COP21 Expectations

SUBHEAD: Ambition and Smoke, Love and Courage - What to expect from the climate treaty negotiations in Paris.

By John Foran on 30 November 2015 for Resilience  -

Image above: A clever logo design used by protesters of COP21combines elements of COP21 symbol of the Eiffel Tower, the international peace Sign and the symbol for anarchy. From original article.
“The most important question raised by the climate summit may be: Does the power to change the world belong to the people in the conference rooms of Le Bourget or to the people in the streets of Paris?”
- Rebecca Solnit, “Power in Paris
The Paris COP 21 UN climate summit is upon us, now, starting on Monday, November 30.  I have spent the last year, ever since the dust of Lima was wiped from my shoes, trying my best to get a grasp on what was going to happen and communicating what I found out to all interested parties.  This has led to two long pieces, “Just Say ‘No’ to the Paris COP:  A Possible Way to Win Something for Climate Justice” and “A History of the Climate Negotiations in Six Videos.”

In the last two months, the world’s attention has really started to focus on climate, the COP, and the possibilities and probabilities of “success” and (gasp!) “failure.”  The murder of 129 people in the streets of Paris on Friday, November 13, has only trained hearts and minds more on this ground zero in the interlaced struggles for peace on Earth with justice.

Within twenty-four hours, the French government and the UNFCCC had reassured us that the COP would proceed exactly as planned, with added layers of security.

The incredible and creative plans of civil society for making sure that the world’s demand for climate justice will be heard in Paris hung in the balance until the government of François Hollande made it known that the twin bookends of our strategy – the massive march on Sunday, November 29 and the nonviolent civil disobedience and other acts of protest scheduled for the outcome of the COP on Friday and Saturday, December 11 and 12 – would be prohibited from occurring.

A COP without the full-throated participation of global civil society, however, has a less than zero chance of succeeding, whatever that nebulous term connotes.  Just as the COP must go on, so, too, will we, the countless members of the global climate justice movement, whether marching under that banner in Paris or simply showing up in our hearts and heads.

But the carefully prepared script that global elites have been busy writing for Paris may not end up to end the way they think, and here’s why.

Ambition and Smoke:  The Negotiations Will Take Unexpected Turns
In “Just Say ‘No’ to the Paris COP,” I developed an argument that the best possible outcome would be a conference that ended in disarray, without an agreement that would lock in catastrophic climate change or be hailed by most of the world as the first step on the road to a future without climate chaos and social turmoil (as if).  I have seen nothing on the part of the negotiating process in the intervening weeks that makes me think differently.

What is it that the governments of the world are being asked to do in Paris?  Their remit is to agree on a global treaty that would address several key elements:
  1. an ambitious upper limit on the amount of warming that humanity should countenance as acceptable and somehow safe for future generations, 
  2. a legally binding set of measures that all countries would agree on to achieve that goal, and
  3. mobilization of the technical and financial resources to ensure that all countries would have the means to make the transition to a low or zero carbon way of life, and to do so in a way that enables the rapid emergence of the global South from poverty and inequality in the name of social justice.
Operationally, this means choosing between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius as the temperature target, creating a mechanism to close the widening emissions gap to put us on that path, and securing at least $100 billion annually for a Green Climate Fund, and something similar for the Loss and Damage mechanism that will provide immediate emergency aid countries hit by extreme weather events.

At the moment, all the national pledges for climate action – the Individually Determined National Contributions (INDCs) – are in.  Unfortunately, the best estimates for the warming that they will give us vary between an optimistic 2.7 degrees and around 3.3 degrees or a little more.

The calculations are rendered more difficult because the UNFCCC failed to agree on any uniform ways of making these pledges in the four years that they gave themselves at COP 17 in Durban, South Africa, in 2011 to make this happen.

In Climate Action Tracker’s estimation, after careful review of pledges “covering about 71% of global emissions, 17 have not been rated as ‘sufficient’…. Two are sufficient but cover only 0.4% of global emissions.”  They conclude that the current level of ambition would give us a 66 percent chance of staying under 3 degrees Celsius!
There is a major risk that if current INDCs are locked in for 2030 and not reviewed and strengthened every five years, starting in 2020, that achievement of the 1.5°C goal called for by all the most vulnerable countries may be locked out, and achievement of the 2°C goal fundamentally threatened.
Based on the climate action promised under the INDCs it is now clear that governments at the Paris climate conference need to consider a formal acknowledgement that there is an insufficient level of mitigation ambition for 2025 and 2030 to limit warming below 2°C.
In November a group of NGOs including, Friends of the Earth International, the PanAfrican Climate Justice Alliance, and others issued “Fair Shares:  A Civil Society Equity Review of INDCs,” which finds that
The INDC commitments will likely lead the world to a devastating 3°C or more warming above pre-industrial levels. The current INDCs amount to barely half of the emissions cuts required by 2030.  Moreover, the INDCs submitted by all major developed countries fall well short of their fair shares. From the list of countries highlighted in the report, Russia’s INDC represents zero contribution towards committing its fair share. Japan’s represents about a tenth, the United States’ about a fifth, and the European Union’s just over a fifth of its fair share….  On the other hand, the majority of developing countries’ mitigation pledges exceed or broadly meet their fair share, including Kenya, the Marshall Islands, China, Indonesia, and India. Brazil’s INDC represents slightly more than two thirds of its fair share.
So, on the main question, what is on the table will warm the planet at least three times more above pre-industrial levels than what we currently have done, about 0.85 degrees Celsius.  No one wants to see worse effects from climate change than we are experiencing now, but that is inevitable since there is already enough carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the air to take us to 1.4 degrees, even if we stopped burning fossil fuels tomorrow.

To make matters worse, these “pledges” will not be legally binding commitments.  They will not even go into effect until 2020.  They will not be reviewed so they can be “ratcheted up” for five more years till 2025.  And they will take us well beyond the supposedly “safe” threshold of 2 degrees in the next quarter century.

This is what Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, President Obama, and other world “leaders” will hail as a success, if all goes well for them in Paris.

But to get agreement even on these dispiriting and ecocidal targets, they will need nearly every government of the world to agree that this is fair and reasonable.  To do so, they are going to have to come up with about $90 billion more for the Green Climate Fund than has been pledged so far.  And they will have to do something for Loss and Damage as well.

And herein lies a little room for hope.  Many countries – more than 100 – have said that they cannot live (in some cases literally) with 2 degrees of warming, and are demanding that the treaty inscribe 1.5 degrees as the target.

Many are insisting that $100 billion for the GCF is a non-negotiable promise (it was made at COP 15 back in 2009 in Copenhagen).  And others, such as the Philippines, need substantial funding for Loss and Damage as well.

So how exactly will the global North get an agreement under these circumstances?

The negotiating text has not shrunk below 50 pages in the multiple “intersessional” meetings that took place in 2015.

 Most of the text is in brackets, meaning that there are competing proposals for all of the clauses that involve these and other crucial issues.  There are seemingly unbridgeable differences of opinion among the nations at the table.

And the working time and process at a COP are simply not constructed to produce efficiency or progress in the negotiations.

Thus even if the will existed, and it doesn’t, it strikes me as absurd to think that these two weeks in Paris will get to the finish line.  They have kicked the can down the road for four years, avoiding all the intractable differences, barely making progress on the shape of the treaty itself, let alone the content.

