Cross posted with permission of author, Tom Athanasiou, from ecoequity.
Anyone who claims that the fate of the climate talks is bound to the fate of the Occupy movement better expect a bit of skepticism in return. Now, if it were Occupy and the Climate Justice movement, that would be a different story! Both are complex social movements, and both are driving hard for economic justice. Their overlap is inevitable. But the negotiations themselves? What have they to do with economic justice? What have they to do with the great divide between “the 1%” and “the 99%”?
It’s an easy question to ask. Too easy, actually. It’s a question that raises others…
Beyond vague talk about “the most vulnerable countries and people,” few of us are really prepared to approach the climate crisis as a justice problem. So it should be said that it didn’t have to be this way. If justice had long been a major part of environmental politics, we’d be in better shape today. But it hasn’t been, not until recently, and the truth is that Big Green still isn’t really on board with justice environmentalism. In fact, it’s fair to say that today’s progressive enviros are the inheritors of a long tradition, and that it’s not a uniformly admirable one. The climate politics mainline, in particular, has long focused, almost exclusively, on the technical side of the transition problem. Not that there’s any hope without a technology revolution, but must it come packaged with a refusal to understand, let alone confront, the economic divide that’s at the core of the global climate-policy deadlock?
Things are changing now, or at least they could. But the past matters.
Remember Copenhagen? Remember the vitriol of the blame game that followed Copenhagen? Do try, because soon we’re going to see what, if anything, we’ve learned in the two years since that great debacle. As I write this, Durban, South Africa (the next Conference of Parties to the Climate Convention) is coming right up, and it will almost certainly join Copenhagen on the long list of grim, poorly-reported failures to make the international breakthrough that we so badly need. As Durban approaches, and then passes, we’re all going to have to decide what the hell we think is actually going on. (continue reading @ ecoequity)
OCCUPY COP 17–CMP 7! by Willis Eschenbach
Anyone concerned about the huge influence of Wall Street on our lives should definitely be protesting the influence of Wall Street on the upcoming climate conference in Durban, South Africa. Durban is the latest incarnation of the occasional IPCC celebration. I’m not sure what it celebrates, perhaps they are celebrating being given prepaid tickets and receiving a salary plus a per diem to fly halfway round the world to a lovely remote spot to listen to people talk about wasting fossil fuel.
I know I’d celebrate if some one paid me to do that. In any case, the last party was in Cancun, and the party before that in Copenhagen. The hard life of the climate bureaucrat. The web site for the party is here, so you can see what your taxes are paying for.
The “17″ means that this is the seventeenth time they’ve had this party, or as they call it, this “Conference of Parties”. Seventeen. Parties. The majority of the participants will be moving from late fall/early winter to late spring/early summer in Durban. I doubt that there will be many complaints about the warming involved in that change of seasons, despite the fact that it will be more than the dreaded 2°C tipping point of warming..
So what is Wall Street’s take on the Durban CO2 conference? What do the bankers say about the proposed extension of Kyoto? Here’s one man’s take, from Reuters :
“Parties must take the opportunity in Durban to send strong signals to the carbon market regarding their commitment to its continuation and future development,” said Jose Tumkaya, chief operating officer at UK emissions-reduction project developer Ecosecurities, a JP Morgan-owned firm. SOURCE
So we have a carbon offset project developer. Said carbon reduction person makes money from reducing carbon. Banks like money. They bought up the carbon offset project development firm. It is now owned by JP Morgan.
And now, being owned by JP Morgan, and thus being Very Important People (ex officio), they get interviewed by the media to give us their impartial view of the situation:
“Negotiators should be concerned about the historic low carbon prices as they do reflect, to some degree, a lack of confidence in the long-term commitment to existing emission reduction targets, as well as continued uncertainty with regards to a future international agreement,” he said.
Be concerned, be very, very concerned …
Ah, well. The bankers are pleading for the negotiators to come up with something, anything, to keep their Rumplestiltskin machine spinning carbon into money.
