Wednesday, 8 July 2009

cut to the chase ... platitudes

Up, Down.

Greenpeace, Moscow, Leaders Act Save Climate"LEADERS, ACT SAVE CLIMATE"

some grammatical ambiguity here, but each level of resolution reinforces the original meaning: You there! LEADERS! ACT to SAVE the CLIMATE; Those who are LEADERS will ACT TO SAVE the CLIMATE; etc., either clever or accidental

Barack Obama, Dmitry MedvedevBarack Obama, Dmitry MedvedevObama is in Russia, eloquent as usual, and it looks like he will stay there at least until next Tuesday when he will address the 'Russian People' (must be some mistake, he is off to the summit ... ?)

two problems that I see, one, he is a head taller than either of these guys, they can't like that very much, Medvedev seems ok with it and no shortage of images on the web, maybe he has been around Putin long enough to work it out, but Putin, not very many pictures of them together to be found a-tall nowhere!

Barack Obama, Vladimir PutinBarack Obama, Vladimir Putinproblem two, that Michelle does not look happy, these six photographs came from Spiegel, they were the only ones including Michelle, and she is frowning in all but one, and, if you look at that one here is some kind of complex dynamic going on there ... I've been married ... in any event, the smile does not look like the full-on smile we have seen before from Michelle, not to say you have to smile all the time either,
Michelle ObamaMichelle ObamaMichelle ObamaMichelle ObamaMichelle ObamaMichelle Obamabut when I saw these pictures I thouoght, "uh oh, Barack's in the dog house and it's not going to be an easy fix," looks like resentment to me, classic, but just a guess ... and I sincerely hope this is all in my imagination because there are waaaaay more than two problems on this guy's plate eh?

so number three but really it is #1, the

wan big wan!
and it would be what to do about climate change? (you see, no capital letters, not 'global warming,' none of that hyper-exaggerated stuff :-)

Paul Szep on Pigsthe bill which recently passed Congress has been analyzed and found to be half-hearted at best, and according to Speigel it is the american PEOPLE this time, they don't believe in it

a global conference in Copenhagen in the fall, focussed on climate change, will be preceded by a G8 meeting next week in L'Aquila, and a G20 meeting in Pittsburgh in September, but there is not even any hype ...

In practical terms, however, the negotiators for the UN member states are light years away from mandating a binding trend reversal in global emissions. (Spiegel)

a-and contrarians keep sticking their heads up, this time it is from Brasil, Eustáquio Reis, an economist with Brasil's Ipea - Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Institute of Applied Economic Research)

Eustáquio Reis IpeaEustáquio Reis IpeaEustáquio Reis IpeaEustáquio Reis IpeaEustáquio Reis IpeaEustáquio Reis IpeaEustáquio Reis Ipea

"Não sou especialista ... Não sou climatólogo ..." "I am not a specialist ... I am not a climate scientist ..."
"Se você pensar em pecuária e soja na Amazônia, elas têm um beneficio muito maior do que o valor que se costuma pagar em créditos de carbono pela biodiversidade" "If you think about cattle and soy in Amazonia, they have a much higher return than the cost you are used to paying in carbon credits in the name of biodiversity"
"Essa ideia de que o pobre vai ajudar a preservar a Amazônia é sem sentido porque a pobreza só vai gerar desmatamento" "This idea that a poor man is going to help to preserve Amazonia makes no sense because poverty only creates clear-cuts"
"A Mata Atlântica foi extinta e o clima não se alterou tão significativamente assim. Não sou climatólogo, mas pergunto: por que a Amazônia tem tanta influência no clima e a Mata Atlântica não?" "The Atlantic forest was extinguished and the climate did not change so very much. I am not a climate scientist, but I ask: how does the Amazon rainforest have such an influence on climate and not the Atlantic Forest?"
some possible confusion here: the Atlantic Forest, Mata Atlântica, is distinct from the Amazon Rainforest, Floresta Amazônica.

when they gather in Copenhagen and see that they have gotten nowhere since Bali, then I would bet that the individuals will begin to slope off, no point in spending the last few decades of life on the planet banging your head against a wall is there? better to spend it in the Maldives or Phuket (is that Thai for 'fuck it'I wonder?) while they last and then somewhere else with your family or those that can afford it

every Brasilian works 4 months and 25 days out of each year for the Governmentwent to see the quack today, needed a prescription for Indomethiacin/Indocid to control gout pain, In Brasil you just go buy it, and cheap, 15R$ or so, here you need the script which costs about $50 for the visit, and then the drug itself, in this case $20, so call it an order of magnitude difference ... and you can look forward to the same rigamarole the next time, it is not a Health Care System, it is a RACKET!

