The Long Ecological Revolution

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 7952
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Thu Nov 10, 2022 2:56 pm

COP27: President Maduro Calls for Immediate Action & Identifies Capitalism as Primary Cause of Climate Crisis
NOVEMBER 9, 2022

Image
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during his speech at the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP27) in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, November 8, 2022. Photo: Twitter/@avnve.

This Tuesday, November 8, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro called for concrete and immediate measures to be taken in the face of the current global climate crisis, and urged world leaders to have the courage to recognize that the cause of this crisis is the “consumerist, voracious, predatory, and destructive” capitalist system.

“It is time to rectify radically,” said the Venezuelan head of state before the audience of the 27th Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention Nations on Climate Change (COP27), in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. “Today, the absolute collapse of the system rises before us as a fatal destiny. Capitalism sees assets where other civilizations see life, and that is why it abrogates the right to destroy what it finds in its path in order to accumulate capital.”

“A system that normalizes exploitation among human beings does possess have the ethical requirements to respect other forms of existence,” President Maduro said. He noted how the most powerful capitalist economies of the world continue to pollute the planet for the benefit of a few.

“The time for speeches and also for lamentations has run out,” President Maduro said. “There is only one present left to act radically and accurately in favor of another possible world.”

“We have wasted a lot of time,” Maduro said. “Every hour, every month, every year of inaction, hesitation, and indolence, today translates into destroyed ecosystems, extinct species, and the deterioration of living conditions on the planet.”

Climate Damage and Loss-Financing Fund
Given this situation, President Maduro emphasized the need to reach real and effective agreements, and to create a specific agenda to protect vulnerable populations affected by environmental damage. In this regard, the president of Venezuela urged world leaders to establish, without delay the Climate Loss and Damage Financing Fund.

“Humanity cannot remain an orphan,” said President Maduro. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that financial resources are distributed in a timely manner to those who suffer the devastating effects of the climate crisis.

“We must work down to the last detail, fine-tuning the mechanisms, so that financial assistance is direct, fair, timely, and expeditious, so that compensation for environmental damage reaches the most affected peoples,” Maduro said during the high-level segment of COP27.

The head of state emphasized that any agreement must “attack the problem at the root and grant priority to the most vulnerable on the planet.”

#EnVivo 📹 | Presidente @NicolasMaduro interviene en la XXVII Conferencia de las Partes de la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático #COP27https://t.co/DpWQmtVcMn

— Prensa Presidencial (@PresidencialVen) November 8, 2022


Environmental crisis and inequality

Continuing his speech at COP27, the Venezuelan president compared the imbalance and environmental crisis in nature with the conditions of inequality that capitalism creates within humanity: “in addition to producing environmental misery, it [capitalism] produces social misery.”

In this regard, he highlighted the need to recognize failures of “civilization” in order to radically alter them, and warned that, if this self-destructive rate continues, in 30 or 40 years the planet may be uninhabitable.

In this regard, Maduro quoted the words of Fidel Castro Ruz at the Rio de Janeiro summit in 1992: “An important biological species is at risk of disappearing due to the rapid and progressive liquidation of its natural living conditions: humans. Tomorrow it will be too late to do what we should have done a long time ago.” President Maduro noted that 30 years ago, Fidel Castro had already pointed to wild and predatory capitalism as the origin of the environmental crisis.

President Maduro also made reference to the words pronounced in 2009 in Copenhagen by Commander Hugo Chávez: “What is the cause of climate change, the cause is the dream of seeking happiness through material accumulation and endless progress, using for that techniques with which all the resources of the earth can be exploited in an unlimited way. Let’s not change the climate, let’s change the system!”

In this regard, he added that “at the Copenhagen Summit, the unwillingness of the climate-denying elites to confront the emergency at the appropriate pace and in the correct direction … was revealed.”

Irreversible fact

During his speech at COP27, President Nicolás Maduro stressed that the terrible environmental imbalances that today dramatically affect life all over the planet seem to indicate that climate change is an irreversible fact, a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the greatest environmental crisis since human life began.

“The dimension of this crisis does not take us by surprise,” said Maduro. “For 30 years there have been enough indications of an early warning.” In this sense, Maduro referred to the Kyoto agreement which, in his opinion, gave good results until 2009.

He also recalled the 2015 Paris agreement, which made the contribution of science binding, as well as painful deadlocks and ruptures, such as those of 2009 at the Copenhagen Summit.

Referring to scientific projections, he warned that the climate crisis has consequences that force us to alter the consumerist model. If greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced, the damage will be irreversible in only eight years.

President Maduro warned that, as a consequence of these imbalances, extreme phenomena such as droughts and torrential floods have increased in a disorderly manner. In recent weeks, Venezuela and many tropical countries worldwide have reported unusual levels of torrential rains with a corresponding detrimental effect on human lives and infrastructure.

Regarding this crisis, he pointed out that although human civilization is responsible, this responsibility is unequal. As an example, he commented that Venezuela is responsible for less than 0.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions on the planet, and lamented that the Venezuelan people must pay the consequences.

In defense of the Amazon
In addition, President Maduro advocated for the protection of the Amazon jungle and the Indigenous peoples of the region: “It is the native peoples who must teach us how to save and how to live with nature. The original cultures of the entire American continent have always conceived of the earth and the jungle as a living being that thinks and feels like us.”

In this sense, he urged humanity to halt the anthropocentric arrogance that prevents us from seeing how sacred the world is. He also made reference to the indefatigable spirit of struggle and resistance of Venezuelan men and women, and their immense love for life “which raises us to think of a new humanity, from a new spirituality—a humanity reconciled with nature, reconciled with itself, reconciled with the future.”

“The illusion of infinitive development through consumerism has ended, let’s now put limits on the damage caused to mother nature,” he urged.

“The world can count on our people to unite all efforts for a new humanity!” President Maduro proclaimed.

https://orinocotribune.com/cop27-presid ... te-crisis/

COP27: Handshake Between President Maduro and John Kerry Causes Uproar (+Ned Price)
NOVEMBER 9, 2022

Image
Photo composition highlighting Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro shaking hands with US Climate Envoy John Kerry at the International Convention Center of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, during COP27, on November 8, 2022. Photo: Venezuela News.

Caracas, November 8, 2022 (OrinocoTribune.com)—During the 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, shook hands. The brief diplomatic gesture caught the attention of mainstream media and was hotly debated by news outlets within Venezuela.

US journalist Joshua Goodman, from Associated Press, published a video of the meeting, in which Maduro and Kerry can be seen, between laughter and jokes, briefly exchanging words and wishing each other luck in the corridors of the International Convention Center of Sharm El-Sheikh.

The encounter was also covered by Bloomberg, Voice of America, Fox News, and ABC News, among other mainstream media outlets, to the point that the White House, via State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, felt a need to clarify that the brief encounter “was unplanned … and non-substantive” and that the former secretary of state “was caught by surprise.” Price also noted that Maduro has done this to other leaders in the past, and, with typical US hypocrisy, questioned Venezuela’s environmental record.

In this regard, it should perhaps be noted that US carbon dioxide (CO2) emission levels are approximately 15.52 tons per person each year, according to Worldometer. Venezuela’s per capita emissions, by comparison, are 5.89 tons, while the world average is 4.79 tons per year.


Goodman accompanied his tweet with the following text: “Any lip readers? Maybe recalling their days bonding over baseball at a Cape Cod retreat of the Grupo de Boston (Boston Group), two decades ago. Nicolas Maduro was a Venezuelan deputy and John Kerry was still a senator. Those meetings helped ease tensions following 2002 coup.”


The Boston Group was a parliamentary commission of the National Assembly of Venezuela financed by the Organization of American States (OAS) and created out of the Venezuelan–US parliamentary friendship group, formed in 2002 after the failed coup d’état against Hugo Chávez, in which the US played a leading role, along with Spain. In this group, parliamentarians from the United States and Venezuela agreed to meet outside the country to discuss key issues for both nations in an environment of less polarization.

During the COP27 working day this Monday, the Venezuelan head of state also spoke with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. The two discussed topics related to the political changes occurring in Latin America and the Mexico Talks being conducted with a segment of the Venezuelan opposition. Many local analysts joked that, if one looked carefully, it was possible to see oil rigs in Macron’s eyes—a reference to France and Europe’s desperate need for energy following the crisis created by their blind adherence to the foolhardy sanctions regime applied by the US against Russia.

Diplomatic relations between Venezuela and the US have deteriorated to the point where there are no diplomatic relations or consular activity between the two countries. However, in May 2022, the Biden administration sent a high-level delegation to meet with President Maduro in Caracas. Venezuela has been the victim of countless illegal US sanctions against its oil industry, the country’s main source of income, thus harming regular Venezuelans. The illegal coercive economic measures and resulting economic damage has led to the death of about 40,000 Venezuelans each year since 2017, according to experts including CEPR (Washington, DC-based Center for Economic and Policy Research).

https://orinocotribune.com/cop27-handsh ... ned-price/

*******

Being Excess Bodies: Shame in the Age of Climate Coloniality
Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on NOVEMBER 8, 2022
Shreya Parikh

Image

For many in the Global South, instead of recognizing that their suffering is a result of local and global socio-economic and racial structures, they feel shame. As COP27 takes place in Egypt, Shreya Parikh writes about climate change, overpopulation, and shame in Tunisia and India, and how suffering is often interpreted as being a result of individual deficiencies. It is a false narrative that blames those suffering most gravely from climate change for their own suffering.

My friend and I return to her home – the Hamrouni household – after the sun has set, with sand all over our feet from walking around the beach in Gabès.[1] It is May 2022, and the sun burns above 40 degrees in the day. I head directly to the bathroom on tiptoes, hoping the sand wouldn’t crumble all over the tiled floors and carpets. My friend’s mother rushes to see if there is a towel in the bathroom for me, and realizes that there is no running water in the taps. She looks at Mabrouka, my friend, and sighs; they take turns in telling me that the water has run out before midnight – the usual time for the water cuts in the Mtorrech neighbourhood.[2] As I wash my feet with plastic bottles filled with stored water, guilty of my beach pleasures and the resulting need to clean myself again with water, I am told that Mtorrech has been lucky in Gabès, that other neighbourhoods in Gabès have it worse than 12am-5am water cuts every day.

Gabès city, around 400 kilometres south of the capital of Tunisia, reminds me too often of home in Ahmedabad, a city in India with the population size totalling all of Tunisia. Both Gabès and Ahmedabad see long arid summers when the air thickens with pollution and humidity. In both Gabès and Ahmedabad, pleasure lies in food that burns the tongue and the throat – couscous grains coated with spicy hrous in the former, pickled chili mangoes back in Ahmedabad. In both Gabès and Ahmedabad, water cuts often. And it is in Gabès that the raw memories built over my childhood in Ahmedabad emerge like undiscovered water springs.

I wash my feet and my arms sticky with sand and sweat, and there is just enough water in the bottle to splash on my face before heading to the dinner table and then to bed. My mind, subconsciously, had made the calculation of how to divide the two litres of stored water that Mabrouka had given to me. The mental ritual of the calculation, the bodily ritual of washing with so little water, brings back to me a heaviness, a deep shame.

As we eat dinner in front of the television, I can’t but sink into this shame. I look at Mabrouka’s mother playing with their newly adopted kitten, smile at them, and then proceed to blankly stare at the reality show on the television. But I can’t get the shame out of my mind and body.

Where does shame come from?

In the middle-class neighbourhood I grew up in back in Ahmedabad in north-west India, our days were organised around the daily water cuts. Washing, bucket baths, and cooking happened mostly early in the day when running water was guaranteed – between 7am and 2pm. If the water ran until 4pm, we called it our lucky day! There were also days when there was no water at all, when we would pack our laundry and head to my grandmother’s home.

In the middle of the summer sometime in the early 2000s, the large electric setup that pumped groundwater for our apartment complex broke down, or at least that is the story I was told as a kid. There was no running water at all. A plumbing company was brought in to dig a deeper hole and put in a new pump. In my memory, the men from the company spent the whole summer digging and digging, and we never really knew when we would have running-water again.

Trucks fitted with water tanks were brought in from time to time but they were small attempts to fill in the daily need of water. Rumours would circulate every day that a water tank would be brought in, and we would prepare by heaping all empty containers and buckets together so that we could rush to the tank once it materialised.

Running to the mobile water tank was a woman’s job – I remember women in their house clothes rushing out with all types of empty plastic containers; women in loose cotton dresses in all shades of pastel, with turmeric stains from cooking, and a scarf thrown around the shoulders to perform some form of modesty and presentability. They would crowd around the water tank and elbow each other for what was scarce. I am sure my mother was there as well, running to the tank, but for some reason, my memory has wiped her presence out of these snippets of images that remain in my head.

Was it shame that had erased her presence?

Managing the house logistics without water was, in my mind, also my mother’s job. She made sure that all the buckets were full and that the house had been cleaned and mopped while the water was running. It was with her that we would rush to a friends’ apartment in the neighbouring apartment complex every morning during the dreadfully long summer of the broken water pump, and it was with her that we would brush our teeth and bathe while she cleaned laundry.

Seeing structural problems as our fault

I never spoke with anyone about our daily water cuts during my childhood. I had internalised that the silent performance of water storing was an act of shame. I never spoke about it with my friends at school, nor did I have any conversation about the recurrent water-cuts with my parents. It existed, every day, and we had to silently accept it.

Image
Men fishing for anchovies along the polluted coast of Gabès (Shreya Parikh, June 2021).

The water cuts, in my mind, were our fault – we didn’t have enough money to pay to live in more privileged housing complex where, I assumed with certainty, the water flowed with ease and the bathrooms came with built-in marble bathtubs and I could bathe myself every day like the characters in the English textbooks we read at school. I reasoned that to talk about water cuts in school would mean that I would reveal an uncool fact about my (comparatively lower) socioeconomic class.

As I think about these memories, I find thick layers of shame wrapped around them. This shame came from the collective meaning we had given to the recurrent water cuts – that our inability to pay for more water was to be blamed for the situation we were in and that, if we could move into a more upper-class neighbourhood, there would be running water all day.

The only time we talked about water-cuts as a social problem beyond our individual agencies was when so-called intellectual op-eds blamed shortage of water in India to overpopulation. We were too many, we were told again and again, and we were the excess bodies creating this overpopulation. Every time I would read about ‘overpopulation’ in our geography textbooks in India, I would have an intense desire to dissolve and disappear.[3] Maybe then we could have running-water?

We witnessed intense urbanization, falling ground water levels, and decreasing average rainfall all around us, and could see that frequent cutting of water in many households across Ahmedabad was (and is) linked to these visible outcomes of global climate change and environment destruction.[4] Yet, we continued to suffer not only from the water cuts but also from the narrative of ‘overpopulation’ that constructed our lives as excess – the ‘too many’ drinking away ‘too much’ of the water.[5]

The ‘too many’ in Tunisia

‘Overpopulation’ may not be the word used in Tunisia in the textbooks or in journalistic media to talk about a social problem. But political and social discourses that construct families (like the Hamrouni family in Gabès) outside the Tunis-Sousse-Sfax region as excess are omnipresent.

Since early 1970s, Gabès hosts a series of chemical industries that lines its coasts, drinking away its fresh ground water and emptying the dirtied water into the sea. These industries have disrupted and destroyed the oasis ecosystems and the livelihoods that depend on it; they have polluted and killed the fish, and put fishermen out of jobs. And their polluting gas emissions have brought a long list of fatal maladies like asthma and cancer to its people.[6]

A common dominant discourse presents Gabèsians as having ‘chosen’ to have chemical industries along its coast as a development policy in the 1960s. According to this discourse, all coastal spaces in Tunisia were to be automatically developed as touristic beaches; because folks in Gabès are ‘too conservative’ to tolerate women in bikinis (so the discourse says), they ‘chose’ heavily polluting and water-consuming industries instead. Today, tourist forums continue to repeat this discourse by reminding (non-Tunisian) tourists to not ‘expose [themselves] too much during [beach] tanning’ because of the ‘conservative’ nature of locals in Gabès.

This dominant discourse constructs Gabès and its population as conservative and hence inferior from liberal and more-educated populations along the Tunis-Sousse-Sfax coast. Gabès is portrayed as deserving of its polluting industries because, for many, there can be no other model of development except for building giant industries in areas with low literacy levels. The so-called conservativeness of Gabès is used to justify continuous lack of public infrastructure in the region.

Bodies under the heaviness of climate coloniality

The shame induced by being recurrently described as ‘overpopulation’ or excess bodies weighs down on families that live on the margins of the world – the Global South. The intensity of this weight experienced by those in the Global South is determined by other factors as well – gender, class, race, and caste among others. Both, the Hamrouni family in Gabès and my family in Ahmedabad, carry many privileges, among them the privileges that come with our middle-class status. Their experience of being called ‘excess’ are not equivalent to the experiences of those who are poor in the Global South.

Those at the margins of the margins are the worst affected by climate change as well as the intensity of shame linked to their marginalised condition. According to scholars Elaine Chase and Robert Walker (2012), shame, in the context of poverty, combines ‘an internal judgement of one’s own inabilities; an anticipated assessment of how one will be judged by others; and the actual verbal or symbolic gestures of others who consider, or are deemed to consider, themselves to be socially and/or morally superior to the person sensing shame.’[7] For them, shame induces a sense of disempowerment – a lack of control. At the same time, they point out the presence of guilt in the life narratives of many who experience poverty.

For many at the margins, shame is experienced as guilt; instead of recognizing that their suffering is a result of local and global socio-economic and racial structures that create and perpetuate inequalities, the suffering is interpreted as being a result of their own individual lacking (lack of effort or lack of enough money, for example). It is this false narrative that blames those suffering most gravely from climate change for their suffering that weighs heavily onto bodies, a result of what scholar Farhana Sultana (2022) calls ‘climate coloniality.’[8]

Sultana argues that climate change and colonialism should be viewed together in order to understand the uneven effects of climate change globally, what she terms as ‘climate coloniality.’ This climate coloniality not only takes material and political forms, but also discursive forms. Dominant discourses on studying and addressing climate change render, according to Sultana, ‘some lives and ecosystems…disposable and sacrificial, whereby [inequality-producing] structural forces, both historical and contemporary, fuel it’ (2022:4). For example, in discussions on addressing climate change, ‘burdens on the poor across the Global South to reduce greenhouse gas emissions continue to exist’ while, at the same time, luxury and survival emissions are treated as equivalent (2022: 5).

A similar argument exists in conversations on addressing water shortages. For example, in 2018, total water withdrawal per capital in India was at 563 cubic meter per year (per inhabitant) while that for Tunisia was 332 cubic meter per year (per inhabitant).[9] For France, the value stood at 416 cubic meter per year (per inhabitant). The value takes into account water withdrawals from agricultural, industrial, and municipal purposes. While France’s total water withdrawal per capital is lower than that of India, the number doesn’t take into account France’s dependence on agricultural produce imported from elsewhere (for example, dependence on cotton fabrics produced in India).

For the case of Tunisia, scholar Habib Ayeb pointed out during the screening of his documentary Om Layoun (in May 2022) that agricultural water in Tunisia is diverted into producing fruits and vegetables for export to Europe (including France) rather than producing grains (or other produce) for local consumption and agricultural sovereignty.[10] Hence, the 416 cubic meter per year (per inhabitant) of water withdrawal in France doesn’t take into account the water that goes into the making of watermelons or olives imported from Tunisia.

As a scholar who grew up in and experienced the material and phychological marginalization resulting from climate coloniality in Bangladesh, Sultana notes that ‘feeling, embodying, and experiencing the heaviness of climate coloniality is a steep price to pay’ (2022, 10). The cost of shame-inducing marginalization is high.

Shame calls for certain practices to be replaced by capitalist ideas and actions that are defined as superior. I am thinking here of the embracing of fast fashion in the middle- and upper-class families in India, which is replacing a more sustainable use of cloth.[11] I think of agricultural plots in the oasis in Gabès being sold away to build residential structures to accommodate increasing urbanization (which is seen as a path to ‘development’) and the decreasing dependability on local agricultural produce for livelihood.[12]

At the same time, our material understanding of climate change through cutting water, the increasing pollution, and recurrent cases of fatal maladies is continuously rejected by dominant discourses that tell us (instead) that we are the problem – that we are the ‘too much’ in the so-called problem of ‘overpopulation’ on this earth.

A world of shame

The discourse of ‘overpopulation’ explains climate change by portraying bodies at the margins as consuming ‘too much,’ yet, at the same time, it blames the bodies at the margins for the heightened effects of climate change that they suffer by explaining it as the margin’s inability to pay for necessary goods of sustenance (hence, not consuming enough).

The learning of shame, under the weight of climate coloniality, is gradual and continuous. It pushes us to be ashamed of our helplessness in the face of the consequences of global climate change which are passed onto us through a series of micro-level interactions as well as macro-level institutions. Examples of these include textbooks in India or Tunisia that portray a consumerist way of living as a lifestyle to strive towards; they include advertisements about ‘modern’ intensively water-consuming bath tubs, showers, or toilet systems that construct more water-frugal options as linked to lower socio-economic class. Class differences are seen as a moral issue, and the ability to consume resource-intensive goods (goods that make intensive use of financial as well as environmental resources) are constructed as a morally-correct aspiration to have.

It is through consumption, we are told, that we can become individuals instead of a lump that is defined as excess or ‘overpopulated.’ To not have financial resources to pay for these resource-intensive goods is socially constructed as a marker of personal failure; shame comes from the internalisation of this idea where not being able to consume goods of morally-correct aspiration is considered a personal failure.

Image
Cement and phosphate factories that line the coast of Gabès (Shreya Parikh, June 2021).

The effects of these internally-contradictory discourses of ‘overpopulation’ are visible all around the Global South. For example, large cities around Global South continue to choke their inhabitants with increasing road traffic and resulting pollution. In many cases, use of private vehicles over public transportation is motivated by the shame that is linked to sharing transportation spaces with those from relatively lower classes. In addition, images of crowded public transportation are used as proofs to explain the so-called problem of over-population in the Global South leading to climate change.

Public transportation has hence come to be associated with ‘overpopulation.’ We have come to think that those who take public transportation are excess bodies that should be ashamed of not being able to afford a car or other private forms of transportation. So, while international organizations are pushing cities in the Global South to build public transport infrastructure to decrease dependence on private transportation (and linked pollution), shame continues to act as a mental and emotion restriction in the development and democratization of public transportation.

It is time to take this shame seriously and work towards deconstructing the discourse of ‘overpopulation’ – the source of the shame – that portrays so many of us as excess and expendable.

Shreya Parikh is a Dual Ph.D. candidate in sociology at CERI-Sciences Po Paris and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Beyond Borders Fellow (2022-24) at Zeit-Stiftung. She is also an affiliated researcher at Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain (IRMC) in Tunis. Her dissertation research focuses on the constructions and contestations of race, and racialization in Tunisia through a focus on the study of racialization of Black Tunisians and Sub-Saharan migrants. Parikh grew up in Ahmedabad in India, and currently resides in Tunis in Tunisia.

Featured Photograph: Old city in Ahmedabad, India (Shreya Parikh, 2019).

Notes

[1] In this text, I use pseudonyms to protect the identity of my interlocutors.

[2] Both Mabrouka and her mother Ahlem are Black Tunisians. Mabrouka is 34 years old, and teaches English language at a private institute in Gabès. Her mother is 66 years old, and a retired nurse. They both live in Mtorrech neighborhood in a comfortable house; the neighborhood is middle class and racially mixed, and located outside the city center of Gabès.

[3] Social science textbooks (as well as other social science study material) in India continue to portray ‘overpopulation’ as a societal problem in India. See, for example, Rumani Saikia Phukan, “Overpopulation in India – causes, effects and how to control it”, 22 April 2022.

[4] In 2019, for example, the average rainfall recorded in Gujarat state (where Ahmedabad is located) was less than that over three previous decades; many parts of the region were declared as facing drought. See Sharik Laliwala, “The Undercurrents Of The Water Crisis In Gujarat.” The Wire. 5 May 2019.

[5] The discourses of overpopulation have been traced back to the book The Population Bomb (1968) published under the name of Stanford-based entomologist Paul Ehrlich who co-wrote it with his wife Anne Ehrlich. The book argued that the problem with the increasing population in the world would lead to immense global disasters (like mass starvation). The popularity of his book would lead international organizations to promote fertility reduction programs in the Global South, including in Egypt, India, Pakistan, and Tunisia. See Charles C. Mann, 2018, “The Book That Incited a Worldwide Fear of Overpopulation.” Smithsonian Magazine..

[6] Hortense Lac. “Autour du Groupe chimique de Gabès, une population sacrifiée.” Inkyfada. 12 November, 2019.

[7] Elaine Chase and Robert Walker. 2012. “The Co-construction of Shame in the Context of Poverty: Beyond a Threat to the Social Bond.” Sociology. 47(4):739-754.

[8] Farhana Sultana, 2022. “The unbearable heaviness of climate coloniality.” Political Geography.

[9] All data comes from UNFAO’s (Food and Agriculture Organization) AQUASTAT database.

[10] The documentary reflects on the unequal access to water in Tunisia, where absence of state infrastructures for water provision in marginalized rural areas forces families to either lose water supply or pay the high cost of privatization.

[11] See Flavia Lopes and IndiaSpend.com 2021 (23 December). “By creating a false demand for fresh looks, fast fashion is hurting the environment.” Scroll.in, 23 December 2021.

[12] For a detailed understanding of urbanization of Gabès and decline in agricultural activities in the region, see Maha Abdelhamid, Les transformations socio-spatiales des oasis de Gabès (Tunisie): déclin des activités agricoles, urbanisation informelle et dégradation de l’environnement à Zrig, des années 1970 à nos jours. Thesis defended at University Paris Nanterre, France.

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2022/11/ ... loniality/

*********

THREE THREATS TO THE AMAZON: WHY COLOMBIA AND VENEZUELA TURN ON THE ALERT
9 Nov 2022 , 10:55 am .

Image
The impact of deforestation is one of the greatest threats to the Amazon basin and the origin is indiscriminate extraction as a result of mining and the construction of illegal roads, indiscriminate logging and land usurpation (Photo: Felipe Werneck / Creative Commons

In the area called Amazonia there is 40% of the world's tropical forest, more species of fish than any other river system and 25% of all the planet's biodiversity, in a territory occupied by the basin of the world's largest river.

The Amazon and the 7 million square kilometers distributed between Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, are key in a context of global warming. The threats to that region also affect the minimum conditions for the reproduction of global life as it is known.

Precisely, its web of life acts as a carbon sink : it stores more carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) than it emits, captures between 90 thousand and 140 thousand million tons and releases oxygen (O 2 ), a cycle that helps regulate the global warming, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Brazil is among the top six countries with the highest emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and the main cause is changes in land use that lead to the loss of forest mass.

Some 5.5 million square kilometers of the Amazon (65%) are in Brazil and constitute more than half of the country, the so-called Legal Amazon occupies nine states and in 2005 was home to 55.9% of the Brazilian indigenous population, according to the National Health Foundation. This is also what the recent electoral process in the largest country in South America was about, this is what President Nicolás Maduro's recent proposal to "start a process of coordinated, efficient, conscious and active recovery" of the basin is also about. This was stated by the presidents of Colombia and Suriname, who participated last Tuesday, November 8, in a high-level regional dialogue.

"Amazon as a pillar of climate and life balance" was the title of the event that took place at the Sharm el Sheik International Convention Center, in Egypt, within the framework of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change ( COP27). There, the responsibility of governments in the preservation and protection of the basin and the measures that should be taken to guarantee that the following threats do not continue to increase were discussed.

1. DEFORESTATION AND FIRES

As a result of mining and the construction of illegal roads, indiscriminate logging and the usurpation of land for agriculture, deforestation and, with it, vegetation fires, have advanced vertiginously. Alerts for deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased by almost 50% in September compared to the same month last year, according to official data released by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), linked to the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology.

According to this same institution, since 2010 the four worst fire figures in August coincided with the government of the outgoing president, Jair Bolsonaro: 30,900 outbreaks in 2019, 29,307 in 2020, 28,060 in 2021 and 33,116 in 2022. , with Pará and Amazonas being the most affected states. More data:

*From 1985 to 2020, deforestation and degradation affect 26% of the entire Amazon region. Of that percentage, 20% (an area three times the size of France) has been transformed mainly into crops or pasture for livestock.
*The latest investigation by the Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazonia (IPAM), last May, showed that the deforestation of public lands in the Brazilian Amazon, not including state public or private land, increased by 56.6% on average per year. under the Bolsonaro administration since 2019, and that by the end of 2021, 32,000 square kilometers had been destroyed, that is, the size of 21 cities in Sao Paolo.
*According to the Deforestation Alert System, published monthly by the Institute of People and the Environment of the Amazon, in May of this year the area of ​​deforested territory in Brazil increased by 31% compared to May 2021. The most affected regions they are the states of Amazonas, Pará, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, Acre and Maranhão.
*Degraded forest areas (which have suffered some damage while remaining tropical forest) increased by 67% compared to May 2021.

Image
Scientific studies have determined that indirect deforestation, estimated at 40 times greater than direct activity, is part of the impact of mining in protected areas promoted by Bolsonarism in the Brazilian parliament (Photo: DeAgostini / Getty Images)

Perenco is an oil company run by racing driver François Perrodo, one of the biggest fortunes in France. It has a long history of complaints for serious damage to the environment and local populations in Africa and Latin America, as well as for its strong opacity. It has also been opposing the creation by the Peruvian State of the Napo-Tigre reserve for isolated peoples for years. Together with the regional government of Loreto and other actors in the hydrocarbons sector, he is behind a dangerous public campaign against the creation and protection of indigenous reserves.

Some indigenous organizations have denounced that they intend to position Peruvians themselves against uncontacted indigenous people and reverse the rights already recognized for these peoples by disseminating false information.

3. (PARA)M ILITARIZATION, DRUG TRAFFICKING AND POVERTY

The exploitation of the economic interests that strengthen the supremacy of the Global North does not always come from legally regulated channels, this is propitiated by the great extension of the Amazon basin, together with the great importance and abundance of resources. This is how mafias have been established in the territory that seek to take control of resources or organizations dedicated to drug trafficking that threaten both the safety of its inhabitants and the possibility of compliance with legislation that guarantees the adequate exploitation of resources.