So we’ve got the banks against us … gonna be a long fight. This is Wall Street at its worst, looking to keep the carbon hype afloat and pushing to keep those sweet carbon bucks rolling in.
Where are the OCCUPY! folks when we need them? I say bring on the tents and the undercooked bulgur wheat, let’s OCCUPY COP 17–CMP 7 !
The Durban Daily Earthship officially launches next Sunday!
A two-week educational - entertainment community outreach event featuring content sharing (online and real space time) between 350.org, Climate Justice Network, tcktcktck, Post Carbon Institute, ecoequity, WiserEarth, C17, DeSmogBlog, Kelly Rigg of GCCA, Oxfam, Franke James, Transition US ... with more to come.
The Durban Daily will serve as an evolving ezine-type 'primer' , collecting highly contextualized and educational articles geared to educating the general public about the issues. It will be publicized locally through local news media, radio stations and online Patches.
Currently, we are fine-tuning an easily replicable template which can be easily duplicated in your neighborhood. At a community center, a store. A school auditorium or library. Your living room. Please indicate in comments your interest in participating/helping out. We are also looking for volunteers to post a short presser in local media.
• Use online community patches, letters to the editor of local newspapers to inform your community about the climate talks. (a short sample Presser will be published by Monday. (Volunteers needed)
• Kickstart a live local events at local community centers to feature live steams, OneClimate TV shows, Film Nights, Edutainment events, maybe with local guest speakers and small panel discussions.
• Outreach to Middle School, high school & local college students.
• Specific focus on selecting a few days to parallel the theme of key COP17 events -- eg World Ag Day, Oceans Day, Health, Youth. (calendar to be published Monday)
• Key goals of this action include:
1. evaluating WHY and HOW the UNFCCC talks have failed
2. determining how your country has/had not moved the talks forward
3. Identifying indicators of climate change/global warming where YOU live
4. Exploring the growing rift between the developed (rich) countries and the marginalized Small Island Developing States (SDIS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and comparing it to the current global monetary situation.
5. Energizing interest and active involvement in the June 2012 RIO+20.
6. Providing next steps and access to local groups engaged in sustainable development and actions to address climate change.
WarrenS, citisven, and beach-babe-in-fl are working on the launch of this project. And we are looking for more volunteers.
Climate News Bytes
As the Daily Durban reported last week, no surprises with IPCC's release of the SREX report in Kampala:
"For the high emissions scenario, it is likely that the frequency of hot days will increase by a factor of 10 in most regions of the world", said Thomas Stocker, the other Co-chair of Working Group I. “Likewise, heavy precipitation will occur more often, and the wind speed of tropical cyclones will increase while their number will likely remain constant.
Hot days increasing by a factor of ten, if we do nothing to reduce the rate at which we spew carbon pollution into the atmosphere? And more heavy rain and higher winds? Heat waves and hurricanes are the most lethal weather-related hazards in the US over the last decade (2001-2010), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
COP17 Side Event Spotlight: 'Cultural Heritage in Jeopardy - Social Sustainability at Risk'.
International Trusts Organization (INTO) Chairman, Professor Simon Molesworth, will deliver an address explaining the view that core to social sustainability is a universal need to cherish cultural diversity. He will be saying that Climate Change fundamentally jeopardises cultural practices, undermining connectivity with “place” and destabilizing society. He will show that National Trust policies and models help to demonstrate creative approaches to mitigation and adaptation. UN Commissioner,Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and founder of the is also expected to speak. (For further information, visit The Victoria Declaration on Facebook.
Pablo Solón: One Year Since Cancun and Just Days Away from Durban: MORE THAN 4°C
Balance sheet and perspectives on the climate change negotiations (Part I)
Almost a year has gone by since the results of the climate change negotiations in Cancun were imposed with the objection of only Bolivia. It’s time to take stock and see where we are now.
