Wednesday 11 November 2009


Up, Down.

from José Datrino, Profeta de Gentileza:

(Verde é Vida / Green is Life, in at least two senses, in Gentileza's colour scheme Green represents Life, and, the obvious that green things are alive, the three Vs and the F, P & E reveal part of Gentileza's theology, F is Filho, P is Pai, and E is Espirito Santo, effectively giving three dimensions to Green, he does the same with Amor / Love, making it AMORRR with three Rs this time :-) ... I would say that the world could use Profeta Gentileza's presence right about now ...

here's the latest from Gwynne Dyer: Obama, China, and the Copenhagen climate conference, balanced and probably realistic unless Gentileza somehow prevails (the only thing left to do is pray, said the wisest of the wise men ... and I for one would certainly share my daily bowl of rice with a dragon if the prayer just happened to work :-)

everyone should read Climate Wars: How Peak Oil and the Climate Crisis Will Change Canada (and Our Lives), Gwynne Dyer, 2008, here's Chapter Seven - Childhood's End.

then I came across this, which led me to "Demonstration" by Moms Against Climate Change, they operate out of a Facebook page ... the video is incomprehensible to me - why do the children run away? the ideology is incomprehensible to me - why 'moms' and not 'moms & dads' or 'parents' or ... say it in broken Português, 'pais' ...

as long as I am in here I will post Stephen Harper's incredible stupidity as revealed in Singapore, his words need to be considered against a backdrop of Kevin Rudd's recent speech excoriating climate deniers, text & video, and Obama's speech at MIT calling them simply 'cynical', text & video parts 1, 2, & 3

"Full global participation in cutting greenhouse gases is necessary to tackle global warming. Emerging economies already contribute close to half of all global emissions, and that proportion will rise to two-thirds in the future. If we don't control those, whatever we do in the developed world will have no impact on climate change."
     Stephen Harper at APEC summit in Singapore.

"The opponents of action on climate change fall into one of three categories:
* First, the climate science deniers.
* Second, those that pay lip service to the science and the need to act on climate change but oppose every practicable mechanism being proposed to bring about that action.
* Third, those in each country that believe their country should wait for others to act first.
Together, these groups, alive in every major country including Australia, constitute a powerful global force for inaction, and they are particularly entrenched in a range of conservative parties around the world.

As we approach Copenhagen, these three groups of climate skeptics are quite literally holding the world to ransom, provoking fear campaigns in every country they can, blocking or delaying domestic legislation in every country they can, with the objective of slowing and if possible destroying the momentum towards a global deal on climate change.

... It's time to remove any polite veneer from this debate."

     Kevin Rudd, 6 Nov. 2009 (text & video).

"The naysayers, the folks who would pretend that this is not an issue, they are being marginalized. But I think it's important to understand that the closer we get, the harder the opposition will fight and the more we'll hear from those whose interest or ideology run counter to the much needed action that we're engaged in. There are those who will suggest that moving toward clean energy will destroy our economy -- when it's the system we currently have that endangers our prosperity and prevents us from creating millions of new jobs. There are going to be those who cynically claim -- make cynical claims that contradict the overwhelming scientific evidence when it comes to climate change, claims whose only purpose is to defeat or delay the change that we know is necessary."
     Barack Obama, Oct. 23 2009 (text & video parts 1, 2, & 3).

it is maybe worthwhile doing a 'compare & contrast' on the CBC & Globe coverages of this issue just to see exactly where the media are standing on it (which is effectively nowhere)

they quit on it - the wankers!
APEC Leaders Singapore 2009APEC Leaders Singapore 2009
but if you look carefully at the profile figure on the extreme right of the picture you will see that it is Alfred Hitchcock ... undoubtedly murmuring a mordant monologue on Ozymandias ...

Ingrid Bergman 1945Alfred HitchcockAlfred HitchcockAlfred HitchcockI met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
Ingrid Bergman 1945Alfred HitchcockAlfred HitchcockAlfred HitchcockAnd on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

     Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1818.

