With a little distance from the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris, it’s clear that the meaning of the deal struck there is deeply contested. From the euphoric pronouncements of politicians like U.S. President Obama (this is “the best chance we have to save the one planet that we’ve got”) to the scathing dismissal of climate scientist James Hansen (it’s a “fraud”), lots of people reading the coverage of the agreement are understandably confused about what to make of it.
While the deal in Paris as expected was less than needed it is critical. Relying solely on efforts by activists to keep the fossil fuel in the ground and community efforts to build solar and wind and expecting these efforts to translate into broader efforts is unwise. That will never do it. International agreements are necessary get China and India working hard to reduce emissions as well as to address the problem of deforestation. Also, to deal with international shipping and plane flights. India is planning to double its coal burning capacity by 2020 and to ultimately triple it. China keeps giving vague messages about what it plans to do. It is only through international efforts that these countries with huge populations and ambitions for economic prosperity will reduce their emissions. Certainly money has to be given to India to get results. There are no clear answers at the moment but certainly it would be a mistake to underestimate the importance of international agreements on climate.
The United States is like the GOP of the world. Stop, block, obfuscate any meaningful and necessary action on climate change.
One could applaud the fact that a global agreement has been reached. Perhaps this is an achievement in and of itself. But when you set the bar low and take out any of the meaningful aspects of what needs to be done, especially by the historic and big greenhouse gas emitters is it really an effective achievement.
Even if all the nations reach all of their goals, there are still at least 2 degrees C to go to get to 1.5 C. The changes will have to much more drastic and front-end loaded to have a prayer for 1.5 C.
Time to get back to work on it - community grassroots will make the difference and transform the world in the process.
What is missing from Avi Lewis’ report? Capitalism, the parasitic disease that just won’t go away until it kills the host. When human beings can come to grips with the Enlightenment stories that underlie our present world view, which can be described in one word as Separation psychologically or duality then things will really begin to change. This also has to do with the feminine, the archetype which our patriarchal western culture attacks to this day-by bringing this archetype back in to the stories that underlie our culture we assist in changing our way of seeing the world from one of separation where anything can be done to the Other (person, animal, nature) through its objectifying mentality to one of wholeness and inclusion where an animal is seen as part of life and therefore sacred not a commodity to be sold for capitalism’s God money. Instead we see Avi Lewis (who means well) talking the talk of reason which includes separation inherently within it. Whenever I read an article like this I get a feeling of circularity about it, like the author is bringing me back to the same problem he (in this case) is attempting to find a solution for or explain. Where is the heart? Where is his heart? Notice his first sentence, “with a little distance from” This is what we gained from the Enlightenment but do not see that it permeates the very way we see life and hence will reproduce the very problems we are using it to solve. The stories of our culture are leading us in two directions at once, towards destruction and towards possible change through the threat of it. The big problem is that the stories themselves (reason, materialistic science) block access to the source of new stories. Where do they come from? Where did the new stories that created the Enlightenment come from?
He and his wife covered it in the book and film.
To say the west should reduce pollution but India and China should be allowed to increase it (building coal fired plants) at the same time is straight out bull!.
It is bizarre and dooming the world for the sake of some misplaced liberalism. There is only so much that the environment can take and saying well we did it so now you can do it sounds fair but excuse me but …“What are we fighting (to stop pollution) for… Whoopie we’re all gonna die!”
We are going to exceed 2C with catastrophic consequences but it’ll be more fair when we do! Is this the plan? How about we help India and China install solar and wind but not simply look the other way about them installing coal fired plants?
So somebody please tell me why China and India should be allowed to sabotage the world’s efforts at trying to lessen carbon pollution?
I am all for helping India or even China which doesn’t seem to need the help BTW. I am all for helping them install solar and wind, to reforest and so forth but I am not for telling them that it is okay for them to use coal because just because we used to. I don’t care who used to. Nobody should continue using it anymore.
Going past 2C will not feel any better because we were more fair about having done so.
China and India are NOT developing countries!
Whenever we see the wheel-spinning self interest of entrenched and archaic hierarchies I feel very strongly that they must be countered by the REAL WEALTH of human imagination and capacity that these ‘summits’ not only ignore but deny exist - forget about integrity having anything to do with the touted ‘negotiations’.
The poetry and efficacy of farmers who have already decided to engage what might be called an ‘archaic revolution’ by actually living into the problems are living treasures for both those of us alive today and generations to come.
Going back to 2007 - a talk by Michael Pollan that challenges the predominant Cartesian linear conditioning of western societies is - I would submit - both timeless and timely.
Actually no they didn’t not on the psychological level. They spoke about capitalism from the point of view of reason but were wishy washy about changing the story.
And when you think of the kind of money the leading climate-chaos-causing countries spend on the B.S. “war on terror,” it adds further horror and perspective to the outcome of this conference. Basically, the elites have determined–in a manner analogous to that of car company that produced the Pinto–that a certain (high!) number of deaths is acceptable… to keep the machine that profits THEM churning at its current pace.
The same minds that decide that torture is perfectly acceptable, ad that a drone war that kills an average of 10 civilians for every designated enemy combatant are the ones deciding OUR climate future.
Barbarians aren’t only at the gate… they are at the wheel!
Always amusing to find a male voice speak for the missing Divine Feminine along with meaningful inclusion–by actual females–in all of the decision making bodies. Those stories you rhetorically ask about, of course exist… but they belong to Feminist and/or mystical literature. Patriarchy’s academics treat such subjects as tangential… kind of life “Black American Family.” It receives a mere footnote to the genre of Sociology.
But then you use this seeming sensitivity for Women’s Rights to try to demean Avi?
His wife has taken MAJOR stands against capitalism. He knows exactly what role it plays.
All military states build up homage to masculine ideas of power, force, and domination. To accomplish this, they teach men to disdain women and all things feminine. THAT is how the conditioning stays in place that raises army after army… generation bleeding into generation.
We can do our share by doing the simple things… Stop eating meat… Drive 55MPH…install solar panels and solar hot water heaters… Use public transportation. We are ruled by the laws of physics. The planet earth doesn’t care what we think or do or say. I think we are insane as a species.