26 December 2010

Economic Solutions to Climate Change — A Boxing Day Round-up

Boxing Day. December 26. The day after Christmas. Day of consumer frenzy. It's as good a time as any to look back on the year and summarize all the great economic solutions we've suggested that no one has implemented — yet. So, grab a vegan eggnog, sit back, and replace those post-Christmas blues with some post-Cancun we-still-haven't-done-a-freaking-thing-about-climate-change blues.

There are lots of common sense ideas for fixing our economic system that no government has had the audacity to take on. For example:
1. Let's end subsidies to fossil fuels and the meat industry. Wham! Huge impact, practically overnight. Every parent and teacher knows ... if you keep rewarding negative, inappropriate behaviour, that behaviour will continue. Let's extinguish the two greatest causes of greenhouse gas emissions by not rewarding them anymore with subsidies.

2. We need to start subsidizing perpetual (renewable minus biofuels [no more burning] = perpetual) energy technologies. Rewarding good behaviour is one way to ensure it continues. (And since governments will be saving billions by no longer subsidizing the oil, gas, coal and livestock industries, why not re-invest that money where it will do some good?) Wham! The very next day, investment in green industries sky rockets!

3. We have got to start taxing carbon. Period. Wham! Overnight change in our relationship to carbon-based fuels and lifestyles. And none of this lily-livered 2¢ per litre of gasoline. A tax on carbon has got to hurt. (Remember, we have to stop rewarding destructive behaviours.)

4. We have to change the corporate charter. Let's just make it illegal (around the globe and across the board, to ensure a level playing field) for companies to externalize social and environmental costs. Period. Wham! Huge difference practically overnight. The law would be simple: Pay social and environmental costs before determining your profits. You'd better believe that shareholders would force companies to pay attention to lessening these costs.

5. Let's outlaw grotesquely, obscenely, insultingly huge incomes. Really, has the world become a better place as the wealth of the top seven richest people in the world has reached around $250 billion? No. As the rich get richer, the future looks bleaker. So, let's threaten to cap incomes and Wham! that would bring back tithing, charity and compassion in a hurry. You know, make them cool again. Bill Gates has made a good start ... but he's not even the richest guy in the world anymore.

6. It's time for a Global Green Fund. All the money we churn into militarism needs to be churned into a global fund for helping the most climate-change-vulnerable nations. After all, we're all in this together (the atmosphere knows no borders), and any coming wars will be climate/water/food security related — and held at bay by financial compassion on the part of those nations who are hit by climate catastrophe last.
Anyway, there's a few talking points for your New Year's Eve party this Friday night. The more we talk about these things, the more we turn them into possibilities!

Talk to you next in 2011. Here's hoping for a new year filled with compassionate climate change solutions!

20 December 2010

Climate Change Extravaganza!

EXTRAVAGANZA: from the Italian stravaganza, meaning extravagance.
1. a musical or dramatic composition or production, as comic opera or musical comedy, marked by a loose structure, a frivolous theme, and elaborate costuming and staging.
2. any lavish or opulent show, event, assemblage, etc.

I attended a Christmas Extravaganza last night with my hubby (who protested the whole time, but secretly enjoyed the tribute to Motown) and three friends. My friend, Shelley, when they started singing White Christmas, whispered in my ear, "We should do a climate change extravaganza!"

So, the seed is planted. I am now searching (so please send them in!) for songs, dances, stories and jokes about climate change that we can work into a vaudevillian show. Can you picture it?
  • I'm Having Nightmares of a Green Christmas
  • Stop! In the Name of Life
  • I'm Singin' in the Cyclone, Just Singin' in the Cyclone
  • Don't Worry, Be Hungry
  • Tsunami Safari
Okay, I've got it started. I'll need you to contribute your ideas. Auditions for the singers, dancers and musicians will begin in July. Anyone want to contribute their skills in choreography and musical arrangement?

Folks, the Cancun climate talks proved that the whole international climate scene is a complete and absolute farce. Why not carry on the theme?

