore real estate and subprime mortgages, then maybe it's a bit too dicey for taxpayers, too. Indeed, it seems that a nuclear power plant is the ultimate toxic asset. As Nuclear Power Daily reported:
If Congress and the states do not follow the lead of Wall Street in declining to underwrite financially "risky and uneconomic" new nuclear reactors, the resulting taxpayer-backed loan guarantees and other subsidies could pave the way for the same kind of industry-wide meltdown that happened in the 1970s and 1980s, according to a major new study by Dr. Mark Cooper, a senior fellow for economic analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School.
Titled "All Risk, No Reward for Taxpayers and Ratepayers," the new study by Dr. Cooper looks at the reasons that Wall Street is shunning the financing of new reactors and concludes that Congress and state lawmakers would be well-advised to follow the same course to avoid leaving taxpayers and ratepayers holding the bag in the form of failed loan guarantees and needlessly higher utility bills.
But despite all the potential dangers, critics say, most mainstream environmental groups haven't strongly opposed the push to nuclear power or protested legislative give-aways to other energy industries. "It's gotten to the point where environmental groups and members of Congress are bargaining away so much they're willing to accept anything with the word 'climate' in the title," says Kyle Ash, a Greenpeace lobbyist.
In contrast, Sierra Club spokesperson David Willett doesn't believe that abandoning the bill over nuclear power is worth considering at this point. "In general, I don't think that nuclear power is the best option, and we have concerns for security, safety and cost," he told Truthout. "But there are a lot of fronts on energy that we've focused on aside from just getting a bill passed, like making sure that there's more in there for energy efficiency and renewables." He adds, "We are applauding the effort of Kerry, Graham and Lieberman for [trying to] find a way for a bill to clear the Senate. Nuclear power isn't now a deal-breaker."
Yet an insider look at the rifts among progressives over climate-change bills by E&E Daily raises questions over the possible high cost of effective global climate change resulting from the trade-off for political influence and pragmatism. The well-respected publication reported recently:
For the past year, major environmental groups have framed the climate change bill as the movement's single most significant piece of legislation in several decades - if not ever - dedicating the bulk of their political muscle and heavy financial resources to passage of the effort.
But as the bill moves forward, with this summer's historic House vote and yesterday's Senate committee markup, some question whether in their quest to get a bill, environmentalists and their allies are far too willing to compromise on historic priorities such as offshore drilling and nuclear power ...
And though [most] environmentalists openly admit that the final product may not be their ideal bill, they also argue there is no choice but to accept some items they do not want in a situation where the fate of the legislation hangs on moderate lawmakers who are hesitant to back a bill.
"We can only do what we have the political support to do," said Margie Alt, executive director of Environment America ...
But one thing environmentalists and their congressional allies have not done is make specific demands on items that must be in the bill to ensure the environmental community's support. Perhaps even more telling, when lawmakers have pushed for policies that have been vehemently opposed in the past, environmental groups have not actively pushed back.
The clearest example to date is last month's op-ed from Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), which stated the climate bill needs to have provisions for increased offshore drilling and support nuclear power if it hopes to pick up bipartisan support and pass the Senate.
There has been virtually no outcry from mainstream environmental groups over the bill's sponsor (Kerry) seemingly backing such a position ...
And that's one reason why, when President Obama meets with foreign leaders in Copenhagen, he wont be able to deliver on his early promises for global climate change. And that's also why you could find yourself living down the street from a nuclear power plant in the next several years, even as portions of US coastal cities may eventually find themselves underwater.
The Copenhagen conference will be the biggest climate change meeting in history [AFP]
The UN has expressed optimism over international talks on climate change that are set to open in Denmark this week, billing it as a "turning point" in a bid to slow down global warming.
Yvo de Boer, the head of the UN framework convention on climate change, said he was confident the summit would be a success.
"Copenhagen is already a turning point in the international response to climate change," he said.
The high-stakes talks starting on Monday in the Danish capital Copenhagen seek to agree on measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and raise billions of dollars for the poor in aid and clean technology.
A major challenge facing the two-week conference ending with a summit of 105 world leaders on December 18 is to overcome deep distrust between rich and poor nations about sharing out the burden of costly curbs on emissions.
But the planned attendance of heads of state and pledges to curb emissions by all the top emitters led by China, the US, Russia and India have raised hopes for an accord after sluggish negotiations in the past two years.
Lars Lokke Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister, and Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN's climate expert panel, will be among the speakers at Monday's opening session.
Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister whose country is the world's fourth-largest greenhouse gas emitter, announced on Saturday that he would attend the closing summit, joining 104 other leaders, including Barack Obama, the US president.
World leaders did not attend the last time the world's environment ministers agreed on the existing UN climate pact, known as the Kyoto Protocol, in 1997.
Copenhagen will be the biggest climate change meeting in history, with 15,000 participants from more than 190 nations.
New money needed
De Boer said developing nations need to take new action to slow the rise of their emissions.
He also wants rich nations to accept deep cuts to their emissions by 2020 and come up with at least $10bn a year in aid to the poor countries to kick off a deal, saying it has to be "new money, real and significant".
On Sunday he tried to allay criticism among climate change sceptics after emails from climate scientists that appeared to cast doubt on their research were recently leaked to the public.
De Boer acknowledged the emails did serious damage, but said the review process by some 2,500 scientists of climate change research was thorough and credible.
China, India, Brazil and South Africa earlier rejected a Danish suggestion to set a goal of halving world emissions by 2050, saying rich nations which have burnt fossil fuels since the industrial revolution must first cut their own emissions.
But South Africa added new impetus on Sunday, saying it was willing to cut its carbon emissions to 34 per cent below expected levels by 2020, provided that rich countries furnish financial and technological help.
"At the deal's heart must be a settlement between the rich world and the developing world. Social justice demands that the industrialised world digs deep into its pockets. Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles"
The climate talks have sparked protests in many European cities, adding to the pressure world leaders are under to reduce rising emissions that the UN says will cause desertification, mudslides, more powerful cyclones, rising sea levels and the extinction of species.
The existing Kyoto pact obliges industrialised nations to cut emissions until 2012, and the idea behind the Copenhagen talks is to get action from all major emitters, including China and India, which were exempt from the Kyoto agreement.
The meeting will test how far developing nations will stick to entrenched positions, for example that rich nations must cut their greenhouse gases by at least 40 per cent by 2020 far deeper than targets on offer.
On Monday some 56 newspapers from 45 countries published a joint editorial urging rich and poor nations to unite in Copenhagen.
"At the deal's heart must be a settlement between the rich world and the developing world," it said.
"Social justice demands that the industrialised world digs deep into its pockets. Many of us, particularly in the developed world, will have to change our lifestyles."
Climate change: How global warming is having an impact
PARIS, (AFP) Nov 29, 2009
From cautiously advising that man-made, heat-trapping carbon gases would disrupt Earth's climate system, mainstream scientists are increasingly convinced that the first signs of change are already here.
Following are the main indicators, reported in the scientific press over past three years:
RISING SEAS: Sea levels have risen in tandem with global warming, according to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The global average sea level has risen since 1961 at an average rate of 1.8mm (0.07 inches) per year, but accelerated from 1991 to 3.1mm (0.12 inches) per year. The IPCC estimated sea levels would rise 18-59 centimetres (7.2-23.2 inches) by 2100. But added runoff from melting land ice is accelerating. According to Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the global sea level is likely to rise at least twice as much as projected. If emissions are not curbed, "it may well exceed one metre (3.25 feet)."
SHRINKING GLACIERS: Mountain glaciers and snow cover in both hemispheres have widely retreated in the past few decades. One of the most closely-observed sites, the Cook glacier on the southern Indian Ocean island of Kerguelen, has shrunk by a fifth in 40 years. Around 1.3 billion people depend on the water that flows down from Himalayan glaciers, which in some places are falling back at up to 70 metres (230 feet) per year. The snows capping Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest peak, could vanish entirely in 20 years, US experts reported this month.
SHIFTING SEASONS: Some species of birds and fish are shifting habitat in response to warmer temperatures. The range of 105 bird species in France moved north, on average, 91 kilometres (56.5 miles) from 1989 to 2006. Average temperatures, however, shifted northward 273 kilometres (170 miles) over the same period, nearly three times farther. Twenty-one out of 36 species of fish in the North Sea migrated northwards between 1962 and 2001 in search of cooler waters. Anecdotal evidence from commercial fishermen says once-exotic species of fish from warmer latitudes now inhabit southern British waters.
OCEAN ACIDIFICATION: The acidity of the seas is rising as oceans absorb more carbon dioxide (CO2), with an impact on coral and micro-organisms, marine biologists say. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, the protective calcium shell of amoeba-like organisms living in the Southern Ocean called foraminifera, a vital link in the food chain, has fallen in weight by a third. "Within decades," acidification could severely affect biodiversity and fisheries, 150 marine scientists jointly warned last January.
ARCTIC ICE: The Greenland ice sheet has lost 1,500 billion tonnes of ice since 2000, contributing 0.75 mm (0.03 inch) annually to sea levels, according to a study published this month. In 2009, the Arctic summer sea ice pack thawed to its third smallest size on record, confirming a shrinkage trend seen over the past 30 years. Some experts believe the Arctic ice cap will disappear completely in summer months within 20 to 30 years.
ANTARCTIC WARMING: The Antarctic peninsula has warmed by 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) in the last 50 years, around six times the global average. In the past 20 years, Antarctica has lost seven ice shelves -- huge floating ledges of ice, attached to the shore, that are fed by glaciers.
PERMAFROST RETREAT: Emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane were found to be soaring at sites investigated in 2006 by University of Alaska scientists at lakes in northern Siberia. The reason is thawing of the permafrost, causing the warmed soil to release gas that had been stored for thousands of years. Billions of tonnes of methane, which comes from natural sources such as decomposing vegetation and marshland, are stored in the frozen lands of Siberia, Canada and Alaska.
CHANGED PRECIPITATION: Patterns of rainfall or snowfall increased "significantly" from 1900-2005 in eastern parts of North and South America, northern Europe and northern and central Asia but declined in the Sahel, southern Africa and parts of southern Asia, says the IPCC. "Globally, the area affected by drought has likely increased since the 1970s," it adds.
STORMS: A mooted link between climate change and extreme events has little scientific consensus. A 2008 study by the Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre at University College London found that warmer seas accounted for 40 percent of a large increase (from six a year to eight a year) in the number of Atlantic hurricanes from 1996-2005. Other scientists say it is hard to say whether a drought, flood or cyclone is part of the longer trend which is climate change or simply just a one-off event, or series of them.
SOURCES: IPCC 4th Assessment Report (2007); Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center (Australia); Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK); Nature; Science; Nature Geoscience; Laboratory for Studying Geophysics and Space Oceanography (France); French National Museum of Natural History; Pen Hadow Arctic expedition; US National Snow and Ice Data Center; British Antarctic Survey (BAS); University of Alaska at Fairbanks.
Copenhagen climate change talks must fail, says top scientist
Exclusive: World's leading climate change expert says summit talks so flawed that deal would be a disaster
2 December 200
The scientist who convinced the world to take notice of the looming danger of global warming says it would be better for the planet and for future generations if next week's Copenhagen climate change summit ended in collapse.
