Our planet is under pressure
April 1, 2012 Leave a comment
I don’t know how you decided to observe “Earth Hour” last night. As Donna Laframboise had noted in a recent series of posts, this much over-hyped and – mis-typed – “event” is a propaganda exercise in persuasion of the hypocritical kind, and it leaves me, well, cold.
According to a CBC report from AP which was “Posted: Mar 31, 2012 8:38 AM ET” and “Last Updated: Mar 31, 2012 8:27 AM ET“:
Let’s take a look at the cities and/or countries named in this “back to the future” post from the CBC regarding this alleged “sweep across North America”:
In the image above (which may – or may not – have been photo-shopped), Amman, Jordan plus:
- United States, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
- New York City’s Empire State Building [plus "hundreds" of unnamed "world landmarks" -hro]
- Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate
- Great Wall of China
- Sydney [Australia] Harbor Bridge and Opera House
- Rudy Ko, of Taiwanese environmental group Society of Wilderness.
- Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate (second mention -hro)
- Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe, as well as fountains and bridges over the Seine
- Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral were among the other London [UK, not Ontario -hro] landmarks
- Nordic nations, government buildings and municipalities
- Stockholm’s royal castle and the Swedish capital’s huge globe-shaped sports arena
- Goteborg [Sweden]
- St. Petersburg, Russia
- Washington’s National Cathedral and New York’s Empire State Building (again!)
- Libya, Algeria, Bhutan and French Guinea
Wow! That sure is a very impressive “sweep across North America”, eh?! Canada doesn’t even rate an honourable mention!
Because I was concerned that this dhimmitude to dimness on the part of the CBC might constitute a “tipping point”, I stuck to my plan of brightness: I turned up all the thermostats, ran my washer, dryer and dishwasher and my three computers – and, of course, turned on all the lights and even baked a cake! And while the cake was cooking in the oven, I took my ’92 Tercel for a drive while my PVR recorded the rest of one of the very few TV programs I ever watch, “Heartbeat“. And just for good measure, I left them all on/running for twenty minutes longer than the designated hour :-)
But CBC dhimmitude to dimness and other exhortations notwithstanding, I doubt very much that any or all of the above made a damn bit of difference to the future of our planet!
On the other hand, consider the following …
As The Commentator observed regarding the London UK four-day feel-good-while-disguising-the-harm-you-intend Planet Under Pressure 2012 conference:
The organisers, and indeed the attendees, of Planet Under Pressure 2012 may try to console themselves with carbon-offsetting and vegetarian-heavy, nitrogen-low diets – indeed, it was claimed that London’s ExCeL centre, where the conference was held, had 30 percent less nitrogen than is normal due to the type of food on offer – but this misses the point entirely.
Because this isn’t really about carbon per se; it’s not even really about global warming. It’s about corporatism.
Ultimately – and here is where the irony comes into play – it’s about moving away from the very system that brought us the very same laptops, iPads, iPhones and cameras that those in the conference were using to document their sojourn in East London. And to deny the billions of people in the world the most basic standards of living, from food to social services that we in the UK [and elsewhere in the dastardly developed world -hro] so readily take for granted.
It’s all about the run-up to Rio+20, as no less an authority than the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP)’s Executive Director, Achim Steiner – along with that body’s Chief Scientist, Joseph Alcamo (former climate consensus coordinator extraordinaire) and former Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chair, Robert Watson – made quite clear during the course of a “side event” at this high-priced London confab.
Steiner is well known for never missing an opportunity to pronounce anything and everything he deems to fall within the UNEP’s ever-increasing purview and bailiwick as the greatest threat to the future of the planet. Certainly his words, as reported by the IISD, at this side-event were no exception. Here are some excerpts from the respective words of wisdom of Steiner, Alcamo and Watson which they proffered at the “Meeting of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF)”.
But first a little “background” … Believe it or not, the GEF is not a “facility” as the word is commonly understood. It would not surprise me to learn that somewhere in the UN maze there’s a department, division – or at the very least a committee – dedicated to the formulation of acronyms and less than transparent names!
The GEF is actually a “fund”; in fact it is a fund that was so well-managed in its first two years of “independence” that in 1994 the powers that be decided that the World Bank should henceforth “[serve] as the Trustee of the GEF Trust Fund and [provide] administrative services.” But it takes pride in being (since 1991):
the largest funder of projects to improve the global environment. The GEF has allocated $10 billion, supplemented by more than $47 billion in cofinancing, for more than 2,800 projects in more than 168 developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), the GEF has also made more than 13,000 small grants directly to civil society and community based organizations, totalling $634 million
Sounds like a lot of money (which may or may not have been enhanced by some very creative accounting practices) but it pales in comparison to US government expenditures on “climate research” in 2011 alone:
Now that you know everything you need to about the GEF, here’s what I gleaned from Steiner, Alcamo and Watson (all emphases are mine -hro).
