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Climate change - Making big polluters pay / Overpopulation

category national | environment | other press author Sunday December 07, 2014 11:51author by Rua - concerned citizen of the earth / none Report this post to the editors

Only one year ago, supertyphoon Haiyan killed thousands, displaced millions of people and caused billions of dollars in damage. Communities are still struggling to rebuild their lives, grieving for loved ones lost and are now hit by another typhoon.

The toll in lives and rebuilding will continue to climb and its up to us to stand with the people of the Philippines and hold Big Polluters to account.

Just a few dozen Big Polluters, including major oil, coal and gas companies, are responsible for two-thirds of the pollution. Communities like those affected by Haiyan are footing the bill for their destruction while Big Polluters continue to rake in billions in profits by selling their climate-killing coal, oil and gas.

Right now, negotiators are gathered at the Conference of Parties in Lima, Peru to discuss a global agreement on climate change. Many of them are still doing the bidding of the Big Polluters but we can show them that the world is on the side of the people of the Philippines and wont back down in this fight.

The resilient people of the Philippines are ready to take ambitious action, including legal, against the biggest polluters, and they need us all to stand with them.

''As Typhoon Hagupit hits the Philippines, one of the biggest peacetime evacuations in history has been launched to prevent a repeat of the massive loss of life which devastated communities when Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the same area just over a year ago.

"One of the biggest evacuations in peacetime" strikes a sickening chord. Is this peacetime or are we at war with nature?

I was about to head to Lima, when I got a call to come to the Philippines to support our office and its work around Typhoon Hagupit (which means lash). In Lima another round of the UN climate talks are underway to negotiate a global treaty to prevent catastrophic climate change. A truce of sorts with nature.

But these negotiations have been going on far too long, with insufficient urgency and too much behind the scenes, and not so much behind the scenes, interference from the fossil fuel lobby.

This year, like last year and the year before these negotiations take place against a devastating backdrop of a so-called 'extreme weather event', something that climate scientists have been warning us about if we don't take urgent action.

Tragically, we are not taking urgent action. Nature does not negotiate, it responds to our intransigence. For the people of the Philippines, and in many other parts of the world, climate change is already a catastrophe.

Only one year ago, Super Typhoon Haiyan killed thousands, destroyed communities and caused billions of dollars in damage. Many survivors who are still displaced have this week had to evacuate the tents they have been living in as Typhoon Hagupit carves a path across the country as I write.

It's too early to assess the impact so far - we are all hoping early indications will spare the Philippines of the same pain that was experienced after Haiyan.

Here in Manila, we prepare to travel to the impacted areas in the wake of Typhoon Hagupit, or Ruby, as it has been named. We will offer what minor assistance we can.

We will stand in solidarity with the Filipino people and we will call out those who are responsible for climate change, those who are responsible for the devastation and who should be helping pay for the clean up and for adaptation to a world in which our weather is an increasing source of mass destruction.

With heavy hearts we prepare to bear witness. We challenge those in Lima to turn their attention from the lethargy and process of the negotiations and pay attention to what is happening in the real world.

We call on them to understand that climate change is not a future threat to be negotiated but a clear and present danger that requires urgent action now!

Each year, the people of the Philippines learn the hard way what inaction on emissions mean. They might be slightly better prepared and more resilient, but they are also rightly more aghast that each year - at the same time - the climate meetings seem to continue in a vacuum, not prepared to take meaningful action, not able to respond to the urgency of our time and not holding accountable the Big Polluters that are causing the climate to change with ferocious pace.

Before leaving for Manila I also received a message from Yeb Sao, climate commissioner for the Philippines: "I hope you can join us as we bear witness to the impact of this new super typhoon. Your help would be very valuable in delivering a message to Lima loud and clear."

Yeb was the Filipino chief negotiator for three years at the UN climate talks and recently visited the Arctic on a Greenpeace ship to witness the Arctic sea ice minimum. Two years ago in Doha, as Typhoon Pablo took the lives of many he broke through the normally reserved language of dispassionate diplomacy that dominates UN climate treaty talks:

"Please ... let 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to ... take responsibility for the future we want. I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?"