On the other hand, Sunita Narain, who along with Chandra Bushan of the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment is the author of a devastating critique of US proposals on climate change – “Captain America:  U.S. Climate Goals – A Reckoning“ – has made perhaps the best case for how world leaders (and there are no world leaders in climate change, except perhaps for Pope Francis, who doesn’t have a country to bring to the table) are going to pull an agreement out of the hat.
So, what is likely to happen? Let me use my 20-COP past to map out the likely scenario and explain what it means for us in the emerging South that is already affected by unseasonal weather but needs its right to development.
First, there will be a Paris deal. This is a given. But to make it happen the French will make some clever moves, given that the current draft has been negotiated for over four years, is more than 50 pages long and full of disagreements. They have already changed the order of things by inviting heads of state on the first day and not the last. Everyone from Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is coming. The French will produce (and I hope with more finesse than the Danish government) a zero draft with the bare bones of the agreement at the start of the two-week meeting. The heads of state will have little room but to endorse this broad agreement. Then for the next two weeks negotiators will idle away time till the gavel comes down on the midnight of the last day.
Second, this zero draft for the Paris treaty will be minimalist and, therefore, seemingly non-controversial. It will endorse the submission of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which are voluntary commitments made by countries to cut carbon emissions. It will admit that the sum of these commitments does not add up to keeping the world below 2°C rise, which is seen to be the least risky option. But it will say that the agreement provides a stable and predictable foundation to ratchet up the commitments in the future.
Third, it will not make the commitment or the expected result legally binding. Instead it will make the procedure of submitting reports binding. It will also sidestep the tricky issue of review of INDCs, which countries like India have strangely objected to. It will simply say that in five years there will be a stock take of the aggregate of all INDCs. So no individual country’s progress will be reviewed, only the sum of their actions and how close it is to keeping the temperature rise below 2°C. On the really tricky issue of additional finance it will not mention specifics, just make a broad promise. And to keep the Americans happy it will try and do the finance bit on another piece of paper. In this way, the Paris Climate Change Treaty will be ready for signature even before the leaders leave. It will be weak but aspirational. The spin will be that it lays the ground for future action.
She goes on to pass judgment on what this would mean:
What it means is a little more than this. The world would have agreed to a framework, pushed by the US, which is voluntary, bottom up – countries decide what they will do rather than get targets based on their contribution to the problem – and most importantly universal. It breaks once and for all the distinction between developing and developed countries. As agreed in the Framework Convention on Climate Change, developed countries had to take the first and drastic action because of their historical responsibility.
It also means the US will appropriate an even greater share of the carbon budget, simply because its intended action is unambitious. The world is left with a limited space to emit greenhouse gases, if it wants to stay within a not-too-dangerous threshold. The still developing world – India and all of Africa – needs to increase emissions for its development. But by 2030, the timeframe of the intended Paris treaty, almost all the carbon budget would be gone. Our future right to development will be surrendered. We will be told to find a different way to grow economically. Ours has to be a low-carbon growth and if it is expensive, it is our problem. There will be no money or technology to aid us to get there.
This would be clever indeed.  It is precisely the dangerous scenario we have to block, to figure out how to throw a wrench with “climate justice” etched into it into its gears.

Where is the ambition in these rooms?
So who might make it awkward for the architects of this disastrous treaty in Paris?  In addition to the dozens of countries who are on record for a 1.5° temperature ceiling and the nearly unanimous desire for a legally binding treaty worthy of the name, there is the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a diverse set of countries who have formed a loose negotiating bloc for the summit.  Their Founding Communique gives some hope, insisting that “the minimum deliverable for the UN Climate Change Conference at Paris (UNFCCC COP21) is an agreement entirely consistent with the non-negotiable survival of our kind.”

AOSIS, the 44-member strong Alliance of Small Island States, has also endorsed keeping warming under the safer, if more difficult limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius, and has called on the nations of the world to be fully de-carbonized by 2050.

The 48-member Least Developed Countries bloc issued a statement in February calling for “emissions peaking for developed countries in 2015, with an aim of net zero emissions by 2050 in the context of equitable access to sustainable development.”

On the truly poignant side, Peru, Mexico, and Colombia have pledged money to the Green Climate Fund, shaming the wealthy nations of the world, who have so far put up only about $10 billion of the promised $100 billion annually by 2020 (the claim that there is actually now $62 billion promised to the Fund is full of double counting and includes forms of “aid” that come with plenty of strings attached).  Perhaps the wealthy should just ask the global South to fund the rest!

Hope and Possibility:  
Climate Justice at Cop 21 and Beyond, or, Why We Are Going and What We Hope to Do There for Climate Justice

I have just argued that the best possible outcome of the COP 21 negotiations would be not to agree on a treaty, but instead for the talks to descend into chaos in the halls in a scenario where nations inside the negotiations blocked any outcome because what is on the table is completely unacceptable.

 As this is the position of the vast majority of the global climate justice movement – that the COP process is hopelessly compromised and inadequate – we might ask:  What can or should the movement do in Paris to enable such an outcome, however slight the chance of it may seem?

In “Just Say ‘No’ to the Paris COP,” I outlined the variety of actions that the movement has planned for Paris.  I’d like to return to them here, updated under new circumstances, and with the COP itself (no pun intended) fast on our heels.

Global Climate Marches will take place (almost) everywhere
The November 29 marches in Paris and around the world are intended by their big NGO organizers such as Avaaz and to take the rhetoric of global leaders and turn it into a weapon with which to shame or encourage them into doing the right thing.

Their potential to appeal to newly active people in a variety of ways, taking into account that different people respond to different messages, aim to help forge a truly broad and deep climate justice movement, which will require moving more and more people into and through climate action to climate justice.

Now, of course, the situation on the ground in Paris is vastly altered after the November 13 massacre of 129 people by the terrorists of ISIS/Daesh.

So the organizers are calling for a huge turnout around the world to replace the momentum stolen by the French authorities from a march that would have numbered in the several hundred thousands – indeed, with the solidarity of the climate justice movement for real peace throughout the world based on social justice, it would not be too far-fetched to imagine that closer to a million people would have been in the streets of Paris, with Parisians responding to this solidarity.

After the Charlie Hebdo murders in January, some 1.6 million people marched in Paris and three million across France a week later;  think what could have been this time.
Meanwhile the People’s Pilgrimage, inspired by Pope Francis’s bracing climate encyclical Laudato Si, is set to arrive in Paris just before the COP opens on November 30. Yeb Saño, one of its co-organizers, points out that “Paris is not our destination.

Our real destination will be the hearts and minds of people, so our journey continues even after Paris.”  He told a group I was with this summer that “Paris is merely a six-year delay of what was promised in Copenhagen.

Paris will give us a ten to fifteen page ‘Motherhood’ statement with lots of ‘creative ambiguity.’  Unless we change the system, the same system that got us into the crisis, the negotiations process cannot, for the life of me, I cannot see it get us out of it.”

The question remains:  what will happen in Paris on November 29?  I will be there with a dozen other members of the Climate Justice Project with the aim of participating fully in the actions and doing our best to report on them.  I know that I will show up at the duly appointed place and time, and we will have to see who else does.

The Climate Games
Creative ideas abound in this movement, and there will be many thousands of imaginative, passionate people on hand to enact them.  In the aftermath of the French crackdown on public demonstrations, the role that will be played throughout COP 21 by participants in the Climate Games looms even larger than before.

Organized by the Laboratory of Insurrectional Imagination (le Labofii) as an open call to anyone who feels moved to do express their views about the COP and the larger forces behind it, conceived as the Mesh – “austerity-dictating politicians, fossil fuel corporations, industry lobbyists, peddlers of false solutions and greenwashers,” it anticipates a joyful chaos that will bring together “artists, activists, designers, scientists, hackers, architects, gamers, performers and other citizens together to conceptualise, and build and rehearse ef­fective new tools and tactics of resistance to be used during the COP21.”

Teams of activists will form to engage in “a mass participation transmedia action framework that merges the street, disobedient bodies and cyberspace, and turns the city into a total resistance performance event open to all.”

The Climate Games organizers’ eloquent response to November 13 merits quoting in full:
First of all, we want to clearly state our solidarity with all victims of all forms of terror. Machine guns and explosives hurt the same whether in Paris or Beirut, Ankara or Yola, Damascus or Kobane, Baghdad or elsewhere. The hurt feels the same whether it comes from the gun of a jihadist or a police officer, the missiles of a fighter plane or a drone.
These attacks must not change the conversation but deepen it. We want to clearly state that our dedication for social and climate justice remains as strong as ever. We are convinced that the geopolitical and economic dynamics that underpin climate chaos are the same as those that feed terrorism. From the oil wars in Iraq to the droughts in Syria caused by ecological collapse, all feed the same inequalities that lead to cycles of violent conflict.
We are writing this from a city under a state of emergency. The government has announced that the COP21 negotiations will go on, but all public outdoor demonstrations across France, including the Global Climate March and the day of mass actions on December 12th, have been banned. We refuse this shadow of the future, we will not bend to the politics of fear that stifle liberties in the name of security. The biggest threat to security, to life in all its forms, is the system that drives the climate disaster. History is never made by those who ask permission.
We believe that COP21 can not take place without the participation or mobilizations of civil society while governments and multinationals continue with business as usual. Only the Climate Justice movements with their disobedient bodies will be able to do the necessary work of keeping 80% of the fossil fuels in the ground.
We are still and more than ever dedicated to forms of actions that aim to address the root causes of climate chaos in determined non-violent ways. Our playing field has been totally transformed in Paris, but everywhere else in the world we encourage people to continue with their plans and adventures. We call all teams in Paris to take into account the exceptional circumstances and to not put anyone in fear or danger.
The decentralised creative nature of the Climate Games could become the alternative nonviolent response to this state of emergency. Like the mushrooms that emerge at dawn, the ants that scuttle across borders at night we will rise out of fear and shock, we will adapt and resist. We are not fighting for nature, we are nature defending itself.
For details, and to enter, stay tuned here.

A People’s Climate Strike Builds Out from Paris
Another intriguing and promising new strategy for the movement that will have its premiere in Paris is that of a global or people’s climate strike.  As Ben Manski and Jill Stein explain:  “What makes a strike different from mere protest? A strike is an economic stoppage. A strike does not plead. It does not demand. It simply does.”
 A People’s Climate Strike is being planned – to bring the engines of economic and ecological destruction to a grinding halt, demonstrate our growing power, and promote community-controlled, just, and green alternatives. The People’s Climate Strike will move us from the symbolism of marches towards the assertion of power in the streets. We will begin to develop a tool that has been essential for democratic social change throughout history.
In Paris, there is a call for students (including children) to skip classes or turn their schools into sites of climate action on November 30, the day the COP opens.  There are actions planned for seventy countries on that day.  In the eyes of the organizers, “The adult generations have promised to stop the climate crisis, but they have skipped their homework year after year. Climate strike is a wake-up call to our own generation. And it is the start of a network that will solve the greatest challenge in human history. Together. We need your hands and hearts and smarts!”  The measure of its success will be the number of people who raise their hands:
“The open hand is the symbol of Climate Strike. If you agree to the three demands of Climate Strike: 
  1. fossils should stay in the ground, 
  2. transition to 100% clean energy,
  3. help people impacted by climate change then show the world your hand.”

Creating a People’s Alternative to the COP 
At every COP, movements seek to create strong counter-spaces and projects, whose impact on countless activists over the years would be hard to overestimate.

In Paris, the network of French and global organizers who have come together as Coalition Climat21 has shown an astonishing capacity to make it possible to share insights, teach skills, strengthen bonds, plan actions, and envision futures across a variety of venues.

One of these will be a two-day Citizen Climate Summit or “Village of Alternatives” on December 5 and 6, in Montreuil, a working-class neighborhood of Paris where my group will be staying.  In the words of the organizers of the Coalition Climat21, this will be a place “to put forward solutions tackling climate change.

Let’s show decision-makers that these solutions already exist and are building a better world: with more justice, more solidarity, more happiness! … Putting in common our experience, analyses, struggles, and hopes will enable us to anchor our movement for the long-term.”

This will be followed between December 7 and 11 at the Climate Action Zone (ZAC) at the CENTQUATRE-PARIS in the northern part of Paris, where “All people are welcome – from the activists who will come from every corner of the world to local French high school students.  Here one can get basic information on the climate crisis and the UN negotiations, as well as meet with others to share information, create, and organize.”

During the “crunch time” of the second week of the COP when the negotiations will likely be floundering, participants in the Climate Action Zone will generate plans for their movements’ actions and messages at the end of the COP on Friday, December 11, and Saturday, December 12, seizing our chance to “have the final word” on COP21.  As Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! puts it:  “If the leaders fail, many will be there to storm the Bastille.”

The Streets Await Us
Things are most definitely heating up (so to speak) for Paris.  While the French state cries for a war on terrorism and denies our civil liberties, this is being met with a cry for a just peace with climate justice.
COP 21 is a litmus test of where power lies.  The balance of forces has greatly changed, and the climate justice movement is much savvier than at Copenhagen in 2009.  In the heart-wrenching words of the Network of Spiritual Progressives:
What if the wake-up call of these kinds of acts are to help us see that the only real response (once we recognize the existential crisis of being alive, being vulnerable, not knowing if we will live or die today and try to find some acceptance and peace with that while we go about living our lives and perhaps in remembering our vulnerability we choose to live our lives more fully, love more unconditionally, and be more generous and kind) is to build a movement and take back our country and our world. Perhaps this moment is a call to action – not to create a false sense of safety or security or to turn more inward – for ordinary people to rise-up and lead because our leaders are failing us.
In this crucial moment of history, I don’t think I could rise out of bed in the morning if it wasn’t for the global climate justice movement – its creativity, growing numbers, passion, imagination, grit, and joyfulness.

In hopes to see you or your spirit on the streets of Paris!


No Nukes to save Climate

SUBHEAD: Will 1000 Gigawatts of new nuclear capacity will support an ambitious COP 21 agreement?

By Juan Wilson on 30 November 2015 for Island Breath -

Image above: Oil on canvas painting "The Neighbor" by Mark Bryan. From (

Recently I've found myself on a mailing list from the World Nuclear Association (WNA). They are a group that is claiming we can save the world from the worst effects of global warming by a crash course of building nuclear power reactors.

Se the box below for the content of their email.

The are calling for 1,000 gigawatts of new nuclear power capability. To get an idea of the scale of this proposal consider that the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station had six operational reactors with a total capacity of 4.7 gigawatts.

That would mean that the WNA is advising the building approximately 1,200 GE boiling water nuclear reactors on the scale of those that continue to poison Japan and the Pacific Ocean. This is a patently insane course of action.

As it is, there is no long term energy or resources to support and maintain the existing 439 nuclear power plants that exist today, or the 69 under construction today. I say that because:
  • The length of time needed to contain and control the radioactive materials in those reactors is measured in the thousands of years. 
  • The need for the continual requirements for fossil fuels, interstate highways, operating heavy duty equipment, machine shops are unlikely to be sustainable.
  • The technology, knowledge, expertise, experience and educational facilities needed to support the long term safety of nuclear power plants is likely to disappear as did our ability to continue the extraterrestrial exploration that we were involved in just two generations ago.
I won't go into the need for maintaining the world's nuclear weapons material. But imagine the next half century during which the 500 or so the still operating nuclear plants have to be decommissioned. Imagine 20% of them failing and joining Fukushima Daiichi spewing poisonous radioactive isotopes into the environment for eons. 

Back in 2014 I wrote (
Even some of the most influential councils I have heard in the past few decades are flailing to find a way back to the "good old days". I can understand why techno-optimist Bill Gates - Founder of Microsoft - would be trying to keep all the juice flowing but why would these guys be turning to cranking up the dial on nuclear power?
Stuart Brand - Creator of the Whole Earth Catalog
James Lovelock - The discoverer of the Gaia Principle
James Hansen - NASA scientist who warned of Global Warming 
All have become enthusiastic supporters of replacing fossil fuels by building nukes. They argue (successfully) that we cannot support the lifestyle we have become accustomed to with alternative renewable energy sources like solar, wind, hydro, wave, etc.

What that tells me is that they are not ready to simply live with less. That is what is happening. We are experiencing an impoverishment that is the result of dirtier, more expensive and harder to get energy.

