imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Tell the NSA: StopWatching.US

Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network: www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - json version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles
link:

Why UN Climate Agreements Fail

by Shamus Cooke Wednesday, Dec. 05, 2012 at 6:18 AM
portland@workerscompass.org

History will undoubtedly deliver the harshest condemnations of the UN climate talks currently underway in Doha, Qatar. But the conference was laughable before it began; the inept “goals” of the talks stand in tragic-comic opposition to what we already know about climate change — that the climate has already changed in profound ways and its trajectory spells doom for civilization if drastic, coordinated steps are not taken in the immediate future.

For example, the Doha talks began with a shocking dose of reality: the World Meteorological Organization reported to the UN conference that an area of Arctic sea ice bigger than the United States melted in the past year, a rate faster than the most pessimistic scientists imagined only a couple years ago.

This profound news didn’t manage to get on the front page of any mainstream newspapers or websites in the United States; it was safely tucked away in the back pages, if it was reported at all.

The politicians at the UN climate talks thought the news equally unimpressive; they continued on their previously agreed route of doing absolutely nothing of substance, unmoved from their mutual suicide pact of inaction.

The Associated Press summarized the World Meteorological Organization’s report to the UN:

… the Arctic ice melt was one of a myriad of extreme and record-breaking weather events to hit the planet in 2012. Droughts devastated nearly two-thirds of the United States as well as western Russia and southern Europe. Floods swamped west Africa and heat waves left much of the Northern Hemisphere sweltering.

One could also mention Hurricane Sandy, or the ever-increasing ferocity of U.S. wildfires, or the quickly rising acidification of the ocean, not to mention the alarming rise of atmospheric methane levels — a stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide — due to the arctic warming.

A thousand other global examples could easily be given.

We now know that many of these catastrophic weather patterns are due to warmer climates; warm air holds more water than cold air, equaling more droughts for arid climates, and stronger storms and flooding for non-arid climates.

Armed with this knowledge, the Obama administration was once again challenged to join the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty that aims at collective reduction of greenhouse gasses (itself already sadly inadequate to address climate realities). Like Bush before him, Obama has placed the United States as the biggest barrier to climate progress internationally.

The Associated Press continues:

A pact [the Kyoto Protocol] that once incorporated all industrialized countries except the United States would now include only the European Union, Australia and several smaller countries which together account for less than 15 per cent of global emissions. And the United States is refusing to offer any bolder commitments to cut its emissions beyond a non-binding pledge to reduce emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

Thus, the most influential country in the world and largest historic contributor to the current levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere will only “commit” to a “non-binding pledge” to reduce greenhouse gasses below levels that will have absolutely no effect on climate change.

Instead of waging a massive campaign to educate the U.S. public about the truly giant investments needed to re-structure the U.S. economy to produce large-scale renewable energy, there is no conversation at all. Not a peep.

Even the once grandiose scheme of free-market capitalism curing the climate disease via investments in green technology has all but ceased. The big profits that rich investors were to make with green technology — while saving the world in the process — have collapsed. Forbes Magazine explains:

If you need any more evidence how green tech has fallen out of favor with venture capitalists, look no further than the latest data…Overall this year, venture [capitalist] investing in clean tech is on track to drop to the same level as 2009…The Cleantech numbers show how venture capitalists have gotten clobbered in solar and have all but pulled out.

Obama thought that the green venture capitalists needed just a nudge of government support to get the green profits flowing, so he included billions of giveaways to them in his latest stimulus plan.

But ultimately he proved in painful fashion the limits of a market-based approach to addressing climate change, with the most famous example being the solar panel maker Solyndra, which, after two years of receiving the stimulus money, filed for bankruptcy, taking $500 million in taxpayer stimulus money with it.

Instead of these invaluable clean technologies being utilized in a massively planned infrastructural apparatus to replace the fossil fuel industry, they are treated like isolated companies trying to turn a profit amid the international market; if they are out-competed by a foreign company, they go bust and simply shut down.

Obama is using the same mentality at the United Nation’s climate talks. He thinks not in terms of how different nations can unite in a planned fashion to fight the already-changed climate, but thinks instead of the United States as a giant corporation fighting competitors abroad. This quip from the New York Times perfectly explains the outlook of U.S. politicians towards international climate treaties:

…the American political system is not ready to agree to a [climate] treaty that would force the United States, over time, to accept profound changes in its energy [coal, oil, shale gas], transport [trucking, airline, and shipping industries] and manufacturing [corporate] sectors.

Obama isn’t stupid. It’s not that he “just doesn’t get it.” Quite the contrary, he’s acting in a very cunning fashion on behalf of his principal backers: the banks and corporations—the very wealthy who he feels strongest allegiance to.

It’s become undeniably clear that U.S. government inaction on climate change is directly linked to the “special interests” of corporations that dominate the government. It’s due time that those concerned about our climate draw a similar conclusion.

Our environmental crisis is not caused by some abstract notion of growth that humans in general just can’t seem to shake. Capitalistic style growth, however, is built into the system at the ground floor; nothing is produced under capitalism (in the private sector) unless a profit (growth) results; capitalists who don’t get a return on their investments (growth) lose their money. This is the holy shrine of growth that cannot be surgically removed from the capitalistic body; the body itself was born ill.

