Meditation Focus #125
Initiating A Global Environmental Revolution
What follows is the 125th Meditation Focus suggested for the next 2 weeks beginning Sunday, February 20, 2005.
INITIATING A GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL REVOLUTION
2. Meditation times
3. More information related to this Meditation Focus
"We need an environmental revolution for the 21st century. To despair when confronted with the challenges we have created would only assure a human and natural calamity we still have the power to avoid."
- James Gustave Speth - Taken from http://illinoisissues.uis.edu/editor/revolve.html
"At this most critical crossroad in this worlds history, humanity is slowly realizing that past centuries of warfare against man and nature can and will come to an end only when we disarm within the very core essence from where our thoughts, decisions and actions stem the primal cause of self-destruction and wanton violence.All Life forms are united by the very nature of this magical Life Force that runs through each sentient and non-sentient form of Life on this planet and everywhere else in this Universe and beyond.Realizing, understanding, imbuing ourselves with this incontrovertible and yet unfathomable Reality is the only means through which humanity can come to adjust its everyday thoughts, words and actions to the fact that We Are All One."
Taken from "Sparking a Spiritual Revolution on Planet Earth" at http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com/Sparking.htm
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE IN PASSING THIS ON TO OTHERS
The Industrial Revolution began in England in the eighteenth century, when the use of coal both in steam engines and for iron smelting enormously increased industrial output. Industrial technologies and the use of fossil fuels quickly spread to other nations, generated unprecedented economic growth, and changed fundamentally the human use of resources and impact on the local and global environment. The environmental movement took shape in the United States in the 1960's, when concerned citizens first challenged pollution in court, public interest groups were formed around environmental issues, and public opinion forced the U.S. government to pass laws and policies designed to protect environmental quality. The movement is now truly global in its scope and impact. Yet, as amply demonstrated in the last few years, and especially in the last few days with the release of several scientific reports incontrovertibly establishing that soon our planet's climate may soon pass a tipping point beyond which a recovery would seem impossible, the time has now come to initiate a new global revolution that will change priorities for all governments, all corporations and all individual human beings so as to enable a radical shift away from planetary suicide and towards co-creating a world in perfect harmony with Nature and at peace with itself.
There is a unique convergence of circumstances this week that may make possible a breakthrough that would put an end to the attitude of deep denial of the President of the United States, a country responsible for much of the imbalance now imperiling everyone's future. With the scheduled visit this Monday in Europe of George W Bush who comes with an agenda of repairing frayed relations with France and Germany in the hope of enlisting greater support to help the U.S. military stabilize Iraq, and with the recent statements by British Prime Minister Tony Blair who intends to push for significant compromises from his American ally in his bid to better offset global warming now that the insufficiently stringent Kyoto Protocol has finally taken effect, there is a window of opportunity that must be seized and some major changes of perspective whose necessity must be recognized by everyone.
Please dedicate your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the coming two weeks, and especially in synchronous attunement at the usual time this Sunday and the following Sunday, to contribute in initiating a global environmental evolution based on the knowledge that humanity has no choice now but to embark upon a massive program to redesign its industrial and transportation infrastructures as well as the very technologies at the heart of its economic and social development so as to quickly mitigate the worst effects of global warming and set the world onto a truly sustainable path of progress. May we all contribute, through opening our minds and hearts to the innate sacredness of all life forms, to the common realization that humanity can no longer ignore the mounting consequences of our past and present choices, and that precious little time is left to implement the course corrections that will bring us away from the gathering storms we have unleashed. Our common resolve to do much better, in light of the latest scientific knowledge we have gained and the spiritual sensitivity we have developed, is the ferment that will soon make possible such a global revolution and awakening to the Oneness of All That Is. Let us empower ourselves and our business and political leaders to courageously take the decisions that will change the way we live and how we treat our living planet, for the Highest Good of All.
This whole Meditation Focus has been archived for your convenience at http://www.aei.ca/~cep/MeditationFocus125.htm
2. MEDITATION TIMES
i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes. Please dedicate the last few minutes of your Sunday meditation BOTH to the healing of the Earth as a whole and to reiterate our willingness and desire - if we so choose - to receive assistance from our space family in order to help set things on a path towards a new era of global peace, love and harmony for all. See the Earth as healthy and vibrant with life, and experience the healing of all relations as we awaken globally to the sacredness of all Life and to our underlying unity with All That Is.
ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.
These times below are currently corresponding to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT:
Honolulu 6:00 AM -- Anchorage * 8:00 AM -- Los Angeles * 9:00 AM -- Mexico City, San Salvador & Denver * 10:00 AM -- Houston * & Chicago * 11:00 AM -- Santo Domingo, La Paz, Caracas, New York *, Toronto *. Montreal *, Asuncion & Santiago 12:00 AM -- Halifax *, Rio de Janeiro & Montevideo 1:00 PM -- Reykjavik & Casablanca 4 PM -- Lagos, Algiers, London *, Dublin * & Lisbon * 5:00 PM -- Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Geneva *, Rome *, Berlin *, Paris * & Madrid * 6:00 PM -- Ankara *, Athens *, Helsinki * & Istanbul * & Nairobi 7:00 PM -- Baghdad *, Moscow * 8:00 PM -- Tehran * 8:30 PM -- Islamabad 9:00 PM -- Calcutta & New Delhi 9:30 PM -- Dhaka 10:00 PM -- Rangoon 10:30 PM -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 11:00 PM -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur +12:00 PM -- Seoul & Tokyo +1:00 AM -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne +2:00 AM -- Wellington +4:00 AM
+ means the place is one day ahead of Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time.
* means the place is observing daylight saving time (DST) at the moment.
You may also check at http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?day=20&month=02&year=2005&hour=16&min=0&sec=0&p1=0 to find your corresponding local time for tomorrow if a nearby city is not listed above.
3. MORE INFORMATION RELATED TO THIS MEDITATION FOCUS
This complement of information may help you to better understand the various aspects pertaining to the summary description of the subject of this Meditation Focus. It is recommended to view this information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision we wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mind-set, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of peace and healing. This complementary information is provided so that a greater knowledge of what needs healing and peace-nurturing vibrations may assist us to have an in-depth understanding of what is at stake and thus achieve a greater collective effectiveness.
1. 'Global warming real' say new studies
2. Tipping point looms for Earths climate
3. Pressure on Bush to address global warming
4. Kyoto protocol gets degree of support from some US businesses
5. Umbra on What Global Warming Will Mean for Average Folks
6. Memo on President Bush's Trip to Europe
The Green Holocaust Files #18: Kyoto Delusion (February 18, 2005)
The Ostrich Meets Global Warming (Telling cartoon!)
'Global warming real' say new studies
By Clive Cookson in Washington
February 18 2005
A leading US team of climate researchers on Friday released "the most compelling evidence yet" that human activities are responsible for global warming. They said their analysis should "wipe out" claims by sceptics that recent warming is due to non-human factors such as natural fluctuations in climate or variations in solar or volcanic activity.
Scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California have been working for several years with colleagues at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to analyse the effects of global warming on the oceans. They combined computer modelling with millions of temperature and salinity readings, taken around the world at different depths over five decades.
The researchers released their conclusions on Friday at the American Association of the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington. They found that the "warming signals" in the oceans could only have been produced by the build-up of man-made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Non-human factors would have produced quite different effects.
Tim Barnett, the Scripps project leader, said previous attempts to show that human activities caused global warming had looked for evidence in the atmosphere. "But the atmosphere is the worst place to look for a global warming signal," he said. "Ninety per cent of the energy from global warming has gone into the oceans and the oceans show its fingerprint much better than the atmosphere."
Prof Barnett added: "The debate over whether there is a global warming signal is over now at least for rational people." He urged the US administration to rethink its refusal to join the Kyoto Protocol, which took effect this week.
The Scripps scientists also looked at the likely climatic effects of the warming they observed. They highlighted the impact on regional water supplies, which would be severely reduced during the summer in places that depend on rivers fed by melting winter snow and glaciers such as western China and the South American Andes.
The conference also heard a gloomy analysis of the way the North Atlantic Ocean is reacting to global warming from Ruth Curry of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. Her new study showed that vast amounts of fresh water more than 20,000 cubic kilometres have been added to the northernmost parts of the ocean over the past 40 years because the Arctic and Greenland ice sheets are melting.