Veja cover, October 2006you can't even see the same one anymore, new doctor every visit just about, all good, and Margaret Wente wringing her hands over it in the Globe, bullshit ... BULLSHIT!!!!!

all good, they will be lining up for Phuket too, always good to have a quack on hand ... and all those folks from The Granite Club.

and Stephen Harper continues to drag his heels ... it is HOPELESS!

"every Brasilian works 4 months and 25 days out of each year for the Government" says the 2006 cover picture from Veja, good for them, it is sometime towards the end of July for k-k-Canadians, almost 7 months!

Greenpeace, Moscow, Leaders Act Save Climateso ...

short answer: not likely, not if Stephen Harper has anything to say about it

medium answer: they will try to preserve current power structures with Nuclear Energy and simply put off the inevitable (decision that is :-)

answer: well, you have to keep trying eh? they will enventually do something, it will be too late, whatever ...

1. How the US Is Blocking Progress on Climate Change, Christian Schwägerl, July 7 2009.
2. Little Real Progress Expected in L'Aquila, Anne Seith, July 7 2009.
3. "Desmatamento zero é a mesma coisa que decretar que teremos muita miséria", diz pesquisador do Ipea, Entrevista, Fabíola Munhoz, 6 de julho 2009.
4. Toronto's most exclusive garbage bin, Patricia Best, Tuesday July 7 2009.
5. Harper out of step with G8 on climate and development, British PM says, Doug Saunders, Tuesday July 7 2009.
How the US Is Blocking Progress on Climate Change, Christian Schwägerl, July 7 2009.


As the predictions for global warming get more and more alarming, talks on a worldwide climate treaty have stalled -- largely due to the United States. The G-8 summit in L'Aquila, which begins Wednesday, is likely to generate little more than the usual platitudes.

Two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) doesn't sound like much. The temperature in L'Aquila, a small city in Italy's central Abruzzo region which was hit by a devastating earthquake in April, goes up by two degrees as soon as the sun rises. Anyone staying overnight in L'Aquila would likely not even notice such a small change in temperature.

When the leaders of the G-8 group of industrialized countries gather at a military academy on the outskirts of L'Aquila on Wednesday, they will also be discussing a two-degree rise in temperature -- but one with more palpable effects. The fact that the average temperature on earth will increase on this scale in the coming years represents a massive change. Average global temperatures have risen by 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) since the last ice age. Climatologists say that additional warming by more than two degrees would trigger substantial changes in the earth's climatic systems.

The Amazon and Congo rainforests could dry up, mountain glaciers, with their freshwater reserves, could disappear, and enormous quantities of methane could escape from thawing permafrost soil. Scientists believe that the more than 35 billion tons of greenhouse gases a year that are currently entering the atmosphere from countries around the world are enough to derail the climate system.

The latest information coming from the scientific world suggests that the consequences of climate change could be far worse than previously predicted. According to a climate change "synthesis report" released in June, with which climatologists provided an update on previous predictions, the concentration of CO2 in the air is already too high, and the oceans are warming up much more quickly than the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had assumed two years ago.

But even as leaders around the globe insist that they want to do everything possible to prevent such a temperature increase, international negotiations have been bogged down for months. The United States and many resource-rich nations are blocking progress, so much so that no breakthroughs are expected to emerge from the G-8 summit in L'Aquila.

The international politicians gathering in L'Aquila at the invitation of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi know that their hands rest on the earth's thermostat. They also know that their influence will be critical to whether new, more effective climate protection rules will be adopted at the United Nations climate summit in December, rules that would replace the widely ignored 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Business as Usual

Economists have calculated that it will be cheaper to halt climate change than to suffer its consequences. Some corporate leaders even anticipate the advent of a "green economic miracle," provided global politics embarks on a different course. But the obstructionists currently predominate in most G-8 countries. Russia and Canada want to be able to sell their fossil fuels without constraints, while Japan is worried about economic losses.

The United States has taken the most adverse stance, even though President Barack Obama campaigned on a platform to save the climate and has assembled what could be described as a dream team when it comes to environmental policy. Energy Secretary Steven Chu is a Nobel laureate in physics and an advocate of action against global warming, presidential science adviser John Holdren is a noted professor at Harvard University, and the deputy special envoy for climate change, Jonathan Pershing, was a brilliant environmental lobbyist before assuming his new post.