In an interview with the Guardian, James Hansen, the world's pre-eminent climate scientist, said any agreement likely to emerge from the negotiations would be so deeply flawed that it would be better to start again from scratch.
"I would rather it not happen if people accept that as being the right track because it's a disaster track," said Hansen, who heads the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.
"The whole approach is so fundamentally wrong that it is better to reassess the situation. If it is going to be the Kyoto-type thing then [people] will spend years trying to determine exactly what that means." He was speaking as progress towards a deal in Copenhagen received a boost today, with India revealing a target to curb its carbon emissions. All four of the major emitters the US, China, EU and India have now tabled offers on emissions, although the equally vexed issue of funding for developing nations to deal with global warming remains deadlocked.
Hansen, in repeated appearances before Congress beginning in 1989, has done more than any other scientist to educate politicians about the causes of global warming and to prod them into action to avoid its most catastrophic consequences. But he is vehemently opposed to the carbon market schemes in which permits to pollute are bought and sold which are seen by the EU and other governments as the most efficient way to cut emissions and move to a new clean energy economy.
Hansen is also fiercely critical of Barack Obama and even Al Gore, who won a Nobel peace prize for his efforts to get the world to act on climate change saying politicians have failed to meet what he regards as the moral challenge of our age.
In Hansen's view, dealing with climate change allows no room for the compromises that rule the world of elected politics. "This is analogous to the issue of slavery faced by Abraham Lincoln or the issue of Nazism faced by Winston Churchill," he said. "On those kind of issues you cannot compromise. You can't say let's reduce slavery, let's find a compromise and reduce it 50% or reduce it 40%."
He added: "We don't have a leader who is able to grasp it and say what is really needed. Instead we are trying to continue business as usual."
The understated Iowan's journey from climate scientist to activist accelerated in the last years of the Bush administration. Hansen, a reluctant public speaker, says he was forced into the public realm by the increasingly clear looming spectre of droughts, floods, famines and drowned cities indicated by the science.
That enormous body of scientific evidence has been put under a microscope by climate sceptics after last month's release online of hacked emails sent by respected researchers at the climate research unit of the University of East Anglia. Hansen admitted the controversy could shake public's trust, and called for an investigation. "All that stuff they are arguing about the data doesn't really change the analysis at all, but it does leave a very bad impression," he said.
The row reached Congress today, with Republicans accusing the researchers of engaging in "scientific fascism" and pressing the Obama administration's top science adviser, John Holdren, to condemn the email. Holdren, a climate scientist who wrote one of the emails in the UEA trove, said he was prepared to denounce any misuse of data by the scientists if one is proved.
Hansen has emerged as a leading campaigner against the coal industry, which produces more greenhouse gas emissions than any other fuel source.
He has become a fixture at campus demonstrations and last summer was arrested at a protest against mountaintop mining in West Virginia, where he called the Obama government's policies "half-assed".
He has irked some environmentalists by espousing a direct carbon tax on fuel use. Some see that as a distraction from rallying support in Congress for cap-and-trade legislation that is on the table.
He is scathing of that approach. "This is analogous to the indulgences that the Catholic church sold in the middle ages. The bishops collected lots of money and the sinners got redemption. Both parties liked that arrangement despite its absurdity. That is exactly what's happening," he said. "We've got the developed countries who want to continue more or less business as usual and then these developing countries who want money and that is what they can get through offsets [sold through the carbon markets]."
For all Hansen's pessimism, he insists there is still hope. "It may be that we have already committed to a future sea level rise of a metre or even more but that doesn't mean that you give up.
"Because if you give up you could be talking about tens of metres. So I find it screwy that people say you passed a tipping point so it's too late. In that case what are you thinking: that we are going to abandon the planet? You want to minimise the damage."
Forwarded by loni (email@example.com)
NOTE from Jean: the following article was first published in the Guardian under the following title:
The harm this country could do in the next two weeks will outweigh all the good it has done in a century.
By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 20th November 2009
When you think of Canada, which qualities come to mind? The worlds peace-keeper, the friendly nation, a liberal counterweight to the harsher pieties of its southern neighbour, decent, civilised, fair, well-governed? Think again. This countrys government is now behaving with all the sophistication of a chimpanzees tea party. So amazingly destructive has Canada become, and so insistent have my Canadian friends been that I weigh into this fight, that Ive broken my self-imposed ban on flying and come to Toronto.
So here I am, watching the astonishing spectacle of a beautiful, cultured nation turning itself into a corrupt petrostate. Canada is slipping down the development ladder, retreating from a complex, diverse economy towards dependence on a single primary resource, which happens to be the dirtiest commodity known to man. The price of this transition is the brutalisation of the country, and a government campaign against multilateralism as savage as any waged by George Bush.
Until now I believed that the nation which has done most to sabotage a new climate change agreement was the United States. I was wrong. The real villain is Canada. Unless we can stop it, the harm done by Canada in December 2009 will outweigh a century of good works.
In 2006 the new Canadian government announced that it was abandoning its targets to cut greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol. No other country that had ratified the treaty has done this. Canada was meant to have cut emissions by 6% between 1990 and 2012. Instead they have already risen by 26%(1).
Its now clear that Canada will refuse to be sanctioned for abandoning its legal obligations. The Kyoto Protocol can be enforced only through goodwill: countries must agree to accept punitive future obligations if they miss their current targets. But the future cut Canada has volunteered is smaller than that of any other rich nation(2). Never mind special measures; it wont accept even an equal share. The Canadian government is testing the international process to destruction and finding that it breaks all too easily. By demonstrating that climate sanctions arent worth the paper theyre written on, it threatens to render any treaty struck at Copenhagen void.
After giving the finger to Kyoto, Canada then set out to prevent the other nations from striking a successor agreement. At the end of 2007 it single-handedly blocked a Commonwealth resolution to support binding targets for industrialised nations(3). After the climate talks in Poland in December 2008, it won the Fossil of the Year award, presented by environmental groups to the country which had done most to disrupt the talks(4). The climate change performance index, which assesses the efforts of the worlds 60 richest nations, was published in the same month. Saudi Arabia came 60th. Canada came 59th(5).
In June this year the media obtained Canadian briefing documents which showed that the government was scheming to divide the Europeans(6). During the meeting in Bangkok in October, almost the entire developing world bloc walked out when the Canadian delegate was speaking, as they were so revolted by his bullying(7). Last week the Commonwealth heads of government battled for hours (and eventually won) against Canadas obstructions. A concerted campaign has now begun to expel Canada from the Commonwealth(8).
In Copenhagen next week, this country will do everything in its power to wreck the talks. The rest of the world must do everything in its power to stop it. But such is the fragile nature of climate agreements that one rich nation especially a member of the G8, the Commonwealth and the Kyoto group of industrialised countries could scupper the treaty. Canada now threatens the well-being of the world.
Why? Theres a simple answer. Canada is developing the worlds second largest reserve of oil. Did I say oil? Its actually a filthy mixture of bitumen, sand, heavy metals and toxic organic chemicals. The tar sands, most of which occur in Alberta, are being extracted by the biggest opencast mining operation on earth. An area the size of England, of pristine forests and marshes, will be dug up, unless the Canadians can stop this madness. Already it looks like a scene from the end of the world: the strip-miners are creating a churned black hell on an unimaginable scale.
To extract oil from this mess, it needs to be heated and washed. Three barrels of water are used to process one barrel of oil(9). The contaminated water is held in vast tailing ponds, some of which are so toxic that the tar companies employ people to scoop dead birds off the surface(10). Most are unlined. They leak organic poisons, arsenic and mercury into the rivers. The First Nations people living downstream have developed a range of exotic cancers and auto-immune diseases(11).
Refining tar sands requires two to three times as much energy as refining crude oil. The companies exploiting them burn enough natural gas to heat six million homes(12). Albertas tar sands operation is the worlds biggest single industrial source of carbon emissions(13). By 2020, if the current growth continues, it will produce more greenhouse gases than Ireland or Denmark(14). Already, thanks in part to the tar mining, Canadians have almost the highest per capita emissions on earth, and the stripping of Alberta has scarcely begun.
Canada hasnt acted alone. The biggest leaseholder in the tar sands is Shell(15), a company that has spent millions persuading the public that it respects the environment. The other great greenwasher, BP, initially decided to stay out of tar. Now it has invested in plants built to process it(16). The British bank RBS, 70% of which belongs to you and me (the governments share will soon rise to 84%), has lent or underwritten £8bn for exploiting the tar sands(17).
The purpose of Canadas assault on the international talks is to protect this industry. This is not a poor nation. It does not depend for its economic survival on exploiting this resource. But the tar barons of Alberta have been able to hold the whole country to ransom. They have captured Canadas politics and are turning this lovely country into a cruel and thuggish place.
Canada is a cultured, peaceful nation, which every so often allows a band of rampaging Neanderthals to trample all over it. Timber companies were licensed to log the old-growth forest in Clayaquot Sound; fishing companies were permitted to destroy the Grand Banks: in both cases these get-rich-quick schemes impoverished Canada and its reputation. But this is much worse, as it affects the whole world. The governments scheming at the climate talks is doing for its national image what whaling has done for Japan.
I will not pretend that this country is the only obstacle to an agreement at Copenhagen. But it is the major one. It feels odd to be writing this. The immediate threat to the global effort to sustain a peaceful and stable world comes not from Saudi Arabia or Iran or China. It comes from Canada. How could that be true?
2. The government has pledged to match the (feeble) US 2020 target (which in Canadas case means just 3% against 1990 levels) , but unlike the United States, Canada has proposed no cuts beyond that date.
17. Ed Crooks, 16th November 2009. Canadian Protest Over RBS Oil Sands Role. The Financial Times.
Related rebuttal, petition and information:
Canada doesn't deserve this criticism of its green record (4 December 2009) MORE GREENWASHING HOGWASH FROM THE TORIES !! BUT NOT ALL CANADIANS ARE AS BAD. The provinces of Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia - amongst others - have already taken excellent steps in the right direction. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2009/dec/04/canada-commitment-fight-climate-change
We're committed to fighting climate change, and are responsibly managing our oil sands In response to George Monbiot's commentary, I would like to assure your readers that Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to fight climate change (Canada's image lies in tatters. It is now to climate what Japan is to whaling, 30 November). The government of Canada remains committed to achieving deep, economy-wide reductions in Canada's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. All sectors will contribute to emission reductions, including the oil sands, which today account for approximately 5% of Canada's GHG emissions. The Canadian government, along with provincial governments, and industry, is committed to managing this key strategic resource in an environmentally responsible way. This includes developing a progressive regulatory regime, investing in new environmental technologies (including $3.5bn for carbon capture and storage) and engaging our partners in the international community. Canada's emission reduction targets are in line, and will remain aligned, with those recently proposed by the Obama administration. Canada is committed to a harmonised North American approach. This approach is being advanced in several areas, including: the Canada-US Clean Energy Dialogue; collaboration with the provinces and territories to develop a continental cap-and-trade system; and implementing a North American standard for GHG emissions and fuel economy from passenger vehicles. CLIP
The Tar Sands - WITH NEW VIDEO "Tar Sands Blow" http://agit-pop.thetarsandsblow.org/
GO SIGN THIS PETITION: Dear Canadian Leaders: I will not allow Canada to exploit the world's dirtiest oil while the rest of the world fights to prevent catastrophic climate change. P.S. If you think the tar sands are the answer, then you're asking the wrong question.