I am joining Greenpeace Philippines and Yeb to visit the worst hit areas, document the devastation and send a clear message from climate change ground zero to Lima and the rest of the world that the ones that are responsible for the majority of emissions will be held accountable by the communities that are suffering the impacts of extreme weather events linked to climate change.''

Quoting; Kumi Naidoo;Green peace international executive.

Link; http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/m...p__=1

Theres no other way to say this, 9 billion people,shitting eating and driving their car is NOT SUSTAINABLE
. Big polluters also need to take responsibility as they contribute to two thirds of the pollution in the earth's atmosphere.

Rampant consumerism/buying duplicate items that you dont need contributes to the mess, its simply unsustainalbe.

There are many other factors contributing to climate change, also overfishing can disrupt the delicate balance of the sea which in turn can also have a knock on effect in relation to climate change.

Taking important land and sea apex predators (by hunting/poaching,overfishing) out of the foodchain can also contribute to climate change, we are doing untold damage that we do not have a full understanding of; until its too late..

What is Ireland doing to take part in climate change action, think about who is the minister for the enviornment here; Alan Kelly who has let POOLBEG RUBBISH BURNING INCINERATOR - Go ahead! Some minister for the enviornment right there!

You couldnt make it up - In irish politics cute hoorism takes over any shred of principle in politics - principles mean nothing today!

If we don't act we will soon feel the effects of climate change here; Already our weather in winter is getting more extreme,more rainfall , more floods , no insurance pay outs for the poor etc.

If the government aren't careful climate change could easily cost us billions on a national level,and trillions worldwide!

Related Link: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/m...498&_
author by Ruapublication date Sun Dec 07, 2014 14:04Report this post to the editors

Just to add...Its not a question of when climate change is going to affect us,its a question of how its going to affect us..More unpredictable weather storms,more damage in the form of millons of euros for government,and more floods etc..

We cannot afford to ignore this,we must not vote in greedy capitalist gombeens in government.

Alan kelly the minister for the enviornment of the labour party, has let rubbish burning facility poolbeg get the go ahead ,covanta the company involved has a seriously bad track record full of violations,look up covanta watch.org for further reading on this..

author by Reflexivitypublication date Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:52Report this post to the editors

This 'overpopulation' oversimplifies and spreads blame in an equal manner across all populations. Really it is about time environmentalists moved the debate to "Whose population?". There are slum dwellers and street walkers in India who are kept alive through their waste processing (recycling) activities. They are so poor that the carbon effect of what they consume can be cancelled out by these activities. There will not be 9 billion people driving cars. Only some will drive cars.

It is time to ask which population and social class are building large houses, driving two cars per family, taking long haul flights. There should also be emphasis on questioning who are driving private jets, buying mansions, private heated swimming pools, etc. This is not just to improve the accuracy of climate change mitigation advocacy but also in the interest of fairness and social justice (essential to the environmentalist movement).

Related Link: http://mythsofourtime.wordpress.com/category/sociology-...ange/
author by Ruapublication date Thu Dec 11, 2014 17:29Report this post to the editors

There are - Over 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating in our oceans; Most of it comes from India and Africa,these populations are no anglels either..

Proportionally there may be a higher percentage per head of population driving,but the third world have to take their share of responsiblity too,look at all the driving in lagos and bombay and other indian and african cities,there are still lots of fossil fuels being burned in africa for example.

Maybe its more politically correct for you to look only at european populations,so as not to ruffle any feathers :)

Enviornmentalism;(lastly i just want to say) should NEVER be politicised...To suit any creed colour or religion...

author by fredpublication date Thu Dec 11, 2014 18:58Report this post to the editors

Rua, Get your facts right.
I guess you are referring to the pacific gyre. Well most of that plastic comes from the USA and Japan not india and africa.

And it is a fact that one average white american uses at least 25 times as much energy as one average african.

And it's also a fact that about 23% of greenhouse gases are caused by meat production, that westerners eat far more meat than those in the third world, and that the US eat more meat than any other western country by a large margin.

