Bert Olivier
Bert Olivier

Copenhagen: The irresponsibility of world leaders

So much for dubbing Copenhagen Hopenhagen at the recent UN world climate change conference — judging by the lukewarm “accord” that was finally “accepted”, the hope was disappointed. Just how serious this failure to arrive at a strong, international, legally binding agreement really is, is difficult to over-emphasise.

What it demonstrates is the accuracy of the lesson that Foucault teaches one as far as power is concerned, namely that ethics always comes too late for power. The world leaders who assembled there, were evidently more interested in securing and maintaining their own political positions (especially in relation to the big corporations on whom they depend for various kinds of funding) than to take a firm stance on the urgency of curbing greenhouse gas emissions (let alone other pollutant sources of environmental degradation), in this way paving the way for a catastrophic rise in planetary temperatures above the level that scientists regard as being the “safe limit”.

In the process, they have failed the people of this planet, despite the fact that, in tandem with the conference, there were so many protests and organised, networked attempts to persuade these so-called leaders of the world’s nations — especially the so-called “superpowers” — to do the responsible thing, that they could not possibly have failed to notice.

The saddening thing implicit in the agreement that was reached, is that political leaders are still more interested in the economic status quo than in the unavoidable truth staring many people in the face, that the very fate of the planet is in the balance. What else can one infer from the weak, un-enforceable stipulation in the agreement, that there be only a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, instead of the desirable 80%, as previously posited by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its 2007 assessment report, and discarding the previously mooted mid-term emission-reduction goals altogether? Or from the fact that there was a lot of emphasis on the funds to be given to developing nations for helping them cope with the effects of climate change?

This sounds too much like throwing money at the symptom (to assuage those developing — including African — nations that stand to suffer most under the impact of changing climatic conditions) rather than using it for the urgent development of fundamentally different, environmentally friendly technology and an alternative kind of agriculture, that does not use more kilojoules of energy for the production of food than there is in the food itself. (This is one of the astonishing facts that is presented in the film, A Farm for the Future.)

Besides, what would economic “growth” matter when climatic conditions have changed so much that “normal” economic activities have themselves become problematic? And what does the human economy matter when the encompassing planetary “economy” — in the sense of the earth’s macro-ecology, which includes human economies as subsystems — is thrown severely out of kilter? World leaders — especially Barack Obama of the United States — should take note of what American Thomas Princen, one of the leading ecological thinkers in the world, says about what he calls “The logic of sufficiency”, something he advocates as an alternative to the logic of (unnecessary) “growth”, and which could potentially offer a remedy to the economic excesses which are largely responsible for the ongoing ecological degradation on the planet.

To illustrate what he has in mind, Princen focuses on several exemplary instances of groups of people who practice “the logic of sufficiency”, including a logging company and the people living on the Toronto Islands, who have steadfastly refused — despite being regarded as a bunch of loonies by people on the mainland — to allow consumerism to take root on the islands, preferring a life of “slowness” and fulfilling social interaction to the acceleration of time which is inseparable from a consumer lifestyle. These people have preferred to live according to basic needs that are not dictated by the economic logic of superfluous growth, with its manufacturing of artificial needs, such as always having to own the latest cellphone or car. Needless to say, if this way of living were to be more widely adopted, it would have a noticeable effect on the de-acceleration of ecological degradation.

The aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans, which has still not recovered — economically, socially, educationally — from the hyper storm’s devastating effects, is a salutary reminder of the kind of weather-conditions we are likely to face far more frequently if every country in the world (especially the developed economies) does not implement enforceable (economic) legislation in the near future to cut down carbon emissions drastically. Besides, the human species, being an inventive lot, legislation of this kind is bound to stimulate such inventiveness for the construction of alternative means of production (as it already has, judging by the series of environmentally friendly inventions featured in Time magazine’s Heroes of the Environment issues).

Katrina has been described as a super-storm which exceeded the properties of most hurricanes of its kind, but one does not have to go that far afield to discern the emergence of abnormal meteorological phenomena. Already there are symptomatic indications of a change in weather-patterns and conditions locally, too. During the storm that hit Port Elizabeth a few months ago, causing widespread destruction — including major damage to the yachts anchored in the harbour — winds of up to 180km/h were recorded, according to a yachting friend of mine. This is highly unusual for Port Elizabeth, to say the least.

