Tuesday, December 15, 2009

350 into 7 Won’t Go

If you’ve been following Amy Goodman from Copenhagen, you know that the U.S., Great Britain and Denmark, the host country, drafted a non-binding agreement to be submitted for approval as the final document of the conference on climate change.

Three highly developed countries concocted a document that would essentially put the onus for limiting green house gases on the developing countries.  Adding insult to injurt, where experts estimate that the developing world would need about 500 billion dollars a year to leapfrog dirty energy and build green economies, the Small Three (small at heart) offer.....7 billion.

One has to wonder whether these people really believe in climate change, or whether their superior lifestyles lead them to believe that somehow it won’t affect them.

The evidence is that it will affect the developing countries much more seriously than the developed world, but how do these leaders expect to cope with the desperation of, say, one fifth (a conservative estimate) of humanity, that will inevitably spill over into the rich enclaves?

Judging by the indignation, the anger, the determination not to go down without a fight expressed by the thousands of participants in the counter-conference in Copenhagen, the Big Three’s gesture evokes the oblivion of Marie Antoinette, who suggested that if French peasants couldn’t afford cake, they should eat bread.

The guillotine to which she was led, still not comprehending, would be a useful icon for the threat posed by global warming: more meaningful, perhaps, than a ticking clock.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Plan C of Plan B

Plan C of Plan B

I must apologize to my readers for not posting blogs more often: it’s not the inspiration that’s lacking, but time, as I prepare to offer a select number of my black and white 1964 Cuba pictures for sale as high quality, numbered, signed prints.  I’m also “tweaking” one of the chapters of my memoir so that can appear as a stand alone article, entitled “The Loneliness of American Exceptionalism”.

Well, now on to plans B and C.  If you’ve been watching Amy Goodman’s daily broadcasts from the climate conference in Copenhagen, you know that two days ago the U.S., Britain and Denmark were discovered to have crafted a final, non-binding document that essentially expects the developing world to bear the brunt of climate mitigation.  That document is known as Plan B, and maybe it will be torn to shreds by the delegates from the Group of 77 (which includes over a hundred countries by now), thanks in part to the presence in Copenhagen not only of protesters from all over the world, but of an organized shadow conference.

What I find interesting are the little-known projects that undoubtedly lie behind Plan B.  First, there are NASA programs intended to eventually allow colonization in space, perhaps on Mars, where the presence of water has recently been confirmed.  The reason why so much money is being invested in these costly explorations is climate change: there has to be another place for humans to go when earth become uninhabitable.  (Google this if you think I’m delirious.)

If you wonder why Britain would once again follow the United States, at a time when high-ranking military and intelligence officials are testifying to the abysmal way it got into the war in Iraq, it’s because the second issue is population growth.  Recently a major British think-tank, the Optimum Population Trust, proposed the adoption of zero net migration: that immigration be limited to the number of persons leaving Britain in a given year.  Such a program could be expected to cut Britain’s projected 2081 population from 85 billion to 57 billion.

I don’t yet know whether the developing countries see the British idea as state intervention in favor of a Malthusian effort to limit their populations, but you can be sure it will feed into reactions in Copenhagen.  As for Denmark, one has to wonder what the back story is. It probably has something to do with a very small country’s worries about unsustainable population growth.  But the Dane’s role as host country must be making some of its largely progressive citizens uneasy.