Fighting to maintain our lifestyle will be a situation that can lead to very bad human behavior. Turning to nuclear energy to charge our iPad and Prius is one very bad behavior.
And the madness continues. The COP21 climate conference in Paris has begun. The government and government representatives desperately wanting "more of the same" scarfing at the trough are wheeling and dealing.

The last thing they want to express is the idea that things will be changing in the near term. We will be forced to abandon our current ways and face a new reality. We will consume less or suffer a Martian atmosphere. Life will go on - but without primates and whales.

I suggest you might contact  Jonathan Cobb at the World Nuclear Association.
Media Contact:
Jonathan Cobb: +44(0)20 7451 1536
There are some Island Breath article on the subject of the Fukushima Daiichi multiple meltdowns. Nuclear power has proved to be uncontrollable.

World Nuclear Association

The COP 21 negotiations in Paris should reach an agreement that encourages a transition to a low carbon society by making better use of nuclear energy alongside other mitigation options, according to the World Nuclear Association.

Director General Agneta Rising said “To implement the goals of an ambitious COP 21 agreement governments need to develop policies that encourage investment in low carbon generation, especially nuclear energy.  We need 1000 GWe of new nuclear capacity by 2050 to combat climate change. This will require effective regulation and markets that value low carbon emissions and reliable supplies.”

The IPCC says that emissions from the electricity generation sector should fall by 80% by 2050 (1) to prevent a greater than  two degrees Celsius rise in average global temperatures. While this seems challenging, electricity generation is one sector where a low carbon path has been proven with technology available today. Countries such as Switzerland, Brazil, Sweden and France have achieved low carbon electricity supplies through combinations of generation from nuclear energy and renewables.

Nuclear energy is a proven provider of affordable, reliable low carbon electricity. Over the last fifty years nuclear generation has been estimated to have avoided the emission of more than 60 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (2). That's more than ten times the annual carbon dioxide emissions from the world's road transport (3).

Director General Agneta Rising continued: “France has shown that with nuclear energy an affordable low carbon generation mix is achievable. COP 21 must deliver an agreement that helps us achieve a low carbon emissions world.”

Media Contact:
Jonathan Cobb: +44(0)20 7451 1536
The World Nuclear Association is the industry organisation that represents the global nuclear industry. Its mission is to promote a wider understanding of nuclear energy among key international influencers by producing authoritative information, developing common industry positions, and contributing to the energy debate, as well as to pave the way for expanding nuclear business. We are joining with more than 140 societies and associations on the Nuclear for Climate initiative. For more information see

(1) IPCC Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change Chapter 7 p516

(2) “Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power”,  Pushker A. Kharecha* and James E. Hansen, Environ. Sci. Technol. 2013

(3) IPCC Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change Chapter 8 p606

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima impacts are ongoing 11/8/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Petroleum and Nuclear Coverups 10/21/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Radiation Contamination 10/13/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Radioactive floods damage Japan 9/22/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fir trees damaged by Fukushima 8/30/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan restarts a nuclear plant 8/11/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima disaster will continue 7/21/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Too many fish in the sea? 6/22/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima prefecture uninhabitable 6/6/15
Ea O Ka Aina: In case you've forgotten Fukushima 5/27/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Radiation damages top predator bird 4/24/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukshima die-offs occurring 4/17/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Impact Update 4/13/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima - the end of atomic power 3/13/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Where is the Fukushima Data? 2/21/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fuku-Undo 2/4/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima MOX fuel crossed Pacific 2/4/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima worst human disaster 1/26/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan to kill Pacific Ocean 1/23/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan's Environmental Catastrophe 8/25/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Earthday TPP Fukushima RIMPAC 4/22/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Daiichi hot particles 5/30/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Japanese radiation denial 5/12/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Entomb Fukushima Daiichi now 4/6/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Disaster 3 Years Old 4/3/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Tsunami, Fukushima and Kauai 3/9/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Japanese contamination 2/16/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Bill for Fukushima monitoring 2/9/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Tepco under reporting of radiation 2/9/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Fallout in Alaska 1/25/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima engineer against nukes 1/17/14
Ea O Ka Aina: California to monitor ocean radiation 1/14/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Demystifying Fukushima Reactor #3 1/1/14
Ea O Ka Aina: US & Japan know criticality brewing 12/29/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Forever 12/17/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Brief radiation spike on Kauai 12/27/13
Ea O Ka Aina: USS Ronald Reagan & Fukushima 12/15/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Pacific Impact 12/11/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Berkeley and Fukushima health risks 12/10/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Madness engulfs Japan 12/4/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Edo Japan and Fukushima Recovery 11/30/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Reaction to Fukushima is Fascism 11/30/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima - What me worry? 11/29/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Radioisotopes in the Northern Pacific 11/22/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima cleanup in critical phase 11/18/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima fuel removal to start 11/14/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Remove other Fukushina fuel 10/29/13
Ea O Ka Aina: End to Japanese Nuclear Power? 10/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima & Poisoned Fish 10/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fuel Danger at Fukushima 9/27/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Reactor #4 Spent Fuel Pool 9/16/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima is Not Going Away 9/9/13
Ea O Ka Aina: X-Men like Ice Wall for Fukushima 9/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima House of Horrors 8/21/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Apocalypse 8/21/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Radioactive Dust 8/20/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Cocooning Fukushima Daiichi 8/16/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima radiation coverup 8/12/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Leakage at Fukushima an emergency 8/5/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima burns on and on 7/26/13
Ea O Ka Aina: What the Fukashima? 7/24/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Spiking 7/15/13
Ea O Ka Aina: G20 Agenda Item #1 - Fix Fukushima 7/7/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima and hypothyroid in Hawaii 4/9/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan to release radioactive water 2/8/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima as Roshoman 1/14/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushia Radiation Report 10/24/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Fallout 9/14/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Unit 4 Danger 7/22/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima denial & extinction ethics 5/14/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima worse than Chernobyl 4/24/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima dangers continue 4/22/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima children condemned 3/8/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima fights chain reaction 2/7/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Tepco faking Fukushima fix 12/24/11
Ea O Ka Aina: The Non Battle for Fukushima 11/10/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Debris nears Midway 10/14/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Radiation Danger 7/10/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Abandoned 9/28/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Deadly Radiation at Fukushima 8/3/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima poisons Japanese food 7/25/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Black Rain in Japan 7/22/11
Ea O Ka Aina: UK PR downplays Fukushima 7/1/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima #2 & #3 meltdown 5/17/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima sustained chain reaction 5/3/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Ocean Radioactivity in Fukushima 4/16/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan raises nuclear disaster level 4/12/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima No Go Zone Expanding 4/11/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima to be Decommissioned 4/8/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Poisons Fish 4/6/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Learning from Fukushima 4/4/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Leak goes Unplugged 4/3/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Stick a fork in it - It's done! 4/2/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima reactors reach criticality 3/31/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Non-Containment 3/30/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Meltdown 3/29/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Water Blessing & Curse 3/28/11

A New Grand Narrative

SUBHEAD: Climate change is now the grand narrative - and what we do about it will be a worldwide story.

By Kurt Cobb on 29 November 2015 for Resource Insights -

Image above: Painting "Society of Consumption by Lorenzo Paolini. From (

There is the story of our personal lives: our family, our friends, our jobs, our hobbies. There is the story of our communities: our civic, religious, business, artistic and recreational lives. There is the story of our nations: their internal political struggles and their struggles with each other.

But now, there is one grand narrative which ties us all together, whether we want to be connected or not, whether we are preoccupied with our personal, community or national narratives or not.

That is the narrative of our changing climate and the resulting threat to the continuity of our world civilization. The upcoming climate talks in Paris this week are but one expression of this new reality.