So you should stop blaming third world countries and seriously consider becoming a vegan or vegetarian like a majority of those in India and africa before you start going on about climate change without coming across as a complete hypocrite and quite honestly a bit of a racist.

The bald fact is westerners are relatively speaking by far the worst climate criminals of all.
And the best thing you can do for the planet as a westerner is not to have any children.

author by Ruapublication date Thu Dec 11, 2014 19:35Report this post to the editors

I will expose any population that is grossly contributing to overpopulation,lets face it india and africa need to put a condom on it,because its those areas that are breeding exponentially.

You are treating them like a protected species,that shouldnt be critisized. Quite frankly any argument you have on westerners being the sole contributors to human overpopulation - goes out the f--king window,when these populations reproduce like tins of baked beans in a factory.

Those are the hard,cold facts,hardly racist to point that out.But of course in an ever dangerous climate of political correctness,the issue of climate change will never be truly addressed until we start talking about putting a cap on populations.

Its not europe thats breeding out of control,its the third world populations and immigrant populations in europe,but if im to say that; im a f--king racist according to someone like you.

The fact is there is over 5 trillion pieces of individual plastics in our oceans ingested by whales and turtles etc,this needs to be addressed today,whether these bits of plastic come from india,pakistan,china(and china is a BIG polluter),japan or america..

Its not just the first world contributing to human overpopulation and pollution,its the third world too,but is that too much for you to take in,has it broken your political correctness barometer yet? :)

You will tell westerners not to have any children,but will let the biggest contributors to human overpopulation off the hook - because of their skincolour,now that sounds indeed racist...

Why don't you hold them to the same standards you do any ''westerner''??Hmm fred?

author by Rua_reloadedpublication date Thu Dec 11, 2014 22:18Report this post to the editors

You say its best only WESTERNERS stop having children,right? So you let the third world off the hook,all those car drivers in bombay,those bush-meat eaters in africa,all those car drivers in african cities like lagos,nigeria etc?

Just let them off the hook because why,that wouldnt be classed as racist right??? You see the flaw in your argument is there are plenty of people who are more than willing to take the westerners place if and when all the westerners die off and dont have children?Plenty willing to take the mantel and fight over it...

Lets just say for arguments sake the westerners decided to agree with fred and not have any children anymore and completely die off,there will be other immigrants to take their place,shit,eat meat and drive,have kids etc..

What then?Do you let them off the hook and not say (like you did about westerners) don't have children?Because they are brown maybe?

Examine why you are arguing this politically correct point... :)

Im not racist,im about treating everyone equally..

author by Curiouspublication date Fri Dec 12, 2014 10:16Report this post to the editors

.....is the relevance of the skin colour of an American, or anybody else for that matter, got to do with their energy use. I mean I get that the average American uses 25 times as much energy as the average African no argument there. But I'm intrigued as to why you throw in the qualifying adjective "white" in a sort of pejorative manner. Do you have some data that shows that white-skinned Americans use more energy than non white-skinned ones. Or are you just making a lazy assumption and drawing generalized behavioural inferences from skin colour? Which would make YOU the racist, eh?

AND, if the best thing a westerner can do for the planet is to avoid having children, yes, well I can see the logic in that argument, it saves a whole lifetime of carbon emitting. Which will have more of an impact than anything a westerner can do to reduce their own carbon impact in the remainder of their life, fair enough there. BUT, exactly the same logic applies to a non-westerner, although obviously the impact is lesser in absolute terms. So, it is equally true to say that the best thing a non-westerner can do for the planet is to avoid having children too.

To be honest Fred, it sounds like you are gleefully seizing on what are valid environmental concerns to push a politically partisan anti-capitalist, anti-western agenda. And some dodgy views on skin colour too.