This social tension has resulted in the assassination of local leaders in areas such as the Amazon of Peru and Brazil, where the risk is greatest. A Global Witness report has shown how three out of four crimes against environmental defenders took place in the Amazon region of both countries, which have not yet ratified the Escazú Agreement . This document, approved in 2018 by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in 2018, seeks to guarantee access to environmental information, protect environmental defenders and ensure public participation in environmental decisions.

Last June , Dom Phillips, a contributor to the British newspaper The Guardian, and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, were murdered in the Javari Valley, a remote area near Colombia and Peru invaded by illegal fishermen, hunters, loggers and miners, and described by the police as a key route for drug trafficking. The crime resonated internationally but Bolsonaro ignored it. Brazil is the country in the world with the most murders (342), in the last 10 years.

Analysts reveal that the Bolsonaro government advocated the greatest devastation of the Amazon, to the point of turning it into a land without law, where the burning allowed to the landowners, the pollution, the hunting, have been incalculable. Without any respect for the territories, the indigenous families, activists and journalists were persecuted and in several cases were injured or killed by the "Bolnarista militias".

The outgoing president promised to explore the economic potential of the Amazon and encouraged ranchers, farmers and loggers to exploit and burn the jungle like never before with a sense of impunity as his government relaxed environmental controls in the country. Making invisible the overwhelming advance of agribusiness and the financial networks that sustain them, he said that the "criminal fires" could have been caused by non-governmental organizations to attract international criticism of his government and that these organizations "feel affected by the lack of funds." . However, agencies such as the Observatorio do Clima suffered budget cuts worth 23 million dollars.

In Peru, the National Commission for Development and Life without Drugs (DEVIDA) published a report showing that, in 2021, coca leaf planting advanced especially in indigenous territories, where 15,380 hectares were reported, of which 11,000 102 correspond to native communities, 71% more compared to 2020, and 4,278 hectares to peasant communities, 22% more compared to 2020. In addition, the buffer zones of protected natural areas, where many indigenous communities are usually settled, increased by 36% more than the previous year, with a total of 12,436 hectares of coca planted.

Image
Coca planting has impacted the Amazonian forests of protected areas, establishing illegal economies and territorial disputes that cause violence and paramilitarization of large regions (Photo: AFP)

Drug trafficking acts in synergy with other forms of illegal economy and participates in the direct dispute over Amazonian territorial control because no alternative product can compete with coca cultivation. After the global pandemic, crime expanded in some areas, violently. Proof of this are the 18 murders in the Amazon in two and a half years, a record number in Peru.

In November 2017, the Brazilian government of Michel Temer together with the military from Colombia, Peru, the United States and Brazil developed, for the first time, the United America Operation in Tabatinga, a border area of ​​the three South American countries that participated (less than 600 kilometers of Venezuelan territory). Another 22 countries sent military observers to the operation that was part of AmazonLog 17: "...joint, multinational, and interagency actions by Brazilian, Colombian, North American, and Peruvian troops and agencies, accompanied by military personnel from partner nations and exhibiting companies," it is say, companies selling arms.

The multinational military exercises were preceded by a large arms fair, key in the areas of security and defense, whose main sponsor was Israel. The purely humanitarian and cooperative character disclosed by the Southern Command is difficult to sustain if one considers the difficulty and limitation of the Amazon countries in combating organized crime, drug trafficking and the clashes between these groups over the dispute over the Amazon route of the coca while little is known about the actions to reduce the demand and consumption of drugs.

Some analysts suggested that they were aimed at monitoring and besieging Venezuela, a country with the largest oil reserves in the world. Therefore, the actions for the preservation and protection of the basin aim to establish criteria of regional unity and sovereignty.

https://misionverdad.com/globalistan/tr ... -la-alerta

Google Translator
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 7952
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Sat Nov 12, 2022 3:38 pm

U.S. on hot seat at Sharm el-Sheikh climate meeting
November 12, 2022 Scott Scheffer

Image
‘Make big polluters pay’: Protesters at COP 27 demand Western powers meet their financial obligations to the Global South, Nov. 10.

The 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27) is underway in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Delegates from all over the world are gathered to try to agree on proposals to slow down and eventually eliminate rising atmospheric temperatures from the emission of greenhouse gasses (GHGs).

At its conclusion, the White House and faithful media will speak in glowing terms of the U.S. role. This practice of issuing a rosy, self-serving assessment each year has masked the contentious deliberations that have taken place since the conferences began in 1995.

In reality, the U.S. has bullied its way through the annual conferences. In 1997, when the 3rd COP took place in Kyoto, Japan, Vice President Al Gore led the U.S. delegation. Already posturing as a leading figure on battling climate change, his team still insisted that the U.S. be allowed softer requirements than the rest of the world. They shoved an agreement down the throats of the other delegations to exclude most military emissions from agreed-upon calculations.

This was huge and continues today. The U.S. is by far the largest and most active military in the world and the number one institutional emitter of GHGs. U.S. emissions per capita are among the worst in the world — even excluding the millions of gallons of jet fuel and diesel fuel needed to keep the Pentagon’s tanks, jet fighters, and aircraft carrier groups threatening and brutalizing the world.

But the U.S. is now on the hot seat over another long-simmering issue – climate finance.

In 2009, at COP 15 in Copenhagen, industrial, developed countries were backed into a corner over the damage that rampant capitalism has done to the Global South. Under pressure, they were committed to a pledge of $100 billion annually beginning in the year 2020.

The payments are lagging. The U.S., Australia and Canada have provided less than half their share. Often, instead of outright payments, government figures and financial institutions have been trying to count already agreed-on aid funds and loans as part of the payments.

The terrible consequences of climate change worsened in 2021 and 2022. All around the world, extreme weather events took thousands of lives, left millions homeless, and destroyed infrastructure and agriculture. Normally temperate regions in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. and many parts of southern and central Europe became ovens.

Historic droughts continued to plague East Africa and the Western U.S. China suffered a 70-day heatwave, and one-third of Pakistan was left underwater from floods – the severity of which has never occurred before.

This torrent of destruction has pushed the issue of climate finance to front and center at COP 27. President Joe Biden will attend on Nov. 11 and plans to boast about his legislative success. His Inflation Reduction Act grants billions to cherry-picked, profitable projects that cost the energy industry absolutely nothing, doesn’t do enough to curtail the use of fossil fuels and ignores potential planet-saving projects among the landscape of innovations and technologies that have emerged.

It will be interesting to see how Biden glosses over the real issue at hand. Global South countries are no longer only demanding the fulfillment of the $100-billion annual pledge. There is now discussion of further transfer of funds referred to as “loss and damage” payments. Any funds that the capitalist robbers are forced to pay should be seen in the context of the trillions of dollars robbed during the colonial period. That process of exploitive theft continues today in the period of modern imperialism.

When President Ranil Wickremeshinghe of Sri Lanka spoke at the conference, he said, “The practice of colonialism transferred the rich resources of Asia and Africa to Europe to industrialize their countries, which is also the root cause of climate change — the consequences of which we, the poor countries, are forced to suffer.”

The issue of climate finance, and loss and damage payments, has to be seen in that context by all those who want to leave a livable planet for future generations.

But for the U.S. capitalist class and their representatives, this treads dangerously close to a demand for reparations to all those brutally oppressed in the development of U.S. capitalism.

Paul Bledsoe, who was the communications director of the White House Climate Change Task Force during the Clinton administration, was candid when he told the New York Times, “America is culturally incapable of meaningful reparations. Having not made them to Native Americans or African Americans, there is little to no chance they will be seriously considered regarding climate impacts to foreign nations. It’s a complete non-starter in our domestic politics.”

U.S. delegates may be made to feel uncomfortable in Sharm el-Sheikh, and it remains to be seen whether or not the rising anger of those delegates from the Global South will be enough to pressure the U.S. and others to come up with more funds or even to meet previously agreed on obligations. In any case, the global progressive movement, and particularly activists in the U.S., must unite around the issue of reparations for the Global South.

https://www.struggle-la-lucha.org/2022/ ... e-meeting/

*******

Real challenge at COP27 is private greed versus devastation of all
In the hands of capital, ‘clean’ natural gas is worse than ‘dirty’ coal. But rich nations have devised an elaborate system to conceal facts and shift blame to poorer nations

November 12, 2022 by Prabir Purkayastha

Image
Activists protest at COP27. Photo: IndustriAll

The COP27 meet is underway at Sharm el-Sheikh. Although the Ukraine War and mid-term elections in the United States shifted our immediate focus away from the battle against global warming, it remains a central concern of our epoch. Reports indicate we are not only failing to meet climate change goals but falling short of the targets by a large margin. Worse, methane greenhouse gas emissions have grown far faster than we knew, and pose as much of a climate change threat as carbon dioxide. Methane lasts for a shorter time in the atmosphere, but seen over a 100-year period, it is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The result is we are almost certain to fail in our target to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees centigrade. If we do not act soon, even a 2-degree target would be hard to achieve. At this rate, we are looking at a 2.5 to 3-degree temperature rise and the devastation of our civilization. The impact will be much worse in the equatorial and tropical regions, where most of the world’s poor live.

This column addresses two issues. One, the shift from coal to natural gas as a transition fuel, and the other is the challenge of storing electricity, without which we cannot shift to renewable energy.

The advanced countries—the United States and in the European Union—bet big on natural gas, or methane, as the transition fuel from coal. In the COP-26 meet at Glasgow, they made coal the key issue, moving the focus away from their greenhouse emissions to those of China and India as big coal users. The assumption behind using natural gas as a transition fuel is that its greenhouse impact is only half that of coal. Methane emissions also last in the atmosphere for a shorter time—about 12 years—before converting into carbon dioxide and water. The flip side is that it is a far more potent greenhouse gas. Its effects are 30 times higher over 100 years than an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. So, even far smaller amounts of methane have a far more significant global warming impact than carbon dioxide.

The bad news on the methane front is also that methane leakages from natural gas infrastructure are much higher, possibly up to six times—according to a Stanford University Study—than the advanced countries have been telling us. The high methane leakage from natural gas extraction not only cancels any benefits of switching to natural gas as an intermediary fuel but even worsens global warming.

Two sets of data on methane are now available. One measures the actual leakage of methane from natural gas infrastructure with satellites and planes using infrared cameras. The technology to measure methane leaks from natural gas infrastructure is easy and cheap. After all, we can detect methane in exoplanets far from the solar system. Surely, saving this planet from heat death is a much higher priority? The other data is the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)’s measurements of atmospheric methane.

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States estimates that 1.4% of all natural gas produced in that country leaks into the atmosphere. But a recent Stanford University study using cameras and small planes that flew over natural gas infrastructure found the figure is likely six times higher or about 9%! Even if methane leaks are only 2.5% of natural gas production, they will offset all the benefits of switching from coal to natural gas. “Clean” natural gas might be 3-4 times worse than even dirty coal. At least in the hands of capital!

The EPA does not take any physical measurements. All it uses to estimate methane emissions is a formula based on numerous subjective factors, and the number of wells, the length of the pipelines, etc. Let us not forget that many in the United States do not believe in global warming. They would like to take a crowbar to even a weakened EPA, dismantling all measures to reduce global warming.

The other set of figures that reveals the impact of methane leaks is the WMO reporting the biggest jump in “methane concentrations in 2021 since systematic measurements began nearly 40 years ago”. While the WMO remains discreetly silent on why this jump occurred, the relation between switching to natural gas and consequent rise of methane emissions is hard to miss.

The tragedy of methane leaks is they are easy to spot with today’s technology and not very expensive to fix. But capital has no incentive to take even baby steps that impact their current bottom line. The larger good—even bigger profits—but over a longer time frame does not interest capital. It has to be forced on capital by regulatory or direct state action.

The cynicism of the rich countries—the United States and the European Union—on global warming is visible in their conduct during the Ukraine war. The European Union has restarted some coal plants, increasing the share of coal in the energy mix. It has cynically argued that developing oil and gas infrastructure in Africa is alright, as long as it is solely to supply to Europe, not for use in Africa. African nations must use only clean, renewable energy! And, of course, such energy infrastructure must be in the hands of European companies!

The key to a transition to renewable energy—the only long-term solution to global warming—is to find a way to store energy. Renewables, unlike fossil fuels, cannot be used at will as the wind, sun, even water, provide a continuous flow of energy. We can store water in reservoirs, but we cannot store the wind or sun, unless we convert them into chemical energy stored in batteries. Or into hydrogen and stored in tanks, or natural storage in geological formations, underground or in salt caverns.

There is a lot of hype about batteries and electric cars. What is missing is the disclosure that batteries, using current technology, have a much lower energy density than oil or coal. The energy from oil or natural gas is 20-40 times the most efficient battery today. That is not such a major issue for an electric vehicle. It simply dictates how often we must charge its battery and how long charging will take. It will require developing charging infrastructure with a quick turnaround time. However, the much bigger problem is how to store energy at the grid level.

Grid-level storage means supplying the power grid with electricity from stored energy. Grid-level batteries are being suggested to achieve this goal. What its proponents neglect to inform us is they may supply power for short-term fluctuations—night and day, windy and non-windy days—but cannot meet the demand from long-term or seasonal fluctuations. This is why the question of the energy density of storage—how much energy a kilo of a lithium battery can hold compared with a kilo of oil, natural gas or coal—is so crucial. For the technology we currently have, the answer is 20-40 times less! It means we need to build mammoth infrastructure to store energy to meet seasonal fluctuations. The cost of such storage will be prohibitive and simply exhaust all our lithium (or any other battery material) supplies.

I will not address the energy cost—electric or fossil—of public or mass transport versus private and why we should switch to the former. I will raise the larger question of how to store renewable energy so we can run electricity infrastructure when wind or sun is not there.

Maybe new technology will solve this problem? Remember our dreams of nuclear energy that is not only clean but cheap enough that it will not need to be metered? Do we bet our civilizations future on such a possibility? If not, we have to consider existing solutions. They exist, but they are alternatives to batteries to address the grid-level problem arising from the intermittent nature of renewable energy. The alternatives are to repurpose existing hydro-projects to work as grid-level storage and developing hydrogen storage for fuel cells. It will need no extra dams or reservoirs (to answer the fears of the opponents of hydroelectricity projects). And, of course, it means more public transport instead of private transport.

All these existing solutions require changes on a societal scale that capital opposes. After all, they require public investment for social benefits and not private profits. Capital privileges short-term private profits over long-term social benefits. Remember how oil companies had the earliest research to show the impact of global warming due to carbon dioxide emissions? They not only hid these results for decades but launched a campaign denying that global warming is linked to greenhouse gases. And did they not fund climate change deniers?

The contradiction at the heart of global warming is private greed over social needs, and who funds the transition away from coal, the poor or the rich? This is what COP27 is all about, not simply how to stop global warming.

https://peoplesdispatch.org/2022/11/12/ ... on-of-all/

*************

Africans tire of excuses on climate
By EDITH MUTETHYA in Nairobi, Kenya | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-11-11 10:23

Image
Participants and delegates work in the Africa pavilion at the Sharm El-Sheikh International Convention Centre in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh on Sunday, the first day of the United Nations climate change conference, or COP27. LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP

Leaders tell COP27 that developed nations must honor funding pledges

African leaders have called on developed countries to help more in the fight against climate change, noting that Africa suffers some of the worst effects even though it is responsible for just 3.8 percent of global emissions.

The leaders, speaking at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP27, in Egypt, said the industrialized nations should honor their commitments to the continent to ensure tangible results.

In Sharm El-Sheikh, Kenyan President William Ruto spoke of the need for commitments on funding for mitigation and adaptation strategies to be met.

"As we speak, the pledge made 13 years ago in Copenhagen, committing $100 billion annually, remains unfulfilled," said Ruto, referring to the 2008 climate conference in the Danish capital. "Such egregious and unexplained default is a major cause of persisting distrust."

Ruto said the unfulfilled promises at international climate conferences, marked by stalling tactics from developed countries, are cruel and unjust.

He said that COP26, held in Scotland last year, established the Glasgow Dialogue to formulate funding arrangements for measures to prevent, mitigate and remedy loss and damage associated with climate change.

In Kenya, rising water levels in the Rift Valley lakes in 2020 displaced 75,987 households in 13 counties, causing a humanitarian crisis, the Kenyan leader said. "Loss and damage must therefore be addressed with a level of seriousness that demonstrates fairness, urgency and consideration," he said.

Ruto called on developed economies to decarbonize their production by directing industrial investments to Africa and making use of clean energy.

Despite the problems suffered by Africa, he said the continent has the potential to play an indispensable role in the planet's efforts against climate change. He said the continent's vast tracts of land, deep treasures of diverse natural resources, untapped renewable energy potential, and a young workforce are clear advantages.

In a similar message to the delegates, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said developing countries have not received the required multilateral support to face the challenges, including for climate change-induced damage.

"We need to acknowledge that the multilateral development banks and international financing institutions need to be reformed to meet the climate financing needs of developing economies," he said.

"We need to promote the use of non-debt instruments to ensure that developing countries do not have to shoulder an even greater debt burden," he said.

Ramaphosa said the fact that the global community was able to mobilize $17 trillion within two years in response to the COVID-19 pandemic indicates that the resources to meet climate commitments exist.

"It is our task at this COP27 to harness the political will and mobilize the resources for the just transition," he said.

Commitments urged

He said African economies are losing between 3 and 5 percent of their GDP to the effects of climate change. "Our common starting point is that all parties should honor their undertakings and commitments in line with the guiding principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities," Ramaphosa said.

Senegalese President Macky Sall also called for the fulfillment of climate change commitments, adding that the $100 billion pledge from Copenhagen should be doubled.

He said the richest countries must pay the most to save the planet from the impacts of climate change.

Sall said African delegates were attending the Sharm El-Sheikh conference in a spirit of responsible participation in the efforts to save the planet.

http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/20221 ... 291f1.html

***********

Dutch Bank Incriminated in Murder of Environmental Activist Berta Cáceres Expands Activities in Latin America, Refuses to Accept Responsibilities (Statement)
NOVEMBER 12, 2022

Image
Indigenous groups of Honduras holding a protest against Dutch bank FMO in 2014. Photo: COPINH.

By COPINH – Nov 2, 2022

The FMO Bank, whose former CEO is convicted of orchestrating the assassination of Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres, has opened a new headquarters in the city of San José, Costa Rica. The Bank refuses to accept responsibility for the death of Cáceres and the violence inflicted on other indigenous activists. The bank has not yet paid compensations to the victims, and is instead expanding its activities in the region.

The FMO, whose 51% shareholder is the Dutch State, financed the illegal Agua Zarca hydroelectric project of the Atala Zablah oligarchical family from 2014 to 2017, causing harm to the indigenous community of Río Blanco.

About $17.2 million (approximately 413 million lempiras) was used to pay for acts of repression and murder against the Lenca community, which were openly denounced by Berta Cáceres and COPINH. Cáceres and other activists suffered assassination attempts, violent attacks, persecution, threats, and sabotage at the hands of corrupt police and local mayors.

In retaliation, activists filed a civil lawsuit against the bank for negligence in 2018.

The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) and FinnFund are also responsible, as they allowed FMO to divert its funds to David Castillo and the Atala Zablah family for carrying out acts of repression. A discreet payment of $1.2 million was made to David Castillo just three days before the murder of Berta Cáceres.

David Castillo, the primary contact and liaison for the FMO, general manager of Agua Zarca, and right-hand man of the Atala Zablah family, was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison for the murder of Berta Cáceres.

In 2017, following the demands of COPINH and multiple Honduran and international organizations, FMO officially withdrew from the Agua Zarca project. The terms of its exit are kept secret from the victims. However, it was confirmed that the FMO forgave the debt of the Atala Zablah family, thus giving millions of dollars to those directly responsible for the murder of Berta Cáceres.

Therefore, 80 months after the assassination of Berta Cáceres, we declare the following:

1.COPINH, together with the children of Berta Cáceres, condemns the installation of an FMO headquarters in Latin America and demands the bank be stopped from investing if it cannot guarantee the human rights and consent of indigenous communities.
2.We warn the organizations and communities of Costa Rica and Central America that the presence of the FMO threatens your safety. We must be alert and watch these predators.
3.COPINH demands that the FMO assume responsibility for the violence suffered by Berta Cáceres, the Lenca community of Río Blanco, and COPINH. This means implementing real changes in its investments, reparations to the victims, and acknowledgment of their crimes.


Declared in La Esperanza, Intibucá on the 2nd day of the month of November 2022

With the ancestral strength of Berta, Lempira, Mota, Iselaca, and Etempica, we raise our voices full of life, justice, freedom, dignity, and peace!

(COPINH)

https://orinocotribune.com/dutch-bank-i ... statement/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 7952
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Mon Nov 14, 2022 3:51 pm

The Attack on Nature Is Putting Humanity at Risk: The Forty-Fifth Newsletter (2022)

NOVEMBER 10, 2022

Image
Heloisa Hariadne (Brazil), Com uma gota já se faz oceano pra sede se matar em mergulho (‘A drop of water becomes an ocean to quench a diver’s thirst’), 2021.



Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

In the last week of October, João Pedro Stedile, a leader of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) in Brazil and the global peasants’ organisation La Via Campesina, went to the Vatican to attend the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace, organised by the Community of Sant’Egídio. On 30 October, Brazil held a presidential election, which was won by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, affectionately known as Lula. A key part of his campaign addressed the reckless endangerment and destruction of the Amazon by his opponent, the incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro. Lula’s victory, helped along by vigorous campaigning by the MST, provides hope for our chance to save the planet. This week’s newsletter contains the speech that Stedile gave at the Vatican. We hope you find it as useful as we do.



Image
Ricardo Stuckert, Lula visits the MST in Espírito Santo, 2020.



Today, humanity is at risk because of senseless social inequality, attacks on the environment, and an unsustainable consumption pattern in rich countries that is imposed on us by capitalism and its profit-seeking mentality.

Part 1: What are the dilemmas facing humanity?

1.Climate change is permanent, and its impacts manifest every day with intense heat waves, global warming, torrential rains, tropical cyclones, and droughts in different regions across the planet.
2.The number of disasters/crimes has increased five-fold in the last 50 years, killing 115 people and causing economic losses of $202 million per day.
3.Environmental crimes have increased, such as deforestation, the burning of tropical forests, and attacks on all biomes, especially in the Global South. In 2021 alone, the world lost1 million hectares of tropical forests.
4.The Amazon rainforest, which stretches across nine countries, has already lost 30% of its vegetation cover as a result of encroaching deforestation caused by the push to produce timber and make way for cattle ranching and soybean production, which are exported to Europe and China.
5.All biomes in the Global South are being destroyed to produce raw agricultural materials for the Global North.
6.Predatory mining affects the environment, water, and land as well as Indigenous and peasant communities as thousands of garimpeiros (illegal miners) mine gold and diamonds using hazardous materials such as mercury in Indigenous lands.
7.Never have so many agrotoxins (agricultural poisons) been used in agriculture in the South, affecting soil fertility, killing biodiversity, polluting groundwater and rivers, and contaminating what is produced and even the atmosphere.
8.Glyphosate is scientifically proven to cause cancer. Some 42,700 US farmers who contracted cancer won the right to compensation from the companies that produce, sell, and use the glyphosate to which they were exposed.
9.Across the planet, more and more genetically modified seeds are being planted, including, as of 2019, a total of nearly 200 million hectares concentrated in 29 countries. These seeds cause genetic contamination in non-GMO seeds, affecting human health and destroying the planet’s biodiversity because they require the use of agrotoxins.
10.The oceans are polluted by plastics and other human waste, killing many species of fish and marine life. The massive use of chemical fertilisers has also caused ocean waters to acidify, putting all marine life at risk. Evidence of this can be seen in the large garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean, which covers over a million square kilometres.
11.The carbon dioxide emitted by burning fossils fuels and by individual transportation in automobiles causes pollution in large cities, which in turn causes the death of thousands of people, with 7,100 in the northeast and Mid-Atlantic region of the United States alone dying as a result of vehicle emissions in a single year.
12.Humanity is suffering under a public health crisis that is also inextricably connected to nature. Epidemics and pandemics have increased, creating a massive global health crisis that puts millions of people at risk. This phenomenon, often propelled by the increased transmission of diseases from animals to human beings (known as zoonoses), is a result of the simultaneous destruction of biodiversity alongside the expansion of the agricultural frontier by agribusiness and energy, mining, and transportation megaprojects as well as urban and large-scale livestock farming.
13.Many areas on our planet are protected by peasant and Indigenous communities. Capital attacks and seeks to destroy them in order to take control of the natural goods they protect.
14.We are undergoing an ecological-social crisis of the Earth system and of the balance of life. This global crisis affects the environment, the economy, politics, society, ethics, religions, and the meaning of our own life.
15.The billions of the world’s poorest people are the most impacted by the lack of food, water, housing, employment, income, and education. Deteriorating living conditions have forced them to migrate and have killed thousands of people, especially children and women.
16.This generalised crisis is endangering human life. Without bold action, the planet, which is under attack, could still regenerate, but without human beings.

Image
Eduardo Berliner (Brazil), House, 2019.

Part 2: Who is responsible for putting humanity at risk?

1.Capitalism is facing a structural crisis. It is no longer capable of organising the production and distribution of goods that people need. Its logic of profit and capital accumulation prevent us from having a more just and egalitarian society.
2.This crisis manifests itself in the economy, in increasing social inequality, in the state’s failure as a guarantor of social rights, in formal democracy’s failure to respect the will of most people, and in the propagation of false values based solely on individualism, consumerism, and selfishness. This system is economically and environmentally unsustainable, and we must put it behind us.
3.The main parties directly responsible for the environmental crisis are large transnational corporations, which do not respect borders, states, governments, or the rights of peoples. Some of these corporations, such as Bayer, BASF, Monsanto, Syngenta, and DuPont, manufacture agrotoxins, while others run the mining, automobile, and fossil fuel-run electric energy sectors, and yet others control the water market (such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Nestlé) and the world food market. Associated with all of them are banks and their financial capital. In the last decade, these corporations have been joined by powerful transnational technology corporations, which control ideology and public opinion (Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook/Meta, and Apple). The owners of these companies are among the richest people in the world.

However, corporations are not the only ones to blame for the environmental crisis; they are aided by:
4. 1.governments that cover up and protect corporate crime;
2.the mainstream media, which seek profit and serve corporate interests all whilst deceiving the people and hiding those who are responsible; and
3.international organisations formed by governments and captured by large corporations under the cover of phantom foundations, which directly influence these organisations and only repeat rhetoric and hold ineffective international meetings such as the Conference of the Parties (COP), which has now met 27 times. This is even the case with the United Nations and the Food and Agricultural Organisation.

All of these entities must respect the law.

5.I welcome the courageous position taken by Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2022 and the encyclicals of Pope Francis. Both are a wake-up call to the entire world.

Image
Tarsila do Amaral (Brazil), O Vendedor de frutas (‘The Fruit Vendor’), 1925.

Part 3: What solutions are we calling for?

There is still time to save humanity, and, with it, our common home, planet Earth. For this we need to have the courage to implement concrete and urgent measures on a global level. On behalf peasants’ movements and people’s movements in urban peripheries, we propose:

1.Prohibiting deforestation and commercial burning in all native forests and savannas across the world.
2.Prohibiting the use of agrotoxins and genetically modified seeds in agriculture, as well as antibiotics and growth promoters in livestock farming.
3.Condemning all decoy solutions to climate change and geoengineering techniques proposed by capital that speculate on nature, including the carbon market.
4.Prohibiting mining in the territories of Indigenous peoples and traditional communities as well as environmental protection and conservation areas and demanding that all mining be publicly controlled and used for the common good – not for profit.
5.Strictly controlling the use of plastics, including in the food and beverage industry, and making it mandatory to recycling them.
6.Recognising nature’s goods (such as forests, water, and biodiversity) as universal common goods at the service of all people that are immune to capitalist privatisation.
7.Recognising peasants as the main caretakers of nature. We must fight against large landowners and carry out popular agrarian reforms so that we can combat social inequality and poverty in the countryside and produce more food in harmony with nature.
8.Implementing an extensive reforestation program, paid for with public resources, that ensures the ecological recovery of all areas near springs and riverbanks, slopes, and other ecologically sensitive areas or areas that are experiencing desertification.
9.Implementing a global policy to care for water that prevents the pollution of oceans, lakes, and rivers and that eliminates the contamination of surface and subsoil drinking water sources.
10.Defending the Amazon and other tropical forests of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands as ecological territories under the care of the peoples of their countries.
11.Implementing agroecology as a sociotechnical basis for food sovereignty, including the production of healthy food that is accessible to all.
12.Subsidising the financing needed to implement solar and wind energy systems, which will be under the collective management of populations worldwide.
13.0Implementing a global investment plan to provide public transportation based on renewable energies that makes it possible to reorganise and improve living conditions in cities, allowing for urban decentralisation and making it possible for people to remain in the countryside.
14.Demanding that the industrialised countries of the North guarantee the financial resources to implement all of the necessary actions to rebuild the relationship between society and nature in a sustainable manner, understanding that these countries are historically responsible for global pollution and continue with unjust and unsustainable patterns of production and consumption.
15Demanding that all governments stop wars, close foreign military bases, and halt military aggression in order to save lives and the planet, rooted in the understanding that peace is a condition for a healthy life.

Image
Anita Malfatti (Brazil), Tropical, 1917.

For these ideas to materialise, we propose an international pact between religious leaders and institutions, environmental and people’s movements, decision-makers, and governments, so that we can carry out a programme that raises the consciousness of the entire population. We propose that an international conference be held so that we can bring together all collective actors who defend life. We must encourage people to fight for their rights in defence of life and nature. We must demand that the media assume its responsibility to defend the interests of the people and to defend equal rights, life, and nature.

We will always fight to save lives and our planet, to live in solidarity and in peace with social equality, emancipated from social injustices, exploitation, and discrimination of all kinds.

Image
Emiliano Di Cavalcanti (Brazil), Projeto de Mural (‘Mural Project’), 1950.

This text from João Pedro Stedile is a clarion call from the MST, which Noam Chomsky calls ‘the most important mass movement on the planet’. We hope to hear from you about these proposals, and we hope that movements around the world will take them up in their work.

Warmly,

Vijay

https://thetricontinental.org/newslette ... ry-crisis/

*************

COP14 on Wetlands Conservation Concludes With 21 Resolutions

Image
A wetland in China, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/ @Yanchengcity

Published 14 November 2022 (3 hours 11 minutes ago)

Among the important outcomes of the gathering were the Wuhan Declaration as well as the Global Strategic Framework for Wetland Conservation 2025-2030.