Countries' share of total CO2 emissions from energy consumption since 1850But the Obama administration is realizing that ordinary Americans are adamantly opposed to their country becoming the global leader in a radical new green movement. A majority of Americans do not consider the climate crisis to be particularly important: According to a poll carried out in January by the Pew Research Center, only 30 percent of Americans rated global warming as a top priority for President Obama. The issue came last on the list of priorities, far below the economy and terrorism.

Meanwhile the US oil and coal industries' experienced lobbyists are hard at work to influence public opinion. And when a member of the House of Representatives recently referred to climate change as a "hoax," his comments were met with applause. Although Obama is allocating billions and recruiting top scientists nationwide for climate protection, he has deliberately not yet given a strong speech on the environment directed at the rest of the world.

Energy Secretary Chu is noticeably troubled by his country's failure to take a leadership role. He recently cleared his calendar for almost three days to discuss the latest conclusions of climate research with other Nobel laureates in London. When asked about concrete CO2 targets, Chu responded by giving lengthy descriptions of energy-saving building codes and pointing out the environmental benefits that could be achieved if the roofs of all buildings in the United States were painted white in the future. The physicist deliberately avoided global politics.

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Washington recently, her original intention was to chide Obama on his lack of commitment. But then her advisers told her that in doing so, she could very well jeopardize the narrow majority support in the House of Representatives for the first US climate protection bill, which was up for a vote that same day. The legislation, which still requires Senate approval, does not provide for significant reductions in CO2 emissions until 2050, although it would create the first emissions monitoring system ever implemented in the United States. Merkel decided to change her tone.

Practiced in Platitudes

It seems just as likely that the G-8 nations will also hide behind platitudes -- an approach in which they are well-versed -- when they meet in L'Aquila. Their leaders have often issued pleasant-sounding closing statements that were followed by little action, including pronouncements like: We will help Africa develop, we will fight tuberculosis or we will protect the rainforest. Each of these vows to save the world led to a handful of pilot projects -- so that the relevant officials would have something to show for themselves.

What distinguishes this summit from others, however, is that its resolutions will likely set the tone for the even more important gathering at the end of the year. Some Nobel Prize winners have described the Dec. 7-18 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen as "the most important conference in the history of mankind," because its resolutions will have an impact far into the future. Climatologists believe that it is critical that emissions reduction begin immediately. To remain at or below the two-degree threshold, they write in their synthesis report, emissions "theoretically speaking, must be reduced by 60 to 80 percent immediately."

In practical terms, however, the negotiators for the UN member states are light years away from mandating a binding trend reversal in global emissions. At recent preliminary negotiations for the Copenhagen conference at the Maritim Hotel in Bonn, the delegates became bogged down in details, because they knew that their governments are not prepared to make real concessions.

"We want to see a greater emphasis placed on the importance of regional cooperation in climate protection," said a Japanese representative. "We want to see the phrase 'technology transfer' replaced with 'technology implementation,'" the Ugandan delegate demanded. It continued like that for two weeks.

The frustration could clearly be sensed in the hallways outside the meeting rooms. "We are treading water because the Americans are not moving forward," said an Indonesian delegate. "We are disappointed at the way Japan, Canada and Russia are blocking everything," said the Brazilian negotiator. "A few Western countries are trying to assign the responsibility for CO2 emissions to developing countries, to divert attention away from their own failure," China's special ambassador for climate negotiations said.

US delegation head Jonathan Pershing, whose full beard gives him something of the air of a Californian hippie, was on the next floor up. "If the US would reduce its emissions to zero, we would only see a delay in global warming of a few years because emissions from developing nations grow so fast," he told SPIEGEL in an interview.

Pershing is right. China's emissions have more than doubled since 1990. Indonesia's clearing of forests makes it the world's third-largest source of CO2. Greenhouse gas emissions are also significantly on the rise in India.

The Climate Debt

But, according to the World Resources Institute, almost one-third of CO2 emissions originate in the US. Meanwhile one in 14 CO2 molecules comes from Germany, a relatively small country. This is what emerging nations refer to as "historic climate debt."

The G-8 nations -- the US, Germany, Japan, Russia, Canada, Italy, Britain and France -- make up only 13 percent of the world population today. But they have been the source of more than 60 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted since 1850 for energy production. The United States wants to play down the importance of this climate debt and force emerging countries in particular to do their part. The Americans want these nations to make binding commitments to action, rather than just setting CO2 targets.

Obama himself, however, will see his hands tied in Copenhagen by the US's new lax national climate law, assuming it doesn't get rejected before then. The law calls for only a 4 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, not the 40 percent reduction environmentalists and climatologists say is necessary.

