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News: Archive for November, 2010

Coal Trends Still Rule Climate Talks –

Monday, November 29th, 2010

‘Today saw the official opening in Cancún, Mexico, of talks over a new treaty aimed, theoretically, at avoiding dangerous human interference with the climate system. But Chinese coal and American politics pretty much guarantee that negotiators, despite a relaxed dress code this year, will only nibble at the edges of the climate challenge.’

via Coal Trends Still Rule Climate Talks –

China Faces Potential for Peak Coal Scenario –

Monday, November 29th, 2010

‘State-run media reported that Beijing is considering capping domestic coal output in the 2011-2015 period, partly because officials worry miners are running down reserves too quickly to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding economy.’

via China Faces Potential for Peak Coal Scenario –

Factbox: Major nations’ plans for slowing climate change | Reuters

Monday, November 29th, 2010

‘(Reuters) – Representatives of almost 200 countries gathered in Cancun, Mexico, on Monday for two weeks of U.N. talks on a package of measures to curb global warming that will stop short of a binding treaty.’

via Factbox: Major nations’ plans for slowing climate change | Reuters.

U.S. sees progress in easing climate row with China | Reuters

Monday, November 29th, 2010

‘(Reuters) – Washington claimed progress on Monday in easing rifts with Beijing on ways to fight global warming as U.N. climate talks got under way in Mexico with warnings about the rising costs of inaction.’

via U.S. sees progress in easing climate row with China | Reuters.

Cancun, Congress and Hard Climate Facts –

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

‘In a news conference in Washington on Monday, Todd Stern, the Obama administration’s lead negotiator in talks aimed at a new climate treaty, provided some insights into issues and (limited) opportunities that will shape the next round of negotiations, which begins in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of the month.’

via Cancun, Congress and Hard Climate Facts –

Japan says extending Kyoto pact is meaningless | Reuters

Friday, November 26th, 2010

‘Reuters – Japan opposes extending the Kyoto Protocol binding only rich nations to limit carbon emissions and will fight for a broader deal even if it finds itself isolated at U.N. talks, a senior official said on Thursday.’

via Japan says extending Kyoto pact is meaningless | Reuters.

Video: Arianna Huffington sounding the alarm for the middle class in S.F.

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

10/18/2010 San Francisco

Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor in chief of the Huffington Post, appeared at the Commonwealth club to discuss a variety of topics, including her recent book, “Third World America”. This video contains excerpts from the discussion.

Sounding the alarm – before the iceberg hits the Titanic
“Third World America is obviously a very jarring title, America is not a third world country yet. The reason I chose a very jarring title is because I wanted to sound the alarm. Growing up in Athens, Greece, my favorite heroine was Cassandra, because she had the gift of prophecy, but she had also this curse from Apollo not to be believed. And so when she told the Trojans that the Trojan horse was full of Greeks they ignored her they didn’t believe her, and they let the Trojan horse in, and what happened is they turned out to be proved very dead and very wrong, the Trojans. So I feel that while we have time to course correct, this is time to sound the alarm. You know, there is no point in sounding the alarm after iceberg has hit the Titanic. It’s good to sound the alarm beforehand. And so if you look at what’s happening in this country you do see the disappearance of the middle class. Right now you have 100 million Americans who are worse off than their parents were at a similar age. You have two thirds of Americans who said in a recent survey that they expect their children to be worse off than they are. Now that is fundamentally un-American. You know as an immigrant to this country you know we came here because we believe in the American dream and we believe the American dream so upward mobility is in our DNA, it’s in the American DNA. So when you have American being number ten on the list of countries with upward mobility, you know, behind France and the Scandinavian countries and Spain. There is something wrong, you feel like we should be suing France for copyright violation. It would be like we were ahead of France in croissants, fine wines, and afternoon sex.”