The 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP14), held in China's Wuhan and Switzerland's Geneva, concluded on Sunday with 21 resolutions.

Three of the resolutions were proposed by China: the resolution on establishment of the International Mangrove Center; the resolution on integrating wetland conservation and restoration into national sustainable development strategies; and the resolution on enhancing the conservation and management of small wetlands.

Among the important outcomes of the gathering were the Wuhan Declaration as well as the Global Strategic Framework for Wetland Conservation 2025-2030.

The latter specified that it will ensure the consistency and continuity between the fifth strategic plan and the objectives of the fourth phase, while focusing on the role of wetland conservation and restoration in promoting sustainable development and addressing global environmental challenges.

It also called for accelerating wetland conservation and restoration actions, and curbing wetland degradation.


During the meeting, China, as the host, has presided over the conference, coordinating positions, setting up the provisional negotiating group and leading the consultations on the conference issues, hence the fruitful results of the meetings.

The meeting also confirmed that Zimbabwe will host the COP15 to the Ramsar Convention.

At the meeting of the 61st Standing Committee of the Ramsar Convention held after the COP14, China was elected as chair of the committee to lead the convention process in the next three years.

The Ramsar Convention, named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the convention was signed in 1971, is an intergovernmental agreement dedicated to the conservation and rational use of wetland ecosystems. To date, it has 172 contracting parties.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/COP ... -0001.html

****************

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon breaks record for 2021

Image
The logging industry, the extraction of rubber, charcoal and the expansion of grazing and farming lands wreak havoc in the Amazon. | Photo: efeverde.com
Published 13 November 2022

Until October 2022, all the deforestation in the Amazon caused in 2021 had already been overcome.

The Brazilian Institute for Special Research (INPE) reported that the Amazon in that country lost 903.8 square kilometers of forest during the month of October, three percent more than in the same period last year.

According to the INPE alert, this figure sets a new negative record for October, including the 4,586 deforestation warnings sent by the satellite system that supports these analyzes in real time.

In the first 10 months of 2022, indicates INPE, the accumulated record was also broken with 9,994 square kilometers of native vegetation destroyed, the highest rate since this section began to be measured in 2015.


The devastation of the Amazon rainforest until October already exceeds that of all of 2021, when 8,219 square kilometers were affected, adds the alert.

“The moment is crucial for the Amazon, because the world's climate depends on it and, consequently, the economy, agriculture and the health of all the inhabitants of this planet. We need to get out of the realm of promises and take real action”, Greenpeace Brazil representative André Freitas said in a statement regarding these data.


In this sense, environmental organizations from around the world warn that the rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon will lead to the threshold of no return.

Analysts have pointed out the coincidence of this disastrous trend of environmental destruction with the mandate of President Jair Bolsonaro during the last four years, at unprecedented levels.

INPE bases its analyzes and monthly alerts on the Legal Amazon Deforestation Detection System in Real Time (Deter), through satellite images.

https://www.telesurtv.net/news/deforest ... -0005.html

Google Translator

There's Big Money behind Bolo, he should be put down like a rabid dog as a short term necessity.

***************

Public criticizes delegates for traveling by private jet to COP27
chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-11-14 16:51

Image

A large number of posts on social media criticized delegates of hypocrisy for flying to Egypt by private jet to attend the COP27, British paper Daily Mail has reported.

Reports and posts included diverse estimates for the number of such planes bringing delegates to the COP27, the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the report said.

Egyptian sources confirmed claims that about 400 private jets landed during the conference, it added.

The AFP on Thursday quoted an unnamed source close to the Egyptian aviation authorities as saying more than 400 private jets landed in the past few days in Egypt.

A private jet can emit 2 tons of carbon dioxide per hour and pollutes five to 14 times more per passenger than a commercial aircraft, according to the European clean transport campaign group Transport and Environment, the report said.

An online emissions calculator provided by the International Civil Aviation Organization indicates that a passenger on a commercial flight from London to Sharm El-Sheikh in premium class would produce about half a ton of carbon dioxide, it added.

Scientists say climate change caused by humans burning fossil fuels is exacerbating devastating disasters such as floods, heatwaves and droughts, which could intensify in the decades to come if emissions are not cut, according to the report.

http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/20221 ... 299a3.html

Private jets should be used as targets for Manpads, without exception.

******

'Highway to climate hell' alarm sounded
By KARL WILSON in Sydney | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-11-14 09:22

Image
Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres speaks during the COP27 climate conference, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Nov 7, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

COP27 must be the place where action is finally taken, says Guterres at meeting

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has given a stark warning to global leaders at the COP27 conference that humanity is on a "highway to climate hell" if the fight for a livable planet is lost this decade. Many small, poor countries are already hurtling down that highway, and nowhere is this more profound than in the Pacific, experts say.

At the two-week COP27, the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, now being held in Egypt, rich states are already sprinkling largesse on battling the effects of climate change, they say.

Well before this year's COP, the Pacific Islands Forum, a regional political and economic policy group comprising 18 countries, declared a climate emergency and demanded real action from world leaders.

Leo Hickman, editor of Carbon Brief, a UK-based website covering the latest developments in climate science, climate policy and energy policy, said that "in terms of saving the Pacific, many of the Pacific nations argue their existential 'point of no return' for them, in terms of sea level rise, is the 1.5 C goal". However, "that is now very, very close to being lost", he said, citing the recent UN Environment Programme Emissions Gap Report.

The World Meteorological Organization said recently that climate change is happening at catastrophic speed, with the last eight years the warmest on record.

Guterres said sea levels are rising twice as fast as they were in the 1990s, posing an existential threat for low-lying island states, especially in the Pacific, and threatening billions of people in coastal regions. Glacier melt records are themselves melting away, jeopardizing water security for whole continents.

"We must answer the planet's distress signal with action, ambitious, credible climate action," Guterres said. "COP27 must be the place, and now must be the time."

The leaders of 14 Pacific countries are attending COP27.

Call for compensation

Among the key issues, vulnerable countries are pressing for developed countries to pay compensation for their emissions over hundreds of years and their consequence on developing states' economies.

But already many developed countries, including Australia, have cast doubts over compensation.

Karlos Moresi, the program adviser of resilience development finance at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, said there was push-back from developed countries.

Speaking on Radio New Zealand on Tuesday, Moresi said the Pacific states argued for the inclusion of compensation or liability as a sub-item on the agenda, but after hours of negotiation the argument fell short.

"We may have conceded on the compensation and liability text, but we still managed to get loss and damage included on the agenda," Moresi said.

Speaking on the same program, Daniel Lund, Fiji's special adviser on climate change and loss and damage, said "there is a latency of ambition that is hitting the poorest the hardest".

Asked if there were any compromises to get loss and damage onto the agenda, Lund said: "We've been compromising for three decades."

The Vanuatu government has launched a global campaign to seek an advisory opinion on climate change from the International Court of Justice.

In a statement on Thursday, Vanuatu said current levels of action and support for vulnerable developing countries are insufficient, and it wants the court to clarify the responsibilities for climate change under international law.

Agnes Hall, global campaigns director with the environmental group 350.org, told China Daily: "The deep inequalities between nations, and the vast difference between the carbon emissions of countries in Europe and North America and countries in Africa, Asia and South America have their foundations in a long history of unfair treatment."

It is time to acknowledge the mistakes of the past "and to act with common decency/humanity", she said.

Joseph Sikulu, Pacific regional director at 350.org, said: "Pacific representatives are fatigued in climate negotiations as we see empty promises and unfulfilled pledges. Global North countries have a responsibility to ensure that loss and damage funding is not only sufficient, but also accessible to those who need it most."

New Zealand has earmarked NZ$20 million ($11.7 million) in funding for loss and damage, putting it among a handful of mainly European countries to set aside cash specifically for loss and damage caused by climate change.

The country's Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, said the decision placed New Zealand at the leading edge of wealthy countries, Reuters reported.

http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/20221 ... 29763.html
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 7952
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Tue Nov 15, 2022 4:18 pm

COP27 Deliberations Reaffirm Imperialist States as Main Obstacle to Ending Climate Change
Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on NOVEMBER 14, 2022
Abayomi Azikiwe

Image
Cop In Egypt Where People Protested Climate PolicyCop In Egypt Where People Protested Climate Policy

Developing countries and mass organizations continue to demand compensation for damage and loss


After one week of speeches, discussions, demonstrations and debate, the 27th United Nations Climate Conference (COP27) has once again stalled over the questions of which global interests are actually responsible for environmental degradation.

More importantly in contemporary times, the issue of imperialist countries and their multinational corporations being obligated to pay for the negative impact of greenhouse gas emissions within the former colonial and neo-colonial territories has been raised to the top of the agenda of international gatherings.

Today the United States, Britain and the European Union (EU) are facing widespread economic and security difficulties characterized mainly by attempts to control an inflationary spiral not experienced in over four decades and the impact of a proxy war being fought between Washington and NATO on the one hand and the Russian Federation and its allies on the other. The threat of thermonuclear war has been raised by the administration of President Joe Biden while the defense industry and the Pentagon facilitate the flow of arms into Ukraine and other contiguous states.

The heavy presence of the U.S. at the COP27 Summit in Sharm-el-Sheikh Egypt has served as an impediment to holding open and democratic discussions. As in the previous conference held in 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland, Washington and its surrogates have consistently vetoed language within resolutions that address the international division of economic power and labor, which is key in addressing the desperate impact of severe weather events, desertification and food deficits. Since the beginning of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, the shipment of grain, wheat and other agricultural products and inputs have been severely constrained.

Moreover, Egypt is a country whose government has been beholden to aid from the U.S. for decades since the signing of the Camp David Accords normalizing relations between Cairo and Tel Aviv. The Accords were signed in 1978 and since this time period billions of dollars have been sent to Egypt for its military forces and the maintenance of the state. Consequently, it should not be surprising that the U.S. would have a disproportionate presence at the conference in Sharm-el-Sheikh.

The fact that this summit is being held on the African continent, many would think that this provides an opportunity for the continent’s governmental and non-governmental leaders to take center stage. Nonetheless, the presence of the U.S. president and other leading cabinet and legislative figures illustrates the limitations of such conferences.

A report on the COP27 proceedings published by the Associated Press noted: “The subject of climate compensation was once considered taboo, due to concerns from rich countries that they might be on the hook for vast sums. But intense pressure from developing countries forced the issue of ‘loss and damage’ onto the formal agenda at the talks for the first time this year. Whether there will be a deal to promote further technical work or the creation of an actual fund remains to be seen.” (https://apnews.com/article/science-busi ... 513251ed31)

However, as within the counter arguments surrounding the payments of reparations for African enslavement and colonization by Europe and North America, the guilty interests will not accept responsibility for the harm done in the past or the present. This same political position by the imperialist states was reflected in the statement made by U.S. environmental envoy John Kerry.

According to the Associated Press in the same above-mentioned article: “John Kerry said the United States is hopeful of getting an agreement ‘before 2024’ but suggested this might not come to pass in Egypt. But he made it clear where the U.S. red line lies for Washington: ‘The United States and many other countries will not establish some … legal structure that is tied to compensation or liability.’ That doesn’t mean money won’t flow, eventually. But it might be branded as aid, tied into existing funds and require contributions from all major emitters if it’s to pass.”

In other words, Washington and Wall Street plans to maintain the status quo where “aid and loans” to states within Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean will serve as the mechanism by which the U.S. and other imperialist states will utilize to avoid their responsibility for climate change. Under such a policy the existing global configuration of geopolitical dominance will remain.

However, this viewpoint does not take into consideration the intervention of the working class, the oppressed, farmers and impoverished communities in shaping political trends and governmental policy in various regions of the world. In Latin America for example, Indigenous nations, workers and farmers have initiated uprisings in response to the neo-liberal imposed policies which restricted water and land usage as well as the rapid rise of inflation.

In Africa there is a great level of awareness drawing the link between imperialism and militarism. This rising consciousness has resulted in demonstrations against France’s Operation Barkhane and the demand that the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) withdraw their forces from the continent.

As the AP points out in its analysis of the COP27 debate over damage and loss: “Rich countries have fallen short on a pledge to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 in climate financing for poor nations. This has opened up a rift of distrust that negotiators are hoping to close with fresh pledges. But needs are growing, and a new, higher target needs to be set from 2025 onward.”

These imperatives on the part of African and other developing regions cannot be postponed in perpetuity. The emergence of alternative models of international relations are a clear result of the failure of the Bretton Woods monetary system which emerged during the concluding months of the Second World War. These institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), have long been exposed for their role aimed at exploiting the majority of the world’s population remaining under the yoke of imperialism.

Voices Are Raised Against Imperialist Foreign Policy

Despite the role of the U.S. and its allies in the United Kingdom and the EU, there were protests which took place during the first week of the COP27 Summit. In designated zones at Sharm-el-Sheikh, a resort area where there is a strong reliance on tourism and political conferences, people called for the radical departure from the existing production methods and military policies which have resulted in the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, warming the planet to dangerous and unsustainable levels.

Inside the conference, the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, decried the lack of action by the United Nations in addressing the problems emanating from climate change. Barbados recently in an act of sovereignty withdrew from the British crown and declared itself a republic demanding the payment of reparations for centuries of enslavement and colonialism.

Prime Minister Mottley emphasized in her speech that: “We were the ones whose blood, sweat and tears financed the industrial revolution. Are we now to face double jeopardy by having to pay the cost as a result of those greenhouse gases from the industrial revolution? That is fundamentally unfair. We need to have a different approach, to allow grant-funded reconstruction grants going forward, in those countries that suffer from disaster. Unless that happens, we are going to see an increase in climate refugees. We know that by 2050, the world’s 21 million climate refugees today will become 1 billion.” (https://womensagenda.com.au/latest/barb ... s-by-2050/)

Outside of the conference, people marched in condemnation of the failure of the imperialist states to pay damage and loss to the developing countries suffering the most from climate change in the 21st century. One article on these protests quoted the voices of the people saying: “’Pay for loss and damage now,’ said Friday Nbani, a Nigerian environmental activist who was leading a group of African protesters. Many protesters, alongside several vulnerable countries, have called for ‘loss and damage’ payments, or financing to help pay for climate-related harms, to be central to negotiations. ‘Africa is crying, and its people are dying,’ Nbani said.” (https://apnews.com/article/travel-busin ... 6252adc788)

These contradictions will be eventually resolved through a protracted class struggle which extends across the planet. The outcome of this struggle against climate change will be determined by the international balance forces and the determination of the majority to build a world based upon the interests of the people and the earth.

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2022/11/ ... te-change/

*********

COP 27: Weighty presence of fossil fuel lobbyists raises alarm
Environmental activists and researchers feel that fossil fuel lobbyists being granted access to policymaking processes poses the threat of slowing down climate action

November 15, 2022 by Sandipan Talukdar

Image
(Representational image: via Flickr)

At the COP 27 climate summit, an explosion of fossil fuel lobbyists was observed with over 600 such delegates present at the venue in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. With this number of registered delegates, this year’s COP has seen a rise of 25% among fossil fuel lobbyists compared to last year.

Notably, the fossil fuel lobbyists outnumbered any single community that has been at the frontline of populations affected by the climate crisis.

Three organizations, namely, Corporate Accountability, Corporate Europe Observatory, and Global Witness (GW) have analyzed the provisional list of attendees to the UN event. The finding reveals the scale at which the corporate actors directly linked to fossil fuel burning enjoy access to the critical climate summit of COP 27. Notably, the lobbyists are affiliated with some of the world’s largest polluting oil and gas companies.

There were 503 such lobbyists at the Glasgow summit of last year, and then also, this figure outnumbered the delegation from any single country. This year in Egypt, the only country that outnumbers the number of lobbyists, who are linked with the largest polluting corporates, is the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with 1,070 registered delegates. UAE will host COP 28 next year.

An activist group named ‘Kick Big Polluters Out’ said in a statement, “The influence of fossil fuel lobbyists is greater than frontline countries and communities. Delegations from African countries and Indigenous communities are dwarfed by representatives of corporate interests directly at odds with the level of systemic change needed to slow the climate crisis.” They added that fossil fuel lobbyists were working openly through several country delegations.

Researchers belonging to Global Witness, Corporate Europe Observatory, and Corporate Accountability counted the number of registered individuals who are directly affiliated with fossil fuel giants like Shell, Chevron and BP (British Petroleum) or representing the fossil fuel industry as members of delegations that act on behalf of these industries. Some of the salient points that the analysis found are the following:

As many as 636 fossil fuel lobbyists are registered at COP 27; there are more fossil fuel lobbyists registered than delegations from Africa, and this is despite it being the ‘African COP’ this year; 29 countries have fossil fuel lobbyists within their national delegates; last but most important is that there are more lobbyists than representatives of the 10 countries that are most impacted by climate change, including Myanmar, Haiti, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

The researchers also mentioned that activists from the Global South (developing countries) along with Indigenous communities that are in the most vulnerable conditions due to climate crisis have been kept at bay from attending the summit by high costs, challenges in getting visas and repressive actions implemented by the hosting country.

Civil society groups have raised apprehensions that with the increasing presence of fossil fuel lobbyists, the negotiations may get stymied, that too at a crucial time when the efforts of keeping the global temperature within 1.5 degrees Celsius should take center stage.

It’s worth mentioning that many environmental groups that work on the transition away from fossil fuel argue that including private players in the negotiations could be beneficial. However, the sheer size of the lobbyists at the negotiations can outweigh the benefits of their inclusion. Thus, the fear that their presence can actually slow the negotiations rather than limit their industries.

“The explosion in the number of industry delegates attending the negotiations reinforces the conviction of the climate justice community that the industry views the COP as a carnival of sorts, and not a space to address the ongoing and imminent climate crisis,” commented Kwami Kpondzo of Friends of the Earth Togo, the non-profit organization working to protect the environment and sustainable development.

In addition, a coalition of civil society groups recently made a submission to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), the wing that supervises COP summits, saying, “ Climate action would continue to fail to meaningfully address the climate crisis as long as polluting interests are granted unmitigated access to policymaking processes and are allowed to unduly influence and weaken the critical work of the UNFCCC.”

https://peoplesdispatch.org/2022/11/15/ ... ses-alarm/.

They should be rounded up and given a helicopter ride into the desert.

**************

Image

Oil and gas industry’s expansion plans decried as attack on ‘livable planet’

Originally published: Defend Democracy Press on November 10, 2022 by Kenny Stancil (more by Defend Democracy Press) | (Posted Nov 14, 2022)

Despite repeated warnings that new fossil fuel projects are incompatible with averting climate disaster, oil and gas corporations “are on a massive expansion course” to increase dirty energy production in the coming years, according to an analysis released Thursday at the United Nations COP27 meeting in Egypt.

The new report by the German nonprofit Urgewald and 50 NGO partners, which denounces “an industry willing to sacrifice a livable planet,” found that the vast majority of the world’s oil and gas companies intend to scale up the extraction of fossil fuels in the years ahead, having collectively dumped $160 billion into exploration since 2020.

None of this investment is consistent with the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) blueprint for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, a key component of meeting the Paris agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels—beyond which impacts will grow increasingly deadly for millions of people, particularly those residing in poor nations that have done the least to cause the crisis.

The IEA made clear in its May 2021 report that no new oil and gas fields can be exploited if the world is to avoid climate catastrophe. But according to Urgewald, 96% of upstream fossil fuel companies (655 out of 685) are planning to expand their operations, and short-term expansion plans have increased by 20% since last year.

According to Urgewald, 512 of these companies are currently “taking active steps to bring 230 billion barrels of oil equivalent (bboe) of untapped resources into production before 2030.”

If these fossil fuels are removed from the ground and burned, an additional 115 billion tonnes of heat-trapping carbon dioxide equivalent will be pumped into the atmosphere by the end of the decade. That’s 30 times more greenhouse gas pollution than Europe generates each year.

Urgewald’s report comes one day after Climate Trace revealed in a separate analysis that global emissions from oil and gas production are up to three times higher than reported.

“The outcome of our calculations is truly frightening,” Fiona Hauke, senior oil and gas researcher at Urgewald, said in a statement.

Oil and gas companies’ short-term expansion plans are not in line with the net-zero emissions course put forward by the IEA. Keeping these oil and gas resources in the ground is the bare minimum of what is needed to keep 1.5°C attainable.

As the report points out, even “if the oil and gas industry simply maintained its 2021 production level of 56.3 bboe, it alone would exhaust our remaining carbon budget within 15.5 years.”

Just over a dozen corporations—including Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil, TotalEnergies, Chevron, and Shell—are responsible for more than half of the industry’s short-term expansion efforts, Urgewald found.

Just over a dozen fossil fuel giants—including Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil, Total, Chevron, and Shell—are responsible for more than half of the industry's short-term expansion, Urgewald found.

Image

But “oil and gas companies are not only planning rapid development in the short term,” the report notes. “Their massive build-up of new fossil fuel infrastructure is threatening to lock the world into a high-emissions pathway” at a time when the window to slash greenhouse gas pollution and avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis is rapidly closing.

Fossil fuel giants, especially those in the U.S., have been “happy to take advantage” of global energy market chaos unleashed by Russia’s late-February invasion of Ukraine, the report continues, channeling their record-breaking profits into boosting fracking and LNG export capacity.

“Current midstream expansion plans will more than double liquefied natural gas (LNG) export capacity globally, and new mega-pipeline projects like the Trans-Saharan pipeline would stretch across entire continents and beyond,” says the report. “Such oil and gas infrastructure is expensive to build, and its intended operational lifetime spans decades—a time horizon we simply do not have.”

Nearly 20% of LNG import terminals under development are located in Europe, which has been hit especially hard by soaring energy prices, but liquefied gas is “a false solution,” warned Lucie Pinson from Reclaim Finance.

“The newly planned projects will come too late to solve Europe’s energy crisis,” said Pinson.

But what they will do is lock us into a high-carbon future and pose severe stranded assets risks. Private financial institutions must acknowledge the responsibility they hold and withdraw their support from new fossil infrastructure projects.

Urgewald and its partners identified 289 companies that are constructing new oil and gas pipelines or LNG terminals.

“As of 2022, new import and export LNG terminals with a total capacity of 1,391.5 Mtpa (million tons per annum) are planned or under development,” states the report.

The increase in LNG export capacity would, if fully used, release almost twice as much greenhouse gas per year as all operating coal-fired power plants in North America, South America, Europe, and Africa together.

Urgewald’s findings are based on its “Global Oil & Gas Exit List” (GOGEL), a company-level database that covers 901 firms responsible for 95% of global oil and gas production. Earlier this year, GOGEL data was used to expose dozens of “carbon bomb” oil and gas projects that fossil fuel giants are planning to build at the expense of humanity.

The newly updated GOGEL data was presented at COP27, where delegates have been informed yet again that, in the words of U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres,

we are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.

Two weeks ago, the U.N. published a series of reports warning that there is “no credible path to 1.5°C in place” and that only “urgent system-wide transformation” can achieve the 50% drop in global emissions required by 2030 to prevent locking in cataclysmic temperature rise approaching 3°C by century’s end.

As the new Urgewald analysis makes clear, the opportunity costs of the fossil fuel industry’s continued investment in oil and gas production are immense.

“If global exploration expenditure since 2020 had been directed towards the energy transition, it could have almost doubled the U.S.’s 2019 onshore wind capacity,” the report points out.

Egypt, the host country of COP27, is the perfect example of the complete disconnect between the action needed and the reality on the ground. Fifty-five companies are exploring for new oil and gas resources across Egypt while the world’s governments come together in Sharm El-Sheikh to address the climate crisis.

Earlier this week, Guterres slammed the duplicitous nature of many corporate climate promises, arguing that “so-called ‘net zero pledges’ that exclude core products [coal, oil, gas] are poisoning our planet. Using bogus ‘net zero’ pledges to cover up massive fossil fuel expansion is reprehensible. This toxic cover-up could push our world over the climate cliff.”

According to Urgewald fossil fuel finance campaigner Katrin Ganswindt, “Over 20 European banks, insurers, and investors have published promising oil and gas policies” since GOGEL was launched, with eight of them publicly referring to the database.

But hundreds of financial institutions have yet to adopt strict, science-based exclusion criteria for oil and gas companies whose expansion plans are not in line with 1.5°C.

These “oil and gas companies are betting against our collective future,” said Ganswindt.

Their behavior also creates a high economic risk, for their financial backers and for themselves. A financial institution that takes its net-zero commitments seriously cannot provide financing to companies that are recklessly busting our climate budget.

Last week, progressives urged U.S. President Joe Biden’s Treasury Department to intervene after an investigation of the financial sector’s net-zero commitments showed that the six biggest U.S. banks’ climate targets and policies fall far short of what’s needed to preserve a habitable planet. On Wednesday, another analysis found that major U.S. banks are responsible for one-third of oil and gas expansion projects currently underway.

As Urgewald’s new report observes,

All over the world, from Uganda to the Philippines, local communities and activists are calling out oil and gas companies for their reckless expansion plans.

Omar Elmawi, executive director of Muslims for Human Rights and coordinator of the campaign to stop the EACOP pipeline, said that “the irresponsible, greed-addled expansion plans of oil and gas companies destroy local communities and whole ecosystems.”

“They lead to persecution, displacement, and all manner of environmental and social harm,” he continued.

African people do not want any of this. We demand the energy access and the just transition renewable energies can deliver. And we vehemently reject the prospect of another colonialist plunder of our home’s natural resources at the hands of avaricious oil and gas corporations that corrupt governments and throw whole countries into chaos.

“Africa deserves better,” Elmawi added.

Our planet deserves better.

https://mronline.org/2022/11/14/oil-and ... le-planet/

Whadda ya mean 'we', Tony(white man)? Guterres an't nothing but a tool of the US.

Image

Offloading climate responsibility on the victims of climate change
Originally published: Socialist Project - The Bullet on November 9, 2022 by Steve Taylor and Nnimmo Bassey (more by Socialist Project - The Bullet) | (Posted Nov 14, 2022)

In this interview, Nnimmo Bassey, a Nigerian architect and award-winning environmentalist, author, and poet, talks about the history of exploitation of the African continent, the failure of the international community to recognize the climate debt owed to the Global South, and the United Nations Climate Change Conference that will take place in Egypt in November 2022.

Bassey has written (such as in his book To Cook a Continent) and spoken about the economic exploitation of nature and the oppression of people based on his firsthand experience. Although he does not often write or speak about his personal experiences, his early years were punctuated by civil war motivated in part by “a fight about oil, or who controls the oil.”

Bassey has taken square aim at the military-petroleum complex in fighting gas flaring in the Niger Delta. This dangerous undertaking cost fellow activist and poet Ken Saro-Wiwa his life in 1995.

Seeing deep connections that lead to what he calls “simple solutions” to complex problems like climate change, Bassey emphasizes the right of nature to exist in its own right and the importance of living in balance with nature, and rejects the proposal of false climate solutions that would advance exploitation and the financialization of nature that threatens our existence on a “planet that can well do without us.”

Bassey chaired Friends of the Earth International from 2008 through 2012 and was executive director of Environmental Rights Action for two decades. He was a co-recipient of the 2010 Right Livelihood Award, the recipient of the 2012 Rafto Prize, a human rights award, and in 2009, was named one of Time magazine’s Heroes of the Environment. Bassey is the director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation, an ecological think tank, and a board member of Global Justice Ecology Project.

This interview is based on the author’s conversation with Nnimmo Bassey on October 7, 2022. For access to the full interview’s audio and transcript, you can stream this episode on Breaking Green’s website. Steve Taylor is the press secretary for Global Justice Ecology Project and the host of the podcast Breaking Green.


Steve Taylor (ST): Climate change is a complex problem, but maybe there’s a simple solution. What might that look like?

Nnimmo Bassey (NB): Simple solutions are avoided in today’s world because they don’t support capital. And capital is ruling the world. Life is simpler than people think. So, the complex problems we have today—they’re all man-made, human-made by our love of complexities. But the idea of capital accumulation has led to massive losses and massive destruction and has led the world to the brink. The simple solution that we need, if we’re talking about warming, is this: Leave the carbon in the ground, leave the oil in the soil, [and] leave the coal in the hole. Simple as that. When people leave the fossils in the ground, they are seen as anti-progress and anti-development, whereas these are the real climate champions: People like the Ogoni people in the Niger Delta, the territory where Ken Saro-Wiwa was murdered by the Nigerian state in 1995. Now the Ogoni people have kept the oil in their territory in the ground since 1993. That is millions upon millions of tons of carbon locked up in the ground. That is climate action. That is real carbon sequestration.

ST: Could you talk about the climate debt that is owed to the Global South in general, and African nations in particular?

| | MR Online

NB: There’s no doubt that there is climate debt, and indeed an ecological debt owed to the Global South, and Africa in particular. It has become clear that the sort of exploitation and consumption that has gone on over the years has become a big problem, not just for the regions that were exploited, but for the entire world. The argument we’re hearing is that if the financial value is not placed on nature, nobody’s going to respect or protect nature. Now, why was no financial cost placed on the territories that were damaged? Why were they exploited and sacrificed without any consideration or thought about what the value is to those who live in the territory, and those who use those resources? So, if we’re to go the full way with this argument of putting price tags on nature so that nature can be respected, then you have to also look at the historical harm and damage that’s been done, place a price tag on it, recognize that this is a debt that is owed, and have it paid.

ST: You’ve discussed in our interview how some policies meant to address climate change are “false solutions,” particularly those intended to address the climate debt owed to the Global South and to Africa in particular. Could you talk a bit about the misnomer of the Global North’s proposals of so-called “nature-based solutions” to the climate crisis that claim to emulate the practices and wisdom of Indigenous communities in ecological stewardship, but which actually seem like an extension of colonial exploitation—rationalizations to allow the richer nations that are responsible for the pollution to continue polluting.

NB: The narrative has been so cleverly constructed that when you hear, for example, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), everybody says, “Yes, we want to do that.” And now we’re heading to “nature-based solutions.” Who doesn’t want nature-based solutions? Nature provided the solution to the challenges [that Indigenous people have] had for centuries, for millennia. And now, some clever people appropriate the terminology. So that by the time Indigenous communities say they want nature-based solutions, the clever people will say, “well, that’s what we’re talking about.” Whereas they’re not talking about that at all. Everything’s about generating value chains and revenue, completely forgetting about who we are as part of nature. So, the entire scheme has been one insult after another. The very idea of putting a price on the services of Mother Earth, and appropriating financial capital from those resources, from this process, is another horrible way by which people are being exploited.