Even people who oppose doing anything about climate change are forced to talk about it. Even people who somehow have convinced themselves that climate change is not happening and oddly, in the same breath, claim that humans have nothing to do with this thing that is not happening--even those people confirm by their very framing of the issue that they are firmly situated inside this narrative.

Climate change is now the grand narrative because what happens to climate and what we do about it will be a worldwide story which no one can ignore.

As such there will be few people without an opinion on the issue of climate change. Increasingly, it will reach down into our national, community and personal lives in ways we had hoped would wait until we are gone. The droughts, the heat, the floods, the damage to crops, the lengthening summer, the late fall, and the early spring--none of them can escape our notice.

We are forced to incorporate the changing climate into our everyday conversations. It is already a big topic among anyone who gardens and certainly anyone who farms. Among those in touch with plants the evidence of a changing climate is incontrovertible.

The grand tension will be how to address climate change without giving up the abundant energy, food and technology that have given us such comfort, ease, mobility and opportunity. Neither side in the debate over what to do wants to relinquish the hope that we will have to give up almost nothing.

One side says we should continue to burn fossil fuels, to raze the forests, and to farm the fields in ways that release carbon from the soil into the air...and that we will continue to be able to live the modern industrial life we've become used to. Any consequences of climate change will be manageable (an argument that becomes less plausible with each passing day).

The other side implores us to embrace carbon-free energy sources, move toward better care of the forests and the soil, sip what energy we use instead of gulping it, adjust our habits and lifestyles...and we will continue to be able to live a green version of the modern industrial life we've become used to.
But underneath it all, we fear and suspect that either path will involve some loss, some sacrifice.

And, it is that fear and suspicion which prevents us from committing to do what we must do to save the best parts of our culture and society while letting go of the worst. It is the fear of change and the fear of loss which is holding us back from truly addressing the existential threat of climate change.
If someone were holding a gun to our heads, it would be clear that we were in danger.

But, climate change creeps into our lives gradually. Few people can see that climate now has a seat at every negotiating table, that climate has become a political actor with an unyielding, non-negotiable position.

We can choose to think of climate change as a brutal, remorseless malefactor with no sympathy for humankind. But we can also choose to think of climate change as a messenger, a symptom like a recurrent fever, telling us that our society has overstepped its bounds and needs to rethink its way of life to regain its health--or face worse consequences.

It is in the evolutionary makeup of humans to seek to maximize their power intake. In fact, it is in the evolutionary makeup of every organism to do so. By maximizing the power available to us we increase our chances of survival as individuals and as a species. But, this impulse is at the heart of our climate difficulties.

Like a pioneer species in a clearcut forest, humans expanded rapidly after the broad deployment of fossil fuels. But, pioneer species ultimately give way to mature forests which reach optimum rates of energy, mineral and water cycling--rates that can maintain the balance of the forest over very long periods. The forest enters a less dynamic, but stable equilibrium that makes longevity possible.

To borrow from economist Herman Daly, we now live in a "full world" and we must come to grips with that new reality. Human society cannot grow its consumption of energy and resources forever. But we can grow in our social, artistic, intellectual and spiritual lives indefinitely.

Climate change is giving us the first universally understood signal that it is time to reconsider our collective future. Will we risk the destruction of all that we hold dear in exchange for a few more decades of a fossil fuel party that is undermining our health and the health of the planet?

Or will we choose to embrace not only changes in the physical infrastructure upon which we base our material lives, but also a new vision that can endlessly engage our hearts, minds and spirits in the kind of growth that has no limit?

Our answers represent the climax in the new grand narrative of climate change - essentially a choice that will be reflected in our individual daily acts and in the collective acts of our communities and our nations. 

Kurt Cobb is an author, speaker, and columnist focusing on energy and the environment. He is a regular contributor to the Energy Voices section of The Christian Science Monitor and author of the peak-oil-themed novel Prelude. In addition, he has written columns for the Paris-based science news site Scitizen, and his work has been featured on Energy Bulletin (now, The Oil Drum,, Econ Matters, Peak Oil Review, 321energy, Common Dreams, Le Monde Diplomatique and many other sites. He maintains a blog called Resource Insights and can be contacted at


Paris - Le Overture

SUBHEAD: The concept that a warming limit could guarantees protection from anthropogenic interference, no longer works.

By Albert Bates on 29 November 2015 for The Great Change -

Image above: The rather weak and banal logo for the COP21 conference in Paris next about to begin. From (

Today we are in Paris, site of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of Parties (COP21). We have been reporting from these conferences for this blog since early 2008, with the run-up to COP19 in Copenhagen. Each time there has been much ado about the potential for transformative action and each time, by the end of the two weeks, it turns into just adieu and see you next year.

The past three conferences in particular (Doha 2012, Warsaw 2013, Lima 2014) were really just treading water, trying to iron out differences enough to proceed to a formal, legally binding document to be adopted here in Paris this year, in 14 days time.

In 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit, the UN member countries negotiated an international treaty to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and to cope with whatever other impacts of reckless fossil fuel use were, by then, inevitable. These annual conferences at the beginning of every December were intended to reach those decisions.

It took only three years for the COPs to recognize that the minor emission reductions they had imagined at first glance in the giddy Summit at Rio would be totally inadequate. So, they launched negotiations to strengthen the international response and, two years later, in 1997, adopted the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol legally bound overdeveloped countries to emission reduction targets while giving the underdeveloping countries a pass. This eventually caused a lot of friction, because many of the countries who got passes, China and India for instance, took that opportunity to build hundreds of coal-fired power plants and become the world's leading greenhouse gas polluters.

The US Head Negotiator, Todd Stern, told the Guardian:
“We have a situation where 60-65% of emissions come from developing countries. That’s a good thing. It means that developing countries are developing. But you cannot solve climate change on the back of the 35%.
A watershed moment for the negotiating process occurred in Copenhagen when the world was on the verge of enacting a binding treaty to replace Kyoto, with everyone included and sanctions for scoff-laws. At the last moment Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama swooped in and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, substituting a voluntary pledge system (Independent Nationally Determined Contributions, all non-binding) that only 5 countries were willing to sign, but it was enough to torpedo the treaty. In a recent Presidential campaign debate Ms. Clinton called it one of her great moments of leadership on the climate issue, which rescued the Copenhagen talks.

It is true there were differences of opinion about how close Copenhagen was to actually sealing the deal. “By the time [Obama arrived in Copenhagen] things had already unravelled and then had to be put back together,” according to Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications at the White House. Rhodes said that in Paris Obama's tactics would be different. “The goal here is to give a push with heads of state at the beginning of the process and then allow [Secretary of State John] Kerry and others to finalize the details.”

The old protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012. Despite the debacle in Copenhagen, most of the European countries hit their targets. Total emissions for all other overdeveloped countries rose by about 10 percent. China's rose about 10 percent per year and it is now the world's largest emitter. Canada was committed to cutting its greenhouse emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2012, but in 2009 emissions were 17% higher than in 1990 and the Harper government prioritized tar sand development in Alberta. Canada's emissions are now up 34% from baseline and Australia is in similar territory. In Doha at COP18, 36 UN member states agreed to extend Kyoto for another round, beginning in 2013 and running to 2020 but without the major polluters on board it is a feeble effort.

Kyoto is generally viewed as a limited success. Among the overdeveloped, France, the UK and Germany achieved reductions of 7, 15 and 19 percent. In any event, these reductions pale when compared to the impact of peat fires in Indonesia, deforestation in Brazil or methane releases in Siberia.

At COP16 in 2010, the rest of the world, recognizing that the United States had been allowed to hijack the Copenhagen meeting, put the UN multiparty process back on track with the Cancun Agreements. Fast start finance (a.k.a. dollar diplomacy) brought pledges from the US and Europe to mobilize through international institutions, approaching 30 billion dollars for the period 2010-2012. Funding for adaptation was allocated to the most vulnerable underdeveloping countries, such as small island States and equatorial Africa, but nobody really knows whether or when that money will show up.

At Paris the various governments are “invited” to provide information on their efforts to reduce emissions (calculated, for the underdeveloping, as reductions on theoretical maximum development burn – Business As Usual, or “BAU” – to more modest, “responsible,” but nonetheless increased burns) and to please let everyone know how soon and by what means the promised great wealth transfer will take place.

Nonetheless, by slow increments, the noose is gradually tightening around the neck of fossil fuel companies and their government backers. All governments re-committed in Durban to a comprehensive plan that would come closer over time to delivering the ultimate objective of the Convention: to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would “prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system” and at the same time preserve the rights of the 5 billion world poor to “sustainable development.” Let us set aside for a moment the incompatibility of those two goals as their terms are presently defined.

Durban made two very important adjustments to the Cancun Agreements. First, that COP said that science will trump politics and that if it should be proven, for instance, that 2 degrees is not a sufficient guard rail to prevent human civilization from veering over the cliff into dangerous climate change, the goal can adjusted. A scientific review process was established to monitor the goal and “to ensure that collective action is adequate to prevent the average global temperature rising beyond the agreed limit.”

Secondly, the Durban COP said very firmly that the 2015 COP in Paris would deliver “a new and universal greenhouse gas reduction protocol, legal instrument or other outcome with legal force that would set requirements for the period beyond 2020.” This specification of a “legal instrument” or “legal force” was agreed to by the United States, China and the other key players right there in Durban with the whole world watching.

The likelihood Paris will produce a binding treaty was cast into doubt when the Financial Times interviewed US Secretary of State John Kerry a few weeks ago. Kerry told FT there were "not going to be legally binding reduction targets like Kyoto.”

French President Hollande immediately replied in the press that "if the agreement is not legally binding, there will be no agreement. We must give the Paris agreement, if there is one, a binding character in the sense that the commitments that are made must be kept and respected."

“This is not hot air. This is a real agreement, with real terms,” said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

Backpeddling under fire, a spokesperson for the US state department told The New York Times that while the FT article "may have been read to suggest that the US supports a completely nonbinding approach … that is not the case, and is not Secretary Kerry's position".

COP18 in Doha was, as we said, the start of the Paris prelude. One significant bump was release of The World Bank's "Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided", showing that the world is on track towards a 4 degrees Celsius temperature rise, should the currently inadequate level of ambition remain. Doha responded to that challenge by triggering the Durban process to review the long-term temperature goal. They set up a Structured Expert Dialog – 70 wise men – that was to start in 2013 and conclude by 2015.

COP19 in Warsaw moved us a little closer. The rulebook for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) was agreed, together with measures to bolster forest preservation and a results-based payment system to promote forest protection. Overdeveloped countries met the target capitalization of $100 million for the Adaptation Fund, which can now fund priority projects. Governments established the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage to address losses and damages associated with long-term climate change impacts in countries that are especially vulnerable to such impacts.

COP20 in Lima was more of the same, more agenda-setting for the run-up to Paris and the signing of a formal treaty. It came close to faltering over the issue of “common but differentiated responsibilities,” (the distinction between the expected pledges from overdeveloped and underdeveloping Parties). At COP 17 in Durban in 2011, countries agreed that the post-2020 actions to be negotiated in Paris would be “applicable to all.” Alton Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists observed:
The differentiation issue nearly blocked the final decision in Lima, where the stakes were actually quite small. In Paris next year, the stakes will be quite high: nothing less than the shape of the climate regime for the next several decades. It will not be possible to paper over sharp differences on this issue with artful language that different groupings can interpret in a way favorable to their position, as happened in the last hours of Lima.

The anticipated report of the meeting of the 70 wise men, the Structured Expert Dialog or “SED,” was issued in February 2015 and reviewed by government delegates at the pre-COP meeting in Bonn in June. This is a very important 180-page document and bears spending some time to read.

The document divides the dialog into three parts: Theme 1 – the adequacy of the long-term global goal
 in the light of the ultimate objective; Theme 2 – overall progress made towards achieving the long-term global goal; Theme 3 — consideration of strengthening the long-term global goal.

It starts off addressing whether temperature is an adequate warning gauge for climate change:
Message 1: A long term global goal defined by a temperature limit serves its purpose well… Adding other limits to the long-term global goal, such as sea level rise or ocean acidification, only reinforces the basic finding emerging from the analysis of the temperature limit, namely that we need to take urgent and strong action to reduce GHG emissions.
On the Y axis or axis of ordinates is temperature change in degrees C. To the left of the vertical axis line is a set of brightly colored bar graphs representing corresponding risks of each degree of warming.

Things to note:
  1.  Two degrees is far from safe. It represents “dangerous interference with climate systems” to quote the Framework Convention.
  2.  At 1.5 degrees there is a high degree of likelihood we will lose unique and threatened systems and experience extreme weather events. (Note, the risk of extreme weather at today's 1-degree elevation is considered moderate). At 2 degrees these move into the deep red and the distribution of impacts becomes high, meaning almost no-one escapes.
On the X axis or axis of abscissas, are the cumulative total emissions of CO2 since 1870. Right now we have taken about 2500 GtCO2 out of the ground, resulting in a net atmospheric concentration of 400 ppm. The chart reports that we could probably go to 4000 GtCO2 and 580 ppm before we exceed the 2 degree limit. This is dangerous nonsense and one is left scratching one's head at how this could have been decided. It guarantees resumption of that food fight between India, Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil and others about how many “parking spaces” in that big parking lot in the sky remain for “sustainable development” (read: still to be constructed coal plants).

Here is a short run-down of the other messages of the Structured Expert Dialog:

On Theme One:
  • Limiting global warming to below 2 °C necessitates a radical transition (deep decarbonization now and going forward), not merely a fine tuning of current trends.
  • Risks will be increasingly unevenly distributed; responses need to be made by each location.
  • The ‘guard rail’ concept, which implies a warming limit that guarantees full protection from dangerous anthropogenic interference, no longer works. What is called for is a consideration of societally acceptable risk.
  • At 4 degrees effects are non-linear; more than double 2 degrees. The catch potential of fisheries would be greatly reduced and crop production would be beyond adaptation in many areas. Sea level rise would far exceed 1 m.
On Theme Two:
  • We know how to measure progress on mitigation but not on adaptation.
  • The world is not on track to achieve the long-term global goal, but successful mitigation policies are known and must be scaled up urgently.
  • Under present economic regimes, spending on ‘brown’ technologies will continue to grow faster than spending on green technologies. 
  • Scaling up means putting a price on carbon and promoting low-carbon technologies, so that their share becomes dominant.
On Theme Three:
  • The ‘guard rail’ concept, in which up to 2 °C of warming is considered safe, is inadequate and would therefore be better seen as an upper limit, a defense line that needs to be stringently defended, while less warming would be preferable. 
  • Limiting global warming to below 2 °C is still feasible and will bring about many co-benefits, but poses substantial technological, economic and institutional challenges.
  • Parties may wish to take a precautionary route by aiming for limiting global warming as far below 2 °C as possible, discarding the notion of a guardrail but thinking more of a defense line or even a buffer zone.
We shall return to these themes in our next post. Tomorrow is the Summit's opening day. Those interested can follow us in real time on Twitter: @peaksurfer.

Shrinking the Technosphere - Part 7

SUBHEAD: You will be near one of the major Eurasian or North American north-flowing rivers that empty into the Arctic Ocean.

By Dmitry Orlov on 24 November 2015 for Club Orlov -

Image above: Reshaping of the coastline of the Arctic Ocean due to global warming and rising oceans. From (

You have survived your first winter on the land. Congratulations! The worst part of the ordeal is quite possibly over. Gone are whatever addictions and expectations with which you arrived, be they internet access or coffee.

Your new world consists of the few people around you, and a huge number of plants and animals. But it is a world that is indisputably yours—to make the best of, and to pass along to your children and grandchildren.

In the beginning some elements of unnaturelike technology will persist. But as seasons wear on your newfound world will no longer include electricity or electronics, synthetic materials or fabrics, internal combustion engines (no more outboard engines, snowmobiles or chainsaws). Firearms, synthetic pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and much else will quietly fade from memory.

In place of gadgets there will be books: the riverboat that makes its rounds of shoreline settlements exactly once a year—in midsummer—carries a lending library, dropping off books one summer and picking them up the next.

It also distributes a set of textbooks made available by the government: language and literature, mathematics, botany, biology, chemistry, physics, geography and geology. Some of the textbooks haven't changed in many generations; after all, there has been very little new that would be useful to you.

Others have needed an update or two; the geography textbook no longer lists countries such as Bangladesh, Kiribati or US states such as Louisiana and Florida, which won't be around for much longer. Numerous failed states with morbid populations and undefended borders will be given scant mention.

In place of synthetic fabrics or cotton there will be cloth of flax and hemp (cotton goes away along with industrial chemistry, on which it depends for pesticides). Much use will be made of leather, wool and fur, the last of which already essential for your continued survival.

In place of internal combustion engines there is muscle—animal or human. Since pharmaceuticals are largely gone, everyone is busy picking and cultivating medicinal plants and practicing preventive therapies. A favorite for killing off viruses is a trip to the sauna followed by a roll in a snowbank or a dip in an ice hole.

Metals will be about the only relic of industrialism still in widespread use. There is no practical limit to the amount of mild steel scrap that will be available from industrial ruins—enough to keep all the blacksmiths (of a much smaller and widely dispersed population) busy for thousands of generations. Copper will remain a favorite, since it can be cold-worked into any shape. Where metals will be scarce, skilled artisans will work them with stone tools.

This may seem like a harsh life, but all of the alternatives are worse. As the average global temperature rises by over 17ºC—far in excess of the 2ºC still bandied about by the politicians and their court scientists—most of the inland areas further south will be made unlivable by summer heat waves with wet bulb temperatures in excess of 35ºC.

Without air conditioning such temperatures are lethal, and summer heatwaves, accompanied by blackouts, will kill off entire cities. Coastal cities will perish for a different reason: ocean level will rise by at least 30 meters, putting them permanently under the waves. With the disappearance of mountain glaciers entire countries that depend on glacial melt for irrigation—and there are many of them—will starve.

For populations used to living on the coasts and earning a living from the sea moving further inland will not help much—because of all the nuclear power plants that will go underwater with their spent fuel pools still stocked, producing hundreds of new Fukushimas that will make the oceans too radioactive to fish. And as climate change continues and accelerates all of these problems will get worse and worse.

But then here you will be, near one of the major Eurasian or North American north-flowing rivers that empty into the Arctic Ocean—Lena, Ob', Yenisey or McKenzie. You are high enough above the quickly rising ocean level, and away from everything else—including the still crowded major population centers that will be getting ready to go through an episode of mass extinction.

If the summers get too hot or too dry, you can relocate further downstream, closer to the Arctic Circle, where it will be cooler and wetter.

All the while, you can go on practicing your Naturelike Technology Suite, some of which has not changed much since the landscape you now occupy was first settled thousands of years ago. In the summer, the now ice-free, navigable Arctic Ocean will allow the surviving remnants of humanity to keep in touch.

But to make such a best-case scenario possible in a now guaranteed worst-case environment will take more than just relocation and successful adaptation.

What has driven the planet to the edge of an environmental abyss is a culture, and the economic system it enables, which worships the blind pursuit of profit and growth at any cost.

This culture, based on rapine and plunder, if allowed to persist, will drive the planet over the edge of the abyss even as it and the people trapped in it go extinct.

Can it be stopped? That is what we will look at next.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: The Shrinking Technosphere - Part 6 11/17/15


Don't Bomb Syria

SUBHEAD: There are protests across the United Kingdom against participation in bombing Syria as  vote looms.

By Staff on 28 November 2015 for Common Dreams -

Image above: Demonstrators protest against British bombing of Syria outside Downing Street in London, Britain, 28 November 2015. British Prime Minister David Cameron is calling on MP's to vote for Britain to join France with bombing raids against ISIS in Syria. From original article.

Thousands of people protested in London and around Britain Saturday against Britain joining in bombing attacks on ISIS in Syria.

The UK Parliament will vote next week on whether to join with the US and France in launching air strikes on Syria. Prime Minister David Cameron is leading the push for bombing.

The UK protests are organized by the Stop The War Coalition movement, which is also holding a string of other demonstrations around Britain.

The Stop The War Coalition said in a statement. "The proposed vote in Parliament on bombing Syria by British forces is likely to take place within the next week. The vote is more likely following the terrible events in Paris. Yet this bombing will not stop terror attacks. Stop the War is opposed to this military response."

Cameron's previous government suffered a humiliating defeat in 2013 over launching military action against the Assad government and did not push for the UK to join in bombing Syria to a vote last year.

Current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is a founder of the Stop The War Coalition, opposes air strikes.


Agent Orange Crops Halted

SOURCE: Shaka Movement (
SUBHEAD: The EPA is revoking the registration of “Enlist Duo,” a toxic pesticide to be used with GMO crops.

By Staff on 27 November 2015 for Center for Food Safety -

Image above: From original article.

Great news! In response to CFS litigation, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it is revoking the registration of “Enlist Duo,” a toxic pesticide designed to be used with genetically engineered “Agent Orange” crops!

Responding to a lawsuit brought by Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice, yesterday EPA announced it is revoking the registration of “Enlist Duo,” a toxic combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D – the main ingredient in Agent Orange.

Approved by the agency just over a year ago, Dow’s Enlist Duo was created for use on the next generation of genetically engineered (GE) crops, what we dubbed “Agent Orange crops”, designed to withstand being drenched with this potent herbicide cocktail.

In its court filing, EPA stated it is taking this action after realizing that the combination of these chemicals is likely significantly more harmful than it had initially believed.

EPA had approved use of Enlist Duo in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and North Dakota, and had intended to approve it in additional areas in the near future.

Dow created Enlist crops as a quick fix for the problem created by “Roundup Ready” crops, the previous generation of genetically engineered crops designed to resist the effects of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

Just as overuse of antibiotics has left resistant strains of bacteria to thrive, repeated use of Roundup on those crops allowed glyphosate-resistant “superweeds” to proliferate, and those weeds now infest tens of millions of acres of U.S. farmland.

Enlist crops allow farmers to spray both glyphosate and 2,4-D without killing their crops, which they hope will kill weeds resistant to glyphosate alone.

But some weeds have already developed 2,4-D resistance, and the escalating cycle of more toxic pesticides in the environment will continue unless EPA stops approving these chemicals, and USDA stops rubber-stamping new genetically engineered crops.

The decision by EPA to withdraw the illegally approved Enlist Duo crops is a huge victory for the environment and the future of our food!

Thanks for your support. We are so grateful to be able to share this tremendous victory with you!

- the Center for Food Safety team

Read more about this victory:< .

Turkish President's son funds ISIS

SUBHEAD: Turkish president Recep Erdogan son Bilal's  maritime company is doing the oil trades for ISIS and funds their efforts.

By Tyler Durden on 26 November 2015 for Zero Hedge -

Image above: Bilal Erdogan and his father (inset) Turkish President Recep Erdogan.  From (

Russia's Sergey Lavrov is not one foreign minister known to mince his words. Just earlier today, 24 hours after a Russian plane was brought down by the country whose president three years ago said "a short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack", had this to say: "We have serious doubts this was an unintended incident and believe this is a planned provocation" by Turkey.

But even that was tame compared to what Lavrov said to his Turkish counterparty Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier today during a phone call between the two (Lavrov who was supposed to travel to Turkey has since canceled such plans).

As Sputnik transcribes, according to a press release from Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lavrov pointed out that, "by shooting down a Russian plane on a counter-terrorist mission of the Russian Aerospace Force in Syria, and one that did not violate Turkey’s airspace, the Turkish government has in effect sided with ISIS."