While we're at it, even though I've adopted your language of doing the best thing "for the planet", I actually think this is a stupid way of expressing what is a very valid concept. All concern in this should be directed at the best interests of the people, current and future, who need to live on this planet. The planet doesn't need our concern - it's only a lump of rock water metals and gases travelling though space. It's the inhabitants of the planet and especially the future ones we need to worry about.

author by fredpublication date Sat Dec 13, 2014 07:28Report this post to the editors

Yes it is true all humans, merely by existing use energy and create greenhouse gases.
And it's also true that Less humans = less pollution / greenhouse gases / energy / water use etc etc
However resource use and pollution are not uniform across humanity and as regards exactly where
we should begin to address the issue of population, some groups are clearly far more culpable than others.
If we are going down this slippery road then logic dictates we should start with the worst offenders surely?
Which is quite likely ourselves!

A previous poster fixated on the reproduction of africans and indians and immigrants as somehow the root of the problem and as such the place to start any population control efforts. However the facts indicate that per capita these people are far less energy intensive than westerners, notably US caucasians who it seems would rank by far the highest on such criteria. It follows that greatest effect would be achieved by first reducing population of those who use most and do most damage. i.e. western caucasians. especially americans.
I can only surmise that the previous posters premise was based on rather murkier motivations than logic or science.

For your information, there IS quite likely a correlation between skin colour and increased energy use and greenhouse gas emission levels

Non caucasians tend to be poorer than caucasians
Poorer people tend to use (often 25 times )less energy than richer people
ergo non caucasians tend to use less energy than caucasians
It's fair to say that in general white americans are statistically better off than black americans, puerto ricans, mexicans and most other non caucasian ethnic groups and as such would tend to use proportionately more energy and produce measurably more greenhouse gases too across a large population such as that of the United states.

Using this logic, it is fair to say that there is likely a correlation between skin colour, energy use and hence production of greenhouses gases. This is demonstrably true in the case of africa and india. And apparently it is by a considerable margin

Skin colour in this instance is a convenient shorthand to differentiate the highest polluting and energy use group (US caucasians) from other groups that are less culpable in this respect.

OF COURSE skin colour has absolutely nothing directly to do with energy use, or anything else for that matter. I never stated otherwise.
Correlation is NOT causation. But there IS a correlation, no doubt for obvious reasons of economic disadvantage.

Sadly there does seem to be a pretty good general correlation between skin colour and economic status across the US population, hence it follows that that it is very likely you can probably relate energy use and greenhouse gas creation with skin colour too. that's just common sense logic. You can also relate skin colour with your mortality rate and likelyhood to be imprisoned on death row, or stopped and searched by police etc etc. Does pointing this out make me a racist too??

If you are implying I'm a racist because I used correlations between wealth and skin colour as part of an attempt to defend poor people of colour from a bigot then you will also have to call the human rights organisations that came up with such data racist too.

I agree that the term "saving the planet" is stupid when you examine it. I was merely using it as common parlance. I'm not a believer in the term at all. It's humans saving their own habitat for themselves. But we don't like to make it so obvious we are only concerned with our own interests here. We like to pretend we are being altruistic when merely saving our own asses

regarding my partisan anti capitalist anti westerner agenda, well look around and ask yourself, which nations are the worst in terms of pe capita greenhouse gas production and which corporate friendly ideology is currently responsible for most of the ripping out and exploitation of the earth' resources at a ferocious rate, polluting it on a vast scale? Perhaps that explains partly why I seem so hostile towards capitalism and western nations when discussing ecological matters. The fact is the changes we need to make are systemic in nature. We will not achieve the necessary change we need in this area without making altering the system of capitalism itself. Demonising particular tribal or socio economic groupings of humans and blaming them, (even ameicans!) is merely a distraction from the real job that needs to be addressed here. Fighting amongst ourselves is counterproductive and is exactly what those vested interests who wish to maintain the current suicidal status quo as long as possible want us all to be doing. If we are to have any hope at all, we have to try and unite and work together on these huge problems that face our species, otherwise in the longer term we likely do not have a future that anyone would wish to exist in. Personally I'm quite pessimistic about our chances of averting another easter island scenario and hold out little hope of human beings waking up and acting rationally until it's far too late.

author by fredpublication date Mon Dec 15, 2014 00:26Report this post to the editors

some discussion about overpopulation here


author by Tpublication date Mon Dec 15, 2014 00:38Report this post to the editors

To weigh in here, I think it should be obvious that climate change which is a really a sub-section of the much wider environmental destruction is ultimately a political and cultural problem.

