First, from Truthout.org., reprinted with permission), excerpts from Dahr Jamail’s ‘Will Paris Climate Talks Be Too Little, Too Late?’
“But it is here at the head of the river, under the snow peaks and the waterfall that thunders down out of the magic lake, that I shall pass from one world to another.”—Peter Matthiessen
In the book The Snow Leopard, Peter Matthiessen’s journey deep into the Nepali Himalaya to spot a snow leopard merely scratches the surface of his inner journey. Nature and our experiences in and with it are, I believe, the clearest mirror of ourselves we could ever hope for.
I told my father I’m rereading this book, and he wrote me back: “Love that book. It was a time in that part of the world when things were still pristine before tourism brought the kinds of people that should never have polluted that sacred environment.”
Agreeing with him, I shared what I’d always believed, or at least had always hoped to believe: that there are still those pristine places to be found – it is just that one must travel further, much further, into the “frontiers” to find them.
I’d love to believe this possible, but I know it no longer is. Not anymore, given what the industrial growth society has done, and is doing, to the planet. There is no place left on earth or in the atmosphere or deep within the oceans where the toxic fingerprint of industry has not left its indelible mark.
The faux goal of 2 degrees Celsius continues to be discussed. Meanwhile, the planet burns.
During the first week of December, delegations from nearly 200 countries will convene in Paris for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) climate conference. It has been billed, like the last several, as the most important climate meeting ever. The goal, like that of past COPs, is to have governments commit to taking steps to cut carbon dioxide emissions in order to limit planetary warming to within 2 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial temperature baseline.
Yet this is a politically agreed-upon limit. It is not based on science.
Renowned climate scientist James Hansen and multiple other scientists have already shown that a planetary temperature increase of 1 degree Celsius above preindustrial baseline temperatures is enough to cause runaway climate feedback loops, extreme weather events and a disastrous sea level rise.
Furthermore, the UK meteorological office has shown that this year’s global temperature average has already surpassed that 1 degree Celsius level.
Well in advance of the Paris talks, the UN announced that the amount of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere has locked in another 2.7 degrees Celsius warming at a minimum, even if countries move forward with the pledges they make to cut emissions. Hence, even the 2 degree Celsius goal is already unattainable. However, similar to the way in which national elections in the United States continue to maintain the illusion that this country is a democracy, and “We the People” truly have legitimate representation in Washington, DC, illusions must be maintained at the COP21.
Thus, the faux goal of 2 degrees Celsius continues to be discussed. Meanwhile, the planet burns.
Japan’s meteorological office announced that this past September was, by far, the warmest September on record, and records now show that October has also become the hottest recorded October. As a whole, 2015 remains easily on course to become the hottest year ever recorded.
As if to place an exclamation point on all of this information, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels hit a new milestone in excess of 400 parts per million in early 2015 – a 45 percent increase over preindustrial levels.
Extreme weather events propelled by anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) abound in this month’s dispatch.
The ‘dispatch’ chronicles events and trends in categories of Extreme Weather events even in formerly unlikely places, Earth, massively strong hurricanes and ubiquitous drought-induced flooding, Water: oh, I’ll halt the synopsis for some of this section:
“Meanwhile, a recent report shows that marine food chains are at risk of collapse due to ACD impacts, overfishing and pollution. ACD is literally erasing species from coral reefs, the open ocean, Arctic and Antarctic waters, and the tropics.
Moreover, another recent report reveals that bleaching and disease are combining to destroy the largest coral reef in the continental United States, a 150-mile reef found off the coast of Florida. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it is the third-largest barrier reef ecosystem on the planet.
On that note, a paper recently published in The Anthropocene Review reminds us of a sobering fact that other peer-reviewed studies have confirmed: We are indeed living in the sixth mass extinction event, which we ourselves have created.”
Massive droughts in New Guinea, rapidly declining boreal forests in Eurasia, Canada, Alaska, and Scandinavia…
“This is evidenced by permafrost that is thawing and burning up in wildfires, insect outbreaks assaulting the forests, and climate zones that are moving 10 times faster than the forests are able to migrate. These forests are also plagued by logging and oil and gas drilling.”
