Sunday, November 29, 2015




Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and ECOLOGY


Contents:  CLIMATE CHANGE INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS Newsletter November 29, 2015 (not all of the conferences are listed)

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC

UN Paris Conference, December 1, 2015
     United Nations’ Christiana Figueres, October 23, 2015
     IVAW Nov. 29, 2015: Take Action at Virtual Climate March

China and US Prepare for Paris
     Jeff Goodell, China/US Deal 2014

UN Lima Accord, December 2014
     UN Report
     Amy Goodman, Democracy Now

UN Doha, Qatar Conference, December 2012
    And see Kyoto.

UN Durban Conference, Nov. 2012
    Two Analyses

UN Cancun Conference, Nov.2010

World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, the People’s Agreement, Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 22, 2010

Kyoto Protocol, Dec. 1997
    The Agreement and Mechanisms, and the Doha Amendment

Bruce Gagnon, Climate Change, US Militarism, and the Arctic

Contact Your Representatives
Links to Blog, Newsletters, and Index

Christiana Figueres, the United Nations' climate chief

OCTOBER 23, 2015

News covering the UN and the world

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UN's Figueres: Climate-change progress hinges on Paris talks
Solving the climate-change problem involves shared responsibility by governments, the private sector and civil society, says Christiana Figueres, the United Nations' climate chief. The December climate talks in Paris represent the "last opportunity" to reduce carbon emissions in a cost-effective way, she says. Deutsche Welle (Germany) (10/20)
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Join us in the Virtual Climate March
Matt Howard, IVAW via 
3:27 PM (15 minutes ago)
to James

Iraq Veterans Against the War Our Work: Donate Now
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Dear Dick,
Today on November 29th, people across the world are taking to the streets on the eve of the UN Climate Talks in Paris to demand bold, urgent action on the climate crisis.  I am writing to ask that you join IVAW in this action.
IVAW is proud to be sending two Board members Chair Shawna Foster and Co-Chair Derek Matthews, on the upcoming It Takes Roots delegation to Paris and we are hoping that you can help us support them, and their many colleagues representing frontline communities on their journeys!
To support this massive mobilization, the It Takes Roots (ITR) delegation has joined the call from the People’s Climate Movement to participate in a virtual climate march where thousands will send in photos or messages about why they want action on climate to make sure world leaders hear us.
With the mass climate march cancelled in Paris due to the attacks, this is an opportunity for us to be in global solidarity as people continue to take action. (Read the ITR delegation statement here on our solidarity with Paris)
Here is how you can participate:
1) Join the virtual march by submitting photos (selfie, group photo, etc.) to the Virtual Climate March website holding the #ItTakesRoots sign here.  
You can use these messages or feel free to write another messages as well:
- Frontline climate leadership
- Keep fossil fuels in the ground
- No Climate Justice without racial, gender, and economic justice
- False Solutions = Fracking, Nuclear Power, & Carbon Trading
- Rights for Climate Refugees
- People vs. the polluters
- Solutions vs pollution
- Community vs corporations
- Grassroots vs. carbontops
- Obama - who will you follow - the people or the polluters?
- No War, No Warming
On facebook and twitter, feel free to tag #ItTakesRoots.
2) Get others to join you in action Today.  Feel free to pass along this email message, and to encourage people to take action today with their loved ones.  This is a great opportunity to talk about the climate crisis, and lift up real solutions that people are working on.  
This virtual action is part of a longer and larger strategy at the COP21, on the streets of Paris, and after the delegates come home.  We know that the solutions offered by global “leaders” will not meet the needs of the people and the planet.  We know that they will capitulate to false solutions like cap and invest, and REDDs (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).  We need your participation to pull this action off.

 Let’s make sure they get the message with a virtual march showing photos of people all across the country sharing why we are demanding climate action now.
Will you join us?
In Solidarity,
Matt Howard
Iraq Veterans Against the War

Donate Now

The Secret Deal to Save the Planet
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By Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone, December 9, 2014    [At this moment the US and Chinese agreement to limit growth and carbon is mainly promises, and is far from enough to put the world on track to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius, but both leaders, Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping,  have finally acknowledged their country’s responsibility, have made concrete offers of caps and reductions, and have set deadlines.  One observer sees it as a major breakthrough in “the logjam of climate politics.”  The possibility for success at the Paris meeting in 2015 has significantly increased.—Dick]
A week after Democrats took a drubbing in the midterm elections, as pundits were suggesting Presidents Obama should start packing up the Oval Office, he stood beside Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing and announced a historic climate deal that may be one of the most significant accomplishments of his presidency. In the works for nearly a year, the agreement unfolded in a series of secret meetings in the United States and China and was carried out with the brinkmanship and bravado of a Vegas poker game.
The agreement comes at a time when awareness of the risks of climate change has never been higher, thanks to the sobering accretion of extreme weather events around the world. But the prospects for significant action to reduce carbon pollution have never been lower. Which is why virtually everyone in the climate world was stunned when the agreement was announced on November 12th.
Negotiations started in February when Todd Stern, the State Department's lead climate negotiator, put in an exploratory phone call to his counterpart in the Chinese government, Xie Zhenhua. Stern was in Seoul, South Korea, and would soon be joining his boss, Secretary of State John Kerry, in Beijing for a series of high-level meetings with the Chinese leadership, including Xi Jinping. Kerry, long a forceful advocate for action on climate change, simply wanted Stern to see if there was any possibility the upcoming talks might yield a joint public statement on the issue. Beyond that, the State Department team sensed that the Chinese were looking for areas of common ground to help improve relations. White House counselor John Podesta, President Obama's de facto point person on climate, agreed that it was an idea worth pursuing.
Stern knew that Xie, with whom he has shared many dinners at climate conferences all over the world, was a straight shooter whose goal, like his own, was to actually make progress on solving the climate crisis. "I made the case that if the deal were done well, and it had enough ambition, it could help to build momentum for Paris next year," recalls Stern. "Xie was interested. But there were obviously a lot of issues to work out. So we proceeded cautiously."
Obama arrived in the White House in 2009 determined to take on climate change. In his first term in office, he instituted tough new automotive fuel efficiency standards and pushed through $90 billion for clean energy in the stimulus bill. But after legislation to limit CO2 pollution failed to pass in the Senate in 2010, climate change seemed to slide down the list of issues that engaged the president. That changed after his re-election, when he ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to write new rules to govern carbon emissions from power plants and brought in Podesta. Early this past summer, those plans took shape when the EPA finally announced its plan to crack down on carbon pollution from existing power plants.
But Podesta understood that no matter what the U.S. did, it wouldn't matter without larger global cooperation. The last major round of international climate negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009 had been a festival of conspiracy and betrayal, ending with an 11th-hour, closed-door confrontation between rich and poor nations that only deepened the cynicism among many that the world would ever strike an agreement to cut carbon pollution. A year from now, the world is set to meet in Paris for another summit. Would this next meeting be any different? Probably not, concluded Podesta and the State Department's climate negotiators, unless they could get China to the table.
It was not just because China was the world's biggest polluter (an honor the U.S. had held until about 2006), but the Chinese also hold tremendous sway over developing nations of the world. Get China to take action, and chances were good that India, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Indonesia and other increasingly prosperous nations would come along too. 