The Tar Sands Blow http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/index.php?id=councilloractivities10_090
WFC (SEE World Future Council Newsletter BELOW) Councillor Maude Barlow, in her role as national Chairperson to the Council of Canadians, is supporting the demand for no new approvals of tar sand developments and expansions. There are serious social, environmental and economic consequences of tar sands development, such as water waste and contamination. Faced with a standstill in the market caused by dropping oil prices, the opportunity exists to address the market-oriented energy gold rush in tar sands and plan for more sustainable energy production and consumption. The Council of Canadians are proposing a Canadian Energy Strategy that puts the interests of people and the environment first. Watch the video The Tar Sands That Blow. CHECK also the other WFC Councillor Activities
CANADA BLOCKING GLOBAL CLIMATE PROGRESS TO PROTECT DIRTY OIL SANDS ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS LAUNCH VIDEO http://dirtyoilsands.org/news/article/canada_blocking_global_climate_progress_to_protect_dirty_oil_sands_environm/
(Edmonton, Alberta) Today, Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace Canada and an international network of environmental groups launched a provocative and powerful new music video mashup, called Tar Sands Blow targeting Canadas dirty oil sands and focusing on Canadas role in blocking an international climate treaty. The video which contains graphic images of the tar sands, urges young people to immediately act to make their voices heard before the international climate meeting in Copenhagen, Dec 7-18. The video is being distributed over the internet by groups and individuals all over the world. Groups around Canada have called for climate justice actions in a least nine cities during the period Nov 30- Dec 12. Already, a series of peaceful sit-in at MPs offices have been staged by groups of people in three Canadian cities (Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto) with the promises of more to follow. Eriel-Tchekwie Deranger, an indigenous youth climate activist hopes that this video will help connect the youth voice with politicians, I just returned from a UK speaking tour about the dirty, dangerous environmental, climate and Indigenous and human rights impacts of the Tar Sands. Its clear that people across the world and leaders in the International community are beginning to understand that Canada has actively been blocking international progress to develop collective emission target agreements. Deranger points out: Theres one main reason they are unwilling to join the rest of the world to meet these targets: the Tar Sands. Despite the growing climate crisis, the Harper Government is doing everything in its power to sabotage global problem-solving efforts, said Mike Hudema Climate and Energy campaigner with Greenpeace, Canada. By endangering and blocking progress on an international climate agreement and prioritizing the tar sands over the health of people on this planet Harper is further jeopardizing the lives of millions that will die or become displaced due to the climate crisis. This governments behaviour is unacceptable, we need governmental leadership for climate justice now.The Canadian government announced recently it was leading its biggest campaign to expand the Tar Sands, Canadas fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions and responsible for making it one of the worlds top 10 polluters. Canada has refused to take any international climate action in climate negotiations and has been repeatedly accused of bullying others.The latest International Energy Agency report showed that by the end of the century the planet is on target to be 6 degrees hotter. The result would be a disaster.
NO MORE STALLING WHILE PEOPLE DIE http://canadaclimatejustice.wordpress.com/
Actions pushing for climate justice are being organized across the country (Canada) right now! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to see if one is being organized in your region or just start organizing your own today!
Canada and Copenhagen http://dirtyoilsands.org/canada_and_copenhagen
Canada is trying to kill any potential agreement at the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen this December while blaming developing countries, which stand to lose most if we fail to successfully fight global warming. And dirty oil sands are the reason. The oil sands (also known as tar sands) areCanadas fastest growing source of greenhouse gas pollution,the second largest hydrocarbon deposit in the world,and the most carbon polluting. And theyre dictating Canadas negotiating position as Copenhagen approaches. With Canada behaving like a climate bully, its little wonder developing countries feel like walking out on negotiations because of Canadas tactics. While pointing its finger at developing countries, Canada has the highest per person carbon pollution on the planet and was ranked last amongst G8 countries efforts to tackle global warming pollution. Canada wants to keep getting richer by expanding dirty oil sands and its carbon pollution. Thats why Canada doesnt want a strong climate treaty, and why Canada still doesnt have any regulations to reduce carbon pollution. Canadas environment minister has said that it would be irresponsible for Canada to do its fair share to reduce carbon pollution. Canada wants to make the developing world pay the costs of its inaction.With the U.S. now showing that its taking global warming seriously, the worlds worst climate culprit is Canada and its desire to push dirty oil sands to the world.
Thirst for oil poses threat to US national security, says military adviser (28 October 2009) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/oct/28/climate-change-senate-national-security
America's thirst for oil is a gathering threat to its national security and the risk will grow further as the world's population touches 7 billion, a military adviser to the Pentagon told the Senate today.In a second day of debate on energy, Democratic senators today pivoted from the economy to national security to try to make the case for a climate change bill.The threat to Americans' security ranged from the here and now with troops in Afghanistan and Iraq tied down by their reliance on gas-guzzling equipment to years into the future when extreme temperatures and rising sea levels could lead to a widespread social breakdown."We have never before on this planet had close to 7 billion people which we will have in 2011. We have never had the unprecedented level of per capita energy use multiplied by that 7 billion people," Dennis McGinn, a member of the Military Advisory Board, composed of senior retired admirals and generals, told the Senate. "We have a whole host of indicators, warnings and trends that tells us climate change is bad for national security."He said the country would face risks on multiple fronts. "America's current energy posture constitutes a serious and urgent threat to national security militarily, diplomatically and economically." CLIP
Alberta-Superior pipeline takes center stage in world climate debate (10/27/2009) http://www.businessnorth.com/viewarticle.asp?articleid=3219
On Aug. 20, the U.S. State Department granted a Presidential permit for the 1,000-mile Alberta Clipper pipeline from Canadas Alberta oil sands to Superior, due for completion in mid-2010.On Sept. 2 Enbridge (U.S.) Inc., the partner of Canada-based Enbridge, celebrated in Carlton County, where the company had stacks of pipes ready for construction. The project will result in 3,000 construction jobs. The influx of workers already has created a shortage of rental housing in Bemidji. On Sept. 3 a coalition including the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and Bemidji-based Indigenous Environmental Network filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco to stop the pipeline. The projects would spur refinery expansions and modifications in the United States, leading to increased air and water pollution for residents of the Midwest and other states, the complaint stated. (...) The tapping of Canadas oil sands, also known as tar sands, is often cited as the worlds largest industrial project. Its been an economic boon but arguably an environmental disaster and unquestionably a public relations fiasco.The extraction process creates more carbon dioxide than regular oil production. (Estimates as to how much more vary, ranging from 15 percent to triple the amount.) Huge swathes of remote forested land must be strip-mined to extract a tar-like substance called bitumen. Steam plants literally melt oil out the ground. The water used in the process ultimately flows into toxic tailings ponds miles long. In a much-publicized April 2008 event, 500 ducks died after landing on such a lake. The extraction process also uses four times more natural gas than mining operations and already accounts for 20 percent of Canadas natural gas usage. As an alternative, some groups are proposing to build as many as 25 nuclear reactors.In September the environmental group Greenpeace, which has been staging protest actions at oil sands operations, released Dirty Oil, a report carrying apocalyptic predictions for the oil sands: The rapid development of unconventional hydrocarbons such as Canadas tar sands could tip the scales toward dangerous and uncontrollable climate change. CLIP
WHO IS HARPER? http://dirtyoilsands.org/whoisharper
A salesman for Big Oil who never met a dirty oil project he didnt like.
A denier of climate change.
A Conservative Canadian Prime Minister near election time looking for a boost from being photographed with President Obama.
Someone who George Bush thinks understands the stakes of the 21st century.
All of the Above
CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in his own words
Address at the Ottawa Leaders Dinner, November 20, 2002
[Kyoto] is designed to address the so-called greenhouse gas phenomenon, the hypothesis that the increase of certain gases - not necessarily pollutants - contribute to a long-term global warming trend.
2002 Canadian Alliance Fundraising letter
Kyoto is essentially a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations Its based on tentative and contradictory scientific evidence about climate trends.
Transcript of Stephen Harper Interview on the Rafe Mair Show, CKNW Radio Vancouver, November 29, 2002
We think the deal itself [Kyoto] is simply bogus Carbon dioxide which is a naturally occurring gas vital to the life cycles of this planet. Smog is an entirely different issue is not covered by this treaty.
Conservative leader Stephen Harper, then vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, in a June 1997 Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing American think tank.
[Y]our country [the USA], and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world.
Climate to set stage on Obamas trip north. No seat for Stelmach at talks: PM, Calgary Herald, Wednesday January 14 2009.
The oilsands, notwithstanding the environmental challenges they do have, are going to remain an important part of the U.S. energy supply for a long time to come. And Im sure the president-elect will come to realize that in short order.
When you survey the trail of wreckage left by the climate emails crisis, three things become clear. The first is the tendency of those who claim to be the champions of climate science to minimise their importance. Those who have most to lose if the science is wrong have perversely sought to justify the secretive and chummy ethos that some of the emails reveal. If science is not transparent and accountable, it's not science.
The second observation is the tendency of those who don't give a fig about science to maximise their importance. The denial industry, which has no interest in establishing the truth about global warming, insists that these emails, which concern three or four scientists and just one or two lines of evidence, destroy the entire canon of climate science.
Even if you were to exclude every line of evidence that could possibly be disputed the proxy records, the computer models, the complex science of clouds and ocean currents the evidence for man-made global warming would still be unequivocal. You can see it in the measured temperature record, which goes back to 1850; in the shrinkage of glaciers and the thinning of sea ice; in the responses of wild animals and plants and the rapidly changing crop zones.
No other explanation for these shifts makes sense. Solar cycles have been out of synch with the temperature record for 40 years. The Milankovic cycle, which describes variations in the Earth's orbit, doesn't explain it either. But the warming trend is closely correlated with the accumulation of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. The impact of these gases can be demonstrated in the laboratory. To assert that they do not have the same effect in the atmosphere, a novel and radical theory would be required. No such theory exists. The science is not fixed no science ever is but it is as firm as science can be. The evidence for man-made global warming remains as strong as the evidence linking smoking to lung cancer or HIV to Aids.
The third observation is the contrast between the global scandal these emails have provoked and the muted response to 20 years of revelations about the propaganda planted by fossil fuel companies. I have placed on the Guardian's website four case studies; each of which provides a shocking example of how the denial industry works.
Two of them are drawn from Climate Cover-Up, the fascinating, funny and beautifully written new book by James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore. If every allegation it contained could not be traced back to leaked documents (I have checked all the sources), their findings would be unbelievable. Nothing exposed by the hacking of the Climatic Research Unit's server is one tenth as bad as the least of these revelations.