Unfortunately, even if the Copenhagen conference had resulted in a much stronger, legally binding accord, there would still have been no guarantee that all countries would have tried to abide by it. The notorious refusal of the United States under George Bush to honour (or even become a signatory to) the Kyoto Protocol demonstrates what I mentioned at the outset, namely that power always has priority over ethics — if a person, or a nation, is powerful enough to cock a snoot at the rest of the world and get away with it, what is there to stop it?

Hence, I would argue that it is not internationally “binding” agreements that one should be looking for. What is devoutly to be wished for, is a calibre of leader(s) who would show the kind of leadership that would put the earth’s interests first, for a change, because this is the only thing that would put the interests of the earth’s creatures first, too, including those of humans.

  • Clean Air

    Good point about calibre of leaders, however our leaders and governments are nothing but a reflection of the collective consciousness of the nation.

    One concerned climate scientist said before Copenhagen that the best thing would be for it to fail as any binding agreements coming out of it would have been insufficient anyway. He believes the momentum is building and in a years time the world will be ready to cobble out meaningful agreements.

    The other side of the coin is “Each year in which we don’t reach an adequate global climate deal is probably costing on the order of fifty million extra premature deaths between now and the end of the century, but that’s just the current tariff. By 2015 the annual cost in lives of further delay will be going up steeply. Time is not on our side.”
    http://www.straight.com/article-276143/vancouver/gwynne-dyer-aftermath-copenhagen

  • Beanie

    “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing” Andurhati Roy.

  • Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for Thought Leader » Bert Olivier » Copenhagen: The irresponsibility of world leaders [thoughtleader.co.za] on Topsy.com()

  • Judith

    And out of control fires here, in Australia and the US also show that nature is tired of us and our excesses. We now have to act as concerned citizens and start the changes in our own lives. Demonstrate that another way is possible and create the change we want that forces governments to change. Only people change not governments

  • Jon

    Princen’s right with his “sufficiency” as opposed to “growth”. Economists call it “satisficing” — where an entrepreneur decides NOT to open his doors on the weekend, because he/she ranks family time above the extra profit gained. They’ll voluntarily elect to position themselves well back from the production possibility curve, a la Princen’s dictum.

    But it’s a personal decision. Others of a rather more ambitious and industrious bent might prefer to be open all hours 24/7 and retire at age 40. Or to make the Forbes 500 rich-list. Or to send their children to Eton, Harrow, Harvard or Oxford.

    And it’s here where outside observers — philosophers, sociologists, politicians or just Joe Blow in the street outside — judge their respective personal decisions: is the closed-on-weekends satisficer a good man or a lazy man? Is the open-all-hours aspirant billionaire a good man or a greedy man?

    Observers merely judge this through their own, ideologically-synchronous ethical lenses. The greenie and/or socialist says “satisficer good, billionaire bad”. The capitalist says the converse.

    But, stripped of all the high-falutin cerebration, it all distils down to that very simple Orwellian dichotomy: this is good and that is bad.

    Your good can be my bad, or vice versa.

  • Dave Harris

    Its really strange that no mention is made of the MAIN reason the Copenhagen summit turned out the way it did – CHINA!!!
    This live blog by Jonathan Watts – Copenhagen summit: “China’s quiet satisfaction at tough tactics and goalless draw” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/20/copenhagen-climate-summit-china-reaction) provides a more realistic view of how things actually played out at the summit.

    This article is another in a series of blogs aimed at stereotyping black government and black leaders like Obama as irresponsible, ineffective and corrupt. Ag sies man!

  • Hard Rain

    Nope, the deal is that the Kyoto Protocol is saved – which is what all the fuss was really about. That safeguards the carbon market and opens the way for it to expand to the $2-trillion level by the year 2020. Against that, even €100 billion is chump-change – you can buy countries with that sort of money.

    Their deal in place, the kleptocrats and the Corporatocracy can go away happy and plan how to spend all their ill-gotten gains, leaving the leaders to grandstand, make their deals, shake hands and strut through their photo-sessions before jetting off in olumes of “carbon” to be greeted as saviours by their underwhelmed peoples.

    As for saving the planet, well no-one really believes that greenie stuff anyway … except the greenies, and they don’t matter. There is plenty of pepper spray left and no shortage of temporary detention space. Now that the money men have got what they came for, all the rest is theatre.

  • Billy Fletcher

    Cutting human “greenhouse” gases will make no noticeable difference to the climate. CO2 is only 0.04% of the atmosphere. Of the greenhouse gases water makes up 95% and CO2 5%. Of this 5% only 5% is due to human activity – the rest is purely natural. Also more than half of this small amount is due to purely existing, eating and breathing.

    The present is not the warmest time in recorded history. 1000 years ago in the Medieval Warm Period Greenland was farmed and grapes were grown in England. We are therefore not in an abnormal period.

    The recent PE gale was reminiscent of the GREAT GALE of 1869 – again not common but not abnormal.

    Hurricane Katrina – the main damage was due to the failure of the levees due to cuts in the maintenance budget by the Democrats.

    Enjoy the warm Interglacial while you can.

  • Beanie

    @Dave Harris

    RE: “Its really strange that no mention is made of the MAIN reason the Copenhagen summit turned out the way it did – CHINA!!!”

    According to Gwynne Dyer:

    “The reason no deal was possible is that public opinion in the developed countries is still in denial about the fact that the final climate deal must be asymmetrical. Until the general public grasps that, especially in the United States, there will be no real progress.”
    ………………………………………
    “Until Americans start to take climate change seriously, Obama will not be able to move. It is politically impossible for the Chinese to make concrete commitments until the Americans do.”
    http://www.straight.com/article-276143/vancouver/gwynne-dyer-aftermath-copenhagen

    Gwynne Dyer’s latest book, Climate Wars, was published recently in Canada by Random House and Vintage

  • Green Dude

    @Hard Rain

    The Kyoto Protocol has resulted in a net increase in emissions.

    350 reasons carbon trading won’t work:
    http://www.350reasons.org/350_reasons_list.html

  • Billy Hill

    The outcome was exactly what the US of A wanted. Obama’s remark that there was no binding legal obligation to the “agreement” that was reached signals “mission accomplished” for corporate America.

  • Boet Botha

    @Billy Fletcher

    I don’t know where you been the last ten years but here is an excellent article “Climate Change Myths” at
    http://one-blue-marble.com/climate-change-myths.html

    Enjoy.

    8)

  • Dave Harris

    @Beanie
    Now what is this supposed to mean? A simple regurgitation of Gwynne Dyer suggests a laziness on your part to think for yourself. Let me spell it out for you:
    1. Gwynne Dyer comes from a country, Canada whose primary source of revenue is…….OIL AND NATURAL GAS. Get it?
    2. There are hundreds of anti-American writers out there who derive much of their livelihood by linking all of the evils of the world to the US. After Bush, I can’t say I blame them. Anyway, Dyer’s fringe views caused his columns to be expelled from most newspapers in the late nineties so now he resorts to peddling his book “Climate Wars” – another abysmal failure!

  • X Cepting

    I suppose if you live in a war-torn country dodging bullets pretty soon becomes natural too. If we get our nutrition in the form of pills we can cram a coupla billion more people onto the planet as well. No more steak, sigh. Perhaps the silly greenies are concerned not just with life in general but the quality thereof as well. When last has anyone been silly enough to lie on a beach and catch a tan? Spend a whole day next to the beach? Scientists? What do they know anyway? If we don’t know what they do we can deny the facts and make a mockery of their warnings. Even if they are proved right as in the case of Vance Packard who warned against flagrant consumerism and its effects. Ridiculed into oblivion. Inconvenient facts should get the scorn it deserves, it is just not economically viable to give it credit.

  • brent

    Whilst Bill/Al were running the US the Senate voted 95-0 to reject any treaty/agreement that did not include all nations, developed or ‘under developed’. So all Bush did was enact US law when he rejected Kyoto.

    “What a grim and revealing irony that it was the Medieval Warm Period – which Al Gore and the IPCC have sought to purge from natural history – that gave birth to some of the most glorious chapters in human intellectual and artistic achievement!”

    You ‘non deniers/flat earthers’, please explain why so much effort and tricky/dodgy scientific effort is put into washing out the medieval warm period. Better to factor it into all the “science” being used to scare us and thus explaining the situation it to all us tax paying non scientests??

    As the wisdom goes when something is baffeling and an explanation is requirred – just follow the money.

    Brent

  • Bert

    It strikes me that most of the comments above reflect a misunderstanding of my main point, in so far as they list some or other reason why the Copenhagen conference failed (China, Corporatocracy, etc.). My argument is precisely that, as long as these considerations are allowed to be the motivation for avoiding the real issue, namely the ecologically deleterious state of the planet, which is driving climate change, things will worsen. And my criterion for assessing world leaders (not only Obama, Dave – read properly!) negatively in this respect, is that none of them has shown the mettle to cut through the crap, as it were, and face the real issue courageously. All of them are beholden to someone or some group.
    X Cepting – wonderful use of irony – I hope it is not lost on most people!

  • Brandon

    I am glad that no real legal-binding consensus was reached. How on earth can we implement global policy, resulting in the taxation of carbon emissions when there has still not been a consensus reached on whether anthropogenic global warming actually contributes (even at any effective rate) to climate change? It’s absolutely insane tying down current, and future generations to such a decision when there is still no conclusive proof thereof. I praise the U.S. for taking the lead at a summit that was clearly resulting in a fruitless exercise in setting “goals” in reducing such emissions rather than any form of global binding agreement at such an early stage in the scientific research on what is still by and large a controversial inconclusive area of research.

  • Jon

    The main point is that it’s really not good enough to quote support for your own point of view by reciting screeds of names of famous philosophers or authors.

    It’s that YOUR point of view (and mine too) comes from us looking at the factual evidence through our own preferred pair of distorting lenses.

    We end up seeing pretty much what we want to see and filtering out that which we do not want to see. And we end up judging the outcomes by what we are ideologically pre-programmed to want and expect.

    It’s time to examine our own distorting lenses before pontificating on the vista we describe for the edification of others.

    Check your own spectacles poised right on the bridge of your very own nose before checking out the horizon and then smugly claiming that it conforms with what your favourite thinkers have written.

  • Beanie

    @Dave Harris

    RE; “Gwynne Dyer comes from a country, Canada whose primary source of revenue is…….OIL AND NATURAL GAS.”

    1) Gwynne Dwyer is a London based journalist and London is in Britain (the United Kingdom) not Canada.

    2) Dwyer’s weekly columns appear in over 70 mainstream newspapers around the world, and his views are definately not ‘fringe’. Informed yes, fringe no.

    I have read a number of his books over the years and will be buying a copy of his latest book as soon as I can.

    He is really cutting edge with a finger on the pulse but I doubt that would interest you.

  • Perry Curling-Hope

    Bert,
    Your ‘point’ is predicated entirely upon the assumed acceptance of Global Warming orthodoxy.
    Science is a method, in which theory is subject to continuous reevaluation by experiment; else it is not science, which has no connection to the derivation (divination?) of ‘truth’ by ‘consensus’.

    The acceptance or rejection of the above assertion is in fact irrelevant (in the light of the Copenhagen conference being a purely political forum) for the following reasons:

    Anyone who understands anything about energy will understand that an 80% cut in ‘emissions’ constitutes a virtual shutdown of our industrial civilization.

    No developing country with significant and remotely accessible fossil reserves will agree to leave the stuff in the ground.
    Wherever fossil reserves are to be found, they will be drilled, mined, pumped, crushed and sold to a ready market regardless of what politicians decide; the hydrocarbon bonds are just too valuable as energy and industrial feedstock.

    The United States will not agree to ‘carbon caps’ which actually cut ‘emissions’ as such would constitute political suicide.
    ‘Cap and Trade’ is a scheme to sell permission to ‘emit’ (i.e. to live affluently relative to pre industrial society) and by such sale, transfer more private wealth to state control, which has been a de facto goal of every government.

    Those who advocate termination of industry no doubt see themselves as the elite (‘alternative’ energy czars?) in the new order, not amongst the mass of plebs shoveling dung by hand down on the local state run collective ‘Ecofarm’.

  • The Real Old Fossil

    @Perry Curling-Hope

    Remember how we thought the ox-cart was hi-tech, those were good old days. Who would have thought young Henry Ford would come along with that new fangled frigging petrol driven Model T Ford. Damn ‘elitist alternative energy czar’ that Henry Ford.

    Now you are worried about renewable energy closing down the fossil fuel industry. I understand how you feel but don’t let progress get in the way your dogma and happy memories.

    :-) 😉

  • Borris the Beast

    Sorry all, ha, ha, … – in the light of some of the above comments I could not help but smirk when I saw this report:

    “IPCC Chief: Climate Change Deniers
    on Overtime to Impede Action” – IPCC Chief
    Rajendra Pachauri predicts lobbying will intensify to impede progress to agreement on binding treaty in Mexico City
    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/01/04-9

    Enjoy!

    8)

  • Perry Curling-Hope

    The Real Old Fossil

    “Now {I’m} worried about renewable energy closing down the fossil fuel industry.”???

    Not likely, nor do you seem to have understood my comment.

    Why do you suppose the Copenhagen conference sought ‘binding’ agreements from governments to (forcibly) curb the fossil fuel industry, and were ‘disappointed’ when such mandates were not secured?

    All the economically viable fossil reserves on our planet will be exploited at the optimum rate regardless; the only question is how much tax governments are going to extort for the privilege of so doing.

    Yes, the planet will one day run entirely on renewable energy again, as was the case for almost the entire duration of human history.
    I’ve no problem with renewable energy, I have a problem with politicians and their assorted hangers on who want to force me to support their cronies and buy their stuff

  • Socrates

    @Dave Harris

    No matter how carefully you try and disguise your tracks, right now you are pushing the American right wing think tank and fossil fuel industry propaganda line that China caused Copenhagen to fail. No wonder you are discrediting a respected author/journalist like Gwynne Dyer who cuts straight through all that nonsense. Currently the oil industry just love Obama for being too weak to provide strong leadership on mandatory emissions reduction and will do all in their power to make sure Mexico fails later this year as well.

    The real battle is only just beginning – watch this space!

  • The Real Old Fossil

    @Perry Curling-Hope

    Whether there were binding agreements on CO2 emissions from Copenhagen or not politicians/governments will extort as much tax as they can out of you.

    Government is nothing more than a legitimate Mafia. You pay tax (protection money) for their protection in the form of police and military services, if you don’t pay their taxes (extortion money) you get punished, just like the Mafia.

    Why would would a binding agreement on reduceing CO2 emissions change taxation? We already pay exhorbitant taxes on petrol, new motor vehicles, imported goods, cigarettes, alchohol, VAT etc, to name few items.

    Why should millions of people die and be displaced by climate change so the fossil fuel industry can exhort exorbitant profits out us as they always have?

    Binding agreements in Mexico later this year are critical unless you advocate genocide, “Each year in which we don’t reach an adequate global climate deal is probably costing on the order of fifty million extra premature deaths between now and the end of the century.”
    http://www.straight.com/article-276143/vancouver/gwynne-dyer-aftermath-copenhagen

    After the ‘Battle in Seattle’ then the ‘Battle in Copenhagen’ the ‘Battle in Mexcio’ is going to be the Mother of all Battles.

    POWER TO THE PEOPLE – LETS TALK AGAIN AFTER MEXICO ABOUT YOU BELIEF THAT – “All the economically viable fossil reserves on our planet will be exploited at the optimum rate regardless”

    See you in Mexico.

  • Perry Curling-Hope

    The Real Old Fossil.

    Couldn’t agree more with your first two comment sentences 
    Governments don’t only look after themselves most handsomely with our money, they dish out generous breaks to their corporate cronies, whether these cronies are involved in ‘sustainable’ enterprise or not.

    “Why would a binding agreement on reduceing (sic) CO2 emissions change taxation”??? (Huh?)

    What do you think ‘carbon taxes’ and ‘emission permits’ are?
    Who do you think is going to end up paying those taxes and paying for ‘permits’, and who do you think sells the permission and ends up with the money?

    Yes “We already pay exhorbitant (sic) taxes on petrol…etc”, why not a whole lot more, built into the cost of EVERYTHING we buy at the behest of U.N. career politicians?

    South Africa derives 94% of its electricity (40,000MW) and 38% of its transport fuels from its coal, we all know what havoc even a modest interruption in supply did to our economic welfare.
    We derive 10MW ‘nameplate’ capacity at a realized 15% output or 150KW (0.0037%)‘wind’ electricity at an installed cost of R95million.

    Do you really believe with our growing developmental needs, we are going to leave the stuff in the ground?

    If government agrees to pay some U.N. bureaucrats for ‘permission’ to derive our energy, constituting a large part of the cost of everything, taxes and tariff increases will simply be passed on to us so as not to undermine the international competitiveness of our exports.

  • Wise Old Joe

    After the Second World War there were the Nuremberg Trials, the first and best known of these trials was the Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT), which tried 22 of the most important captured leaders of Nazi Germany.

    What is going to happen to those governemnt leaders who did nothing to stop climate change?

    I mean climate change is going to kill far more people than Hitler ever did.

    Lets have some answers, this needs to be debated.

  • The Real Old Fossil

    @Perry Curling-Hope

    I think ‘carbon taxes’ and ‘emission permits’ are the best thing I ever heard of. Imagine how much money could be pumped into renewable energy projects!

    ‘Carbon taxes’ and ‘emission permits’ are a must unless we are going to have millions and millions of people displaced or dying from climate change, what an excellent idea.

    Any government leaders that use fossil fuel reserves and contribute to climate change should be tried on the same basis as Nazi war criminals were after WW2, especially as there are better alternatives.

    1) Renewable Energy Creates Jobs
    200,000+ High-Tech Jobs From Growing Renewable Energy Market http://www.commondreams.org/news2003/0729-03.htm

    2) UN: Tackling Climate Change Will Boost – Not Destroy – Jobs
    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2008/09/25-0

    3) Obama’s Green Jobs Revolution

    Barack Obama is promising a $150bn “Apollo project” to bring jobs and energy security to the US through a new alternative energy economy
    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2008/11/03-8

    Why don’t you buy a solar panel and wind turbine, then generate your own electricity for your electric car and other energy needs, thereby by-passing government taxes on fossil fuels as well as carbon taxes, then sell your excess electricity back to Eskom and show them what metal Perry Curling-Hope is really made of.

  • Wise Old Joe

    @Perry

    You appear to be a lobbyist for the coal industry in South Africa. One tell-tale sign is knocking the UN while promoting coal. Fossil fuel lobbyists typically run down the UN which does an excellent job for the people while keeping corporations somewhat in check.

    Coal pollution kills about 25 000 people in the USA each year, why is South Africa going along this stupid path except for corporate profit.

    New Zealand has comitted to go 95% renewable energy within 20 years and Germany 100% renewable by 2050. South Africa has far more renewable energy raw materials than densely populated and highly industrialised Germany. If they can do it so can we.

    The higher the carbon taxes the better, fewer people will buy fossil fuels, that is the whole intention. If you look at the external costs of oil in terms of pollution and protecting it as a strategic reserve, we should actually be paying $480 a barrel not $80. Human lives and the future of the planet are subsidising oil, while corporations reap the profits.

    We need a stong binding agreement to come out of Mexico, then all countries will be in the same boat and carbon taxes and emissions permits will not affect our competativeness or exports.

    Our exports will be worthless if we are knocked off the map by climate change anyway.

    Don’t give in to the fossil fuel industry tzars!

  • Perry Curling-Hope

    Hi Old Fossil,

    I’m not a lobbyist for anything, if fact I think the state should stay out of the energy business, an out of business altogether.

    The state does not create any wealth which then makes ‘big things’ possible, they just step in (‘intervene’) and ‘redistribute’ other peoples money in ways which would otherwise not happen if people were left to get on with their lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

    NO corporation should be getting handouts from the government to support their business, but we all know how it works.
    Government has the mandatory power, corporatism has the money.

    If a business cannot sustain itself and produce net gain from its efforts, it is not a real business and is of no benefit to society in the long run.
    It is a loss making ‘grudge purchase’, like courthouses, police stations, jails and their officials, through which lies the only legitimate exercise of the monopoly the state has on the use of compulsion and force.

    It is a risky business when government gets to pick winners and losers in the energy sector, as our viability as a society depends upon a net gain output above subsidy (i.e. a ‘profit’) from this sector, which is the ultimate source of the subsidies, and everything else in the first place.

    There is a relationship between the cost of energy and human welfare (issues about ‘distribution’ aside) and increased cost ultimately renders all poorer.

    Higher energy costs are no friend of poverty.

  • The Real Old Fossil

    @Perry Curling-Hope

    RE: “Higher energy costs are no friend of poverty.”

    Neither is climate change a friend of poverty. Climate change will kill millions of poor people whereas carbon taxes or emissions permits never will, they will save lives.

    The poor can make good money out of renewable energy, more jobs, and solar panels on township roofs so they save on electricity and sell their excess electricity back to Eskom.

    One small town in Denmark bought a wind turbine to save costs on electricity, now they sell excess power to the national grid and make money out of their investment.

    One town in New Zealand converts its sewerage into biogas which runs the towns energy needs.

    Many farmers in Denmark run their farms energy needs off biogas from pig manure. China is at the forefront of biogas development.

    Unless we mitigate climate change it is going to devastate our econmomies and the poor will suffer most.

    Climate change will destroy “liberty and pursuit of happiness”, so leave those flipping fossil fuels in the ground!

    You continue to let your fossil fuel addiction and dogma get in the way of real progress.

    Warm regards

    Your friendly Old Fossil.

  • http://sketchesbyboz37.blogspot.com T Watkins

    @Bert Olivier
    Wow! What a lot of hyperbole for a sometimes intelligent commentator! You exhibit all the arrogance and foolishness of King Canute.

    1. “the very fate of the planet is in the balance”
    The planet has been around for 3 billion years, and is probably good for another 3 billion. It will be destroyed by an external event from somewhere in the galaxy, possibly next week but probably not, as beyond our control as the climate currently is.

    2. “what does the human economy matter when …the earth’s macro-ecology is thrown severely out of kilter?”
    The human economy matters a whole bunch to us humans – ask the poor who don’t have an economy, or the rich when it gets snatched away from them (by war, stupidity like yours, or Eskom). The economy is easily destroyed (just look at our own), the climate will look after itself with or without our help.

    3. “if every country in the world .. does not implement enforceable (economic) legislation in the near future to cut down carbon emissions drastically”
    Perhaps your agenda, and that of other climate change fanatics, emerges in this sinister statement. You want the authority to pass enforceable legislation for EVERY country on the planet. Thank goodness you’re not a megalomaniac!

    4. “leader(s) who would .. put the earth’s interests first”
    Leaders are elected to represent the interests of the people they serve. Destroying their economy does not serve those people well.

  • Kaalgat Piet

    Spot on Bert. Nobel Prize winning economist Sir Nicholas Stern points out that if we do not spend 2% of our annual GDP mitigating climate change our economies will shrink by 20%. No doubt the climate change denialists will see another green conspiracy hidden in the Stern Report but what would we do without the denialists though? I mean they are a laugh a minute, you don’t even have to pay to go to the theatre to watch commedy.

    :-)

  • Makes You Think ?

    “The wealthiest 20% are consuming 82.49% of all of the riches on Earth while
    the poorest 20% are living on a tiny 1.6%. Humanity is consuming today a 30%
    above the regenerating capacity.” Leonardo Boff, Brazilian theologian

  • Pingback: UFO documentary()

  • Pingback: cennypieniadz.blog.pl()

  • Pingback: www.finewinegiftbasket.com()

  • Pingback: Credit reports online()