By this time next week, another Christmas season will be over. Life, at least in the Western part of the northern hemisphere, will quiet down for a few weeks (til the next opportunity for a consumer orgy — Valentine's Day). What better time to put together our Climate Change Extravaganza? I'll look forward to hearing from you.

12 December 2010

Cancun Rhetoric ... Kiss the Future Goodbye


Did you know that if this were a blog about recipes or crafts, I'd receive sometimes up to 70 or more responses after each post? But because it's about the future of life on Earth, I hardly ever hear from anyone?

Mind you, with the denialists trolling around out there, I'm pleased that they either haven't found this blog or can't argue with compassion. I've never heard from a single one! (Although there was that one guy who called me an ecoweenie — for caring — on his own blog ... does he count? ;-)

That said (can you tell I've been searching for recipes and craft ideas this past week?), let me give you my take on the results of the Cancun climate conference, which ended early yesterday — from the perspective of climate compassion.

It's simple. For some weird-ass reason, almost all the negotiators, heads of state and NGOs thought that "saving the process" is more important than saving the world and protecting the children. They're all patting themselves on the back for "saving the process." (And again promising more money to developing nations* and again deciding that they'll save the world next year** and again concurring on halting deforestation*** and again realizing that the industrialized nations ought to reduce their emissions and again agreeing that, ooh, we really should peak our carbon emissions soon — but not yet.)

Only Bolivia had the cojones (if Sarah Palin can use the term, so can I) to stand against the Cancun Agreements. "Responsibly, we cannot go along with a situation that my President has termed 'ecocide and genocide'," said Pablo Solon, Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations. Of course, Bolivia is losing the source of drinking water and irrigation for its capital city, La Paz — due to global warming. So they might know a thing or two more than your average-idiot must-continue-burning-fossil-fuels-at-all-costs head of state when it comes to the climate change emergency.

There are lots and lots of reasons NOT to celebrate this agreement. (Bless them, Friends of the Earth, through Asad Rehman, said, "The emissions cuts on the table could still lead to a global temperature increase of up to five degrees, which would be catastrophic for hundreds of millions of the world's poorest people." It was Greenpeace's Wendel Trio who said, "Cancun may have saved the process but it has not yet saved the climate." And Kate Blagojevic, of World Development Movement, said, "A year after the Copenhagen Accord little has changed, and 300,000 more people have died from climate change-related impacts. Another year will pass where more lives will be ruined by climate change.")

Here's the scariest for me (you know, besides the entrenchment of the 2ºC warming target and other future-killing agreements like that).

Until now, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change process has been based on achieving 100 percent consensus — which is why the United States has been able to delay, delay, delay global action. Until now. Now, it's okay to ignore Bolivia's disagreement with the proposal. Now, it's okay to bang the gavel (because all the big boys were on board) and simply ignore a country that is already being impacted by one of the scariest of climate change impacts.

So, on the list of the 194 or so countries at the table, where is the line drawn? Above this line, if they disagree, there's no consensus and back to the drawing board. But below this line, well, that nation doesn't count much so @!#& 'em. Where has that line been drawn? Translation: We, the people, have no power. Zero. Zip. Naught. Nada. Nichts. None whatsoever.

If the Cancun Agreements signal "progress," then we can kiss the future goodbye.

* The multi-billion dollar Green Fund promised to help developing nations fight climate change doesn't have to start for another year (it's been a commitment in the UNFCCC text since 1992), and it's to be run by the World Bank. He he, that's a funny one.

** When time is of the essence and the climate change emergency is already impacting the most climate-change-vulnerable populations (a preview of what will befall us all soon), why do negotiators keep putting off doing anything real and really effective until the next Conference of the Parties (in Durban, South Africa next year)? Why? No, really, why?

*** REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation + replanting, etc.) has been fought by indigenous peoples around the world. Why did they have no say in these agreements? Not only that, but their top spokesperson, Tom Goldtooth, was denied access to the talks, escorted away by security for being critical of the process. And this is "success," is it? Bah, humbug.