This has prompted Germany's chief negotiator on climate protection, Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel, to start thinking about unorthodox solutions. Gabriel believes that it is possible to accommodate the Americans. "If they cannot commit themselves to suitable reductions by 2020, they should at least make a binding commitment to reduce their emissions all the more sharply by 2025 or 2030," says Gabriel.

To be able to work out such solutions in time for the Copenhagen conference, Gabriel wants the G-8 nations to now put their emissions reduction schedules on the table and make billions available to help developing nations. This is the only way, he argues, to build the trust which is necessary between the highly industrialized counties on the one side and the developing and emerging economies on the other, if a consensus is to be reached in Copenhagen.

Gabriel summed up his wish in his typically pithy fashion: "Show us your curves."

Little Real Progress Expected in L'Aquila, Anne Seith, July 7 2009.


The leaders of the Group of Eight leading industrial nations will meet in the earthquake-hit Italian town of L'Aquila from Wednesday to discuss the global financial crisis and climate change. The summit is aimed at aiding the reconstruction of the town and the world financial system -- but the prospect of progress on either is slim.

The backdrop is replete with symbolism. Many houses in the central Italian town of L'Aquila, hit by a devastating earthquake in April, are little more than rubble. Tens of thousands of people in the region live in tent cities in conditions made even more miserable by the heat.

Like L'Aquila, the world economy and global financial system are in ruins. And like in L'Aquila, the reconstruction efforts in the financial markets lag far behind the ceremonial declarations.

This shattered town is hosting the G-8 summit of the world's leading economies beginning on Wednesday, and its inhabitants have little hope that the meeting will bring any fundamental improvement to their lives. Expectations that the summit itself will yield much progress are similarly muted.

There won't be more than "vague declarations of intent," says Milena Elsinger, an analyst at the German Council on Foreign Relations(DGAP).

Like before every G-8 summit, expectations are running high. World Bank President Robert Zoellick urged the host, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, not to be complacent about the outlook for the economy. "2009 remains a dangerous year," he wrote. Pope Benedict XVI sent Berlusconi a letter calling on him to be guided by ethical principles in tackling the crisis. And last weekend saw the first clashes between anti-globalization protestors and police.

Helpless G-8

But the hype seems unwarranted given that the summit is unlikely to produce much concrete progress on financial market regulation. Since the crash of US investment bank Lehman Brothers last autumn, efforts by governments to set international standards for the financial sector have ground to a halt in tough negotiations.

Diverging national interests stand in the way of an agreement. One of examples is the recent dispute between Germany and Britain about the powers of planned EU regulatory authorities. German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück accused British Prime Minister Gordon Brown of merely representing the position of the London financial lobby in the talks.

The longer the disagreements continue, the less likely it becomes that the world will be able to agree on a "new Bretton Woods," as had been promised. There probably won't be a global regulatory authority, says the Chief European economist of Deutsche Bank, Thomas Mayer.

Besides, the G-8 is an outdated forum for tackling such issues. The US, Germany, Italy, Britain, France, Canada, Japan and Russia have limited scope to deal with such a global problem. German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared even before the summit that the significance of the G-8 is waning. The G-20 will become the forum for discussing the global economic order in future, she said.

"The L'Aquila summit will have a kind of bridging function," says Elsinger of the DGAP. It will lay the groundwork for the G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh in September.

Merkel Wants to Shine Before Election

Still, government leaders, and especially Merkel, aren't shying away from grand promises about all the things they plan to achieve in Italy this week. After all, the summit offers Merkel a good opportunity to shine on the world stage ahead of Germany's federal election on September 27.

In a bid to reinstate her credentials as the Climate Chancellor, Merkel said L'Aquila should provide a "decisive signal" for December's climate change talks in Copenhagen. She wants to persuade fellow G-8 leaders to issue a communiqué pledging to limit global warming by 2050 to no more than two degrees compared with the pre-industrial age.

Her chances of success depend on US President Barack Obama. Before he took office, he too portrayed himself as climate savior. But a much-celebrated new law that has yet to be passed by the US Senate doesn't envisage relevant cuts in CO2 emissions by the world's biggest CO2 polluter until 2050. Obama simply doesn't have the backing of the US population to go any further.

Climate change isn't the only issue where the G-8 will make its communiqués as complex as possible to mask its own powerlessness. Another example is the deadlocked Doha round of the world trade negotiations. Merkel says the G-8 summit will try to push for a completion of the Doha round which has been getting nowhere for years in its bid to reduce trade barriers. WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy will be travelling to L'Aquila.

But the prospect of real progress is slim given the current state of world trade. Ever since the world economy collapsed, politicians have been promising to enhance global cooperation. But in reality many are increasingly protecting their domestic markets, as a recent WTO report shows. "In the past three months there has been further slippage towards more trade restricting and distorting policies," Lamy said in a report to WTO members.

Billions for Africa?

Africa is the only area where mild progress looks likely. Until now, the G-8 has cut a poor figure on development cooperation. At the 2005 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, G-8 leaders promised to increase annual aid to Africa by $25 billion (€17 billion) by 2010. By 2008 only a third of that goal has been reached, non-governmental organization ONE has calculated. ONE also had some embarrassing figures for Italy -- the current G-8 host has only paid out 3 percent of what it had promised.

"It's true: we haven't kept our promises on Africa," a contrite Berlusconi admitted in an interview with Irish rock singer and Africa activist Bob Geldof, who edited the newspaper La Stampa for a day on Sunday.

It's unclear if L'Aquila will agree a timetable for the remaining aid increases. But the G-8 appears to have agreed to pay $12 billion in farming development aid in the coming three years, the Financial Times reported, citing a draft communiqué prepared for the summit. The US and Japan will each pay $3-4 billion, the report says. Europe and Canada will come up with the rest.

But the biggest G-8 success would be if it managed to make progress on its own reform, says Elsinger of the DGAP, because it's no longer justifiable for the Western nations to meet in isolation. Pressing ahead with the integration of the five most important emerging economies Brazil, India, China, Mexico and South Africa, the leaders of which will join the summit on Thursday, would be an important first step.

"Desmatamento zero é a mesma coisa que decretar que teremos muita miséria", diz pesquisador do Ipea, Entrevista, Fabíola Munhoz, 6 de julho 2009.

Em palestra polêmica realizada no dia 20 de junho, durante o último Festival Internacional de Cinema Ambiental (Fica), o ex-diretor do Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Ipea), Eustáquio Reis, defendeu os benefícios econômicos do desmatamento da Amazônia.

Criticado pelos ambientalistas presentes no evento, o pesquisador concedeu uma entrevista ao em que diz que devastar para o cultivo agropecuário na região amazônica compensa mais financeiramente do que manter a floresta em pé.

De acordo com ele, os pobres são os que mais desmatam e as políticas públicas devem garantir o enriquecimento da população local para que ela passe a valorizar o meio ambiente. Confira a conversa, a seguir. O senhor se considera a favor do desmatamento devido aos benefícios econômicos de atividades que desmatam?

Não sou a favor do desmatamento, sou a favor da atividade agrícola e pecuária na Amazônia. O desmatamento na região é inevitável porque as pessoas não podem se dar ao luxo de abrir mão dos benefícios de riqueza, emprego, demanda por transportes, equipamentos e máquinas, gerados pela produção em locais como o norte do Mato Grosso. Os benefícios são maiores que os custos. A ocupação da Amazônia para a produção de soja tem limitações de ordem econômica e agroecológica, já que o grão não se desenvolve em áreas muito chuvosas. Já a pecuária tem muito menos limitações e atrai pequenos produtores que utilizam basicamente a pastagem natural. Então, você tem um dilema, já que há muitas famílias pobres que dependem da pecuária, como forma de acumulação de riqueza e podem ser tolhidas com as exigências ambientais. Diante da crescente preocupação com o meio ambiente e o aumento das discussões sobre créditos de carbono no mundo, manter a floresta em pé não pode ser mais lucrativo para o Brasil do que desmatar?

Meus cálculos sobre isso, em geral, são criticados. Mas, de todas as maneiras, se você pensar em pecuária e soja na Amazônia, elas têm um beneficio muito maior do que o valor que se costuma pagar em créditos de carbono pela biodiversidade. Vão existir fatores automáticos de redução da devastação. Pois, à medida que a floresta for se tornando mais escassa, as pessoas vão passar a valorizá-la mais, preservando o bioma voluntariamente.

Também, à medida que você tiver pessoas ricas na Amazônia, elas começarão a dar mais valor ao meio ambiente. Não dá para você achar que uma pessoa pobre, com condições de vida precárias irá pensar que a floresta tem valor. Essa é uma questão absurda para ela, que tem que pensar em sobreviver. É preciso que haja uma classe média rural ao redor da Amazônia, para que as pessoas tenham também menos filhos e não usem a reprodução como mecanismo de acumulação. Geralmente, nas zonas rurais, a população tem muitos filhos, como maneira de garantir seu futuro e expandir sua capacidade de se apropriar da terra. O senhor acredita na conciliação entre desenvolvimento econômico e conservação do meio ambiente?