Arianna HuffingtonDisconnect between war spending and unemployment benefits
“These are incredibly hard times, and as were sitting here focusing on what individuals and communities can do, let me just say, that at no point can we let government off the hook, because there is no question that the fact that unemployment benefits were not reauthorized for the 99ers and beyond is really tragic and it’s such an incredible statement about our country at the moment, that while we are spending 2.8 billion dollars a week in Afghanistan pursuing a war that is not in our national security interest, while we are propping up a correct regime and allowing our young men and women to die and spending money we do not have in pursuit of this war, we are not reauthorizing unemployment benefits. So there is a fundamental disconnect here that we need to obviously be exposing every day, and at the Huffington Post that was a huge splash headline today.”

On the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear
“This was a pilgrimage. That people wanted to be together for the journey, they didn’t just want to be together for the rally. I when I say be together, these are people who were not even talking to each other about who they were going to vote for or what political party they were from. They had this sense that we needed to be all in this together if we’re going to get out of the dark times were in. And that there was something about our humanity and the fact that we’re all in this together in some very fundamental profound way that we needed to rediscover.”

A modern day Cassandra steps up to the mic – the Titanic is already sinking
During the question and answer session, poet /activist Shailja Patel, sounding not unlike a modern day Cassandra, took Huffington’s Titanic metaphor in another direction, decrying the historic impact of America’s middle class affluence on the Global South and on the global climate,
“The rise and the heyday of the U.S. middle class was founded on the fiction of unlimited cheap fuel and unlimited cheap resources from the Global South. What we’re seeing now as the result of that is global warming. The latest and most reliable data available to us from the most responsible thinkers we have, say that even if we implemented every technology available to cut carbon emissions and to reduce fossil fuel consumption and eliminate dependence on fossil fuels, we cannot reverse global warming, we’re past the point of no return. So essentially we’re all on the Titanic. The people in the Global South are already drowning, those of us in this room are in the top deck and have the privilege of rearranging the deck chairs and examining our menu options. My question is, how do we actually wake up the U.S. population from a nostalgic nationalistic dream of a return to that heyday of the middle class to the reality of being on the Titanic and the suffering of those on the lower decks. Thank you”

Arianna Huffington’s reply
“Thank you. Actual back in 2001 together with some friends, we launched the Detroit project, which was trying to wake people up to the dangers of our dependence on oil. In fact, we linked our oil consumption not just to global warming, but also to our national security. And look at what happened, Detroit turned a blind eye, and instead spent billions of dollars to basically buy public policy and we saw the results. So there is no question that what has happened recently, with they’re reluctant to actually accept the scientific evidence about the reality of global warming has made things even harder, and instead of using this opportunity – which the crisis presented us with – to really invest in a new economy based on renewable energy, we saw the Obama administration say that we can basically turn the clock back, and just before the BP oil collapse, say that we can actually go back to offshore oil drilling. So I’m not very optimistic, I’m sorry to say about what we are doing in that area.”

report by James George

Tigers could be extinct in 12 years if unprotected – Yahoo! News

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

‘ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Wild tigers could become extinct in 12 years if countries where they still roam fail to take quick action to protect their habitats and step up the fight against poaching, global wildlife experts told a “tiger summit” Sunday.’

via Tigers could be extinct in 12 years if unprotected – Yahoo! News.

Analysis: China’s soaring emissions challenge climate split | Reuters

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

‘(Reuters) – Soaring greenhouse gas emissions in China and other emerging nations are eroding rich nations’ historical responsibility for causing global warming, and this could complicate U.N. talks starting in Mexico this month.’

via Analysis: China’s soaring emissions challenge climate split | Reuters.

Dirty Coal, Clean Future – Magazine – The Atlantic

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

‘…The proposition that coal could constitute any kind of “hope” or solution, or that a major environmentalist action plan could be called “Coal Without Carbon,” as one I will describe is indeed named—this goes beyond seeming interestingly contrarian to seeming simply wrong. For the coal industry, the term “clean coal” is an advertising slogan; for many in the environmental movement, it is an insulting oxymoron. But two ideas that underlie the term are taken with complete seriousness by businesses, scientists, and government officials in China and America, and are the basis of the most extensive cooperation now under way between the countries on climate issues. ‘

via Dirty Coal, Clean Future – Magazine – The Atlantic.