|Intersection of commitments made by governments on climate change and Capitalism.|
Feeling warm lately? As the warmest year in mankind's history rolls to a steaming end, Unep (United Nations Environment Programme) reports that current climate commitments (which, they fail to mention, won't even come close to being met, indeed, CAN'T be met) are insufficient to reduce emissions by the amounts needed to avoid dangerous levels of global warming. (Well, DUH! They were never meant to) ... Pledges put forward to cut emissions, even assuming they'd be met, would see temperatures rise by 3C above pre-industrial levels, far above the the 2degreesC of the Paris climate agreement, which comes into "force" on Friday.
This, as they once again bundle into their jet-fueled conveyances, this time on a junket to Marrakesh, to burble more drivel about their "commitments". But it's not these non-enforceable intentions that we need to be concentrating on, but the investment decisions and Central Bank, Fed-fueled commitments, that should be garnering our intensified scrutiny, because it is those actual investment-based commitments that are the germane ones, because they in fact will either be met, or they will be defaulted on, bringing financial caos and military response, albeit camouflaged with some Nationalistic jingoism, a harbinger of which we're already seeing today.
There are no derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, or insurance contracts being written today to undergird the rhetoric of Copout21. The only fallout from them failing to meet the obligations to which the member countries are signatory will be in the nature of particulates from gasoline combustion, coal incineration , and wood-burning stoves. However, the falling growth rates in economies that do meet their reduction goals, will be very real as will the reaction of their constituent populations and international debt-collectors.
This is because, while Copout21 has nothing legally binding in its strictures, nonpayment of debt instruments based on a future that is unattainable without the energy derived from fossil-fuel enabled industries, are. And these debt instruments, bonds and stocks bought on margin, that are used in the construction of the vast infrastructure of the modern world, are still being written, still being priced based on a given set of assumptions, but a reduction in the economic output of the major economies of the world is not one of them. If nothing else, the retirement plans of Calpers, IBM, GM, Ford, and a host of other enterprises, such as the criminal corporations VW and Wells Fargo, all need double-digit growth in order to fund their contractual obligations and fiduciary responsibilities.
Yet there has been no negotiations with labor, retirees, or power companies to rewrite contracts that were written with a different future in mind, one that in no way reflects the one envisioned when those contracts were written. This represents an enormity of defaulted obligations and squandered savings, savings entrusted to corporations and State retirement boards, that were, in lieu of raises in pay, left in the hands of employers who promised to instead guarantee their workers a comfortable life post-retirement. Corporations that knew, before the ink on those agreements was dry, that the world was warming, and that their chances of being able to honor those commitments, heavily compromised.
Last year, the United States of Armageddon alone manufactures more than 17 million cars, so many vehicles that, should this rate of manufactory continue, it would mean that in one generation the US will produce enough automobiles for every man, woman, and child in the country to have one. This is only one industry, it's not even an oil company, but it's creating a mobile force of contained conflagration, internal incineration, a demented detoNation , where each citizen, in order to pay for the no-money-down,interest free, 7-year contract they entered into (one that's been signed and sold, and turned into a financial obligation that's been, just like home-loans were, bundled and securitised: ie, cunningly woven into the financial fabric of the world as a ticking time-bomb, the sellers of which then buy short trades against), each one intent only on maintaining their own upward mobility even as their country swirls deeper into a downward spiral.
And all this is happening Now. In other words, it's all happening when the world's economy is careening from one economic crisis to another, reeling like a drunken sailor on shore leave yet curtailing its fossil-fuel combustion not a whit; au contraire: the world is pouring more carbon than ever, and at a faster rate than ever, into the atmosphere and busily signing futures contracts for digging up far more than what the accords would allow its adherents to ever burn, and yet the new normal is that the globalized economy is precariously perched on the brink of yet another financial collapse.
So let's look at some of the hot air being stored up for release from Marrakesh in this, the hottest year ever experienced by mankind:
Asad Rehman, Friends of the Earth’s international climate campaigner, said: “This is a stark warning that cannot be ignored – tougher action on climate change is urgently needed to prevent the world speeding towards catastrophe. Governments are drinking in the ‘last chance saloon’ if the lofty goals of the Paris climate agreement are to be met.”
Sorry, Asad, but this stark warning not only can, but will be, ignored. And although, Yes, "tougher action on climate change is urgently needed", none will be forthcoming; as for, "the world speeding towards catastrophe", it most certainly isn't. Mankind, however, is.
The Guardian goes on to quote Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit thinktank:
“Unep’s report confirms that there has been remarkable acceleration towards a global low-carbon economy over the past year".
The dots Mr. Black fails to connect are the ones attached to the "remarkable acceleration towards a global low-carbon economy" and the remarkable acceleration in CO2 production, the latter being a direct result of the amount of fossil fuel that's burned in order to install the infrastructure necessary to build that low-carbon economy, but that rate won't decrease, because although Black might envision the low-carbon economy that will automatically ensue from the installation of all those wind farms and solar arrays, the powers that be, the ones that are actually funding those installations, have no such Utopian view in mind. Because, far from reducing energy usage, the addition of all that "extra" power instead assures US citizens that how they use energy in their everyday lives is perfectly okay and eminently sustainable, whereas it is neither.
The piece of journalistic pabulum ends with the easily swallowed bromide wherein Solheim, chief of Unep, urges:
"... countries to embark on more ambitious programmes to improve energy efficiency, increase the amount of energy coming from renewable sources, and look to meet the national targets they set in Paris".
Really? Although the name of the Bush family and the Texas mafia that ran the country into the ground for their own aggrandizement hasn't even been mentioned during this election cycle, by the time Obama was sworn into office in 2009, there were 1436 coal-powered units at electrical utilities across the US, compared to 1024 units pre-GW in 2000. That equals 412 newly-built coal-fired plants being built during the eight years of the Bush administration: with Fifty-two weeks in the year times 8 years, that equals 416, a mere 4 plants shy of one new climate-changing coal-fired plant being constructed every single week of Bush's debauched and cynical presidency. And these were not necessarily built with the newest scrubbers or carbon sequestration technologies either, as Bush made sure that EPA enforcement of the Clean Air Act was lax, denying global warming existed and therefore refusing to even consider, never mind act on, climate-friendly solutions.
All of these plants were hailed as a part of, "ambitious programmes to improve energy efficiency", as they would, "increase the amount of energy coming from renewable sources", since many of them were built in the Midwest in order to process a large portion of the nation's corn (the renewable source) into ethanol in order "to meet the national targets" of reducing imports of "furrin erl" and lead the country toward "energy independence".
Of course, the end result was to burn MORE energy, to spew MORE carbon, to lock in even MORE coal-fired electric generation into the nation's future, all of which was planned and executed with the support of the left who only needed to hear words to the effect of Solheim's. Say the right magical words, and any project, no matter how disastrous, can be implemented, the perpetrators and those who profit from it, left unaccountable, yet somehow this charade in Marrakesh is supposed to give us comfort?
Not when one knows that the Bush regime left us with a future shock:
There is a new burst of coal-fired power plant construction now underway that will put 43 new coal plants on American soil in the next five years, none of which will meet the performance standards written into the climate bill now moving through Congress. These 43 progressing plants are projected to collectively add more than 150 million tons of new CO2 emissions every year for many decades.
During this time of rapid ramp-up of coal-enabled electric production, avatars of the pseudo-science of climate change denial, were proclaiming a "slowdown in Global Warming" (how that was possible when they denied there was global warming in the first place, we won't get into), which many scientists attributed to an increase in the amount of atmospheric heat being absorbed by the oceans. But there is another well-known reason. The burning of coal produces atmospheric aerosols, the dispersion of which blocks out many of the sun's warming rays. The more aerosols, the less warming, despite there being a concomitant increase in the level of CO2 in the atmosphere.
As the world continues to run a temperature, and we experience the third hottest ever year in a row, even as Nations proudly hail their reduction in coal consumption, no one has joined these dots: the faster we reduce the copious amount of CO2 we are pouring into the atmosphere that is produced by the burning of coal, there has been an equally large INcrease in the amount of CO2 that is being exhausted into the atmosphere by burning its replacement, natural gas. But natural gas burning does not distribute aerosols into the troposphere, contrarily, its source in the US - fracking - produces a far more dangerous byproduct: methane. Some of it is flared, a good deal of it is flared, in fact, which increase its carbon footprint vis-a-vis coal, but what isn't flared is simply leaked by old wells, and leaked in the process of drilling for it and extracting it. So burning natural gas, while it reduces the dirty footprint left by coal, increases the actual level of CO2, via dramatic increase in flaring, and adds to the amount of an extremely potent greenhouse gas: methane.
It is these facts and these problems which need to be addressed in Marrakesh, but never will be. They won't even be mentioned. But as long as contracts that are legally binding but that increase the production of CO2, and thereby its exhaust into an atmosphere already besotted with it, have no restraints put on them by any international body empowered with both subpoena power and recourse to clawback from both the signing parties and the legal/financial firms that enabled their perfidy, nothing will change, because "private" contracts are still held by courts to be sacrosanct, even though their effects on the public weal that they supposedly serve are much the same as a Mafia contract: They kill.