Tuesday 4 December 2012

Doh doh ... DOHA (!)

The whole shitteree is a death machine, an apparatus for extinction.
Up, Down. 
Background music from our Jimi.    Contents: OK THEN, Doh doh ... DOHA (!), Fossicking Among Root Causes, Postscripts: Elizabeth May, Peter Kent, Christiana Figueres, Apology.


Illustration by Daniel Pudles in The Guardian.Lord Stern uses two phrases in an article today: "it's a brutal arithmetic," and "I am ... just calculating what is needed." He then goes on to make milquetoast of it.

But his words got me thinking: What IS needed? How CAN we force our political masters to speak truth to the science before it is too late?
How about hunger strikers demanding a formal public debate?
One would need some savvy environmental champions and a moderator above any possible reproach ... a-and some individuals ready to lay their lives on the line (for something that just might be achievable).

Eh? Are you ready to step up for that? 
From Copenhagen to Doha - the UNFCCC clusterfuck (aka UNfuct):
(Thanks to tOad, cartoonist at Le Monde. The thumbnails are clipped - click to view complete images.)

You can follow along if you like with the IISD or ECO newsletters, or on the CYD blog ... or, if you want to see some of the smiling faces on the NGO side, try IISD's ENBOTS newsletters.

[It is incredible and unbelievable but the silly boogers have tried to bar Anjali Appadurai from COP 18. (!?) You can read about it in The Guardian. That said, one wonders why she would want to go there - speaks to the lame alternatives I guess. You can find some of her recent writings on [Earth in Brackets].]

Bloomberg: It's Global Warming Stupid.Birthday Canyon, Greenland.Birthday Canyon, Greenland.Birthday Canyon, Greenland.Birthday Canyon, Greenland.Michael Bloomberg gets it, sort of more-or-less. Barack Obama does not. This speaks as much and more to their relative positions in the power hierarchy as it may to whatever intelligence, understanding, personality etc. they may have. (There is an important lesson here about scale, scope ... discretion.)

'Cryoconite' (the black smear in Birthday Canyon pictured above right) could just as accurately have been called 'dust' - so much for the scientists lost in their own belly buttons - umbigophiles.

Two sad stories from Brasil: (em defesa da ganância / in defence of greed)
Politicos em defesa da ganância / Politicians in defence of greed.Rio sem royalties e o fim do mundo / Rio without royalties is the end of the world.
BBC: Mass protest in Rio de Janeiro November 26    &    22 billion R$ (more) for Belo Monte (2/3 of it public money).

(Compared with Doha - 1,000 folks at $1,000 per day all in for ten days makes ... 10 million conservatively or just a drop in the bucket. But again, this is public money, extorted from the poor and transferred to the already rich & comfortable & their tax lawyers.)

Doh doh ... DOHA(!)Government politicians & bureaucrats, labour unions, financial institutions ... and the captivated populations with upturned hopeful faces ... the whole shitteree is a death machine, an apparatus for extinction. Harsh.
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
(Ezra Pound, 1913)
The only bright points I can see just now are the Unist’ot’en/Wet'suwet'en blockade in northern BC and the continuing native struggles at the Belo Monte site in Altamira:
Unist’ot’en/Wet'suwet'en blockade in northern BC.Xingu River, Belo Monte.

You can learn more about them and donate (that is the very least you can do): Unist’ot’en Camp    &    O Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre (MXVPS). 
Who gets the blame?
It is easy enough to blame institutions such as RBC & BNDES or groups such as the so-called 1%, they deserve it no doubt, but a short meditation on concupiscent consumers (or even, cringeing conned complacent cretinous ... concupiscent consumers) may show that this line of approach doesn't really wash very well.

A more satisfying hypothesis is that almost the entire human species is mad. Homo Grǽdum is insane, off the rails, berserkers!

Two short excerpts from two eminent and perspicacious observers on that axis:

Northrop Frye, 1968:
There are two contexts in which the question of mental health exists, and they are directly opposite to one another.

The first is the therapeutic context. Here society is the norm, and the individual suffers from some psychic disability that prevents his full social functioning. All forms of mental illness, including the schizophrenic and the manic-depressive, come under this category, and their antisocial actions range from committing suicide to murdering public figures.

In the other context, society as a whole is sick and paranoid, and mental health can be attained only by the individual as a result of some detachment from the hysteria around him. Some societies, like Nazi Germany, are more obviously insane than others, and some are more obviously controlled and manipulated than others. But the same principle, that the mob is always insane and that only the individual can be sane, is always present.

