climate

False promise of 2 degrees global warming prevents effective action

In 2008 Jan Paul van Soest and I published a book (Earth Fever, for Dutch Readers: De Aarde heeft koorts) in which we sketched a scenario in which a limitation of global warming to 2 degrees centigrade wasn’t feasible anymore. We estimated the probability of that scenario as high. At the time  we were criticized and put away as negative pessimists who were blowing up the problem way out of proportion. Unfortunately however, nowadays we appear to have been right. A two degrees scenario is no longer achievable.  Maybe technically and theoretically it still is, but politically and socially it isn’t. A three degree global warming is the best we can hope for, even now, when some shift in the American public opinion concerning global warming seems to happen and, at last, America in the person of Obama, is moving in the right direction. But this is still too little and too late. This conclusion is substantiated by an article of Jan Paul in one of the Dutch papers: Trouw (July 30), and, for those who can read Dutch, online: https://www.trouw.nl/tr/nl/13110/Klimaatverandering/article/detail/4110481/2015/07/30/Wees-eerlijk-twee-graden-opwarming-is-een-illusie.dhtml

Although I like to be right, I’d rather should have been wrong.flooded_ny_0

The results of a three degree global warming are unheard of. Very extreme climate changes (hurricanes, draughts), extreme sea level rise, loss of agricultural land, hunger etc. Maybe it also creates unprecedented opportunities.

The reactions  to the article of Jan Paul again are predictable: ridicule, denial, refutation, etc. But there are also encouraging and consenting responses. Some think that by identifying  reality all willingness to act will dwindle. Others however, as we ourselves,  are thinking just the opposite. Never a problem is efficiently dealt with by negating it. Looking at reality as it is and having the courage to stay with it, together with others, will release an unknown creativity. In this case we hope that attention will shift from reacting to creating: thinking about how can we  deal with the upcoming world. As Krishnamurti said already ages ago: seeing is acting. So I invite you to join the seeers. Maybe you have to go through some  despair first, but in the end it will make you happier, believe it or not.

 

(I apologize for mistakes in my English. Blogs are cursory – not stuff for correction by a native speaker).

Next week I am in a retreat, so no blog that week.

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Do we have to stay in the shade, hidden and secure? Conclusion.

I started this little weblog series with the question that is in the heading of this blog. I asked myself this question due to the New Story Summit in Findhorn, organized with the purpose of finding guidelines for the future. At a certain moment the participants seemed to have arrived at an impasse in which they didn’t dare to stay as long as was needed. Instead they cheered themselves up with reassuring and comforting talk. But the I Tjing gave a different answer – see the first blog in this series  (October 3). In short: it said to do nothing. Quote: The accepted date has gone by. Let it go. It said more, but in order to fully experience the depth of the reading I advise you to read the original text again in the mentioned blog.

This caused in me a complete trend of thoughts and contemplations about which I testified in the last few blogs. I now am reaching a preliminary conclusion. Here it is.

The first thing we could do is is, indeed, do nothing. Standing still,  so that  our soul can catch up with us. Being as aware as we possibly can be. Being conscious of what is going on inside and outside. Reading books about it. Being aware not only  of what is going wrong, but also of the beauty that is always present inside and around us. And, very important: developing an image of the world we long for. This is completely in line with the I Tjing reading.

The second thing we could do is change our lifestyle. We can try to diminish our ecological footprint. We can choose our food more consciously and responsibly (hardly any meat, food from the neighborhood and of the season, and so on). We can diminish flying and car driving, and going by foot, bicycle or train instead.  We can save energy by house isolation, turning the heating lower and buying led lamps and energy saving devices. In one of the earlier blogs I said that these life style changes will not make a big difference in the outside world, but it will influence our attitude.

Three: we should protest to everything that is harmful in this world. We can do this in several ways. In our consumer behavior: refusing to buy things that are produced in a socially or ecologically  damaging way, and , in general, restricting the amount of things we buy. In our political behavior: voting for or joining or being active in the party that most endorse our ideals. Joining protest groups or NGO’s that resist irresponsible policies, like for instance Greenpeace or Avaaz. Participating in demonstrations for world peace or a global climate policy, or against irresponsible profit making on a global or on a local scale (mining in a vulnerable nature area, shale gas extraction, destroying the rain forest, whatever). The  least we can do is raising our voice in speaking and writing and signing petitions. We have to stir the soup, all, together.

Four, we should create beauty. Being active in the world to give what it is we have to give, with love. The world then will become dear to us, and that will lead to more creativity. This is a constructive force opposing the destructive forces.

Five, we should pray. We cannot solve the enormous problems that lay ahead of us alone. We need help form the subtle world. And we certainly will get that, if we are willing to listen and be open and flexible, and prepared for change

None of these ‘actions’ will solve the climate problem That cannot be solved anymore, therefore it is too late. But we can move to a future in which we not only can survive, but have a more dignified world than the one we have now. However we are not perfect (yet) and thus we shall live by compromise. That is OK, as long as we are aware of that.