When I use the term denial industry, I'm referring to those who are paid to say that man-made global warming isn't happening. The great majority of people who believe this have not been paid: they have been duped. Reading Climate Cover-Up, you keep stumbling across familiar phrases and concepts which you can see every day on the comment threads. The book shows that these memes were planted by PR companies and hired experts.
The first case study I've posted reveals how a coalition of US coal companies sought to persuade people that the science is uncertain. It listed the two social groups it was trying to reach "Target 1: Older, less educated males"; "Target 2: Younger, lower income women" and the methods by which it would reach them. One of its findings was that "members of the public feel more confident expressing opinions on others' motivations and tactics than they do expressing opinions on scientific issues".
Remember this the next time you hear people claiming that climate scientists are only in it for the money, or that environmentalists are trying to create a communist world government: these ideas were devised and broadcast by energy companies. The people who inform me, apparently without irony, that "your article is an ad hominem attack, you four-eyed, big-nosed, commie sack of shit", or "you scaremongers will destroy the entire world economy and take us back to the Stone Age", are the unwitting recruits of campaigns they have never heard of.
The second case study reveals how Dr Patrick Michaels, one of a handful of climate change deniers with a qualification in climate science, has been lavishly paid by companies seeking to protect their profits from burning coal. As far as I can discover, none of the media outlets who use him as a commentator including the Guardian has disclosed this interest at the time of his appearance. Michaels is one of many people commenting on climate change who presents himself as an independent expert while being secretly paid for his services by fossil fuel companies.
The third example shows how a list published by the Heartland Institute (which has been sponsored by oil company Exxon) of 500 scientists "whose research contradicts man-made global warming scares" turns out to be nothing of the kind: as soon as these scientists found out what the institute was saying about them, many angrily demanded that their names be removed. Twenty months later, they are still on the list. The fourth example shows how, during the Bush presidency, White House officials worked with oil companies to remove regulators they didn't like and to doctor official documents about climate change.
In Climate Cover-Up, in Ross Gelbspan's books The Heat is On and Boiling Point, in my book Heat, and on the websites DeSmogBlog.com and exxonsecrets.org, you can find dozens of such examples. Together they expose a systematic, well-funded campaign to con the public. To judge by the comments you can read on this paper's website, it has worked.
But people behind these campaigns know that their claims are untrue. One of the biggest was run by the Global Climate Coalition, which represented ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, the American Petroleum Institute and several big motor manufacturers. In 1995 the coalition's own scientists reported that "the scientific basis for the greenhouse effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well-established and cannot be denied". The coalition hid this finding from the public, and spent millions of dollars seeking to persuade people that the opposite was true.
These people haven't fooled themselves, but they might have fooled you. Who, among those of you who claim that climate scientists are liars and environmentalists are stooges, has thought it through for yourself?
Exposing the true Global Warming Hoaxers
NOTE from Jean : Before going into the following critical examination of part of a webpage from a website that purportedly presents viewpoints opposed to the global warming thesis, I'd like to mention briefly an example of the MANY ongoing efforts by individual bloggers and groups opposing the general consensus on the reality of global climate change. Some people have been sending me LOTS of similar material lately and, as far as I can tell, they are all an expression of the same US oil/coal lobby's persistent efforts to derail the urgently needed shift away from what has made those environmentally destructive corporations filthy rich. If you dig a bit - and thank God Wikipedia exists to facilitate this digging! - you invariably discover that the corrupted scientists and obstinate bloggers who claim global warming is a hoax are all financed, directly or indirectly by this oil/coal lobby to spew a continuous flow of seemingly well constructed propaganda, false science, disinformation and skewed statistics all designed to con those among us who are often convinced that nothing good can ever come out of governmental and UN institutions - as a result of actual ongoing "wrongdoings" by those institutions over the past several years... And who can blame these people for so viscerally distrusting those organizations that are undoubtedly infiltrated and often subverted or controlled to some degree by operatives and accomplices of the elite cabal known under many names (Bilderberg group, Illuminati, etc)?
[Of course, that does not mean that EVERYTHING the UN does is bad. Hundreds of millions of hungry people survive only because of the food given to them by the World Food Program; thanks to the UN Refugee Agency, over 42 million refugees and internally displaced people have access to a shelter and some protection from persecution; and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) provides invaluable services in 6 keys areas - to name just 3 among the constellation of UN agencies that are doing their best to help the whole world. The same reasoning can be applied to all governmental agencies which provide invaluable service in most democratic countries around the world, albeit, of course, not always for the highest good of all depending on how corrupted they may be by Cabal influence]
So it is precisely this psychological loophole, this powerful instinctual recoiling from and doubting of everything proposed by anyone in an official capacity that is cunningly exploited by these professional public opinion manipulators whose skewed "evidence" are all too often taken up by other people and some alternative news networkers, thus making appear legitimate and factual what is only a web of lies and deceit. To give you a historic reference that illustrates one of the many smear techniques often used by those manipulators, you may remember the Swift boat episode, a smear job done to senator John Kerry that gave rise to the term "Swiftboating"... Here is what we find on this at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiftboating
"The term 'swift boat' itself refers to a class of US Navy vessel used during the Vietnam War. In 2004, a political organization called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (later called Swift Vets and POWs for Truth), composed of Vietnam veterans who served on swift boats, formed with the intent of opposing the presidential candidacy of John Kerry. Kerry himself had served for four months as a swift boat commander in Vietnam. The group produced a series of television ads and a bestselling book that challenged Kerry's military record and criticized his subsequent antiwar activities. Few of the charges were substantiated, giving rise to the term 'swiftboating' to describe political tactics that are essentially synonymous with a 'smear campaign'."
So it can be said that the environmental agenda, that has now finally risen near the top of the priority list of things to do of most governments, thanks in no small part to the unrelenting campaigning of countless environmental groups and individuals who have persisted in warning us. along with a growing number of concerned scientists, about the increasingly dire consequences of our environmental laissez-faire and neglect, has been swiftboated by a stealth coalition of fossil fuel interests in a desperate attempt to prevent their coming demise once serious efforts are finally made to shift our civilization away from self-destructive energy sources, over-consumption of limited resources and rampant pollution and destruction of our now critically threatened web of Life.
"Recent climate changes have led to a fairly large warming trend in the region around the Antarctic Peninsula-the spit of land the stretches from the Antarctic mainland towards the southern tip of South America. In this region, comprising about 2% of the entirety of Antarctica, significant changes associated with rising temperatures are being observed-floating ice shelves are breaking up, glaciers are shrinking, seal species are moving in, grasses, tiny shrubs and mosses are thriving, etc. By most accounts, transitioning from a relatively barren, frozen landscape to a warmer, less frozen one would seem to be a positive development, as this change presents a growing opportunity for increased species richness and diversity. But, in today's world, dominated by an eagerness to demonstrate how human activities are impacting the innocent "natural" species of the world, all change is bad.
The fact is that the vast majority of global warming stories that have come out of Antarctica are based upon observations and events on and around the Peninsula. This isn't surprising as it conforms to my theory of "Predictable Distortion" recently published in my book Meltdown. Indeed, the number of stories about Antarctic melting is roughly in inverse proportion to the percentage of the Antarctic continent that they pertain to (and thus their global significance). For instance, most of Antarctica has actually been cooling for the past couple of decades (see here for more details). And now comes word that the snow and ice cover over large portions of Antarctica has been increasing, leading to a drawdown of global sea level."
OK ... To the uncritical - and I'd dare say gullible - minds that may all sound reasonable and factual. And if you go at that webpage above, you'll find on offering books with titles like "The Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air About Global warming" and "Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming".
Now if you do as I always do when I'm faced with such material, you'll google the name of the organization under which this website is published. In this case I searched with World Climate Report in Wikipedia which led me to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Climate_Report where I found this: "World Climate Report, a newsletter edited by Patrick Michaels, was produced by the Greening Earth Society, a non-profit organization created by the Western Fuels Association."
"The Western Fuels Association is a not-for profit cooperative that supplies coal and transportation services to consumer-owned electric utility in the Great Plains, Rocky Mountain and Southwest regions. It is based in Westminster, Colorado. Controversy - The Western Fuels Association has played a controversial role in the debate over global warming. Their 2005 Annual report refers only to 'environmental and regulatory uncertainty', but they have been more outspoken in past annual reports. They have established groups such as the Greening Earth Society which promote various forms of climate change skepticism and have funded individual skeptics, such as Patrick Michaels, Craig D. Idso and Sherwood Idso. Groups established by industry bodies like the Western Fuels Association have been criticized as Astroturf organizations, since they appear superficially to be grassroots initiatives."
So now here I come at the main text I wish to examine with you - hoping you are still interested to see through the fallacies presented as truthful material on the Web - namely the Green Agenda - another seemingly innocuous greenwashing name at http://www.green-agenda.com
If you first check "About the Author" (or "About us" which I always do before wasting my time reading through anything) you will see - at http://www.green-agenda.com/author.html - that this author is UNIDENTIFIED!!
Then if you look - and I suggest you explore a bit those links for the telltale signs of fallacies and hyperbolic disinformation, just to bone up a bit on your discernment abilities - at the various topics proposed in the left-hand column, your will find...
The Turning Point
The Green Web
The Great Shift
The Earth Charter
A United World
What about Greenland?
The Carbon Currency
A New Economy
Now if you are a bit familiar with the usual distorted claims made by the professional deniers and perennial critics of everything that does not conform to their narrow world view, you will have noticed the usual culprits above - Sustainable Development, Agenda 21, The Earth Charter, A United World - that are all supposed to be evil things concocted by the Cabal to deceive us all under good-looking disguises and aims... But this Web manipulator pushes his "art" one notch above all other usual smear jobs. He deliberately attacks and tries to discredit the mainstay of today's emerging new consciousness that came to understand that all Life on Earth is somehow working in a complementary, intelligent, self-perpetuating fashion to ensure the existence of Life on Earth, that is, the famous Gaia Hypothesis suggested years ago by James Lovelock (check in Gaia's Gurus and under GREEN RELIGION where he also strives to discredit the new spirituality we are now familiar with). Now to anyone who is the least familiar with those emerging ideas that are now gradually percolating through the mainstream views of our societies, it is obvious that this man is out to discredit and smear what is part of the solution and definitely not part of the problem. But to the rest of the public still unaware of this growing awareness of our spiritual nature and deep intertwining with all that lives, this may indeed sound like a legitimate criticism and thus it may create an impediment - to those who buy into this nonsense - to further awakening and certainly to accepting the reality of global warming, which is the main goal of this website. Now as to who is actually behind this effort, your guess is as good as mine, but let,s just say it is not an enlightened being...
With this introduction in mind, I encourage you to read the following material just to see how cunningly crafted this whole charade is. Of course, as in all well crafted disinformation material, you will find that much of the content is generally corrected presented and true but you will also noticed the slanted perspective and conclusions as well as the outright negative characterizations that are interspersed through he document to gradually nudge you towards buying into their main views.
