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Kyoto to Doha: Why Climate abatement talks always fail !


Through this article, we would try to find why we are failing again and again at Climate Change Negotiation for the past 20 years, my comment on the EU and the USA, no way includes the stellar work done by peers and compatriots; of those who are the true crusaders of Climate change abatement. But perhaps this could be used as an introspection on what we as a Human Civilization have become World over. We shall also try to explore how we can find a way forward form a fresh perspective.

Last November news on the Telegraph readAmerica will produce more oil than Saudi Arabia by 2020 and become a net exporter a decade later, according to the International Energy Agency.

As a child, I used to hear my father say. “USA would one day be the largest producer of Oil”. He foretold. His argument was that the USA is conserving its oil while depleting the stock of the Middle East. By becoming the largest consumer of almost everything it would by the laws of market forces rule over the World. ‘There is no need for conquest by force, when one can have agents of greed agree to rape and plunder there National wealth to fill their coffers with Dollars and in a way be an extension of the US way of life‘;he had added.

So while the World filled their Banks with “Bonds” and “Dollars” made of Paper, the US kept the Gold and Silver at Fort Knox and the rich petroleum below.

Thus the USA became a consumerist society and was taught to waste. A well designed social system was put in place, where the people from Cinema and other entertainment were made into “diva” and “Greek god”. Their life-style became fashion statement. With limited intellect and skills beyond looking bodily beautiful, earning huge sums of money for contributing nothing of substance to the well-being of the planet, a whole industry thriving on Narcissism started to become norm for the western World and slowly percolated to the Orient too.

The World society as a whole moved from seeking essential goods and commodities to “must have”. It became an obsession to have a Second – Home, Car, Watch or Pen. So much so that today we have a jingle to a software launch which says – I want to be everything at once. Consistency and common-sense be dammed !

So much so that there are more fruits in a rich man’s shampoo than in the plate of the malnourished. Something the UN on their regular sojourn around the World to eradicate hunger and depletion of forest must ponder upon.

Today the life-style of the West is so pervasive that young impressionable minds believed around the World, with great help from a frenzied media that

  • eating just one bite from a plate-full of food and throwing away the rest was fashionable. It showed that you are not greedy ( anybody who thought that it was a sensible thing to finish the plate was ridiculed to death ).
  • wearing a haute couture dress twice became morally wrong and punishable. Now a woman of substance can’t even wear shoe, hat or a simple glove twice. And if two girls wear the same it is considered a disaster.
  • from food, clothes,bag, boxes, jewellery it percolated down to use and throw pens, watches, camera and what not.
  • Skin and hair must stay as young and supple as that of a new-born. Although I can show the world people with better hair, skin and physical shape working in the paddy fields across India. And yes, 10 times more beautiful than the faces on fashion magazine, without using a single product the big business houses launch.

Waste is bliss. For the corporate whose business Empire grow make sure that someone who can represent their ideas rule the roost in popular media and politics. It is amazing to see how almost every Nation believes that to be hip and happening, one needs to eject ingenious habits and ape that of popular west.

How then can the West suddenly convince their populace to adapt and adopt life-style which requires a low GHG consumption ?

Are the very negotiators not conditioned in life-style diagrammatically opposing to what they need to ratify ? Civilization has always been built on the Ego of Man. Empire and Emperors shaped the destiny of people based on what they perceived as true.

Therefore the interlocutors we need on behalf of the West should be chosen from the likes of CAN International. World Resources, Climate Co Lab of MIT, OXFAM  IUCN, Greenpeace and similar. Else the World as the LDC’s, ALBA’s and Small Island Nations know would not be there soon for them to live upon.

I would like all to pause as the above statement and reflect – Who are the greatest losers of Climate Change? Those which are either too poor to abate or adapt to the severe changes Global warming may bring about. As for the larger Nations, they are comforted by the fact that they can take the proverbial  hit on the chin and still stand its ground.

