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When it comes to consuming the most energy per capita, we are the leaders.  When it comes to pollution, we ruled them all up until 2007 until China surpassed us.  And I know that many like to point out that India and Russia is gaining as well, which I think is irrelevant to the fact that we have been leading the world in consumption and pollution for decades.

We are the 1%, those of us that live here in the US, we are privileged and shielded from quite a bit of the atrocities and horror that take place around the world.  

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According to World Watch, from 2004.

Meeting the Poor’s Basic Needs

As many as 2.8 billion people on the planet struggle to survive on less than $2 a day, and more than one billion people lack reasonable access to safe drinking water.

The U.N. reports that 825 million people are still undernourished; the average person in the industrial world took in 10 percent more calories daily in 1961 than the average person in the developing world consumes today.

What are the odds this has gone up substantially in the last 7 years?  D you think that globally the world is doing better economically now?  Probably not.

Look at how much oil we use compared to the rest of the world:

Let's start with America's oil consumption, which is 18.8 million barrels per day (MBD), according to the EIA. That usage puts the U.S. atop the list of the world's largest oil consumers by a wide margin. Indeed, U.S. demand is more than that of the next four nations combined: Japan, Russia and rising economic powers China and India:

U.S : 18.8 MBD
China: 8.3
Japan: 4.4
India: 3.1
Russia: 2.7

Who's Pumping What

What countries are the top producers of oil? The answer provides an important context for any discussion of oil supply:

Russia: 9.9 MBD
Saudi Arabia: 9.7
U.S.: 9.1


How is this even remotely sustainable?  How is this even realistic as far as how pathetic our mpg standards have been?  and to imagine the C02 put of by that much use in relation to how many people there actually are in our Country?  I do not have words.

In 2009, according to the World Food Programme, the number of the hungry on the planet hit more than one billion and that number would continue to grow.  And the reason why this number grows so quickly and staggeringly would have nothing to do with our changing climate, would it?

Seven Facts About Climate Change and Hunger

DURBAN -- Experts agree that the world’s poor, women and girls in particular, will bear the brunt of the effects of climate change. As rainfall becomes increasingly unpredictable, smallholder farmers will find it harder than ever to grow the food they need. And if natural disasters become more frequent, it will be the poorest victims that are most exposed to hunger because they have no support structures to protect them.

Here are seven facts about climate and climate change which show how closely intertwined they are with global hunger:

FACT 1. Climate change is expected to add another 10-20 percent to the total number of hungry people by the year 2050.

FACT 2. By 2050 we can expect 24 million more malnourished children as a result of climate change.  Almost half of this increase, 10 million children, will be in sub-Saharan Africa.

FACT 3. Between 1980 and 2006 the number of climate-related disasters has quadrupled.

FACT 4.The number of people affected by climate-related disasters is expected to reach 375 million per year by 2015.

FACT 5. In 2010, climate-related extreme events and disasters affected some 300 million people, most often in countries which have little capacity to cope.

FACT 6. With climate change, two thirds of the arable land in Africa could be lost by 2025, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

FACT 7. By 2030, climate change could push food prices up by 50-90 percent more than they would otherwise be expected to rise, according to a recent report by Oxfam.

We are the 1% because our consumption and our governments refusal to act is going to cause a great deal of harm to a great many people.  And we need to make this an issue we care about and pay attention to or all our talk about giving a shit about the 99% is for naught, it is hot air.

The OWS movement, occupying Congress, we need to remind Congress that being as exceptional as we are, we need to lead the world in doing something, not in doing nothing.

As I type and as the Durban Conference comes to a close, The US is proposing more delays and more "kicking the can down the road".

2020 climate treaty proposal isn’t a delay—it’s a death sentence

The US is proposing we start doing things when scientists say it may already be too late to act.

You read that.  We are undermining talks to the point that we are putting off agreements that could be made without us with the promise we may come to our senses in about ten years when it just may not matter enough by then.

Instead, the only thing the U.S. brought to the table was a wrecking ball. Rather than standing out of the way and letting the rest of the world get on with setting up an international architecture to facilitate cutting emissions, stopping deforestation, and investing in renewable energy, the U.S. has spent the years since Copenhagen attempting to systemically dismantle the U.N. process.