Finally, I'd like to offer the following suggestion in conclusion: We should always remind ourselves to apply this same critical discernment to everything we read and watch, whether is comes from the mainstream media delivering the official line of the day (generally conforming to the current dominant social/cultural/scientific/political paradigm), from some spiritual author or channeled source, or even from yourself so as to try to decipher what is the ultimate purpose, agenda (if any) or influence that is subtly weaved into what we are reading, watching or thinking. I'd also suggest we always keep in mind that nothing is ever all black or all white, and that the "truth" (which is always relative to our current level of awareness in the spiritual sense) is generally to be found among the infinite shades of grey in between the extremes of black and white.
PS: I've added some brief comments in [CAPS] below
The environmental movement has been described as the largest and most influential social phenomenon in modern history. From relative obscurity just a few decades ago it has spawned thousands of organisations and claims millions of committed activists. Reading the newspaper today it is hard to imagine a time when global warming, resource depletion, environmental catastrophes and 'saving the planet' were barely mentioned. They now rank among the top priorities on the social, political and economic global agenda.
Environmental awareness is considered to be the mark of any good honest decent citizen. Multi-national companies compete fiercely to promote their environmental credentials and 'out-green' each other. The threat of impending ecological disasters is uniting the world through a plethora of international treaties and conventions. But where did this phenomenon come from, how did it rise to such prominence, and more importantly, where is it going?
While researching for these articles, and during my academic studies, I have come across many references to the The Club of Rome (CoR), and reports produced by them. Initially I assumed that they were just another high-level environmental think-tank and dismissed the conspiracy theories found on many websites claiming that the CoR is a group of global elitists attempting to impose some kind of one world government.
I am not a conspiratorial person by nature and was faced with a dilemma when I first read their reports. But it's all there - in black and white. The CoR claims that "we are facing an imminent catastrophic ecological collapse" and "our only hope is to transform humanity into a global interdependent sustainable society, based on respect and reverence for the Earth." In the end I came to the conclusion that there are two possibilities either the CoR wrote all these reports and setup a vast network of supporting organisations just for fun or they actually believe what they have written and are working hard to fulfill their role as the self-appointed saviours of Gaia.
Based on my close observation of their actions, and watching the recommendations made by the CoR many years ago now being adopted as official UN and government policy well, I have become personally convinced that they are deadly serious. On this website I try to use quotes and excerpts as much as possible and let the reader reach their own conclusions.
So, what exactly is the Club of Rome and who are its members? Founded in 1968, the CoR describes itself as "a group of world citizens, sharing a common concern for the future of humanity." It consists of current and former Heads of State, UN bureaucrats, high-level politicians and government officials, diplomats, scientists, economists, and business leaders from around the globe.
The Club of Rome subsequently founded two sibling organizations, the Club of Budapest and the Club of Madrid. The former is focused on social and cultural aspects of their agenda, while the latter concentrates on the political aspects. All three of these 'Clubs' share many common members and hold joint meetings and conferences. As explained in other articles on this website it is abundantly clear that these are three heads of the same beast. The CoR has also established a network of 33 National Associations. Membership of the 'main Club' is limited to 100 individuals at any one time. Some members, like Al Gore and Maurice Strong, are affiliated through their respective National Associations (e.g. USACOR, CACOR etc).
I would like to start this analysis of the Club of Rome by listing some prominent members of the CoR and its two sub-groups, the Clubs of Budapest and Madrid. Personally it isnt what the CoR is that I find so astonishing; it is WHO the CoR is! This isnt some quirky little group of green activists or obscure politicians. They are the most senior officials in the United Nations, current and ex-world leaders, and the founders of some of the most influential environmental organisations. When you read their reports in the context of who they are its gives an entirely new, and frightening [WHY "FRIGHTENING"??], context to their extreme claims.
Some current members of the Club of Rome or its two siblings:
Al Gore former VP of the USA, leading climate change campaigner, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Academy Award winner, Emmy winner. Gore lead the US delegations to the Rio Earth Summit and Kyoto Climate Change conference. He chaired a meeting of the full Club of Rome held in Washington DC in 1997.
Javier Solana Secretary General of the Council of the European Union, High Representative for EU Foreign Policy.
Maurice Strong former Head of the UN Environment Programme, Chief Policy Advisor to Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the Rio Earth Summit, co-author [THIS IS BLATANTLY FALSE!! As it is explained HERE, Strong And Gorbachev launched this excellent initiative but the drafting of the Earth Charter was a collective effort involving countless individuals](with Gorbachev) of the Earth Charter, co-author of the Kyoto Protocol, founder of the Earth Council, devout Bahai.
Mikhail Gorbachev CoR executive member, former President of the Soviet Union, founder of Green Cross International and the Gorbachev Foundation, Nobel Peace Prize winner, co-founder (with Hidalgo) of the Club of Madrid, co-author (with Strong) of the Earth Charter.
Diego Hidalgo CoR executive member, co-founder (with Gorbachev) of the Club of Madrid, founder and President of the European Council on Foreign Relations in association with George Soros.
Ervin Laszlo founding member of the CoR, founder and President of the Club of Budapest, founder and Chairman of the World Wisdom Council.
Anne Ehrlich Population Biologist. Married to Paul Ehrlich with whom she has authored many books on human overpopulation. Also a former director of Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club, and a member of the UN's Global Roll of Honor.
Hassan bin Talal President of the CoR, President of the Arab Thought Forum, founder of the World Future Council, recently named as the United Nations 'Champion of the Earth'.
Sir Crispin Tickell former British Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Permanent Representative on the Security Council, Chairman of the Gaia Society, Chairman of the Board of the Climate Institute, leading British climate change campaigner.
Kofi Annan former Secretary General of the United Nations. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
Javier Perez de Cuellar former Secretary General of the United Nations.
Gro Harlem Bruntland United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Change, former President of Norway
Robert Muller former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, founder and Chancellor of the UN University of Peace.
The Dalai Lama The 'Spiritual Leader' of Tibet. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
Father Berry Thomas Catholic Priest who is one of the leading proponents of deep ecology, ecospirituality and global consciousness.
David Rockefeller CoR executive member, former Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank, founder of the Trilateral Commission, executive member of the World Economic Forum, donated land on which the United Nations stands.
Stephen Schneider Stanford Professor of Biology and Global Change. Professor Schneider was among the earliest and most vocal proponents of man-made global warming and a lead author of many IPCC reports.
Bill Clinton former President of the United States, founder of the Clinton Global Initiative.
Jimmy Carter former President of the United States, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
Bill Gates founder of Microsoft, philanthropist
Garret Hardin Professor of Human Ecology. Originator of the 'Global Commons' concept. Has authored many controversial papers on human overpopulation and eugenics.
Other current influential members [IN FACT THESE PEOPLE ARE ALL HONORARY MEMBERS AS INDICATED HERE]:
(these can be found on the membership lists of the COR (here, here, and here), Club of Budapest, Club of Madrid and/or CoR National Association membership pages)
Ted Turner media mogul, philanthropist, founder of CNN
George Soros multibillionare, major donor to the UN
Tony Blair former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Deepak Chopra New Age Guru
Desmond Tutu South African Bishop and activist, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Timothy Wirth President of the United Nations Foundation
Henry Kissinger former US Secretary of State
George Matthews Chairman of the Gorbachev Foundation
Harlan Cleveland former Assistant US Secretary of State and NATO Ambassador
Barbara Marx Hubbard President of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution
Betty Williams Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Marianne Williamson New Age 'Spiritual Activist'
Robert Thurman assistant to the Dalai Lama
Jane Goodall Primatologist and Evolutionary Biologist
Juan Carlos I King of Spain
Prince Philippe of Belgium
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
Dona Sophia Queen of Spain
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero current Prime Minister of Spain
Karan Singh Former Prime Minister of India, Chairman of the Temple of Understanding
Daisaku Ikeda founder of the Soka Gakkai cult
Martin Lees CoR Secretary General, Rector of the UN University of Peace
Ernesto Zedillo Director of The Yale Center for the Study of Globalization
Frithjof Finkbeiner Coordinator of the Global Marshall Plan
Franz Josef Radermacher Founder of the Global Marshall Plan
Eduard Shevardnadze former Soviet foreign minister and President of Georgia
Richard von Weizsacker former President of Germany
Carl Bildt former President of Sweden
Kim Campbell former Prime Minister of Canada and Senior Fellow of the Gorbachev Foundation
Vincente Fox former President of Mexico
Helmut Kohl former Chancellor of Germany
Romano Prodi former Prime Minister of Italy and President of the European Commission
Vaclav Havel former President of the Czech Republic
Hans Kung Founder of the Global Ethic Foundation
Ruud Lubbers United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Mary Robinson United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Jerome Binde Director of Foresight, UNESCO
Koïchiro Matsuura Current Director General of UNESCO
Federico Mayor Former Director General of UNESCO
Tapio Kanninen Director of Policy and Planning, United Nations
Konrad Osterwalder Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
Peter Johnston Director General of European Commission
Jacques Delors Former President of the European Commission
Domingo Jimenez-Beltran Executive Director of the European Environment Agency
Thomas Homer-Dixon Director of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Toronto
Hazel Henderson Futurist and 'evoluntionary economist'
Emeka Anyaoku former Commonwealth Secretary General, current President of the World Wildlife Fund
Wangari Maathai Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, founder of the Green Belt Movement
and many more .
The concept of 'environmental sustainability' was first brought to widespread public attention in 1972 by the Club of Rome in their book entitled The Limits to Growth. The official summary can be read here. The report basically concluded that the growth of the human population, and an increase in prosperity, would cause an ecological collapse within the next hundred years:
If the present growth trends in world population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reached sometime within the next one hundred years. The most probable result will be a rather sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity.
It is possible to alter these growth trends and to establish a condition of ecological and economic stability that is sustainable far into the future. The state of global equilibrium could be designed so that the basic material needs of each person on earth are satisfied and each person has an equal opportunity to realize his individual human potential.
The overwhelming growth in world population caused by the positive birth-rate loop is a recent phenomenon, a result of mankind's very successful reduction of worldwide mortality. The controlling negative feedback loop has been weakened, allowing the positive loop to operate virtually without constraint. There are only two ways to restore the resulting imbalance. Either the birth rate must be brought down to equal the new, lower death rate, or the death rate must rise again.
The result of stopping population growth in 1975 and industrial capital growth in 1985 with no other changes is that population and capital reach constant values at a relatively high level of food, industrial output and services per person. Eventually, however, resource shortages reduce industrial output and the temporarily stable state degenerates.
Man possesses, for a small moment in his history, the most powerful combination of knowledge, tools, and resources the world has ever known. He has all that is physically necessary to create a totally new form of human society - one that would be built to last for generations. The two missing ingredients are a realistic, long-term goal that can guide mankind to the equilibrium society and the Human Will to achieve that goal.
Without such a goal and a commitment to it, short-term concerns will generate the exponential growth that drives the world system toward the limits of the earth and ultimate collapse. With that goal and that commitment, mankind would be ready now to begin a controlled, orderly transition from growth to global equilibrium.
So as you can see the even back in 1972 the Club considered modern industrial society to be completely unsustainable. They state that even if population was frozen at 1975 levels, and industrial activity at 1985 levels, then the earths ecosystems would still ultimately collapse. The CoR has not changed these views in the slightest, in fact, in the last three decades their warnings have become increasingly more urgent and alarmist. They call this imminent collapse the World Problematique and their proposed solution the World Resolutique.
The Limits to Growth is considered to be the most successful environmental publication ever produced and propelled the Club of Rome to its current position of an environmental thought-leader and a major consultant to the United Nations. It has been translated into more than forty languages and sold more than 30 million copies. Throughout the 1970s and 80s the concept that humanity was irreparably damaging the earth gained popularity and facilitated the formation of mainstream and activist environmental groups.
The Denial Machine ORIGINALLY AIRED: November 15, 2006 on CBC-TV UPDATED: October 24, 2007 http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/denialmachine/video.html
In the past few years, a rhetorical firestorm has engulfed the debate about global warming, pitting science against spin, with inflammatory words on both sides. That debate only intensified recently when former Vice-President Al Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize for his populist environmental campaign.Last season, the fifth estate's Bob McKeown investigated the roots of another kind of campaign--one to negate the science and the threat of global warming. You can watch The Denial Machine again, more timely than ever, with new, updated information.
Coalition of denial: The sceptics who are trying to reshape the climate debate
The prominent climate change sceptics do not speak with one voice
James Randerson - 4 December 2009 22.49 GMT
Danish academic and author, director of the Copenhagen consensus centre
Accepts that climate change is happening and is man-made but argues that the proposed solutions are expensive and would not address the problem.
Could it be true?
The Stern Report says that reduction carbon emissions will cost 1%-2% of global GDP, far less than adapting to it in the long run.
Hereditary peer and former adviser to Margaret Thatcher
Has denounced the Copenhagen negotiations as an attempt by crypto-communists to impose a world government bent on curbing individual freedoms.
Could it be true?
The negotiators in Copenhagen are having trouble creating a weak "political argument" let alone a world government.
Has denounced global warming as "popycock" and "lies" and said he was stopped from making TV programmes because of his views on climate change.
Could it be true?
Bellamy stopped making programmes in 1994 but his first sceptical public statement about climate change was in 2004.
Leader of the British National Party
Believes the climate change is a conspiracy by environmentalists and politicians to impose an "anti-human utopia as deadly as anything conceived by Stalin or Mao".
Could it be true?
Development groups such as Oxfam say that climate change is a much bigger problem for humanity (in terms of poverty, civil unrest, food security, natural disasters) than for the Earth itself.
Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
Authors of Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics
They argue that reducing carbon emissions in prohibitively expensive and hugely disruptive to the world economy. They favour "geo-engineering" the planet by injecting sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere in order to bounce back the sun's rays.
Could it be true?
Scientists say it is a risky option with other potentially profound side-effects.
Former chancellor of the Exchequer
The science of global warming is not settled and the world should not jeopardise economic growth in order to tackle climate change.
Could it be true?
The government's Stern Report argues that the costs of not acting to curb global warming will prove to be far more costly in the long run.
Dr Benny Peiser
Social anthropologist and director of Global Warming Policy Foundation
The GWPF does not exist to challenge the scientific view that humans are largely responsible for climate change but advocates a "more flexible and long term" approach to the problem.
Could it be true?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we do not have the luxury of time. It says that annual CO2 emissions must begin falling by 2020 if we are to avoid dangerous climate change.
Prof Ian Pilmer
Academic at the School of Civil Environmental and Mining Engineering, University of Adelaide
His book Heaven and Earth attacks the scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activity. He has called the scientific consensus a "fundamentalist religion".
Could it be true?
The IPCC, which reviews all the evidence on climate change for governments, say that climate change is "very likely" (meaning a greater than 90% chance) to be caused by human activity.
The senior Republican senator for Oklahoma, who is the most prominent global warming sceptic in Congress
Has called global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people".
Could it be true?
Opponents point out that he receives more money from fossil fuel companies than any other sector.
President of the Czech Republic
Told US Congress that "manmade climate change has become one of the most dangerous arguments aimed at distorting human efforts and public policies in the whole world".
Could it be true?
His view that climate change is caused by natural processes such as solar activity has been disproved by scientists.
Subject: World Future Council Newsletter
From: World Future Council (email@example.com)
Date: 1 Dec 2009
As we are approaching the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen, leading politicians seem to have already lost confidence in their ability to pass an urgently required legally binding agreement. In the meantime, even the International Energy Agency (IEA), widely seen as biased in favour of fossil fuels, warns that a failure in Copenhagen will cause huge costs. While the IEA focuses on the consequences of climate change for industrialised countries, action is even more urgent for the countries of the global South already suffering from droughts, floods, and rising sea levels.
The biggest obstacle to an agreement is the conflict between rich and poor countries about financing emission curbs and adaptation measures. Development in Southern countries can no longer be built on fossil fuels but this demands compensation by the countries that have so far contributed most to climate change. We need a holistic approach, for issues like poverty alleviation, education and the right to food and water are closely linked to the growing climate chaos. This is why at Copenhagen the World Future Council will propose a new way of financing a renewable energy transition to a world of climate justice and climate security. This newsletter tells you more about the World Future Councils solutions for Copenhagen and about our project PowerKick for Africa, for which we need your support.
With best regards,
Jakob von Uexküll
WFC launches solutions for Copenhagen
From December 7th to 18th, negotiators, ministers and world leaders will assemble in Copenhagen for the United Nations climate change conference (COP 15). One critical aspect of the negotiations is the funding dilemma: How can measures to counter climate change be financed in an equitable way? And how can funds be allocated effectively on a global scale?
The WFC is calling for the establishment of a dedicated Renewable Energy Policy Fund (REP) to facilitate significant financial flows to the South, to foster technology and knowledge transfer for renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions. An innovative possibility of financing the REP is to create the necessary liquidity from Special Drawing Rights issued by the International Monetary Fund. These funding proposals will be discussed at an evening reception on December 13th. The event is organised by the World Future Council in cooperation with Triodos Bank, Merkur Bank, and the green think tank CONCITO.
More about the event
Cities consume up to 80% of global energy resources and emit the largest share of greenhouse gases. To research and advocate sustainable urban development, the World Future Council and Hamburgs HafenCity University have established a commission on Cities and Climate change. In Copenhagen, ways of powering cities using 100% renewable energies will be presented by commission members and experts from partner institutions Arup, UN HABITAT, ETH Zurich, and Fraunhofer Institute.
When it comes to reducing emissions and storing carbon, agriculture is another major issue. Under the new agreement negotiated in Copenhagen, organic farming should be actively supported to extend its huge potential to absorb carbon emissions. The World Future Council and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) will present organic solutions for climate change and food security in Copenhagen measures like bio-sequestration are contrasted with high tech, untested geo-sequestration (CCS). Read more about the World Future Councils activities in Copenhagen.
Support PowerKick for Africa: Education powered by renewable energy
In 2010, the WFC aims to assist the provision of modern solar electricity for various off-grid communities in Africa. This will enable football enthusiasts to watch the FIFA World Cup 2010 and will be used as an emotional entry point for further deployment of renewable energy technologies in rural villages, primarily to power education.
Solar panels donated by partner companies will be installed in village schools, where they will provide energy for lights, projectors and satellite receivers. Village inhabitants will be trained in the maintenance of the renewable energy equipment and educated on issues of environment protection, energy and climate change. Information on these topics as well as alphabetization courses for adults can be supported by computer and internet use powered by the sun.
Football is a unifying sport in many countries and will be for the whole world during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. As Ghanas first independent President, Kwame Nkrumah, said, Sport can contribute to the development of nations and the achievement of an African unity as sport doesnt know borders.
To encourage the deployment of renewable energy for educational purposes in Africa, the WFC aims to use this sporting event to counter prejudices against renewable energy and to increase local knowledge about the technologies.
PowerKick for Africa involves pre-event planning, organisation and coordination with politicians and journalists during the event, and ongoing support after the World Cup when the technology will be used for demonstration and educational purposes. To make this project possible, which will take approximately 85,000 Euro, we need your help:
Donate online here for PowerKick for Africa! See the WFC website for further details.)
International Group Hopes to Put an End to 'Inhumane' Hunts
By NICOLE CHISMAR - July 28, 2006
The popular 1960's television series "Flipper" may hold your image of the largely beloved dolphin. But in some parts of the world, dolphins are increasingly hunted for food and sport.
According to recent statistics from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, more than 20,000 small whales and dolphins are killed each year in Japan alone.
The Earthtrust Organization said that other areas of the world, including Chile, Turkey and the Faroe Islands, are also involved in dolphin hunting. However, the Japanese method of hunting, commonly known as drive hunting, is the most inhumane, the group said.
This method, in which dolphins are forced into shallow areas where they are often brutally killed with knives and spears, is most predominantly used by fisherman in the Japanese villages of Taji and Futo. Uncontrolled catch quotas in these villages reach nearly 3,000 in Taji and 2,380 in Futo each season.
Although traditionally hunted for their meat, the Conservation Society said that dolphins in Japan are used for fertilizer and pet food. The drives, the Whale Dolphin Conservation Society argues, "are conducted as a form of pest control."
An international consortium of scientists and zoo aquarium officials released a report this week condemning the hunts.
Citing various studies about the mental, emotional and social characteristics of dolphins, the group, which includes scientists from the New York Aquarium and Emory University, among other organizations, argued that dolphins are "on par with great apes and humans as far as their mental and emotional capacities for pain and suffering."
Dolphins have the largest brains relative to body size of any living species of animal, a fact that many scientists believe relates to the strength of their cognitive abilities.
The consortium, which is headed by Diana Reiss, senior research scientist and director of the New York Aquarium's Marine Mammal Research program, issued a joint statement that said: "The methods of slaughter employed on these highly intelligent and sentient beings constitute a level of cruelty that any nation should find intolerable."
The dolphin hunts have been condemned by the International Whaling Commission, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the U.S. Association of Zoos and Aquariums. However, all these requests, the consortium noted, have been ignored by authorities who supervise the dolphin hunts.
Hoping to draw the attention of the Japanese government and the rest of the world, the group said it would send a statement to the prime minister of Japan citing statistics and scientific findings regarding dolphins and the hunts. A Web page displaying this information (http://www.actfordolphins.org) also includes a public petition bearing 250 signatures from scientists across the world.
The Japanese Embassy said it was not prepared to comment on the issue.