The psychology is attuned since the Cold War era to believe that, their disaster response system in case of an all out Nuclear War is already there. Surely Climate change would not be that sudden and thus with ample response time they would always be able to save the important plants and animals.

The Super powers by default of who they are; are conditioned to rationalize the words like – Collateral damages; Expendables; Minimizing the percentage of loss; etcetera. Thus, not much ice has been cut in the last 20 years of talks.

And so much so that, on the flip side the Super Storm Sandy has actually help reinforce the “invincibility” factor in the minds of some. ‘Look, our advanced technology and warning system could predict the storm much before it hit us’. Some would argue. ‘And with the superlative discipline and wherewithal in place damage to life and limb was minimum’. Will be the following consolation.

And somewhere, the fat corporate giant would send in their lobbyist to block plans to rationalize the climate talks. After-all there is so much to build back after a disaster. What an opportunity.

And hell no. Not one such business house would want a loss of life (Human only). Each human is always a potential buyer of goods after all. It’s bad for business. But, such things happen. Too bad, life must go on. And that is what the departed would have wanted, they would argue and with much empathy slip the latest house design in the hands of the living, while the insurance guy stands in the queue with the most friendly smile.

One’s emotional response to a situation is conditioned according to the life s/he has lived. Nations are built by people.

It is really funny, if one pauses to think that a religious argument is being forwarded to straighten a business wrong. So to change the mindset of those Nations or groups who do not consider that it is their moral responsibility to shoulder the burden of Climate change. The LDC, BASIC and the ALBA along with the Small Island Nations, speak in the language the EU and the USA government understand. The language of Business.

So while it is difficult to get commitment into the GEF, surely it would not be difficult for the Parliaments of the Nations most vulnerable to Climate change, pass laws of taxing those who would want to conduct business with them. A Cess perhaps ? For that, corruption has to end. But faced with the potential of having their feet wet  or throat parched by and for water; Peoples behaviour can change.

And change in the thinking and mindset of people must happen soon. We can not afford to keep on extending the deadline until the grand-child of Suzuki repeats the speech spoken 21 years ago in yet another UNFCCC meet.

 

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Green Business Ideas: India gives a PAT to Inclusive Wealth Report 2012


Whatever said and done; the Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh has the best sense of timing when it  comes to providing impetus to the Economy, launching PAT under NMEEE this week, is one such achievement. Let us look at how such green initiatives are going to be one of the best bet in boosting the Green Economy not only in India but world-wide.

A direct link can easily be established between India’s NAPCC agenda (of which PAT is a part) and IWR’s core thought. I had dealt in greater detail on what is NAPCC in – Green Business Ideas : India should promote NSM & NMSH to make NMEEE a success. So I will only bring out the thought which resonates with the IWR in this article. Below are some of the very recent remarks found on the News, post the culmination of UNFCCC‘s summit at Rio and excerpts from the UNU-IHDP’s & UNEP’s  report IWR 2012 .

guardian.co.ukThe bizarre weather of early summer in the US – from heatwave, wildfires, drought to freak storms – is just a sampling of what is to come for 2012 and a window to the future under climate change…..

green-buzz.net – Global warming will mess up with attempts to save the Amazon rainforest, based on a negative new research that predicts that a third of its trees will be wiped out by even small temperature rises. …

guardian.co.uk – Whenever an episode of extreme weather – heat wave, flood, drought, etc – hits the headlines, someone somewhere is sure to point the finger of blame at human-induced climate change….

bbc.co.uk – Leaves are getting narrower on some plant species as a result of changes to the climate, a study has suggested.

In the last decade, almost one million people have been killed by disasters and more than one trillion dollars have been lost. Yet only 1% of international aid is spent to minimise the impact of these disasters : UNDP

The remark of UNDP simply reinforces the scope and depth of opportunity global business has in extracting itself out of the morass of economic slowdown and begin towards a newer and dynamic economic model based on the lines of a B-Corp, a recent and fast catching phenomenon around the western hemisphere.  And presently the slow down of  world economy is partly due to the slowdown in ideas and direction in the EU and lets not forget the Lehman Brothers very soon, lest the USA makes similar mistake again, in its present climb-up the ladder of economic well-being.

“IWI is among a range of potential replacements which world leaders can consider as a way of bringing great precision to assessing wealth generation in order to realize sustainable development and eradicate poverty,”said UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, during the launch of the Inclusive Wealth Report 2012 (IWR), a joint initiative launched at Rio+20 by the “International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (UNU-IHDP) hosted by the United Nations University and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Wealth accounting, the concept behind the IWI, draws up a balance sheet for nations and shows countries where their wealth lies. By taking into account a wide array of capital assets a nation has at its disposal to secure society’s well-being, it presents a more comprehensive picture and informs policy makers on the importance of maintaining their nation’s capital base for future generations. The importance of keeping an eye on the full range of a country’s capital assets becomes particularly evident when population growth is factored in.

Key findings from the report are:

  • While 19 out of the 20 countries experienced a decline in natural capital, six also saw a decline in their inclusive wealth, putting them on an unsustainable track, Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, South Africa and Nigeria were the nations that failed to grow. The remaining 70 per cent of countries show IWI per-capita growth, indicating sustainability.
  • High population growth with respect to IWI growth created unsustainable conditions in five of the six countries mentioned above. Russia’s lack of growth was due largely to a drop in manufactured capital
  • 25 per cent of countries which showed a positive trend when measured by GDP per capita and HDI were found to have a negative IWI per capita. The primary driver of the difference in performance was the decline in natural capital
  • With the exception of France, Germany, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States, all countries surveyed have a higher share of natural capital than manufactured capital, highlighting its importance
  • Human capital has increased in every country and is the prime capital form that offsets the decline in natural capital in most economies
  • There are clear signs of trade-off effects between the different forms of capital
  • Technological innovation and/or oil capital gains (due to rising prices) outweigh decline in natural capital and damages from climate change, moving a number of countries – Russia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – from an unsustainable to a sustainable trajectory
  • Estimates of inclusive wealth can be improved significantly with better data on the stocks of natural, human and social capital and their values for human well-being.

Recommendations

While inclusive wealth has increased for most countries, the report shows that an examination of natural capital is crucial for policy makers.

Even though a reduction in natural capital can be offset by the accumulation of manufactured and human capital, which are reproducible, many natural resources such as oil and minerals cannot be replaced. As a result, a more inclusive definition of wealth that will secure a legacy for future generations is urgently needed in the discussion of sustainable economic and social development.

The report, which will be produced every two years, makes the following specific recommendations:

  • Countries witnessing diminishing returns in natural capital should invest in renewable natural capital to improve their IWI and the well-being of their citizens. Example investments include reforestation and agricultural biodiversity
  • Nations should incorporate the IWI within planning and development ministries to encourage the creation of sustainable policies
  • Countries should speed up the process of moving from an income-based accounting framework to a wealth accounting framework
  • Macroeconomic policies should be evaluated on the basis of IWI rather than GDP per capita
  • Governments and international organizations should establish research programmes to value key components of natural capital, in particular ecosystems.

UN Under-Secretary General and Rector of the United Nations University, Prof. Konrad Osterwalder, concluded that using the IWI would safeguard the interests of many developing nations.

If one reads the document of NAPCC  and compares it with the MDG’s which reads- “The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have functioned as an important tool to focus international attention and action around key pressing global issues,” he said. “As 2015 fast approaches, the deadline for meeting the MDGs, it is clear that the opportunities for many developing countries to achieve their goals may be compromised if the present rates of decline of various crucial ecosystem services continue.”  – one would find a lot of commonalities.