Here in Durban, however, the U.S. has taken on an even more insidious role by pushing a proposal that the international community adopt a "mandate" to negotiate a new climate treaty that will take effect in -- wait for it -- 2020.

This isn’t just a delay, it’s a death sentence. Scientists have stated over and over that in order to avoid catastrophic climate change, emissions must peak by 2015 or 2020 at the absolute latest. (For a closer look at the scientific reasoning, read David Roberts.)

It is especially callous and cold-hearted for the U.S. to be pushing the 2020 timeline here in Durban. Africa is already seeing the devastating impacts of the climate crisis, from the deadly drought still ravaging the Horn of Africa to terrible flooding, including here in Durban where heavy rains killed at least eight people just last week.

But instead of being recognized as yet another delay tactic from the world’s biggest historical emitter, the 2020 timeline seems to be gaining traction here at the talks. Brazil and India have vaguely expressed support, China has made cryptic comments about the proposal, and the European Union has yet to stand up clearly and strongly against the delay. If the talks here in Durban are allowed to simply stumble to the closing gavel, there's a chance that the U.S. proposal could become the new mandate for the U.N. climate talks.

We are the 1% when it comes to global warming, climate change and making any progress in salvaging the environment, species, habitats, agriculture and the inhabitable world for future generations.

We have to get beyond feeling helpless, beyond throwing our hands in the air because it is just not good enough anymore.  Income inequality will not matter much in ten years when we have failed to act on the most important issue facing every single person on the planet.  

We are the 1%, we have a voice that so many others on the planet do not have and as OWS has proven, when channeled properly and used for the right reason and the right issue, we can make a difference.  Imagine that our voices could make the difference for more than just the people of the US, but the 6.7 billion beyond?

PS, excuse the obvious typos, typing with one hand.

Originally posted to Ellinorianne on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 12:49 PM PST.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Climate Hawks, and The Durban Daily.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The climate change deniers (7+ / 0-)

    are killing us. It's disgusting what greed will make people do.

    •  Not just the deniers of change itself... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psychodrew, Ellinorianne, DawnN

      ....but those who deny we must move swiftly and vigorously right away to reduce the impacts. Wait and it will cost us, environmentally and financially a lot more than if we act immediately. Whatever happened to the fierce urgency of now?

      The surest way to predict the future is to invent it. — Stephen Post. [Me at Twitter.]

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 07:05:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is inconvenient to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades

        the fierce urgency of the bottom line for a very few people and the companies they own and their allegiance to the shareholders over the the inhabitants of planet earth.

        My 8-year-old, Charlotte, asked if Herman Cain's tax plan was called, "Mine, mine, mine!"

        by Ellinorianne on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 07:54:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just a syntax issue, but.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ellinorianne, valion

    ....five of the seven "facts about climate change and hunger" are projections, not facts.

    I know it's a trivial little detail, but when you try to persuade the skeptics with information like this, it's best not to provide easy argument fodder.

    •  I am using their verbiage n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      My 8-year-old, Charlotte, asked if Herman Cain's tax plan was called, "Mine, mine, mine!"

      by Ellinorianne on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 01:13:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not just syntax, it's resort to authority (0+ / 0-)


      This conference was a dead man walking from its inception and everybody knew it. Now come the alarmists to lay the body at America's doorstep. A more pathetic example of guilt-tripping is hard to find.

      This piece insults one's intelligence even more by wrapping the bullshit in shiny new OWS symbolism. bah.

  •  Time to increase the gas tax significantly (4+ / 0-)

    and slap a luxury tax on any vehicle that doesn't get 30 mpg, a progressive tax so it gets cost prohibitive down below 20mpg. Sorry, but every Tom, Dick and Harry does not need a pick-up or an SUV...

    Of course, we won't get any of this.

    Really, one or two million people on the Mall for a few months and we would start to get a few of these things...

    What are we waiting for?

    •  Counterproductive (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Do that, and you'll be buried under a tide of election losses, leading to more fracking, Keystone being opened, ANWR being opened, and more drilling in general.

      Oh, and to add insult to injury: repealing of the gas tax in the first place.

      In effect, you'd be scarificing several long term goals for an extremely short term gain.