Society itself, of course, cannot distinguish the mentally sick person from the healthy person who repudiates its own sickness. ... Frequently individual detachment and neurosis are found in the same person, and many forms of rejection of social values have themselves their neurotic aspects. ...
Martin Buber, 1948:
The doctor who confronts the effects on the guilty man of an existential guilt must proceed in all seriousness from the situation in which the act of guilt has taken place. Existential guilt occurs when someone injures an order of the human world whose foundations he knows and recognizes as those of his own existence and of all common human existence. The doctor who confronts such a guilt in the living memory of his patient must enter into that situation; he must lay his hand in the wound of the order and learn: this concerns you. But then it may strike him that the orientation of the psychologist and the treatment of the therapist have changed unawares and that if he wishes to persist as a healer he must take upon himself a burden he had not expected to bear.
I have been learning what I can of the holocaust, the Shoah; two books in particular stand out: Bauman's 'Modernity and the Holocaust' (from Cornell) and Agamben's 'Remnants of Auschwitz' (from Zone Books).    I wonder if the 21st C (not to be outdone by the 20th) will trump all previous evils by killing every living thing on the planet north of blue-green algae?

A.S. Byatt's Ragnarök: The End of the Gods (review here, available from Canongate) is worth reading several times.

It goes without saying that Buber's remedy, prescription, what you will ... operates only between two individuals, or at most in a small group ... which brings me back (again again again) to Ivan Illich (wanting to end, you know, on a positive note here today) and the Good Samaritan.

(It also goes without saying that this cannot be done alone.)

Be well. 
A postscript (of course):    Elizabeth May's press conference of November 29, too long and meandering but still ... here is the video. She ends by saying, "Any honest person in political life who has looked at this science should be screaming from the rooftops ..."

I would say not only those in 'political life' but every one. That they ... we ... are not (screaming from the rooftops), proves, conclusively and categorically to me at least, the diagnosis of madness, insanity, death wish. 
A smug Peter Kent following his recent press conference.2nd Postscript:    I guess some of Peter Kent's words on the subject should be knitted into Madame Defarge's scarf:
Our Economic Action Plan 2012 focuses on the drivers of growth and job creation—innovation, investment, education, skills and communities—underpinned by our commitment to keeping taxes low, and returning to a balanced budget by the end of this Parliament.

While the federal government is working to be a partner with the private sector in economic growth, my role is to ensure that this growth happens in an environmentally responsible way.

Putting 'growth' and 'environmentally responsible' in the same sentence in this way is an insult to anyone with even rudimentary arithmetic - the statement is categorically, ineluctably, incontrovertably ... impossible! False! These silly boys, so 'smugge and smoethe' (such schmucks) are nitwits! How can everyone not see it?

Peter Kent & Dan McDougll in Doha.Peter and his master, Stephen Harper, are so deeply enmeshed in the ideology of denial ... but really (as a once-upon-a-time good 'ol boy myself, I have to say), denial (and concomitant defiance) are such ancient and effective strategies and could even be admired if the consequences in this case were not so dire and general - involving as they do the entire planetary civilization.

Dan McDougll in Doha.An interview has turned up with Dan McDougall, Canada's negotiator in Doha, as he mumbles and chokes out the party line. The interview originates with CCTV, but since things come and go quickly on the uddernet I have posted a (poor) copy on YouTube.

Might as well get to know him a bit; here is the blurb from Environment Canada: Mr. Daniel (Dan) Edward McDougall.

"Keep your hand upon the throttle, and your eye upon the rail," goes the old hymn Life’s Railway to Heaven. It's growth or be damned!

CYD - Canadian Youth Delegation logo.In some future, when the shit really hits the fan, these politicians and their lackeys may be dragged out of their comfortable hidey-holes and lynched as the environmental criminals they are - by another, even more devolved generation of Canadians, maybe the last, not nearly so polite and reserved (more like Clockwork Orange) - but it will do no more good then than it would do now: by then it will be too late, and now it would only play into the law-and-order agenda which is doing just fine already (in the face of a declining crime rate). 
Louise Bourgeois, Maman.Last and final:    There was (is?) a genius in some South African ministry - the person who designed the eloquent logo for the Durban meeting last year. And there is obviously another - who selected Louise Bourgeois' sculpture Maman for the entryway to Doha.

Christiana Figueres.Such thoughts are difficult, as evidenced by J.M. Coetzee's convocation address at Witwatersrand this week. Of course sex has nothing, or very little, to do with it.