ST: How does REDD adversely impact local communities on the African continent?

NB: REDD is a great idea, which should be supported by everyone merely looking at that label. But the devil is in the detail. It is made by securing or appropriating or grabbing some forest territory, and then declaring that to be a REDD forest. And now once that is done, what becomes paramount is that it is no longer a forest of trees. It is now a forest of carbon, a carbon sink. So, if you look at the trees, you don’t see them as ecosystems. You don’t see them as living communities. You see them as carbon stock. And that immediately sets a different kind of relationship between those who are living in the forest, those who need the forest, and those who are now the owners of the forest. And so, it’s because of that logic that [some] communities in Africa have lost access to their forests, or lost access to the use of their forests, the way they’d been using [them] for centuries.

ST: As an activist, you have done some dangerous work opposing gas flaring. Could you tell us about gas flaring and how it impacts the Niger Delta?

NB: Gas flaring, simply put, is setting gas on fire in the oil fields. Because when crude oil is extracted in some locations, it could come out of the ground with natural gas and with water, and other chemicals. The gas that comes out of the well with the oil can be easily reinjected into the well. And that is almost like carbon capture and storage. It goes into the well and also helps to push out more oil from the well. So you have more carbon released into the atmosphere. Secondly, the gas can be collected and utilized for industrial purposes or for cooking, or processed for liquefied natural gas. Or the gas could just be set on fire. And that’s what we have, at many points—probably over 120 locations in the Niger Delta. So you have these giant furnaces. They pump a terrible cocktail of dangerous elements into the atmosphere, sometimes in the middle of where communities [reside], and sometimes horizontally, not [with] vertical stacks. So you have birth defects, [and] all kinds of diseases imaginable, caused by gas flaring. It also reduces agricultural productivity, up to one kilometer from the location of the furnace.

ST: The UN climate conference COP27 is coming up in Egypt. Is there any hope for some real change here?

NB: The only hope I see with the COP is the hope of what people can do outside the COP. The mobilizations that the COPs generate in meetings across the world—people talking about climate change, people taking real action, and Indigenous groups organizing and choosing different methods of agriculture that help cool the planet. People just doing what they can—that to me is what holds hope. The COP itself is a rigged process that works in a very colonial manner, offloading climate responsibility on the victims of climate change.

Nnimmo Bassey

https://mronline.org/2022/11/14/offload ... te-change/

************

Brazil’s VP-Elect Demands Access to Amazon Deforestation Data

Image
The vice president-elect, Geraldo Alckmin, participates during a speech by the president-elect, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva | Photo: EFE/ Joédson Alves

Published 14 November 2022 (15 hours 36 minutes ago)

Brazil's vice-president-elect and coordinator of the transition team of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's government, Geraldo Alckmin, asked Jair Bolsonaro's government for access to complete data on deforestation in the Amazon the last year because, in his opinion, these numbers already exist and should be known.


"We ask that they send us the complete reports of the "Prodes Amazon" and "Prodes Cerrado" data for the period from August 2021 to July 2022 so that we can analyze the information they bring and take the necessary measures (...) those numbers already exist and we need to be informed," said the vice president-elect at a press conference.

Prodes" is one of the satellite systems used by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) to monitor deforestation, both in the Amazon and in the "cerrado," the Brazilian tropical savannah.

Last year, the Bolsonaro government waited until the end of COP26 to release the report, which concluded that in that year, the Amazon experienced the worst deforestation rates in 15 years.

Last week, data from Deter (another INPE system) showed that the Amazon rainforest lost more than 900 square kilometers of vegetation last October, the worst figure since records began.

The push for complete data for last year comes shortly before Lula arrives in Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt), where he will participate in COP27, the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Before embarking to Egypt, the future president of Brazil assured in a message on his social networks that the fight against climate change has to be a commitment of the Brazilian State.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Bra ... -0012.html

**************

Venezuela Supports Colombia’s Proposal to Regenerate Amazon Rainforest
NOVEMBER 8, 2022

Image
Presidents Maduro of Venezuela and Petro of Colombia speak at COP27 in Egypt. Photo: Presidential Press (Colombia).

Leaders of countries with Amazonian territory commit to reversing damage caused by the climate crisis.

This Tuesday, November 8, President Nicolás Maduro spoke in favor of Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s proposal to create a block for the protection of the Amazon rainforest.

Maduro expressed his support for the proposal during his speech at the High-Level Regional Dialogue on the Amazon as a pillar of Climate and Life Balance, an event held in parallel to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change 2022 (COP27) in Egypt.

“I want to congratulate President Gustavo Petro,” Maduro said, “for taking this initiative within the framework of this summit of 196 countries.”

Maduro proposed to Petro that the initiative be executed through the already existing Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO).


“President Petro,” Maduro said, “we have the Amazon Cooperation Treaty, which has a legacy, an institutional framework. I think it should be the first action to recover the treaty with its legacy, with its historical capacity to observe the Amazon, and with its recovery proposals.”

For Maduro, these plans to recover the Amazonian territories are a ray of hope because “we will never join the ranks of pessimism or skepticism.”


President Maduro also said that experts, scientists, and researchers from the United Nations point out that “the ravages caused by the production of greenhouse gases, pollution, and global warming threaten us and repeal the deadlines to be reversed.”

For this reason, he said, “if we South Americans have any responsibility, it is to stop the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and initiate a process of coordinated, efficient, active recovery of the Amazon, what they call regeneration of the Amazon.”

Arrival of Petro and Lula in South America
In his speech, President Maduro described the assumption of Petro as president in Colombia and the recent election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil as good news for the region and especially for the recovery of the Amazon.

“We have good news in South America,” he said, “the arrival of you [Gustavo Petro] in South America and the arrival of Lula da Silva with the powerful Brazilian environmental movements.”



“If there is one thing we can do truly, concretely, with a deep sense of commitment to humanity, it is our commitment to putting the regeneration of our Amazon on the presidential and social agenda of our countries,” he added, “Knowing the impact it has on the life of our continent and humanity.”

Petro agreed with Maduro to resume the Amazon Cooperation Treaty to develop the plan and considered Lula da Silva’s inauguration in Brazil as an encouraging step to promote it.

Similarly, he proposed that the leaders of countries with Amazonian territory meet at the beginning of 2023, with Lula already in office, “so that this effort becomes one of the great banners of humanity.”

Background
“We have enough strength to propose something positive to the world,” Petro said, “Here is a positive and fundamental fact. The American dialogue has to be established, and we have to open a financial fund to do it.”

“Revitalizing the Amazon forest involves money, it is not high annually, but it has to be permanent, though at least two decades of efforts if we want to revitalize the rainforest,” he added.

Petro explained that Colombia plans to contribute $200 million over the next 20 years to revitalize the rainforest.

“We hope that [the fund] can be expanded with contributions from the world,” he said.

The President of Colombia then commented that, although climate change cannot be avoided, the Amazonian leadership must be positioned as one of the main focuses of these international events.

“We have a territorial responsibility on a key issue,” he said.

He stated that any ecosystem is fundamental, “but there are four great climatic pillars: the Poles, the Taiga and the Tundra of northern Siberia and Canada, the Oceans, and the Amazon Rainforest.”

For Petro, “if we take the initiative to reverse the damage in these decades, we can give humanity a victory in terms of the fight against climate change.”

The US is the most polluting country in America
Petro spoke about the effects of pollution emitted by the United States on the continent. “If we look at it, America has the country that pollutes the most in terms of CO2 emissions, and to the south is the Amazon rainforest, the sponge that absorbs the most CO2 on the American continent.”

In order to implement the revitalization of the Amazon rainforest, Petro considered it necessary to establish talks on the subject with the United States.



“It’s time for a dialogue. It is time for the United States, the main CO2 polluter, and South America, holder of one of the main CO2 sponges, to talk, to agree. Let’s build a road together.”

Suriname
Surinamese President Chan Santokhi also welcomed President Petro’s initiative and ratified his country’s willingness and commitment to recover and preserve the Amazon.

“We are happy with this initiative,” Santokhi said, “and we are going to support the decisions that must be taken to save the Amazon.”

He pointed out that the Amazonian territory in his country is partly affected and destroyed by the recent and unusual fires.

Santohki indicated that he is waiting to hear the experts’ evaluations and their expectations for the area.

The Amazon rainforest extends through Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana (France).

(Ultimas Noticias) by Aurig Hernández

https://orinocotribune.com/venezuela-su ... 7ea9d1d25a
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 7952
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Wed Nov 16, 2022 3:53 pm

Image
IAEA at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. 9 November 2022. (Photo: IAEA Imagebank / Wikimedia Commons)

COP27 fiddling as world warms
Originally published: JOMO on November 14, 2022 by Hezri A Adnan and Jomo Kwame Sundaram (more by JOMO) | (Posted Nov 16, 2022)

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15, 2022 (IPS). The latest annual climate conference has begun in the face of a worsening climate crisis and further retreats by rich nations following the energy crisis induced by NATO sanctions after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Copping out again
The 27th Conference of the Parties (COP 27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is now meeting in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, from 6 to 18 November 2022.

COP27 takes place amidst worsening poverty, hunger and war, and higher prices, exacerbating many interlinked climate, environmental and socio-economic crises.

The looming world economic recession is likely to be deeper than in 2008. The likely spiral into stagflation will make addressing the climate crisis even more difficult.

Invoking the Ukraine war as pretext, governments and corporations are rushing to increase fossil fuel production to offset the deepening energy crisis.

Resources which should be deployed for climate adaptation and mitigation have been diverted for war, fossil fuel extraction and use, including resumption of shale gas ‘fracking’ as well as coal mining and burning.

War causes huge social and economic damage to people, society and the environment. The wars in Ukraine, Yemen and elsewhere impose high costs on all, disrupting energy and food supplies, and raising prices sharply.

Russia’s Ukraine incursion has provided a convenient smokescreen for a hasty return to fossil fuels, as military-industrial processes alone account for 6% of all greenhouse gases.

The future is already here
All these have worsened crises facing the world’s environment and economy. The most optimistic Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenario expects the 1.5°C rise above pre-industrial levels threshold for climate catastrophe to be breached by 2040.

Crossing it, the world faces risks of far more severe climate change effects on people and ecosystems, especially in the tropics and sub-tropical zone.

But the future is already upon us. Accelerating warming is already causing worse extreme weather events, ravaging economies, communities and ecosystems.

Recent floods in Pakistan displaced 33 million people. Wildfires, extreme heat, ice melt, drought, and extreme weather phenomena are already evident on many continents, causing disasters worldwide.

In 2021, the sea level rose to a record high, and is expected to continue rising. UN reports estimate women and children are 14 times more likely than adult men to die during climate disasters.

Popular sentiment is shifting, even in the U.S., where ‘climate scepticism’ is strongest. Devastation threatened by Hurricane Ida in 2021 not only revived painful memories of Katrina in 2005, but also heightened awareness of warming-related extreme weather events.

Stronger climate action needed
In international negotiations, rich nations have evaded historical responsibility for ‘climate debt’ by only focusing on current emissions. Hence, there is no recognition of a duty to compensate those most adversely impacted in the global South.

Last year’s COP26 Glasgow Climate Pact was hailed for its call to ‘phase-out’ coal. This has now been quickly abandoned by Europe with the war. And for developing countries, Glasgow failed to deliver any significant progress on climate finance.

At COP27, the Egyptian presidency has proposed an additional ‘loss and damage’ finance facility to compensate for irreparable damage due to climate impacts.

After failing to even meet its modest climate finance promises of 2009, the rich North is dithering, pleading for further talks until 2024 to work out financing details.

Meanwhile, the G7 has muddied the waters by counter-offering its Global Shield Against Climate Risks—a disaster insurance scheme.

Get priorities right
What the world needs, instead, are rapidly promoted and implemented measures as part of a more rapid, just, internationally funded transition for the global South. This should:

replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, including by subsidizing renewable energy generation for energy-deficient poor populations.
promote energy-saving and efficiency measures to reduce its use and greenhouse gas emissions by at least 70% (from 1990) by 2030.
implement a massive global public works programme, creating ‘green jobs’ to replace employment in ‘unsustainable’ industries.
develop needed sustainable technologies, e.g., to replace corporate agricultural practices with ‘agroecological’ farming methods, investment and technology.
Another world is possible
Another world is possible. A massive social and political transformation is needed. But the relentless pursuit of private profit has always been at the expense of people and nature.

Greed cannot be expected to become the basis for a just solution to climate change, let alone environmental degradation, world poverty, hunger and gross inequalities.

The COP27 conference is now taking place in Sharm-al-Sheikh, an isolated, heavily policed tourist resort. Only one major road goes in and out, as if designed to keep out civil society and drown out voices from the global South.

The luxury hotels there are charging rates that have put COP27 beyond the means of many, especially climate justice activists from poorer countries. The rich and powerful arrived in over 400 private jets, making a mockery of decarbonization rhetoric.

Thus, the COP process is increasingly seen as exclusive. Without making real progress on the most important issues, it is increasingly seen as slow, irrelevant and ineffective.

Generating inadequate agreements at best, the illusion of progress thus created is dangerously misleading at worst.

By generating great expectations and false hopes, but actually delivering little, it is failing the world, even when it painstakingly achieves difficult compromises which fall short of what is needed.

Multilateralism at risk
Multilateral platforms, such as the UNFCCC, have long been expected to engage governments to cooperate in developing, implementing and enforcing solutions. With the erosion of multilateralism since the end of the Cold War, these are increasingly being bypassed.

Instead, self-appointed private interests, with means, pretend to speak for world civil society. Strapped for resources, multilateral platforms and other organizations are under pressure to forge partnerships and other forms of collaboration with them.

Thus, inadequate ostensible private solutions increasingly dominate policy discourses. Widespread fiscal deficits have generated interest in them due to the illusory prospect of private funding.

Private interests have thus gained considerable influence. Thus, the new spinmeisters of Davos and others have gained influence, offering seductively attractive, but ultimately false, often misleading and typically biased solutions.

Meanwhile, global warming has gone from bad to worse. UN Member States must stiffen the backs of multilateral organizations to do what is right and urgently needed, rather than simply going with the flow, typically of cash.

https://mronline.org/2022/11/16/cop27-f ... rld-warms/

Image
President Joe Biden speaks as Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi laughs during a meeting at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. [AP Photo/Alex Brandon]

Imperialist powers abandon climate pledges at COP 27 summit
Originally published: World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) on November 12, 2022 by Peter Schwarz (more by World Socialist Web Site (WSWS)) | (Posted Nov 15, 2022)

Nearly one hundred heads of state and 45,000 delegates from 200 countries are taking part in the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27), which began earlier this week in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. It is one of the largest international meetings in recent times.

But unlike previous climate summits, the participants are barely trying to give the impression that they are doing anything about the climate catastrophe. The heads of imperialist governments who arrived read some hollow phrases about environmental protection off the teleprompter and then disappeared into the back rooms to plan their involvement in the conflicts with Russia and China and plans to dominate the former colonial countries.

NATO’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine and the preparation of a military confrontation with China have launched a new redivision of the world between the imperialist powers, which is being fought on all continents, including the polar regions, and by all available economic, political and military means. “Climate protection” is put at the service of these imperialist machinations—and turned into its opposite.

The Egyptian dictator Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, as the host of the conference, is ensuring the undisturbed conduct of the imperialist intrigues. The luxurious tourist resort of Sharm el-Sheikh at the tip of the Sinai peninsula is hard to reach except by plane. It is guarded by an army of heavily armed soldiers who suppress any protest. For environmental activists who nevertheless made it to the conference location, a special zone has been set up in which they can protest, far removed from the public and under the watchful eyes of the security forces.

Al-Sisi, who came to power in a bloody coup d’état in 2013, rules Egypt with an iron fist. He does not allow any serious political opposition or freedom of opinion and the press. Sixty thousand political detainees are confined to his regime’s prisons, many of them on death row. Torture and extrajudicial killings are commonplace. Immediately before the conference began, some 150 people were arrested for political reasons in several Egyptian cities.

But while the imperialist powers never tire of invoking “human rights” against China or other rivals, they renounced this principle in Egypt. After all, al-Sisi is one of their most important allies in the Middle East.

“On the Highway to Climate Hell”
In a rare hint of honesty, UN Secretary-General António Guterres opened the climate conference with the warning that the world is “on the highway to climate hell—with our foot on the accelerator.” This was not a verbal exaggeration, but a sober statement of fact.

All available scientific data show that greenhouse gas emissions—the main cause of global warming—continue to rise 30 years after the first world climate conference in Rio de Janeiro. Between 1850 and 1960, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increased linearly from 285 to 320 parts per million, and since then it has risen exponentially to 418 parts per million. The curve is still pointing upwards.

Image
Passengers wait by a damaged road next to floodwaters, in Bahrain, Pakistan, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022. [AP Photo/Naveed Ali]

The goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, which was set at the 2015 World Climate Conference in Paris, has long since been abandoned. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has calculated that emissions will increase by a further 10.6 percent by 2030, even if all countries adhere to the national reduction plans (NDCs) submitted by them. In order to achieve the 1.5-degree target, however, an emissions reduction of 43 percent would be necessary. At best, current plans limit global warming to 2.5 degrees by 2100, according to the UNFCCC. So far, only 26 out of nearly 200 countries have submitted NDCs at all.
The approaching catastrophe is already visible. Although the earth has only warmed by 1.15 degrees since the end of the 19th century, extreme weather events such as heat waves, heavy rain and hurricanes are destroying the livelihoods of millions of people. The rise in sea levels as a result of the melting of glaciers and polar caps will lead to even greater disasters.

The floods in Pakistan this summer, which killed 1,700, injured more than 12,000 and displaced at least 33 million people, give an impression of the coming disasters. In the meantime, diseases such as malaria, dengue and cholera are spreading unchecked in the devastated country and continue to claim lives.

Similar disasters are occurring in Africa, largely ignored by the international media. Wide swathes of the central Sahel are currently under water. After years of drought, floods have washed away the remaining fertile soil and flooded entire cities. Millions of people are affected in Chad, Nigeria, South Sudan and Sudan. At the same time, years of drought continue in Ethiopia, Somalia, parts of Kenya and southern Madagascar, threatening millions more with starvation and death.

In Europe and the U.S., too, the number and extent of forest fires, floods and tornadoes have increased noticeably in recent years.

But the imperialist powers rush towards the abyss. There are no proposals before the Sharm el-Sheikh summit to change direction. On the contrary, the completely inadequate decisions from previous world climate conferences have been largely abandoned since they were adopted.

War and the climate
One of the main reasons for this is the imperialist offensive against Russia and China.

The sanctions against Russian gas and oil have led to an explosion in energy prices. Many countries have therefore decided to burn coal and other high-emission energy sources again and to put already adopted programmes to phase out coal on hold. In particular, poorer countries are hardly in a position to finance the transition to environmentally friendly energy due to high energy prices and rising loan interest rates.

The lack of Russian gas has also led to an “aggressive expansion” of liquefied natural gas capacities, as the Climate Action Tracker, an international team of climate researchers states in its recent report in Sharm el-Sheikh. On all continents combined, LNG capacity will increase by 235 percent by 2030, so that at the end of the decade, with full capacity utilization, twice as much liquefied natural gas will be consumed as Russia exported last year. Climate-damaging carbon dioxide emissions thus rose to just under 2 billion tonnes, which is “incompatible” with limiting global warming.

The main beneficiaries of this development are countries such as the U.S. and Qatar, which are able to sell their gas surpluses over long distances thanks to LNG technology.

The efforts of the imperialist powers to reduce their dependence on the Chinese market and its products and raw materials in preparation for a war against China have triggered a fierce struggle for alternatives, which was fought out in Sharm el-Sheikh partly openly, partly covertly.

The German government took a particularly brazen approach, shamelessly pursuing its economic and geopolitical interests under the false banner of climate protection. The Greens, who lead the foreign, economic and environmental ministries, play a leading role in this.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Social Democrats) used his two-day visit to Sharm el-Sheikh to land the contract for the largest construction project in Egypt’s modern history, a multi-billion-dollar project. A consortium around Siemens Mobility will build a 2,000-kilometre high-speed network and supply passenger trains and freight locomotives for it. The network is operated by a subsidiary of the Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s national railway company.

The Federal Chancellor agreed, in obvious contradiction to the official climate policy goals of his own government, to develop new gas fields with Senegal. Germany has also kept an eye on the Congo. The country is “richly blessed with raw materials such as diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, tin and lithium,” writes the German conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in a flattering article about the Congolese activist Neema Namadamu, who participated in the climate summit.

Recently, new oil and gas reserves have attracted a great deal of interest. Especially since the Western states are desperately looking for alternative suppliers to Russia.

Not all the heads of government present showed their imperialist ambitions as openly as Scholz. But there is no doubt that Emmanuel Macron, Rishi Sunak, Giorgia Meloni, Ursula von der Leyen and Joe Biden, who paid a late visit to Friday’s climate conference on the way to the G20 summit in Bali, put similar pressure on other delegations in Sharm el-Sheikh with “irresistible offers.”

The climate crisis requires a socialist solution
If anyone still needed proof that the climate catastrophe cannot be stopped by applying pressure on capitalist governments and politicians, the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh provided it. The reason for the bankruptcy of this perspective, which is advocated by Fridays for Future and other environmental movements, is not simply the malevolent intentions of individual governments or politicians, but the character of the capitalist system they defend.

The climate crisis can only be solved globally. Greenhouse gases do not stop at national borders, and an environmentally sustainable organisation of energy supply is only possible on a global scale. The scientific knowledge, technical means and material resources for such a solution are in place and enormous progress has been made in these areas over recent decades.

But such a global solution is not possible in a social system based on nation-states, which fiercely fight for global domination, and the subordination of every aspect of economic life to the profit and enrichment of a small minority.

Image
From the left, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz applaud on the sidelines of the COP27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. [AP Photo/Ludovic Marin]

According to a new study by Oxfam, 125 billionaires and their investments are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than countries such as France, Egypt or Argentina. One of these billionaires emits 393 million tonnes of CO2 a year, a million times more than any member of the lower 90 percent of society.
To defend their wealth and privileges, the capitalists and their governments are capable of anything. They proved their indifference to human lives in the pandemic when they put profits before human life. This is why almost 7 million people worldwide have officially died of the coronavirus, not counting the high number of unreported cases. And the pandemic continues to spread. They show the same ruthlessness when they risk a nuclear war with Russia and China, which threatens human civilization, and when they continue to fuel climate change.

As a study published by the journal Nature shows, there is a close link between the pandemic and the climate crisis. The study concludes that progressive climate change will dramatically increase the potential for viruses already present in animal populations to spread to humans, as was the case with SARS-CoV-2, HIV and Ebola.

The climate crisis requires a socialist solution. After the beginning of the Second World War, Leon Trotsky, the leading socialist and Marxist of his time, wrote:

With the present level of technology and skill of the workers, it is quite possible to create adequate conditions for the material and spiritual development of all mankind. It would be necessary only to organize the economic life within each country and over our entire planet correctly, scientifically, and rationally, according to a general plan. So long, however, as the main productive forces of society are held by trusts, i.e., isolated capitalist cliques, and so long as the national state remains a pliant tool in the hands of these cliques, the struggle for markets, for sources of raw materials, for domination of the world, must inevitably assume a more and more destructive character. State power and domination of the economy can be torn from the hands of these rapacious imperialist cliques only by the revolutionary working class.

This is just as true today as it was then. The overcoming of the climate crisis—as well as the fight against war and social devastation—is only possible through the construction of an independent, socialist movement of the international working class and the overthrow of capitalism.

https://mronline.org/2022/11/15/imperia ... 27-summit/

**************

NEW MOVEMENTS ON THE GEOPOLITICAL BOARD: ENERGY CHAPTER
Betzabeth Aldana Vivas

14 Nov 2022 , 5:06 pm .

Image
ExxonMobil's oil refineries in the United States emit many more polluting gases than the rest of the rival companies (Photo: Getty Images)

The winter season is approaching and Europe is the continent with the most complications to solve the energy problem. Almost all the countries that produce energy resources are blocked or sanctioned by the United States and the European Union (EU), affecting international trade considerably.

Interests move in geopolitics, and much more so when you have a noose around your neck. The fact that President Emmanuel Macron ran to look for President Nicolás Maduro to talk shows that the French president wants to materialize and capitalize politically (and through the Total company) in this new scenario, especially in that of energy resources.

Even last month, Macron accused the United States of "double standards," complaining about the actual American business because the selling price of gas in Europe is so much higher than the market price in the United States.

Now, Venezuela plays an extremely key role in this definition for the supply of crude oil and derivatives, only that the great obstacle for international detractors is to lift the illegal sanctions in the midst of the quagmire in which they find themselves, for having joined the platform of looting through recognition of the political pantomime of Juan Guaidó in 2019.

The international agenda for obtaining, controlling and distributing energy resources has taken its pulse so far in November, and some movements on the board give us light for the next scenarios.

THE NEW "WORRY": METHANE
Recently, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published a report warning EU governments of the urgency to take measures for this winter and not trust the gas stored for this year, since by 2023 they would not run with the same luck.

In the report titled "It is never too early to prepare for the coming winter", the IEA explains that this year the EU's gas storage is 95% full, which puts them 5% above their average since last year. five years. These figures show that European governments, while imposing sanctions on the Russian gas sector, were on the other hand saving what they could in the race against time for energy resources.

Based on this, the Agency put together a very basic roadmap as a "solution" to the crossroads that Europe is at, recommending in the first place that gas consumption during the winter should be "structurally reduced", and as This report was published at the very beginning of the 27th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP27) in Egypt, it was suggested that investment in renewable energy, improvements in energy efficiency and methane reduction should be accelerated.

From here the "methane reduction" is taken with tweezers, which becomes relevant in the "worried" US agenda on the climate crisis:

1. After President Joe Biden appeared at COP27 on November 11, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they updated their proposed standards to reduce methane, being more rigorous.

2. This new proposal contains a "Super Emitter Response Program" that would require operators to respond to third-party reports of high-volume methane leaks.

3. A joint political declaration between Egypt, Germany and the United States was issued, which deals with a plan to "Accelerate the Energy Transition of Egypt", where more than 250 million dollars will be mobilized in order to finance the new projects of " inefficient natural gas generation" and, specifically, it is highlighted that this plan seeks to "reduce methane emissions from the Egyptian oil and gas sector".

4. The White House and the EU also issued a joint statement with Japan, Canada, Norway, Singapore and Great Britain, to create an international market for fossil fuels that minimizes methane emissions. The statement states : "We emphasize that reducing methane and other greenhouse gas emissions from the fossil energy sector improves energy security."

5. The EPA and the Mexican state company PEMEX have also entered into a cooperation to reduce methane emissions in Mexico's oil and gas sector.

6. Acceleration of zero emission solutions in Ukraine and the EU through advanced nuclear energy is proposed. They do not make the caveat, even by mistake, that their use could be for peaceful purposes.

Faced with these new methane-oriented initiatives, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said that "[the United States] must lead by example when it comes to addressing methane pollution." Preach to whom and with what example? Yes, according to Reuters , ExxonMobil's oil refineries in the United States emit many more polluting gases than the rest of the rival companies.

Image
ExxonMobil leads the list of polluting energy companies in the world (Photo: File)

What is between the lines with the methane issue, as is customary in the exercise of US policy, is that these new measures are going to spread like the Gospel of Energy to the countries that produce gas or oil, and with the intentions to create an international market (point 4). It is evident that they continue with the immemorial and obsessive desire to monopolize the energy market.

But, why are they taking out the methane card now? Methane is the main component of natural gas, and to transport it in methane tankers, and not through gas pipelines, it is necessary to liquefy it, transforming that gas into a liquid state (LNG); when this happens, almost all of it is methane.

It is not ignored that methane is a highly polluting hydrocarbon. What sets off alarm bells with these measures are the geopolitical implications behind it, because, without falling into romanticism, the US ruling elite cares little about life on the planet. Let us not forget that the first LNG plants in the world were created by American companies in Cleveland starting in 1941, and they patented processing techniques.

It seems that this "environmentalist" maneuver consists of taking advantage and control of maritime trade routes in this matter, because the more rules in your favor you impose, your competitors will be left out. In addition, it is about expanding the range of blockade to Russian supply: not only sabotage the Nord Stream pipeline complex but also avoid viable future options for gas supply.

The falsehood in the US climate agenda is losing sight. According to research by the Urgewald group , the increase in liquefied gas export plans is focused on North America, with 44% of the liquefaction plants located in the United States and 11% in Canada.

This is accompanied by contradictory actions, such as the agreement signed last year between the EU and the United States to create the "Global Methane Pledge", to supposedly reduce 30% of methane emissions by 2030. Russia, China and India have not signed the deal.

NEW COVENANTS
Russia and Türkiye began the technical studies and the process to build a gas distribution center on Turkish soil. The official representative of the Turkish president, Ibrahim Kalyn, admitted the possibility of building another gas pipeline to strengthen the Turkish Stream and that "Türkiye will become not only a transit country for gas, but is actually becoming a country where determines the gas market".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been able to take advantage of what Germany, in the hands of Olaf Scholz, could not. In addition to being the next hub for Russian gas distribution, Türkiye signed an agreement with Algeria to establish a joint oil and natural gas exploration company to operate in countries in the region.

On the other hand, European countries have sought supply alternatives in other countries without being able to match Russia in gas supply:

Pipeline deliveries from Norway increased 5%.
Flows from Azerbaijan increased by about 50%.
From Algeria it increased by more than 10%.

On November 24, the EU will meet again to define the new proposals to alleviate the energy crisis. In recent meetings they have had disagreements about the price cap (price cap) for marketed Russian energy, and the countries that are pressing for that price cap for Russian gas to be discussed and decided are Poland, Belgium, Italy and Greece.

Since June, Repsol and Eni have received authorization from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to operate in Venezuela. Also, at that time, Chevron 's license to operate was renewed at the level of "transactions and activities necessary for the security or preservation of assets in Venezuela."

The Chevron permit expires on December 1st. As a routine, OFAC would repeat the renewal of the license, however, what is significant this time is that a new license could be applied that could break that mold, since Chevron requested to extend the license to be able to produce and commercialize Venezuelan oil. It is not a simple action because there are other legal elements that must be managed, but without a doubt this would give a notable turn in the Venezuelan oil industry and, of course, in the geopolitical table of the region.