At a basic level any sort of economic activity uses resources and produces waste and the bigger that (global) economy then the more this will happen. At this point in our history humans are appropriating most of the land area to its own needs and has done vast damage to all the world fisheries and ecosystems.

Our Western consumerist society is the lifeblood of the capitalist system and in the past few decades that system has morphed into the neo-liberal model which is more desperate and intolerable of any opposition as it rapidly evolves towards a sort of totalitarian system. Without rampant consumption this form of the economic system would go under. If we go back two decades or so the biggest users of resources were the USA and then to a slightly lesser extent Europe and then of course the other Western entities like Canada, Japan, Australia. As China developed it has certainly greatly increased it use of resources and output of waste although it still as yet does not match the US. The essential point to note though is that they are adopting the same economic model as US & Europe and so it is not surprising we get the same result. Likewise lots of other semi-developed countries around the world are all trying to follow the same path and as they do, the ecological footprint is increasing.

There are many things that could be done to greatly lessen the use of resources. Taking just one example: Suppose every major city in the world (say of half a million people or more) decided to expand their public transport system by a factor of two or three and then make public transport free for everyone. So in the case of Dublin with about 1,000 buses, lets suppose this is doubled to 2,000. This would massively increase the utility of the service (in every city) and actually make it worthwhile and useful. So with one stroke we could massively reduce the amount of cars needed and have a huge reduction in CO-2 emissions and other associated pollutants.

But we know this is never ever going to happen. There are just too many vested interests against it. You will also have noticed that the Green movement has been hijacked to talk about solutions within the capitalist framework and that is to continue selling product namely electric as opposed to petrol cars. The above solution does not follow that model and is therefore unacceptable under any circumstance. Thus we can get a glimpse of the inherent problems with capitalism and its need for endless growth and why it must be opposed. In the case of capitalism today, the main actors driving our insane behaviour are the key players of the system, namely the large corporations and financial elite who back and direct the plundering of the environment and the spotlight should be firmly on them.

On the other hand though, that does not let other political forms off the hook. For example during the era of the Soviet Union -which many might describe as closer to State capitalist than socialism, the USSR had huge emissions for its size and gross energy inefficiencies and part of this was because they had a ready source of cheap energy, but it also shows that just changing the political system without thinking through the interaction with the environment doesn't necessarily solve the problems.

Returning to the main point though, it is clear climate change and environmental destruction will not be reversed or even slowed down unless the political problems are addressed. The chances of this happening though are slim because we all live in a continual propaganda bubble which is extremely effective at shaping the opinions, thoughts and worldviews of most people and just as importantly creates the necessary continual distractions and constant streams of lies to prevent except the most ardent few from knowing or even realizing the state we are in. In fact looking back at all the endless environmental summits of the last 25 years that all built up the promise of putting together an agreement on greenhouse gas emissions, we can now see that these were also part of the propaganda setup, because capitalism then and now has no intention of doing anything about them. In fact these summits are a complete waste of time because they achieve nothing and any things they do claim to achieve usually are very watered down and are not implemented anyhow.

Regarding the cultural aspect of all this, the propaganda system at its core taps into the cultural framework and has indeed shaped it in recent times, and manages to emphasize those aspects of it which happen to be quite destructive but also profitable to the elite of the present system. For example the idea of dominance of nature within Christianity has been retained and amplified and this extends all the way to the way GM crops are foisted on us. Other aspects are the way the individual is constantly emphasised and held up on a pedestal while large groups of people working together in a voluntary framework of equality are almost non-existant. The only time we see large groups of people together in the capitalist media is when they are brought together under a commercial framework. Concerts and football matches spring to mind. Those aspects of our culture containing solidarity and cooperation are not just nurtured but actively snubbed out by the dominant ideology.