      "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

      by Whimsical on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 01:45:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What's so short term about Global Warming? (0+ / 0-)

        How are you going to reduce consumption without pricing it as the truly costly, expensive commodity that it is?

        It's time to stop coddling, If you're worried about losing elections and the consequences of Republican legislation, recruit an army to add to the Occupy Movement. Let's get millions on the Mall to put the bootheel on the plutocracy and their pawns now.

        By not doing this and pursuing presumably safer tactical methods short-term, you are eliminating ANY significant measures to minimize Global Warming.

        •  You're not going to reduce consumption. (0+ / 0-)

          Especially through artificial price hikes (i.e. gas taxes)- that's sort of my point.  Raising the price of gas through massively increasing the gas tax (which is HIGHLY regressive, yet another reason to be against it) will cost you elections, and the people put in power in the elections you lose will open the throttle as wide as it can go on drilling, while at the same time repealing the tax you put in place.

          You're not going to get people to join your cause by making them pay more for their gas, or demanding that they lower their standard of living by using significantly less energy.  All that's going to do is piss them off and close them off to anything else you have to say.

          Now, you'll get some reduction in consumption through energy efficency, and some through common sense conservation.

          But you'll get the most people to join your cause when you can tell them "Here's how to maintain your lifestyle, using just as much energy as before, in ways that don't kill the planet, or your wallet.".

          Science is the ONLY way we're going to solve this problem.  And the more time we waste farting around with meaningless treaties and market manipulation (which WILL backfire, mark my words) the less time we're spending coming up with solutions that actually stand a chance in hell of working: Carbon scrubbing, mitigation, and alternative energy sources.

          "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

          by Whimsical on Fri Dec 09, 2011 at 06:05:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm cynical. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Ellinorianne, VClib

    I don't think we'll get the political will to look at climate change until Bad Stuff happens.

    By "Bad Stuff" I mean highly visible problems that can't be denied or ignored. An ice-free Arctic Ocean. Low-lying cities underwater.

    I expect the next century to be...challenging.

    •  That Won't Matter One Bit. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ellinorianne, ManhattanMan, bluesheep

      The Bad Stuff has to happen to the policy drivers and that means the owners of big dirty energy.

      This is something that is effectively impossible now that we've globalized the economy. There is so much wealth at the top, and so much income coming so fast, that the ecology cannot collapse too hard and too fast for their wealth to buy protection for themselves and their circles.

      This is why some of us have been screaming for 35 years or so about removing the personal tax and other barriers to rapid top wealth accumulation.

      We have restored the historic rule of our nation and the world by people who are immune to the consequences of their decisions.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 01:34:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Live In A Rural Area (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ellinorianne, ManhattanMan

      and some here would argue bad stuff is already happening. My district isn't close to liberal. Southern IL. We voted for McCain at almost 58%. Come with me to a small pub and talk to farmers, I have, and they'll tell you global warming is a reality. Yell at you about it.

      I joke I listen to two groups on global warming: (1) folks with PhDs ad (2) those that work the Earth with their hands.

      Both think global warming is a reality ............

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 01:39:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  MM - bingo (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Until people start seeing NYC building dikes to keep out rising sea levels nothing will happen in the US. There just isn't the political support for it. As others in this thread have mentioned pushing hard will push us backward. We will face significant voter backlash is we significantly raise the price of fossil fuels, electricity rates, or constrain consumer choices. Many Americans believe we have a God given right to cheap energy and to consume as much of it as we can afford.  

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 07:32:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We Don't Have a System of Government With the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ellinorianne, Whimsical

    power to take the required actions at the required pace within the required time frame.

    It is absolutely, positively impossible to do this politically.

    If it's to be done at all, it has to be done another way.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 01:35:42 PM PST

  •  A related post on costs of our carbon addiction (5+ / 0-)

    Gasoline made from the tar sands gives a Toyota Prius the same impact on climate as a Hummer using gasoline made from oil. ~ Al Gore

    by Lefty Coaster on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 01:46:05 PM PST

  •  excellent post (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ellinorianne, bluesheep, DawnN

    I think one of the biggest issues with the US is the horrendously wasteful infrastructure. When you look at the numbers where 5% of the world's population consumes over 20% of its oil you'd think Americans would all be swimming in luxury. One issue of course is the perverse concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, but the other issue is that a lot of Americans who you'd consider to be far from well-off are still consuming an insane amount of energy and resources because of inefficiency and bad planning. All cheap fast foods and long commutes and poorly insulated homes are sucking up so much energy and resources for so little return. It's really a sin, with just a little bit smarter planning and policies we could save so much energy and at the same time raise the standard of living. But it's not happening because too many corporations are profiting off this inefficiency and waste.