If Christiana Figueres were the son of the (then) President of Costa Rica the spectacle of quintessential bureaucratic (mindless) glee would be no different.

Much better, coherent, summaries have been provided elsewhere by Kumi Naidoo and Elizabeth May. 
Apology:    Oh yes gentle bourgeois burghers I am rude & impertinent (and lost and despairing), but do not fear - it could be worse don't you think?

Here, we can all have a laugh with Monty Python's Argument Clinic, which is, one presumes, where Kent and Harper and the rest of the cabinet learned their rhetoric skills.


Anonymous said...

David, As usual you approach the topic in a delightfully non-linear way -- but then climate change is all about non-linearity. Last week I was optimistic that we might be nearing the cusp of a tipping point in attitude and willingness to act on climate -- now with Doha well under way, not so much. Peter Kent had many words to say, but did not add much new. He is still pushing the invalid claim that Canada is halfway to its 2020 target re greenhouse gas emissions. We are not halfway there, and he knows that, and the target does not do enough anyway. I fear Canada and Kent are in Doha only to slow down or derail any signs of serious efforts being made. Meanwhile we head towards a 4 to 6 degree warmer world. I've said more on this at http://www.petersalebooks.com/?page_id=262

Keep the faith and keep up the fight.

Peter Sale

David Wilson said...

Does Peter Kent ever actually 'say' anything at all? He is no more than a news reader after all, isn't he? The words coming out of his mouth from the teleprompter or whatever script is employed are not 'his' in any meaningful sense are they?

Just asking.

Unknown said...

I'm embarrassed to say, David, that it took me this long to find you (via the CYCC blog). Man, do I ever envy your writing style! If we mapped your musings, we'd probably discover the Fibonacci spiral or something. ;-)

Hey, re your story 3AM, Peter and I were sound asleep in a cheap motel in Nanaimo a few years ago, one that we chose because of its back bedroom, away from the sounds of the island highway. At 2AM, we were quickly roused by a drunken argument in the alley out back. We still laugh about the parting shot: "God HATES you! And he HATES YOUR DOG, too!"

We both know it's all too late, right? (Too much warming in the pipe.) And the only reason to do any of this anymore (rather than just having fun ... like most everyone else is doing) is because we have to so that we can sleep at night and face ourselves in the morning? My hubby keeps saying we should be having fun doing the climate change work, otherwise don't do it, cuz there's no point.

We don't have 10-15 years to cap emissions (as the CYCC post suggests). We *had* 10-15 years, 10-15 years ago. But a few people decided that money, being humanity's greatest achievement, you see, should trump life and love and art and music and literature and IKEA furniture. (I used to be content with the miracle that life on Earth is. Now I want to believe in ETs so that someone can come visit when we're gone and appreciate who we might have been / become.)

That said, I'm pretty good at coming up with vengeance fantasies, so here's my latest: We get every single person in every single "climate change vulnerable" state (small island nations, Bangladesh, Africa, Philippines, oh man, this list could go on and on) to apply for refugee status in Canada!!! Wouldn't that clog the system a wee bit, eh?

The latest "direct action" to "save our coast" is to knock on doors for two hours one afternoon in January. I'm not sure if it's merely a concerted Nicky Nicky Nine Doors kind of knocking or if we're actually going to do something if people answer their door, but there it is. I am so regretting that you and I didn't meet up while you were out here!

We attended the Kinder Morgan (pipeline twinning) open house on Saturday afternoon. I must have looked rather fiendish as I whirled through the exhibits in 10 seconds flat - not a single gawddamn poster concerned with global warming or climate change or greenhouse gases. (Same with the terms of reference for the Enbridge review ... they refuse to look at the impacts of what will flow through the pipeline!)

What really, REALLY bugs me about Peter Kent is that he *knows* (having done a CBC documentary about global warming years ago) - and still can spew bullsh!t about it. Considering that our target needs to be zero carbon emissions (the most important number in 350.org's 350 is that zero at the end), then Canada is completely full of shite. It's one of the things that hurts the most. My Canada, climate criminal. Ouch.

I looked up sedition. Harper is guilty of it. "Sedition is the stirring up of rebellion against the government in power." Harper is sure as hell doing that, eh? "Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution [yup on that one] and incitement of discontent (or resistance) [oh yeah] to lawful authority."

There's another good vengeance fantasy. I wonder if the RCMP would arrest him if we made the case.

It's all about food now.

Okay, off to work. I love working with my students. They're such wonderful little human beings! It's only two days per week, but they sure proffer joy and laughter.