So even a cursory glance leaves little room for hope and I think a lot of people have realized this and maybe at a unconscious level for some too and may explain why a certain fraction of environmentally inclined people tend to emphasise that disaster awaits and why we hear so often that we have only X years to change our ways, where X is usually 5, 10 or 20 years. And it is not that I disagree as it sure looks that way. In short environmental overshoot is in my opinion very likely. Nevertheless the underlying theme or rather hope seems to be is that threat of disaster will shake everyone including the elite out of their complacency and there is this almost wish that some such disaster would happen sooner rather than later because the sooner is done the more chance we can ultimately save ourselves. It is quite possible other forms of this underlying reaction amongst individuals get manifested in other ways and channelled into blaming certain groups whilst yet others try a different tacit and clutch at every techno fix they come across. The most extreme form is that Fusion power will save us. It won't. It would just allow us to mess things up for a bit longer on a even grander scale.

The deniers of climate change or that anything is wrong politically which would tend to be the christian fundamentalist types and ardent supporters of all thing neo-liberal but also a good many liberals from the church of ever-lasting-progress are probably reacting to the limits of human growth by sticking their head firmly in the sand. They are unable to bring themselves to admit that there are limits and human society needs to mature and deal with them.

However what most people find hard to accept is that the project of human industrialisation is probably over and we are entering the closing stages, that climate change is happening, we are not going to mitigate it and the great (technical) hopes of humanity are not going to be fulfilled. This can be hard to accept because we are all vested in some form in the present system and it is about killing whatever hopes we have about it. Now some might think this is a bit of a doomer view and maybe it is, but it seems most realistic when you try and get a handle on the physical limitations we are up against. For all we know this same rise and fall of advanced technical civilisation that was unable to grapple with the thorny issue of integrating and respecting the idea of limits into its political system has occurred tens of thousands of times elsewhere in the universe and that we are simply another natural experiment that has failed again and only in exceedingly rare circumstances does one of these systems happen to be lucky enough to evolve along that correct path to arrive at the next stage of their advancement whatever that might be.

So what can we do? It seems not a lot for we are all waiting for the others to act and to truly act in the most environmental way in present society is to try and opt out of it, but this is impossible because we are chained into it financially. Even if you decided to sell everything and buy a small house on a plot of land in the country, the property tax would force you to engage in the system in order to pay it. And yet this stereotype of going the individual route is another success of the propaganda system because for any change to occur that has any hope of making a difference, requires that the very structures that human society has created -namely institutes, governments and other large bodies and organisations need to be part of that change to make things happen not just at the local but regional and global level too.

author by Ruapublication date Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:53Report this post to the editors

Just to surmise some facts i have come across in an article,since my ban i have had the time to look up many articles,here is a balanced one...


Written by chinese man Zou Ji, a deputy director-general, national centre for climate change strategy and international cooperation, china.

In this article he states that the co2 emissions of the developing world at present is ''unsustainable'',and i would have to agree.

BTW fred im not saying europe doesn't have a problem either,but if you look at the diagrams you will see europe is not the biggest polluter,shock horror its those other people of other nations you were talking about who are saints from above and couldnt possibly be repsonsible for huge emissions...

''Developing countries will suffer the most from the weather-related disasters and increased water stress caused by global warming.'' Developing countries are at sea level,some below,which makes them particularly vunerable to weather changes,rising seas,and inevitable flooding.

But of course fred wants to ignore that,because these are people of colour...

''Rising pollution in the developing world is ranked as the sixth most significant global trend this year and in Asia its the third. China became the largest greenhouse gas emitter in 2005 and remains in this position, followed by the United States and the European Union, according to the World Resources Institute. Brazil and India are the fifth and the eighth biggest polluters.''

When it comes to climate change - we cannot let anybody off the hook,no matter where they come from or who they are.

Enviornmentalism should not be politicised to suit, any colour, , creed , or religion ...

Which fred is doing... You don't see the bigger picture you get hung up over colour , yet you call me that errnonious 'r' word..

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