Rhein on Energy and Climate

For those fighting to preserve the earth’s climate, the second decade of the 21st century has begun with two bad news:
· UN member countries will not honour the deadline of February 1st, by which to submit their climate targets for 2020, as “agreed” in the “Copenhagen Accord”. That might be the beginning of the end of this bizarre voluntary accord concluded in the last night of the Copenhagen Climate Conference.
· The Democrats have lost the majority in the US Senate. This is likely to be the last straw for on the US Climate Bill.
But there are also two potentially good news:
· Brazil, South Africa, India and China, the BASIC group, which will become the world’s biggest green house gas emitters in the 21st century, will meet January 23/24 to debate their future climate strategy. Even if the outcome is likely to be a repetition of their demands for deeper cuts by the “West”, it shows the emergence of a small group of countries with the potential to become a serious interlocutor.
· The EU continues to re-affirm its willingness to reduce its emissions by 30 percent until 2020, provided this offer is being reciprocated by other OECD countries.
The EU should no longer wait for the UN process to proceed at its sluggish course, with projected meetings in Bonn at the end of May and in Mexico at the end of November. Lacking proper preparation these meetings are almost certain to end without positive results.
It should therefore invite the major OECD emitter countries (USA, Japan, Canada, Australia, Korea and Turkey) to a meeting to discuss possible emission cuts at the horizon of 2020-2050, as a basis for ulterior negotiation with the BASIC group.
There cannot be a no serious discussion without full US participation. The House and the Administration are in agreement for a cut of 20 percent compared to over 2005. That may not look very impressive to Europeans using 1990 as their reference year. But when extending their respective commitments targets to 2030 one discovers more convergence. Why not then go directly for a target of 35 percent reduction by 2030, with consistent interim targets for 2020.
With the Congress apparently incapable of legislating the Administration should finally have courage to act on its own. The Environmental Protection Agency can legally do so. It only needs to transpose the provisions of the House Bill into an executive order which would impose emission caps on the main emitters and organise a nation-wide system of trading emission rights. That would be enough as a basis for a credible national climate policy and restore their US international reputation.
In any event, what matters is that OECD and BASIC countries should in any case rapidly talk to each other on targets and means to achieve them. Humanity cannot afford to clash on a vital issue like climate change. Both the rich and the poor have the same basic interest in maintaining a stable climate. The rich have to go ahead faster than the poor, . Each of ttheir citizens emits roughly four times as much green house gas;. and tThey possess the technological and financial means to reduce their emissions levels much faster than the emerging countries.
We urgently need a serious debate among the main parties. The EU has a responsibility to make it happen. It should rapidly get its act together!
Brussels 22.01. 10 Eberhard Rhein
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Comments

  1. First: The well-funded experts have performed worse in terms of predictions than Prof. Landscheidt, who worked essentially on his own but had his correct climate predictions published ahead of time.

    Second: I challenge the view that the current climate can be managed at all.

    Third: I challenge the panglossian view that the current climate is the best of all possible climates. It’s been warmer – and “better” – before in recorded history.

    Fourth: Plants overwhelmingly perform better at higher levels of atmospheric CO2 – are you anti-broccoli?

  2. Despite every effort to appear reasonable and sensible, the self-proclaimed Masters of the Universe among us approach economic and ecologic problems in patently unsustainable ways by adamantly advocating and recklessly pursuing greed-driven schemes that will lead humanity to precipitate, however inadvertently and soon, the destruction of life as we know it and the Earth as a fit place for human habitation, I suppose.

    If the human community is in a race against time, even at this late hour when pathological arrogance, greed-mongering and elective mutism rule the world, is it ever too late to speak of what is true to you or to do the right thing, as best we can?

  3. Dear Eberhard,

    Given a planet with the size, composition, frangible ecology and finite carrying capacity of Earth, could you or someone else comment on how much longer the global limitations of Earth can be expected to sustain the unsated overconsumption, unbridled overproduction and unregulated overpopulation activities of the human species in our time?

  4. Massive endemic fraud and wanton unbridled greed are ruling the world and ruining the Creation in our time. Willful blindness, hysterical deafness and elective mutism prevail over speaking truth to the wealthy and powerful. What is to become of the children?

    There is a path to a good enough future for the children, I suppose, but it is not be found by recklessly pursuing the patently unsustainable path of Charles Ponzi, the path so adamantly advocated by the greed-mongering bankstas and other Masters of the Universe among us who profanely proclaim that they are the ones doing “God’s work”.

    But let’s not talk about such things. Shhhhh!

  5. It appears to me as if one certain thing humanity cannot keeping doing much longer is the very same thing we are so adamantly and foolishly doing now as the self-proclaimed Masters of the Universe among us choose to recklessly speed up the ever increasing, seemingly endless growth of the global economy as well as to deceptively manipulate human beings into going along with a conspicuous per-capita overconsumption and unreserved overpopulation agenda.

    If we keep doing what we are doing now and the human community keeps getting what it is getting now, I fear that sooner rather than later everything we are led to believe we are protecting and preserving will be ruined. In the not-too-distant future a distinct probability could exist that one of two colossal calamities will occur. The wanton dissipation of Earth’s limited resources, the relentless degradation of Earth’s frangible environment, and the approaching destruction of the Earth as a fit place for human habitation by the human species, when taken together, appear to be proceeding toward the precipitation of a catastrophic ecological wreckage of some unimaginable sort unless, of course, the world’s ever expanding, artificially designed, manmade global political economy (the modern “economic colossus”) continues to speed headlong toward the monolithic ‘wall’ called “unsustainability” at which point humanity’s runaway economy crashes before Earth’s ecology is collapsed.

    Could we talk about the need for a new vision for life on Earth?

    Months ago Andy Revkin of the NYTimes and the Dot Earth community asked the question, “What does humanity do when we grow up?” Dr. Joel Cohen has explained elsewhere how humanity is currently in an adolescent phase of its development and is moving toward maturity. Other experts have suggested that the behavior of people in many places is even more primitive, in the sense of being less grown-up than adolescents and more nearly infantile.

    Perhaps another way of coming up with a new vision would be to ask the question, “What might a human world look like when full grown, mature human beings with feet of clay design, construct and organize a new world order in the future?”

  6. Please assist me. Our species has given itself the name Homo sapiens sapiens.

    In light of the deplorable, human-induced state of our planetary home as well as all of the unfinished work we have immediately ahead of us in order to begin accomplishing the many things that some of our brightest and best say here and now “matter most”, are we justified by reason or common sense in naming ourselves as we have or is this way of identifying ourselves a misleading moniker of a sort that reveals more about human hubris than it says about human intelligence, much less our possessed wisdom?

    Would the name “Homo hubris hubris” be more accurate?

  7. Dear Eberhard,

    It means a great deal that you are willing to speak out openly regarding whatsoever is true to you. Whether we agree about many or few things is unimportant. At least to me, you exemplify the intellectual honesty and moral courage that are rarely found in public discourse, which is dominated by politically convenient, economically expedient and culturally syntonic verbiage emitted ubiquitously by mainstream media.

    How can we possibly address and overcome the global challenges before us if so-called leaders and self-proclaimed Masters of the Universe among us refuse to acknowledge them? How are willful blindness, hysterical deafness and elective mutism by this “politically correct” and “socially agreeable” leadership, with regard to certain human-driven global threats to humanity, helpful?

    Can you think of issues more essential to the future of our children than the ones we are discussing now? Among the ideas presented in this thread, are there more vital issues than the ones derived directly from the patently unsustainable global overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities of the human species that are rampantly overwhelming the finite resources and frangible ecology of Earth in our time?

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