According to Dr Curry, the resulting change in the salinity balance of the water threatens to shut down the Ocean Conveyor Belt, which transfers heat from the tropics towards the polar regions through currents such as the Gulf Stream. If that happened, winter temperatures in northern Europe would fall by several degrees.
The possible failure of the North Atlantic conveyor has been discussed for several years and was fictionalised last year in the film The Day After Tomorrow. Dr Curry said the accumulation of freshwater in the upper ocean layers since the 1990s meant that the risk should be taken seriously.
Tipping point looms for Earths climate
Author: Dan Margolis firstname.lastname@example.org>
People's Weekly World Newspaper, 02/05/05
Global warming is leading towards a tipping point, where rising oceans, droughts, and weather change would become irreversible by the end of this century, says a new study by the International Climate Change Task Force.
The report, titled Meeting the Climate Challenge, cites economic threats caused by global warming but says the social and human costs are likely to be even greater, encompassing mass loss of life, the spread or exacerbation of diseases, dislocation of populations, geo-political instability, and a pronounced decrease in the quality of life.
The report states that if nothing is done, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will eventually melt, causing island nations and highly populated coastal areas to be destroyed. Irreversible damage to the Amazon rainforests and coral reefs would occur. Also, the Gulf Stream would disappear.
For these reasons, the report argues that climate protection must be seen in the context of national security and public health.
However, ensuring that average global temperatures by the year 2100 are not more than 3.6 degrees higher than in pre-industrial times can prevent all of this. This goal is entirely possible and economically feasible, the report concludes. By taking action now, it says, we can ensure that the benefits of climate protection are achieved.
Environmentalists worldwide say that the Bush administration is a roadblock to environmental protection. Though the Kyoto treaty on global warming is being implemented, the U.S. which by itself emits about a quarter of all greenhouse gases has refused to participate.
Without our government taking action, were going to undermine what other countries are trying to do. Wed hurt the rest of the world as well as ourselves, Ana Unruh Cohen, associate director for environmental policy at the Center for American Progress, one of the three organizations making up the task force, told the World.
While environmentalists still see the need to demand that Bush accept the Kyoto agreement, the report was written assuming that he wont, and seeks to bring the U.S. into climate protection in other ways. Many see this as possible for a couple of reasons. The co-chair of the task force is Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican. This suggests that members of Bushs own party are willing to work within the reports guidelines. It also comes at a time when Britain is set to assume presidency of the European Union and the Group of 8, both of which can have an impact on U.S. policy. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, an ally of Bush, has said that he intends to make environmental issues one of his top concerns during Britains presidency of both these bodies.
The goal of the task force was to make policy recommendations to break the impasse on climate change action at the international level, says Cohen. One of the reports recommendations is for the G8 the eight richest nations to set up a climate protection working group, which would include the G8, as well as major developing economies like China, India, and Brazil. They can sit at a table and hammer out policies that they can all work on together that will help eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.
The report makes a number of specific recommendations for keeping the world below the 3.6-degree mark, but it devotes much of its time to recommendations on involving the U.S. after the Kyoto treaty expires in 2012.
In contradiction to what has been reported by mainstream news sources, the report is not alarmist. It focuses on ways to prevent ecological disaster. Many major news agencies have reported the study as saying the world has 10 years until we reach a point of no return. Authors of the report are worried that when this is shown to be wrong, it could discredit the report in the eyes of many, even though Meeting the Climate Challenge makes no such claim.
Climate change is a serious risk, says Cohen, and we need to take action now. There are many actions that are economically feasible that we can take that would help us deal with greenhouse gas emissions. The report is based on the best existing science, and sought to spur action and the next round of negotiations, and it was important to have a real, tangible goal.
Pressure on Bush to address global warming
By Fiona Harvey
February 18, 2005
The latest study to suggest that global warming is a real phenomenon, and one caused by human action, adds further weight to a body of scientific evidence that has been accumulating steadily in recent months, as research institutions and governments have made the issue a higher priority.
The phenomenon is likely to come up during President George W. Bush's visit to the European Union next week, as it has been a matter of severe disagreement between the Bush administration and EU member states.