A Chinese man wears a mask as he waits to cross the road near the CCTV building during heavy smog in Beijing, China on November 29th, 2014 (Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty)
But moving climate to the top of the agenda, Podesta realized, would be difficult. "In China, the politics of climate change are different than in the U.S.," says Li Shuo, a Greenpeace activist in Beijing. "No one in China denies climate change is a problem. But we have more immediate problems – like air and water pollution, most of which come from our dependence on coal." According to one study, air pollution contributed to the premature death of 1.2 million people in China in 2010. "China today is a lot like America was in the 1960s and Seventies – the rivers are on fire, the sky polluted, and the rising middle class is not going to put up with it anymore," says Jigar Shah, a solar-industry pioneer. For U.S. negotiators, it was important to convince the Chinese that cutting carbon pollution would not only clean up the air but also lead to more political stability for the regime. "They will have a social revolt on their hands if they don't come up with a way of dealing with this," U.S. Ambassador Max Baucus told me bluntly when I was in Beijing this past summer.
But for the U.S., nothing with China comes easy. "The relationship between China and the U.S. has been on a downhill slide," says author Orville Schell, who has been writing about China since the 1970s and now heads the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York. The Chinese fear the U.S. has a long-term strategy to contain China, while the U.S. fears China's increasing strength means trouble for American interests in Asia and beyond.
On top of the rising superpower tensions, climate negotiations are made more difficult by the fact that China is a developing nation. It may be the world's number-one polluter by volume, but its per-capita emissions are far lower than ours. The Chinese argue (with some justification) that global warming is a problem that has been largely caused by 200 years of fossil-fuel burning, mostly in the U.S. and Europe, and so it is the West that bears most of the responsibility for fixing it. Which meant that if U.S. negotiators were going to entice China into making a commitment to cut carbon emissions, the U.S. needed to jump first. But Obama's hands were tied. The U.S. Congress was not going to pass global warming legislation, so the only option was executive action. Everything depended on the EPA rules on power-plant pollution, which were still in the works, and dependent on withstanding court challenges – not at all a sure thing.
Still, after some discussion between the White House and the State Department, Obama gave them the go-ahead to pursue a deal. After Stern made the phone call to Xie in February, Kerry broached the idea with many key figures in the Chinese leadership, including President Xi, on his swing through Asia a few days later. The response: " 'Oh, this is interesting,' but they were not eager to pursue it," Podesta says. It became clear it would take presidential muscle to get any kind of a deal moving. In mid-March, Obama sent a private letter to President Xi that brought up a range of subjects, from the nuclearization of North Korea to territorial disputes in the South China Sea, but which also pushed for a climate agreement between the two nations. The gist of the letter, according to Podesta, was that " 'this could be meaningful, if we both make serious post-2020 contributions.' " 
Soon after Xi, whom Schell describes as "a ruthless utilitarian," ascended to the role of China's president in 2013, he had traveled to Rancho Mirage, California, to meet with Obama for two days of informal talks, where, among other things, they struck a deal to limit emissions of hydrofluorocarbons, a climate-eating gas. Schell describes their relationship as wary, but pragmatic. "There is no warmth between them," he says. "There is a lack of trust, a paranoid attitude toward each other. But also an awareness that they have to work together." 
President Obama and President Xi
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) after a joint press conference at the Great Hall of People in Beijing, China on November 12th, 2014. (Photo: Feng Li/Getty)
Obama's hand was strengthened in early June, when the EPA formally announced the Clean Power Plan, which would cut carbon from power plants by 30 percent by 2030. The result of a 2013 executive action in which Obama instructed the agency to come up with new regulations on power-plant emissions, the plan was well constructed and would likely hold up in court. It was an important sign of the seriousness of the administration's effort, and it gave U.S. negotiators leverage to say to the Chinese, "Hey, we mean business."
A few weeks later, a swarm of U.S. diplomats, including Kerry, Podesta and Stern, flew to Beijing for the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, a high-level diplomatic meeting between the United States and China. I accompanied the U.S. delegation on this trip. There was a lot of talk about what kind of commitment the Chinese might make in Paris and about what the U.S. could do to strengthen that commitment, but no indication, on or off the record, that a secret deal was in the works. But clearly, talks were serious. The day before the official meeting, Podesta and Stern, as well as U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, spent a full day at the Diaoyutai State Guest House with their Chinese counterparts, going over economic modeling results and various technological options, trying to get a sense of what the costs of various levels of carbon reductions would be.
In addition, Stern and Podesta had one-on-one meetings with Xie Zhenhau and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli ("the man with the portfolio," Podesta says). "They told us we might be able to put a deal together, but not until 2015," Podesta recalls. "But Todd and I both thought there was potential to do something earlier." U.S. negotiators knew that the sooner the deal could be announced, the more leverage they would have to shape the outcome of the Paris negotiations.
But the complexity of these negotiations is hard to overestimate. For one thing, CO2 pollution is on some level a proxy for economic development, so agreeing to cut carbon emissions is tantamount to calling for limits on economic growth – a tall order on its own, but even more difficult in an atmosphere of deepening distrust. "It is very hard for either side to believe what the other is saying," says Li Shuo. "There are many cultural barriers, and a long history of suspicion on both sides."
On the final day of the conference, I took a walk around the grounds of the Diaoyutai State Guest House with Stern. He seemed tense, unsure any deal could be worked out, and not even clear what kind of goal the Chinese might be willing to commit to: "Will it be a carbon cap? A coal cap? A renewable-energy quota? We are not sure."