Related articles and petition:
U.S. film puts spotlight on dolphin hunt in Japan (2009/11/5) http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200911050130.html
It has caused a stir overseas with its graphic coverage of dolphins being butchered in waters off a small town in western Japan, but the U.S. documentary "The Cove" has yet to gain a commercial release in Japan.The documentary made it into the Tokyo International Film Festival at the last minute, despite protests from a fishermen's cooperative in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, the setting for the movie. When a preview screening for the press concluded at the festival, some members of the foreign media applauded boisterously. A commercial distributor for the controversial film, directed by Louie Psihoyos, a National Geographic photographer, has yet to be found in Japan. But the film has the potential to astonish Japanese viewers for the simple reason that many people are unaware of the long-established fishing practice. Taiji, with a population of 3,800, was renowned as a center of whaling for more than four centuries. It has also been the location of an annual commercial dolphin hunt for the last few decades. While local newspapers used to cover the dolphin hunt as a seasonal event, fishermen in recent years have made an effort to keep it out of sight from the general public."(Opponents of the fishing of dolphins) will shoot our hunt and their footage will be on the Internet in a second," one fisherman lamented. They said their fishing nets had in the past been cut by foreign environmental activists opposing the hunt.Several years ago, the fishermen's cooperative began using guards to ensure that dolphins could be caught and slaughtered away from prying eyes. "We, too, find it painful to slaughter dolphins," one fisherman said. "But we have been doing this since olden times, when little food was available. (We cannot help it) even if some people tell us, all of a sudden, not to kill dolphins because they are adorable." According to the Taiji fishermen's cooperative, most of its 200 official members are engaged in dolphin fishing.They catch between 1,000 and 2,000 dolphins a year. Fetching between 30,000 yen and 40,000 yen each, the mammals provide a precious source of income for locals. While little has been established about the origins of dolphin hunting in Japan, archaeologists say the practice appears to date back thousands of years.Pieces of dolphin bones have been excavated at the Mawaki ruins in Noto, Ishikawa Prefecture, which date back to the Jomon Pottery Culture (8000 B.C.-300 B.C.), along with artifacts that archaeologists believe were used during a ceremony associated with dolphin fishing. Even though hunting for dolphins is legal in Japan, fishermen catch them based on permits under a catch quota set by the Fisheries Agency. In 2007, the most recent year for which data was available, about 13,000 were caught. (...) Public disapproval of dolphin hunting increased after it was highlighted by foreign media, while conservation groups have become more assertive in combating it. "You don't want to do something others will point a finger at," Ishii said.Business is starting to pick up for his new dolphin-watching venture. The tour costs 4,200 yen per person. About 2,000 people sign up annually. It brings economic benefits to the local area by creating demand for lodgings.Former fishing colleagues occasionally help Ishii run the tours."Here in Futo, dolphin hunting is no longer a matter of life and death," Ishii said. "It is now more beneficial not to catch dolphins than to catch them."
Open Season On Whales http://www.westender.com.au/news/723/15/Open-season-on-whales
The Japanese whaling fleet has left port in Innoshima en route to Antarctica with over 1000 whales in its sight. It will take the whaling fleet about three weeks to reach the Southern Ocean beneath Australia.When they get there, the Government of Japan's annual 'research' expedition to Antarctic waters plans to kill up to 935 minke whales, 50 fin whales and 50 of our beloved humpback whales."Japan's so-called scientific whaling is nothing less than commercial whaling in disguise. You don't need to kill whales to study them," said Darren Kindleysides, Director of the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).This is the fifth whaling season for the Japanese Government's controversial and confrontational 'scientific whaling' program known as 'JARPA II' and the 22nd consecutive year Japan has hunted whales under the guise of scientific research. In that time, Japan's whalers have killed more than 9000 whales in the Southern Ocean."Hunting hundreds of whales and calling it research breaks international law and defies the global ban on whaling brought in by the International Whaling Commission in 1986. How many more whaling seasons must be endured, how many more whales must die under this charade?" Kindleysides said.This whaling season, the whalers are planning to kill 50 humpback whales - this would break a four decade ban on hunting humpbacks and has ramifications for Australia's thriving whale watching industry."The whalers have our beloved humpbacks in their sights - the same whales that migrate to Australia during winter, the same whales that support our multi-million dollar whale watching industries on our east and west coasts."Research  has shown that whale watching is worth approximately $300million dollars a year in Australia, with humpbacks the backbone of our whale watching industries in many locations. Japan withdrew plans to kill humpbacks in 2007 and 2008 following international outcry and pressure from countries like Australia, but their self-appointed quota of 50 humpbacks in the 2009 season still stands. With the recent change of Government in Japan, there are suggestions the Japanese Government is reviewing the funding for the annual whaling expeditions, a hugely subsidised and controversial hunt that has stained Japan's standing on the international stage. "The Australian Government must demand Japan recall its whaling fleet immediately. It is time to tell the new Japanese Government to put their unlawful whaling program on ice. If diplomacy cannot prevent another season of whale slaughter in the Southern Ocean the Rudd Government must deliver on its election promise to pursue legal action against Japan before international courts and tribunals to end whaling once and for all," concluded Kindleysides.  Research undertaken by the International Fund for Animal Welfare evaluating the economic value of whale and dolphin watching in Australia. http://www.marineconservation.org.au/
Japanese Government Funding Cuts Could End 'Research' Whaling http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/nov2009/2009-11-12-01.asp
TOKYO, Japan, November 12, 2009 (ENS) - A review of Japanese government spending now underway could put an end to Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, according to Greenpeace, an environmental group that has campaigned against Japanese whaling for years.The spending review committee established by Japan's new Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, has recommended that funding for the Overseas Fishery Cooperation Foundation be cancelled after 2010. CLIP
The Cove - playing at the Red Vic Movie House (November 14) http://www.examiner.com/x-7030-SF-Sustainable-Food-Examiner~y2009m11d14-The-Cove--playing-at-the-Red-Vic-Movie-House
You won't find dolphin on the Seafood Watch 'Avoid' list. If there was a list that accommodated dolphin seafood it might be called the 'No Go' list, or perhaps the 'Don't Even Go There' list. Or how about the 'Eat this Seafood and Go Directly to Jail, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200' list'? But then we don't eat dolphin in this country. That's because they appear on the Marine Mammal Protection Act list.We do have performing dolphins here, however, and the movie The Cove exposes the startling connections between the trade in captive dolphins and the seafood business in Japan, where dolphin and whale are very much on the menu.The Cove, an audience favorite at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, is showing in San Francisco at the Red Vic Movie House beginning Sunday, November 15th through Tuesday November 17th. Filmed by a group of ocean activists and movie business veterans, it captures the real life drama and plays it like a classic Hollywood action flick, full of danger and high-stakes intrigue, which is what won the film a coveted Audience Award at Sundance.
The Cove Trailer (24 June 2009) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KRD8e20fBo
Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, The Cove follows a high-tech dive team on a mission to discover the truth about the international dolphin capture trade as practiced in Taiji, Japan. Utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, including hidden microphones and cameras in fake rocks, the team uncovers how this small seaside village serves as a horrifying microcosm of massive ecological crimes happening worldwide.
Stop the Calderon Dolphin Slaughter in Denmark http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/stop-the-calderon-dolphin-slaughter-in-denmark
Every year, in Denmark, specifically the Faroe Islands, innocent and helpless Calderon Dolphins are slaughtered brutally by the Danes. Why you may ask, simply because. A pointless and stupid right of passage to manhood. What points is there in killing another living being just to prove you have "evolved", you have transcended. There is simply no need.This poor dolphins are stabbed a number of times, but as if that weren't enough, they bleed to death, probably in excruciating pain while the whole town watches. Needles to say, that killing a defenseless animal is no prove of anybody's manhood. So, I urge, as I am sure many more have, to stop this nonsense. And take action. Never, ever, killing an other creature, another living being, with whom we share this world, has done any good, to anyone. So let's stop it.
West hypocritical to protest Hindu mass animal slaughter (27/11/2009) http://observers.france24.com/en/content/20091127-west-hypocritical-protest-hindu-mass-animal-slaughter-nepal-gadhimai
Every five years, Hindus travel for miles to participate in Nepal's mass sacrifice of tens of thousands of buffaloes, goats, roosters and pigeons. Animal rights activists, including French actress Brigitte Bardot, have attempted to put an end to the tradition. But as one of our Observers there points out, the five-yearly mass slaughter is no worse than the daily dealings of a modern abattoir.Held on November 24 -25, this year's festival in southern Nepal attracted up to a million Hindus, many from neighbouring India where the practice is banned. Priests say that over 150,000 animals were offered to the goddess of power, Gadhimai. It is thought to be the world's biggest animal sacrifice. - VIDEO (WARNING: you may find these images upsetting.) At a gathering at my house in Kathmandu where, incidentally, we were sat around eating buffalo momo [meat dumplings], I said: I wonder what psychological trauma the people around Gadhimai feel through all the pain of the sacrificed animals!' My logic, that somehow the violence inflicted on the animals must reflect on the humans, was smartly counteracted by a friend of mine who said: But think about their beliefs. They believe that the sacrifice brings them good luck; they may experience the event in a very different way from what you imagine'.For the urban elite in Kathmandu, who get their meat from butcher shops where the slaughtering part is safely hidden out of sight, the mass slaughter was cause for outcry. And so too for the people in Europe and the US. But as my friend explained to me, the deep and profound workings of human belief may make these sacrifices less of a terrible animal massacre spree and more of a profound moment of connection with the universe for the participants of this festival. Of course, culture doesn't excuse everything. But for those of us jaded by the stories of the US and Europe's hidden slaughterhouses, where animals are shot with electric stun guns and killed in much larger numbers everyday, the Gadhimai sacrifice shouldn't cause any concern. How many Gadhimai-like sacrifices happen every single day in cattle farms across the meat-eating world? Nepal, incidentally, has a poor population for whom meat remains a luxury - for many of those doing the sacrificing, this may be the only meat they eat during the entire year. So there is just a tiny bit of hypocrisy associated with those who protest this event - if only because the global footprint of meat consumption is so much more gigantic in the western world.Gadhimai brings to light what happens every single day in cattle farms across the planet. People sacrifice huge numbers of animals everyday, especially for those populations where meat is eaten more than twice a day. The only difference in this is that we see the crudeness with which animals are killed in this event. I, an aspiring vegetarian, almost support sacrifices for this reason - because it provides a mirror for the world to see exactly what goes onto their plates when they eat some dumplings."
How 16 ships create as much pollution as all the cars in the world
By FRED PEARCE - 21st November 2009
Last week it was revealed that 54 oil tankers are anchored off the coast of Britain, refusing to unload their fuel until prices have risen.
But that is not the only scandal in the shipping world. Today award-winning science writer Fred Pearce environmental consultant to New Scientist and author of Confessions Of An Eco Sinner reveals that the super-ships that keep the West in everything from Christmas gifts to computers pump out killer chemicals linked to thousands of deaths because of the filthy fuel they use.
We've all noticed it. The filthy black smoke kicked out by funnels on cross-Channel ferries, cruise liners, container ships, oil tankers and even tugboats.
It looks foul, and leaves a brown haze across ports and shipping lanes. But what hasnt been clear until now is that it is also a major killer, probably causing thousands of deaths in Britain alone.
As ships get bigger, the pollution is getting worse. The most staggering statistic of all is that just 16 of the worlds largest ships can produce as much lung-clogging sulphur pollution as all the worlds cars.
Because of their colossal engines, each as heavy as a small ship, these super-vessels use as much fuel as small power stations.
But, unlike power stations or cars, they can burn the cheapest, filthiest, high-sulphur fuel: the thick residues left behind in refineries after the lighter liquids have been taken. The stuff nobody on land is allowed to use.
