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COP 21: The No Hope Climate Summit


COP 21: The No Hope Climate Summit

Alex Scrivener

The following was first written as a briefing paper for the UK-based Global Justice Now and the original can be read and downloaded here.

Climate change is already hitting the world’s poorest people hardest and it needs to be stopped. The responsibility for the climate crisis lies squarely on the shoulders of the rich, whose consumption and greed has driven us to the brink of disaster. This makes it a problem of social and economic justice.


As always, not a word about what we ordinary people can do other than a vague call to put pressure on politicians. Every person who stops eating meat helps reduce global warming. We need millions of people to stop supporting the meat industry (it's the largest industry in the U.S). Becoming a vegetarian or vegan is the single most effective action that any individual can take. Sending an email to a politician demanding action or signing a petition demanding action while eating a hamburger is pathetic.


You misconstrue the Jevons Paradox (and misspell it, too). If your mistaken interpretation were accurate, demand for 8-track tapes would have kept rising as the price fell, and bellbottoms would still be in style.

Debunking the Jevons Paradox: Nobody goes there anymore, its too crowded


Excellent article---particularly the insight exposing how elites of the Global industrialized North will look for reasons to spread culpability around "equally" to the South.

And this sterling conclusion:

"The reality is that the climate battle is going on in parts of government policy that aren’t usually associated with climate change such as tax, trade policy, the privatization of public services and agriculture. If we succeed in fighting corporate control in these areas we will also be destroying the economic system that is feeding climate change, freeing up government to concentrate on the best ways of reducing emissions without having to kowtow to these strong vested interests."

Treaties like TPP and TIPP entirely shut public inquiry, access, and input OUT.

If readers haven't yet viewed this documentary; they should. It shows how companies like Monsanto TOTALLY control "the debate" and force law to conform to their own devices:


i've pointed out before that the Jevons Paradox is regularly misstated by posters here. It's not about changes in "economic demand," except as a follow-on effect. It's about improvements in energy efficiency (or more generally any resource efficiency) leading "paradoxically" to increased energy (resource) use, as improved efficiency leads to reduced cost leads increased use as it becomes more affordable.

@Matt_Heins has made the same error here before - claiming that a reduction in demand leads to an increase in demand, and claiming that this is because of the Jevons Paradox - and i've corrected him before.

i believe you've posted links before about problems with the actual Jevons Paradox itself, but i'm not sure i've previously read them. Thanks!


There are capitalistic approaches that stress competition and socialist forces that stress cooperation. There are hyperbolic wealth inequalities that exist within nations and hyperbolic wealth inequalities that exist between nations. A truly fairer world requires that the rich nations AND the wealthiest within them consume less so that the planet's finite carrying capacity is not exceeded. The changes required are being obstructed at just about every level. How should the playing field be leveled so that fairness in the distribution of resources is maximized while the preservation of incentives for progress are not destroyed? Riddle me that Batman, 'cause humanity in all of its "collective wisdom" has failed to demonstrate its ability to do so time after time.


From point of view of poor nations, 2009 was a disaster. They got blamed and shamed and forced to pledge emissions reductions, and got hardly anything from the industrialized nations in return. A 17% reduction in emissions over the 15 years from 2005 to 2020 would be too little too late even it it were world wide and not just the US. I suspect the only hope for the world staying within a 2C limit on climate change is if the US decides to go really high tech and do the engineering level R&D needed to capture CO2 not only from smokestacks but also from ambient air and/or the ocean. We already have CO2eq concentrations over 400ppm and need to get them down to 350ppm to save farming from drought and high heat that are part of climate change due to global warming. Our 10 biggest oil/gas firms and 6 largest coal firms are so very much too big to fail that we must keep them busy and out of mischief doing something more constructive than extracting fossil fuel and/or pension them off either of which will be very expensive, probably half of our current spending on energy in addition to whatever we spend on renewable energy to use in our economy. I must admit that any Republican or I suspect even Hilary as a Democrat would let the fossil fuel industry walk all over them. With Either Bernie Sanders or Martin O'Malley we might have a chance of mitigating climate change enough to be able to grow enough food to feed ourselves even past their term in office.


"If we succeed in fighting corporate control in these areas we will also be destroying the economic system that is feeding climate change..."

I think not, Mr Scrivener. The capitalist economic system has been around for 500 years or so. It'll take much more than what your analysis advocates to destroy "the economic system" which serves - or rips off, if you will - most of the economies of every nation.

Now ... if the 99%, en mass, decided to withdraw all their cash from every bank on the planet in 48 hours, then the system would be stressed to the point failure. However, Pyrrhic victories are self-defeating.

The only possible approach, Mr Scrivener, is to attack the concentration of wealth by dumping the global share-holder system, and replace it with a broad, stake-holder regime. Trouble is, that'll never get past the goal line, for obvious reasons - not the least of which is: it would take the rest of this century to do it.


Almost every agreement I have seen involving the UN has been structured in secret by corporate interests. Treaties and other agreements are worthless and a waste of time, energy, and capital. The Western Governments are all under the influence of corporate interests and yes, regardless of the Climate Change issue, they are the ones who are working counter to nature. To say that is fine, but it is nothing special and it ignores any discussion of real solutions to the problems.

Every discussion I have monitored, has ignored also the responsibility of the consumer in the mix. Instead of trying to uselessly change corporate practices through legislation in compromised systems of government, the consumer can change corporate practices through wise spending. Since China and India are poised to be the major contributors to pollution for the foreseeable future, consumers should try to buy their goods locally as often as possible. By not purchasing goods from "evil corporations" they're profits and hence their bribes will fall and their influence lessened. It involves commitment to personal high standards and teaching others to practice and spread this nature based gospel.

Change begins at home.