Several big scientific studies have recently come to fruition, most notably a four-year examination of the Arctic by more than 250 scientists that found the ice cap was only half the thickness of 30 years ago.
Others, that include evidence that the sea is growing more acidic and that biodiversity is under threat, were presented at a climate change conference in Exeter, south-west England, earlier this month.
The conference was called by Tony Blair, the UK prime minister, as part of his plan to bring climate change to the top of the agenda for the UK's chairmanship of the Group of Eight industrialised nations this year.
Global warming is caused by an increasing concentration of certain so-called greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere.
Carbon dioxide is one of the byproducts of burning fossil fuels, such as coal and oil.
These gases have the effect of trapping infra-red radiation on the earth, instead of allowing it to dissipate into space. The greenhouse effect has been known to science since the 19th century.
Global warming is not a simple question of rising temperatures, however, although temperatures certainly have risen, by at least 0.6C in the course of the 20th century. As the world heats up, the effects on the planet's weather systems are unpredictable.
More storms, droughts, floods and periods of unseasonal weather are likely as a result of the changes in climate brought about by burning fossil fuels.
Mr Bush's visit to Europe in the next week has been presented by the president as an opportunity to repair relations with Europe over climate change.
We care about the climate, he said on Thursday, while setting out some of the US's existing actions on climate change, chiefly the development of new technologies that will replace fossil fuel.
The US is the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide and was responsible for about 20 per cent of the world's total emissions of the gas in 2000, according to the Pew Centre on Climate Change, a US research organisation.
But European governments and climate change specialists are likely to be wary of approaches that rely on long-term technology development and bilateral agreements dealing with certain aspects of climate change, instead of multilateral agreements on taking immediate action to curb carbon emissions the approach that the EU and the United Nations have taken.
This week saw the entry into force of the UN-brokered Kyoto protocol on climate change, which binds developed nations to strict limits on the amount of greenhouse gases they are allowed to emit.
The US has refused to ratify the protocol, and has been accused of stalling talks aimed at forging a new agreement on carbon dioxide emissions to replace the main provisions of the treaty, which expire in 2012.
Moreover, a central contention of Mr Bush on climate change, reiterated by the US delegation to the Kyoto protocol talks last December, is that there has to date been insufficient scientific research to establish whether or not climate change is really occurring, and is the result of human action if it is.
The latest study from the Scripps Institute challenges that view.
Kyoto protocol gets degree of support from some US businesses
February 16, 2005
WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President George W. Bush's refusal to ratify the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse gases, which today took effect, is being countered by some US industries which have adopted measures to staunch global warming.
"A lot of private companies like Dupont, Dow Chemical, Chevron, Conoco, Alcoa, International Paper, IBM ... are actively thinking about this issue," said Richard Rosenzweig, of energy brokers Natsource.
Their decision is a consequence of globalization and the restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions from cars and power plants that several US states have imposed.
Most of these businesses have manufacturing plants in countries that have signed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. These plants must comply with the treaty, which aims at trimming greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2012 by 5.2 percent compared with the level recorded in 1990.
"If you are a power company in the US," Rosenzweig said, "you believe you might be regulated in the future, you want to be prepared and learn about this issue... these are the main reasons why those companies are involved."
In contrast, many of the leaders in the fossil fuel industry, such as the oil giant ExxonMobil, fully supports the Bush administration, citing the costs Kyoto would add to cleaning up power stations and of the conversion to cleaner energy sources.
On its website, Dupont said it began to cut CO2 emissions at its plants in the early 1990s to forestall market pressures that will develop as the world economy adapts to the challenge of global warming.
Dupont said that over the past 10 years it has cut greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent of what they were in 1990 and that it expects to further reduce them anywhere from 65 to 100 percent by 2010.
More than 50 million dollars has been invested in the clean-up operation, it said.
Dupont has already offset the cost of the C02 reduction by selling polluting competitors, especially in Great Britain, its rights of emissions as well as the technology they need to clean up their act.
Alcoa, the world's top aluminum producer, also began very early to cut its greenhouse gases emissions.
Former Alcoa CEO Paul O'Neill, who served as treasury secretary for two years under Bush's first administration, told a group of industry professionals in 1998 that "civilization could go down the drain" if climate change was not taken seriously.