Both polar icecaps are melting, and if they continue apace (how not) Jamail says that science knows that ocean levels will rise dramatically by 2050 (the target date for many COPT21 nation’s ‘solutions’.
Dahr focuses on the likely effects and those already brewing in geographical areas around the globe; it’s a dismal picture at best.
Then in the Fire section, he offers this stunning interactive planetary fire map; the global south is lit up red right now.
His methane section is scary biscuits:
“On the methane front, news comes from the Woods Hole Research Center, which released a policy brief that concluded that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change does not account adequately for the warming feedback loop that is both caused by and is causing methane releases into the atmosphere. Methane is, depending on the time frame used to measure its impact, roughly 30 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Meanwhile, evidence of more methane release comes in the form of “accelerating” warming of permafrost across vast portions of Alaska. This warming was brought to light in another recent report, which describes how, when the permafrost melts, the methane frozen within it is released, which accelerates warming further. This causes the permafrost to melt faster, hence the positive feedback loop.”
Regarding ‘tipping points’ and linking to several major recent studies, he finishes with:
“Our results show that no safe limit exists and that many abrupt shifts already occur for global warming levels much lower than 2 degrees,” said lead author Professor Sybren Drijfhout from Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton.
Despite the now common warning of “no safe limit” of the ever-increasing global temperature, the COP21 will be held with all of the attendant fanfare, media coverage and protests.
Global leaders will appear as though they are doing something to address the single greatest crisis that humanity has ever faced, despite the most respected, prestigious scientific bodies in the world producing one report after another that shows us we have run out of time to turn the ship, as the iceberg has long since punctured the hull.
Rather than pinning false hope to the COP21, perhaps now each of us might sit still, feel what is happening and listen deeply to the earth. If we do, then we might know from within, what is most important, and what we should do next.”
Jamail had noted James Hansen’s ‘One degree more’ study results, and sadly I must enter this from Counterpunch: ‘James Hansen’s Nuclear Fantasies’, by Jim Green
“Climate scientist James Hansen will be heading to Paris to promote nuclear power − and attack environmental groups − in the lead-up to the U.N. COP21 climate conference in Paris in December.”
The planet’s indigenous have long known that at the root of anthropogenic climate change is capitalism itself, given that its definition is the accumulation of more capital. Now Naomi Klein is touted as saying the same thing, but really, what she attacked was ‘unfettered capitalism’, from what I’ve read in reviews of ‘This Changes Everything’. From my vantage point, there’s an overwhelming preponderance of evidence (since 2008) that it will never be ‘fettered’ again. Authors (Wright and Nyberg) have written a new book in which they indict neoliberalism itself heavily, and corporate capitalism, and at at the end pay homage to the notion of capitalism as culprit in ‘Creative self-destruction: the climate crisis and the myth of ‘green’ capitalism‘:
“The sparkling image of corporate environmentalism and business sustainability promises no conflicts and no trade-offs. Here, it is possible to address climate change while continuing the current global expansion of consumption; there is no contradiction between material affluence and environmental well being.
In proposing that corporate initiatives are enough, such a vision also fits well within neoliberalism – the dominant economic and political system of our time. Alternatives, such as state regulation and mandatory restrictions on fossil fuel use, are viewed as counterproductive and even harmful. It seems there is no alternative to the market.
Echoing Fredric Jameson, “it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism”.
Business as usual
So this is how the environmental destruction built into our economic system is concealed. Dealing with this epic contradiction of capitalism would require material trade-offs that challenge identities and interests.
This is why the alternative to “business as usual” is much harder to imagine and much easier to dismiss as the enemy of social well being – what critics so often characterise as going back to living in caves or a return to the “dark ages”.
Shorter: most of us are willing to let ‘the market’ and corporations handle the emergency of climate change, and go shopping for ‘green products’ and eco-efficiency.
Now on to the sticky wicket of ‘350 ppm carbon’ as a tipping point, and non-profit Big Green groups.
