Dec 122015
 December 12, 2015  Posted by at 4:23 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Nickolay Lamm Jefferson Memorial under 25 feet of water

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius just announced, in Paris, a “legally binding agreement” that no-one has agreed the financing for. We can hear a couple thousand lawyers across the globe snicker. But it’s all the COP21 ‘oh-so-important’ climate conference managed to come up with. No surprises there. They couldn’t make the 2ºC former goal stick, so they go for 1.5ºC this time. All on red, double or nothing. Because who really cares among the leadership, just as long as the ‘targets’ are far enough away that they can’t be held accountable.

I’ve been writing the following through the past days, and wondering if I should post it, because I know so many readers of the Automatic Earth have so much emotion invested in these things, and they’re good and fine emotions. But some things must still be said regardless of consequences. Precisely because of that kind of reaction. No contract is legally binding if there’s no agreement on payment. Nobody has a legal claim on your home without it being specified that, if, when and how they’re going to pay for it.

I understand some people may get offended by some of the things I have to say about this – though not all for the same reasons either-, but please try and understand that and why the entire CON21 conference has offended me. After watching the horse and pony show just now, I thought I’d let ‘er rip:

I don’t know what makes me lose faith in mankind faster, the way we destroy our habitat through wanton random killing of everything alive, plants, animals and people, through pollution and climate change and blood-thirsty sheer stupidity, or if it is the way these things are being ‘protested’.

I’m certainly not a climate denier or anything like that, though I do think there are questions people gloss over very easily. And one of those questions has to be that of priorities. Is there anyone who has thought over whether the COP21 stage in Paris is the right one to target in protest, whatever shape it takes? Is there anyone who doesn’t think the ‘leaders’ are laughing out loud in -plush, fine wine and gourmet filled- private about the protests?

Protesters and other well-intended folk, from what I can see, are falling into the trap set for them: they are the frame to the picture in a political photo-op. They allow the ‘leaders’ to emanate the image that yes, there are protests and disagreements as everyone would expect, but that’s just a sign that people’s interests are properly presented, so all’s well.

COP21 is not a major event, that’s only what politicians and media make of it. In reality, it’s a mere showcase in which the protesters have been co-opted. They’re not in the director’s chair, they’re not even actors, they’re just extras.

I fully agree, and more than fully sympathize, with the notion of saving this planet before it’s too late. But I wouldn’t want to rely on a bunch of sociopaths to make it happen. There are children drowning every single day in the sea between Turkey and Greece, and the very same world leaders who are gathered in Paris are letting that happen. They have for a long time, without lifting a finger. And they’ve done worse -if that is possible-.

The only thing standing between the refugees and even greater and more lethal carnage are a wide, even confusingly so, array of volunteers, and the people of the Greek coastguard, who by now must be so traumatized from picking up little wide-eyed lifeless bodies from the water and the beaches, they’ll live the rest of their lives through sleepless nightmares.

Neither Obama nor Merkel nor Hollande will have those same nightmares. And let’s be honest, will you? You weren’t even there. And still, you guys are targeting a conference in Paris on climate change that features the exact same leaders that let babies drown with impunity. Drowned babies, climate change and warfare, these things all come from the same source. And you’re appealing to that very same source to stop climate change.

What on earth makes you think the leaders you appeal to would care about the climate when they can’t be bothered for a minute with people, and the conditions they live in, if they’re lucky enough to live at all? Why are you not instead protesting the preventable drownings of innocent children? Or is it that you think the climate is more important than human life? That perhaps one is a bigger issue than the other?

Moreover, the very same leaders that you for some reason expect to save the planet -which they won’t- don’t just let babies drown, they also, in the lands the refugees are fleeing, kill children and their parents on a daily basis with bombs and drones. Dozens, hundreds, if not thousands, every single day. That’s how much they care for a ‘healthy’ planet (how about we discuss what that actually is?).

And in the hallways of the CON21 conference they’ve been actively discussing plans to do more of the same, more killing, more war. Save the world, bombs away! That’s their view of the planet. And they’re supposed to save ‘the climate’?

There are a number of reasons why the CON21 conference will not move us one inch towards saving this planet. One of the biggest is outlined in just a few quoted words from a senior member of India’s delegation -nothing new, but a useful reminder.

India Opposes Deal To Phase Out Fossil Fuels By 2100

India would reject a deal to combat climate change that includes a pledge for the world to wean itself off fossil fuels this century, a senior official said, underlying the difficulties countries face in agreeing how to slow global warming.

India, the world’s third largest carbon emitter, is dependent on coal for most of its energy needs, and despite a pledge to expand solar and wind power has said its economy is too small and its people too poor to end use of the fossil fuel anytime soon. “It’s problematic for us to make that commitment at this point in time. It’s certainly a stumbling block (to a deal),” Ajay Mathur, a senior member of India’s negotiating team for Paris, told Reuters in an interview this week.

“The entire prosperity of the world has been built on cheap energy. And suddenly we are being forced into higher cost energy. That’s grossly unfair,” he said.

This means the ‘poorer’ countries, -by no means just India; China has 155 more coal plants in the pipeline despite their pollution levels moving ‘beyond index’-, the poorer counties won’t volunteer to lower their emissions unless richer nations lower theirs even a lot more. US per capita emissions are over 10 times higher than India’s, those of the EU six times. Ergo: Step 1: lower US emissions by 90%. It also means that richer nations won’t do this, because it would kill their economies.

Which, in case you haven’t noticed, are already doing very poorly, much worse than the media -let alone politicians- will tell you. In fact, the chances that the richer countries will ‘recover’ from the effects of their debt binge are about on par with those of renewable energy sources becoming cheaper than fossil fuels -barring subsidies. If only because producing them depends entirely on those same fossil fuels. All the rest of what you hear is just con.

The people of India obviously know it, and you might as well. It’s going to cost many trillions of dollars to replace even a halfway substantial part of our fossil energy use with renewables, and we already don’t have that kind of money today. We will have much less tomorrow.

Besides, despite all the talk of Big Oil turning into Big Energy, Shell et al are not energy companies, they’re oil -and gas- companies, and they’ll defend their (near) monopolies tooth and claw. Especially now that their market caps are sinking like so many stones. They have no money left to invest in anything, let alone an industry that’s not theirs. They lost some $250 billion in ‘value’ this week alone. They’re getting killed.

In the same vein, China can’t close more than a token few of its most polluting plants. China’s getting killed economically. And for all nations and corporations there’s one principle that trumps all: competitive advantage. If going ‘green’ means losing that, or even some of it, forget it. We won’t volunteer to go green if it makes us less rich.

And who do you think represents big oil -and the bankers that finance them- more than anyone else? Right, your same leaders again, who make you pay for the by now very extensive and expensive security details that keep them from having to face you. Just like they’re planning to make you pay dearly for the illusion of a world running on renewables.

Because that’s where the profit is: in the illusion.

Whatever makes most money is what will drive people’s, corporations’, and nations’ actions going forward. Saving energy and/or substituting energy sources is not what makes most money, and it will therefore not happen. Not on any meaningful scale, that is.

There will be attempts to force people to pay through the nose to soothe their consciences -which will be very profitable for those on the receiving end-, but people’s ability to pay for this is shrinking fast, so that won’t go anywhere.

The only thing that could help save this planet is for all westerners to reduce their energy use by 90%+, but, though it is theoretically and technically feasible, it won’t happen because the majority of us won’t give up even a part of our wealth, and the powers that be in today’s economies refuse to see their profits (re: power) and those of their backers go up in -ever hotter- air.

The current economic model depends on our profligate use of energy. A new economic model, then, you say? Good luck with that. The current one has left all political power with those who profit most from it. And besides, that’s a whole other problem, and a whole other issue to protest.

If you’re serious about wanting to save the planet, and I have no doubt you are, then I think you need to refocus. COP21 is not your thing, it’s not your stage. It’s your leaders’ stage, and your leaders are not your friends. They don’t even represent you either. The decisions that you want made will not be made there.

There will be lofty declarations loaded with targets for 2030, 2050 and 2100, and none of it will have any real value. Because none of the ‘leaders’ will be around to be held accountable when any of those dates will come to pass.

An imploding global economy may be your best shot at lowering emissions. But then again, it will lead to people burning anything they can get their hands on just to keep warm. Not a pretty prospect either. To be successful, we would need to abandon our current political and economic organizational structures, national governments and ‘up’, which select for the sociopaths that gather behind their heavy security details to decide on your future while gloating with glee in their power positions.

Better still, we should make it impossible for any single one of them to ever be elected to any important position ever again. For now, though, our political systems don’t select for those who care most for the world, or its children. We select for those who promise us the most wealth. And we’re willing to turn a blind eye to very many things to acquire that wealth and hold on to it.

The entire conference is just an exercise in “feel good”, on all sides. Is there anyone out there who really thinks the likes of Bill Gates and Richard Branson will do anything at all to stop this world from burning to the ground? You have any idea what their ecological footprints are?

Sometimes I think it’s the very ignorance of the protesting side that dooms this planet. There’s a huge profit-seeking sociopathic part of the equation, which has caused the problems in the first place, and there’s no serious counterweight in sight.

Having these oversized walking talking ego’s sign petitions and declarations they know they will never have to live up to is completely useless. Branson will still fly his planes, Gates will keep running his ultra-cooled server parks, and Obama and Merkel will make sure their economies churn out growth ahead of anything else. Every single country still demands growth. Whatever gains you make in terms of lower emissions will be nullified by that growth.

And in the hallways, ‘smart’ entrepreneurs stand ready to pocket a ‘smart’ profit from the alleged switch to clean energy. At the cost of you, the taxpayer. And you believe them, because you want to, and because it makes you feel good. And you don’t have the knowledge available to dispute their claims (hint: try thermodynamics).

You’re seeking the cooperation of people who let babies drown and who incessantly bomb the countries these babies and their families were seeking to escape.

I’m sorry, I know a lot of you have a lot of emotion invested in this, and it’s a good emotion, and you’re thinking this conference is really important and all, and our ‘last chance’ to save the planet. But you’ve been had, it’s as simple as that. And co-opted. And conned.

And it’s not the first time, either. All these conferences go the same way. To halt the demise of the planet, you can’t rely on the same people who cause it. Never works.

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  • #25577

    Nickolay Lamm Jefferson Memorial under 25 feet of water French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius just announced, in Paris, a “legally binding agreement”
    [See the full post at: CON21]

    Stone Lodge

    Offended, Raul? Not a bit. I say, it’s about damned time!

    You are exactly correct, and the primary reason I’ve been watching the CON21 is to ascertain any new tricks the sociopaths and their thugs will be using to shut down any effective or genuine debate. All one need do, to know what CON21 is about, is to look at the corporate logos spread throughout like wallpaper, and the armed thugs who work on those corporations’ behalf to make sure the bleeding hearts don’t get too close or too noisy.

    I have been an activist for years, and most of my friends are similarly activists, and we have protested local, state and national/international criminal stupidity for a long time. But many of us are very well aware that the intent of such protests cannot be to achieve “reform” or to alter the behavior of the sociopaths. All you accomplish by appealing to the criminals to change their ways is to legitimize their positions of power and authority.

    As of June 01, 2015, we have “438 nuclear power plant units with an installed electric net capacity of about 379 GW are in operation and 67 plants with an installed capacity of 65 GW are in 16 countries under construction.” If humans had any chance to continue on this planet, along with all our four-legged, winged and finned friends, we should have begun the process of decommissioning those plants twenty years ago. But we didn’t, and as this collapse rolls forward, we won’t, and we won’t be able to, as the debt implosion curtails transportation, mining and manufacturing, as petroleum disappears, as our scientists and engineers fly to the four winds with their families or die or are imprisoned, they will all go critical, and that will be that.

    The ONLY thing individuals can do, for all of us, is to resist, fight, and break the machine everywhere we can. Protesting is (usually) not resisting, and it is (usually) not fighting. It is demonstrating who is on top, and who is not.

    I understand your hesitation, your concern your readership might be offended. I run into that all the time among activists. Sometimes this allows me to educate them, and sometimes I just need to sympathize with them and let them believe they are making a difference.

    Ultimately, it will all be in vain, but it is the moral thing to do: Break the machine.


    Tour de force Raul.



    Think before you post your opinions.
    Definitions of Terrorism in the U.S. Code
    “Domestic terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:

    Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
    Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
    (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
    (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
    Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.


    “It’s going to cost many trillions of dollars to replace even a halfway substantial part of our fossil energy use with renewables, and we already don’t have that kind of money today.”

    That implies that enough money would be able to buy the fossil energy needed to make the renewable infrastructure necessary for the transition (as it always has in these pre-Peak Fossils times). But the timing of Peak Fossils is very close, if not here already, and the ability to buy more fossil energy to make wind turbines and solar panels (over and above everything else that we need it for) has passed. We could make a start on the transition, if it weren’t for the problems you so clearly describe, but it is energetically impossible to complete the transition. At some point in the future fossil energy will be in such short supply that even the wisest of politicians would have to make a decision between making more solar panels and keeping the lights on, the TVs working, and the internet running.

    Industrial civilisation will collapse when that point is reached, if not before.


    Very well said. Thank you!

    I agree with all of your points.

    Are you aware that you are making many of the points Guy McPherson has made over the years at Nature Bats Last.

    John Day

    @Stone Lodge
    What we as individuals can do for a brief moment in time is to learn to grow vegetables, and maybe get a little place with a propane tank, well and some solar panels. Get a diesel tank and some pink diesel for a small tractor and people of like mind with good backs.
    Well, it’s likely too late for anything but digging and planting the garden. It takes a few years to actually work that out.

    John Day

    Ilargi and Friends,
    There is actually a purpose to the Congress of Parties 21 meeting, and it is to agree to the narrative, the terms that will be used as the world proceeds through the collapse modeled in The Limits To Growth in 1972.
    It was a good model, the “standard run” and we have not been able to deviate from it as a species. The “You are here” line on the projection of trends in time is set at 2011 in the graph at this link.
    Scroll down a few. It’s big. Go forward 4 years. That is the downturn of food-per-capita, services-per-capita, and industrial-output, also known as “global economy” or “Gross Planetary Product”.
    Now, scroll down this page a little to the graph of Gross Planetary Product.
    It peaked in 2014 and is on the downturn. It is exactly the same graph and every political player in Paris knows it well.
    Again, COP21 served to agree on the language, framework and excuses that global ruling and financial elites will use going forward into financial collapse and species (us) die-off, without having to tell the truth, which would just be way too much for us to bear.
    It is like Bretton Woods that way. I’m sure there were lots of side deals done, too.
    What our rulers are really good at is not what needs to be done for the good of the most people and most living things. The powers they have are powers of destruction, and the threats of destruction to coerce.
    Look for more destruction of countries that are near the brink, and more weakening of democracies by flows of desperate refugees, and especially more divide and conquer.
    (Grow vegetables. How’s it goin’ with the Greeks beta-testing this new global economy?)


    I strongly agree with you John. There are better technologies than propane though, and I’d suggest people look into them. The oil drum reburner wood stove is an interesting one wherein the fire burns sideways and the smoke (unconverted energy) is released in the drum reburner. It’s rather easy to make and the exhaust is smoke free and nearly room temperature. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to grow propane where you are, but I’ll bet there’s some form of combustible fuel that you can access.

    It seems prudent for individuals to get off the grid while we have a system supplying the desired technologies. One can be off-grid sans solar electric, but power is sure nice to have. The same can be said for LED lighting, cast iron cookware, dimensional lumber… all processed commodities. I’ve heard many suggesting this is a good time to save cash, but I prefer to have something tangible; prices and buying power don’t matter if you have what you need.

    And FWIW, movement toward sustainable lifestyles can mean great improvements in our environmental footprints. That’s real progress people can make now. I think it makes more sense than protesting.

    V. Arnold

    CON 21 is spot on the mark Illargi.
    Color me a cynic; COP21 was a dog and pony show; a feel good event.
    Hell, why only lower a half degree? How about 1°c instead of 2°c? They can SAY whatever they want.
    My bet is that the “system” has more than 2.5°c already in the “pipeline”.

    Two of my favorite quotes;
    Don’t believe them, don’t fear them, don’t ask anything of them.
    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.
    Frederick Douglass


    The Enouranois group from Greece screened the following video at one of two anti-climate-manipulation workshops approved by COP21.

    In Paris anti-climate-manipulation activists were on the margin of the margins, but this is not true of the Istanbul Security Conference held in parallel (and in competition?) with COP21, where anti-climate-manipulation activists were present as invited speakers. The international media buried this alternative conference to the French COP21.

    Those who spoke out against climate modification in Istanbul included the Saudi Princess Basmah Bint Saud bin Abdul Aziz al Saud

    There is other evidence of differentiations emerging between the national interests of Turkey and Saudi Arabia and that of the US


    Repost of the comment above, this time with active links:

    The Enouranois group from Greece screened the following video at one of two anti-climate-manipulation workshops approved by COP21. 

    In Paris anti-climate-manipulation activists were on the margin of the margins, but this is not true of the Istanbul Security Conference held in parallel (and in competition?) with COP21, where anti-climate-manipulation activists were present as invited speakers. The international media buried this alternative conference to the French COP21.

    Those who spoke out against climate modification in Istanbul included the Saudi Princess Basmah Bint Saud bin Abdul Aziz al Saud  

    There is other evidence of differentiations emerging between the national interests of Turkey and Saudi Arabia and that of the US 


    CON21 – very few here in NorCal, think “our leaders” like Gov.Jerry Brown will really move to cut fossil fuel use by 90% or even 10%. Course, the economic crash will do some of that.

    Protest – an interesting word. What I prefer, is calling our actions – Rallies.

    On Nov 21 in Northern CA, we had a Climate Mobilization (of about 2000) and included as broad a range of climate and social justice groups as we could pull together. For me and most of my companions it was NOT a Protest, but a statement of who we are and a time to get to know each other as we go forward into Business as Usual for our corporate owned governments.