Alcoa has cut its greenhouse gases emissions to 25 percent of its 1990 levels and, like Dupont, expects to cash in on its investment.
Around 50 US businesses six months ago launched a CO2 emissions exchange in the Chicago stock market to create their own financial inducements similar to Europe's international carbon trading schemes, in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol.
By cutting their CO2 emissions to below promised target levels, they can sell their rights of emissions to companies that have not reached their goals.
"The trading has going very well," said Natsource's Rosenzweig, whose firm helped set up the pilot program.
However, he added, "in the future, in order to get emission reduction we'll need a mandatory program like in Europe."
For Bruce Braine, of American Electric Power, a US electricity giant and participant in the trading scheme, it will be a matter of time before the United States falls into line with the rest of the world: "We believe that at some point in the US there will be mandatory legislation."
Umbra on What Global Warming Will Mean for Average Folks
February 18, 2005 By Umbra Fisk, Grist Magazine
My girlfriend asked me the other day why global warming was going to be so bad for her. I just graduated with a degree in environmental science, and I like to think I learned something in my classes, but I still struggled to give her a concise, straightforward answer. I see new research coming out all the time in Daily Grist and other places on the consequences of global warming and predictions for the future. Can you point me to a source where I can find an easy-to-read summary, preferably with citations for further reading, of what we currently know and how it will affect the everyday life of an "average" person?
I suggest you click on over to Climate.org, which is just brimming with useful, readable tidbits on global warming. In particular, check out its page on Climate Change Impacts in North America, with pithy descriptions of what could go sour for folks in our neck of the woods as the planet heats up, and its page on Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health. You might also want to poke around the Global Warming Basics section of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change website. I think these resources will help you craft a fine explanation for your lady friend.
She asks an interesting question, though, and it's a very hard one to answer. Our climate is warming, in large part due to human production of greenhouse gases, and as a consequence, the environment is changing. We are expecting and already seeing: sea levels rising, weather shifting, ice melting, wildlife migrating, rain and drought patterns changing. We fear: migration of diseases, battles over changing resources, and increases in weather-related calamities.
Will this be so bad for your girlfriend? Probably not, because she's not an average person. I don't mean to be snide, truly, but it's an important distinction. The imminent climate consequences of human actions will have a relatively small effect on U.S. residents. It's ironic: We produce a disproportionate amount of greenhouse gases, but the bulk of negative impacts will fall on the developing world, where more people rely directly on natural resources for subsistence and income, where the physical infrastructure is often inadequate and thus unnecessarily at risk from phenomena such as hurricanes, and where many governments cannot afford protective measures. Our relative wealth also provides a bulwark, sometimes literally.
Our motivation to care about climate change is limited only by our capacity to care for others. You're living in Michigan. Your weather might get a bit strange, but rising sea levels won't wash away your house. You probably aren't a farmer, so you won't have to worry about your crops. You'll still be able to buy food and pay for heat. If your lady sticks with you, she may actually get an ancillary climate-change benefit: her boyfriend's chosen career will only become more important as time goes on.
Memo on President Bush's Trip to Europe
February 18, 2005
During his trip to Europe, President Bush should seek to:
* Rebuild American credibility among European leaders and publics by demonstrating that the United States will forge a new, cooperative relationship with Europe; and
* Define and advance a common policy agenda to better protect our country.
Among his priorities, the president must secure new commitments for the training of Iraqi security forces; agree to forge a common strategy on Iran; and, while expressing grave concern over lifting the embargo of arms sales to China, ensure at a minimum the implementation of a Code of Conduct to restrict such sales.
If the president fails to turn the transatlantic tide strong transatlantic partnerships will remain elusive: the pursuit of ad hoc coalitions at the expense of time-tested alliances; a preference for a weak, divided Europe to a strong, united one; the belief that America sits above the law; and the sense that Europe needs America more than America needs Europe.
In Davos last month, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, "
if America wants the rest of the world to be part of the agenda it has set, it must be part of their agenda too." At the same time, cooperation is a two-way street, and although the United States must offer tangible evidence of a commitment to building a stronger transatlantic alliance, the president must insist that the Europeans also deliver.