Glen Milnethe hands in these photographs interest me, the drawing being done by Hitchcock himself apparently ... I watched a clip of part of an interview with Dick Cavett and noticed his hands ... and then Bergman's right hand, posed by Salvador Dali they say ... somewhere I have a picture of Glen Milne's hand, taken during the bridge-building competition at Carleton School of Architecture in 1978 as he loaded a brick onto my bridge, I had it won, 'hands down' so to speak, until they disallowed my entry on a technicality, "the T-square is mightier than the banana," he said, and another one liner, "architects are people who eat light" ... later on they disallowed me from the school entirely ... oh well - easy come, easy go.

Cut it! Pave it! Paint it Green! Mars is next!

1. Obama, China, and the Copenhagen climate conference, Gwynne Dyer, Nov. 13 2009.
2. Photo wall drives environmental message, Ethan Baron, Nov. 8 2009.
3. Harper urges climate rules for all countries, CBC, Nov. 14 2009.
4. Climate-change debate dominates APEC forum, CP at the Globe, Nov. 14 2009.
5. World Leaders Agree to Delay a Deal on Climate Change, Helene Cooper, Nov. 14 2009.

Obama, China, and the Copenhagen climate conference, Gwynne Dyer, Nov. 13 2009.

President Barack Obama’s Asian trip has been on the political calendar for many months.

So has the climate summit at Copenhagen in December.

And I strongly suspect that Obama’s people originally planned to announce a U.S.-Chinese deal on climate during his three-day visit to China next week, so he could take it with him to Copenhagen as the template for a broader deal between all the “old rich” countries and the rapidly developing ones.

The Chinese leadership is ready for this deal, because it is very frightened by the prospect of climate change. China gets hit harder and earlier than most countries by global warming, and the risk of political destabilization is real.

All Beijing needed was a serious commitment to emission cuts by the United States and the deal would have been done.

It would have been a bold deal in which the United States acknowledged that the old industrialized countries have to take deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions up front, because they created the current crisis by burning fossil fuels for 200 years.

They didn’t mean any harm by it, but they did it, and they are rich because they did it.

Rapidly developing countries like China, India, and Brazil, on the other hand, have only recently begun to pump out carbon dioxide on a large scale. So they would only be required to cap their emissions at the present level or somewhere close to it.

Since the developing countries are not willing to stay poor, they must still be allowed to go on growing their economies even after they agree to cap their emissions.

That means they will need a lot more energy, but none of it can come from fossil fuels if they are to stay under the cap. It must come from wind farms or solar arrays or nuclear plants, all of which are more expensive than cheap and dirty coal-fired power plants.

So who pays the difference? The rich countries do, or at least they pay for a lot of the difference. That's because they created the conditions in which newly industrializing countries must install expensive clean power rather than the dirty power that the rich countries themselves used to climb the ladder long ago.

If the United States and China had gone to Copenhagen next month with that deal in hand, everybody else might have climbed aboard. But that’s not going to happen.

The political timetable in the United States got in the way. After eight years of denial and obstruction on climate issues under the Bush administration, even the Chinese need a solid U.S. commitment on emission cuts before they sign a climate deal, and Obama cannot yet deliver that.

It is taking much longer than the Obama administration thought to get major legislation through Congress.

Even if the health-care legislation finally passes in a form that more or less fulfills Obama’s hopes for it, he will have only gotten two major pieces of new legislation out of the Congress in 2009. (The other was the US$787-billion stimulus package to fight the recession.)

Congress will not pass legislation imposing cuts on greenhouse gas emissions in the United States this year, so Obama goes to Beijing empty-handed.

The Chinese will not deliver on their part of the deal until they are sure that Obama can deliver on his part. So the world’s two largest emitters, the United States and China, will arrive in Copenhagen next month without having made any official commitment to curb their emissions.

With no bilateral U.S.-Chinese deal to serve as a framework for a wider agreement, the Copenhagen conference is very unlikely to succeed. How upset should we be about that?

If failure this December means permanent failure, then we should be very upset indeed, but the problem is one of scheduling, not of bad intentions.

Given another six months or so, Obama will probably succeed in getting Congress to agree to serious cuts in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The cuts will not be as deep as he wants, or as much as the other developed countries are willing to make, but they will probably be enough to resurrect a U.S.-Chinese deal.

It would have been much better, therefore, if the climate conference had been scheduled for December, 2010, but nobody knew that at the time.

The best thing to do now would be to postpone the Copenhagen meeting for a year, but it has become a diplomatic juggernaut that cannot be stopped.

The next-best thing is to ensure that it fails now, leaving the way open for a follow-on conference that revisits the issue in 12 or 18 months’ time with a much better chance of success.

The best is often the enemy of the good, but patching together an inadequate climate treaty at Copenhagen just to avoid the stigma of failure would repeat the mistake of 1997, when the botched Kyoto accord locked the world into an unambitious climate policy for 15 years.

If the problem lies mainly in the political timetable in the United States–and it does–then just change the international schedule to deal with that reality.

Photo wall drives environmental message, Ethan Baron, Nov. 8 2009.

Kids' pictures may inspire leaders at global conference

More than 100 kids are shouting and waving signs, massing before a line of stone-faced riot police. Then the children charge.

This is not real life.

It's a video by Moms Against Climate Change, part of a new, interactive Canadian project to drive home the message that the decisions adults make now will create the world of our children's future.

And as unsettling as the video is, with the children ultimately fleeing the cops through gritty urban streets and alleys, its grimness is balanced by the other half of the project: a web-based photo "wall" of hundreds of Canadian children, many from B.C.

These are the faces of our country's future, and the ever-expanding photo-collage -- more than 500 kids by press time -- stands as a powerful, visceral reminder that our response to climate change must be based on long-term thinking.

Created by the environmental groups ForestEthics and Environmental Defence, the project is intended as a political message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other Canadian leaders as they prepare for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen next month.

"The government's policies to date have reflected the interests of the tarsands and the interests of the oil companies," says Merran Smith of Vancouver, director of ForestEthics' climate-change program. "We need the government's policies to reflect the interests of all Canadians, and all future Canadians." The groups plan to project the photo-collage on a huge screen in Copenhagen during the conference.

This week, Canada received a "fossil" award from the international Climate Action Network, for federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice's statement that a call for a 25-per-cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 was "irresponsible." "Canada is one of the world's top-10 polluters, yet Environment Minister Jim Prentice seems to think we can weasel out of our responsibility for tackling global warming," says Mark Fried, policy co-ordinator at Oxfam Canada.

"Spiralling climate-related disasters are already causing food shortages and forced migration that will ultimately affect us all." While the Harper government pursues an industry-driven agenda of inaction on climate change, a disinformation campaign by industrial polluters has successfully convinced many Canadians to question the reality of human-caused climate change. Leading skeptics, such as Bjorn Lomborg and Christopher Monckton, have managed to persuade a large number of us that the consensus of nearly all the world's climate scientists is wrong, and that the changing climate is natural. These deniers present scientific arguments, in spite of having no scientific credentials whatsoever.

Now, consider this statement: "The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 is well established and cannot be denied." Sound like what you'd hear out of that scientific consensus? It comes from a 1995 draft report of the Global Climate Coalition, a now-defunct group that was funded by some of the world's largest oil and automotive producers.

But, as James Hoggan writes in his new book Climate Cover-up, that passage was deleted from the final report.

Check out the Moms Against Climate Change video -- with its haunting soundtrack donated by Canadian band Stars -- and photo-collage at www.takeactiononcli

So far, the cutest kid on there is "gingersoleil" from Duncan.

Have kids? Post their pictures to send a message to Harper and the world.