Thanks to decisions taken in London by the body that polices world shipping, this pollution could kill as many as a million more people in the coming decade even though a simple change in the rules could stop it.
There are now an estimated 100,000 ships on the seas, and the fleet is growing fast as goods are ferried in vast quantities from Asian industrial powerhouses to consumers in Europe and North America.
The recession has barely dented the trade. This Christmas, most of our presents will have come by super-ship from the Far East; ships such as the Emma Maersk and her seven sisters Evelyn, Eugen, Estelle, Ebba, Eleonora, Elly and Edith Maersk.
Each is a quarter of a mile long and can carry up to 14,000 full-size containers on their regular routes from China to Europe.
Emma dubbed SS Santa by the media brought Christmas presents to Europe in October and is now en route from Algeciras in Spain to Yantian in southern China, carrying containers full of our waste paper, plastic and electronics for recycling.
But it burns marine heavy fuel, or bunker fuel, which leaves behind a trail of potentially lethal chemicals: sulphur and smoke that have been linked to breathing problems, inflammation, cancer and heart disease.
James Corbett, of the University of Delaware, is an authority on ship emissions. He calculates a worldwide death toll of about 64,000 a year, of which 27,000 are in Europe. Britain is one of the worst-hit countries, with about 2,000 deaths from funnel fumes. Corbett predicts the global figure will rise to 87,000 deaths a year by 2012.
Part of the blame for this international scandal lies close to home.
In London, on the south bank of the Thames looking across at the Houses of Parliament, is the International Maritime Organisation, the UN body that polices the worlds shipping.
For decades, the IMO has rebuffed calls to clean up ship pollution. As a result, while it has long since been illegal to belch black, sulphur-laden smoke from power-station chimneys or lorry exhausts, shipping has kept its licence to pollute.
For 31 years, the IMO has operated a policy agreed by the 169 governments that make up the organisation which allows most ships to burn bunker fuel.
Christian Eyde Moller, boss of the DK shipping company in Rotterdam, recently described this as just waste oil, basically what is left over after all the cleaner fuels have been extracted from crude oil. Its tar, the same as asphalt. Its the cheapest and dirtiest fuel in the world.
Bunker fuel is also thick with sulphur. IMO rules allow ships to burn fuel containing up to 4.5 per cent sulphur. That is 4,500 times more than is allowed in car fuel in
the European Union. The sulphur comes out of ship funnels as tiny particles, and it is these that get deep into lungs.
Thanks to the IMOs rules, the largest ships can each emit as much as 5,000 tons of sulphur in a year the same as 50million typical cars, each emitting an average of 100 grams of sulphur a year.
With an estimated 800million cars driving around the planet, that means 16 super-ships can emit as much sulphur as the world fleet of cars.
A year ago, the IMO belatedly decided to clean up its act. It said shipping fuel should not contain more than 3.5 per cent sulphur by 2012 and eventually must come down to 0.5 per cent. This lower figure could halve the deaths, says Corbett.
It should not be hard to do. There is no reason ship engines cannot run on clean fuel, like cars. But, away from a handful of low-sulphur zones, including the English Channel and North Sea, the IMO gave shipping lines a staggering 12 years to make the switch. And, even then, it will depend on a final feasibility review in 2018.
In the meantime, according to Corbetts figures, nearly one million more people will die.
Smoke and sulphur are not the only threats from ships funnels. Every year they are also belching out almost one billion tons of carbon dioxide. Ships are as big a contributor to global warming as aircraft but have had much less attention from environmentalists.
Both international shipping and aviation are exempt from the Kyoto Protocol rules on cutting carbon emissions. But green pressure is having its effect on airlines. Ahead of next months Copenhagen climate talks, airlines have promised to cut emissions by 50 per cent by 2050.
But shipping companies are keeping their heads down. A meeting of the IMO in July threw out proposals from the British Chamber of Shipping, among others, to set up a carbon-trading scheme to encourage emissions reductions.
Amazingly, they pleaded poverty. Two-thirds of the worlds ships are registered in developing countries such as Panama. These are just flags of convenience, to evade tougher rules on safety and pay for sailors.
But at the IMO, governments successfully argued that ships from developing countries should not have to cut carbon emissions. IMO secretary-general Efthimios Mitropoulos insisted: We are heavily and consistently engaged in the fight to protect and preserve our environment. Yet without limits, carbon emissions from shipping could triple by 2050.
The failure brought calls for the IMO to be stripped of its powers to control the worlds ships. Colin Whybrow, of Greenwave, a British charity set up to campaign for cleaner shipping, says: The IMO is drinking in the last-chance saloon.
Burning low-sulphur fuel wont cut carbon emissions from ships. But there are other ways. More efficient engines could reduce emissions by 30 per cent, according to British marine consultant Robin Meech.
Cutting speed could reduce emissions by as much again. And there are even wackier ways, such as putting up giant kites to harness the wind as in the days of sailing ships.
However you look at it, the super-ships are rogues on the high seas, operating under pollution standards long since banished on land; warming the planet and killing its inhabitants. Santas sleigh, they are not.
Israeli agents operating at international airports
28th November, 2009
Israeli spies have been found to be posing as airport security guards at international terminals, subjecting unsuspecting travellers to illegal interrogations and strip searches.
A television network covering southern Africa recently aired a report, after an extensive undercover investigation, that revealed an elaborate Israeli secret service operation is being carried out at Johannesburg International Airport.
The report claims black and Muslim travellers are being subjected to illegal interrogations and strip searches by Israeli intelligence service, the Shin Bet, who are purportedly employed as security guards by Israeli airline El Al, but pose as officials of airport security.
The racial profiling is so extensive one former agent says he has conducted 40,000 of the interrogations. An Israeli human rights organization says similar operations are being carried out at most major airports around the world.
The South African government has been investigating the claims made by Carte Blanche, southern Africas leading television investigative news program which is beamed to 45 countries and has won more than one hundred awards. A team of Israeli diplomats has been flown to Johannesburg after South African authorities issued an ultimatum demanding that Israel resolve the issues surrounding the security guards by the end of this month, or the guards would all be deported.
At least one El Al official, has already been deported as a result of the investigations which are continuing. Curiously that official was in fact revealed to be an employee of the Israeli embassy, despite performing duties for El Al security. He was also found to have had a diplomatic passport.
The explosive claims made on the southern African television network have been supported by footage of an interrogation of an undercover Muslim reporter with the network. The incident was filmed by a hidden camera. A person employed by El Al was seen approaching the Muslim reporter saying he was from airport security. He demanded the undercover reporter hand over his ID and passport as part of airport regulations. The reporter objected to handing over documents, saying he was not travelling and was waiting for a friend. At this point El Als Security Manager, identified as Golan Rice, confronted the reporter for additional interrogation. The reporter was then told he was in a restricted area and was told to leave.
What we are trained is to look for the immediate threat, the Muslim guy. You can think he is a suicide bomber, he is collecting information. The crazy thing is that we are profiling people racially, ethnically, and even on religious grounds, Johnathon Garb, a former El Al security guard told the Johannesburg TV program. This is what we do, he added.
Mr. Garb said the El Al airline had been a front for Shin Bet for years. Here is a secret service operating above the law in South Africa, Garb said. We pull the wool over everyone's eyes. We do exactly what we want. The local authorities do not know what we are doing.
Two other former security guards with El Al verified the allegations. They told Carte Blanche black and Muslim people were often taken to a special annex room where they were held for questioning. They were interrogated they said not necessarily on matters relating to airport security. In some cases they were strip searched and their luggage taken apart. Clandestine searches of their possessions and laptops were also carried out.
One person targeted for special treatment was Virginia Tilley, the chief researcher at South Africas Human Sciences Research Council which recently released a report accusing Israel of apartheid in the Palestinian territories. The decision was she be checked in the harshest way because of her connections, Garb told the Carte Blanche news program. He said Ms Tilleys luggage was taken from her and documents in her possession were photo-copied and forwarded on to the Shin Bet in Israel. Ms Tilley confirmed she had been detained by El Al staff at the airport and her luggage was taken from her for inspection elsewhere.
El Als General Manager in South Africa confirmed Mr Garb was working in security at the airport but was indirect on who his employer was, suggesting it was the Shin Bet.
Three years ago a report issued by two Israeli human rights organizations, the Centre against Racism, and the Arab Association for Human Rights, alleged that El Al security staff employed racial profiling at most major airports around the world. The report said people were subjected to discriminatory and degrading treatment in violation of the relevant countries laws, and international law. Our research showed that the checks conducted by El Al at foreign airports had all the hallmarks of Shin Bet interrogations, Mohammed Zeidan, the Director of the Human Rights Association said.
Mr Garb, who said he was recruited by the Shin Bet 19 years ago and was trained in a secret Shin Bet facility in Israel, said El Al smuggled weapons into the Johannesburg Airport with the co-operation of the Israeli embassy.
Asked to comment on the allegations, the Israeli foreign ministry, through spokesman Yossi Levy said, "the Ministry cannot comment on security matters."
Vegetarian low protein diet could be key to long life
A vegetarian diet could be the key to a long life, a new study suggests.
By Richard Alleyne - 03 Dec 2009
Reducing consumption of a protein found in fish and meat could slow the ageing process and increase life expectancy, according to the research.
Scientists have long believed that an ultra low calorie diet - approximately 60 per cent of normal levels - can lead to greater longevity.
But now a team of British researchers have discovered that the key to the effect is a reduction in a specific protein and not the total number of calories.
That means that by reducing foods that contain the protein - such as meat, fish and certain nuts - people should live longer without the need to cut down on meals.
Dr Matthew Piper, from the Institute of Healthy Ageing at University College London, said that a vegetarian diet could be one way to achieve the effect.
Studies in animals including monkeys have shown that reducing food intake can benefit health and increase lifespan.
Researchers have found that reducing calories by as much as 30 per cent could reduce risks of developing heart disease or cancer by half and increase lifetimes by nearly a third.
The extreme diets - just above malnutrition levels - add an extra 25 years to the average life in Britain with the vast majority of people living to their 100th birthday
But in a series of new experiments on fruit flies, scientists discovered that simply varying the mix of amino acids in the diet affected lifespan.
Further study revealed that one particular amino acid, methionine, made all the difference.
Although flies and people are very different, the researchers believe the effects are likely to be conserved throughout a wide range of different species including humans.
Dr Piper said: "It's not as simple as saying 'eat less nuts' or 'eat more nuts' to live longer - it's about getting the protein balance right, a factor that might be particularly important for high protein diets, such as the Atkins diet or body builders' protein supplements."
Methionine is essential to the formation of all proteins. It is naturally abundant in foods such as fish and meats as well as sesame seeds, Brazil nuts and wheat germ.
Humans have around four times more genes than the fruit fly, but both share many similar genes with basic biological functions.
Therefore, even though the fruit fly does not on the surface resemble humans, many findings about its basic biology can be extrapolated to humans.
"This work was done on flies but similar results have been found in mice," said Dr Piper. "If it turns it has the same effect on humans, then the message is avoid high levels of methionine."
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