Let me end this blog with a quote for one of the participants in the Findhorn New Story Summit.

Travelling home through the rolling hills and magnificent skies of Northern Scotland, I wonder at our dilemma. We need to go beyond ourselves, and yet we behave as if we have only ourselves with which to get there. It was good to gather on this summit, to know ourselves and know our limits. Perhaps we were reminded of our smallness and our tendency to subtle forms of hubris. And some of us at least, were driven – in the face of paradox and few other options – back to the simple practice of prayer and remembrance – of turning to something bigger than we are and confessing, “We don’t know”. (Justine Huxley’s blog)

And finally: about myself. For me, in this phase of my ilife, my emphasis is upon the items one and five. If  that leads to further action in the other realms remains to be seen. I’ll go with the flow and bless you all with courage, resilience and joy. So be it.

(I apologize for mistakes in my English. Blogs are cursory – not stuff for correction by a native speaker).

 

 

 

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Do we have to stay in the shade, hidden and secure? Part IV

While I am wrestling with what I should do or not do with regard to global warming,  the world goes on revolving. Some remarkable things happened.

Our so called ‘objective’ Centraal Plan Bureau (CPB: our government  Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis) published a report in which it is said that the development of wind energy will cost the Dutch  society 5 billion more than it will bring. This  analysis however is based on completely out of date arguments and assumptions. This brought Jan Paul van Soest (a renowned consultant in Holland) to the following remarks: “The CPB in this case is engaging in politics. Economists especially are good at disguising normative statements about the world as objective statements. Maybe they don’t even realize that they in this case are doing just that.”  (Groene Amsterdammer, 16/10). As far as I am concerned they may choose, either they are stupid or they act in bad faith. I suspect the latter.

Another so called ‘objective’ gorvernmental institution, the Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) decided to investigate if our shrimp fisherman have made illegal agreements. The fishermen decided to limit their sailing frequency, to prevent the emptying of the sea. But this is against the free market principle. That principle is of course more important than ecological considerations.

The European Union in the mean time reached a climate agreement that is a weak decoction of the proposal of the Committee of January 2014, that already was characterized as too late and too little. Actually this agreement can be considered as business as usual: let’s heat the world up. This decision was supported by the Dutch parliament, especially by the liberal member Leegte (This means Emptiness in English. What’s in a name?)

So far the actions of our government institutions and our politicians. For their work I pay taxes. I WANT MY MONEY BACK! But I don’t know how to accomplish that. Anyway, these events are all good illustrations of what Naomi Klein is describing in her new book: This changes everything.

These things make me angry, but still I don’t know how to respond. My investigation continues!

 

(I apologize for mistakes in my English. Blogs are cursory – not stuff for correction by a native speaker).

 

 

 

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Do we have to stay in the shade, hidden and secure? Part II

In her new book (This changes everything) Naomi Klein convincingly argues that we are rapidly moving towards a global warming of 4 degrees centigrade or more. Read her book if you want to know what this means (or our book Earth Fever, 2009, page 53, except that in the mean time the process that is described there seems to have accelerated). Our governments and the corporate world are doing virtually nothing about it. For instance: In january 2014 the European Commission proposed to reduce the ambition to bring down the CO2 emissions (an ambition that was already too little and too late) , and our (Dutch) government is supporting this proposal. In our parliament a resolution from the opposition to oppose this proposal of the Commision was rejected, because our Labour Party, being part of the government, voted with the majority  and thus renounced her own principles (this fact was not reported in the media, as far as I know. Clearly this fact was not considered relevant).

The case of our Labour Party is an interesting one. Their leader, Diederik Samson, once was an activist in Greenpeace, and in their election program the party emphasized ecological targets . But in their coalition with the liberals they had to let go of most of their ambition. Nevertheless, under their influence the government stimulated a so called energy-agreement between most involved organizations,  that according to experts is insufficient to contribute drastically to our own emission targets. Even so, the targets of the agreement will probably not be met. To save their image the Labour Party now demands drastic measures to bend this process. My prediction is that nothing will happen, only minor changes maybe, so that the Labour Party can save her face. Poor labour party, low as they are standing in the polls, nothing on the short term can save them. If they really are going for a drastic climate policy, they will cause the fall of the government, and lose in the elections. If they back down, they will lose in the elections too.

The above cases can effortlessly be supplemented with other cases in our own country, in Europe or in other countries. I invite you to find them for yourselves. It all underlines my proposition that our leaders will not solve our climate problems. To be honest, it is indeed very difficult for them to do something essential, because our complete economical system is obstructing any climate policy. The WTO (world trade agreement), the free market ideology, the financial system and the globalization make any drastic measure against global warming nearly impossible. (Again: read Naomi Klein, to learn why this is so)

So what to do? I am in the process of finding out. I will share this process with you in the coming blogs (maybe now and then interrupted by other themes). To be continued.

 

(I apologize for mistakes in my English. Blogs are cursory – not stuff for correction by a native speaker).

 

 

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