Claro que todo esforço nesse sentido é bom. Você tem que educar as pessoas e dar condições de uso de tecnologia mais adequada, criar crédito, e oferecer possibilidades para que se possam adotar tecnologias e técnicas de manejo do rebanho mais eficientes. Para isso, deve ser feito o zoneamento agro ecológico e deve existir a reserva legal, mas não necessariamente 80%. Essa é uma legislação draconiana em termos de atividade agrícola. 80% são para inglês ver porque esse coeficiente é excessivamente alto e por isso não é cumprido. A soja é uma forma intensificada de produção. A mecanização que existe numa plantação é impressionante, é uma tecnologia que permite o uso de muito pouca terra para gerar riqueza, comparada com a pecuária ou culturas de subsistência. Qual seria a porcentagem de reserva legal ideal para a Amazônia, na sua opinião?

Não sou especialista, mas acho que os 50% previstos anteriormente já são uma parcela relativamente alta. Se você implementar essa reserva está garantindo parcela razoável da floresta em vegetação primitiva, desde que haja mecanismo para se fazer isso. Hoje não há estrutura de fiscalização e monitoramento para que se cumpra a legislação ambiental. O custo da fiscalização é extremamente elevado. Então, não há por que demonizar os agricultores e pecuaristas da Amazônia que estão tentando sobreviver. O que você tem que esperar é que as pessoas enriqueçam, pois, se elas não enriquecerem, aí sim, a floresta vai ser comida. A miséria vai comer a floresta. O que o senhor pensa sobre a afirmação da senadora Marina Silva de que a regularização fundiária da Amazônia irá beneficiar especialmente os grandes proprietários?

Eu concordo com ela. Sempre a Amazônia vai ser ocupada em grandes propriedades porque lá a terra é barata. A regulamentação do território amazônico, mais cedo ou mais tarde, acabaria sendo feita, por medida do governo ou por decisões do Judiciário. O problema maior é o que está sendo feito com as terras publicas. Não adianta dar titulo às pessoas e achar que isso vai conter o desmatamento. Os miseráveis, que a senadora diz que não serão beneficiados pela regularização fundiária, vão tentar chegar à Amazônia e se apropriar de recursos naturais, porque não têm propriedades e vivem em condições miseráveis. O que o senhor pensa sobre a ideia do desmatamento zero, defendida pelos ambientalistas?

Não sou contra, mas acho que é utópico. Podem até defender, mas não há condição de isso acontecer porque teria que haver aparato de fiscalização e monitoramento. Também penso que não se podem negar às pessoas oportunidades de enriquecimento e melhoria de padrão de vida. Desmatamento zero é a mesma coisa que decretar que teremos muita miséria. Seria possível, se você pudesse remunerar todos que vivem do desmatamento na Amazônia. Temos entre 20 e 25 milhões de pessoas na Amazonia Legal, sendo que 12 milhões estão na área rural. Conter essas pessoas custaria muito caro. Essa ideia de que o pobre vai ajudar a preservar a Amazônia é sem sentido porque a pobreza só vai gerar desmatamento. Se, por um lado, o senhor defende os ganhos econômicos da população mais pobre com a devastação, também não são os miseráveis que mais têm sofrido com as inundações decorrentes das mudanças climáticas?

Tenho dúvidas de que o clima seja afetado tão fortemente pelo desmatamento. Note que o desmatamento acontece no arco de desflorestamento, e as chuvas que afetaram a região Norte aconteceram em Manaus, onde supostamente não há desmatamento. Se as pessoas estão dizendo que há relação entre as duas coisas, têm que demonstrar isso. Está claro pra você que o desmatamento no Mato Grosso causa chuva em Manaus? Para mim não está claro. Não é só a Amazônia que causa o aquecimento global. E, se você parar de desmatar, o aquecimento global vai continuar, é claro. Diante dos estudos que comprovaram a influência da Amazônia sobre regime de chuvas do Sudeste, continuar desmatando a floresta não poderá prejudicar a produção agrícola nessa outra região?

Eu acredito que pode ter efeitos sim, mas eu não acredito que os efeitos sejam de uma magnitude tão grande, quando penso que a Mata Atlântica foi extinta e o clima não se alterou tão significativamente assim. Não sou climatólogo, mas pergunto: por que a Amazônia tem tanta influência no clima e a Mata Atlântica não?

