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G8 to Earth: Drop dead

A World to Win News Service.
The July G8 meeting held in L’Aquila, Italy, was a summit of shame in many dimensions.

On dealing with starvation in Africa and elsewhere in the oppressed countries, one of the event’s key claims to be something other than a conclave of the world’s top plunderers, this G8 talkfest did little more than re-promise the same aid money it pledged at the Gleneagles G8 meeting four years ago and failed to deliver ($15 billion) plus a last-minute sweetener for appearances’ sake ($5 billion). Those 2005 promises would not have dealt with the structural problems of countries whose economies are subordinated to and crushed by the imperialist world market, but this contemptuous “regifting” (recycling of old presents) added insult to injury. It was touted as an achievement by U.S. President Barack Obama. According to UN statistics, the number of malnourished people in the world has been rising for the past two years and will top 1.2 billion people this year.

On Iran, the G8 accomplished the trick of performing two criminal acts at once: it both failed to condemn the Islamic Republic’s bloodthirsty suppression of protests and at the same time threatened it with further economic sanctions and worse if it refused to give in to U.S.-led demands. This, too, was promoted by Obama. The following week, all 168 passengers died in the crash of a worn-out Iranian airliner – a dramatic example of who is harmed by such sanctions.

The most publicized aspect of this G8 was its communiqué on global warming. Far from representing anything positive, future historians may point to it as an indication of the criminal madness of today’s world system. This is an issue on which many people hoped Obama would break with Bush-era policies. Yet led by Obama himself, the meeting blatantly rejected meaningful action.

It’s true that the L’Aquila summit gave lip service to the scientific consensus that a rise in average world temperatures of more than 2° Celsius is likely to produce dangerous conditions for people and the planet. What did it propose to do about it? It set an “aspirational” (non-binding) goal of halving carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2050. Obama and the other G8 leaders pretended that this time they’ve changed and really recognized and begun to deal with the problem. There are a number of reasons why this is much less of an advance than it seems: ……

• Although for a long time former U.S. President George W Bush stubbornly refused to recognize that there is a problem of climate change caused by human activity, in the end he did and issued a call for exactly the same goal. So what’s different about Obama? Isn’t this the same kind of “regifting”?

• The greenhouse gases produced since the early 19th century have raised global temperatures about .8 degrees. Many scientists believe that the amount of those gases already in the atmosphere could double that temperature increase even without any additional carbon emissions at all. So even if the G8 goal were met, it would not be sufficient.

• The 2050 goal, 41 years from now – when most of the G8 leaders present will be dead – is too late. The summit refused to adopt the intermediate goals demanded by climate activists for 2020, in other words, soon enough to matter and to be held accountable for.

• What’s supposed to be new in this year’s G8 resolution is that as part of achieving a 50 percent overall cut in global emissions, it called for the rich countries to cut theirs by 80 percent. But the G8 call deliberately failed to specify the baseline against which those levels will be measured. (Its communiqué says, “compared to 1990 or more recent years”.) Is this cut to be 80 percent compared to gas emission levels in 1990, or from now? Since carbon emissions have soared in the past 20 years, especially in the U.S., the difference is huge. Again, when you crunch the numbers, what’s new here?

• While the G8’s promises would be criminally insufficient even if they were met, there is no reason to believe that they will. Obama’s requested legislation before the U.S. Congress aims to reduce emissions by 5-6 percent over the next decade compared to 1990. On the level of promises, Europe has done four times better – but the EU as a whole has fallen behind previous pledges (even while enjoying the advantages of exporting its polluting industries).

• Obama insisted that third world countries, particularly China and India, are equally a part of the problem. To this end he organized and chaired a joint conference of the G8 and five of the world’s most industrialized third world countries. This is passing the buck: the U.S., with five percent of the world’s population, accounts for 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The average Indian produces a 10th of the greenhouse gases of the average European, and a 20th of the average American. What right do the U.S. and Europe have to blame anyone else?

• Further, for what market – and for the enrichment of what capitalists – is the industrialization of China and other Asian countries taking place? Germany has shipped whole steel mills that used to darken its skies to China. There they are used to build up a manufacturing capacity that supplies American and European-owned retail chains around the world. The West is just exporting its soot to the third world. The problem is the global economic and social system, not a conflict between green Europe and the U.S. and dirty China and India.

Nowhere does the nature of the capitalist system’s approach to the potential global warming catastrophe stand out more vividly than in the widely touted gimmick of issuing companies carbon gas emission credits so that instead of eliminating pollution, they can buy and sell pollution credits as a further source of enrichment. The experience in Germany, where this market is particularly developed is a good example: some of the country’s biggest companies have made huge amounts of money in this market, while Germany – piously painting itself as being on the cutting edge of greenness – continues to be one of the developed world’s worst polluters. If some smaller European countries like Switzerland have become cleaner, it’s because they export more money capital rather than finished goods compared to Germany.

Obama and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown tried to deal with the widespread disappointment with this year’s G8 global warming communiqué by calling it a good step forward to more progress at the December 2009 Copenhagen world climate change summit. Given how bad L’Aquila was, it’s not impossible that Copenhagen will do – or at least say – something better. But now that we can’t blame the G8’s do-nothing attitude on Bush’s stubbornness, L’Aquila is an illustration of what we can expect from the imperialist system no matter who leads what government. In fact, it’s a good indication of the limits imposed by the workings of the capitalist system.

To put it briefly, the potential powers of humanity’s productive forces and knowledge cannot be focused on human needs (including saving the planet) because of the existing economic and social relations: the capitalist system, which means the dictates of capital in economic terms and the political dictatorship of the capitalist class, and the imperialist division of the world into monopoly capitalist countries and the nations they dominate.

A 5 February 2007 AWTWNS article explains in more depth the economic constraints preventing capitalism from being able to respond to global warming in a way commensurate with the danger. It concludes: “Dealing with this kind of potential catastrophe will require the experience, thinking, creativity, efforts and sometimes sacrifice of the human race as a whole in all its billions around the world. No one could argue that such a thing is even conceivable under the present economic, social and political system that holds the globe in its grip.

“Development and greenhouse gases do not have to be synonymous. Many scientists and environmental activists have explored the concept of sustainable development – an economy that can increasingly meet human needs without destroying the planet we live on. If society – eventually all of human society worldwide – were run not according to the principles of capitalism but those of socialism, why couldn’t planning whose highest goal was the emancipation and welfare of humanity and its environment create an economy to serve these ends? Why would humanity have to put up any more with the wastefulness and destruction imposed by capitalism? And what would prevent such a society from devoting the necessary resources to prevent or at least lessen the impact of natural catastrophes?”

July 24, 2009 - Posted by | articles, Education, Media, movements, news

1 Comment »

  1. I had written to someone a while ago, “i believe it needs be seen that the most destructive and perverse “absolute crap”, as you call it, is not some physical thing! For those physical things are produced by that which originates in, and emanates from mankind’s “imag”ination.

    And mankind’s “imag”ination is destroying the earth(land, air, water, vegetation, creatures) and perverting that which is Spirit(Light, Truth, Life, Love, Peace, Faith, Grace,,,,etc).

    You also mentioned “brainwashing”?

    Should that not, in Truth, be called “braindirtying”?

    Who in this place called the u.s. of a., and the rest of the so-called civilized(greedy) world, has not been braindirtyed by “educational” processes, both secular and religious?

    “Educational” processes that manufacture robotic clones who but seek to fulfill the desires of their braindirtyed minds ;-( Was quite the shock when i first realized that “I” was the product of such a deceitful, delusional, damnable, destructive, societal way!

    And so it is that the most destructive and perverse “absolute crap” is that which emanates from mankind’s “imag”ination ;-( And such “absolute crap” would rightly be called “images” of “the god of this world”, he who is “the father of lies”, for mankind’s “imag”ination is his playground. And today mankind worships the LIES and other destructive processes that emanate from their “imag”inations!

    The people who are of this world are braindirtyed to the utmost by secular and religious educational processes and the media blitz(krieg) ;-(

    Let the brainwashing(cleansing) begin!

    So what to do, where to go, how to cope?

    The answers were given long ago!

    “A Simple and Spiritual Life is the only Life that will survive”…….

    “What to do”?

    Naturally, one is not required to have their portion with those who are destroying the earth.

    Simplification, using less as one discerns and realizes the difference between needs and wants(lusts).

    Realize that the “things” you believe you “own”, actually “own” you…….

    Ask yourself, “what is truly needed”?

    Return to the roots of family at home, where children are educated as they should be in that which truly matters. Such will most certainly have it’s rewards for both parent and child.

    “What to do”?

    Spiritually, “Our Father(The Great Spirit, GOD, Creator,,)” declared, “Come out of her, MY people”! “Come Out” of the worldly(babylonian) systems, and especially the systems of religion. For “the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one”(1John5:19) indeed and Truth…….

    “Where to go”?

    Naturally, many “see” the need to flee the city, yet don’t know where to go. Find others of like mind and “see” if a common union could not be established in a rural area. http://Reach.IC.Org is one place where others post their desire for a common union.

    As for the city, yes a common union of those seeking a “Simple and Spiritual Life” would also be helpful in a city. A once a week coming together with a midweek study is not a community, it is a religious exercise that massages the conscience…….

    “Where to go”?

    Spiritually, The Messiah testified, “Come unto Me all you who labor under a heavy burden”! And He testified, “In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; for I have overcome the world.” And The Messiah testified that those who would follow Him on “The Way to The Truth of The Life” would be “in, yet NOT OF this evil world” for they will have taken heed unto The Call of “Our Father” to “Come Out of her(this world and it’s religions), MY people”!

    “How to cope”?

    Naturally, to “see” that simplicity is a treasure will help one to cope, for the “simpler your natural life becomes, the more life becomes”. You do not have to have your portion in the “rat race”! And when one can “see” that stress is but another word for dis-ease,, well such a one will also “see” the need to slow down, get out of the “rat race” and embrace simplicity.

    The Hopi peoples of AZ believed “A Simple and Spiritual Life is the only Life that will survive”, a belief which is in harmony with The Teachings and The Life example of The Messiah.

    Ask yourself, “what is truly needed”?

    “How to cope”?

    Spiritually, Truth testifies, “Trust in The Creator(Father, ‘GOD’, Great Spirit,,) with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge HIM and HE will direct you along The Path of Light, Truth, Life, Love, Peace, Faith, Mercy, Grace, Miracles, Hope, Simplicity, etc.”!

    Forever…….

    Our Father(Creator, GOD, Great Spirit,,) HE knows what is best for HIS Children!

    Believe…….

    So there is Hope! Hope, not for this world or those who “love this wicked world and it’s things”, but Hope for those who have chosen to “Come Out” of this world(babylon) and it’s systems of religion!

    Hope because Miracles do happen!

    And Thankfully, Life is of The Spirit, not flesh and bones, rocks and stones.

    What to do? Where to go? How to cope?

    “A Simple and Spiritual Life is the only Life that will survive”!

    Forever…….

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(destruction and perversion) that is of this world and it’s systems of religion, for “the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one” indeed and Truth…….

    Truth is never ending……. ASimpleAndSpiritualLife.Blogspot.Com

    Comment by Francisco | July 25, 2009


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