Issues and Recommendations
Iraq. In recent meetings with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) pledged to expand its training of Iraqi security forces. However, its goal of training 1,000 Iraqis per year will do little to help the United States meet its objective of 200,000 trained Iraqis by December 2005. In the meantime, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder surprised the allies by announcing that NATO was "no longer the primary venue where transatlantic partners discuss and coordinate strategies."
* In the NATO summit talks, President Bush should reiterate the U.S. commitment to NATO, and work with NATO members to develop an accelerated timetable for the training of Iraqi security forces.
Iran. While in Europe, Rice criticized the British, German and French negotiators for their unwillingness to refer Iran at this time to the United Nations Security Council (U.N.S.C.) over suspected nuclear weapons activity. The Europeans argue that states comprising the U.N.S.C. notably China and Russia are unlikely to support tough measures against Iran. In the meantime, the Bush administration has apparently sought to undermine the negotiations so that the United States which has chosen the less effective approach of isolation over engagement can economically or militarily coerce Iran to abandon its nuclear program. Furthermore, the administration's strident rhetoric is galvanizing Iranian nationalism behind the country's nuclear ambitions and enabling the mullahs to further consolidate their power.
* In meetings with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and French President Jacques Chirac, the president should express a willingness to engage the United States more directly in negotiations with Iran, bringing the stick of force and carrot of aid to the table.
Russia. Freedom House recently downgraded Russia to "Not Free" status due to flawed elections, media intimidation, curbs on opposition parties, and interference in the Ukrainian elections. Although Rice said that Moscow's crackdown on dissent was making Russian-American relations "more difficult," she stopped short of delineating any particular demands. This approach detracts from the credibility of the president's inaugural address, when he vowed to spread freedom throughout the world, particularly because his administration has turned a blind eye to the undemocratic behavior of countries such as Russia that are "partners" in the war on terrorism.
* President Bush should challenge Putin both publicly and privately to improve his democratic record, beginning with halting the harassment of civil society organizations, including those receiving support from the U.S.-government funded National Endowment for Democracy.
Sudan/ICC. The report of the United Nations (U.N.)-appointed Commission of Inquiry determined that the killing of African farmers by Arab militias in Sudan's western region of Darfur constitutes "crimes against humanity." The report recommended that the Security Council refer the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to bring the alleged perpetrators to justice. The Bush administration has reaffirmed its position that genocide is in fact taking place, but is pushing for an ad hoc tribunal which will be less effective and more costly to try the case. Meanwhile, the African Union (AU) continues to struggle to send enough peacekeepers to Darfur, and U.N. peacekeepers may be limited to enforcing the recently negotiated peace agreement between the government and forces in the South.
* When meeting with European Union (EU) leaders, President Bush should indicate that the United States will not veto a U.N.S.C. referral of the Sudan case to the ICC. He should ask the Europeans to join the United States in insisting that U.N. peacekeepers monitor the situation in Darfur in addition to enforcing the North-South agreement.
Climate change. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has catapulted climate change to the top of the G-8 industrialized nations' and EU's agendas, as he assumes leadership of both organizations this year. With Russian ratification, the Kyoto Protocol which mandates reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in 35 industrialized countries starting in 2008 came into effect this week. The EU has established an Emissions Trading Scheme that began operating a carbon market earlier this month. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) have introduced a bill that would create a national cap-and-trade system in the United States.
* Given the president's demonstrated intransigence on signing the Kyoto Protocol, in meeting with Blair, President Bush should at a minimum announce that he will support the bipartisan McCain-Lieberman bill, and explore potential linkages between U.S. and EU emissions trading markets.
Arms trade/China. The Europeans intend to lift the arms embargo imposed against China after the events at Tiananmen Square in 1989. Some countries support the move as a symbol of a deepening EU-China relationship; others, such as France, are seeking to increase their global arms sales. The Nordic countries are among those opposed, arguing that the human rights situation in China has not improved enough to warrant lifting the embargo. Europe may implement a legally-binding Code of Conduct to restrict arms sales, which it claims will be more stringent and transparent than the current embargo.
* When meeting with EU leaders, the president should express his continuing opposition to lifting the embargo, and urge Europe to refrain from doing so at least until China ratifies the U.N. Covenant on Political and Civil Rights. If lifted, the president should press the Europeans to implement a stringent, legally-binding Code of Conduct to replace the embargo.
