It's done & dusted. Let's remember, review & reflect. (Or not.)
See also: Eco Sanity, GreenHeart Education, Compassionate Climate Action, & Bill McKibben.
She says, "New York to Lima to Paris, or bust!"
Special UN Climate Summit in New York City, September 23rd 2014;
UNFCCC COP20 - in Lima, Peru, December 1-12 2014;
UNFCCC COP21 - in Paris (Le Bourget), 30 November - 11 December 2015.
Actually ... the Bonn Climate Change Conference - June 4-15 2014 - ends a week ago with:
vanishingly little to report (except, one presumes, 10,000 air flights & expense accounts).
Birds on a wire:
The reason I take this on: A few years ago I find a website that, according to the name of it, offers promise - Compassionate Climate Action - so I begin to contribute (via the comments). After a while I discover that it is a refined and soi distant kind of compassion she is serving up which involves no real conversation - and I withdraw, retire from the scene. But I guess she keeps my email on file somewhere because three weeks aqo comes a personal notification of the Climate Emergency Countdown with a request to "pass it on". And despite serious misgivings about the efficacy of global negotiations ... I do.
It is about the first time in five (long) years that anyone has asked me directly to do anything (beyond make an on-line donation or sign a petition or write my MP &c.) and there is just enough left in here for me to say ... OK. (Which is, for the record, what I do whenever I am asked for something in my power to perform, including the '&c.' already mentioned ... and street beggars.)
Also, two questions have been nagging me and I think I might be able to take them along on a Sunday afternoon outing and possibly shed some light there.
1) What about Cuba?
An often repeated notion is that we humans are conducting an experiment of uncertain outcome, very possibly involving collective life-or-death, with the only planet we happen to inhabit. What about the SUCCESSFUL experiment which actually took place in Cuba? For a few years during the Special Period there was no oil - yet there were no mass deaths, and resilience sprang up like Topsy. Why is this not talked about? Everywhere?
The closest I can get (as to why it is so studiously ignored) is that Americans (still) fear & detest Cuba. Like Bob says in 'Talking WW III Blues', "He screamed a bit an' away he flew - must'a thought I was a Comm-u-nist."
Or another way of putting it:
The answer is simple - stop emitting CO2. A-and we still have two, maybe three years, five at the outside to do it and keep ourselves more-or-less comfortably at +1.5°C or less. See:
'Assessing Dangerous Climate Change: Required Reduction
of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature'
by James Hansen et al., December 2013 at PlosOne;
'2020 emissions levels required to limit warming to below 2°C'
by Joeri Rogelj et al., December 2012 in 'Nature Climate Change'; and,
'Why Global Warming Will Cross a Dangerous Threshold in 2036'
by Michael Mann in the March 2014 Scientific American.
Or: Why are so many talking about adapting when there is still enough time to stop?
Or: Why are we focussed on global UN negotiations (or 'un-negotiations' which have repeatedly failed over twenty years and more) when effective actions to stop are necessarily at smaller more local scales?
Or (more generally): Why are we dithering instead of acting? Why is 'the movement' not moving?
2) Why use a 69¢ word like 'mitigate' to mean 'stop emissions'?
If you look it up in the OED you will find 'mitigate' linked with 'appeasement' & 'palliative' - not confidence-inspiring associations. Why was it chosen? Which (fat & overpaid) bureaucrat chose it? Maybe historian Naomi Oreskes will write a paper on it sometime.
Eddie (my boss at Halliburton) used 'mitigate' when the chips were down and the straws were all getting short; and he always (it was the Barracuda FPSO and they were losing a cool billion dollars so the chips were often down) smiled seraphically when he said it - knowing that it sailed straight over the heads of most of his audience who either didn't know what it means or had just enough of a glimmering to be mystified. The OED associations served his purpose - to confuse rivals. They don't serve us.
[69¢ words are quite different from 75¢ words as the consultants among you will know already. 'Eisegesis' is an example of the latter, as distinct from 'exegesis' of the former.]
Maybe it's simply because 'STOP' is a four letter word. Is that it?
If I see something advertised as a 'speaking event' again I'll give it a miss unless the speaker is, say, Jim Hansen or someone of that calibre (of whom there are few, so I don't expect to be going out again anytime soon).
It is less and less of a surprise to me that when he did come to Toronto a few years ago they turned the lights out on him before he was finished.