Toronto's most exclusive garbage bin, Patricia Best, Tuesday July 7 2009.

Granite Club offering its members free garbage disposal as a strike by municipal employees enters its third week

Membership has its privileges at the exclusive Granite Club in Toronto – especially during a summertime garbage strike. The luxurious social and recreation club is offering its members free garbage disposal as a strike by municipal employees enters its third week, leaving the city's rich and not-so-rich scrambling to dispose of household refuse.

The fortunate members of the Granite Club, where the initiation fee is $53,000 per couple, need only take their garbage bags to the parking lot and dispose of it there – free of charge. Tucked into a corner of the outdoor parking area is a large disposal bin surrounded by orange pylons and covered with a neat screen.

One afternoon last week it was filled with green garbage bags. An attendant on hand at the bin said the service has proved popular with members, so much so that when a fresh container was late arriving one morning, there was a lineup of members in their Mercedes and Lexus SUVs waiting to tip their trash. “We were overwhelmed the first day,” says Peter Fyvie, the club's general manager.

The idea for a garbage concierge came after some members asked if the club could do anything for them. Mr. Fyvie says he is prepared to provide the service for as long as the strike continues. “Many of our members grew up here at the club and we have to look at that. We ask ourselves, how can we serve them better? I'd go to their homes to pick it up if I could.”

Instead, Mr. Fyvie approached the club's regular waste disposal contractor, Wasteco Group, which provides an empty, washed bin every day for the members' refuse. The company takes the garbage to a city dumpsite it is authorized to use, Mr. Fyvie says. “It's a little more costly for them because Wasteco has to treat it as kitchen garbage.” In turn, it is an extra expense for the club. “But it's worth it,” Mr. Fyvie says. “We're saying, ‘Bring your garbage and stay for dinner.' ”

Indeed, on Canada Day the turnout for the club's fireworks party was huge – about 20 per cent of the 11,000 members – and virtually every family brought a bag of trash. “It's really kind of cool,” said one Bay Street fund manager, who is a member. “I'm delighted.”

An informal canvassing of other private clubs in Toronto did not turn up another one offering garbage service. Some cite lack of space or lack of budget. However, Thornhill Golf and Country Club, north of Toronto, is urging its members to bring their bags of garbage from the city when they come up for a round of golf.

The Granite is one of the oldest private clubs in the city and enjoys a bucolic location, perched on a leafy ravine in the Bayview and Lawrence area. Its spacious grounds feature a sweeping driveway, meticulous landscaping, tennis courts and four swimming pools. Inside, the club is known for its prestigious art collection, a skating rink where Olympic contenders train, bowling alleys and fine dining. The Granite enforces a strict dress code, particularly in its formal areas, where “gentlemen and young gentlemen” are required to wear jackets. (Ties are optional.) There is a six-month to one-year waiting list to join the club.

Mr. Fyvie says he was surprised that no members resigned from the club this year despite the poor economy. “They're valuing their membership and what's important to me is that with this kind of service we offer, we keep them happy. It's not that they expect this [garbage service]. They say, ‘We see why you're doing it because it is a big pain.' ”

In fact, Mr. Fyvie says, one member was so pleased that on the way into the club for a tennis game or a luncheon she could simply hand her garbage bag to the parking attendant, she asked the general manager: “Do you do liposuction?”

Harper out of step with G8 on climate and development, British PM says, Doug Saunders, Tuesday July 7 2009.

Gordon Brown expresses frustration with countries, including Canada, that have backed away from Africa

London — British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested in an interview that Stephen Harper's government has fallen out of step with the thinking of other major nations on climate and development issues.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail and other media at 10 Downing St. on the eve of the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, Mr. Brown outlined a “growth strategy for the world” consisting of African development funding, investments in climate-change reduction and reform of global institutions to create a worldwide regulatory framework.

While those ideas have won broad support with the major European nations and U.S. President Barack Obama and are likely to set the agenda at the Italian summit today, they also differ sharply from the aims of Mr. Harper's government, which has moved away from African aid, avoided a major role in carbon-emissions reduction and shunned the notion of international regulatory bodies.

Mr. Brown expressed frustration with countries, including Canada, that have backed away from Africa.

“We cannot withdraw from Africa,” he said. If the G8 is to achieve the millennium development goals it set in previous summits. “we've got to continue the efforts we've started in Africa.” He added: “I am determined that a recession is not an excuse to give up on the poor. A recession is when your duty to the poor is even more clear.

“People feel that there's a danger that the development agenda stalls,” he said, noting that 110 million more people around the world, most of them in Africa, are facing hunger, and citing a long list of alarming statistics on mortality for infants and mothers in childbirth.