And in the recently launched PAT document India is moving another step in the right direction towards inclusive wealth generation. – Designated Consumers (DCs) account for 25% of the national gross domestic product (GDP) and about 45% of commercial energy use in India. In order to further accelerate as well as incentivize energy efficiency, the Government of India is designing a Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) Scheme. PAT is a market based mechanism to enhance cost effectiveness of improvements in energy efficiency in energy intensive large industries and facilities, through certification of energy savings that could be traded. The genesis of the PAT mechanism flows out of the provision of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.

By this one very act, if implemented properly business all-over the world would get a boost. An an Emerging Economy India needs to develop and for that it has to create capacity in the core fields of – 9 industrial sectors namely Thermal
Power Plants, Fertilizer, Cement, Pulp and Paper, Textiles, Chlor-Alkali, Iron & Steel, Aluminium and Railways.

To bring in energy efficiency in these core sectors Indian Industry would be looking at the West which whatever be the current economic scenario, still lead in R&D in many areas and has off-the shelf solutions for most industrial machinery. They have the state of art product design and solution and a need a wider market which can absorb the supply. The BRIC Nations are the ones which can rise up to the occasion and with PAT, India can attain leadership position by 2015, in this space. NMEEE can be divided into   PAT; MTEE; EEFP & FEED  and together they would not only be able to have a positive impact on the GDP but their implementation shall have a direct positive effect on various service sectors  and  create the much needed jobs all around.

Let us take the most important and controversial sector of Thermal Power Plants – it is one of the greatest concern for Environmentalist all over the planet and if this sector itself has to reduce its SEC, serious thought would be applied to overcome the challenges.  And through PAT it shall be addressed because conventional thermal power fuel is coal, which although a natural capital is also a potential GHG hazard and to extract it we need to deplete the most important wealth of any Nation – the forest cover.

The Indian Industry through the CII is already geared up for this challenge and ground work has already started. The CII – Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre [CII Godrej GBC] is promoting the concept of ‘Make Indian thermal power plants world class’. The main aim is to bring the industry together to exchange views and meet new technologies, facilitate continuous performance improvement in thermal power plants and thereby achieve world  class standards. I am confident that given the stakes, a green economy with long term wealth generation vs  “gone” ecology, the present Thermal Power plants which are coal fired and GHG intensive would take on the new avatar of  CSP driven thermal power plants.

To the common person who associate Thermal power plants to polluting coal and do not want to see them existing any-more, the coal is just a fuel that is used to boil the water to steam, which runs the turbines and generates electricity. In technical terms all that is required is to switch the fuel from the GHG intensive Coal to Concentrated Solar Power or CSP.  The era of Solar Aided Power Generation from Conventional Fossil Fuelled Power Stations has already arrived.

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region a great concept towards renewable energy is taking shape The DESERTEC concept which will be an astronomical step towards sustainable supply of green energy at a global dimension. It is estimated that CSP plants in MENA can generate up to 470, 000 MW by 2050. Similarly in the USA, Bright Source Energy’s tower solar collector in the Mojave Desert would supply up to 900 megawatts of clean energy to California in the next decade. The new technology will use several “power towers” at each commercial plant. An array of hundreds of mirrors known as heliostats will reflect sunlight onto a boiler atop each tower, and the resulting steam will power a turbine.

The above illustrates the great changes that are occurring in  the Industry and Economy of the world. And we have in the India context only  touched the first of the 9-DC’s considered under PAT. Rest assured, the green economy model would soon encompass all sectors of industry mentioned. And it would be the best thing than can happen to this planet.

 

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Save Petroleum form Extinction – Save Earth !


Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 ...

Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 relative to the average temperatures from 1940 to 1980 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Petroleum products Nylon zippers, ballet tights,plastic hangers, pantyhose, permanent press clothing, flip flops/thongs, fake fur, polyester clothing, ball point pens ink, computer diskettes, computers copiers, magic markers, telephones, microfilm, cameras, earphones, footballs, knitting needles, tennis racquets, golf balls,  stuffed animals, band aids, Vaseline, rubbing alcohol, Pepto-Bismol hair colouring, soap, cough syrup, hair spray, lipstick, denture, adhesives, egg cartons, candles, wax paper, nylon spatulas, Teflon pans, Formica linoleum, garden hoses, plungers,  floor wax, Plexiglas, balloons, CDROMs, check book covers, video cassettes, credit cards, dice, watch bands, Plastic furniture… If I recycle these and don’t use…Petrol, Diesel, Kerosene, LPGAnti-freeze, trash bags, shopping bags, spray paint, freezer bags, plastic bottles (Each year, 1.5 million barrels of oil go to making plastic water bottles used in the United States. Less than 25% are recycled)….I get to save Petroleum. I reduce Global Warming and save the petroleum for more productive use than burning it all up or thrashing it to fill up land-fills.

Climate_Change_Attribution_fr

Climate_Change_Attribution_fr (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So will Rio+20 UNFCCC meet think about these? Create awareness? If it needs to convince the World to turn around and reverse the 3.5°C rise in temperature, it needs to think and think from the view point of how to save our most precious resource, petroleum.

The one and only Petroleum, which helped us move away from wearing the Shakespearian tights to the colourful nylon stockings. Thus heralding the modern era, where we no more die of charcoal fumes but coal, petrol, nuclear etc a whole mix of deadly fumes as it helped in quantum jump of the Industrial revolution. If that is not progress, what is ?

On a more sombre note; More than six billion men, women and children will inhabit urban areas around the world in 2050 when the global population would have surged to nine billion, putting stress on the natural resources that supply energy and food. The Earth resources are finite, be it Land, Potable water or Forest cover and the minerals which are trapped under the forest cover. And it does not take a genius to understand that per capita profit is directly related to the amount of product and produce you have for trade.

Therefore, in the Rio+20 summit, let us not talk about Global Warming and Climate change and how important it is to abate it to ensure survival of civilization. But how profits world over would dip, if resource management is not taken up on an urgent basis.

It would be wise for the OPEC countries to stop selling crude to the Gasoline manufacturers but demand a long-term business relation with Plastic furniture manufacturer, Nylon makers and other petroleum by-product manufacturers and demand a premium. (and a hefty sum from all the air-borne paratroopers who need a plastic cloth to bail them out during emergencies or when they drop down on foreign soil to create an emergency for the ruling dispensation).

OPEC kind of controls the fate of Dell, Apple, Nokia, Victoria Secrets,Vaseline et all; if OPEC does not offer them the plastic they so need how can they profit? Therefore if OPEC ask for guarantees that their crude would not be burnt up into thin smoke but used to create the various by products they would profit more. Once the datum of the raw material changes, its value proposition at source would increase. So it can obviously make more profit and at the same time the OPEC Nations can bask in the glory of creating the Messiah solution for saving Earth from GHG induced Climate change. At least a major part.

And this would automatically give a fillip to renewable energy and bio-fuel industry too; which can finally take up its rightful place as the real energy providers in terms of electrical generation and transportation fuel.

Therefore it is not necessary for climate supporters to fight the coal and petroleum lobby but make popular through sustained information the by-products of petroleum and coal which very few people give a thought to and ask them what they prefer most. To burn up this precious substance or make maximum use of the by-products; many of which have a fair chance of recycle and reuse.

It would be prudent for all to understand that the modern life-style we are so comfortable with would vanish with the depletion of Coal & Petroleum. Products we take for granted would not come by cheap and plenty. It is therefore the need of the hour for the Citizens of every Nation to understand the challenges. Lastly this article only covers just two products which with their finite limit, can cause so much discomfort. We are yet to find out how to feed 9 Billion with food and water and then find them shelter!

All religion says 9 times God came to earth…. will we make it to 10 Billion? Or Extinction stares at the face.

Save Petroleum from Extinction – Save your Business with a Green Idea (oyeta936.wordpress.com)

 

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