Harper urges climate rules for all countries, CBC, Nov. 14 2009.

Full global participation in cutting greenhouse gases is necessary to tackle global warming, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said at an APEC summit in Singapore on Saturday.

Emerging economies already contribute close to half of all global emissions, and that proportion will rise to two-thirds in the future, he told reporters.

"If we don't control those, whatever we do in the developed world will have no impact on climate change," Harper said.

Prof. Tim Flannery of the Copenhagen Climate Council, also in Singapore for the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation countries, delivered a harsh assessment of Canada's record on reducing emissions.

Flannery told The Canadian Press that Canada faces an international credibility crisis because it is "by far the biggest defaulter" on previous Kyoto Protocol obligations.

He said even though Canada signed on 11 years ago, it has failed to meet its obligations.

"The people of Canada, through their government, made the commitment, and it needs to be honoured somehow or other, or it needs to be dealt with," the Australian climate-change expert said.

"Canada is by far the biggest defaulter on its Kyoto obligations on a tonnage basis. And as a result of that there is a lack of trust," he said.

The APEC summit comes less than a month before a United Nations climate change conference opens in Copenhagen, where leaders of almost 200 countries will gather to hash out a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

Harper acknowledged there are "significant differences" over how to tackle climate change, but he said every leader he's spoken to at the summit agrees on the need for a long-term plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

When it comes to the economy, the prime minister is pushing for a reduction of trade barriers, in light of the global recession.

Before heading to Singapore for the summit, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a speech in Tokyo that China's growing economy doesn't have to be seen as a negative force for the United States.

"We look to rising powers with the view that in the 21st century, the national security and economic growth of one country need not come at the expense of another," he said.

"In an inter-connected world, power does not need to be a zero-sum game, and nations need not fear the success of another," Obama said. "Cultivating spheres of co-operation — not competing spheres of influence — will lead to progress in the Asia Pacific."

Climate-change debate dominates APEC forum, CP at the Globe, Nov. 14 2009.

Harper says developing countries must be front-and-centre in global plan while critics say Canada's poor record has cost it credibility on world stage

Singapore — It is vitally important that a global arrangement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions involves all economies around the world, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Saturday as leaders of emerging and developed countries met in Singapore.

But Mr. Harper's message of carbon reduction parity was undermined by a leading climate-change expert at the summit, who said Canada's poor record on reducing emissions has cost it credibility on the international stage.

The prime minister is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit, an organization ostensibly dedicated to trade and investment flows in the Pacific region.

But once again environmental policy appears to have hijacked APEC, a 21-country grouping the embodies many of the biggest contradictions and dilemmas of climate-change diplomacy.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd scheduled an ad hoc breakfast meeting Sunday of all 21 APEC leaders to discuss climate change and the looming United Nations conference in Denmark next month on a post-2012 emissions regime.

“This controversy is not going to go away,” said the moderator of an APEC-sponsored forum on climate change and the economy Saturday at the summit.

Mr. Harper agrees.

While acknowledging there are “significant differences” among the APEC members over how to tackle climate change, Mr. Harper said all leaders recognize it's an issue that must be addressed.

Emerging economies, including China and Indonesia at the APEC summit, already contribute close to half of all global emissions, Mr. Harper said at a media availability, and that proportion will rise to two-thirds in the future.

“If we don't control those, whatever we do in the developed world will have no impact on climate change.”

Mr. Harper's other argument for full global participation is purely economic.

“If everyone is not included, you set up the possible risk that certain countries will gain economic advantage from being included or not included,” he said.

“If some contribute, or some contribute disproportionately, then the economic risks for others become enormous.”

On Friday, Canada's environment minister said Ottawa is ready to talk climate change with the rest of the world but underscored that the government will also make sure Alberta's oil sands keep rolling along.

Jim Prentice spoke to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce on Friday, explaining what Canada will negotiate for at the coming climate-change summit in Copenhagen.