In pre-summit statements, Ottawa has been silent on African aid and on climate change, in sharp contrast to the United States, Germany, France and Britain, which have actively sought a consensus on these issues.

While Canada's aid levels are at a record high, and Canada is a major participant in a new G8 “food security initiative” designed to provide US$12-billion for agricultural development to poor countries, Ottawa is conspicuous for its dramatic move away from Africa.

Ottawa announced this year that it will shift the lion's share of its $5-billion foreign-aid budget to Latin American countries because of their closer trade relationships with Canada, and out of far more needy Africa, dropping eight “priority recipient” sub-Saharan nations from key aid programs.

This has collided with the G8's decade-long push to make Africa a priority. The G8 nations pledged at the 2005 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, to raise aid to Africa by US$25-billion by 2010. Pressure groups say that little more than a third of this goal has been reached.

On climate change, where most Western countries are trying to reach an agreement in time for a major world summit in Copenhagen in December, the energetic dialogue is also swirling around a gaping Canadian silence.

A study by the insurance company Allianz and the World Wildlife Fund this week listed Canada as the bottom-ranking G8 country for climate-change efforts, with one of the world's highest rates of per-capita carbon emissions and an inadequate scheme to counter them.

And Mr. Obama signalled this week that the United States would likely agree to a push to set policies to limit global atmospheric temperature increases to 2 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures, regardless the cost.

This leaves Canada, Russia and Japan alone in objecting to this limit.

Mr. Brown said that all countries, including industrialized poor countries like India, China and Brazil, must come up with firm targets that can be reached by the 2020s.

“I hope over the next six months we will be able to get an agreement, not just on long-term targets for cutting carbon emissions ... we've got to get an agreement on intermediate targets, and we've also got to get an agreement on finance – we have to finance energy changes, more efficient use of energy in emerging markets,” Mr. Brown said, proposing that 10 per cent of foreign-aid spending go to environmental technology, which he described as “quite a substantial transfer of resources to the poorest countries.”

Canada is contributing aid to climate-change adaptation. But its own proposals for climate change have been largely devoted to carbon-sequestration programs. Ottawa has pledged to cut emissions to one-fifth of 2000 levels by 2020, compared to a British pledge to cut emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

In a sign of the lack of co-operation between Britain and Canada on these matters, Mr. Brown took time in the interview to single out for lengthy praise Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Mr. Obama for their climate and development initiatives, while avoiding mention of Canada even when asked directly about its policies.

European and Canadian officials said Ottawa has had little dialogue with the other G8 capitals on climate or aid issues.

Mr. Harper's aides said in statements before the summit that the Prime Minister would focus on free trade and combatting protectionism, on banking reform and returning lending and growth to higher levels, and on seeking an agreement to censure or punish Iran's government for its repression of election protests.

They said that climate change will be avoided by Canada at this summit, and will be addressed more substantially before the Copenhagen summit.

But Mr. Brown, echoing other European leaders, said that he believes the climate and development issues cannot be addressed separately from the wider financial crisis.

“Our international agenda has always been economic prosperity, sustainable development through addressing climate change, making sure there is equitable development throughout the world by tackling the problems of poverty and injustice, and, of course security, by dealing with the problems that exist with terrorism and also problems of failed states,” he said.

Mr. Brown, who led the international bailout efforts after a global credit crisis led to the mass collapse of banks and major corporations last year, and convened the G20 summit in April to come up with institutions to deal with the crisis, described this moment as a “second wakeup call” in which the world faces a crisis of growth and unemployment as severe as the crisis of credit last year.

“I would say that in April, we were having to deal with the problems that were caused by the failure of banks,” he said. “Now we have to deal with the challenge of resuming growth in the world economy. And that means that banks must lend, trade must resume with protectionism exposed where it is happening, we must keep commodity prices at a level that enables growth to continue to happen; we must invest because investment is key to many countries' futures – and I mean private investment as well as public investment – and we must do something to help the 30 million unemployed across the world.”

He urged G8 countries to push for further and deeper reforms of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the two six-decade-old bodies designed to protect the world's finance and economic systems. And he hinted strongly that he will support international regulatory schemes, which have been resisted by Canada and other countries that favour co-operation among strictly national regulators.

“I think that every country in the world is now having to look at its regulatory systems,” he said. “Let's be clear: If nothing changes as a result of the events in the financial crisis, then the world will be a more unstable place, and growth will be unsustainable. So things have got to change.”



No comments: