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Updates on Cop26, what a week!

This week is wild: Halloween, Beltane, Divali, Melbourne Cup.

And Cop26.

It’s too early to assess the outcomes, but we know a few things.

Bolsanaro, Putin, and Xi Jinping didn’t turn up, and made no pledges. This shows what is, to my mind, the single most important development in climate change in the past years, even more than the relentless drop in the cost of renewable energy.

Since 2006, there has been an accelerating shift away from democracy and towards authoritarianism. Authoritarians will never act in the collective interest: they are in power precisely to do the opposite. The more our fear of climate change ramps up, the more people will turn to strongmen, and the weaker the political will to act altruistically.

There was a great address by UN chief António Guterres.

“Recent climate action announcements might give the impression that we are on track to turn things around. This is an illusion”…

Guterres gave a stark depiction of human ruin, with the planet changing before our eyes in the form of melting glaciers, disappearing forests and polluted oceans, the result of “treating nature like a toilet”.

He said: “We face a stark choice: either we stop [the addiction] or it stops us. It’s time to say: enough. Enough of brutalising biodiversity. Enough of killing ourselves with carbon.”

People seem to be reasonably happy with Modi’s committment to net zero by 2070. (I’m not, I don’t trust Modi one little bit.)

Here’s a powerful set of statements by world leaders:

The Archbishop of Canterbury went there:

They [the world leaders] could have been brilliant in everything else they’ve done, and they will be cursed if they don’t get this right. They could have been rubbish at everything else they’ve done. But if they get this right, the children of today will rise up and bless them in 50 years.

And here’s a set of charts summarizing the state of things. As usual, this tries to balance urgency with possibility. And as usual, it does this by an accounting sleight of hand.

The “causes” and “consequences” are real descriptions of the environment: CO2 levels, temperatures, and so on.

The “upside” shifts to talk about technology—increase in renewables, EVs, battery costs. None of these actually help the environment in any way. On the contrary, they are terrible for the environment. Selling more EVs is a disaster: it encourages people to think that our current suburban model of cities is sustainable. And it puts money in the hands of Elon Musk, who by dabbling in crypto and pursuing his mad notion that Mars will be a backup for earth, will create far more CO2 than his EVs and solar batteries have saved.

These technologies are less bad than fossil fuels, but they are not good. There is no evidence that their uptake has made any meaningful difference to critical aspects of the ecosystem like global atmospheric CO2. Which, as of Oct 30, was 413.89 ppm.

“Green energy” harms the environment and more of it is bad. What is good is stopping fossil fuels. Green energy is a net good if, and only if, it enables the closing down of fossil fuels. So beware any stats that talk about the growth of green energy, or the percentage of green vs fossil. What matters is how much fossil fuel is being used. Which, as you can see, is more and more.

The blurb in the Guardian article encapsulates the problem. “Inexorable increase of CO2” and “rapid growth in green energy”. How can both of these things be true?

Because for every positive there are negatives. Global atmospheric CO2 is not a negative to be balanced out with positives. It is already the sum total of all the positives and all the negatives. So the impact of renewables is already accounted for in global atmospheric CO2. To create the “upsides”, the positives have to be double-counted.

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Also, Boris Johnson said,

“When it comes to tackling climate change, words without action, without deeds are absolutely pointless.”

He then boarded his private plane to fly home.

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Well, he proved his point.

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Feeling sad, not sure what to say, but just remembered a song by Bob Dylan from 1960s.

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Looking back, reviewing, remembering from 1990s - researching on impacts of doubling of CO2 on forests and soil carbon reserves, and teaching students about global warming and its impacts. Then from mid 2000s and full of optimism joining Interfaith networks and volunteering in Buddhist community to educate about climate change and help towards eco-sustainable living.

November 2007 :slightly_smiling_face:


Kept on helping in that way until I saw that most religious leaders have different order of priorities and who they listen to.

The old generation leaders (unless they are self-motivated and investigate by themselves the truth about global warming and climate change), what can we say about them? Are they illiterate as far as IT and principles of ecology, do they read IPCC reports for policy makers or just rely on their advisors?

https://archive.ipcc.ch/news_and_events/30years.shtml

By now many young people, who were taught about climate change in 1990s and 2000s are progressing towards leadership roles. So it is now their responsibility to use the knowledge they acquired through formal education and apply it to benefit the whole society and world. Will the young generation leaders honour their higher values they spoke about?

Finally, no matter what world leaders are doing, I am reminded of the Buddha’s advice in the MN8:

“Cunda, I say that even giving rise to the thought of skillful qualities is very helpful, let alone following that path in body and speech…”

:anjal:

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Another day, some more updates!

You know, sometimes I really do wonder if I am just too cynical about all this. But then,

Actually no, I’m good with current levels of cynicism.

Another day at Cop26, as the world keeps getting weirder.

Australia continues to distinguish itself as the absolute worst. Even Malcolm Turnbull, a former PM from the same party, called our efforts “a joke”, and meanwhile here’s our our stand at Cop26.

Why yes, that is a fossil fuel company being promoted by the Australian government at Cop26. What, is that not a thing that normal people do? Our approach to solving the climate crisis is … special.

Here’s a good summary of the Australian emissions scenario.

We were awarded, along with the UK, with a “Fossil of the Day” prize for our efforts. Yay?

Good news: more than 100 countries, including China, Brazil, and Indonesia, are signing a pledge to end deforestation over the next decade.

Let’s make sure they actually keep their promises.

More good news: The US has rejoined the High Ambition Coalition that is pushing for a 1.5C limit. (We at ARRCC were pushing for 1.5C more than a decade ago.)

And a pledge on methane. (Methane is, in the short term, an even more potent driver of global heating than CO2, so it’s important to get it down right away.)

Brazil signed it (!) but not—you guessed it—Australia.

And while in 2020, record numbers of people, many of them indigenous, were murdered for protecting their lands, Cop26 finally allocates some funding (a pittance) in recognition of their role as the defenders of the land. The pledge is led by UK, US, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands. I can’t find a full list of signatories, but it seems Australia once again opted out.

It’s been great to see strong pledges and leadership from the US on methane, deforestation, and 1.5C limits. But it only matters if they actually follow through. As Biden’s approval rating is sinking into a long-term hole, this is far from assured.

This speaks to the point I made in the OP, that with greater instability, people turn to authoritarian leaders. Perhaps the problem is that we have been focusing on “climate” instead of “change”. In the real world, Anthropogenic Global Warming is only one many pressing and destabilizing issues. Some of them are environmental—pollution, extinction, pandemics, fire. Others are economic—inequality, hunger, and poverty. Others are technological—AI, robots, crypto. And many others. And they all add more chaos and instability to the overall picture.

Mark my words, in coming years, the tip of the spear will not be disease, fire, or flood; it won’t be war, economic collapse, or hunger: it will be the movement of people. We will be seeing refugees in the hundreds of millions, and no-one is even remotely prepared for that. Authoritarians will promise to keep borders safe, and people will believe them.

These days I prefer the term Escalating Global Chaos. It’s all interconnected, and we ignore the effects of one aspect on the others at our peril. Authoritarian leaders pretend to offer stability and self-preservation, but it’s all a lie. What they actually offer is death, fast or slow. Chaos is their lifeblood.

A similar point is made by the 102-year-old originator of Gaia theory, James Lovelock.

Anyway, Greta is making some noise, good on her.

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Don’t hold your breath! And possibly is already too late as the Amazon is likely to have already crossed the threshold in which it becomes a net source of carbon from a merry sink… :man_shrugging:t2:

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And Capitalism will love the resulting migrant cheap labor! :japanese_ogre:

Just as much of prosperity in regions like Western Europe, North America and even Australia was very much fueled by Cold War refugees and/or immigrants from instable countries and regions…

Well, we all might have to! I must admit, I find it extremely difficult to imagine that Brazil under the current leadership is at all sincere on, well, anything.

Yes, this is the irony. What we really need to do is to manage the movement of people where it can’t be minimized.

But this is where the unpredictable edge of multiple changes kicks in. What kind of jobs do immigrants do? Well, say, driving. But what if self-driving cars and trucks actually work? Or cleaning? But what if we get domestic robots?

Does that mean we don’t depend on cheap labor? Or does it mean that cheap labor does something else?

The tendency anyway in the developed world is to automate away the kinds of low-renumeration labor that immigrant communities have traditionally supplied. People would love to be served by robots, with no rights, no emotions, and no wages. The whole idea of AI and robots is not really about artificial intelligence, or artificial sentience; it’s about artificial slavery. What could possibly go wrong? :robot:

Or do these particular technologies not work out? Most likely, they’ll impact in ways that we cannot anticipate.

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It would be interesting to see how the human population growth curve correlates with CO2 curve. World with megacities and agricultural monocultures to supply ever growing demands of increasing population - a sorrowful sight. Will the leaders at Cop26 be discussing the global population growth and optimal size to aim towards? I think we have already exceeded the human population carrying capacity for Earth, where every individual can have a quality life, like for example we have in Australia (with plenty to eat, free medical care and school education, paid holidays and pensions in old age).

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The way things are atm small australian businesses are hiring owners intimate familys because if covid cleanings and restrictions on health standards which is good but doesnt consist with full business potential to put on staff effectively for residential employment in australia we are losing economically here as businesses are hiring immigrants to cut costs in wages as slavery to keep their businesses while citizens of Australia are excepted to be upgraded in full business educational standards to keep them up and running in this crisis ? Australians to be over qualified in work here ? everyone needs to fill jobs with the australian unemployed when can cutting wages and money spending help australian with employment and the youth ? Money made here in profit wages is sent overseas to safe keep other countries in their welfare? When is it a good thing when the people in australia need a average income to compose with their own welfare here in their own tax levey tribulations to reside spending here ? when will the systems even out the quality of life here besides the global economy its a big ccause and condition and it makes australians to live with all conditions inadequate to rise to be employed here when australians are residing to move resident overseas because of the australian dollar in cut on a low ? Its going to take a lot of unqualified and under qualified jobs to peoples houseing residential properties a big chase for money as overseas marketers step in to claim their price here with no dignity on it ? My family can afford to live a goid quailty of life because Australia is letting businesses claim low incomes thresholds to bring people overseas in to do the dirty work as slavery when can the australian be offered their partake in keeping the money here fir us to live off first as a option it seems the government is loosing Australia in all costs to debts n obligations of other countries that dont help themselves first where did all this go wrong in the australian rescources in being equal in the first place ? Everything has slipped threw our fingers on wealth economic issues ? Enemployment is up in australian residence and the tax payers are still paying high taxes to keep wefare in good substantial living while non residential workers not residing in spending here goes home wealthy from being a work horse for others to lay on their backs and except the challenges ahead for future family to consider by no families are going to be made here because of expensive livings in the australian dollar n taxes compared to the overseas businesses making the boundaries on profits here ? Very sad times indeed climate change differences a minimal in interactions with all countries when it comes to greed :woozy_face::writing_hand:t2:I hope someone here may find this to be understood :pray:t2:Cant do much about the keyboard typing it has a mind of its own and like to mislead everyone here that Im a corrupted underqualified human being only a very few would subject to that but not much these days is happening … yes crytical compromises are ahead of me too yes indeed on behalf of pure gratification of pleasing oneanother …

This can help:

The video “COP26 - Forest and Land Use Narrated by David Attenborough” offers a real pathway out of the global crisis, but he says we have only about 10 years to reverse the downward trend.

This Buddhist declaration and call has been around for more than 10 years. I hope by now it can reach all Buddhists and at heart, so we see great changes to the better. I would also like to see the ancient Buddhist sacred sites restored to their former beauty, with fewer shrines and statues and more tree groves and trees. And that the Sacred Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya is not lit up with artificial lights at night.

I am heartened to see plain talk and commonsense here about ecocatastrophe. I don’t have much faith in democracy because it is so easily subverted by demagoguery. And I don’t think the human capacity for stupidity and evil are easily underestimated. Rationality is an embattled force.

I had hoped that religion could mobilize irrational conviction if favor of the environment, but neopaganism proved to be a shallow fad, Christianity dreams of a paved city, the new Jerusalem and has no love for the physical world. Islam is apocalyptic in the most profound and structural sense, so don’t expect much world-redemption there. Judaism has both a positive moral political engagement and much explicit ecological injunction, though I have been unable to interest anyone in this. The Bible has such a stink to it in the educated west one cannot be surprised.

What Buddhism has to say about the environment would probably be given an ear, because westerners tend to view it as a rational post-religious religion. The explicitly ecological content (patent, not just inferred) of Buddhism is probably to be sought in the mahayana material that took on a tinge of taoist nature mysticism. That is, in poetry . Could Du Fu have the slogans that would electrify eco-awareness? A happy thought !

To sum up: I ask if religion is a sturdy ally in the environmental struggle, and if so, which is/are best eligible?

The words come out of the mouth of a compassionate human being, but I believe they are coming from Mother Earth that acknowledges that her global being is suffering trauma and PTSD.

Excerpts from a Gabor Mate interview.
Gabor Mate:
Trauma robs you of agency, of self regulation. It essentially makes you a victim of your life. Healing has to do with getting rid of your victimhood. My illnes is not some random misfortune but actually a manifestation of my life, my trauma that happened in a social context that robbed me of my agency. But now in my healing I need to regain that agency, need to be the one in charge, follow my gut feelings, take over my life, reclaim it.
The illness was a manifestation of the loss of agency, the trauma that was imposed on me.
The nature of healing is agency.
Most societies function like dysfunctional families.

Very powerful message from the heart by David Attenborough. It will be interesting to see if it really reached the billionaire elite who flew in private planes to hear it. If they can redirect their accumulated wealth to address the global crises, they will benefit in the long term as well.

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I’ve been involved in interreligious events and organizations on climate change for more than a decade.

There is more than enough within the texts, philosophies, and religions of any religion to support a strong pro-ecology stance. Big religions are big, and people can make of them almost anything they like—and Buddhism is no exception.

I wouldn’t think in terms of one religion being better than the others as far as climate change is concerned. The most important thing is to draw out the values that people currently have, but are lying unused.

When I was in Indonesia a couple of years ago, I met a gentleman who was studying the question, “We know that many young people leave the farms. But why do some young people stay?” I said, “That’s really interesting, what did you find out?” He looked at me kind of funny and said, “You know, you’re the first person who hasn’t immediately told me what they think the answer is!”

Anyway, it turns out, the main reason they stay is because they feel a sense of sacred duty to their land, families, and communities. For them, Islam meant committing to a life of caring for the environment in a deep way.

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I wouldn’t hold your breath Dana. I notice that the Queen also gave a speech insisting that it’s “time for action” on climate change via video link to COP26. But a few weeks ago when it was suggested that the royal estates should undergo rewilding, the response was luke warm at best, if not down right dismissive. Here’s an article. Then today (two days after the speech) I hear on the news that she’s traveled a hundred miles up the road to one of her estates by helicopter. Just as an example to others that’s a pretty poor show.

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I haven’t done the math, but this isn’t necessarily wasteful. When a head of state, etc travels in a large motorcade with a police escort stopping traffic, etc etc… it might be more efficient to just take a small chopper.

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This isn’t in response to anything in particular but I thought it was a good and informative article. As Scott Morrison faces COP26, here's how Australia can solve its climate change mess - ABC News

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I also like the Buddhist theme of untangling in the article :laughing:

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