When I’d penned ‘Tweeting While the World Burns or: Elites Against the XL Pipeline’ back in Feb. 2013, I was nauseated by the organizers’ Democrat gate-keepers con game of ‘let’s surround the White House in protest of the XL Pipeline and get arrested!’ If you want to read my objections, do, but in a nutshell: The Elites showed up several days earlier than the scheduled Main Event for photo ops, and to get arrested in that catch-and-release way I so don’t admire. Many of their Tweets indicated it was a game to them. Even their corporately printed protest signs used Obama’s ‘brand’ graphics. The ‘Christmas card photos’ were even fooking copyrighted. Pfffft.
And when I’d covered ‘Green Capitalism and the ‘Peoples Summit’ at Rio+20’ in June 2012, I hadn’t known that eco-investigative journalist Cory Morningstar had been in attendance, and later wrote about (the indigenous) ‘World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth that took place in April of 2010 in Cochabamba, Bolivia: ‘350: Agent Saboteur’ in Sept. 2014.
“Knowledgeable people and authentic activists that are going to the “People’s” Climate March must re-ignite the “People’s Agreement” (Cochabamba, Bolivia, 2010), reject 350’s corporate agenda, and step aside for the Indigenous nations to resume their proven leadership in protecting Mother Earth.
It was during this conference that American 350.org co-founder, Kelly Blynn, had a tantrum. The People’s Agreement was calling for a maximum of 300 parts per million of carbon dioxide. When pressed (by the former Green Party Canada leader and activist, Joan Russow, and myself) to consider the necessity of changing the 350.org logo (by crossing it out with an x and placing the new number/logo “300” beside it), an irritated Blynn stated that she and her co-founders would never agree to do so as 350.org was “the most powerful brand in the world.” (For the moment, let’s ignore the fact that “the most powerful brand in the world” aside, 350 ppm is a death sentence for coral reefs, small island developing states, and billions of people living along low lying coastlines. A fact disclosed in an Alliance of Small Island States Briefing prior to COP15.)”
She followed up with many investigations of the hellish corporate funders of the Big Green non-profit industrial complex here (that one has two internal links to Bill McKibben’s Divestment tour), ‘Manufacturing discourse, Pt II’, including this funny bit:
“YES LOGO | The McKibben-Klein Doctrine
“Together, the team has marshalled every tool in the modern marketing arsenal to create and sustain the Obama brand: the perfectly calibrated logo (sunrise over stars and stripes).” — Naomi Klein, author of No Logo (10th Anniversary Edition). Klein now sits on the board of directors of Rockefellers’ 1Sky/350.org”. (at the time in 2010)
From what Morningstar says was in Pt. I, which I haven’t located:
“The following article is the second installment of an investigative report that demonstrates why billions of dollars are pumped by corporate interests into the non-profit industrial complex, effectively to manufacture discourse in order to protect the ruling classes from systemic change. The first installment outlined the key players: Barack Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Warren Buffett, the Rockefeller family, Bill Gates and Bill Ackman. The key instruments employed by the state and the oligarchs were/are a cluster of foundation-financed NGOs. These included/include Greenpeace, Sierra Club, NRDC and others, with 350.org/1Sky at the helm leading the cunning and strategic discourse.”
An excerpt from Part II at the link:
“Behind the curtains of the political theatre we find the prestigious marketing agencies and public relation firms that “grassroots” groups are miraculously able to afford. These firms and agencies write and develop the scripts and design the sets. They bring the stories to life, strategically exploit and manipulate and our emotions, ultimately ensuring we come to accept and partake in their politically acceptable means of discourse – discourse sanctioned (and financed) by the empire. In the case of BOLD Nebraska, partner and marketing agency, Justin Kemerling Design Co, boasts a client list of 350.org, MoveOn.org, Avaaz, the Obama campaign and many more. Another example is the corporate communications and public affairs agency Hoggan & Associates (DeSmogBlog co-founder Jim Hoggan is president and founder), whose client list includes corporate creation TckTckTck, Canadian Pacific (Rail), Shell, AMEC and many more. A planetary crisis for our Earth, which is on the verge of unprecedented, global ecological collapse, has never felt so far away. And the hustle, polished and refined in an emerald green patina, has never made us feel so damn good. Destruction of the planet and the oppression/displacement/annihilation of non-white peoples has been internalized as a completely normal, day to day part of our everyday existence.” [snip]
“Although it is obvious that the No KXL campaign logo shares remarkable and purposeful semblance to the infamous Obama logo (sunrise over stars and stripes), allowing the pro-Obama, pro-Democrat veneer to illuminate at almost 100% transparency, a natural line of defence by 350.org would be that of course they utilize what 350.org board member, Naomi Klein, refers to as “the perfectly calibrated logo” to their advantage, as, they would argue, the Obama administration is the target of their campaign.