Months ago, Mission Verdad indicated the new multipolar grouping mechanisms that were gaining strength in the eastern hemisphere of the planet, and also the new trade corridors in the Caspian Sea. The element of energy resources has not ceased to be one of the main nuclei of the current geopolitical contention, be it launching the climate charter or the charter of illegal sanctions, and in counterpart, joining efforts to contain and reach negotiation spaces. in which we Venezuelans find ourselves today.

https://misionverdad.com/globalistan/nu ... lo-energia

Google Translator

Guys, I wouldn't worry about Biden nattering on about methane too much. He doesn't really mean it, as he doesn't really mean much anything he says. Fraking wells put out something like 20x the methane of conventional wells and guess who climbed atop world hydrocarbon production based on fraking? USA! USA! Another goddamn 'environmental president'.....
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 7952
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Fri Nov 18, 2022 3:25 pm

UNSG Urges Consensus on Climate Actions at COP27

Image
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Nov. 17, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/@YoungoLandD

Published 17 November 2022 (9 hours 46 minutes ago)

"This is no time for finger-pointing. The blame game is a recipe for mutually assured destruction," United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.


On Thursday, at the Guterres at the 27th United Nations, Climate Change Conference in 2022 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, with less than 24 hours to close, Guterres called for ambitious and meaningful climate action.

"I have returned to COP27 to appeal to all negotiating to deliver the ambitious & meaningful Climate Action we so desperately need. This is no time for finger pointing. The blame game is a recipe for mutually assured destruction. But COP27 can make a difference here and now," the Secretary-General said.

Guterres said negotiators remain divided on a number of significant issues. In this regard, he made reference to the "breakdown" in trust between North and South, developed and emerging economies.

An agreement on loss and damage, closing the emissions gap and delivering on finance to developing countries are three critical areas for the parties to act urgently, said the UN Secretary-General.


He called for action on the greenhouse gas emissions gap and to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. In this regard, it is necessary to accelerate the deployment of renewable energies.

Guterres called on developed countries to deliver on their pledge to provide 100 billion dollars a year to developing countries and to establish a credible roadmap for doubling adaptation finance. "We cannot continue to deny justice to those who have contributed the least to the climate crisis and are the most harmed."

"The climate clock is ticking and confidence continues to erode," said Guterres calling for reaching consensus quickly at COP27 scheduled to conclude tomorrow.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/UNS ... -0022.html

************

US and EU Export Obscene Amounts of Garbage to Latin America
NOVEMBER 17, 2022

Image
Discarded fast fashion in Atacama Desert, Chile. Photo: AFP via Getty Images.

An investigation reveals that the United States has invaded several Latin American countries with millions of tons of toxic plastic waste.

In a recent report, the Cross-Border Investigative Network OjoPúblico specifies that the United States and European countries have sent, in the last 10 years, 111 million tons of toxic plastic waste, mainly syringes, old monitor casings and buckets, to Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Chile, and Ecuador.

According to the investigation, after China closed its doors to the world’s waste in 2018, the United States increased the shipment of its plastic waste to the Southern Hemisphere.

“The amount of plastic waste imported by countries in the region between 2012 and 2022,” the report states, “is equivalent to 118 times the weight of the Eiffel Tower.”

Image

Image

Mexico is the main importer of plastic waste in Latin America, followed by Peru, Chile, and Colombia.


The report includes a condemnation from the Autonomous Group for Environmental Investigation (GAIA) that world powers maintain their environmental policies at a high cost for less developed countries.

In addition, it points out that the lack of supervision at customs and by the authorities allows companies to acquire this waste, even illegally, to generate assets, despite the fact that the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has warned that the plastics trade can involve illegal labor, money laundering, corruption, and tax evasion.

GAIA requires governments to comply with the Basel Convention, created to combat toxic waste deposits in developing countries, and greater transparency about the type of plastic waste that is arriving in the region, to prevent these countries from becoming new global garbage dumps.

https://orinocotribune.com/us-and-eu-ex ... n-america/

***********

The US is evading its responsibility on climate change

Eugene Puryear of BreakThrough News explains the failure of the United States to fulfill its responsibilities in combating climate change. He also talks about how its positions are hurting countries in the Global South

November 18, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch



Eugene Puryear of BreakThrough News talks about the failure of the United States to fulfill its responsibilities in combating climate change. The US is the largest polluter in historical terms. However, it has failed to provide enough funds or take the necessary steps to meet the goals it has set to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Eugene explains the domestic conversation and policy-making around climate change and also talks about how globally, it has taken extremely positions that hurt the interests of the Global South.

https://peoplesdispatch.org/2022/11/18/ ... te-change/

**********

Image
By Leslee Lazar

Fossil Drugs: Antibiotics as the fossil fuels of medicine

The discovery of antibiotics was one of humanity’s greatest achievements. But we didn’t invent them. Long before humans, microorganisms in soil evolved these molecules. It was not until the mid-twentieth century, however, that these molecules were isolated by humans and mass-produced for medicine.

At first antibiotics seemed like a miracle. However, they are different from most drugs. When an antibiotic is administered, it often exerts a selective pressure for resistant bacteria. This applies not only to the bacteria causing the infection but also to other species. It is also not an individual risk but one that can spread. Every dose risks the next dose becoming less effective. The finite nature of antibiotic effectiveness is unavoidable—their use alters their environment.

I believe we can understand antibiotics by analogy with fossil fuels. Both are natural resources extracted from the earth. Both developed slowly but have been rapidly exploited by humans. And both disrupt ecosystems, creating problems for the future. Like climate change, antibiotic resistance can be understood as an inevitable ecological correction to “fossil capitalism”—an economic model built on borrowed time. Just as fossil fuels have powered modern economies, so too have antibiotics powered modern medicine. This essay explores the idea of antibiotics as fossil drugs.

Deep Time

By the 1900s, microbiologists had identified bacteria as the cause of many diseases. But despite this understanding, there were few cures. Chemical industries produced vast numbers of new compounds, but not many were effective medicines. The difficulty was not in killing bacteria but in finding medicines that did so without harming the human body.

Most medicines work by interfering with human biological pathways. Paracetamol relieves a headache by inhibiting pain pathways; caffeine wakes us up by blocking receptors in the brain. In contrast, an ideal bacteria-killing molecule leaves human cells unaltered. Early efforts to find such “magic bullets” focused on synthetic compounds, as chemists randomly tinkered with toxic compounds to harness their killing power while reducing side effects.1 Progress was slow. Then came an entirely different approach.

In 1930, René Dubos was a young microbiologist looking for a drug that would destroy the tough outside capsule of a bacteria that caused pneumonia. But he was looking in a strange place. Dubos was motivated by the idea that soil was a self-purifying environment. Almost everything that goes into soil turns to soil: mighty trees fall, then disappear.

This organic degradation relies on bacteria and other microorganisms. Just a teaspoon of soil contains more than one billion bacterial cells. We can imagine each as a microscopic factory teeming with chemical reactions. As his colleague Rollin D. Hotchkiss recalled, Dubos formulated a general hypothesis: that soil “could supply an agent to destroy disease-causing bacteria.”2 To find that agent, Dubos added a “nutrient soup” of disease-causing bacteria to tumblers of soil, isolated the soil bacteria that survived, and extracted the key compounds. His research led to the identification of two different antibiotics.3 Using soil bacteria to kill pathogens was a true paradigm shift.

When Pfizer identified its first promising antibiotic candidate in late 1949, the head of the company, John McKeen, chose the name Terramycin: “I wanted a name connected with the earth . . . because it came from the earth.”

In abandoning laborious chemical synthesis, the search for antibiotics had arrived at a deep truth, often known as Orgel’s Second Rule: “Evolution is cleverer than you are.”4 Others adopted this approach, notably the Ukrainian-American scientist Selman Waksman. Many of the antibiotics discovered in Waksman’s lab were made by Streptomyces, a genus of bacteria within the actinomycetes, which form long filaments as they branch out through the soil.5 Certain phases of their life cycle coincide with a rise in the production of antibiotic molecules, likely at times when their slender cells are most vulnerable.

One antibiotic, produced by Streptomyces griseus, would prove enormously significant. Experiments by Albert Schatz and Elizabeth Bugie in 1944 isolated a compound with activity against a huge range of medically important bacteria. It was water-soluble and had limited toxicity to animals: the ideal antibiotic.6 Yet they didn’t even know its structure.

Streptomycin was a molecular tangle of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. The likelihood of designing it from scratch was tiny. Yet its structure was not random chance but existed thanks to the ingenuity of evolution as a tinkerer. It had undergone countless experiments with molecular variants, just not experiments conducted by humans. The accumulation of evolution over deep time had enabled an incredible shortcut. Streptomycin was the first effective antibiotic to treat tuberculosis.

After the success of streptomycin, pharmaceutical companies started to use the same screening approach to search for treatments for different infections. Despite the prominence of penicillin—produced by fungi and (supposedly) discovered by chance—this screening approach led to almost all post—Second World War antibiotics. The earthy origins of these new drugs gave them a “natural” appeal.7 When Pfizer identified its first promising antibiotic candidate in late 1949, the head of the company, John McKeen, was the one who chose the name. As he explained, “I wanted a name connected with the earth … because it came from the earth.” He settled on “Terramycin.”8

Where else do we see molecules extracted from the earth to drive progress? Fossil fuels. While oil and gas are not made by bacteria today, they were once generated through a slow process started by bacteria. As with fossil fuels, antibiotics were a natural resource. And they were one that capitalism would exploit through extraction at scale.

The Logic of Extraction

The discovery of a new use can transform a commodity’s value. Consider crude oil. It was known for centuries, but until the mid-nineteenth century, it had limited use. The technology of oil refinement changed that, and vast swathes of land across the United States were ripped up for drilling. The technologies of the early antibiotic age similarly transformed the soil.

As the cover of Time put it in November 1949, “The remedies are in our own backyards.”9 This required screening hundreds of thousands of samples and finding antibiotic needles in a vast geochemical haystack. Large pharmaceutical corporations were best placed to compete—particularly those who had received wartime government funding to expand penicillin production10—supported by the many workers needed for identification and subsequent mass production. Inevitably, surplus value was extracted. Exploitation applied in science too. Waksman took the credit for streptomycin, minimizing the contributions of Schatz and Bugie.11

The realization that dirt hid powerful antibiotics prompted something akin to the American oil rush. Streptomycin had come from soil on a chicken farm, so early efforts focused on agricultural soil. But although antibiotic screening required only tiny amounts of soil, corporations came to realize they should collect diverse samples to maximize the chance of finding something others wouldn’t. The more exotic, the better.

The global search was big business. Venezuelan compost obtained from a Basque emigrant farmer led to chloramphenicol. Vancomycin was developed from a soil sample sent by a missionary in Borneo.

No stone was left unturned. Pfizer received 135,000 soil samples from cemeteries, mine shafts, the bottom of the ocean, and even airborne soil collected with balloons.12 Parke-Davis sent their entire sales division off with plastic bags to bring back soil from their travels.13 A Bristol-Myers Squibb annual report included an envelope requesting a “teaspoon of soil” from shareholders.14 This desire for soil dovetailed with colonialism, as evident in 1956 when Nature summarized a report from the British Colonial Research Council, noting that the search for “new antibiotic-producing organisms” from “Malayan soil” continued.15

The global search was big business. Venezuelan compost obtained from a Basque emigrant farmer led to chloramphenicol. Vancomycin was developed from a soil sample sent by a missionary in Borneo. Both of these drugs were patented in the United States. (Such a “bioprospecting” approach to natural products, some of which are already used in traditional medicines, continues today.16)

Antibiotics produced in the post—Second World War period were lucrative pharmaceutical products, aggressively advertised as treatments for myriad conditions, even when there was no evidence antibiotics were effective. Most had few side-effects on patients.17 However, many were “broad-spectrum” and affected a range of bacterial species—all of which could evolve resistance and spread between humans, even if not the intended targets of the treatment.

Despite rising concerns about resistant bacteria, corporations deliberately sold the drugs as much as possible, generating large profit margins. It was an effective cartel where competing companies sold their products at the same price.18 However, the true price of antibiotics—increasing resistance rates—was not one borne by business. Resistance was what economists call a “negative externality”: a cost passed on to somebody else.

Antibiotics present multiple economic challenges. Today, awareness of antibiotic resistance means that new antibiotics will be safeguarded and used far less. Antibiotics have become less desirable for big pharmaceutical corporations to develop. Consequently, antibiotic development has slowed. This “market failure” is often framed as one to be overcome with the right “incentives,” usually focusing on patent rights.

Some economists are proposing strange “pull mechanisms” that use public money to guarantee private profit.19 For example, one proposal growing in popularity (including with corporations) is so-called Transfer Exclusivity Extension (TEE) vouchers, which would reward the discovery of a new antibiotic with the ability to extend patent rights on a different, non-antibiotic drug.20

The Inefficiency of Success

Though now one of the most famous and ubiquitous antibiotics, penicillin was once so scarce that doctors had to recycle it from their patients’ urine for reinjection.21 But once mass production was possible, such restraint ended. Today, antibiotic use is astonishingly inefficient.

First, the use of antibiotics leads to environmental pollution. This inefficiency is linked to their potency. Like fossil fuels, antibiotics are so powerful that they allow profligacy. Between 40 and 90 percent of an administered antibiotic may be excreted from the body unused.22 The manufacturing process of antibiotics also produces huge quantities of waste antibiotics. This release into the environment contributes to antibiotic resistance that may reenter human populations.23

Second, antibiotic effectiveness has undoubtedly slowed research into other forms of treatment. Phage therapy, for example, involves viruses that attack bacteria in a much more specific way than antibiotics can. But the mass production and ease of antibiotics led many countries to abandon phage therapy.

Third, many antibiotics started to be used before conservation was a concern. This is particularly true for patients prescribed a course of oral antibiotics to be taken at home. In these settings, the necessary length of the course is debated. We often lack good evidence for standard durations; when shorter courses for common infections have been tested, most have shown no worsening patient outcomes.24 Because antibiotic use like this typically selects for resistance in bacteria beyond the target infection, more antibiotic use contributes to more resistance, regardless of whether the course is completed. Balancing individual needs for treatment against the collective is a challenge.

Life Out of Balance

We might assume that antibiotics play the same role in nature as in medicine: to kill other bacteria. Yet most natural antibiotics in soil occur at such low and local concentrations that this seems unlikely to be their only function. These low levels may also promote cooperative bacterial behaviors such as biofilm formation.25 Whatever their natural roles, the ancient origins of antibiotics mean that resistance is ancient too. For any possible antibiotic, there is a resistance gene somewhere out there—in the soil.26

I have focused on the similarities between antibiotics and fossil fuels, but there are clear differences. One of the most important is that there is no finite physical supply of antibiotics. We can continue to manufacture as much as we wish, but we will continually face the limits of their effectiveness. We can think of these as “effectiveness” reserves by analogy with fossil fuel reserves. Unrestrained use of antibiotics depletes these reserves; the greater the rate of usage, the faster the depletion. Worse, shared resistance mechanisms mean that the effectiveness reserves of different antibiotics often overlap. But there is cause for hope: these reserves can be slowly renewed over time by evolution if sensitive bacteria outcompete resistant bacteria in the absence of antibiotics.27 Better usage should help.

Not all antibiotics come from the soil. While the post-war antibiotics did, many antibiotics developed since then are synthetic, such as the successive “generations” of cephalosporins.28 But even these have, in turn, led to the successive spread of versatile resistance genes that degrade them. The fact is that every molecule used as an antibiotic will be a fossil drug—in the sense that it must, in evolutionary terms, lead to resistance. There is no escaping Orgel’s Second Rule. Like burning fossil fuels, the overuse of antibiotics strongly perturbs natural systems. Natural systems are not static but dynamic. The climate will change; bacteria will evolve. We have to adjust to that reality.

Conclusion

At the start of this essay, I described capitalism as an economic model built on borrowed time. That time is borrowed from ecosystems and will eventually be paid back. We should recognize the vast (albeit uneven) economic growth and concomitant increases in health that capitalism has overseen as the dominant global economic system. But it has been powered by the contingent availability of slowly-formed natural resources. Growth is not an iron law but a short-term consequence of the depletion of natural resources accumulated over millions of years. The logic of extraction creates lasting ecological problems: pollution, resistance, and climate change. In this sense, fossil capitalism steals time from the past and the future.

Antibiotic resistance has been described as the next pandemic. Yet it is increasingly arriving if unequally distributed. Regions in the Global South experience the highest burden from resistant infections.29 Antibiotic resistance is an issue of global equity. As with climate change, it is unacceptable for richer countries to improve practices without offering support to poorer countries to do the same.

Evolution is inevitable, so resistance is not something we can ever completely prevent. We need balance, making every effort to use antibiotics more sparingly while researching alternatives. Ian Angus argues in Facing the Anthropocene (2016) that fossil fuels “are not an overlay that can be peeled away from capitalism, leaving the system intact.”30 In the same way, antibiotics cannot simply be replaced in medicine. All the more reason to consider different approaches to nature—ones that don’t presume the profits of corporations align with humanity’s best interests. The political economy of antibiotics should convince us that the logic of extraction creates short-term success at the cost of long-term disaster.

My focus has been history. There is more to say about the future than I have space for here. But it seems clear that we need to imagine a society that does not rely on pharmaceutical companies to turn public research on natural resources into medicines. We should be radical and aim for a genuinely public research and development pipeline. A first step could be the formation of a global institute for antibiotics while ensuring equitable access to the drugs produced. As fossil drugs, antibiotics are a shared resource. Separating them from extractive logic is essential.

https://mronline.org/2022/11/17/fossil- ... -medicine/

Notes at link.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 7952
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Sat Nov 19, 2022 4:00 pm

Climate Confusion and Complicity at the New York Times
OLIVIA RIGGIO

Image

“Yes, Greenland’s Ice Is Melting…”

The headline of the interactive New York Times opinion piece (10/28/22) by conservative columnist Bret Stephens is placed over an image of Greenland’s melting ice cap crashing into the slushy meltwater below. With one more scroll, the word “But…” appears over the ice, which resembles a melting snowplowed slush pile in a parking lot.

From just a glance at the headline, it was clear where this article was going. The 6,000-word piece went on to chronicle Stephens’ trip to Greenland as a self-proclaimed global warming “agnostic.” There, the dramatic effects of climate change “changed [his] mind” about the problem, but reinforced his “belief that markets, not government, provide the cure.”

Stephens’ point of view represents a new climate denialism: No longer can any rational person claim that climate change isn’t happening at an accelerated rate due to human causes, or that it’s not causing harm. Instead they argue, like Stephens, that the swift, decisive action scientists say is necessary is “magical thinking,” that genuine existential fear is “alarmist,” that most humans will be able to adapt to climate disaster.

In a nutshell, the new climate deniers say, “Yes, the climate is changing at an alarming rate, but the solution lies here in the status quo.”

Same data, opposite headlines
Image
What a difference a day makes: dueling New York Times headlines (10/26/22, 10/27/22)
That same week, the New York Times served up two conflicting headlines. “Climate Pledges Are Falling Short, and a Chaotic Future Looks More Like Reality” (10/26/22) featured an image of a displaced Somali woman and her three young children, playing amid carcasses of cattle killed by the drought in the region this spring.

The front-page piece by reporter Max Bearak began:

Countries around the world are failing to live up to their commitments to fight climate change, pointing Earth toward a future marked by more intense flooding, wildfires, drought, heat waves and species extinction, according to a report issued Wednesday by the United Nations.

The article went on to explain that the planet is on track to warm 2.1–2.9 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels by 2100. The goal set at the 2015 Paris agreement was 1.5 degrees, above which scientists warn the risk for serious climate impacts increases.

Yet one day later, the Times‘ popular newsletter the Morning—read by millions every day—carried the subject line, “The Climate’s Improved Future” (10/27/22). The data cited in the newsletter by Times reporter German Lopez is no different than that in the dire news article published the day before: The Earth is likely to warm by 2–3 degrees Celsius by 2100, well above the target scientists have said would be relatively safe.
Image
The New York Times Magazine (10/26/22) reassures us that we are “beyond catastrophe.”
The difference is that Lopez was summarizing a new David Wallace-Wells cover story for the Times Magazine (10/26/22) that expressed the writer’s newfound optimism that the world won’t reach a worst-case scenario climate “doomsday” of 5 degrees of warming that he had explored five years earlier in a New York magazine piece (7/17). Wallace-Wells wrote:

The window of possible climate futures is narrowing, and as a result, we are getting a clearer sense of what’s to come: a new world, full of disruption but also billions of people, well past climate normal and yet mercifully short of true climate apocalypse.

Compared to five, of course, two to three degrees is better. But it’s important to keep in mind that the Earth’s temperature rising even by 1.5 degrees is still damaging. For context, in 2021 temperatures were about 1.1 degrees over the pre-industrial baseline (UN, 5/9/22).

In 2021, deadly heat waves spread across North America and the Mediterranean; cataclysmic floods devastated the European Union, China, India and Nepal; and sea levels hit record highs (World Economic Forum, 5/18/22; FAIR.org, 7/9/21, 7/22/21; US News, 12/23/21). With that 1.5-degree increase still to come, climate events around the world are already costing lives and livelihoods.

In the Morning, Lopez cited reasons for a possibly less catastrophic climate future: Coal is on the decline, renewable energy prices are dropping, and global powers are adopting policies to combat climate change. “Those countries include the United States, which recently enacted sweeping incentives for cleaner energy through the Inflation Reduction Act,” Lopez wrote.

It’s true, but just a day before, Bearak reported in the same outlet the following: “The new law will still only get the United States about 80% of the way to its current pledge to cut emissions.”

Once again, context matters.

Lopez was sure to note that “better does not mean good,” and that countries are falling short of their climate commitments. “Even under the most optimistic climate forecasting models, such extreme weather will get worse and become more common in the coming decades,” he wrote.

‘Manageable’ for the rich
Image
Democracy Now! (11/9/22): “A new UN-backed report says the Global South needs at least $2 trillion a year to fight the climate crisis.”
Lopez concluded that “the takeaway is mixed”:

If you had asked a politically cynical person 30 years ago what the climate future looked like, they might have answered that we’d end up at a temperature level that was difficult but manageable for the rich countries of the world but much, much harder for developing nations. And that looks like what we’re heading for.

Continuing and worsening extreme weather making life “difficult but manageable” for rich nations and “much, much harder” for developing ones earns a headline celebrating the climate’s “improved future” at the New York Times, just a day after it warned (10/26/22):

With each fraction of a degree of warming, tens of millions more people worldwide would be exposed to life-threatening heat waves, food and water scarcity, and coastal flooding while millions more mammals, insects, birds and plants would disappear.

As climate justice activists have been saying for years, it is poor nations and individuals most affected by climate disaster. The centrality of the topic of “loss and damage” in the COP27 conference going on now further demonstrates this (Democracy Now!, 11/9/22).

An International Disaster Database report on the first half of 2022 lists the top 10 countries most impacted by natural disasters by number of deaths, number of people affected and economic damage, respectively. Every country on the “deaths” and “people affected” lists is in the Global South, and none are in Europe or the Americas.

Fossil fuel talking points
Image
Guardian (10/27/22): “Current pledges for action by 2030, if delivered in full, would mean a rise in global heating of about 2.5C and catastrophic extreme weather around the world.”
Not only are we headed for at least a 1.5-degree rise, but a new UN report from October 27 says there is currently no credible plan in place for nations to meet that goal. Current pledges put us at about a 2.5 degree Celsius rise by the end of the century.

Inger Andersen, the executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), told the Guardian (10/27/22):

We had our chance to make incremental changes, but that time is over. Only a root-and-branch transformation of our economies and societies can save us from accelerating climate disaster.

Still, in his 6,000-word opinion feature, Stephens argues that the answer to the climate disaster lies in “the market” that got us here. As Judd Legum and Emily Atkin point out for Popular Information (11/3/22), the solution to capitalism’s problems being more capitalism is nothing more than a fossil fuel industry talking point.

So is the following:

Many people tend to think of fossil fuels mostly in terms of transportation, electrical generation and heating. But how often do we consider the necessity of fossil fuels in the production of nitrogen fertilizer, without which, [Canadian author Vaclav] Smil noted, “it would be impossible to feed at least 40% and up to 50% of today’s nearly 8 billion people”?

Stephens essentially argues that turning completely against fossil fuels is “against human nature,” and climate solutions thus far are all like a cancer treatment with painful side effects.

OK, let’s go with that metaphor: If current solutions are like chemotherapy for lung cancer, then fossil fuels are like cigarettes. You don’t keep feeding cigarettes to someone who is undergoing cancer treatment. It would be absurd to suggest that cigarettes were a necessary stopgap in treating cancer.

When the fossil fuel–friendly New York Times publishes arguments like Stephens’, and plays volleyball with whether or not the same climate data is horrifying or reassuring, it helps confuse the public and keep us complacent—and complicit. It’s this corporate propaganda—not “human nature”—that keeps our culture from making the shifts necessary to avoid an unpredictable and deadly future.

https://fair.org/home/climate-confusion ... ork-times/

***************

Study: More serious efforts required to cut carbon, halt sea rise
By HOU LIQIANG | China Daily | Updated: 2022-11-19 07:18

Image
A floating solar power farm entered service recently in waters 30 kilometers off Haiyang, China's Shandong province. [Photos by Li Ran/For chinadaily.com.cn]

Despite projected emissions declines from China and the European Union, the world's overall carbon emissions this year remain at record levels, with no sign of the decrease urgently needed to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 C, according to a recent study.

The world's total global carbon dioxide emissions in 2022 are projected to be 40.6 billion metric tons, said the Global Carbon Budget report, which was produced by an international team of over 100 scientists.

They are fueled by fossil-fuel generated CO2 emissions that are projected to rise 1 percent compared with 2021 to 36.6 billion tons, slightly above the 2019 pre-COVID 19 levels, noted the report as climate diplomats recently met at the COP27 United Nations climate change conference in Egypt.

If current emissions levels persist, there is now a 50 percent chance that global warming of 1.5 C will be exceeded in nine years, it says.

The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change aims to keep the global temperature rise this century below 2 C from preindustrial levels, while pursuing efforts to limit the increase even further to 1.5 C.

The 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body that assesses the science behind climate change, highlighted a series of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5 C.

By the end of this century, for example, the rise in global sea levels would be 10 centimeters lower with a temperature increase of 1.5 C compared with 2 C.

"This year we see yet another rise in global fossil CO2 emissions, when we need a rapid decline," said Pierre Friedlingstein of the University of Exeter's Global Systems Institute, who led the study.

There are some positive signs, but leaders meeting at COP27 will have to take meaningful action if the world is to have any chance of limiting global warming close to 1.5 C.

"The Global Carbon Budget numbers monitor the progress on climate action and right now we are not seeing the action required," he said.

This year's carbon budget shows that the long-term rate of increasing CO2 emissions has slowed. The average rise peaked at 3 percent per year during the 2000s, while growth in the last decade has been about 0.5 percent annually.

The 2022 picture among major emitters is mixed. Emissions are projected to fall by 0.9 percent in China and 0.8 percent in the EU, according to the report. An increase of 6 percent is expected for India, 1.5 percent for the United States and 1.7 percent for the rest of the world combined.

Corinne Le Quere, a professor of climate change science at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, said the team's findings reveal turbulence in emissions patterns this year resulting from the pandemic and global energy crises.

If governments respond by turbo-charging clean energy investments, and plant — not cut down — trees, global emissions could rapidly start to fall, Le Quere said.

"We are at a turning point and must not allow world events to distract us from the urgent and sustained need to cut our emissions to stabilize the global climate and reduce cascading risks," she said.

http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/20221 ... 2aa97.html

**************

Image
“Exit the Energy Charter Treaty” action in Brussels by Friends of the Earth Europe, July 6, 2021. (Friends of the Earth Europe, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

COP27: Corporate courts versus developing world
Originally published: Consortium News on November 17, 2022 by Manuel Pérez-Rocha (more by Consortium News) | (Posted Nov 19, 2022)

In advance of the global climate negotiations now taking place in Egypt, several countries announced important actions to curb the power of the fossil fuel industry.

For decades now, a global web of international investment agreements has given corporations excessive powers to block government policies they don’t like.

Through “investor-state dispute settlement” mechanisms, these agreements grant corporations the right to sue governments in unaccountable supranational tribunals, demanding huge payouts in retaliation for actions that might reduce the value of their investments. Corporations are able to file such lawsuits over a wide array of government actions—including actions designed to protect people and the planet.

Poland, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Spain have now announced they will withdraw from one of these anti-democratic agreements: the Energy Charter Treaty, a 1991 pact signed by about 50 countries.

The ECT offers special protections to oil, gas and mining corporations and energy companies, undermining governments’ abilities to address climate change.

These countries’ rejection of the Energy Charter Treaty is welcome, but much more needs to be done. The United States is not a member of the ECT, but the U.S. government has been a major driver of the investor-state system, insisting on including such corporate powers in dozens of trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties and only partially rolling back some of these rules in recent years.

Altogether, the nearly 3,000 free trade and investment treaties across the globe that include ISDS clauses have led corporations to file lawsuits against governments totaling many billions of dollars. And that’s just the cases we know about. Many of these suits remain secret.

With climate negotiators meeting in Egypt, more than 350 organizations in more than 60 countries have issued a joint letter calling on governments to get rid of the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system altogether.

As the letter explains, the key risks posed by the ISDS system are:

Increased costs for governments to act on climate if corporations are able to claim exorbitant amounts of taxpayer money through an opaque lawsuit system of supranational courts, and
“regulatory chill,” which may cause governments, out of fear of being sued, to delay or refrain from taking necessary climate action, a phenomenon seen in the past.
“Communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis are often at the heart of ISDS claims through struggles against destructive mining and other extractive projects,” the statement points out. “The evidence of years of damage to the environment, land, health and self-determination of peoples all around the world is stark, and the renewed urgency of the climate imperative is beyond doubt.”

Image
Activist at COP27 climate meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Nov. 15. (UNclimatechange, Flickr)

The statement notes that a significant number of governments have already rejected the ISDS system. “Countries such as South Africa, India, New Zealand, Bolivia, Tanzania, Canada, and the US have all taken steps toward getting rid of ISDS.”

(Canada and the United States eliminated investor-state provisions between each other in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement while that NAFTA replacement deal left key elements of the system intact with Mexico.)

The civil society statement urges governments to stop negotiating, signing, ratifying, or joining agreements that include ISDS clauses, such as the Energy Charter Treaty or the euphemistically titled Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (better known as TPP). Mexico is a party to TPP, which can actually be used by Canada to allow its mining companies to file claims against Mexico.

“Communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis are often at the heart of ISDS claims through struggles against destructive mining and other extractive projects.”

There are plenty of alternatives to this anti-democratic system. Governments could resolve investment issues between themselves, through state-to-state dispute settlement, rather than allowing private corporations to bring cases against governments to supranational tribunals.

An alternative system could also include investment risk insurance, international cooperation to strengthen national legal systems and regional and international human rights mechanisms.

Image
Session of the COP27 climate meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Nov. 15. (UNclimatechange, Flickr)

But will the recent withdrawal of some European countries from the Energy Charter be a turning point? These actions clearly demonstrate how the European Union’s strategy as the main promoter of that treaty has backfired, leading to its own member countries being sued for billions of dollars over CO2 emission control policies.

A report by Lucia Barcena of the Transnational Institute documents how Spain stands at the top of the list of countries facing the most suits, with 50 claims (as of October 2021).

But while Spain and some other European countries decided the ECT did not meet their required environmental standards, the E.U. is aiming to impose these exact same standards in other agreements, for instance through the “modernization” of its free trade agreements with Mexico and Chile.

And so, we’re seeing rich countries move away from investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms while intending to keep imposing this system on developing countries.

And many developing country governments seem willing to allow themselves to be dragged along. Indeed, several countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are waiting to join the ECT (and other FTAs). For example, Guatemala, Panama, Colombia and Chile are queuing up.

We can hope that the progressive governments of Gustavo Petro in Colombia and Gabriel Boric in Chile will both distance themselves from this system, but it is disconcerting to see Boric already supporting the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Chile. And the AMLO government in Mexico is also upholding its support for free trade and investment protection treaties.

This neoliberal investor-state system is a threat to the future of democracy and the future of our planet. It must end.

https://mronline.org/2022/11/19/cop27-c ... ing-world/

Image
Syncrude oil sands mining facility near Fort McKay, Alberta, Canada, on 7 September 2022 (AFP)

Cop27: The dirty secret Europe is hiding at the climate summit
By Jonathan Cook (Posted Nov 18, 2022)

Originally published: Middle East Eye on November 16, 2022 (more by Middle East Eye) |

Europe’s dirtiest secret – one deterring it from seriously and rapidly tackling the climate emergency – is not being addressed this week at Cop27, the United Nations climate change conference hosted by Egypt.

Mention of the Energy Charter Treaty would expose how far western states, the biggest greenhouse gas polluters, are from being in a position to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030. Failure to do so sets the world on course for catastrophic global warming above 1.5C.

Whatever grand declarations they issue as the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh concludes this week, the reality is that European states effectively tied their hands for the foreseeable future by ratifying the energy treaty back in the 1990s. They have landed themselves with a massive financial burden if they try to cut emissions.

Europe would rather not admit it has made itself the prisoner of transnational energy corporations. The firms can hold member states to ransom for compensation, frustrating European efforts to significantly change energy policies for at least the next two decades.

The treaty’s stipulations help to explain why, despite years of climate pledges, the latest research shows fossil fuel emissions are set to hit a record high by the end of this year.

Antonio Guterres, the UN’s secretary-general, told world leaders at Cop27: “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator. Our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible.”

The Energy Charter Treaty is one of the main drivers propelling Europe down that highway.

Further dissuading Europe from publicly addressing problems with the energy treaty is the fact that it would highlight tensions over energy policy with Russia that are at the root of the current Ukraine war.

It might even provide a crucial piece of the puzzle in trying to understand who was behind the sabotage of the two Nord Stream pipelines supplying Russian gas directly to Germany – and why. The pipelines were blown up by an unknown party or parties in October.

Instead, there continues to be a conspiracy of silence over the energy treaty and its effects. The failure to push for its abolition at Cop27 will undermine any declarations of progress on addressing the climate crisis.

Secret tribunals

The Energy Charter Treaty came into being shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Energy firms lobbied for its adoption to secure long-term investments exploiting fossil energy resources in the former Soviet Union, in case these newly independent states later switched their industries back to public ownership.

Corporations were given the right to sue any treaty member that changed its energy policy in ways that might harm their profits. Even if states pull out of the treaty, a sunset clause means they are still liable to loss claims for an additional 20 years. Hearings are made in secret at special international tribunals.

The European Union and individual European states, including the UK, are among the more than 50 states that have ratified the treaty. There has been mounting concern in Europe, however, at its impact on their plans for a green transition. Italy pulled out in 2015, and in a major development, Germany announced last week its intention to quit too. Spain, France, Poland and the Netherlands have threatened to follow.

Other contracting parties include Turkey, Japan and states in Central Asia.

Despite its obvious drawbacks, the treaty is being pushed aggressively at Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia, with the promise of new energy investments. It will become harder to reduce these countries’ carbon emissions the moment they sign up.

The United States is an observer to the treaty but not subject to its provisions. Russia signed the treaty but never ratified it – nonetheless arbitrators at a special tribunal ruled that it is still liable.

Compensation suits

Although the trade pact is a legacy of distrust stemming from the Cold War, energy corporations have repurposed it in recent years as a tool for obstructing European efforts to go green. States face a stark choice: either give in to corporate bullying to stick with fossil fuels or face massive compensation suits, valued at hundreds of billions of pounds, for shifting to renewable energy supplies.

Even the move to renewables by Europe entails major risks under the treaty, as the science around green energy constantly evolves and regulations change with it. Any amendment to energy policy risks triggering a spate of compensation suits.

Had, for example, Britain’s former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn won the 2019 general election, his government could have faced a series of crushing damages claims if it had implemented its manifesto commitment to nationalise the UK’s energy sector.

Similarly, states could be sued if they try to take measures to curb fuel poverty or impose energy windfall taxes.

Concerns about Europe’s ability to meet its 2015 Paris Agreement targets – designed to limit global warming to 1.5C – have grown as fossil fuel firms have scored a string of victories at the treaty’s special tribunals.

Among the hardest hit is Spain, which already faces damages claims of €10bn. The Netherlands has risked a legal backlash over its plans to phase out coal. And Italy, even outside the treaty, is being sued, under the sunset clause, for its ban on oil and gas drilling in the Adriatic. In August a tribunal awarded the UK oil firm Rockhopper £210m in damages over Italy’s moves to become greener.

Russia is mired in a series of cases that could cost it $50bn – equivalent to the GDP of Slovenia.

A 2020 study suggested total energy investments protected by the treaty amounted to some €1.3tn – far above the $630bn estimated to have been invested globally in climate action in 2020. Potential compensation claims will continue to grow under the treaty, and damages will have to be paid in addition to expenditure on renewables.

It would be hard to deny that these astronomical compensation sums are creating a decisive “regulatory chill”, dissuading governments from phasing out fossil fuels and switching to renewables for fear of being sued.

Energy firms are rushing in to fill the void. New research has found that they are massively expanding exploration for additional sources of fossil fuel, spending $160bn over the past two years.

The International Energy Agency has warned that the world cannot avoid climate catastrophe unless there is a moratorium on the opening of new oil and gas fields.

That may explain why there were a record number of fossil fuel lobbyists at Cop27 – more than the combined delegations of the 10 countries facing the biggest impacts from the climate emergency.

Far too little, too late

In June, members of the European Parliament urged the European Commission, the nearest Europe has to a government, to ditch the energy treaty so that member states could make changes to their energy policies in line with their commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Last month the UN warned that, even assuming industrialised nations stick to their pledges to cut emissions, the world is heading towards a 2.5C rise in temperatures and catastrophic climate breakdown.

But cutting and running would still leave EU members open to legal actions for losses over the next two decades.

The European Commission has instead proposed reforms that will be discussed at an Energy Charter Treaty conference due to be held later this month in Mongolia. The amendments to the treaty are designed to placate countries like Germany that have been growing increasingly restless over the treaty.

The proposal would allow EU member states to exclude any new fossil fuel investments from the treaty. They would also be able to shorten their liability for existing investments to 10 years or “at the latest 2040”.

Climate activists have warned that the EU process is far too little, too late. Amendments to the treaty require unanimity and have previously taken years to complete. And activists also warn that Brussels’ plan, even if it is eventually agreed, would allow investors to set up headquarters in other jurisdictions, such as the UK and Switzerland, where they could launch new settlement claims.

Cornelia Maarfield, from Climate Action Network Europe group, told Energy Monitor this month: “It is unbelievable the EU agreed to lock in fossil protection for at least another decade. This means countries will continue to spend taxpayers’ money in compensating fossil fuel companies rather than fighting climate change and moving to a renewable energy system.”

She also warned that the reform would still leave Europe and other contracting parties exposed to compensation suits over polluting non-fossil fuel energy sources, such as hydrogen and biomass.

Climate action groups have demanded a coordinated mass walkout from the treaty, effectively nullifying it, though there seems to be little appetite for it among European leaders.

Energy war

The problems with European energy policy have been thrown into stark relief too by the current war in Ukraine. That has sent energy prices – alongside energy industry profits – soaring. It has also seen Europe scrambling for new sources of energy, including shipments by the US of a glut of liquified natural gas (LNG) resulting from increased fracking. Such shipments have more than doubled over the past year.

A new report by 50 watchdog groups notes that fossil fuel companies have been “happy to take advantage” of the chaos in the global energy market from the war, channelling their profits into fracking and new infrastructure to export liquified natural gas.

Reversing course on this fossil fuel bonanza would most likely result in yet more damages claims under the energy treaty in years to come.

The secretary general of the Energy Charter Treaty has cited the Ukraine war as a reason why EU members should not quit the pact, arguing that such a move would add to Europe’s energy insecurity by antagonising alternative suppliers to Russia, such as Azerbaijan.

But in reality, the treaty is deeply bound up with the origins of the war and its continuing geopolitical reverberations – all of them disastrous for the environment.

Through the 2000s, the treaty provided the background to an energy war between Russia and Ukraine as the economies of both continued to struggle in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Moscow was incensed by Kyiv’s failure to pay its debts on gas supplies, and also accused it of stealing gas in transit to Europe, Russia’s biggest customer. In response, Russia twice shut down supplies through its Ukrainian grid, the second time – in early 2009 – depriving Europe of gas too. The cut-off came during one of Europe’s coldest winters.

Investors in Russia’s gas giant Gazprom and Ukraine’s national utility Naftogaz spent years battling out various disputes in arbitration courts. It was the failure of the treaty to resolve these that led Moscow to pull out in 2009.

These tensions exacerbated too the split between Ukrainian politicians that looked to Moscow for security, including energy security, and those that preferred to ally with the EU and Nato. Ultimately that division, and the Ukrainian civil war it engendered, triggered Russia’s invasion and contributed to the decision by the US and Europe to get directly involved in the war by supplying weapons to Ukraine.

Pipeline explosions

European concerns about the security of Russian gas supplies through Ukraine led to the construction of two pipelines – Nord Stream 1 and 2 – from Russia direct to Germany through the Baltic Sea. The first opened in 2011, while the second was finished in 2021.

But that simply shunted problems caused by the energy treaty further down the line. As the West intensified its hostility towards Russia, especially following the invasion of Ukraine in February, Germany found itself caught in the middle.

If it accepted Russian gas through Nord Stream for domestic heating and its industries, it risked running foul of the West’s sanctions programme. But if it reneged on the deal, it could be sued under the terms of the energy treaty by European firms invested in the project.

As Germany’s former environment minister, Svenja Schulze, observed back in February of her country’s problem: “We also run the risk of ending up in international arbitration courts with compensation claims if we stop the project.” Instead, Germany tried to buy time by delaying Nord Stream 2’s certification.

Berlin’s conundrum about how to proceed was finally solved last month when a series of explosions tore large holes in both the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. Russia has been excluded from the investigations, while Germany, Sweden and Denmark have so far kept their findings under wraps.

Sweden has said it cannot formally share information from its criminal investigation because of “national security”.

All of this should be cause for deep concern. The energy treaty not only acts as a major disincentive to a much-touted green new deal, but it also helps perpetuate the very energy conflicts and wars that have undermined progress towards the international cooperation necessary to curb emissions.

Experts are agreed that the world is on the very edge of a climate precipice if urgent action is not taken to cut emissions. And yet the legal architecture of energy regulation breeds distrust and antagonism, pitting states against each other – and against the future of humanity.

https://mronline.org/2022/11/18/cop27-t ... te-summit/

Expropriate and defenestrate with extreme prejudice.

Image
K.C.S. Paniker (India), Words and Symbols, 1968.

Those who struggle to change the world know it well: The Forty-Sixth Newsletter (2022)
By Vijay Prashad (Posted Nov 18, 2022)

Originally published: Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research on November 17, 2022 (more by Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research) |

<snip>

Last year, I attended the COP26 meeting in Glasgow. While standing in the queue for a PCR test, I met a group of oil executives, one of whom looked at my press badge and asked me what I was doing at the conference. I told him that I had recently reported about the horrendous situation in Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique, where the people were in open rebellion against a gas extraction project led by the French and US companies Total and ExxonMobil, respectively. Despite the profits generated from the gas taken from their region, the people have continued to live in abject poverty. Rather than addressing this inequity, the governments of Mozambique, France, and the United States alleged that the protestors were terrorists and asked the military from Rwanda to intervene.

As we stood in line, one of the oil executives told me, ‘Everything you say is true. But no one cares’. An hour later, sitting in a hall in Glasgow, I was asked my opinion about the climate debate, whose terms have been shaped by fossil fuel executives and privatisers of nature. This is what I said:



Sadly, a year later, this intervention remains intact.

Warmly,

Vijay

https://mronline.org/2022/11/18/those-w ... tter-2022/

I don't typically bother with the videos, much preferring text, but sure am glad I played this one. Vijay hit it out of the park.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 7952
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Tue Nov 22, 2022 4:34 pm

Image
A humpback whale swims along the Greenlandic ice sheet in the Davis Strait south of Nuuk. Around 85% of the surface area of Greenland is covered by ice. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Greenland is worse than ever, much worse
Originally published: Pressenza on November 19, 2022 by Robert Hunziker (more by Pressenza) (Posted Nov 22, 2022)

A new study finds Greenland’s ice sheet thinning much further into the ice sheet core than previously thought, 100 miles inland. (Source: S. Khan, et al, Extensive Inland Thinning and Speed-Up of North-East Greenland Stream, Nature, November 9, 2022)

The implications are extremely concerning and far-reaching, especially for sea level rise. It is a significant development that will prompt climate scientists to recalculate global warming’s impact. In that regard, some facts are worth repeating. Here’s one that cannot be told often enough because of the gravity of its implications for the 130 coastal cities of the world each with over one million residents:

During the 1990s Greenland and Antarctica combined lost 81 billion tons of ice mass per year on average. A decade later, during the decade of the 2010s, the ice mass loss increased 6-fold to 475 billion tons per year on average. (Source: Greenland, Antarctica Melting Six Times Faster Than in the 1990s, NASA, March 16, 2020)

It should be noted that it takes billions upon billions of tons of melted ice to move sea levels appreciably up, which does give some pause to any immediacy of cities overrun by gushing water. Yet, what if 475 billion tons per year becomes much more than that?

Additionally, rehashing one more relevant stat, according to John Englander, the sea level expert par excellence: “If we only melt 5% of global glacial ice, it’s 10 feet of sea level rise.” But, how long does it take to melt 5%? Nobody knows for sure, but it’s most likely well beyond 2100. What about only 2%? Again, nobody knows.

By now readers of articles like ‘Greenland is Worse Than Ever, Much Worse’ must be getting accustomed to negative reports of climate change getting worse over time. In fact, relentlessly year by year it gets worse, never better. It’s like a terminally ill cancer patient knowing what to expect: Every checkup gets worse. Greenland just got an eye-opener!

There’s a good reason why climate change continually gets worse. It’s the failure of the leaders of the world to react to years and years and years of climate scientists’ warnings, starting in the 1980s with Dr. James Hansen formerly Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies: “Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate” splashed onto the front page of The New York Times d/d June 24, 1988.

The needle to fix the climate change imbroglio has not budged since well before Dr. Hansen’s speech to the U.S. Senate. Fossil fuels still account for 80-90% of energy use, the same as 50 years ago!

Moreover, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) fossil fuel companies plan on $1.5T spending for new production. That’s a lot of future CO2. And, in certain quarters, coal is picking up steam again.

These are the direct sources of CO2 spewing into the atmosphere, prompting a big question for the 21st century: What’s gonna stop the onset of runaway global warming?

As it happens, new studies bring new insight to prior studies. For example, previous studies of the Greenland ice sheet studied the edges of Greenland to look at active melting. Whereas, this new Khan study is drawn further inland, more than 100 miles inland, discovering thinning ice never before seen.

What they found was alarming: thinning from Greenland&#39;s coast stretched back 200 to 300 kilometers (125 to 185 miles)… what we see happening at the front reaches far back into the heart of the ice sheet, said Shfaqat Abbas Khan in a press release about the study, published in Nature…. the new model really captures what&#39;s going on inland, the old ones do not… you end up with a completely different mass change, or sea level projection. (Source: Shfagat A. Khan, et al, Extensive Inland Thinning and Speed-up of Northeast Greenland Ice Stream, Nature, Nov. 9, 2022)

The principal area studied, known as the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) covers approximately 12% of the ice sheet. The thinning is estimated to add 13.5 to 15.5 mm to sea levels over time, which is equivalent to the contribution of the past 50 years. More to the point, according to the scientists: &quot; The NEGIS could lose six times more ice than existing climate models estimate.” Thus, it’s getting worse, much worse, six times worse than previous studies. 6xs is really a lot, off the charts.

Warm ocean currents that absorb over 90% of the planet’s heat cause the inland disturbances. In 2012 the floating extension of NEGIS collapsed, an event that accelerated ice flow and triggered rapid ice thinning, spreading upstream by over 100 miles: One has to wonder if the integrity of the entire ice sheet is more compromised than ever before?

An article in Space.com commented on the new finding:

Greenland&#39;s largest ice sheet is thawing at a much higher rate than expected, a new study has revealed, suggesting it will add six times more water to the rising sea levels than previously thought. And the trend may not be limited to Greenland, scientists worry. (Source: Sea Levels Might Rise Much Faster Than Thought, Data From Greenland Suggest, Space.com, November 9, 2022)

Repeating that prior statement “And the trend may not be limited to Greenland, scientists worry.” Probably points a finger at Antarctica, where recent research has identified similar warm underwater currents eroding the base of ice sheets, for example, Thwaites glacier West Antarctica, the widest glacier on the planet: Under the ice, the geological structure of Thwaites is “a recipe for disaster.” Until only recently, Thwaites had not measurably changed since it was first mapped in the 1940s. All of that has changed now that global warming has intervened. It’s what’s happening hidden underneath that spooks scientists:

Ocean water well above melting point is eroding the base of the ice. (Source: Ted Scambos, lead principal investigator for the Science Coordination Office of the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (SCO project).

Even more alarming: The Khan study discovered that accelerating melt continued throughout the winter of 2021 and the summer of 2022, which were unusually cold in Greenland, suggesting the thinning/melting process is impervious to temperature changes on the surface.

According to Eric Rignot, professor of Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine, co-author of the paper: “We foresee profound changes in global sea levels, more than currently projected by existing models.” Comments from leading climate scientists like Rignot saying the study represents “profound changes in sea levels” should alert world leaders to take action to convert fossil fuels to renewables, posthaste.

The Khan study was released as the world met in Egypt for COP27, seeking solutions. Based upon multitudes upon multitudes of climate change issues throughout the world maybe the delegates should extend their stay by several months or maybe even by one year just to go thru reams of demanding issues. Two weeks of COP27 can only scratch the surface of so many pressing issues that threaten our continuance.

Hopefully, COP27 does initiate real breakthrough enforcement mechanisms that compel countries to meet net zero by 2030, if that is soon enough, but if history is a prologue to results, don’t hold your breath. Instead, it’s prudent, in fact real smart, to make plans to adapt to fierce and fiercer climate change as well as much higher sea levels sooner rather than later.

The Khan study unfortunately comes on top of a chilling statement by the world’s leading Greenland expert as mentioned on a Radio Ecoshock interview d/d October 26, 2022: Luke Kemp: Climate
Endgame:

Greenland ice expert Jason Box warns Earth is already committed to at least another foot of sea level rise from Greenland no matter what we do.

https://mronline.org/2022/11/22/greenla ... uch-worse/

Image
At the World Economic Forum in January 2022, Xi Jinping stated that the realisation of carbon neutrality is an “intrinsic requirement of China’s own high-quality development and a solemn pledge to the international community.”

China is building a truly ecological civilisation
Originally published: Morning Star Online on November 2022 by Carlos Martinez (more by Morning Star Online) | (Posted Nov 21, 2022)

THE 2022 UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (Cop27) has just drawn to a close. One of the defining themes of this year’s conference has been the insistent demand by the leaders of the global South for climate justice–for the wealthy countries to step up their financial and technological support to poorer countries, to help mitigate the effects of climate change and to speed up the transition to green energy systems.

Climate justice is not some sort of fringe radical notion; indeed, the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” is written into international law, and reflects the fact that over the course of 200 years, Europe, North America and Japan have burned enormous quantities of fossil fuels on their road to modernisation, creating an environmental crisis in the process. As agrarian sociologist Max Ajl puts it,

North Atlantic capitalism enclosed the atmosphere as a dump for its waste aeons ago.

No justice
However, the world has as so far witnessed precious little of said climate justice. At the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009, rich nations pledged to channel $100 billion a year to the least-developed countries to tackle environmental issues. Even though this pledge is minuscule when compared with the level of investment actually needed, it has never been met.

The U.S. spends upwards of $800bn a year on its military, but apparently it can’t afford to help fix the problems it’s had such an outsized role in creating (bear in mind that the U.S., with 4 per cent of the global population, is responsible for 25 per cent of historic carbon dioxide emissions).

Although China is still a developing country, the reality is that it’s China rather than the advanced Western countries that’s providing key leadership on environmental issues.

China is already working with a large number of African, Asian and Latin American countries on green development projects, including in Zambia, South Africa, Kenya, Argentina and Cuba.

Nigerian journalist Otiato Opali writes:

From the Sakai photovoltaic power station in the Central African Republic and the Garissa solar plant in Kenya, to the Aysha wind power project in Ethiopia and the Kafue Gorge hydroelectric station in Zambia, China has implemented hundreds of clean energy, green development projects in Africa, supporting the continent’s efforts to tackle climate change.

Green development

Image
GREEN SHOOTS: Hundreds of seedlings nurtured carefully in a nursery, ready for the reforestation of mountains near the Yantze River in Sichuan (CC: Flickr–Autan)

At home, China has been aggressively pursuing decarbonisation for over a decade. In his address to the UN general assembly in 2020, Xi Jinping announced two major goals agreed by the Chinese government: to hit peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

China has reiterated its goals on carbon peaking and neutrality many times, formulating a detailed action plan around them and incorporating them into law. At the World Economic Forum in January 2022, Xi stated that the realisation of carbon neutrality is an “intrinsic requirement of China’s own high-quality development and a solemn pledge to the international community.”

China’s goals are of historic significance. Columbia University professor Adam Tooze enthused that, with Xi’s 2020 announcement,

China’s leader may have redefined the future prospects for humanity… As the impact of his remarks sank in, climate modellers crunched the numbers and concluded that, if fully implemented, China’s new commitment will by itself lower the projected temperature increase by 0.2-0.3 °C. It is the largest favourable shock that their models have ever produced.

In the 15-year period from 2007 to 2022, coal’s share of the power mix in China has gone from 81 per cent to 56 per cent, putting China in the same range as Australia–a wealthy, advanced country which could and should have begun its low-carbon transition decades ago.

At the same time as reducing its use of coal, China is rapidly becoming the first renewable energy superpower, accounting for 46 per cent of new solar and wind power generating capacity in 2021.

International energy analyst Tim Buckley observes that China is the world leader in “wind and solar installation, in wind and solar manufacturing, in electric vehicle production, in batteries, in hydro, in nuclear, in ground heat pumps, in grid transmission and distribution, and in green hydrogen.” In summary,

they literally lead the world in every zero-emissions technology today.

China has also been pushing forward in wind power domestically, with data indicating that “China now operates almost half of the world’s installed offshore wind, with 26 gigawatts of a total of 54 gigawatts worldwide”–a statistic that recently prompted Elizabeth Sawin, co-director of U.S. climate think tank Climate Interactive to remark:

While the U.S. can’t quite agree to build back better, China just builds better.

Further, China is making important progress in decarbonising transport, with more high-speed rail miles than the rest of the world combined. Currently, 59 per cent of China’s urban public buses are fully electric, up from 16 per cent in 2016. Around 98 per cent of the world’s electric buses are in China.

Meanwhile, China is carrying out the largest reforestation project in the world, planting forests “the size of Ireland” in a single year and doubling forest coverage from 12 per cent in 1980 to 23 per cent in 2020–sadly the global trend is in the opposite direction.

Socialism is the key

Image
RED SUN: Workers install solar panels on Shanghai workplaces (CC: Flickr–Jiri Rezac)

As John Bellamy Foster has noted recently:

While China has made moves to implement its radical conception of ecological civilisation, which is built into state planning and regulation, the notion of a Green New Deal has taken concrete form nowhere in the West.

Scientists have understood the issues surrounding climate change for a long time. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, with its objective of “stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system,” was adopted in 1992 and ratified by 154 countries.

And yet precious little progress has been made at a global level. Indeed, more than half of all carbon dioxide emissions in the industrial era have been generated in the three decades since then.

This lack of progress seems inexcusable. Humanity has done almost nothing in the face of a global existential crisis, and the reason is simply that the dominant economic system in the world is capitalism. When a society is organised primarily around the pursuit of private profit, rather than addressing the long-term needs of humanity, the question of saving the planet will never be the top priority.

China’s economic development proceeds according to state plans, not market anarchy. The interests of private profit are subordinate to the needs of society.

China’s enormous investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, reforestation and circular waste management have largely been made by state banks, and its projects carried out largely by state-owned enterprises, according to strategic guidelines laid out by the government.

The power of example

Those in the major capitalist countries should take inspiration from China’s example in addressing the ecological crisis, and feed this inspiration into a powerful mass movement capable of effecting the meaningful change that humanity desperately needs.

Just as progress made on social welfare in the European socialist countries in the mid-20th century created tremendous pressure on the capitalist ruling classes to grant concessions to the working class (in the form of universal education, social housing and healthcare systems), so can China’s environmental strategy in the 21st century create pressure on the capitalist ruling classes to stop destroying the planet and commit to climate justice.

China has emerged as the undisputed leader in the fight against climate breakdown, and the results of this leadership are reverberating globally. It would be difficult to overstate the profound significance of this for our species and planet.

https://mronline.org/2022/11/21/china-i ... ilisation/

**************

Eco-Solidarity Update Ep. 2: Where the Wild Things Aren’t: Biodiversity Loss in Latin America and the World
November 17, 2022

Image

This month’s Eco-Solidarity Update Episode 2 is “Where the Wild Things Aren’t: The Crisis of Biodiversity Loss in Latin America and the World.” We talk about the 69% decline in wild animal species worldwide since 1969, and a staggering 94% in Latin America.

Of course, if we’re going to talk about species decline, then we have to talk about the threats to the Amazon River and rainforest. We invite you to:

Send a message to South American Presidents: NO to US/NATO military in the Amazon rainforest; YES to South American summit
https://afgj.salsalabs.org/NOtoNATOinth ... 4444444444

This months guests are Peruvian journalist, eco-defender, and activist Lucho Garate, who grew up in the Amazon region; and Gilvânia Ferreira da Silva, geography teacher, popular educator, and spokesperson for the MST Landless Movement of Brazil.

Please watch and share the following segments of Eco-Solidarity Update Ep. 2: Where the Wild Things Aren’t: The Crisis of Biodiversity Loss in Latin America and the World and be sure and subscribe to our YouTube channel!





[youtube]http//youtu.be/s4wI-jLUGvQ[/youtube]

https://afgj.org/eco-solidarity-update- ... -the-world

*************

Sabotage and Civil Disobedience in France: The Fight Against Mega-Basins and Water Grabbing
By Clara Vallée, Contributor November 20, 2022

Sainte-Soline, France – Nearly 7,000 people gathered in the town of Sainte-Soline on Saturday, Oct. 29 and invaded a mega-basin development site to stop construction on the large water reserve despite a ban on protests and an unprecedented police presence.

Composed of inhabitants of the region, agricultural unions and the organization Les Soulèvements de la terre (“The Uprisings of the Earth”), thousands gathered at the call of the collective Bassines non merci (“basins, no thanks”) to oppose the mega-basin construction site in Western France.

For several years, a local opposition has been organizing against the mega-basin projects that have been flourishing in the area.

Image
Tear gas shots are fired against the demonstrators around the mega-basin construction site in Sainte Soline (Deux-Sèvres) – image contributed by Clara Vallée

What is a Mega-Basin?

Basins are artificial water reservoirs typically 10-hectares (~25 acres) in size, 15 meters deep, lined with plastic sheeting and filled with water meant to irrigate farms and fields.

Described as a “headlong rush” by environmentalists, these massive water retention facilities are being promoted by agribusiness lobbies and the French government to alleviate water shortages caused by repeated droughts.

The mega-basins are feared by the activists to solely benefit the food industry as reportedly only a small amount would be allocated to the common farmer.

Environmentalists also denounce the lack of public consultation on these projects, which, in the long term they say will have an impact on the ecosystems of the area.

Image
Mega-basin in Western France – image via paudal

Mobilization, Police Violence, Sabotage

The mobilization on Saturday, Oct. 29 was the fourth in a series of demonstrations and direct actions over the past year. This time, acts of civil disobedience started earlier with a camp with watchtowers being strategically set up near the construction site on a portion of land provided by a sympathetic farmer.

Meetings, conferences, and speeches by elected officials and activists along with preparation for various actions occurred at the camp in the lead up to the main action.

Image
In the camp of the anti-basins. On the banner we can read: “Corn everywhere, justice nowhere” – image contributed by Clara Vallée

It was on that Saturday that things started to get serious. Divided into three processions, all with the construction site as a common point of arrival, the demonstrators set off in the early afternoon and went face on against an unprecedented police presence of 1,700 police officers and six helicopters mobilized to defend the mega-project.

Thousands of activists swarmed across the fields, passing through the ten or so roadblocks and entered the construction site, removing the gates and using them as barricades to advance.