The U.S. negotiators left China in a somber mood. During the first week of September, Obama sent President Xi a second letter. "It was a focused two-page letter on what could be delivered during the November APEC visit to Beijing, and it emphasized the climate joint announcement," Podesta told me. But if Xi was serious about pursuing this deal, he didn't show it by appearing at the U.N. Climate Summit in New York later that month. It was interpreted by some outsiders as a signal that the Chinese were not gearing up to make a serious commitment in Paris next year. Instead Xi sent Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, who asked to meet with Obama in New York, which, Podesta said, was "unusual." 
At that meeting, Zhang told Obama that Xi had decided to do the deal – and that he wanted to announce it in Beijing around the time of the APEC summit. But many details were still unresolved – including the all-important question of how strong the targets would be. For an agreement to have any meaning, the U.S. and the Chinese had to commit to carbon reductions that were both significant and credible.
During the last week of October, Podesta and Stern traveled to Beijing to meet with Xie Zhenhau and others at the National Development and Reform Commission. It was there that the Chinese finally put numbers on the table. The key figure was their pledge to cap carbon emissions by 2030. While carbon restrictions that don't go into effect for 16 years in the future may not sound significant, for a country as big and fast-growing as China, such a promise translates into huge reductions over time. (Climate scientist Raymond Pierrehumbert estimates that the cap, if extended out to 2060, would reduce China's carbon pollution by 790 gigatons over business as usual.) U.S. negotiators were not overjoyed by China's offer. "We wanted sooner than 2030, but they told us that 2030 had been cleared by the Standing Committee [i.e., the leaders of China's Communist Party]," Podesta says. 

US Secretary of State John Kerry (C), flanked by US ambassador to China, Max Baucus (L), and White House advisor John Podesta (R), speaks to his Chinese counterparts during a 'Strategic Track Plenary Session' in Beijing, China on July 10th, 2014. (Photo: Jim Bourg/AFP/Getty)
For the U.S. team, the carbon-reduction targets that they put on the table were a mix of technical capacity and political aspiration. They had to be deep enough to be meaningful, but they also had to be politically plausible, given the fact that there is no chance of anything moving through Congress in the next two years and the unpredictability of the 2016 presidential election. The number they came up with, 26 to 28 percent by 2025, represents the greenhouse-gas reductions proposed under existing U.S. law, plus possible further reductions based on executive actions the president may take during the rest of his term. "It's a serious commitment," says Stern, essentially requiring the United States to double its rate of carbon reductions in the next decade. Twenty-eight percent, says Stern, puts the U.S. on a straight-line path to 80 percent reductions – from 1990 levels – by 2050, a broadly shared goal within the international climate community.
Still, these targets – which were voluntary, after all – were nowhere near enough to put the world on track to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius (about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), which is the level scientists have identified as the threshold for dangerous climate change. But negotiators on both sides knew the deal could be nonetheless deeply significant, for it could shift the political calculus of international climate negotiation and virtually assure some kind of success in Paris next year, when an agreement to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol is supposed to be finalized.
"The question was, once we settled on the targets, was this deal significant enough for an announcement from the presidents of both countries?" says Podesta. Stern and Podesta weren't sure. By China refusing to cap COemissions until 2030, the U.S. team knew it would be open to the charge that we were giving China license to increase its carbon pollution for 16 years, while making costly promises to double our own reductions in the same period. But they saw a solution: The Chinese had mentioned they'd set an internal goal of generating 20 percent of their nation's power from nonfossil fuel sources by 2030. (To meet the goal, the Chinese will essentially have to build the equivalent of the entire U.S. electrical system in the next 16 years – and do it with wind, solar and nukes.) U.S. negotiators pushed the Chinese to make this goal part of the agreement. But the Chinese were hesitant to go public with it. In addition, they wanted language in the agreement about different obligations between the developed and the developing world that the U.S. team couldn't live with. For the second time in just a few months, Podesta and Stern left Beijing not sure they'd be able to make a deal at all.
In the next few days, there was a flurry of e-mail and phone exchanges. The APEC summit in Beijing was just a week away, and the Chinese clearly wanted to have something big to announce. But as Obama flew to Beijing, there was still no deal. Podesta told the president they were close to an agreement, but they were still juggling the language. The deal had to be "something we could feel good about," says Podesta. "Otherwise, we could still walk away."
The day before the summit began, Podesta and Stern hammered out the last details. The Chinese agreed to go public with the 20 percent renewable goal, as well as agreed to language that they would work to hit the 2030 CO2 cap earlier and to make clear that these reductions were made in the context of a long-term deep decarbonization effort (a point that Podesta says was "very important" to the president). In return, Chinese negotiators made sure the distinction between the obligations of the developed and the developing world was not lost in the agreement.
The next evening, Obama and Xi met privately to discuss the agreement. "It was important to both Obama and Xi to have real understanding where they were going with this, and to agree to keep talking throughout the year as we head toward Paris," says Podesta, who briefed Obama beforehand. "The thing everyone wants to avoid is a last-minute Perils-of-Pauline situation like we had in Copenhagen."
In China, response to the deal was straightforward: President Xi had not only pledged to clean the air and reduce carbon pollution, he had proved his diplomatic chops by striking a deal with the most powerful nation on Earth. "Xi was like a hedge-fund manager who just acquired a trophy wife," one experienced Chinese observer notes. "It's an affectation of being a great power." In the developing world, there was criticism of the low ambition of the carbon-reduction targets. "These commitments are nowhere near the kinds of reductions we need to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or even 2 degrees Celsius," one South American activist told me. 

The Forbidden City is covered by smog November 29th, 2014. (Photo: Xiao Lu Chu/Getty)
But more practical-minded observers saw the announcement as a major breakthrough. "In one move, Obama and Xi broke the logjam of climate politics," says Jairam Ramesh, a member of Indian Parliament and a longtime climate negotiator. "Until now, China has insisted that the U.S. and the EU are largely responsible for climate change. But this raises the bar for other nations."
The deal also has huge economic implications both for fossil-fuel industries that dominated the 20th century (i.e., the losers) and the alternative-energy entrepreneurs poised to grab a much bigger piece of the world's energy mix (i.e., the winners). "There is no question where the world is headed," says Podesta. "Instead of thinking of the U.S. and China as two captains on two different teams, it's a sign to everyone that we are both pulling in the same direction." For tech investors, this kind of high-level alignment has a powerful impact on strategic decisions about where to put their money. It will particularly benefit clean-tech companies that can help the Chinese figure out ways to integrate massive amounts of renewable energy into their grid. "This is not some bullshit deal between [former U.S. Secretary of Energy] Steven Chu and Tsinghua University," says Shah. "This is the U.S. government saying to American companies, 'Go ahead, set up shop in China – we've got your back.' "
Finally, the agreement eviscerates one of the favorite talking points of climate deniers. "Their argument has always been we can't do anything to cut emissions because China is not doing anything," says Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. "Well, now China is doing something pretty significant, while Republicans are still huddled in the dark castle of denial."
Of course, in the U.S., it took conservatives 30 seconds to begin hammering the deal as an economic suicide pact, arguing that the U.S. had committed to deep carbon reductions over the next decade, while the Chinese agreed to basically do nothing until 2030. In a column titled "The Climate Pact Swindle," Fox News regular Charles Krauthammer called the agreement "the most one-sided deal since Manhattan sold for $24 in 1626." Among other things, Krauthammer's argument ignores China's commitment to 20 percent nonfossil fuel power by 2030. As Sen. Whitehouse told me, "The idea that China has committed to doing nothing for the next 16 years is only true if you believe that Chinese leaders are going to wake up on New Year's Eve in 2029 and suddenly build 1,000 gigawatts of clean energy in one night."
The more substantial question is whether China and the U.S. can follow through on their commitments. Ironically, the Chinese may have more credibility than the U.S. " 'Face' is very important to the Chinese," says Schell. "When they commit to something publicly, they do it." Podesta agrees: "The Standing Committee has approved this commitment. The People's Congress will approve it. It will be imbedded in Chinese law. That is significant."
The U.S. commitment, on the other hand, stands on shakier political ground. As David Victor, professor of International Relations at the University of California, San Diego, and author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, puts it, "It's not clear yet if it is an Obama climate agreement or a U.S. climate agreement." In the Senate, Mitch McConnell has already said that he will use his new powers as majority leader in 2015 to launch a full-scale attack on the EPA rules on power-plant pollution – if that attack is successful, it would be all but impossible for the U.S. to meet its
carbon-reduction commitment.
Podesta, who will leave the administration in early 2015 and will likely play a senior role in Hillary Clinton's not-yet-announced presidential campaign, relishes the fight. "They can investigate us, harass us, try to defund us," warns Podesta. "But the president won't flinch on this. This is our line in the sand."
The fact that implementation of the EPA rules is likely to come in the middle of the 2016 election campaign is just another part of the White House political strategy. "What will become more apparent is that a candidate who denies the reality of climate change will have a hard time getting elected president," Podesta says. "The candidate who says, 'Hey, we've got a problem, I think we can work to solve it' is going to win. I don't think you ever go wrong playing for higher ground."
However this plays out in the U.S., it is an indisputable fact that this deal has changed the odds for a new global climate agreement in Paris in 2015. Big questions remain about how much cash the West will pony up to help the developing world finance clean-energy projects and adapt to climate change, but that can be resolved. "This is a sea change in how we think about solving the problem," says Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid's senior climate-change adviser in London. "We will get a deal in Paris now, I'm certain of it. Will it be enough? No. But it will lay the foundation for the future. And it will say to the world, for the first time, 'We are serious about this.' "

DECEMBER 22, 2014

News covering the UN and the world

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Climate talks bring deal on country-level emissions plans
The United Nations climate talks reached agreement on issues such as defining obligations of rich and poor countries but left the bigger issue of how to slow down climate change to be tacked by delegates at the Paris talks in 2015. Defining rich-poor obligations was "a very important breakthrough," said UN climate chief Christiana Figueres.
View Full Article in: Reuters · Reuters · Inter Press Service
un wire, DECEMBER 15, 2014

Emissions-Cutting Deal Reached at COP 20 Lima, But Will It Help Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change?

Asad Rehman, senior campaigner for international climate at Friends of the Earth.
Suzanne Goldenberg, U.S. environment correspondent for The Guardian.
Nitin Sethi, associate editor at Business Standard in India.
Dec 12, 2014 | STORY
Dec 12, 2014 | STORY
Dec 12, 2014 | STORY
This is viewer supported news
After more than 30 hours of extended talks, a global agreement on climate change was reached over the weekend at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru. Negotiators from nearly 200 countries agreed to a new deal that forms the basis for a global agreement on addressing climate change. Supporters say it marks the first time all nations have agreed to cut back on carbon emissions. The final draft says all countries have "common but differentiated responsibilities" to deal with global warming. The countries most dissatisfied with the outcome in Lima were those who are poor and already struggling to rebuild from the impacts of climate change. We host a roundtable with guests from three continents: in Peru, Suzanne Goldenberg, U.S. environment correspondent for The Guardian; in London, Asad Rehman, head of international climate for Friends of the Earth; and in New Delhi, Nitin Sethi, associate editor at Business Standard.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: After more than 30 hours of extended talks, a global agreement on climate change was reached over the weekend in Lima, Peru, at the United Nations climate conference. The talks were scheduled to end Friday but lasted two days into overtime. Shortly before 2:00 a.m. Sunday, negotiators from nearly 200 countries agreed to a new deal that forms the basis for a global agreement on addressing climate change. The final deal will be decided next year in Paris. This is the president of the talks and Peru’s environment minister, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal.
MANUEL PULGAR-VIDAL: [translated] Allow me to tell you all that, as with all texts, this is not perfect, but respects the positions of the parties and aims to be a product of its own, which is one that is based on what has been proposed to the president of COP. And with this text, we all are winners, no exceptions. I have heard from all of the groups, and I have the absolute assurance that with the text we are to receive, we are all winners.
AMY GOODMAN: The new climate agreement is called the Lima Accord. Supporters say it marks the first time all nations have agreed to cut back on carbon emissions. The final draft says all countries have, quote, "common but differentiated responsibilities," unquote, to deal with global warming. The deal is not legally binding and gives each country until next March to announce the amount it will agree to cut. The countries most dissatisfied with the outcome in Lima were those who are poor and already struggling to rebuild from the impacts of climate change.
For more, we host a roundtable. In Lima, Peru, Suzanne Goldenberg is with us, U.S. environment correspondent for The Guardian; in London, Asad Rehman, head of international climate for Friends of the Earth; and in New Delhi, Nitin Sethi, associate editor at the Business Standard.

DOHA 2012

1997 KYOTO PROTOCOL TREATY EXTENDED BY NEARLY 200 COUNTRIES, December 8, 2012, at Doha, Qatar.   The treaty was again not signed by the US, and will cover “only about 15 percent of global emissions.”  ADG (Dec. 9, 2012), “Delegates Extend the Kyoto Protocol.”

Middle East

Deal reached in Doha to extend Kyoto protocol

Delegates end conference with agreement to keep alive legally binding plan limiting greenhouse-gas emissions until 2020.
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2012 04:12

UN climate talks in Doha have come to a point of agreement on the extension of the Kyoto protocol, despite an objection from the Russian Federation.
After 36 hours of non-stop negotiation, delegates from nearly 200 nations in the Qatari capital agreed on Saturday to extend the protocol limiting greenhouse-gas emissions until 2020.
Almost immediately after Qatar's energy minister announced the agreement, Russia stated its objection.
Al Jazeera's Nick Clark, reporting from the conference venue, said Russia's objection showed that despite the agreement, "not everybody is totally happy" with the outcome of the two-week-long conference.
The extension of the 1997 UN-backed Kyoto Protocol will keep it alive as the only legally binding plan for combating global warming even though it will cover developed nations whose share of world greenhouse-gas emissions is less than 15 per cent.
The 27-member European Union, Australia, Switzerland and eight other industrialised nations agreed to the binding emission cuts by 2020. Each signatory had already legislated individual targets.
The US has refused to ratify Kyoto. The protocol also excludes major developing polluters like China, the nation with the highest rate of pollution, and India.
'Modest but essential'
"It is a modest but essential step forward", Connie Hedegaard, European climate commissioner, said at the conclusion of Doha Climate Gateway.
A statement released by the office of Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, said while he supported the outcome of the Doha conference as a positive step, he "believes that far more needs to be done and he calls on governments, along with businesses, civil society and citizens".
Kumi Naidoo, executive director of the environmental activist group Greenpeace, said civil society was especially disappointed with the outcome of the talks.
Follow our in-depth coverage of Doha COP18 negotiations
Speaking to Al Jazeera in Doha, he said with "no emissions targets anywhere near what the science" is calling for, what the agreement delivered was "at best, baby steps".
He said that despite the presence of delegates from key global players, "the winners have largely been" the fossil-fuel industries - oil, coal and gas companies.
The talks, scheduled to end on Friday, were extended into Saturday as delegates from rich and poor nations disagreed on funding.
Finance remains an issue as "the United States and the bigger states don't want to make concessions for poorer states", Al Jazeera's Clark said.
Qatar, the conference's host, had originally introduced the idea of extending the Kyoto Protocol, which would have expired by the end of the year.
Question of funding
It also suggested putting off until 2013 a dispute about demands from developing nations for more cash to help them cope with global warming.
The issue of funding to help poor countries deal with the fallout from global warming and convert to clean energy sources complicated the haggling by envoys.
"We cannot close the [negotiations] without ... finance," Pa Ousman Jarju, Gambian negotiator, said on Friday.
Developed countries are being pressed to show how they intend to keep a promise to raise climate funding for poorer nations to $100bn per year by 2020 - up from a total of $30bn in 2010-2012.
Developing countries say they need at least another $60bn between now and 2015 - starting with $20bn from next year - to deal with a climate change-induced rise in droughts, floods, rising sea levels and storms.
But the US and the EU have refused to put concrete figures on the table for 2013-2020 funding, citing tough financial times.



Hot Air Ahead of Climate Meeting

Kieran Mulvaney
Analysis by Kieran Mulvaney
Mon Nov 28, 2011
05:54 AM ET
This time in 2009, anticipation was feverish in advance of the climate treaty negotiations in Copenhagen. Two years later, as that negotiation process reaches Durban, South Africa, expectations are somewhat diminished.
There is some hope that the Durban gathering, which begins today, will prove to be a 'summit of small steps,' with progress on such areas as cooperation on clean technology and establishing rules and regulations for a Green Climate Fund.
But there will be no new climate treaty emerging from the upcoming discussions; in fact, according to the BBC's Richard Black, the principal division among the delegations is that some (primarily the European Union and 'climate-vulnerable' countries such as small island states) want to negotiate a treaty that is completed by 2015 and 'begins to bite' by 2020 and others - well, don't. Black writes that this latter bloc includes Brazil, which has argued that 2012-2015 should be a "reflection phase;" India, which says it should be a "technical/scientific period;" and some developed nations which argue that a new treaty is unrealistic before 2018 at the earliest. That latter grouping includes Japan, Canada, and Russia; predictably, it also includes the United States, where climate change continues to be the hottest of potatoes.
ANALYSIS: Climate Change: A Threat to US Security
Last week, for example, the Washington Post reported that Congress had barred the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from establishing a proposed National Climate Service. The idea behind the service was to create a "one-stop shop" on climate information, and "make it easier for people to find information, such as seasonal growing outlooks and drought, wildfire and flood forecasts." It would have cost no money - and, if anything, made the agency's climate work more efficiently.
But, at a June hearing, Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland told NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco of his fear that "the climate services could become little propaganda sources instead of a science source." More recently, Texas Rep. Ralph Hall accused NOAA of operating a "a shadow climate service operation," even though, as the Post article points out, NOAA's climate data has, far from being in the shadows, "been public for decades."
Never mind that the World Meteorological Organization confirmed last week that greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere reached record levels in 2010 and that the rate of increase of carbon dioxide is still growing. Never mind either that yet another study confirmed that the Arctic is losing sea ice "on a pace and magnitude unlike anything the Earth has experienced in the past 1,450 years." As long as NOAA doesn't establish a new website to disseminate its 'warmist propaganda', all will be right with the world.
ANALYSIS: Climate Skeptics: A US and UK Press Phenom
Meanwhile, notwithstanding a new release of supposedly revelatory e-mails stolen from climate scientists in 2009, climate scientists keep on doing what climate scientists do: adding to the sum of knowledge about climate science. One widely-covered recent contribution, by a team led by Andreas Schmittner of Oregon State University, argues that the atmosphere's 'climate sensitivity' may be less than had been predicted or feared. Although most forecasts suggest that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would lead to an average global temperature increase of around 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (although it could be as low as 3.6F or as high as 8.1F), Schmittner and colleagues used proxy data from periods of past climatic extremes to argue that the most likely increase would be around 4.1 degrees, and perhaps as low as 3F (or as high as 4.7F).
ANALYSIS: Skeptics Catching Up on Climate Science
That was enough for some to declare the paper "another in a long line of revelations showing the scientific fraud at the heart of the anti-global warming movement" and a sign that "warmist ideology is crumbling" - apparently missing the part of the study that emphasized that (a) increased greenhouse gas emissions cause global warming; and (b) a doubling of CO2 could lead to warming of over 4 degrees F; to say nothing of Schmitter's own observation that "very small changes in temperature cause huge changes in certain regions. So even if we get a smaller temperature rise than we expected, the knock-on effects would still be severe."
It is, of course, just one paper; furthermore, others have expressed caution over the accuracy and extensiveness of the study's data set, and pointed out that there are other factors, including long-term feedbacks such as the melting of tundra and subsequent release of methane, that the study does not address. There are questions, too, about the sophistication of the models used, and even Schmittner concedes that “the range that we estimate for climate sensitivity may be too narrow".
Besides, as Rachel Nuwer summarized in the New York Times: "While climate scientists generally center their research around a potential doubling of carbon dioxide, there is no guarantee humanity will actually stop its emissions at that level, meaning the temperature increase could be higher than the forecasts. The carbon dioxide level is up 40 percent already, emissions are rising rapidly, and global negotiations to limit them have not been very successful."

No More “Green Capitalism”

An assessment of the failure of the Durban summit on the climate
Josep Maria Antentas & Esther Vivas
We will save the markets, not the climate. That is how we can summarize the outcome of the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) which took place in Durban, South Africa between 28 November and 10 December 2011. There is a striking contrast between the rapid response by governments and international institutions at the onset of the economic and financial crisis of 2007-08 in bailing out private banks with public money and the complete immobility they demonstrate in response to climate change. Yet this should not surprise us, because in both cases it is the markets and their accomplices in government who come out as winners.
There were two central themes at the Durban summit; first, the future of the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012 and the ability to put in place mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and, secondly, the launch of the Green Climate Fund approved at the previous summit in Cancun (Mexico) with the theoretical aim of supporting the poorest countries to face the consequences of climate change through projects of mitigation and adaptation.
After Durban, we can say that a second phase of the Kyoto Protocol remains empty of content. They postponed any real action until 2020 and ruled out any binding regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It was the representatives of the most polluting countries, headed by the United States, who argued for an agreement based on voluntary reductions and opposed any binding mechanism. The Kyoto Protocol was already inadequate, and its strict application would lead to a small slowdown of global warming. But now we are on a path that can only make the situation much worse.
With regard to the Green Climate Fund, as a first step, rich countries pledged to contribute up to $ 30 billion in 2012 and 100 billion per year until 2020. In the first place these amounts are insufficient. Further, no source of public funds has been identified. Therefore, the doors are wide open to private investment run by the World Bank. As has already been noted by social movements, this is a strategy to “transform the Green Climate Fund into a greedy employers’ fund”. Once again they are making profits from the climate crisis and environmental pollution (investment banks have already developed a range of financial instruments to intervene in what is called the carbon market, emissions, etc.)
Another example of the commodification of the atmosphere was the endorsement by the United Nations of capture and storage of CO 2 as a mechanism for so-called clean development, whereas this procedure is not intended to reduce emissions and will help to seriously deepen the environmental crisis, especially in developing countries that are candidates to become cemeteries of CO 2 in the future.
The results of the Summit therefore cause an increase in green capitalism. South African activist and intellectual Patrick Bond denounced it like this: “The trend towards commodification of nature has become the dominant philosophical point of view in environmental governance. ” In Durban, we repeated the scenario of the previous summits, such as Cancun in 2010 and Copenhagen in 2009, where the interests of large transnational corporations, international financial institutions and the elites of the financial world, both North and South, are given priority over the collective needs of the people and the future of the planet.
In Durban, not only our future was at stake, but also our present. The effects of the ravages of climate change are already being felt; including the release of millions of tons of methane in the Arctic, a gas 20 times more potent than CO 2 in terms of atmospheric warming. Then there are the melting glaciers and ice caps which is resulting in a rise in sea level. These effects are already increasing the scale of forced migration. In 1995 there were approximately 25 million climate migrants; that number has doubled now, with 50 million. In 2050, this number could be between 200 million and 1 billion people displaced.
All indicators show that we are moving towards an uncontrolled global warming of more than 2 °, which could rise to about 4 ° at the end of the century. Scientists believe this will most likely trigger unmanageable consequences such as a very significant increase of sea level. We cannot wait until 2020 to start taking action.
But with the lack of political will to tackle climate change, resistance does not, however, dry up. In a movement parallel to Occupy Wall Street and the wave of indignados which has reverberated round Europe and the world, many activists and social movements met in a daily forum a few meters from the official conference centre with their initiative called “Occupy COP17.” Participants ranged from farmers struggling for their rights to representatives of small island states like Seychelles, Grenada and the Republic of Nauru (Oceania, Micronesia) who are threatened by an imminent rise in sea level, to activists against debt who are demanding the repayment of ecological debt from the north to the south.
The movement for Climate Justice shows the need to focus our lives and the planet against the commodification of nature and the commons. Capitalism and its elites are unable to provide a comprehensive response to the socio-climate crisis which has led us to a productivist and predatory system. If we are not to exacerbate the climate crisis with all its consequences we must fundamentally change this system. The well-known environmental activist Nnimmo Bassey said very clearly: “The summit amplified climate apartheid, where the 1% richest in the world decided it was acceptable to sacrifice the remaining 99%.”

CANCUN Nov. 2010
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate C...
The Cancun Agreements. The sixteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties serving ...
COP 16 - ‎Reports - ‎Decisions - ‎Documents
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate C...
The agreements, reached on December 11 in Cancun, Mexico, at the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference represent key steps forward in capturing ...

Report back on Cancun climate talks
Dear Dick,
Friends of the Earth at Work in Cancun
Thank you for joining with Friends of the Earth to influence the UN climate negotiations that recently concluded in Cancun.
Now that the talks have ended, we want to update you on the outcome of the negotiations and let you know what’s next.

The outcome of the climate talks in Cancun
Our team in Cancun was made up of staff from Friends of the Earth groups on five continents. We urged rich, industrialized countries like the United States, Japan and Canada to commit to aggressive responses to climate change, including rapid pollution reductions. (These rich countries' pollution is overwhelmingly responsible for having caused the climate crisis, so they have a responsibility to lead in solving it.) Unfortunately -- but not unexpectedly -- that’s not what happened in Cancun.

Instead, on the final night, the president of the conference, Mexican foreign minister Patricia Espinosa, introduced negotiating texts that supposedly resolved disagreements between the various countries.  In reality, the texts papered over many disagreements, including questions as basic as whether emission reduction commitments should be legally binding.

On the crucial question -- cutting pollution -- the texts fell dramatically short, merely noting individual countries' voluntary emissions pledges. These already-existing pledges are so weak that they could lead to as much as nine degrees Fahrenheit of warming -- far more than what scientists say is acceptable.

The texts also open the door to new “carbon offsets” and other loopholes that allow industrialized countries to avoid making needed pollution reductions at home.

One positive note: the texts establish a Green Climate Fund that will support developing countries in coping with climate change impacts and transitioning to clean economies. This has been a Friends of the Earth priority. (Read a longer analysis of the texts here.)

After Espinosa introduced the texts, Bolivian delegate Pablo Solon asked for time to review and debate them, but Espinosa demanded a take-it-or-leave-it decision. Despite Solon’s objection that there was no consensus, Espinosa said the texts had been approved and would henceforth be known as the “Cancun Agreements.”

Where does this leave us?
Many observers cheered loudly at the adoption (which is still being contested by Bolivia) of the Cancun Agreements. But expectations had been set so low that only a complete abandonment of the UN process would have been seen as a failure.

While many developing countries acquiesced to adoption of the Agreements, this should not be read as a sign of unambiguous support. Several delegates privately expressed disappointment to us. But these delegates were under significant pressure not to object to a weak deal, as they’d seen how foreign aid had been cut from countries that refused to sign up to last year's Copenhagen Accord.

The international negotiations will continue. Many of the disagreements papered over in Cancun will resurface a year from now at the UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa.

So what’s next?
The most important thing that those of us in the United States can do to increase the prospects for success in Durban is to move both politics and policy at the domestic level to a better place.

In terms of policy, we need to show the world that we’re serious about reducing our own emissions. Our key task over the next year will be to defend the EPA’s implementation of Clean Air Act protections against climate pollution -- protections that can cut emissions from coal-fired power plants and other sources of heat-trapping gases. We will need to defeat Republican attempts to roll back this law.

Also crucial will be our work to phase out taxpayer subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and other polluters. It’s time for the government to stop handing corporate welfare to the oil, coal, and corn ethanol industries, and it’s time to start investing in real climate solutions instead. We secured the creation of a Green Climate Fund in Cancun. Now we must influence its design over the next year so that it operates on democratic, just, and environmentally sound principles, and the U.S. must ante up and contribute to it.

In terms of politics, we need to build a stronger grassroots movement that supports climate solutions, and we plan to work with supporters like you to accomplish this. We also need to shift the debate so it’s clear to politicians that denying climate science and cozying up to polluting industries is unacceptable, and that advocating for a healthy climate is a pathway to political power.

Additionally, we need to make sure the Obama administration understands that bullying other countries into accepting the lowest common denominator is a recipe for disaster.

There’s a lot to do in the year ahead, but together we can make a difference. Thanks for having joined with us in these fights this year; if you want to further support this work and haven’t yet made an end-of-the-year contribution to Friends of the Earth, you can do so here. (If you’ve already made a contribution, thank you!)

We hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday season.

Nick Berning, Kate Horner and Karen Orenstein, recently returned from Cancun
Friends of the Earth
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Letter to 350PPM

I recently re-read the People’s Agreement of April 22, 2010, and thought it an important context for our advocacy for the planet here in Fayetteville.  Here it is plus later meetings in response.   Dick

World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth

PEOPLE’S AGREEMENT, April 22, 2010, Cochabamba, Bolivia

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Your location: Home > Kyoto Protocol

Kyoto Protocol

Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets.
Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities."
The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. The detailed rules for the implementation of the Protocol were adopted at COP 7 in Marrakesh, Morocco, in 2001, and are referred to as the "Marrakesh Accords." Its first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012.
Doha Amendment
In Doha, Qatar, on 8 December 2012, the "Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol" was adopted. The amendment includes:
  • New commitments for Annex I Parties to the Kyoto Protocol who agreed to take on commitments in a second commitment period from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020;
  • A revised list of greenhouse gases (GHG) to be reported on by Parties in the second commitment period; and
  • Amendments to several articles of the Kyoto Protocol which specifically referenced issues pertaining to the first commitment period and which needed to be updated for the second commitment period.
On 21 December 2012, the amendment was circulated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, acting in his capacity as Depositary, to all Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in accordance with Articles 20 and 21 of the Protocol.
During the first commitment period, 37 industrialized countries and the European Community committed to reduce GHG emissions to an average of five percent against 1990 levels. During the second commitment period, Parties committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18 percent below 1990 levels in the eight-year period from 2013 to 2020; however, the composition of Parties in the second commitment period is different from the first.

The Kyoto mechanisms

Under the Protocol, countries must meet their targets primarily through national measures. However, the Protocol also offers them an additional means to meet their targets by way of three market-basedmechanisms.
The Kyoto mechanisms are:
The mechanisms help to stimulate green investment and help Parties meet their emission targets in a cost-effective way.
Monitoring emission targets
Under the Protocol, countries' actual emissions have to be monitored and precise records have to be kept of the trades carried out.
Registry systems track and record transactions by Parties under the mechanisms. The UN Climate Change Secretariat, based in Bonn, Germany, keeps an international transaction log to verify that transactions are consistent with the rules of the Protocol.
Reporting is done by Parties by submitting annual emission inventories and national reports under the Protocol at regular intervals.
compliance system ensures that Parties are meeting their commitments and helps them to meet their commitments if they have problems doing so.
The Kyoto Protocol, like the Convention, is also designed to assist countries in adapting to the adverse effects of climate change. It facilitates the development and deployment of technologies that can help increase resilience to the impacts of climate change.
The Adaptation Fund was established to finance adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. In the first commitment period, the Fund was financed mainly with a share of proceeds from CDM project activities. In Doha, in 2012, it was decided that for the second commitment period, international emissions trading and joint implementation would also provide the Adaptation Fund with a 2 percent share of proceeds.
The road ahead
The Kyoto Protocol is seen as an important first step towards a truly global emission reduction regime that will stabilize GHG emissions, and can provide the architecture for the future international agreement on climate change.
In Durban, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) was established to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention, applicable to all Parties. The ADP is to complete its work as early as possible, but no later than 2015, in order to adopt this protocol, legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force at the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties and for it to come into effect and be implemented from 2020.

A small number of the countless capillaries constituting the US NSS (National Security State:  secrecy, surveillance, corporations, Pentagon, Congress, White House, mainstream media (MM), education) are exhibited in my books Control of Information in the U.S. and Control of the Media in the U.S.  The following excellent essay by Bruce Gagnon shines a light on one instance of the NSS.  Our peace, justice, and ecology movement will be victorious once its adherents join Gagnon and the many other brilliant and brave critics who understand the system (understand why these climate conferences failed) and decide to dismantle it.  --Dick
  I was recently sent an email alerting me to a conference at the University of Maine that appears to be about dragging us into another one of the oil-i-garchy's latest chaos zones.  I inquired about attending but was told it was "sold out".  Here is a bit from the invite:

The University of Maine School of Policy and International Affairs and the Maine Army National Guard will co-host a conference May 20 to 21 to explore challenges and emerging opportunities in the Arctic. The free conference, "Leadership in the High North: A Political, Military, Economic and Environmental Symposium of the Arctic Opening," will be held at the Maine Army National Guard Regional Training Institute in Bangor. Speakers will address global, national and state issues and implications related to diminished sea ice in the Arctic, including the changing environment, trade, geopolitics and policy.

Scheduled speakers include: Gen. Charles Jacoby, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command; Rear Admiral Jonathan White, oceanographer and navigator of the Navy, director of Task Force Climate Change; Paul A. Mayewski, director of the UMaine Climate Change Institute; Major-General Christopher Coates, deputy commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command, National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces; Philippe Hebert, director of Policy Development for Canadian Department of National Defence; and John Henshaw, executive director of Maine Port Authority. And officials from the U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School will share experiences and display cold-weather operations equipment.

The words "emerging opportunities" jumped right out at me.  The Arctic region is loaded with oil and natural gas and with extreme melting of the ice the oil corporations are itching to get at it.  But look at a map to see which country has the largest land border with the Arctic... it is Russia.  Thus we see this intense US-NATO move toward militarization.  In order to build public support for this new "strategic plan" they are throwing out some financial incentives - the only job creator in town anymore, the military industrial complexAmerica is being hollowed out and turned into a garrison state for global capital.

The Pentagon has created the "US Navy Arctic Roadmap: 2014-2030".  The plan includes such gems as the Navy needing ways to distribute fuel in the [Arctic] region to air and surface platforms.  Fuel allocation needs to be staffed and protected which means bases will be built.  How close would they be to Russia and how would that go over?  The current US-NATO movement of major offensive forces along the Russian border, having used the Ukraine crisis as a pretext, helps the military more “effectively control" the Russian bear in the event of future conflict over Arctic resource extraction.

Late last March the Navy took New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Sen. Angus King (I-ME), and others for a submarine ride below the Arctic ice.  
Friedman wrote:

“In our lifetime, what was [in effect] land and prohibitive to navigate or explore, is becoming an ocean, and we’d better understand it,” noted Admiral Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations. “We need to be sure that our sensors, weapons and people are proficient in this part of the world,” so that we can “own the undersea domain and get anywhere there.” Because if the Arctic does open up for shipping, it offers a much shorter route from the Atlantic to the Pacific than through the Panama Canal, saving huge amounts of time and fuel.

Our Sen. King here in Maine sent around an email called 
Impressions from the Arctic.  He told his constituents that there has been "a 40% reduction in ice as a result of global warming"  He reported that "previously inaccessible" gas and oil reserves were now going to create "new opportunities".  King concluded, "I am convinced we need to increase our capacity in the region, something I intend to press upon my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee as we work on our military priorities for the coming years."

King's state of Maine builds destroyers, armed with so-called "missile defense" (MD) systems that are key elements in Pentagon Prompt Global Strike planning.  After a US first-strike attack is launched at China or Russia, the MD "shield" helps take out any retaliatory capability.  It's a gun to the head which sometimes does not need to be fired to be effective - the threat in and of itself is bad enough.

I’m sad that I couldn't get a ticket to get into the Arctic event in Bangor.  Funny that a public institution like the University of Maine would limit participation.  But then again I'm not surprised at all.
 Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652, Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502   (blog)

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Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)