14 December 2014

And With That, Lima, We're Through

* Click here for an update. A happyish update.

What's the word for what happened in Lima at the COP20 climate change conference over the last two weeks? Besides ZERO, I mean. Nothing, nada, nichts. Nothing was accomplished. Absolutely sweet $#@! all. But what's the word to describe hundreds of countries and thousands of people getting together to solve the climate crisis and ACCOMPLISHING NOTHING? 
Despicable? Obscene? Callous? Negligent? Criminal? Suicidal? Ecocidal? Progenycidal, for sure. 
When I was out yesterday, I heard people talking about the French Revolution. The guillotine. Aristocratic heads rolling. People getting sick and tired of the oligarchy having their way with the planet. Why are the rich not afraid of an uprising? 

Not one gawddamn blessed thing that is actually going to safeguard the future was agreed to. Not one! I'm sure they would disagree, with their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions and their Multilateral Assessments and their Adaptation Knowledge Initiative and their Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions and their Nazca Climate Action Portal (no, not NASCAR). But not a single one of those, well, whatever-they-are, gets us even heading in the direction of zero carbon, which is where we need to be by mid-century (with our emissions declining by the end of 2015 ... not sort of waiting until 2020 to even get started sort of thinking about slowing our emissions). I didn't hear any talk at all of adopting the IPCC's best-case scenario, RCP2.6! [Update: There is no mention of it in the draft agreement, although the spirit of it seems to have been included.]

Here's a short history of global action talk on climate change:

  • UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC)
  • Kyoto Protocol
  • Bali Roadmap
  • Poznan, um, nothing?
  • Copenhagen Accord
  • Cancun Agreements
  • Durban Outcomes (and the Durban Platform for Advanced Action)
  • Doha Climate Gateway
  • Warsaw Outcomes (Come on, Poland! "Outcomes" again -- can't you be more creative?) (p.s. Turns out they also offered the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage Associated with Climate Change Impacts)
  • Lima Call for Climate Action

I've had respect until today for the UNFCCC and its difficult task and the daunting process of bringing nearly 200 nations to consensus. But each year, it's more of the same old nothing. New names (ahem, Poland) for the same old empty promises. Now I'm convinced that this whole thing has been a charade, a farce played out to appease us -- no doubt so that we won't rise up!

You can read the pile of bollocks here: http://newsroom.unfccc.int/lima/lima-call-for-climate-action-puts-world-on-track-to-paris-2015/

So, I'm through. I'm finished. Over and out. If the fossil fuel corporations and the fossil-fooled governments of the world so badly want to extinguish most life on the planet, who am I to get in their way and try to ram a stick in their wheels? I mean, those poor rich bastards don't have all the money yet, so how can people like me even think of asking them to stop this deadly global game before they're through? The Burning Age truly is over, but it seems world leaders need to be burned before they'll admit it and embrace the Golden Age of Perpetual Energy.
Meanwhile, I think I'm going to focus on teaching children how to grow their own food, build their own soil, collect their own rainwater, and generate their own energy. I'm not saying that's going to be easy -- there are still lots of parents and teachers in my culture who don't recognize the threat that climate disruption poses to their children's food security. But at least I'll be doing something, and not just "talking" here with you every Sunday morning, achieving nothing (though I've enjoyed "meeting" some of you along the way).
This blog started out as a compendium of compassionate climate actions in countdown to the climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009. That COP15 finished off a lot of climate change activists. High hopes were dashed to smithereens. 

Many of us re-emerged a few months later and we've been slightly reinvigorated over the last few years (no thanks to the COPs but to sharing in a global civil society movement, and more recently, thanks to CAN International and to the IPCC's Really Cool Plan 2.6, which gave us some small remaining hope in hell of surviving this). 

But I, for one, have lost much of the resilience I came into this fight with. I don't want to hang around waiting for the utter disillusionment and anguish that the Paris COP21 seems likely to produce. My puny efforts won't make any difference anyway. (I can imagine how all the small island states must feel.) 
So picture me in the garden with the children at my school! Sowing, tending, harvesting in our six little beds. Building bat boxes and pruning raspberry canes. Playing Photosynthesis Relay and sitting quietly writing garden poetry or creating garden art. Baking pizzas we've made from scratch in the outdoor cob oven we built ourselves. 
Below is my parting gift for you. If the uprising happens (and not just in my pizza dough), I'll be there in a flash! Till then, take care.

p.s. Here's my favourite thing I've posted: 0 Days to Copenhagen - The Power of One (+ 3,741,952 Others) 

Rise Up
by The Parachute Club

Rise up, rise up
Rise up, rise up 
Rise up, rise up, rise up
Rise up, rise up
The spirit's time has come
Woman's time has come
Spirit's time ....

We want lovin' we want laughter again
We want heartbeat
We want madness to end, we want dancin'
We want to run in the streets
We want freedom to live in this peace
We want power, we want to make it okay
Want to be singin' at the end of the day
Children to breathe a new life
We want freedom to love who we please

(Rise up, rise up) Oh, rise and show your power
(Rise up, rise up) Everybody is dancing to the sun
(Rise up, rise up) It's time for celebration
(Rise up, rise up) The spirit's time has come

Talkin' 'bout the right time to be workin' for peace
Wantin' all the tensions in the world to ease
We want to love, run wild in the streets
We want to be free, we want to be free

Talkin' about a new way
Talkin' about changing our names
Talkin' about building the land of our dreams
This tightrope's got to learn how to bend
We're makin' new plans
We're gonna start it again

Rise up, rise up
Rise up, rise up 
Rise up, rise up
Rise up, rise up, rise up
Spirit's time has come 
Spirit's time has come

(Rise up rise up) Oh, rise and show your power
(Rise up rise up) Ah, dance into the sun
(Rise up rise up) It's time for celebration
(Rise up rise up) The spirit's time has come
Woman's time has come
Spirit's time has come

Rise up
 (Rise up)
Time for you and me 
You gotta be happy
Rise up 


  1. Hello, thanks for your comment on my blog (re physicists and chemists and denialism); your observation has also been made by Nancy Oreskes, if I recall correctly.

    I think we may have exchanged messages in the past?

    I agree Lima was absolutely nothing to get excited about. I am getting my hope these days from (working in) the fossil fuel divestment movement. Compassion, sure, but with a firm sense of justice.

    Have a lovely day :)

  2. Thanks for writing, Lepage. Yes, I have been observing this phenomenon for many years -- most of the denier "scientists" are those who are furthest from the life sciences (with mathematicians thinking they're at the top, sitting smugly "up there" with their computer models while making fun of field scientists who are collecting actual evidence of how bad things are). The ecologists and biologists, who understand how life works, are considered to be "lower" in the scientific hierarchy and hence they won't speak up on behalf of Life itself because they feel inferior and don't want to be mocked, say, via Twitter at a scientific meeting at the Royal Society.

    Hmmm, I wonder if there can be compassion without justice. Interesting thought! But yes, we have to do what we can, where we can, as well as we can.

    A friend sent me this: Rabbi Tarfon taught: “You are not obligated to complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it.” Although I won't be writing my blog anymore, I'm not "desisting from the task," just going to enjoy the world a bit more as I regroup.


I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?