Police reacted with tear gas, flash bangs, and other crowd control devices leaving an estimated 61 police officers injured, six of whom were hospitalized. Four protesters were injured and six were placed in police custody.

After invading the mega-basin and with thousands converging on the spot the next day, a key point of basin infrastructure was targeted: its pipes. The basin of Sainte-Soline in Deux-Sèvres, has six main pipes pumping in the water tables to fill its 720,000 m³ of water. Pipes were dug up and dismantled on Sunday, October 30, with these acts of sabotage taking place without police violence.

[youtube]http://twitter.com/i/status/1586795178869854208[/youtube]

Since the late October demonstrations, construction has resumed at the basin under close surveillance and police protection.

This local conflict comes in a context of already high tensions over the sharing of water resources. This past summer, which was particularly dry in France, was a good illustration of this: for two months, a hundred or so French municipalities had to manage their water supply by tankers.

Nearly a thousand such mega-basins are being proposed across France for the year 2025.

https://unicornriot.ninja/2022/sabotage ... -grabbing/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 7952
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Thu Nov 24, 2022 6:31 pm

Multinationals Set to Expand Gas and Oil Sites Despite Climate Concerns
Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on NOVEMBER 22, 2022

Image
Ocean Rebellion demonstrators protest against the use of fossil fuels in the shipping industry, in London, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022.

As climate activists and politicians began leaving the Cop27 climate conference in Egypt today, it emerged that the giant gas and oil producers were finalising plans for more new fossil fuel production sites.

The news that companies such as Qatar Energy, Gazprom, Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil, Petrobras, Turkmengaz, TotalEnergies, Chevron and Shell are all planning new production sites comes as negotiators faced criticism for failing to tackle soaring carbon emissions at the climate talks.

About 636 fossil fuel industry lobbyists were in Sharm-el-Sheikh — an increase of more than 25 per cent compared with last year in Glasgow.

There were more fossil fuel delegates at the climate talks than any single national delegation, besides the United Arab Emirates, which registered 1,070 delegates compared with 176 last year.

In a report unveiled during Cop27, the US NGO Oil Change International revealed that new fossil fuel projects approved, or in the process of being approved between 2022 and 2025, could lead to 70 billion tonnes of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere over the course of their operation.

Projects approved in 2022 alone are responsible for 11bn tonnes of CO2.

One of the projects, by French company TotalEnergy, is for the drilling of 400 wells and then for the oil to be exported through the huge East African Crude Oil Pipeline.

These two projects combined will be responsible for emitting more than 34 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

“Some 90 per cent of the CO2 emissions emitted by humans are linked to fossil fuels,” says Jean-Marie Breon, a climatologist at the Climate and Environmental Sciences Laboratory. The remaining 10 per cent is linked to deforestation.

Faced with the urgency of the situation, climate activists have called for a non-proliferation treaty on fossil fuels — based on the same model as the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

“Launched in 2020, the idea is now supported by the European Parliament, the WHO, around 70 cities including Paris, London, Lima and Calcutta, 100 Nobel Prize winners, 3,000 scientists and 1,800 civil society organisations,” says Alex Rafalowicz, the initiative’s director.

Mr Rafalowicz said: “The subject was not clearly discussed until Cop26 last year.

“Until then, we were merely talking about reducing CO2 emissions and developing renewable energies, without really pointing to the main cause of global warming.

“The aim is to stop the expansion and construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure and then gradually reduce production,” Mr Rafalowicz said.

Morning Star

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2022/11/ ... -concerns/

****************

What did COP27 achieve?
The 27th UN climate change conference ended in Egypt on November 20 with a major outcome – a Loss and Damage fund. However, the cover text does not contain any new commitments on emission cuts or the comprehensive phase down of all fossil fuels

November 22, 2022 by Tanupriya Singh

Image
(Photo: 350.org)

Following two weeks of negotiations built on over three decades of struggle, COP27 finally yielded a Loss and Damage fund on November 20. The Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan was gavelled in the early hours of Sunday, two days after the summit was scheduled to end, as negotiations ran into overtime on key standing issues.

“The ultimate test of this COP is that it responded to the voices of the vulnerable,” stated Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman during the closing plenary. “The establishment of a Loss and Damage fund is not charity. It is a down payment on our shared futures. It is a down payment on climate justice.”

Loss and Damage

Pakistan served as chair of the G77 and China bloc, which represents 134 countries, and played an instrumental role in getting Loss and Damage on the agenda. Global South countries, with the support of activists and civil society organizations, were adamant that a dedicated Loss and Damage finance facility be established at COP27 itself, something that the US and the European Union (EU) resisted for nearly the entire summit.

Rich countries of the global North have tended to push for a “mosaic” of strategies including funding from institutions such as the World Bank and insurance-based funding, despite evidence that it does not serve the needs of vulnerable populations.

For instance, the G7 announced the Global Shield Against Climate Risk with V20 group of vulnerable countries at COP27, an insurance-based and social protection financing initiative outside the purview of the UNFCCC. Many had voiced concerns that the initiative would draw focus away from Loss and Damage. An estimated 70% of the climate financing pledges went towards the Global Shield.

Meanwhile, though the EU did finally concede to setting up a Loss and Damage fund, it was on two conditions – a) the fund should be geared towards the most vulnerable countries (a reference to Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries), and more importantly, b) if it had a “broad donor base.”

Despite their outsized role in precipitating the climate crisis, rich countries including those in the EU have routinely called for “broadening” of the funding base to include countries still classified as ‘developing’ by the UN, including China and India.

The text finalized in the early hours of November 20 decides to “establish new funding arrangements for assisting developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change… with a focus on addressing loss and damage by providing and assisting in mobilizing new and additional resources.” It also decided to “establish a fund for responding to loss and damage.”

It adds that new funding arrangements “complement and include sources, funds, processes, and initiatives under and outside the Convention [UNFCCC] and the Paris Agreement.”

A 24-member Transitional Committee will be set up to establish the modalities to operationalize these new funding arrangements and the fund, to be considered at COP28. The Committee’s role also includes “defining the elements of the new funding arrangements” and “identifying and expanding new sources of funding.” The body will determine key issues including the definition of “vulnerable,” identify how much money must be provided, where must it come from and who all must contribute.


Meanwhile, negotiators also agreed to operationalize the Santiago Network, including an agreement to establish an advisory board, to provide technical assistance to countries for “averting, minimizing, and addressing” loss and damage, a key demand at this year’s COP.

Talks also continued on the “New Collective Quantified Goal” (NCQG) which is to be set by 2024 and will replace the current, inadequate, and consistently incomplete $100 billion per year climate finance pledge for developing countries.

Despite a push to include Loss and Damage as a distinct part of the NCQG alongside adaptation and mitigation, countries including the US rejected the decision. Its inclusion would have ensured that financing was aligned with the UNFCCC’s principles of equity, historic responsibilities, and common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR).

Adaptation and Mitigation

Talks were also held around the Adaptation Fund that was set up under the Kyoto Protocol, with developing countries highlighting a “systematic failure” in resource mobilization. Ahead of COP27, the UN Environment Program had warned that adaptation finance for developing countries was five to 10 times less than what was needed.

Meanwhile, countries agreed to establish a framework for the Global Goal on Adaptation, a two-year process set to be concluded at COP28.

Under the pact at Glasgow, developed countries had also agreed to double adaptation finance from 2019 levels in 2025. While an earlier draft included a reference to “a roadmap for doubling adaptation,” it was ultimately replaced by a request to the “Standing Committee on Finance to prepare a report on the doubling of adaptation finance” for consideration at COP28.

A Mitigation Work Program was launched at COP27 to “urgently scale up mitigation ambition and implementation.” However, Carbon Brief reported that its scope was loose and no targets would be set.

Developing countries warned that countries which carry the historical responsibility for the current crisis were attempting to shift the burden of emissions cuts. Bolivia’s chief negotiator and Like-Minded Group of Developing Countries spokesperson Diego Pacheco warned that the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” was being rewritten as “common but shared responsibility.”


The 1.5°C threshold

While the Loss and Damage fund has received a cautious welcome, there has been major anger over the failure of COP27 to achieve strong commitments to emission cuts despite increasingly dire warnings.

The cover text “recognizes that limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires rapid, deep, and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions of 43% by 2030 relative to the 2019 level.”

In a rather dramatic development, countries including the US and the EU threatened to “walk away” from the loss and damage negotiations on November 19, ostensibly over disagreements surrounding the 1.5°C target which lies at the core of the Paris Agreement. “We do not want 1.5° Celsius to die here.” declared the EU’s climate envoy Frans Timmermans, even as the bloc’s own members are firing up coal plants and trying to secure gas supplies.

The Egyptian presidency was accused of “working on behalf of a coalition of developing countries that included China and Saudi Arabia.”

“This is a classic redirection of blame that serves the interest of the countries that are the largest historical emitters,” noted Brandon Wu, director of policy and campaigns at ActionAid USA, who warned that the 1.5°C threshold was being ‘hijacked and weaponized’ by rich countries. “It is a manufactured scandal that distracts from the real one: the consistent failure of wealthy countries to reduce their own emissions and provide finance for developing countries for mitigation, adaptation, and now ‘loss and damage’.”

In light of such historical and persisting disparities, statements that call on all Parties to increase their efforts towards the 1.5°C goal, Wu added, “erase history… in favor of putting all countries at the same starting point regardless of their historical emissions or their current levels of development.”

“Scolding on mitigation process by EU smacks of duplicity,” stated Navroz Dubash, a professor at the Centre for Policy Research in India, “Post Sharm el-Sheikh we face a serious reckoning on 1.5 – not nearly enough cuts in the [global] North; not enough climate finance to accelerate transition; and (appropriate) unwillingness to compress energy demand in the South means no path to 1.5. Something has to go give and it may be 1.5.”

Fossil fuels

The cover text calls on parties to “accelerate efforts towards the phase down of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies,” – not much of a departure from COP26.

Instead of a narrow focus on coal, India had called for a broader agreement to phase down all fossil fuels, an idea endorsed by over 80 countries. However, it did not make it into the final text.

The solutions offered by the text include “cooperative actions” including just energy partnerships, and the use of renewable and ‘low emission’ energy – understood to be a possible reference to gas. Natural gas, or methane, has been boosted as an alternative to coal on the assumption that it has a lower greenhouse impact. However, science activist and Newsclick editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha has highlighted that methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas: “Its effects are 30 times higher over 100 years than an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide.”

Not only that, leakages of methane from natural gas facilities are potentially up to six times higher than what has been disclosed by developed countries.

While lamenting the lack of progress on fossil fuels at COP27, countries such as the US have also continued to push for fossil fuel expansion, while pushing Global South countries to undertake a “just transition” on terms that are disastrous for poor and working class communities.

The US has topped the list of countries who approved the most oil and gas expansion plans in 2022.

International financial institutions

In its opening paragraphs, the Implementation Plan stresses that “the increasingly complex and challenging global geopolitical situation…as well as the additional challenges associated with the socioeconomic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, should not be used as a pretext for backtracking, backsliding, or de-prioritizing climate action.”

COP27 called on multilateral development banks and international financial institutions to “reform” their practices and priorities, “align and scale up funding, and ensure simplified access and mobilize climate finance from various sources.”

It called on them to deploy a “full suite of instruments from grants, to guarantees and non-debt instruments, taking into account debt burdens, and to address risk appetite, with a view to substantially increasing climate finance.”

These portions must be read together, “backtracking” or “de-prioritization” of climate action must be understood in the context of the growing debt crisis across the global South. Speaking at COP27, the head of the UN Development Program, Achim Steiner, warned that 54 poorest countries were on the verge of bankruptcy and that dealing with the debt crisis had become a “precondition for actually accelerating climate action.”

“[W]hen a Caribbean island has a third of its GDP wiped out in 12 hours through a hurricane, there’s nobody to turn to…That is where the injustice of climate change becomes so egregious in the view of many developing countries. Not having even remotely a principal causal factor, they are now paying an extraordinary price through the damage they suffer,” Steiner said.

Not only does debt inhibit the ability of countries to respond to the climate crisis, but the severity of climate events in the absence of any meaningful financing pushes countries further into debt.

Pakistan was due to pay $12.5 billion in debt payments in 2022 alone. Then the floods hit, causing $40 billion in damage. Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the deadly floods in 2010, the country had reportedly already been forced to take on an additional debt of up to $40 billion, costing the Pakistani people up to $71 billion in debt and interest payments over the next decade.

Now the World Bank has estimated that the country will need $384 billion between 2023 and 2030 to address climate and development-related issues. Additionally, African countries could be forced to take on $1 trillion in debt within the next 10 years due to the climate crisis.

These figures are staggering, and existing financing commitments do not even scratch the surface. A commitment to “prioritizing” climate action must begin with a complete cancellation of the unjust debts imposed on the global South and meaningful transfer of resources and funding instead of market-based false solutions that only benefit the private sector.

https://peoplesdispatch.org/2022/11/22/ ... 7-achieve/

********************

COP27: Cooperation With Israel on Climate Further Entrenches Palestinians’ Vulnerability To Zionist Apartheid
NOVEMBER 23, 2022

Image
Israeli Navy's Task Force for Operation Full Disclosure, 5 March, 2014. Photo: File Photo.

At the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP27), which took place in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, between 6 and 18 November, Israel’s delegation emphasized focus on promoting the country’s “leading” global and regional role in addressing climate change, particularly promoting the Abraham Accords, as a key path towards climate justice. For example, at an Israeli event at COP27 organized by the Ministry of Energy titled, “Global and regional cooperation towards Net-Zero in 2050,” Yael Ravia-Zadok of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highlighted how the “horizon has been expanded” in regional cooperation following the Abraham Accords; giving the region a “great opportunity” to collaborate to address climate change and to “enhance regional stability.”

In reality, the Abraham Accords are not only a shameful, dangerous acceptance and endorsement of Israel’s settler-colonial and apartheid regime, they also violate third states’ legal responsibilities under international law not to recognize the illegal situation arising from Israel’s violation of peremptory norms of international law. They also violate their legal obligations not to assist the illegal situation and to take effective action to bring it to an end.

The Abraham Accords and any deal with Israel which do not take into consideration these third state responsibilities would aid and abet Israel in maintaining its settler-colonial and apartheid regime and the associated impacts and human rights violations against the Palestinian people, including the worsening of climate vulnerability of Palestinians.

At the High-Level Segment of COP27 on 7 November 2020, the Israeli President shed light on Israel’s intention to “spearhead the development of… a Renewable Middle East, a regional ecosystem of sustainable peace.” Some of the examples promoting this “renewable Middle East” greenwashing discourse and strategy among many speeches and interventions by Israeli officials at COP27 include:

1. The EuroAsia Interconnector

The EuroAsia Interconnector is a leading EU infrastructure project that aims to connect the national electricity grids of Israel, Cyprus, Greece and wider Europe, enabling each party to be either an exporter or an importer of electricity. In October 2022, the construction of the electricity grids started, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2026, making the “deepest and longest submarine electricity interconnection in the world.”

At an Israeli event at COP27, Director General of the Ministry of Energy gave the EuroAsia Interconnector as an example of what he termed “energy diplomacy.” Schillat continued his intervention by explaining how Israel would become Europe’s “backup” in electricity.

In reality, Israel’s national electricity grid, which will be linked to Europe’s grid by the EuroAsia Interconnector, includes – inseparably and by design – Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Additionally, the electricity grid receives electricity from illegal settlement solar panel fields. Under the rubric of cooperation to address the climate crisis, the implementation of this project would in fact, contribute to the further entrenchment of grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Conventions, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the violation of peremptory norms under customary international law against the Palestinian people.

2. The East Mediterranean Gas Forum

At an event at COP27, Yael Ravia-Zadok of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highlighted how “regional cooperation” has even started before the Abraham Accords and boasted about the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, an international organization to “foster cooperation between [Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and Palestine] to manage sustainable efficient and environmentally conscious use of natural gas resources.”

In reality, the Forum is a political smokescreen which enables Israel to perpetrate the exploitation and pillage of Palestinian gas resources. In particular, Israel and corporations have illegally exploited Palestine’s contiguous gas resources in the Gaza Strip, entrenching the blockade of the Gaza Strip and furthering the denial of the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and to permanent sovereignty over their natural resources.. Al-Haq warns that Palestinian Authority presence at the East Mediterranean Gas Forum table, does not qualify as consent for the exploitation of Palestinian gas resources by Israel, whose ownership vests in the occupied Palestinian population.

3. Gas to Water Deal

Another example of “regional cooperation” which the President of Israel said is a “creative win-win partnerships which will contribute to the stability of the entire region” is the Gas to Water Deal, an agreement that was signed on 8 November 2022 at COP27 between Israel, Jordan and the UAE. The agreement stipulates that Jordan would supply Israel with green electricity and Israel would in return, supply Jordan with desalinated water, in the name of climate change mitigation.

In fact, Israel’s ability to supply Jordan with desalinated water is dependent on Israel’s practices and policies of water resource appropriation which began with the integration of the Palestinian water system into the Israeli one, at the beginning of the occupation in 1967. The appropriation continued through discriminatory zoning and planning, corporate over-extraction, curtailment of water access, overexploitation and environmental damage, policing water supply, demolition of water infrastructure, and resale of water resources for Palestinians, amounting to the crimes of appropriation and pillage. In particular, Israel controls and appropriates 87 percent of Palestinian water.[1]

Critically, such an agreement is being signed against the will of the people of Jordan, whose citizens include millions of Palestinian refugees, who are denied their right to return by Israel. The Jordanian people have rejected the agreement, including through ongoing demonstrations since the content of the deal was publicized in November 2021.

4. Collaboration between Mekorot and the Kingdom of Bahrain

In March 2021, Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, and Bahrain signed an agreement, which stipulates that Mekorot would provide, “consulting, planning, and support services in a number of fields, including seawater and brackish water desalination, as well as water resources management and its supply to the population of the Kingdom of Bahrain.” At an event at COP27, Yael Ravia-Zadok Yael Ravia-Zadok of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlighted this agreement as promoting water security to address the climate crisis.

The reality is that, Mekorot is complicit in Israel’s appropriation and pillage of Palestinian water.[2] Since 1982, ownership of the water supply systems in the oPt has been transferred to Mekorot, forcing Palestinians to rely on Mekorot to meet their water needs. Mekorot extracts and appropriates an amount of water from the oPt in breach of the usufruct rule under international humanitarian law, which may amount to the war crime of pillage.[3] Additionally, Mekorot’s drilling of illegal wells serves illegal Israeli settlements, while simultaneously restricting water supply for Palestinians communities, implicating violations of grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.[4]

Conclusion

After a century old settler colonial regime, a seven-decade apartheid regime, a five-decade military occupation, and daily systematic human rights violation and international crimes against the Palestinian people, Israel continues to enjoy impunity for this reality it has subjected the Palestinian people to. A key contributor towards Israel’s impunity is the international community’s lack of will to acknowledge the situation in Palestine, enforce accountability, or implement collective countermeasures against Israel, including through sanctions as per their legal obligations.

Cooperating with Israel, States under the rubric of fostering stability, peace, and climate justice, without placing the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination as a prerequisite for such agreements, actually aids and abets Israel, in continuing violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people and the commission of international crimes. Such cooperation also entrenches the overall Israeli regimes of settler-colonialism, apartheid and occupation imposed over the Palestinian people. It is way beyond time for the international community to abide by their third state responsibility under international law, and their commitments to the universal principles of human rights.



[1] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, “The allocation of water resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” UNDOC A/HRC/48/43, (23 September 2021).

[2] Al-Haq, “Al-Haq Sends Letters to Corporations Complicit in the Denial of Palestinian Access to and Ownership of Water in the OPT” (13 July 2022) <https://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/20282.html>.

[3] Articles 52, 53 and 55 of the Hague Convention (IV) Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and Its Annex: Regulations Concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land, 18 October 1907; Article 8(2)(b)(xvi) of the Rome Statute.

[4] Article 49, Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, 12 August 1949.

https://orinocotribune.com/cop27-cooper ... apartheid/

****************

Image

Extractivism in the Anthropocene
By John Bellamy Foster (Posted Nov 22, 2022)

Originally published: Science for the People on Volume 25, no. 2, Bleeding Earth (more by Science for the People) |

Over the last decade and a half, the concept of extractivism has emerged as a key element in our understanding of the planetary ecological crisis. Although the development of extractive industries on a global scale has been integral to capitalist mode of production since its onset, commencing with the colonial expansion of the long sixteenth century, this took on a much larger worldwide significance with the advent of the Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, marking the beginning of the age of fossil capital. Nevertheless, it was only with the Great Acceleration, beginning in the mid-twentieth century and extending to the present, that the quantitative expansion of global production and of resource extraction in particular led to a qualitative transformation in the human relation to the Earth System as a whole. This has given rise to the Anthropocene Epoch in geological history, in which anthropogenic (as opposed to nonanthropogenic) factors for the first time in Earth history constitute the major force in Earth System change.1 In the Anthropocene, extractivism has become a core symptom of the planetary disease of late capitalism/imperialism, threatening humanity and the inhabitants of the earth in general.

The Great Acceleration is dramatically depicted by the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy in the form of a series of twenty-four charts, each showing a hockey-stick-shaped curve of economic expansion, resource depletion, and overloading planetary sinks, representing a sudden speeding-up and scaling-up of the human impact on the earth, similar to the famous hockey stick chart on increases in global average temperature associated with climate change.2 Viewed in this way, the Great Acceleration is seen as having brought the Holocene Epoch of the last 11,700 years of geological history to a sudden end, ushering in the Anthropocene Epoch and the current planetary crisis.

Recent research has shown two separate periods where global resource use (including all biomass, minerals, fossil fuel energy, and cement production) has increased much more rapidly than global carbon emissions; which can be characterized as the first (1950—1970) and second (2000—2015) accelerations in resource use within the Great Acceleration as a whole.3 The first resource acceleration is associated with the rapid economic expansion of North America, Western Europe, and Japan after the Second World War; the second resource acceleration coincided with the rapid growth of China, India, and other emerging economies beginning around 2000. In the case of the wealthy capitalist countries or “developed economies,” resource use per capita has tended to level off in recent years, while remaining at levels far beyond overall sustainability from a limits to growth perspective. Yet, much of this apparent decline in natural resource use has been due to the outsourcing of world industrial production to the Global South, while consumption remains highly concentrated in the Global North, driving an “imperial mode of living.”4 In 2016, the Global Material Flows and Resource Productivity Report of the United Nations Environmental Programme indicated that “since 1990 there has been little improvement in global material efficiency [i.e. efficiency in the extraction of primary materials]. In fact, efficiency started to decline around 2000.”5 Global extraction of materials tripled in the four decades prior to the 2016 report.6 These conditions have resulted in an acceleration of extractivist pressures in key regions throughout the earth, particularly in the Global South.

A vast financialization of the earth, in which international finance based in the Global North is taking over the commodification and management of ecosystem services, primarily in the Global South, is now underway.

In many countries in the Global South, particularly Latin America and Africa, primary commodities, including both agriculture and fossil fuels/minerals dominate the export economy, reminiscent of an earlier age, with percentages of primary commodities in merchandise trade exports in 2019 as high as 67 percent in Brazil and 82 percent in both Chile and Uruguay. In Algeria, export dependence on fossil fuels is almost complete, now accounting for 94 percent of the value of its merchandise trade exports.7 In Latin America, in particular, the import-substitution industrialization era of the early post-Second World War years, which promoted manufacturing, has been succeeded in the new era of accelerated resource extraction and by a new dependence on primary commodities, including both agricultural goods and fuels/minerals. In 2017, natural resource rents (including mineral, oil, natural gas, and forestry rents) accounted for 43 percent of GDP in the Republic of Congo.8 In Africa, the drive for resources and new agricultural lands has fueled vast land grabs throughout the continent, made possible by the failure of the decolonization process in securing the rights to the land for Indigenous populations.9 In island nations around the globe, fishing and resource rights over vast ocean territories have been ceded to multinational corporations as the ocean commons are being intensively exploited.10 New technologies have led to a race for new rare minerals, as in the case of lithium mining.11 A vast financialization of the earth, in which international finance based in the Global North is taking over the commodification and management of ecosystem services, primarily in the Global South, is now underway.12

Nor is this acceleration of resource extraction and extractive infrastructure confined simply to the periphery of the capitalist world economy. The United States is now the world’s largest oil producer as well as the world’s largest oil consumer. There are 730,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines worldwide, equal to thirty times the circumference of the earth. The United States and Canada alone account for about 260,000 miles of fossil fuel pipelines, or over a third of the world’s total.13 In Canada, primary commodities in 2019 accounted for 43 percent of export value in merchandise trade, while in Australia it was 81 percent.14

The ecological consequences of all of these trends are catastrophic, extending all the way from the devastation of the land and communities up to climate change and the destruction of a human-habitable planet. Fifty years after The Limits to Growth report was published by the Club of Rome, resource depletion is following what it referred to as its threatening “standard scenario,” with the result that the very existence of planet Earth as a home for humanity and innumerable other species is threatened.15

In Latin America, in particular, these conditions and their effects on the ground have led to the development of extractivism as a critical concept, which in recent theoretical discussions has often taken on an expansive meaning, encompassing wide aspects of capitalism and forms of exploitation. Numerous academic analyses have sought to stretch the notion to account for the entire set of economic, political, cultural, and ecological problems of modern times, largely displacing capitalism itself, encompassing questions as varied as modernity, violence, production, exploitation, environmental destruction, digitalization, and new “ontological assemblages.”16 For such thinkers, extractivism is viewed as the insatiable source of capitalist modernity’s destructive and non-reproductive drive to commodify and consume all life and all existence, what some theorists refer to “total extractivism” or the “world eater.” Such views end up displacing the critical concept of capital accumulation itself, as well as removing attention from the very concrete popular struggles occurring at the ground level against extractive capitals.17

For this reason, Eduardo Gudynas, a leading Latin American analyst of extractivism, has insisted that the concept be approached in relation to modes of production/appropriation, giving extractivism a very definite meaning directed at the development of a broad political-economic-ecological critique. Gudynas specifically objects to what he sees as the loose academic approach that now proposes vague and ambiguous “labels for extractivism such as ‘financial,’ ‘cultural,’ ‘musical,’ and ‘epistemological,’” creating endless sources of confusion, and removing the concept from its basis in political economy and ecological critique. “Extractivism,” he writes, “cannot be used as a synonym for development or even for an exporting primary economy. There is no such thing as extractivist development. … Extractivisms … do not account for the structure and function of an entire national economy, which includes many other sectors, activities and institutions.”18

Gudynas’s own theory of extractivisms, which will be a central focus of what follows, can be seen as having arisen out of the broad historical materialist tradition. Thus, in order to understand the significance of his work, it is necessary to situate it within a larger historical materialist tradition, going back to the classical analysis of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, related to issues of the appropriation/expropriation of nature, extractive industries, and the metabolic rift. In this way it is possible to provide the foundations for a critique of extractivism in the Anthropocene.

Marx and the Expropriation of Nature

The notion of “extractive industry” dates back to Marx in the mid-nineteenth century. Marx divided production into four spheres: extractive industry, agriculture, manufacturing, and transport. Extractive industry was seen by him as constituting the sector of production in which “the material for labour is provided directly by Nature, such as mining, hunting, fishing (and agriculture, but only in so far as it starts by breaking up virgin soil).”19 In general, Marx drew a line between extractive industry and agriculture, insofar as the latter was not dependent on raw materials from outside agriculture itself, but was capable of building up from within, given agriculture’s reproductive, as opposed to nonreproductive characteristics. This, however, did not prevent him, in his theory of metabolic rift, from seeing capitalist industrial agriculture as expropriative, and in ways that we now call extractivist.

Some of Marx’s most critical comments with regard to the capitalist mode of production are directed at mining as the quintessential extractive industry. In his discussion of coal mining in Capital, vol. 3, he treats the absolute neglect of the conditions of the coal miners, resulting in an average loss of life of fifteen people a day in England. This led him to comment that capital “squanders human beings, living labour, more readily than does any other mode of production, squandering not only flesh and blood but nerves and brains as well.”20 But the destructive effects of extractive industry and of capital in general, for Marx, were not restricted to the squandering of flesh and blood, but also extended to the squandering of raw materials.21 Moreover, Engels, in writing to Marx, famously discussed the “squandering” of fossil fuels resources, and coal in particular.22

In interviews that he gave responding to radical and Indigenous movements against extractivism, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa rhetorically asked: “Let’s see, Señores marxistas, was Marx opposed to the exploitation of natural resources?” The implication was that Marx would not have opposed contemporary extractivism. In response, ecological economist Joan Martinez-Alier pointed to Marx’s famous analysis indicating that “capitalism leads to a ‘metabolic rift.’ Capitalism is not capable of renewing its own conditions of production; it does not replace the nutrients, it erodes the soils, it exhausts or destroys renewable resources (such as fisheries and forests) and non-renewable ones (such as fossil fuels and minerals).” On this basis, Martinez-Alier contends that Marx, though he did not live to see global climate change “would have sided with Climate Justice.”23 Indeed, the extraordinary growth of the Marxian ecological critique, building on Marx’s analysis in Capital of the “negative, i.e. destructive side” of capitalist production in his theory of metabolic rift, has provided the world with penetrating insights into every aspect of the contemporary planetary crisis.24

Not only was the expropriation of land and bodies recognized in Marx’s analysis, but the earth itself could be expropriated in the sense that the conditions of its reproduction were not maintained, and natural resources were “robbed” or “squandered.”

Key to a historical materialist analysis of extractivism is Marx’s analysis of what he called “Original Expropriation,” a term that he preferred to what the classical-liberal political economists called “Previous, or Original Accumulation” (often misleadingly translated as “primitive accumulation).”25 For Marx, “so-called primitive [previous] accumulation,” as he repeatedly emphasized, was not accumulation at all, but rather expropriation or appropriation without equivalent.26 Taking a cue from Karl Polanyi—and in line with Marx’s argument—we can also refer to expropriation as appropriation without reciprocity.27 Expropriation was evident in the violent seizure of the common lands in Britain. But “the chief moments of [so-called] primitive accumulation” in the mercantilist era, providing the conditions for “the genesis of the industrial capitalist,” lay in the expropriation of lands and bodies through the colonial “conquest and plunder” of the entire external area/periphery of the emerging capitalist world economy. This was associated, Marx wrote, with “the extirpation, enslavement, and entombment in mines of the Indigenous population” in the Americas, the whole trans-Atlantic slave trade, the brutal colonization of India, and a massive drain of resources/surplus from the colonized areas that fed European development.28

Crucial to this analysis was Marx’s very careful distinction between appropriation, understood in its most general sense, as the basis of all property forms and all modes of production, and particular forms of appropriation, such as expropriation and exploitation under the regime of capital. Marx conceived appropriation as rooted in the free appropriation from nature, and thus as a material prerequisite of human existence, leading to the formation thereby of various forms of property, with private property constituting only one such form, which became dominant only under capitalism. This general historical theoretical approach gave rise to Marx’s concept of the “mode of appropriation” underlying mode of production.29 These distinctions were to play an important role in Marx’s later ethnological writings, and his identification with the active resistance to the expropriation of their lands by Indigenous communities in Algeria and elsewhere.30

Not only was the expropriation of land and bodies recognized in Marx’s analysis, but the earth itself could be expropriated in the sense that the conditions of its reproduction were not maintained, and natural resources were “robbed” or “squandered.”31 This was particularly the case with capitalism, in which the appropriation of nature generally took a clear, expropriative form. In Marx’s analysis, the free appropriation of nature by human communities, constituting the basis of all production was seen as having metamorphosed under capitalism into the more destructive form of “a free gift of Nature to capital,” no longer geared primarily to the reproduction of life, the earth, and community as one largely indivisible whole, but rather dedicated solely to the valorization of capital.32 The “robbery” of the earth and the metabolic rift—or the “irreparable rift in the interdependent process of social metabolism” between humanity and nature—were thus closely interwoven.33 Although some contemporary theorists have attempted to define extractivism as meaning the non-reproduction of nature, it is much more theoretically meaningful to view this in line with Marxian ecology in terms of what Marx called the robbery or expropriation of nature, of which extractivism is simply a particularly extreme and crucial form.

Gudynas and the Extractivist Surplus

These conceptual foundations arising out of Marx’s classical ecological critique allow us to appreciate more fully the pathbreaking insights into extractivism provided by Gudynas in his Extractivisms. A crucial point of departure in his analysis is the concept of modes of appropriation. In his pioneering work, Underdeveloping the Amazon of the mid-1980s, environmental sociologist Stephen G. Bunker introduced the concept of “modes of extraction” to address the issue of extractive industry and its nonreproductive character, contrasting this to Marx’s larger concept of “modes of production.”34 Gudynas claims that Bunker was generally on the right track. However, in contrast to Bunker, Gudynas does not adopt the notion of modes of extraction. Nor does he retain Marx’s notion of modes of production, arguing unaccountably that Marx’s concept has been “abandoned,” citing anthropologist David Graeber. Rather, Gudynas turns to the concept of “modes of appropriation,” while seemingly unaware of the theoretical connection between appropriation and production and between modes of appropriation and modes of production that Marx had constructed in the Grundrisse, and how this is related to current Marxian research into these categories.35 Still, Gudynas’s modes of appropriation approach allows him to distinguish between human appropriation from the natural environment in general and what he refers to as “extractivist modes of appropriation,” which violate conditions of natural and social reproduction.

A central concern of Gudynas’s work is a critique of the renewed imperial dependency in the Global South resulting from neo-extractivism, raising the question of “delinking from globalization” as perhaps the only radical alternative.

Gudynas defines extractivism itself in terms of processes that are excessive as measured by the three characteristics of: (1) physical indicators (volume and weight); (2) environmental intensity; and (3) destination, with extractivism seen as inherently related to colonialism and imperialism, requiring that the product be exported in the form of primary commodities.36 Not all appropriation of nature carried out by extractive industries is extractivist. This is perhaps clearest in his short piece, “Would Marx Be an Extractivist?” Writing, as in Martinez-Alier’s case, in response to Correa, Gudynas states:

Marx did not reject mining. Most of the social movements do not reject it, and if their claims are heard carefully, it will be found that they are focused on a particular kind of enterprise: large scale, with huge volumes removed, intensive and open-pit. In other words, don’t confuse mining with extractivism….Marx, in Latin America today, would not be an extractivist, because that would mean abandoning the goal of transforming the modes of production, becoming a bourgeois economist. On the contrary, he would be promoting alternatives to production, and that means, in our present context, moving toward post-extractivism.37

Today’s global extractivism, what Martin Arboleda has called The Planetary Mine, is identified with “generalized-monopoly capital” and conditions of “late imperialism.”38 A central concern of Gudynas’s work is a critique of the renewed imperial dependency in the Global South resulting from neo-extractivism, raising the question of “delinking from globalization” as perhaps the only radical alternative.39 A similar view was powerfully developed by James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer in their Extractive Imperialism, which described the new extractivism as a new imperialist model, forcing countries into a new dependency, the ground for which had been prepared by neoliberal restructuring, which had virtually annihilated many of the earlier forces of production in agriculture and industry.40

Gudynas’s signal contribution, however, lies in his attempt to connect extractivism to the concept of surplus, in order to explain the economic and ecological losses associated with the reliance on extractivist modes of appropriation. Here he relies on the concept of economic surplus developed by Paul A. Baran in The Political Economy of Growth in the 1950s, which was designed to operationalize Marx’s surplus value calculus in line with a critique that had rational economic planning as its yardstick.41 Gudynas notes that in Baran’s surplus concept, in conformity with Marx’s surplus value, “ground rent and interest on money capital” are components of total surplus rather than production costs. In introducing the concept of economic surplus, Baran sought to reveal forms of surplus value that were, in capitalist accounting, as Gudynas puts it, disguised forms of “what is essentially an appropriation of the surplus.”42

Employing this idea, Gudynas seeks to add to the economic or social dimension of surplus, based on the exploitation of labor, two environmental dimensions of the surplus in the context of extractivist modes of appropriation. The first of these, the environmental-renewable surplus is seen as related to the classic Ricardian-Marxian theory of agricultural ground rent focused primarily on renewable industry. It is meant to capture surplus not only associated with monopoly rents and thus integrated directly into the economic calculus, but also, according to Gudynas, to grapple with how ecosystem services, such as pollination, are extractively appropriated/expropriated. Gudynas indicates that a larger “monetized surplus” is created for corporations by neglecting such crucial environmental aspects as soil and water conservation, thus generating an artificially large surplus based on the extractivist appropriation of renewable resources. This is related to what Marx called the “robbing” or expropriation of the earth, part of his theory of metabolic rift.43

The third dimension of the surplus (the second environmental dimension), according to Gudynas, is the environmental-nonrenewable surplus related to non-renewable resources, such as minerals and fossil fuels. “The key distinction here,” he writes, “is that the resource will be exhausted sooner or later, and therefore the surplus captured by the capitalist will always be proportional to the loss of natural heritage that cannot be recovered. Similarly, the space occupied by a mining enclave will be impossible to use for another purpose, such as agriculture.” Whatever extractivist surplus is obtained has to be set against the loss of natural wealth associated with resource depletion, something that is disguised by the common employment of the concept of “natural capital,” conceived today not, as in classical political economy, in terms of use value, but rather, in accord with neoclassical economics, in terms of exchange value and substitutability.44

The current planetary ecological crisis has to be seen in terms of the generation of a destructive expropriation of nature, which needs to be transcended in the process of going beyond capitalism.

In Marx and Engels’s classical historical materialism, a very similar analytical approach was adopted with respect to the expropriation of nonrenewable resources to that presented by Gudynas in his analysis of the environmental-nonrenewable surplus. For Marx and Engels, the destructive expropriation of nonrenewable resources could not be treated as a straightforward case of robbing, as in the case of the soil, forests, fishing, etc. Hence, they approached extractivism with respect to nonrenewable resources under the rubric of the squandering of such resources, a concept that was especially used in relation to the avaricious expropriation of minerals and fossil fuels, particularly coal, but also applied to the extreme “human sacrifices” in extractivist industries, related to what is nowadays sometimes called the “corporeal rift.”45 Capitalism’s relation to both renewable and non-renewable resources was thus seen in the classical historical materialist perspective as pointing to the destructive expropriation of the earth, either as the “robbing” or the “squandering” of nature—an approach that closely corresponds to Gudynas’s two forms of extractivist surplus appropriation/expropriation.

Gudynas’s approach to what he calls the “extractivist surplus” associated with his two environmental dimensions of surplus is meant to encompass externalities, highlighting the fact that the “actual surplus” appropriated—to use Baran’s terms—is, in some cases, artificially high, in relation to a more rational “planned surplus,” as it does not account for depletion of fossil fuels and other natural resources.46 This basic approach is employed in the remainder of Gudynas’s analysis to engage with struggles on the ground over this bleeding of the extractivist economies, and the relation of this to late imperialism, which carries out such bleeding on ever-larger scales to the long-term detriment of the relatively dependent peripheral (or semi-peripheral, that is, emerging) economies. As he argues in Extractivisms, this ultimately becomes a question of “extractivism and justice.”47

Extractivism and the Crisis of the Anthropocene

Given that the Anthropocene, though still not official, has been defined as that epoch in which anthropogenic rather than nonanthropogenic factors, for the first time in geological history, are the primary forces determining Earth System change, it is clear that the Anthropocene will continue as long as global industrial civilization survives. The current Anthropocene crisis, defined as an “anthropogenic rift” in the biogeochemical cycles of the Earth System, is closely associated with the system of capital accumulation and is pointing society toward an Anthropocene-extinction event.48 To avoid this, humanity will need to transcend the dominant “accumulative society” imposed by capitalism.49 But there will be no progressive escaping from the Anthropocene itself in the conceivable future, since humanity, even in an ecologically sustainable socialist mode of production will remain on a razor’s edge, given the current planetary-scale stage of economic and technological development, and the fact that the limits of growth will need to be accounted for in the determination of all future paths of sustainable human development.

It was the recognition of these conditions that led Spanish geologist Carles Soriano, writing in Geologica Acta, to propose the Capitalian as the name of the first geological age of the Anthropocene Epoch.50 According to this outlook, the current planetary ecological crisis has to be seen in terms of the generation of a destructive expropriation of nature, which needs to be transcended in the process of going beyond capitalism and the Capitalian Age. Others independently have proposed the name Capitalinian Age for this new geological age, while also pointing to the notion of a Communian Age—standing for communal, community, commons—as the future geological age of the Anthropocene that needs to be created in coevolution with nature—with a “great climacteric” in this respect necessarily occurring by the mid-twenty-first century.51

In the present century, combatting the capitalist expropriation of nature, and in particular the extractivism that is more and more dominating our time—along with combatting the present accumulative system itself—has to take priority at all levels and in all forms of social struggle. In the classical historical materialist perspective, production as a whole, not simply extractive industry, but also agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation, need to be confronted, in order to transcend the contradictions of class-based capital accumulation. In this regard, the insights of the broad historical materialist tradition are crucial. As Marx observed,

Since actual labour is the appropriation of nature for the satisfaction of human needs, the activity through which the metabolism between man and nature is mediated, to denude labour capacity of the means of labour, the objective conditions for the appropriation of nature through labour, is to denude it, also, of the means of life. Labour capacity denuded of the means of labour and the means of life is therefore absolute poverty as such.52

Today we are faced with an even bigger problem, arising out of this one, since the denuding of labor of its role as the direct mediator of the metabolism between humanity and nature, and the substitution of capital in this role through its control of the objective conditions of the appropriation of nature, has meant, with the growth of accumulation, that the means of life on the planet as a whole are being destroyed. The only answer is the creation of a higher form of society in which the associated producers directly and rationally regulate the metabolism between humanity and nature, in accord with the requirements of their own human development in coevolution with the earth as a whole.

(Notes at link)
.
https://mronline.org/2022/11/22/extract ... hropocene/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 7952
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Tue Nov 29, 2022 4:33 pm

COP27 achieved nothing. No surprise.
November 28, 2022

Another in a long line of meaningless UN climate meetings

Image

by Chris Lang
REDD-Monitor, November 28, 2022

Another UN climate meeting has come and gone. Yet again, it will make no difference whatsoever. The fossil fuel industry will continue to expand. Greenhouse gas emissions will increase. The climate crisis will get worse.

Here’s a brief overview of some of what came out of COP27.

Loss and damage

COP27 did reach an agreement to set up a fund to compensate countries for the loss and damage caused by the climate crisis. This is important. But the details are hopelessly vague, or completely non-existent. Where the money is going to come from, and when, is anyone’s guess.

The governments taking part in COP27 did reach a decision “to establish new funding arrangements for assisting developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, in responding to loss and damage . . . ”

They will set up a “Transitional Committee” with “a view to operationalizing the funding arrangements.” And they will invite, “international financial institutions to consider, at the 2023 Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, the potential for such institutions to contribute to funding arrangements, including new and innovative approaches, responding to loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change.”

The idea of trusting the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund with “innovative approaches” to funding arrangements is a recipe for disaster.

It sounds to me like an invitation to develop a scheme to ensure that the governments and corporations responsible for the climate crisis will avoid paying reparations to the communities suffering the consequences of the climate crisis — while allowing the fossil fuel industry to continue profiting from pollution.

Governments also agreed that they will hold ministerial consultations before COP28 “to advance consideration and understanding of a possible outcome on this matter.”

The inclusion of loss and damage in the “Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan” is long overdue. But the text agreed on, when translated into English, means nothing more than kicking the can as far down the road as possible.

Carbon trading

COP27 failed to reach an agreement (once again) on the rules for carbon trading under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. In Glasgow, at COP26, governments agreed the general rules for implementing Article 6 and said that the first credits should be issued by the end of 2023.

There are three main parts to Article 6:

Article 6.2 creates the basis for trading carbon credits (or Internally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes — ITMOs — as they are called in the UNFCCC system) between governments;
Article 6.4 sets up the mechanism for trading carbon credits (or Article 6.4 emissions reductions — A6.4 ERs — as they are called in the UNFCCC system) between governments. This mechanism will replace the Clean Development Mechanism — and will be even worse than the CDM because we now have even less time to address the climate crisis than we did when the Kyoto Protocol created the CDM in 1997; and
Article 6.8 covers non-market approaches to addressing the climate crisis. It focusses on international cooperation, finance, technology transfer, and capacity building, without carbon trading. Needless to say, Article 6.8 has been largely sidelined in the UNFCCC negotiations.
Apart from the obvious problem (which isn’t on the UNFCCC’s agenda) that carbon trading does not reduce emissions and is a distraction from the urgent need to leave fossil fuels in the ground, there are several problems still to be resolved with Articles 6.2 and 6.4.

The first problem is deciding what type of operations should be allowed to generate carbon credits. This could include anything from planting trees, avoiding deforestation, improved cookstoves, biofuels, hydropower dams, and carbon-capture machines.

The Wall Street Journal comments that, “It remains unclear whether activities such as planting trees that soak up carbon dioxide would be eligible for the creation of credits representing removals of carbon dioxide.”

The second problem is that the methodologies to be used to quantify exactly how many carbon credits each of these operations might generate are still up in the air. One example of this problem is raised by Gabon’s plans to issue 90 million carbon credits. The Coalition for Rainforest Nations calls these “sovereign carbon credits achieved under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism.”

But as Dirk Nemitz, team leader of the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use unit at the UNFCCC Secretariat, told REDD-Monitor, the Warsaw Framework for REDD+ does not use or define the terms “REDD+ mechanism” or “credits.”

A third problem involves regulating and monitoring this proposed carbon market. As Simon Evans of Carbon Brief notes, “The accounting and reporting machinery around Article 6 carbon trading is almost entirely impenetrable.”

And COP27 managed to take a giant leap in the wrong direction when governments agreed two paragraphs on confidentiality and Article 6. The first paragraph starts as follows: “The participating Party may designate information provided to the Article 6 technical expert review team during the review as confidential.”

Even carbon trading proponents agree that this is a mistake. “This is one of the few substantial things that they agreed on and this is moving in the wrong direction,” Aadith Moorthy, CEO of Boomitra Inc., a US-based soil carbon trading company, told the Wall Street Journal.

One observer told Carbon Brief that, “The confidentiality provisions on [Article] 6.2 are embarrassing. You could drive a space shuttle through that loophole and have plenty of room on all sides.”

Fossil fuels

Fossil fuels finally made an appearance in a UNFCCC agreement at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021. But all the text did was to call on governments to accelerate “efforts towards the . . . phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.” No deadlines. No mechanism for stopping subsidies. And the inclusion of the word “inefficient” makes the statement pretty much meaningless.

One year later, nothing has changed. The same text is simply repeated in the “Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan.”

COP27 agreed that there should be an “increase in low-emission and renewable energy.” That could mean just about anything, including wind and solar energy, nuclear power, coal with carbon capture and storage, or fossil gas. It’s a gift to the fossil fuel industry, in other words.

None of this should come as a surprise given that there were 636 fossil fuel lobbyists at COP27. That’s over 100 more than registered to take part in COP26.

Forests

The Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan “emphasizes” the importance of protecting “forests and other terrestrial and marine ecosystems acting as sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases and by protecting biodiversity, while ensuring social and environmental safeguards.”

This doesn’t represent any progress on anything agreed in Glasgow. The Glasgow Declaration on Forests includes a commitment to “working collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural transformation.”

But the Glasgow Declaration on Forests is just another in a long line of meaningless UN declarations. After signing the Glasgow Declaration, Indonesia’s Minister for Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya announced that “Forcing Indonesia to zero deforestation in 2030 is obviously inappropriate and unfair.”

Since COP26, there have been no meetings of any significance to take the Declaration forward.

In Sharm el-Sheikh, the UK launched a “forest and climate leaders partnership” which is supposed to monitor countries’ pledges under the Glasgow Declaration on Forests. The US and Ghana will co-chair the partnership.

But the governments of Russia, Brazil, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Peru are not part of the partnership. That means that nearly half of the world’s forests are outside the “forest and climate leaders partnership.”

https://climateandcapitalism.com/2022/1 ... -surprise/

More and more we see backlash and non-commitment from most of the world to the 'developed-world's' phony and self-serving "green" initiatives which only serve to placate and blow smoke upon their masses while ensuring that no one except perhaps China is taking effective actions.

Proper response, alleviation and mitigation can only be achieved on a world-wide basis and without profit driven capitalism. This may be the deciding factor in our species's 'success' or 'failure'.

***************

Image

The environment may be the number one issue in the new agenda among progressive South American
Originally published: Brasil de Fato on November 24, 2022 by Lucas Estanislau (more by Brasil de Fato) | (Posted Nov 29, 2022)

The recent victories of progressive candidates in presidential elections in many South American countries have reopened the debate on new regional integration mechanisms. The signs sent by presidents such as Gustavo Petro from Colombia, and Brazil’s recently elected president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Workers’ Party), about the urgency in protecting the Amazon rainforest and fighting climate change indicate that the environmental agenda may be a crucial topic for the bilateral relations between South American governments.

In addition to it, the proposals made by Petro, Lula, and Venezuelan head of state Nicolás Maduro during COP27, which took place in November in Egypt, signed that Venezuela could be part of these environmental efforts since the three leaders agreed upon convening a South American summit with all the countries that have portions of the Amazon rainforest inside their borders.

To Brasil de Fato, Foreign Affairs professor Giorgio Romano, a member of the UFABC Foreign Policy Observatory, stated that the stance adopted by the presidents during the climate conference in Egypt set the tone for the importance that the environmental agenda will hold.

“The environmental agenda will probably be the key issue of the new attempt to integrate South America. However, the axis won’t necessarily be trade, but environmental issues, including those associated with socioeconomics and technology. More than a priority, it’s an opportunity,” he said.

The urgency of the topic may be one of the factors that will boost discussions on environmental preservation in South America. According to data from the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe, in Portuguese), the Amazon deforestation rate increased by 73% in the first three years of President Jair Bolsonaro’s term.

“The world needs leaders in this area [environment preservation] and is seeing in Lula this kind of figure, mainly due to his previous administrations, but also because of the contrast between his and the Bolsonaro government. South America may benefit from it,” Romano stated.

He also highlighted the importance of convening an Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (OTCA, in Portuguese) summit, a proposal supported by Petro, Lula, and Maduro. “There are eight member countries, including Peru, Ecuador, and Suriname. However, Colombia’s participation is fundamental and, of course, by reintegrating Venezuela, it is possible to help normalize relations with the country,” he said.

Reintegrate Venezuela

Excluded from many of the recent regional cooperation initiatives in which its neighboring countries were being headed by right-wing governments, Venezuela sees in the return of progressive presidents the possibility to resume diplomatic prominence in the region and move away from economic and political crisis.

For Romano, the current political frame in South America may benefit Venezuela in its intention to end the US blockade, because “[with Venezuela] integrated into South America, the country might have more bargaining power.” Besides it, he adds, its participation in regional initiatives would make Americans more prone to negotiate.

Joe Biden himself and the Europeans are already getting closer to Venezuela and forgetting about [former deputy Juan] Guaidó. Therefore, the next step might be to withdraw sanctions.

Since the beginning of the year, the US government has already sent a delegation to Venezuela on two occasions to discuss directly with Maduro’s government solutions to a possible resumption of energy supply. It was interrupted by the sanctions Donald Trump imposed on the country in 2019.

During COP27, Maduro met French President Emmanuel Macron and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, which suggests a decrease in tensions between the Latin American country and Europe. These signs from the West to Venezuela come amid a fuel emergency caused by the war in Ukraine. In this context, Venezuelan oil reserves could provide relief for European and US markets.

“But it’s not just about oil,” Romano says. In his opinion,

the US should not fall off the train of history, since today there is an alternative: China. So, if Washington doesn’t recreate a good neighbor policy, the Latin American countries won’t kneel anymore, asking ‘please’.

Romano added he believes Lula’s next government may have a role in the reapproach between Caracas and Washington,

not in front of the cameras, but backstage, talking to the Biden administration about cooperation with South America and discouraging sanctions and divisions.

Venezuela and its energy policy

With the possibility of being reintegrated and considered a crucial part of the advancement in policies to protect the Amazon, Venezuela is optimistic about the environmental agenda being a priority. Besides attending COP27 in person, Maduro had already mentioned the need to talk about the issue during his meeting with Petro in Caracas.

“There is no more time for speeches and laments. There is only one time to act radically and to work primarily towards a better world,” said Maduro during an address in Egypt.

Charles Giuseppi, who heads the environment and climate change session at the Venezuelan Ministry of Petroleum, says the country has to preserve its sovereignty while avoiding commitments that could negatively impact the nation’s energy industries, its primary source of income.

“In addition to our integrationist vocation, we have to consider that each country will have to adjust its environmental policy according to its own strategic needs. From the point of view of the challenges that each government has, they will have to calculate how much they will be able to give in to this pact, knowing that this affects the strategy each State adopts for its own development,” he told Brasil de Fato.

However, Giuseppi sees openings to sign agreements that respect the economic specificities of each country, especially if the talks are held in institutions such as Unasul (Union of South American Nations, in English) and Celac (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, in English).

“There is a need to continue with the alliances formed in the first years of Lula, Néstor [Kirchner], and [Hugo] Chávez, with Celac and Unasur. But now, there is an environmental component. This is a call to action that takes into account the differences between center and periphery, developed and underdeveloped countries that are also oil producers,” he said.

https://mronline.org/2022/11/29/the-env ... -american/

In Malay, Orangutans Means ‘People of the Forest’, but Those Forests Are Disappearing: The Forty-Seventh Newsletter (2022)

NOVEMBER 24, 2022
Español Português Italian

Image
Chéri Samba (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Reorganisation, 2002.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

The dust has settled at the resorts in Sharm el-Shaikh, Egypt, as delegates of countries and corporations leave the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The only advance made in the final agreement was for the creation of a ‘loss and damage fund’ for ‘vulnerable countries’. However, despite being hailed as a breakthrough, the deal is little more than the financing of the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage agreed upon at the COP25 in 2019. It also remains to be seen whether this new financing will in fact be realised. Under previous agreements, such as the Green Climate Fund established at the COP15 in 2009, developed countries promised to provide developing countries $100 billion per year in financing by 2020, but have failed to meet their stated goals. At the conclusion of COP27, the United Nations expressed ‘serious concern’ that those past pledges have ‘not yet been met’. More importantly, the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan notes that a ‘global transformation to a low-carbon economy is expected to require investment of at least $4–6 trillion a year’ – a commitment that is nowhere in sight. The International Energy Agency said that, in 2022, annual global clean energy investment will remain below $1.5 trillion. This is ‘record clean energy spending’, they announced, and yet, it is far below the amounts that are required for a necessary transition.

‘A fund for loss and damage is essential’, said the UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the conclusion of this year’s summit, ‘but it’s not an answer if the climate crisis washes a small island state off the map – or turns an entire African country to desert. The world still needs a giant leap on climate ambition. … The voices of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis must be heard’.

One of those voices is that of the orangutan, the great ape of the Bornean and Sumatran forests that the Malays call the ‘people of the forest’ (in Malay, orang means ‘person’ and hutan means ‘forest’). According to the International Union for Conversation of Nature’s Red List, the Bornean, Sumatran, and Tapanuli orangutans have experienced sharp population declines and are now categorised as critically endangered – the phase preceding extinction in the wild. There are less than 800 Tapanuli orangutans in existence, with the overall population of orangutans falling by almost half in the last century. They are given no voice in our climate debates.

Image
Max Ernst (Germany), The Gray Forest, 1927.

In 2019, the United Nations released a shocking report that showed the near extinction of one million of the world’s eight million animal and plant species, including the loss of 40% of amphibian species and a third of all marine mammals. As part of its findings on biodiversity and ecosystems, the authors wrote that ‘species that are large, grow slowly, are habitat specialists or are carnivores – such as great apes, tropical hardwood trees, sharks, and big cats – are disappearing from many areas’. The situation is bleak, they warned, ‘unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers of biodiversity loss’.

What is driving this biodiversity loss? The report includes a long list in which one word comes up over and over again: deforestation. In a landmark publication, The State of the World’s Forests 2020, the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) noted that an astounding 420 million hectares of forest cover had been lost since 1990, although the rate of deforestation has declined from 16 million hectares per year in the 1990s to a mere 10 million hectares per year between 2015 and 2020. Forests cover about a third of the global land area, over four billion hectares. Half of the forests are relatively intact, while others – notably the rainforests – are in danger of being destroyed.

Image
Lula da Silva with Indigenous leaders (top from left) Célia Xakriabá, Sônia Guajajara, Joênia Wapichana, and Marina Silva, (bottom from left) Txai Suruí and Narubia Werreria at an event at the COP27 summit in Egypt, November 2022. Credit: Ricardo Stuckert.


Just weeks after his re-election, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who will take office as the 39th president of Brazil in January 2023, returned to the global stage at COP27. He arrived along with a number of leaders from Brazil’s indigenous community, including federal deputy for the state of Roraima, Joênia Wapichana, and three newly elected members of Congress: Célia Xakriabá (federal deputy for the state of Minas Gerais), Sônia Guajajara (tipped to head a new Ministry of the Indigenous People), and Marina Silva (Lula’s former environment minister who is likely to resume the position). At the summit, Lula affirmed Brazil’s agreement with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia to set up an ‘OPEC of the rainforests’, made last year at COP26 in Glasgow. More than half of the world’s rainforests are in these three countries, which are rich with resources that have been mined to profit multinational firms at great cost to the environment but have failed to advance the social development goals of their own citizens. ‘It is important for these three countries to strengthen their strategic alliance in order to increase their influence in climate change negotiations at the global level’, said Indonesia’s coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan (Indonesia has sought to create several cartels, including one with Canada for an OPEC-like body of nickel producers).

The scale and speed at which the global rainforest is being pillaged is alarming. In 2021, the world lost 11.1 million hectares of rainforest cover, roughly the size of the island of Cuba. To put it in football terms with the World Cup underway, the world lost 10 football pitches of rainforest per minute. Brazil, under Jair Bolsonaro, witnessed the greatest devastation of any country last year, with 1.5 million hectares lost. These old forests, dense with vegetation and animals, are now gone. ‘We are going to wage a very strong fight against illegal deforestation’, Lula said at COP27.

Image
I. Nyoman Masriadi (Indonesia), Juling (‘Cross-Eyed’), 2005.

Such photo opportunities are important if they genuinely seek to shine a light on the problem of deforestation. However, no such light was shone on the multinational mining companies who have destroyed tropical rainforests around the world. A recent study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America examined the impact of industrial mining on deforestation in tropical regions. Looking at a selection of 26 countries, the researchers found that industrial mining in Indonesia accounted for a staggering 58.2% of the total deforestation in these countries between 2000 to 2019. However, in a concerning move, Indonesia’s government passed a new mining law in 2020 that allows permits for mining to be extended with little or no environmental regulation. ‘When the mining concessions increase’, said Pius Ginting of the NGO Action for Ecology and Emancipation of the People (AEER), ‘it drives deforestation and results in a loss of biodiversity and fragments the habitat [of animals and people]’. Indonesia revoked about two thousand mining permits this year, but this revocation is mostly due to the regularisation of the permit system, not greater regulation for environmental protection. Pressure from people’s movements in Indonesia as well as from the catastrophic impact of the climate and environmental disasters have put the government on notice about its proximity to and intimacy with multinational mining companies.

Image
Made Bayak (Indonesia), reCLAIM-ing our dreams and the future, 2014.

Meanwhile, the question of the orangutan remains unanswered. An academic review of the $1 billion spent on orangutan conservation from 2000 to 2019 found that ‘habitat protection, patrolling, and public outreach had the greatest return on investment for maintaining orangutan populations’. However, these funds have not accomplished much. The key issue of ending deforestation – including halting the expansion of palm oil, pulpwood, and logging plantations in Borneo and Sumatra – is off the table. How much attention will be paid to these matters at the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is to be held in Montreal (Canada) from 7–19 December? Will anyone listen to the voice of the orangutans?

In October, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, told a townhall of civil society organisations in Washington, DC that the IMF ‘is indeed supporting biodiversity. For instance, we have economists that are able to measure the monetary value of an elephant and the value of a whale’. Georgieva’s comments echo an observation made by Karl Marx in volume one of Capital (1867): ‘In England, women are still occasionally used instead of horses for hauling canal boats, because the labour required to produce horses and machines is an accurately known quantity, while that required to maintain the women of the surplus-population is below all calculation’.

What is the monetary value of an orangutan, let alone the survival of the planet? The ruling class might be able to calculate those values, but it is clear that they are unwilling to foot the bill to save the planet.

Warmly,

Vijay

https://thetricontinental.org/newslette ... restation/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

Post Reply