Thus, if renewable energy is not as profitable as oil — and it isn’t — then the majority of capitalist investing will continue to go towards destroying the planet. It really is that simple. Even the best-intentioned capitalists do not throw their money away on non-growth investments.

Countless environmentalists have tried to solve the climate issue while keeping capitalism in place, since this is the only “practical” solution. But this approach has failed as the climate has dramatically worsened. It’s becoming increasingly obvious to a growing number of people that our economic system itself cannot be reformed to save our environment, regardless of the incentives or other schemes to make it so.

In fact, capitalism internationally has declared war against the public sector — via massive privatization schemes — that destroy what little regulation existed, while environmental agencies are de-funded and run by anti-environment bureaucrats. Capitalism seems to be screaming out its inability to change, except for the worse.

This is also why the Doha climate talks have “less ambitious” goals than the Copenhagen conference before it; we are going in the wrong direction at the same speed that the climate is worsening. There is a direct connection between the reverse direction of the climate talks and the scramble for oil and other raw materials that is leading to war at an alarming rate. Capitalism is in crisis and needs all available resources funneled into the private sector to re-boost profits, to the detriment of the environment.

Addressing climate change will take a monumental — largely unprofitable — effort. The climate talks are indeed going backwards as international competition for markets and raw materials meets in a crescendo, leading to an increasing amount of regional wars.

Ultimately, climate activists must come face to face with political and corporate power. Corporate-owned governments are the ones with the power to adequately address the climate change issue, and they will not be swayed by good science or even a flooded planet.

Those in power only respond to power, and the only power capable of displacing corporate power is when people unite and act collectively, as was done in Egypt, Tunisia, and is still developing throughout Europe. Replacing our destructive economic system with one not profit-based is the first real step in combating climate change. All other roads lead to a scorched planet.
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
"we already know about climate change" sure do Wednesday, Dec. 05, 2012 at 6:26 AM

Local News

New Zine on Activist Collective Living A29 9:19AM

LA Fields Two Marches Against Police Executions Photoset 2 of 2 A21 9:09PM

LA Fields Two Marches Against Police Executions Photoset 1of 2 A21 7:01PM

Running Down the Walls 2014 A20 8:48PM

Weaving the Past: Journey of Discovery Extends Exclusive Engagement A19 3:37PM

Los Angeles Declares “Hands Up!” in Peaceful Protest of LAPD Murder of Ezell Ford A18 4:09AM

Ezell Ford and Ferguson Solidarity A17 6:35PM

Family and Supporters of #Justice4Fords Protest LAPD Execution of Ezell Ford in South L.A. A17 2:49PM

Southern California Swarms to Save the Bees in Solidarity with Honey Bee Day Around the Gl A17 5:30AM

L.A Supports August 2nd International Gaza Protest Photoset 4 A05 7:03PM

L.A Supports August 2nd International Gaza Protest Photoset 3 A05 6:45PM

More about KPFK via Pacifica turmoils A05 6:29PM

L.A Supports August 2nd International Gaza Protest Photoset 2 A05 6:23PM

L.A Supports August 2nd International Gaza Protest Photoset 1 A05 11:36AM

Demonstration in Support of Persecuted Christians Saturday A02 10:40AM

Water in California - info proliferated now is dubious J28 5:04PM

Pacifica clearly endangered. Reposting info here: J28 2:34PM

Video: Occupy Love (2013), 1 hr 19 min J28 4:43AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Koran 47:4 Beheads US Journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff S02 1:03PM

United Nations Small Islands Conference Fails to Address Major Debt and Tax Crisis S02 12:49PM

Israel Breaches Gaza Ceasefire Agreement S02 11:48AM

Ohio Gov Kasich Promoting Killer "Vaccine" Which Destroys Teen Ovaries S02 9:40AM

Castro Compares NATO to Nazis S02 6:26AM

Free Trade Agreement TTIP Endangers Democracy S02 5:15AM

Elizabeth Warren: Hold the Cheers S01 2:25PM

Feds report Terrorist Attacks on the U.S. Mexican Border from Galveston to San Diego Immin S01 12:56PM

Anti-blackracism in the U.S. S01 12:10PM

Organized Labor in America Today S01 10:47AM

Youth for Human Rights makes an impact at the Back to School Event S01 10:13AM

ISIS is not Islam! S01 9:22AM

Wealth as a Problem S01 5:40AM

Israel's Latest Land Grab S01 3:36AM

Russia's Foreign Mnistry on Ukraine A31 12:27PM

Hard Truths on Ukraine MSM Suppress A31 6:31AM

Despite growth in the Philippines, labor underscores systemic failure in rising inequality A30 7:39PM

Selling NATO's Killing Machine A30 2:03PM

Ravaging and Destroying Syria A30 10:38AM

Anarchist reportback from Ferguson A30 8:41AM

Irresponsibly Challenging Russia A30 6:14AM

Flashback to 2013: Obama: "I am ready to bomb Syria" A29 2:37PM

Al Sharpton 170 lb. wt. loss as Vegan A29 2:19PM

Fact-Checking Obama A29 2:17PM

Pepsi Burning Animals Alive In Going Back To Sugar A29 1:06PM

Ninos Perdidos del Sur A29 10:54AM

Banks and Investors Challenge Predatory Funds Solutions Fall Short of Comprehensive Prot A29 10:33AM

Are some activists star children and now indigo adults? A29 7:51AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy