ecostory 39-2004

Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol

Our email feedback to the BBC's Talking point of 12 December 2004

Dear Talking Point,

Allow me to recapitulate the chief points about the effects of the Kyoto protocol and what would be needed instead.

The protocol will not make any difference since

a. the emissions reduction goals are far too low
b. the proposed mechanisms - emissions trading and technology - will not work
c. the prevailing ideology remains one of economic growth, which entails more emissions.

The protocol is actually bad for our Earth since it provides a false sentiment of doing something. It is detrimental to serious efforts to save this Earth from total destitution and the demise of humanity within the next few generations.

Whilst we talk on Kyoto protocols and more such feel-good projects, at the same time everything grows:

1. the world population and the consumption per capita
2. the destruction and depletion in virtually all areas
3. pollution and toxification of our environments.

The only single thing that does not grow is our planet.

Therefore, the time, money and effort used on Kyoto and similar execises must be used to restructure our societies.

What we need is low-speed and low material throughput in localised economic structures. People must again produce locally what they need to live decently, as far as possible.

We, our children and grandchildren, not those fuzzy "future generations", still have a chance to survive. But we must use act now in stead of talking Kyoto sky castles.

First and foremost we must burry this suicidal ideology of economic growth. Then we most put all our efforts in restructuring into localised economies.

With kind regards,

Helmut E Lubbers,
ecological psychologist MSocSc DipEcol BE and a grandfather
Geneva, Switzerland

Talking point's guest for 12DEC2004, Sir David King, the British government's Chief Scientific Advisor, appears the ideal feelgooder that any establishment can dream of.

As to climate change he knows the facts. He addresses the kids in plain language and gives the advice that all of us can make a difference.

Simultaneously however, Sir David thinks that this does not count for countries: "only by acting together can countries tackle the problem".

Once the kids are adult they will be frustrated and no longer believe in any policies. Too much burden and hope had been wrongly placed upon their young shoulders.

At the same time we, their responsible parents and grandparents, are being misled by short-thinking scientists, politicians and economists to believe in illusionary "solutions".

Convince yourself, for instance by reading Sir David's pseudo-scientific elaborations on sustainable development and his unfaltered belief in science to solve all and everything. (In a public discussion on Science, Technology's contribution to Humanity of 11 December 2004.)

A country's potential for sustainability can be defined in terms of gold and knowledge, basically, according to the fuzzy definition that Sir David gives.

The royal way out of the problems is science. If we only think hard enough we will find the technological means, such as the river Thames barriers that have to protect London from climate change floods.

For the South it means "Capacity building"; teach the girls so that they will prefer knowledge to producing children. The role of men is not mentioned.

Once the Earth has 10 billion people, by the year 2200, the population increase will have stopped and the South will be able to build their own dams and barriers.

O yes, of course, provided a solution is found for the drinking water problem that is becoming difficult in the next 30 to 70 years, writes Sir David.

But don't worry too much, clever engineers must not be stopped in their trials to genetically engineer plants that will produce abundant food in salt water environments. And for climate change we have the clean development mechanism, of course, whatever that may mean.

Not one single spot of evidence of understanding that each pound/dollar/euro in increase of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) unavoidably increases our human pressure upon the Earth's resources, further depletes and despoils the environment.

Not one word about the end of fossil fuels that will force humanity to restructure to localised communities, if full-scale war is avoided. Biodiversity, erosion, toxification - no subject. Science will find the solution.

Let's continue to grow and end up living in a dreamworld of dematerialised services, totally clean and sustainable.

The last one on a material Earth switches the light off.

* Die Erde hat wirklich Grenzen...
*** Le monde a vraiment des limites...
*********** The earth does have limits...

Our original on-line feedback to the Talking point web page:

The Kyoto protocol will not make any difference. On the contrary, it only provides some do-good feelings and activism for people who have understood nothing of the harsh physical realities of a round planet with limited resources.

Fact is that climate change is under way and unstoppable. This because we have released and are still releasing greenhouse gases into our air in a timespan of 300 years, which took up to 300 million years to be sequestered in a long ago past. We can not reasonably hope to recapture this carbon, not by nature nor by technical means.

If we really wanted to avoid the worst we would reduce our scale of production and consumption by up to 80 per cent. Only then will we have a chance to survive.

Our present societal policies of economic growth is suicidal - as long as the Earth does not grow.

But politicians and economists appear believing in a flat Earth with immeasurable depths and with no boundaries. What a sorry state of affairs, where we are being governed by incompetent so-called leaders who are unwilling to count one and one together and accept realities.

Instead of promoting free trade and evergrowing consumption we must restructure our society into localised economies with a minimum of material-throughput and transportation for achieving what we all basically aim for: happiness and love in a safe and healthy environment.

That aim we can and we must achieve without this destructive high consumption detour.

Wachstumsdiskussion (Discussion on growth)
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