Mr. Prentice says both Canada and the United States will be aiming for a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible without killing the economy.

Environmental groups such as Greenpeace protested outside Mr. Prentice's speech, saying they want to see the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions made much higher.

An Australian climate-change expert also criticized Canada's history when it comes to emission reductions.

Prof. Tim Flannery of the Copenhagen Climate Council, a business-oriented scientific group, told The Canadian Press on Saturday that the UN negotiations in Copenhagen put Canada in “a really difficult position”.

“Canada is by far the biggest defaulter on its Kyoto obligations on a tonnage basis. And as a result of that there is a lack of trust,” he said.

After the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the Liberal government of the day committed to deep emission reductions, but only slowly developed modest reduction policies as emissions continued to rise.

When the Conservatives came to power in 2006, Canada was woefully behind its international commitment and fell even further when the Tories essentially scrapped the Liberal program in favour of rebuilding climate-change policy from scratch. That policy and its regulations remain a work in progress almost four years later.

While the Tories lay the blame at the feet of the Liberals, it is a moot point internationally, according to Prof. Flannery.

“The people of Canada through their government made the commitment, and it needs to honoured somehow or other, or it needs to be dealt with,” he said.

Prof. Flannery had just participated in an APEC media forum on climate change and the economy, where he joined several experts in warning that investment and co-operation, rather than “punitive” trade and tax measures, are the most efficient way to reduce emissions.

Canada's oil sands are in particular danger of becoming a target for tariff censure, Prof. Flannery said in an interview, and the government needs to be acting aggressively now to reduce the carbon intensity of their development.

“As we go into Copenhagen and beyond I think there is a real danger that unless we achieve enough as countries we could potentially face border tariffs on carbon, for example.”

He said such policies would be a “catastrophe.”

Canada's failure is “not all the Harper government's fault. It's a long (Canadian) history of mismanaging this issue,” said Prof. Flannery.

“But Canada's credibility is at stake here. And at the national level, just as much as at the individual level, reputation is everything.”

The Harper government has said it is awaiting a detailed U.S. stance on climate change, because the intertwining of the two economies means Canada cannot get out of step with American efforts.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who arrived in Singapore late Saturday, has warned that “all nations must accept their responsibility” for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In a Saturday speech in Tokyo en route to the APEC summit, Mr. Obama acknowledged his country is playing catch-up.

“Already, the United States has taken more steps to combat climate change in ten months than we have in our recent history: by embracing the latest science, investing in new energy, raising efficiency standards, forging new partnerships, and engaging in international climate negotiations,” said Mr. Obama.

“In short, America knows there is more work to do – but we are meeting our responsibility, and will continue to do so.”

World Leaders Agree to Delay a Deal on Climate Change, Helene Cooper, Nov. 14 2009.

SINGAPORE — President Obama and other world leaders have decided to put off the difficult task of reaching a climate change agreement at a global climate conference scheduled for next month, agreeing instead to make it the mission of the Copenhagen conference to reach a less specific “politically binding” agreement that would punt the most difficult issues into the future.

At a hastily arranged breakfast on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting on Sunday morning, the leaders, including Lars Lokke Rasmussen, the prime minister of Denmark and the chairman of the climate conference, agreed that in order to salvage Copenhagen they would have to push a fully binding legal agreement down the road, possibly to a second summit meeting in Mexico City later on.

“There was an assessment by the leaders that it is unrealistic to expect a full internationally, legally binding agreement could be negotiated between now and Copenhagen, which starts in 22 days,” said Michael Froman, the deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs. “I don’t think the negotiations have proceeded in such a way that any of the leaders thought it was likely that we were going to achieve a final agreement in Copenhagen, and yet thought that it was important that Copenhagen be an important step forward, including with operational impact.”

With the clock running out and deep differences unresolved, it has, for several months, appeared increasingly unlikely that the climate change negotiations in Denmark would produce a comprehensive and binding new treaty on global warming, as its organizers had intended.

