imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
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 - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

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

Chris Ballew beat up by Pasadena police J05 5:01PM

Retired LAPD Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey explains how the LAPD's Board of Rights hearings work J05 3:40PM

An Ex-Cop Talks About Police Shootings J05 3:39PM

Do Nukes Kill? J02 4:40PM

Letter: Support Proportional Representation for the California State Legislature J01 1:23PM

Community Rallies in Santa Barbara in Solidarity with Inmate Firefighters D22 9:59PM

LAWSUIT ALLEGING FEDERAL VOTING RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN KERN COUNTY D22 8:56PM

The Video ICE Wishes Was Never Made Public D22 8:39PM

Mitchell Englander going after homeless people D18 5:24PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” with Voice Artist Rob Paulsen, Sat., Jan. 20 in Santa Clarita D18 4:30PM

The Eagle Rock Peace Vigil Marks 15 Years N27 11:23AM

12/2-3 LA Binational Conference To Cancel NAFTA and Unite Workers Of Mexico and the US N27 3:44AM

Winter 2017 National Immigrant Solidarity Network Monthly News Alert! N26 9:22PM

Nuclear Shutdown News November 2017 N26 4:23PM

Report Back on November 18th Counter Demonstration Against Anti-Muslim March N20 10:57AM

Report Back on November 18th Counter Demonstration Against Anti-Muslim March N19 7:12PM

National US Gov as wellas EPA slow to act on Abandoned uranium Mines Cleanup in Southwest N15 10:50AM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Comedy Fundraiser N14 10:47AM

BUSTED: Watch LAPD cops plant drugs in black suspect’s wallet – unaware body cams were on N10 5:32PM

lapd shootings 1998 - 2015 N06 11:21PM

“Oh Say Can You See” How the LAPD Singing the National Anthem Cost the Dodgers WS Game 7? N03 7:30AM

Car drives into immigration protesters outside Rep. Ed Royce's office in Brea N02 2:06PM

PACIFICA RADIO BOARD SECRETLY OK'S BANKRUPTCY FILING & SEEKS NY SIGNAL SWAP O25 4:49PM

LAUSD, Privatization, Charters And The Fight To Defend Public Education Education Conferen O04 12:10PM

Afghan Women Read RAWA.org founded 1977 S27 9:42PM

[France] The State Attacks Indymedia-Grenoble and Indymedia-Nantes… Solidarity! S25 5:18PM

Segregation in the City of Angels: A 1939 Map of Housing Inequality in L.A. A15 7:44PM

Justice Dept. seeking info, IDs on 1.3M visitors to protest website DisruptJ20.org A15 1:04PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Tax Reform in the US: Trump's Attack on America J18 4:05AM

Paraphysique du No Future J18 2:14AM

Is Economic Speculation a Form of Structural Violence? J16 6:07AM

De Malik Oussekine à Rémi Fraisse, éréthisme policier J16 5:01AM

Epilogue: Pakistan on the chopping block in 2018? Zahir Ebrahim | Project Humanbeingsfirst J15 3:16PM

Friends J14 4:13PM

Pro domo J13 9:06PM

Part 3: Honduras Coup Repeat Update 15 December 2017 to 31 December 2017 J13 4:26AM

Paraphysique du fait divers J12 6:20PM

Brazil wants true justice for Lula! J12 4:14PM

Trilogy Exposing Crimes by fbi et al J11 8:22PM

The Shortwave Report 01/12/18 Listen Globally! J11 4:33PM

The Trump Election J11 4:43AM

Advocates for Terror: Why Ahed Tamimi and Her Family are No Heroes J10 9:47PM

Trial Starts for Woman with Erb’s Palsy Punched in Face Repeatedly by LAPD Officers J10 1:38PM

Dear District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Prosecute Killer Cops, Signed: Your Constituents J09 10:09PM

Free Fire Battlegrounds Diamond Cheats J09 3:44PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” with Voice Artist Rob Paulsen, Sat., Feb. 3 at the Tilles Center J09 11:41AM

BDS Palestine Movement J09 8:07AM

Rotule doublement cassée, ouverte, joyeux anniversaire J09 12:21AM

Anosognosie généralisée du capital J08 12:42AM

Great solidarity action today J06 10:22PM

How a Supreme Court Ruling Could Embolden Police Retaliation Against Political Speech J05 3:37PM

Baltimore Students Offer Solutions to Stop Police Brutality J05 3:35PM

Judge Orrick on Sanctuary Cities, 28 pp J05 1:12PM

The Perfect Totalitarian Rule: Orwell J05 3:55AM

The Shortwave Report 01/05/18 Listen Globally! J04 4:59PM

2 Alabama Hospitals as well as State of Mississippi file class action suit vs. opatecomp J02 7:17PM

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