It was in this context when Lavrov added that "Turkey’s actions appear premeditated, planned, and undertaken with a specific objective."

More importantly, Lavrov pointed to Turkey’s role in the propping up the terror network through the oil trade. Per the Russian statement:
"The Russian Minister reminded his counterpart about Turkey’s involvement in the ISIS’ illegal trade in oil, which is transported via the area where the Russian plane was shot down, and about the terrorist infrastructure, arms and munitions depots and control centers that are also located there."
Others reaffirmed Lavrov's stance, such as retired French General Dominique Trinquand, who said that "Turkey is either not fighting ISIL at all or very little, and does not interfere with different types of smuggling that takes place on its border, be it oil, phosphate, cotton or people," he said.

The reason we find this line of questioning fascinating is that just last week in the aftermath of the French terror attack but long before the Turkish downing of the Russian jet, we wrote about "The Most Important Question About ISIS That Nobody Is Asking" in which we asked who is the one "breaching every known law of funding terrorism when buying ISIS crude, almost certainly with the tacit approval by various "western alliance" governments, and why is it that these governments have allowed said middleman to continue funding ISIS for as long as it has?"

Precisely one week later, in even more tragic circumstances, suddenly everyone is asking this question.

And while we patiently dig to find who the on and offshore "commodity trading" middleman are, who cart away ISIS oil to European and other international markets in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars, one name keeps popping up as the primary culprit of regional demand for the Islamic State's "terrorist oil" - that of Turkish president Recep Erdogan's son: Bilal Erdogan.

His very brief bio:
Necmettin Bilal Erdogan, commonly known as Bilal Erdogan (born 23 April 1980) is the third child of Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, the current President of Turkey.

After graduating from Kartal Imam Hatip High School in 1999, Bilal Erdogan moved to the US for undergraduate education. He also earned a Masters Degree in John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2004. After graduation, he served in the World Bank as intern for a while. He returned Turkey in 2006 and started to his business life. Bilal Erdogan is one of the three equal shareholders of "BMZ Group Denizcilik ", a marine transportation corporation.
Here is a recent picture of Bilal, shown in a photo from a Turkish 2014 article, which "asked why his ships are now in Syria":

In the next few days, we will present a full breakdown of Bilal's various business ventures, starting with his BMZ Group which is the name implicated most often in the smuggling of illegal Iraqi and Islamic State through to the western supply chain, but for now here is a brief, if very disturbing snapshot, of both father and son Erdogan by F. William Engdahl, one which should make everyone ask whether the son of Turkey's president (and thus, the father) is the silent mastermind who has been responsible for converting millions of barrels of Syrian Oil into hundreds of millions of dollars of Islamic State revenue.

By F. William Engdahl, posted originally in New Eastern Outlook:

Erdogan's Dirth Dangerous ISIS Games 
More and more details are coming to light revealing that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, variously known as ISIS, IS or Daesh, is being fed and kept alive by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish President and by his Turkish intelligence service, including MIT, the Turkish CIA. 

Turkey, as a result of Erdogan’s pursuit of what some call a Neo-Ottoman Empire fantasies that stretch all the way to China, Syria and Iraq, threatens not only to destroy Turkey but much of the Middle East if he continues on his present path.

In October 2014 US Vice President Joe Biden told a Harvard gathering that Erdogan’s regime was backing ISIS with “hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons…”
Biden later apologized clearly for tactical reasons to get Erdo?an’s permission to use Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base for airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, but the dimensions of Erdogan’s backing for ISIS since revealed is far, far more than Biden hinted.

ISIS militants were trained by US, Israeli and now it emerges, by Turkish special forces at secret bases in Konya Province inside the Turkish border to Syria, over the past three years. Erdogan’s involvement in ISIS goes much deeper.

At a time when Washington, Saudi Arabia and even Qatar appear to have cut off their support for ISIS, they remainamazingly durable. The reason appears to be the scale of the backing from Erdo?an and his fellow neo-Ottoman Sunni Islam Prime Minister,
Ahmet Davuto?lu.

Nice Family Business

The prime source of money feeding ISIS these days is sale of Iraqi oil from the Mosul region oilfields where they maintain a stronghold. The son of Erdogan it seems is the man who makes the export sales of ISIS-controlled oil possible.

Bilal Erdogan owns several maritime companies. He has allegedly signed contracts with European operating companies to carry Iraqi stolen oil to different Asian countries.

The Turkish government buys Iraqi plundered oil which is being produced from the Iraqi seized oil wells. Bilal Erdogan’s maritime companies own special wharfs in Beirut and Ceyhan ports that are transporting ISIS’ smuggled crude oil in Japan-bound oil tankers.

Gürsel Tekin vice-president of the Turkish Republican Peoples’ Party, CHP, declared in a recent Turkish media interview, “President Erdogan claims that according to international transportation conventions there is no legal infraction concerning Bilal’s illicit activities and his son is doing an ordinary business with the registered Japanese companies, but in fact Bilal Erdogan is up to his neck in complicity with terrorism, but as long as his father holds office he will be immune from any judicial prosecution.”

Tekin adds that Bilal’s maritime company doing the oil trades for ISIS, BMZ Ltd, is “a family business and president Erdogan’s close relatives hold shares in BMZ and they misused public funds and took illicit loans from Turkish banks.”

In addition to son Bilal’s illegal and lucrative oil trading for ISIS, Sümeyye Erdogan, the daughter of the Turkish President apparently runs a secret hospital camp inside Turkey just over the Syrian border where Turkish army trucks daily being in scores of wounded ISIS Jihadists to be patched up and sent back to wage the bloody Jihad in Syria, according to the testimony of a nurse who was recruited to work there until it was discovered she was a member of the Alawite branch of Islam, the same as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who Erdogan seems hell-bent on toppling.

Turkish citizen Ramazan Bagol, captured this month by Kurdish People’s Defence Units,YPG, as he attempted to join ISIS from Konya province, told his captors that said he was sent to ISIS by the ‘Ismailia Sect,’ a strict Turkish Islam sect reported to be tied to Recep Erdogan.

Baol said the sect recruits members and provides logistic support to the radical Islamist organization. He added that the Sect gives jihad training in neighborhoods of Konya and sends those trained here to join ISIS gangs in Syria.

According to French geopolitical analyst, Thierry Meyssan, Recep Erdogan “organised the pillage of Syria, dismantled all the factories in Aleppo, the economic capital, and stole the machine-tools.

Similarly, he organised the theft of archeological treasures and set up an international market in Antioch…with the help of General Benoît Puga, Chief of Staff for the Elysée, he organised a false-flag operation intended to provoke the launching of a war by the Atlantic Alliance – the chemical bombing of la Ghoutta in Damascus, in August 2013. “

Meyssan claims that the Syria strategy of Erdo?an was initially secretly developed in coordination with former French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé and Erdogan’s then Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, in 2011, after Juppe won a hesitant Erdogan to the idea of supporting the attack on traditional Turkish ally Syria in return for a promise of French support for Turkish membership in the EU. France later backed out, leaving Erdogan to continue the Syrian bloodbath largely on his own using ISIS.

Gen. John R. Allen, an opponent of Obama’s Iran peace strategy, now US diplomatic envoy coordinating the coalition against the Islamic State, exceeded his authorized role after meeting with Erdogan and “promised to create a "no-fly zone" ninety miles wide, over Syrian territory, along the whole border with Turkey, supposedly intended to help Syrian refugees fleeing from their government, but in reality to apply the "Juppé-Wright plan".

The Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, revealed US support for the project on the TV channel
A Haber by launching a bombing raid against the PKK.” Meyssan adds.

There are never winners in war and Erdogan’s war against Syria’s Assad demonstrates that in bold. Turkey and the world deserve better.

Ahmet Davutoglu’s famous “Zero Problems With Neighbors” foreign policy has been turned into massive problems with all neighbors due to the foolish ambitions of Erdogan and his gang.