WHAT IS COP21 ?
It is the 21st Conference of the Parties, i.e. the annual meeting of all countries which want to take action for the climate.. It will be held in Le Bourget, France, from 30 November to 11 December 2015. (the website)
(Disclaimer: I’m not a Bernie Sanders supporter.)
TRNN had recently featured an interview with Christian Parenti who’d agreed that “Yes, Bernie Sanders and the Pentagon are right: ‘terrorism is linked to climate change’; NYU’s Christian Parenti explains how we can connect the dots between droughts, neoliberal policies and terrorism’.”
A commenter had linked to a Farron Cousins DeSmogBlog piece published at theecologist.org; he’d added some other sources ballasting that almost inarguable contention. He quoted Bernie quoting the CIA (and I’ll pass on the possible reasons that the august organization would care about those ‘threat multipliers), reiterating that the Penatgon has been saying the same thing for twelve years. He adds:
“As the planet continues to heat up, arable land in developing nations is disappearing, particularly in areas of the Middle East. These areas are ill equipped to handle the sudden impact of reduced farming income, rising temperatures, drought, and the resulting food shortages, so conflict emerges easily and without warning.
The parallels between the situation described in the government report and the situation on the ground in Syria are striking. The worst drought on record in the Middle Eastern country has created instability for farmers and threatened the food supply. At the same time, the government has struggled to hold on to power across the country in the face of militant groups and millions of Syrians have fled their homeland”
….then quotes Time magazine, James Clapper, Mother Jones, and so on. He ends with:
“Right now, the entire planet is trying to figure out how to handle a few million refugees trying to flee Syria. Imagine what will happen when 634 million people across the planet are displaced because of rising sea levels.”
Bernie Sanders is absolutely right – climate change is the greatest national security threat, not only to the United States, but to every country on the earth. The only question is who is going to lead the way in trying to turn the problem around?”
Now that ‘greatest national security threat’ may be hyperbole, but nonetheless, climate change has already begun to kill global citizens by way of drought, extreme weather events, has eradicated loads of species of flora and fauna, and is on track to blink out far more. Columbia’s Richard Seager says that it was indeed a precursor to ‘Syria’, although nothing like the whole story. Still, he has climate maps, facts and guesstimates as to the hundreds of millions in the poorer, drought-stricken nations who will be forced into mass displacements. Where they would go is not speculated, however.
Now the COP21 website has announced that: ‘By 24 November, 147 Heads of State and Government had accepted this invitation’. The list and schedule of ‘speakers’ is here.
Now what the site doesn’t tell us is how many fossil fuel lobbyists will be attending, and (ahem) adding their two cents (billions?) on ‘corporate policy solutions’ (greenwashing).
On Nov. 19 DeSmog UK had featured ‘Caroline Lucas Calls for Fossil Fuel Industry to be ‘Kicked Out’ of Paris Climate Negotiations’; a graph or two:
“Lucas said: “For over 20 years governments have met, yet greenhouse gas emissions have not decreased and the climate keeps changing. The forces of inertia and obstruction prevail, the fossil fuel giants and the politicians who do their bidding are responsible. And that’s why I call for the fossil fuel lobby to be kicked out of the UN climate negotiations.” [snip]
Lucas’s words were echoed in a damning report issued earlier this week criticising the infiltration of big energy companies into climate negotiations since they began decades ago.
The report by the Corporate European Observatory (CEO) argues that “the market-based and techno-fix solutions on the table are diverting attention from the real culprits and delaying real action.”
They also claim that politicians have chosen measures that “suit existing business models and continued corporate profit making” which has largely been down to strong corporate lobbying.
This year’s talks are also sponsored by some of France’s “dirtiest corporations”. This includes Air France, nuclear and coal giant EDF, energy utilities company Engie (formerly GDF Suez) and coal-financing bank BNP Paribas.
Now let’s see what Our Fearless Leader is saying about climate change just ahead of COP21.
I just launched my Facebook page with a video on climate change. America will lead on this. The time to act is now. http://Facebook.com/POTUS
Ah: ‘America will lead on this.’ Odd that I wasn’t able to discover that promised video, though, isn’t it?
