IBI Watch 12/11/11

11 12 2011



Durban Climate Talks – Delays, Dithering, then a Deal, of Sorts  //

The latest round of climate change talks, held in South Africa, could have ended in a train wreck.  The news that a deal emerged instead is welcome of course.  Astonishing, even.  But what it really adds up to is another matter.  Given the gravity of the situation, I know what SHOULD happen – that is, what WOULD happen if the world were run by science-respecting, well-informed stewards rather than the greed-addled power-mongers who hold the reins.  But don’t listen to me – listen to this incredible, short speech delivered to the whole dithering crowd by a young South African who also studies in Maine.  She has a simple directive:  ‘Get it done.’



Get it done they did, after a fashion.  The deal involves cooperation of all greenhouse producers, but is short on sanctions.  It also pushes meaningful cuts – the kind that all but the oiliest scientists tell us are necessary – off once again into the future.  Here are two stories on the deal itself.




This deal is positive, if only for one reason – the talks will resume.  Now a quick look at why this problem grows more urgent each year.  First link – Some parts of the world have produced the least amounts of climate-wrecking gases up to now, but they are smack in the middle of the worst effects – that are already apparent.  This is nowhere more obvious than in Africa.  Next, a piece from Common Dreams on what sort of warming is already locked in, how far that warming might go, and what will be the logical consequences of this illogical path.  Third link – in case anyone still needs it, an article by Joe Romm of Climate Progress that skewers righty nonsense about ‘global cooling.’  The message – although the world’s climate of course remains subject to the planet’s natural fluctuations, our greenhouse forcing is apparent even in cooler cycles.  And finally, the news that SHOULD finally get corporate America – insurance companies and so many more – paying attention. This is not just a crisis for undeveloped Africa, and unfortunately low-lying Bangladesh and Pacific islands.  It is here, it is now, and it costs big, big bucks.  And this is only the beginning.






A reasonable person would look at all this evidence, and decide that something must be done.  But it doesn’t happen, at least not on the necessary scale.  Why?  Right-wing pundits – Rush and the gang – spew anti-scientific lies daily to their credulous audiences, and pignorant (pretend ignorant) politicians join in the braying.  It’s not a real crisis, they say.  Or if they admit the problem – which some do – they say it is simply too expensive to do anything about it other than hunker down, sell more air conditioners and buy marshmallows for the barbecue.  And yet, there is plenty of evidence of progress in some parts of the world, and many studies show there are huge benefits in the short term.  Not to mention of course that the near-term benefits also build a future in which the world is not a burnt-out cinder.  Next – how often do you see human health benefits tied to solving the climate crisis?  My answer – not often enough!

First two links – Germany is mainly in the news these days as the driver of the Eurozone bus, trying to keep it from careening off the cliff.  Less discussed is the amazing progress it has made in renewable energy.  Here’s some of the what and why.  Finally – all ideas that reduce greenhouse emissions are part of the solution.  Those who suggest having industrialized nations pay Brazil, Indonesia and other countries with tropical forests to save them are sometimes criticized as escapists, i.e. pushing the needed change onto other countries.  But saving rainforest, coupled with moves to conservation and renewables in the developed world, are clearly important pieces of the solution puzzle.






The ink is barely dry on the new Durban climate agreement, and it certainly seems to be a flawed, inadequate document.  But we all know where even this half-measure will go.  Nowhere.  Why?  The good old US of A, that’s why.  You just know that our pignorant politicos and pundits will spin this as lots of things – job-killing, loss of sovereignty, putting the US at a disadvantage to China, and on and on.  No one is more at the head of this wildly misinformed chorus than the prince of pignorance, James Inhofe. And the old hoaxmeister knows an opportunity when he sees one.  But let’s not forget Minnesota’s own contribution to pignorance.  Just remember what Inhofe, Jungbauer and the rest of these self-important stooges are saying – they know more than scientists who have devoted their careers to solving incredible mysteries about how the planet works.  Clearly, they know nothing or next to nothing.  And I for one do not believe that THEY believe their own pignorant pronouncements.  But what matters is that they hold the power to obstruct, as all levels of government.  And so far anyway – to quote the Decider – “Mission accomplished.”  Following links look at the big picture – including one who seems to nail so many topics on a regular basis, Paul Krugman.  And don’t forget those perpetual pushers of progressive propaganda, the Muppets.  Fox News didn’t.  They devoted a whole segment attacking the Muppets who, in their latest movie, include a caricature of greedy oilmen.  Watch how they follow their ‘fair and balanced’ mantra, allowing a speaker with an opposing view onto the show, only to gang-tackle her as soon as she tries to get her ideas into the pignorant rant-a-thon.








Nothing will change in this great country of ours until we change the rigged system.  Big corporate money – the oil and gas industry at the fore – completely owns the Republican Party, and greatly influences the Democrats as well.  Getting the corporate money out of politics is an essential step.  Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, God bless him, wants to do just that.  Please join me in supporting Bernie.



A Trio of Easy Targets

Seems like it has been going on forever, and in our political system of perpetual campaigning, that is nearly true.  It’s the Republican campaign leading to the caucuses and primaries of course.  Levity required – and delivered.  Right here, right now.  Newt as the Grinch.  Jon Stewart on the Mitt-storm (with a side tribute to the Pizza Man).  Jesus of Nazareth on Rick Perry.  Bring it on, guys!





Warren Scares Them to Death

Headlines this week included Republican Congressional leaders promising their usual obstruction.  This time, it is refusing to approve President Obama’s nominee to head the new Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CPFB).  Richard Cordray is the current target of their ire, but you know that Gandhi or Jesus or even Ronald Reagan could be the nominee, and they would face the same locked-trunks opposition.  The person who laid the groundwork for that agency, Elizabeth Warren, has moved on.  Obama did not dare to nominate her, knowing that her bona fide progressive credentials would mean sure lockdown, even in good circumstances.  So Warren is running for Senate, and in current polls is looking to clean Scott Brown’s clock.  You know she has hit close to home when the king of Republican dirty tricks, Karl Rove, starts attacking her.  The CPFB matter has also unleashed a controversy about recess appointments.  And this and more has pushed Obama of late into a more progressive stance.  About time.





Lies and Other Options

Karl Rove’s twisted anti-progressive propaganda not enough for you?  Try this collection of articles that shine a spotlight on various right-wing falsehoods and misleading spin, and offer alternatives.








Derail the Gravy Train

Heard about the STOCK Act?  Our overlords in Congress – Republican and Democrat alike – are not just doing the bidding of the corporate interests who drag them from vote to vote by their golden nose rings.  No, they are fattening at the trough themselves as well – on insider information.  Shocking, I know.  Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz deserves big respect and credit for trying to do something about it.  Eric Cantor and his allies deserve the opposite for obstructing this measure.






“The Republican Party has totally abdicated its job in our democracy, which is to act as the guardian of fiscal discipline and responsibility. They’re on an anti-tax jihad — one that benefits the prosperous classes.”  – David Stockman



Contributed links to this posting – Jeff Carlson, Tess Galati, Mark Goldberg, Allyson Harper




One response

21 02 2015
informative post

informative post

IBI Watch 12/11/11 | IBI Watch

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