    Last time we had a rally was for the COP 20 last Sept. That was a time of US nation wide marches. And yes, many see what we do as protest, but in reality it is developing a United Front of Climate and Social Justice groups. I’m seeing our continuing NorCal Climate Mob, as being a start of a network to bring together, Social Justice, Climate and Sustainable Living groups. I’m hoping to help produce a Festival of Alternatives, for us to continue our networking. This is all local grassroots people, NGOs only came in slowly to sponsor it.

    Locally we are continuing pressure on Oakland to not allow a huge bulk coal hub at the old Oakland Army base. If large numbers of public comments to the city council are not enough, protest and direct actions will come next. If large enough crowds show up to pressure for No Coal or for other social justice issues like police murders, then we can push changes. With a united front, better council members can be re-elected or elected.

    What I have wondered is why other parts of the US and no National orgs called for a unified approach. So it turns out that our March and Rally were the largest in the US, and was largely ignored by the main stream media.

    @ Ishkabibble

    (what does FWIW mean?)
    “And FWIW, movement toward sustainable lifestyles can mean great improvements in our environmental footprints. That’s real progress people can make now. I think it makes more sense than protesting.”
    – Not protesting but Joining Together to make a statement.


    FWIW = For What Its Worth

    I’m not sure the statement is heard. If anything, I suspect as Ilargi has suggested; TPTB use the protest to show there is public concern, but they don’t elaborate on what that concern is. The media can spin public involvement any way they like. They can find a moron in the crowd and suggest that individual is representative of the whole. They can plant someone to say what they want and suggest instead that the plant represents the group. In short, the message is unlikely to get to the masses.

    The first step is affecting our own lives. Have each of us, as individuals, done what it is within our power to personally do? Do we repurpose instead of recycle, when possible? Do we dehydrate, freeze or can any excess from our refrigerators, or do we let it go to waste? Do we compost what we cannot save, or simply toss it into another bag destined to become landfill? Do we cut our thermostats a degree or a few, donning a sweater instead of burning up fuel we don’t need? There are so many changes we can make in our lifestyles, and these are things that DO make a difference. A group of excessoholics debating our energy consumption is absurd, I will agree. But we can’t change them before we change ourselves. And if we can change ourselves, and then influence others, we’ll have accomplished much more than attending Con21 could ever do.


    I understand the cynicism and I agree that real changes in our impact on the environment won’t come from “leaders” who, at the end of the day, represent the industry causing the destruction of our natural inheritance, more than they represent us.

    Yet and still, its so easy to knock down that their is a growing awareness that action must be taken and now. So why can’t this blog be more of a catalyst for change than continuing to permeate cynicism that any change is possible. What happened to this blog featuring examples of sustainability? what happened to more information about how each of us can live our lives more in accord with nature. I recall that’s what Stoneleigh said Automatic Earth would be more of rather than the “keyboard activism” that it has become. Can we have more of what CAN be done rather than what isn’t working?

    John Day

    Thanks Ishkabibble.
    No keyboard activism (or not alone, anyway) but digging soil, studying, nurturing a food garden, learning and repeating season after season, is what I’m doing and advising. It’s the correct transitional move for most of us, and will bring about transformative changes in our beings, as we do what is in our “better nature”.


    Hey Gang, When I go to the store this week, I’ll drive the Chevy Impala. Hell of a good car.


    If the Debt-Money Monopolist financed establishment is pushing an agenda, push all your chips in and bet “smoke and mirrors.”
    Nearly everything those instraspecific, genocidal parasites do fits into the following JP Morgan equation…
    “Every [Debt-Money Monopolist] man has two reasons for doing something: The good reason and the real reason.”
    For those who might a bit tired… if the good reason was the real reason, you wouldn’t need a second real reason… so the good reason is… “smoke and mirrors” to cover the for the real reason.

    V. Arnold

    @ Ishkabibble

    Must be a younger crowd here; nobodies even blinked at your moniker.
    Brings back fond memories, it does. A lot of historic culture there…

    John Day

    “Younger crowd” means you don’t remember somebody who went away before most Americans had access to a TV? (1951) Born in 1958, I’m not so “younger”…



    I agree with most of this except the implication that a human life is more important than climate change. CC is just one aspect of the broader environmental destruction that humans are responsible for. Such destruction is already taking many lives, and not just human ones. It will take many more as the sixth extinction continues. In that sense CC is far more important than human life; all life needs a habitable planet.

    COP 21 won’t save us, nor will protests but environmental degradation is easily the most important predicament we have.

    V. Arnold

    This is well worth a listen;
    Roy wrote a book; Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization

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