On Nov. 6 Obama was lauded profusely for ‘rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline’, Bill McKibben even saying that “President Obama is the first world leader to reject a project because of its effect on the climate. That gives him new stature as an environmental leader, and it eloquently confirms the five years and millions of hours of work that people of every kind put into this fight.” Now I don’t know that any of his statements are true, but I will say that he is a gatekeeper for Democrats, and heads one of the key non-profit industrial complex organizations. More on those later.
But in any event, the main benefit to the ‘rejection’ is on the ground, on people’s land, Indigenous land, and especially over the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska. As far as a major carbon bomb, Berkshire Hathaway had already bought a rail line to send the nasty tarsands yuck…where it was supposed to go, plus Enbridge and other XL clones. But moving on:
On Nov. 13, Steve Horn had reported: ‘Obama Administration Approves Pipeline Expansion Set to Feed First Ever Fracked Gas LNG Export Terminal’
The Gulf Trace pipeline, owned by The Williams Companies, is set to feed into Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana. As first reported by Reuters, LNG tankers loaded with super-chilled liquefied natural gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) will set sail for the first time from Sabine Pass in January 2016.”
It’s a long piece, but includes investors and a ‘Who’s Who’ of gas lobbyists. But Oh, my! Such a climate leader!
Steve Breyman (adviser to Jill Stein) adds some fuel to the fire in ‘Baked Alaska: Obama, Climate Change and the Arrogance of Power’, after giving small credit where it is possibly due:
“Obama committed the US to 26-28% reductions in greenhouse gases from 2005 levels by 2025 — with no consideration for how the cuts affect global mean temperature increases, the real measure of seriousness. Compare that to the European Union’s promise for 40% cuts from 1990 levels by 2050 (also surely not enough to prevent further catastrophe).
“The science keeps on telling us,” admits Obama, “we’re just not acting fast enough.” A primary obstacle to acting faster is Obama’s own “all of the above” energy policy. The president opened new areas of the Gulf of Mexico to drilling (after most of the anger and some of the hurt over BP’s blowout disaster subsided). Obama subsidized the fraud that is “clean coal,” leased vast expanses of the West for further coal mining at fire sale prices, and failed to ban mountain top removal mining. He kept the nuclear reactor industry on life support with approval of and massive financial support for a new plant, and left it to “the market” to shutter several old nukes.
His administration bolstered fracking for oil and gas in shale formations across the country, and in a stunning failure of responsibility overlooked the legal exemptions engineered by Bush and Cheney that make the practice possible. He finally killed the Keystone XL pipeline after TransCanada withdrew its permit application, and Hillary Clinton came out against it. Obama permitted Shell to drill in the frigid depths of the Chukchi Sea seventy-five miles off the Alaskan coast (a decision Al Gore called “insane;” Shell called it quits for now after failing to find much oil). To top it off, the president visited the oil patch when gasoline prices soared in 2012 to boast about the vast increases in fossil fuel production his policies stimulated (an eight year high to that point).”
Well, Pfffft. As Breyman writes: ‘No guts, no glory’, and the man has certainly never shown guts on anything that matters to the planet, the biosphere, or everyday people. And oh, how O waffled when asked what ‘success’ would look like at COP21 in Paris: basic architecture in place, no firm targets will be what the science requires, yada.yada.yada.
But he had the huevos to declare: ‘Hope Builds on Itself!’
(They called it ‘hope’ because all the other four-letter words had already been taken, no?)
Blown away by O’s “If there are costs to this transition”, Breyer notes, with charts: “The International Energy Agency estimated recently that the world must spend $1 trillion annually for the next thirty years to keep the global average temperature increase at two degrees Celsius (see Figure 4).”
More on that ‘two degrees C’ construct, as well as 350 ppm C02’ and the non-profit industrial complex in Part II…or maybe III.
Now stir in: ‘Coal Mining Rejected for Climate Risks Is Back on the Table in Colorado because: Obama.
“Less than two weeks before world leaders convene in Paris for an international climate change conference, the Obama administration has again proposed letting coal companies mine in a roadless area of Colorado’s North Fork Valley.”
One might not be faulted for believing that the man is ‘legacy shopping’, but mainly the revolving-door kind, yes? I’m sure he’ll be schmoozing with some of the best fossil fuels lobbyists on the planet in Paris.