    The problem comes down to our current form of capitalism which is designed to put short term profit over long term sustainability. What we need is more corporation based on the model of a Benefit Corporation, an exciting new law that has already been instituted in Vermont and New Jersey and is coming to California in January. I also think that this is the kind of thing that the OWS movement should get behind, it really is the solution to so many problems, focusing on a triple bottom line rather than short term profits.

    •  citisven - thanks for the link (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ellinorianne, DawnN

      I am going to go back and read the site more carefully, but it's a great idea. My guess is that you need legislation so that within a state that has approved the concept the officers and directors of a "Benefit Corporation" would not be subject to the fiduciary duty rules that are part of Delaware law (home to half the US public companies) and most other states. Indiana's general corporate governance laws have some of the features of the Benefit Corporation concept and I have always thought that if we could find a way to have Delaware pass the Indiana format we could have a lot more thoughtful decisions by public company management and boards. The Delaware fiduciary duty rules are very constraining and require you to view decisions only through the eyes of the shareholders.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 07:42:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  outstanding diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ellinorianne, DawnN

    I wish I could rec this again and again.

    This is such an important message!!!

    Okay, climbing on the soapbox now...

    I've spent the past 15 years in Germany, and energy consumption and pollution are the biggest culture shock factors when I visit home.

    Sadly, I still get laughed at by family and friends for giving up my car, keeping close tabs on standby elec. consumption, taking advantage of natural heating and cooling (sunlight and shade!) and "indoctrinating" my kids.

    They're all Dems, and I love them, but they really seem only to care about their immediate comfort and convenience. When I talk about how liberating it is to not have to worry about icy streets and the price of gas they (except for the Manhattan dwellers) roll their eyes.

    And those are just some of the folks on "our side".

    It's like I'm from another planet. I wish I were, because then I could keep mine clean and invite everyone over who feels the same way. As it is I'm very much from the same planet and they are helping to ruin it for all of us.

    I think that must be what it feels like to ride shotgun with a drunk alcoholic who is totally in denial that he's addicted or even drunk. Scary.

    Off soapbox now.

    Thank you so much for this post!

    Maybe just maybe our foremothers and our forefathers came to this land in different ships. But we're all in the same boat now. - John Lewis

    by bluesheep on Thu Dec 08, 2011 at 02:49:22 PM PST

  •   Great work! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Here's alink to Occupy COP17's open mic to the negotiators

  •  24 hours to save our planet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    sign the avaazpetition NOW and tweet out.

  •  Time Travel for farmers -- ag tools (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Tool helps farmers anticipate their future climate

    DURBAN] Marginalised farmers in the developing world may soon be able to 'see' into the future through a tool that will help them adapt to climate change by simulating how their crop production will be affected 20 years from now.

    The open access tool, called 'climate analogues', was presented on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa, on Saturday (3 December).

    The analogues are sites with similar climates or other factors, such as crops, soils or socio-economic characteristics. The tool locates sites where the climate today is similar to that predicted for another location in the future, enabling farmers and policymakers to determine how to adapt to such climates in the future.

  •  Big emerging nations call for Kyoto extension (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    In their first joint press conference of this instalment of the climate talks, Brazil, South Africa, India and China said on Tuesday they wanted a second commitment period to the 14-year-old Kyoto Protocol.

    The first commitment period, which concludes at the end of next year, requires certain developed countries to cut emissions. Developing and vulnerable nations want these countries to sign on to a second commitment period, and others to sign up for binding targets as well.

    Chinese lead negotiator Xie Zhenhua also dismissed talk of rifts within the group, known collectively as Basic and as the largest emerging-economy emitters.

    But each member of the group had slightly different demands. Asia News


    News from official UNFCCC site w/links to documents, etc.

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