“No-one was satisfied nobody won
Except the morons convinced it was really the sun
And they blew it and wasted the greatest of chances
Instead they all frolicked in diplomat dances
And decided decisively right there and then
That the best way to solve it’s to meet up again
And decide on a future that’s greener and greater
Not with action right now but with something else later”
Full version: http://youtu.be/3_RlKxz_ymQ
(Alternative source for the entire poem: http://www.englishblog.com/2009/12/the-now-show-dr-seuss-at-copenhagen.html#.VI5YkXvcCnk)
So today, a “Climate Accord” was agreed upon in Lima, Peru and everybody is “happy”…except for the fact that nothing has really changed…and nothing may, unless we actually do something.
In a different article, The Guardian reports: World set for climate disaster, say activists, as Lima talks falter
The summary of the deal is: both “developed” and “developing” countries have agreed on creating plans to reduce emissions from fossil fuels. They would each present their plans and would sign this agreement next year in Paris (2015) in November…if you want to know how much CO2 is added to the atmosphere in one year at current rates (from the burning of fossil fuels only, this doesn’t count cradle-to-cradle nor other important greenhouses such as methane), see here (see also the Keeling curve and current readings here and a monthly reading here) . This is also a good source of info: http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbonbudget/14/hl-compact.htm
So in November 2015, we may see some decisions in paper which say that some countries may start reducing their emissions after 2020…by that year, my children will be 19 and 25 and if business as usual continues we may have already used up 1/3 of the carbon budget “allowed” if we want to stay below the dangerous 20C (see more here, an excellent article I recommend all to read)…and all this is without considering the “growth” of developing countries which may increase the amount of carbon burned; without considering the positive loops that increase GHG emissions (and warming) due to the Albedo effect, deforestation and the thawing of the permafrost, among other factors) …and also, considering that the IPCC is a highly conservative institution that always plays dangers low to avoid clashing with politicians and corporations).
These are the issues I see with this Lima “deal”:
- No legal binding (same as earlier deals, so nobody really cares)
Read extracts from the article cited above:
“The strength of the accord — the fact that it includes pledges by every country to put forward a plan to reduce emissions at home — is also its greatest weakness. In order to get every country to agree to the deal, including the United States, the world’s largest historic carbon polluter, the Lima Accord does not include legally binding requirements that countries cut their emissions by any particular amount.” (Source: New York Times)
- Focus on “emissions” and not in eliminating the causes of the “problem” (which is why we see oxymorons and delusions such as “clean coal” and fossil fuel companies categorized as “sustainable”)
- Insisting in “growth”: growth requires resources (not only energy) and by definition, requires space: all these three components are LIMITED…
More from the article:
“But with no language requiring the significant cuts scientists say are needed to stave off the costly effects of global warming, countries can put forth weak plans that amount to little more than business as usual. Countries can even choose to ignore the deal and submit no plan at all.” And “There is much speculation about how India, the world’s third largest carbon polluter, will respond. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared repeatedly that his top priority is economic growth and lifting people out of poverty, even if that means the construction of hundreds of new coal-fired power plants to deliver cheap electricity”. (Source: New York Times)
- Ignoring “scale”: how can agree on reducing emissions when we have more than 30 years speaking about renewable and they still make up ONLY around 11% energy source in the world? How much time, investment and technology would we need? How much time do we have left before things go terrible bad for EVERYBODY?
- Ignoring the science: the science is clear about what’s needed and when: we need a reduction of …and we need it NOW. We don’t have one year (till November 2015) nor six (2020) to “start” reducing…we should have started decades ago…
I know some groups see this as a breakthrough, but I am not happy: this “deal” delays really addressing the issues behind and around climate change and resource depletion. Makes mainstream people and organizations “hopeful” when we should all be working “all hands on deck” on still trying to mitigate some of the damage…but mostly on creating awareness and allowing people to prepare to adapt to what’s coming.
A few years ago I took my first university course on climate change and we were asked to watch these documentary series…they are still an eye opener, although science has advanced and we know much more, this is still current:
Six degrees could change the world
Today a member of a group I belong posted this article about an HBO series that is airing tomorrow: How to tell your kids that the world is falling apart?
My heart broke apart when I read this from a child: “The adults clearly aren’t doing enough to stop this,” as one child puts it, “so we have to take it into our own hands.”
You can see the trailer of the series here:
Saving My Tomorrow (HBO Documentary Films)
The Lima Accord has similar flaws as its predecessors: it focuses on “tailpipes” and not in “wellheads”. We are all responsible but in different degrees.
If you want to “do something”, here are a few facts to consider:
- Our Western lifestyle, industrialization and consumption are the main drivers of climate change and resource depletion: it has now been imported to other countries (i.e. China, India, etc). We have to forget the idea that driving a car, taking a plane, heating our homes, watching TV and buying whatever we think we “can afford” or “deserve” are our birthright: they are not.
- Industrial food production (including meat) is one of the main contributors to climate change and resource/biodiversity depletion through deforestation, pollution and the dependence on fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation and machinery as well as the use of mono-crops…beyond the fact that they are inefficient, short-sighted and unethical with local cultures and animals, they cannot feed the world (and) reduce climate change and resource depletion. We need to change our diets drastically out of respect and compassion.
- We need to build different “systems” and become more resilient: whatever this means for you, your loved ones and your community. For those who can, breaking their dependence on the bigger system is the best they can do to help themselves and reduce consumption.
- Coming from the last point, you may need to ponder if (in your case) “working from within” makes sense or it is just an excuse for not taking sides and leaving your comfortable zone. This is different from each one of us: some may find that what they do actually helps others.
- Compassion, understanding (awareness) and love will do much better than “preparation”. It may sound strange from somebody like me with years of experience as community instructor and support in Disaster Management and emergency preparedness…but you’ll do better with love than with tones of stocked water, food and weapons…
To ponder from Naomi Klein’s interview:
“And it’s time to get angry? Yes – I think people should be angry. A lot of environmentalist discourse has been about erasing responsibility: “We’re all in this together… We’re all equally responsible.” Well, no – you, me and Exxon (Mobil) are not all in this together.The idea we’re all guilty is demobilising because it prevents us directing our anger at the institutions most responsible.” (Source: http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/naomi-klein-interview-a-3day-week-will-help-to-save-life-on-earth/ )
Living has been difficult these last days, but my heart has not been so full in years. I am not angry, but I am terribly sad…it hurts at all levels: it is not about me, it is about all of us, including what gave us life: Nature.
There are two big personal decisions I’ve made this past week: I said goodbye to a cause where I’ve been contributing for five years and I have declined an invitation to present at a professional conference. I want to focus on my own ecological footprint, on my family and my work in the community: I do not know what exactly is coming but I know it will not be easy…
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
~ Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
“When man interferes with the Tao,
the sky becomes filthy,
the earth becomes depleted,
the equilibrium crumbles,
creatures become extinct.”
~ Tao Te Ching