In Cancun, the developed countries listed their greenhouse gas emission reduction pledges for the 2012-2020 period. The United States and Canada said they would reduce emissions by 3% based on 1990 levels, the European Union between 20 and 30%, Japan 25%, and Russia from 15 to 25% . Adding up all the reduction pledges of the developed countries, the total reduction in emissions by 2020 would be 13-17%  based on 1990 levels.
These greenhouse gas emission reduction “pledges,” according to the United Nations Environment Programme , the Stockholm Environment Institute , and even the Executive Secretary of the Climate Change Convention , would lead us to an average increase in global temperature of around 4°C or more. That is double the amount they established in Cancun: a maximum temperature increase of just 2°C.With an increase of 2°C, the number of deaths per year attributed to climate change-related natural disasters, which was 350,000 in 2009 , could skyrocket into the millions. Some 20-30% of animal and plant species would disappear. Many coastal zones and island states would end up below the ocean, and the glaciers in the Andes – which have already been reduced by one third with a temperature rise of just 0.8°C – would disappear entirely.
Can you imagine what would happen with an average global temperature increase of 4°C or more?  (continue reading @ a href="http://pablosolon.wordpress.com/...
">Hoy es Todavía )
With Republicans still gunning for the alternative energy loan program that backed Solyndra, the energy secretary went on the offensive on Thursday, sounding an alarm that America would fall behind other countries—especially China—without more incentives to develop renewable energy industries.
"We are in a fierce global race to capture this market," Energy Secretary Steven Chu told the House committee investigating the $535 million loan to failed solar firm Solyndra.
China, which has vaulted past the West to become the world's largest manufacturer of solar panels, is spending heavily to prevail in the energy-technology race. In the past year and a half it poured $34 billion in solar manufacturing alone and now dominates about half the sector's supply chain, Chu said. (DOE dished out $1.3 billion in loan guarantees to solar panel makers.)
In 2080, will New York City residents take a submarine to work instead of the subway? Will vast irrigation networks be as commonplace in western New York as they are in the western United States? Will once rare catastrophic flooding in the Southern Tier become the norm?
The answer to many of these questions could be yes, according to 19 Cornell scientists who contributed to a historic report released Nov. 16 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
The 600-page ClimAID study was compiled over two years by more than 50 scientists. The comprehensive climate change response analysis predicts climate trends for the next century and assesses their potential impacts in seven geographic regions of New York, in eight areas: water resources, coastal zones, ecosystems, agriculture, energy, transportation, telecommunications and public health.
It concludes that shifting weather patterns are poised to affect everything from food and drinking water quality to the snowpack for winter recreation. (read more @ Cornell Chronicle Online)
Africa and Climate Change: Local News
Ouagadougou — The Burkina Faso government is attempting for the first time to implement a nationwide dry-season agricultural campaign to counteract possible food insecurity in areas that received poor or erratic rainfall this year. But the government, alongside others in the region, also needs to invest in a "blue revolution" - small-scale irrigation systems to help farmers grow crops in drought-prone zones - says the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Some 146 out of 351 communes across 10 of Burkina Faso's 13 regions were affected by low grain outputs, according to the government's provisional estimates. The regions most affected by poor rains were the northern millet-producing zone, the Sahel, the Centre north, the Centre west, the East and the Centre east.
PRETORIA, South Africa, Nov 15, 2011 (IPS) - While Africa has successfully avoided conflict over shared water courses, it will need greater diplomacy to keep the peace as new research warns that climate change will have an effect on food productivity.
"Climate change introduces a new element of uncertainty precisely when governments and donors are starting to have more open discussions about sharing water resources and to consider long-term investments in boosting food production," Alain Vidal, director of the CGIAR’s Challenge Programme on Water and Food (CPWF) told more than 300 delegates attending the Third International Forum on Water and Food being held in Pretoria, South Africa from Nov. 11 to 18. GCIAR unites agricultural research organisations with the donors. (continue reading)