05 December 2010

Guest Post - Letter to Leading Climate Criminal, Senator James Inhofe

Today, I would like to share a guest post from, as he describes himself, a one-man climate injustice campaign: http://www.climatecrimeshumanity.com/about.html. No mincing of words here!
4 December 2010
Letter Sent to Leading Global Climate Criminal Senator Inhofe
Attention: James M. Inhofe
US Senator Oklahoma
453 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-3603

Senator, today I read the text of your videotaped message to your climate denial co-conspirators who are attending the UN Cancun climate conference with respect to the failure of the conference.

I write to urge you to cease and desist your most deadly campaign of sabotage to greenhouse gas emissions control measures and to the work of all those who are trying to prevent the global warming, climate change and ocean acidification catastrophe to planet Earth.

You have the audacity to state that you "couldn’t be happier that nothing is going to happen in Cancun this year." You urge your treasonous co-conspirators to "Keep up the good work — and for those of you in Cancún this week, stay strong, take no prisoners, and enjoy the party!"

Celebrating your terrible "success," you state, "I was right and they were wrong" — meaning those who, having a conscience and a sense of human morality, have been working for climate change control legislation in the United States and internationally. You have the most perverted sense of right and wrong. You claim to be a devout Christian. God will surely judge the evil of your deeds by the destructive desecration of His Creation.

What you call your "success" in effectively sabotaging the international negotiations for the prevention of global climate catastrophe makes you a leading contender for Public Enemy Number One in America and the world and for all time.

You must know that your successful campaign has the world committed to a temperature increase above 2.0ºC which means worldwide climate catastrophe.

You may be deluded by your apparent megalomania into believing that America is invulnerable to global climate change. If so, on this you are dead wrong. The latest climate crop models show that the great American agricultural breadbasket of the world will be hit hard by global warming and climate disruption.

Your home state of Oklahoma, which you are supposed to represent in government, is right in the middle of computer-model-projected regional heat waves and droughts and so will suffer devastating agricultural and economic losses — at temperature increases that the world is on track for within the next 25 years. On track for thanks to your work.

Additionally, if as most scientists believe, the Arctic summer sea ice is in irreversible melt down, the loss of its cooling influence to the entire northern hemisphere will further devastate American crops. Americans will then experience famine along with those billions of people who are today recognized as the most climate change vulnerable.

This statement of yours to the Cancun climate conference will surely stand as your own record of your own guilt in this worst crime against humanity.

Language has not been invented to adequately describe the enormity of this crime. The crime surpasses all the crimes of all the worst tyrants and terrorists in human history all rolled together. The successful sabotaging of the US greenhouse gas emissions control policy and international negotiations for global climate change mitigation policy condemns billions of the most climate change vulnerable and climate change innocent human beings to a horrible death from global warming and climate disruption, depleting their already meagre food supplies and already stressed water security compounded by the multiplication of tropical and infectious diseases — which after malnutrition is the second greatest cause of the already high premature death rates to these economically oppressed and deprived populations.

Not surprisingly, being recognized as congress’s most outspoken skeptic on climate change, you are now gloating at what you describe as the "success" of the conspiracy to sabotage to international attempts to control global greenhouse gas emissions.

You were speaking to Americans for Prosperity, a group partly financed by the oil industry that opposes government action on climate change and that has sponsored many Tea Party groups.

In your message you urge your troops to take the attack against climate change mitigation to counter the US EPA greenhouse gas regulations.

Intoxicated by your psychopathic success you openly admit your guilt in leading this greatest crime against humanity.

Please, please, for God's sake, reflect on the inevitable terrible result of how you are abusing your powers, and use your considerable skills and influence in securing a future for America and the world by the conversion of the fossil fuel energy economy (which has no future however it is looked at), with the safe, clean, zero-carbon, everlasting world energy economy that is the only future that America and humanity has.
Here's the scary part. Inhofe says all these things with a straight face, like he's proud of himself. Ignorance (though I suspect he's more paid off than ignorant) is a dangerous — and in his case, deadly — thing. I pity the poor Oklahomans, and all Americans who believe that money is more important than life.