The agreement on Sunday codifies what negotiators had already accepted as all but inevitable: that representatives of the 192 nations in the talks would not resolve the outstanding issues in time. The gulf between rich and poor countries, and even among the wealthiest nations, was just too wide.

Among the chief barriers to a comprehensive deal in Copenhagen was Congress’s inability to enact climate and energy legislation that sets binding targets on greenhouse gases in the United States. Without such a commitment, other nations are loath to make their own pledges.

Administration officials and Congressional leaders have said that final legislative action on a climate bill would not occur before the first half of next year.

After his breakfast meeting in Singapore, Mr. Obama was scheduled to meet with Asian leaders and to hold a number of one-on-one sessions, including one with the Russian president, Dmitri A. Medvedev.

After his meeting with Mr. Medvedev, Mr. Obama will attend a symbolically important regional meeting of Southeast Asian nations, in which representatives of Myanmar’s government will also be present. Mr. Obama, who has made a point of his willingness to engage with adversaries, noted that for the first time an American president would be at the table with Myanmar’s military junta. But he has also called on the government to release the leader of the country’s beleaguered democracy movement, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

APEC summit meetings are not known for accomplishing much that is substantive. The most memorable moments often involve the photo opportunities, in which leaders wear colorful matching shirts. And often communiqués issued on dismantling trade barriers are undermined by the attending countries almost as soon as they are signed.

Speaking to world leaders at the APEC summit meeting Sunday morning, Mr. Obama said he would hold the 2011 gathering in Hawaii.

“The United States was there at the first meeting of APEC at Blake Island when President Clinton started the tradition of having leaders wear outfits picked out by the host nation,” Mr. Obama said. “And when America hosts APEC in a few years, I look forward to seeing you all decked out in flowered shirts and grass skirts because today I am announcing that my home state of Hawaii will be hosting this forum in 2011.”

This year’s meeting promises more of the same, complete with charges and countercharges of protectionism.

President Felipe Calderón of Mexico got things going early Saturday when he lashed out at what he called politically driven protectionism in the United States. He complained that Congressional coddling of the Teamsters had prevented the United States from opening its borders to Mexican trucks, which it was supposed to do years ago after it signed Nafta.

“Protectionism is killing North American companies,” Mr. Calderón said in Singapore. “The American government is facing political pressure that has not been counteracted.”

Mr. Obama is facing high expectations, which may be difficult to meet. For instance, while he has spoken about reducing trade barriers, he also talked during his speech in Tokyo on Saturday of making sure that the United States and Asia did not return to a cycle — which he termed “imbalanced” — in which American consumerism caused Asians to look at the United States as mainly an export market.

There are also high hopes among American companies and some Asian countries that the United States will commit to joining a regional trading group called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Although Mr. Obama did open the door during his speech in Tokyo on Asia policy, he did not explicitly say that the United States would join the pact. A formal announcement that the United States is beginning negotiations would undoubtedly kick off criticism from free-trade opponents in the United States and pushback from Congress.

Mr. Obama spoke, instead, of “engaging the Trans-Pacific Partnership countries with the goal of shaping a regional agreement that will have broad-based membership and the high standards worthy of a 21st-century trade agreement.”

That line left many trade envoys already in Singapore scratching their heads: did Mr. Obama mean that the United States would begin formal talks to join the regional trade pact, which presently includes Singapore, Brunei and New Zealand, and could later include Vietnam — an addition that could lead to more Congressional pressure at home?

Many regional officials have been waiting for the United States to join the initiative as a demonstration that Washington will play a more active role in the region. But the Obama administration has yet to establish a firm trade policy, as it is still reviewing its options.

White House officials were not much clearer on what Mr. Obama meant when they were pressed on this after the speech. Mr. Froman, the deputy national security adviser, said that what Mr. Obama meant was that he would engage with the initiative “to see if this is something that could prove to be an important platform going further.”

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