Thirty people show up. The speaking takes up the entire 5+ hours so there is very little time left over to talk to anyone. No grace period has been provided in the room booking.
The high point is hearing Stephen Leahy's story of how the Berlin wall came down - "people began to talk with one another," he says (a lesson that might have been useful closer to home).
Peter Carter talks a bit about the RCP2.6 scenario from IPCC's AR5. (Please stop for a moment and consider the amount of inscrutable code in that sentence.) I will find a diagram or two and post them here (maybe). In the meantime all 1,500+ pages of AR5 are available for download here.
The Marshall Plan is presented as an exemplar ... but something tainted whispers in my memory around the Marshall Plan - I'll follow that up too (maybe).
Otherwise the speaking is superficial and uninformed, even thoughtless. Dilettantes. No one has read Naomi Oreskes, or if they have are keeping mum.
Frank is there, and being an ex-senior bureaucrat he knows how to say that it is more-or-less a waste of time in a diplomatic manner which generates no immediate offence. [Oh my. I am truly sorry to be so ... negative ... and ... I am right upon the divine fulcrum of saying no more.]
I manage to ask the question about Cuba but (as is more and more usual) the destroyed interior landscape asserts itself dominantly and my voice rises into incoherence till I stop in embarrassment (having forgotten the punch line whatever it was).
There are other low points: Jim Hansen is disparaged for no longer occupying his pulpit at NASA (by someone who obviously has not been following what he is doing); the purpose of the exercise is explained as an excuse to get videos of their excellent presentations (including I guess the half-baked Powerpoint prepared by a tyro the night before); 18 months is revealed as the maximum length of time (any) one can reasonably commit to the initiative.
Ahhh but it's nothing; just sour grapes gentle reader; or perhaps Briar Rose's birthday party ("Now there were thirteen Magi in the kingdom; but the King and Queen had only twelve golden dishes for them to eat out of ..."). The Toronto cognoscenti rescue Glenn when he runs off the rails and they don't notice me. It could be that easy to understand. As it happens I offer him praise, encouragement, and support on several occasions at the time he's crashing but it must be too late or possibly in a language he doesn't understand because ... he doesn't respond.
We could say there is a law of conservation of compassion at work, a Boyle's Law of the heart. ... Or is it a zero sum game I'm thinking of? I can't remember.
As I look around the room, recognizing many of the few who are there - knowing something of some of their stories after five years among 'em - I wonder how many more are at the end of their strings? And beyond ... because each time there are fewer. (And still, Naomi Klein's prescription goes begging.)
I am in another half-empty room the last time I go out: a month or so ago to hear Elizabeth May; to be the first to stand up and applaud when she appears on stage. (But cringeing when she praises the turnout, calling the room 'full'.)
I have no idea what the Christians mean by "the truth shall set you free". The reverse (I imagine) of Blake's little poem 'The Poison Tree' - also known as 'Christian Forbearance'. There are more dimensions of denial here "Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." (See also Naomi Oreskes' ESLD 'erring on the side of least drama'.)
"Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."
James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), 1791.
Unfortunately for humanity we still have more than a fortnight to go.
Caetano Veloso, Terra
[There are several versions on YouTube; none is very well edited (that I have seen) so I recommend getting the album 'Muito' on which it appears. The translation which follows is mine - not very good. I may have the wrong tense on 'forget'. It was the first thing I translated when I was learning. I will look at it and make a few changes (maybe, soon).]
It's the day after the day after the longest day of the year; they are getting shorter (again). Already the birds begin their morning songs a few minutes later. I come home on the 501 streetcar feeling low and mean and sit all night taking comfort from Caetano, trying to make sense of it ... allowing myself to weep ...
Caetano is clever as well as handsome - he puts a naked woman in the first stanza to get your attention - in a figure so far from anything pornographic that you really do listen to the end.
[That is something like what I mean with 'boobage' gentle reader. Caetano's figure works and my conceit doesn't. It's all good.]
As I finish off in the dawn light the sound track switches unexpectedly to Jane Sibbery 'Calling All Angels' confused & somehow mingled with the chorus of 'Lukey's Boat': "catch a-hold this one catch a-hold that one, diddle dum this one diddle dum dee".
Very odd, no telling.
[After a week of feeling badly about being such an asshole curmudgeon, I compose a Postscript, and put it, naturally, at the top.]