Reflecting on the fact that STAP is meeting in the margins of the 2012 Planet Under Pressure conference, shortly prior to the launch of UNEP’s fifth Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), and the announcement of the launch of Future Earth, a 10-year initiative aiming to deliver knowledge to enable societies to meet their sustainable development goals, Steiner said science is reconfiguring itself. He explained that the STAP Panel is in a unique position to enforce the collective influence of science.
Wait a minute! “Future Earth”?! A “10-year initiative … to enable societies to meet their sustainable development goals”? Where in Gaia’s name did that spring from?! Read all about it folks, courtesy of the “International Council for Science” (ICSU):
ICSU, the International Social Science Council (ISSC), the Belmont Forum, a high level group of major funders of global environmental change research, together with UNEP, UNU and UNESCO, and with WMO as observer, are jointly establishing this new 10-year initiative.**
** Just for the record, the ICSU was formerly known as the “International Council of Scientific Unions” by which name it appears to be still known, according to the UN’s roster of NGOs with “Special consultative status”, since 1971. The ISSC has also been accredited as an NGO with “Special consultative status”, since 1985. But the Belmont Forum is a relatively new kid on the block and hasn’t made the “consultative status” grade, yet. We all know about UNEP, UNESCO and WMO, but for those who may not be familiar with the acronym, UNU = United Nations University, which bills itself as “The Academic Arm of the United Nations”.
But I digress … Steiner also told those assembled that:
the mixed experiences of the GEF Instrument, noting it should be viewed as a catalytic instrument, as opposed to one creating transformational change, as its size is an indictment in itself.
the scientific community is now speaking with a louder voice, and that humanity has a clearer view than ever before about the state of the environment.
[he] queried the wisdom of focusing on the perfect implementation mechanism
[and he] drew attention to the Green Economy discourse, and underscored that GEF finance and development finance, do not equate to more than proof of concept money. He noted that through the Stern Report and the work of the The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) [which I wrote about here -hro], true costs are increasingly understood, and said that such information is influencing assessments of supply chain risks and reinsurers.
[Spoke of 3 sciencey concerns and noted that:]
although there remain broken bridges between the science policy communities, the climate change process has begun to mend these, with scientists increasingly talking to governments. He called for more explicit interaction, noting that scientists need to ready themselves to undertake the research demanded by the policy community, as well as continuing to undertake curiosity driven research.
I’m not sure who might constitute the “policy community”, nor what “research” they might be demanding!
noted the increasing nexus between the science and policy communities, including the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Montreal Protocol Technology and Economic Assessment Panel. He noted improvements could still be made and that Future Earth plans to involve policy makers, scientists, civil society and business in shaping the research agenda. Ravindranath supported this point, underscoring that lack of access to knowledge, as opposed to the knowledge itself, is the key challenge. He suggested parallel bodies to the IPCC be set on the regional and subregional levels. Watson noted that the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is planning regional assessments, with subregional assessments embedded in them, as global assessments do not make sense for adaptation. He also stressed the importance of building the capacity of the scientific community to undertake assessments, as well as the capacity of policy staff who utilize the information.
Hmmm … if “global assessments do not make sense for adaptation” why would they “make sense” for “mitigation”?! Curious minds would like to know!
“Civil society”, of course, is UN-speak for NGOs – particularly, one suspects, those that have been “accredited” with “Special consultative status”.
In light of all of the foregoing, I will concede that our planet is under pressure!
Not from anything you or I might be doing (or not) to the environment, but rather from the agenda of these ideologically driven bureaucrats and their very closely aligned stable of NGOs – not to mention their
stooges partners, such as the CBC and the BBC’s Richard Black, in the mainstream media.
YMMV, but I’m inclined to suspect that as far as “pressure” goes, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet – and that those who inhabit our planet will be under considerably more pressure during the next ten years of this new, improved “Future Earth” initiative to “meet … sustainable development goals”.
Update: 06:39 PM PDT … totally o/t but considering the date, and considering that CBC rarely provides an opportunity for praise, I have to make note of their “storified (sic) collection of April Fools’ videos … have a look!