And anyone who understands advertising, social engineering and the power of the brand, such as Klein, would understand that this line of defense is bullshit.”
If you can handle more, in 2014 at thewrongkindofgreen.og she also wrote:
“As the following information will demonstrate, The People’s Climate March and supporting discourse is about protecting capitalism, not protecting the world’s most vulnerable people from climate change.
The People’s Climate March in New York City is a mobilization campaign created by Avaaz and 350.org, with 350.org at the forefront.
The oligarchs do not bankroll such a mobilization (via millions of dollars funnelled through foundations) without reason.
There is an agenda. The information that follows makes the agenda very clear and the only thing green about it is the colour of money. The term “green”, in reference to environment is, officially dead.
Vision: “Purpose is a global initiative that draws on leading technologies, political organizing and behavioral economics to build powerful, tech-savvy movements that can transform culture and influence policy.”
Depressing as all giddy-up it is, but knowing is preferable to not knowing, even when painful. Edward Bernays chuckles from the grave…
Call me a cynic, but I laughed when I saw Naomi Klein retweet this:
Ah, well…, never mind: ‘EU-US trade deal will unleash oil sands and fatally undermine climate efforts; The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership aims to pave the way for the exploitation of toxic tar sand crude oil – with potentially devastating results’, by Mark Dearn at the Guardian
“But regardless of commitments made in Paris, any steps to halt runaway climate change will be wholly undermined by the secretly negotiated EU-US trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP, TFTA).
While touted as a “free trade” deal, in reality TTIP is anything but. The reduction of “tariffs” is a tiny fraction of the deal. The trade deal’s central mission is to remove “non-tariff barriers” – the regulations that often protect our society, health and environment. Fundamentally, it is a struggle between corporate power and the interests of people and the planet, with wide-ranging ramifications for the global south.
Since its 2013 announcement, a key aim of TTIP has been to destroy regulations that prevent high-polluting tar sand crude oil from entering Europe. It is a target intimately tied to the EU’s anti-Russian geopolitical aims, and the wishes of the powerful oil lobby and its conduits in the American, British and Canadian governments. As the Guardian has revealed, the EU is colluding with the world’s biggest oil companies to ensure TTIP’s energy chapter is firmly in their interests.”
Make of this what you will: ‘Report Release: Extreme Biotech meets Extreme Energy’ (with a video explanation) at globaljusticeecology.org, but it got my spidey senses tingling with ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ shivers.
But wait! Help is on the way! ‘World Bank calls for $16bn to help Africa weather the effects of climate change; Africa climate business plan, emphasising clean energy, efficient farming and urban protection, will be launched by World Bank chief at Paris climate talks’ Oh, those generous philanthropists; how swell of them, yes? They loan, their reps in Africa target the money to areas of need. My.Stars.
And hell’s bells, moar philanthropy is on the way!: ‘Major powers pledge $20bn for green energy research’
“Tech and business leaders, including America’s Bill Gates, George Soros, Meg Whitman and Mark Zuckerberg, Germany’s Hasso Plattner, India’s Ratan Tata and China’s Jack Ma, will also pledge on Monday to take on additional investment risks to bring environmental technologies coming out of scientific research to the marketplace.’
Thank the goddess for oligarchs; they’ll take care of us, and sacrifice some of their filthy lucre to do so. Amen.
Where do the Planet’s Rulers and Oligarchs imagine they’ll live once the food and water wars commence? What will they eat once Monsanto, et.al. bio-wreck the planets agriculture? Where will they find clean water, or will they just sip martinis and bathe in wine? Perhaps they’ll ‘Mistake a Frog‘s Mouth for a Home’? Brrrrrrr-ibbbbit.