Bush in Europe, but still an ocean apart (20 February 2005)
Tonight the US President arrives to bury the hatchet over Iraq
but behind the smiles a deep enmity continues to grow. President George W Bush arrives in Brussels tonight hoping to get his second administration off to a good start in Europe. Transatlantic relations reached their lowest ebb for generations after the dispute over the war in Iraq, so the stakes are high. Every word on the presidents autocue for his keynote speech tomorrow will have been sweated over by a vast team of advisers. All Bush has to do is read them with sufficient sincerity and, he hopes, Europe will be back on track.The reality, behind the scenes in his private meetings with French President Jacques Chirac and other European leaders on Monday and Tuesday, may be rather less rosy. For while both sides are keen to improve relations, many disagreements remain and many Europeans are still deeply sceptical about whether, given another situation like Iraq in future, the US would be any more willing to listen to European views than it was last time around. (...) The visit will concentrate on the big picture of transatlantic reconciliation. But major differences of opinion will remain - Iran. The US believes Tehran is enriching uranium in order to build nuclear weapons, and wants Europe to get tough. While the EU hopes negotiations will persuade Iran to back down, Washington wants to threaten UN sanctions.
- China. The EU is about to end its 15-year arms embargo. The US is concerned this could lead to an arms race in southeast Asia, upset the strategic balance and send the wrong signal to Beijing by ending a punishment imposed after the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, even though human rights violations continue.
- Just days after the Kyoto agreement to curb global warming comes into force, the EU will again press the Americans to sign up but they wont.
- The EU will also call on the Americans to sign up to the International Criminal Court, but they wont.
(...) Adam Horvath says: A strong united Europe poses serious problems for the US in carrying out its foreign policy. Bush, in other words, can put up with a Europe that operates as a partner, helping the US in the pursuit of its goals, but he does not want a Europe that presents a challenge or an alternative to American power.With every step planned and choreographed, the Bush visit will of course be hailed as a success. By the middle of next week, transatlantic relations will be back on an even keel even if deep down below the waters remain as murky as ever.
Brussels braces for protests during Bush visit (Feb. 20, 2005)
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Brussels braced for protests as the city prepared for a three-day visit by US President George W. Bush, who starts a conciliatory swing through Europe for talks with more than two dozen European leaders. The American president arrives Sunday evening, confident he can heal the rift with Europe that opened during his first term, notably over the Iraq war. Brussels police are mounting an unprecedented security operation, deploying 2,500 officers _ 1,000 more than usually deployed for the three or four summits that bring European Union leaders to the Belgian capital every year. An alliance of 88 environmental, human rights, peace and other groups plans two days of protests to demand "no European complicity" in a US-designed world order. Police say streets will be cordoned off and public transport rerouted or limited. The Stop Bush' campaign plans protests near the US Embassy in downtown Brussels on Monday and near the EU headquarters on Tuesday. Its Web site accuses the American president of "crimes against humanity and the planet." It features a litany of reasons to "stop Bush," calling Washington a major obstacle to a world order "based on international law." The protesters say Bush's administration is eroding efforts to combat global warming and is guilty of "human rights violations at home and abroad in the name of national security." CLIP
11 Reasons to Stop Bush
* The United States represents the major obstacle to a world order based on international law.
* The European Union must not be hindered by the negative policies of the US, and must tackle the world's most important problems of the world in cooperation with the other countries of the North and South.
* Global warming: by positioning itself outside of the international community and unilaterally rejecting significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the US is undermining the efforts of other nations.
* The US is the world's number one emitter of greenhouse gases per capita, and the most responsible for climate change and the growing number of victims of this global disaster.
* Human rights organisations condemn a policy of human rights violations at home and abroad in the name of national security.
* The aggressive stance of the US against the International Criminal Court.
* The invasion and occupation of Iraq by US troops is in violation of international law, and have led the country into a spiral of violence.
* A disturbing rise in the US defense budget leaves little room for urgently needed domestic programmes to help the poor, nor for aid to developing countries.
* Peace and development aid organisations demand that the US respect humanitarian laws, including those against nuclear proliferation, against weapons using depleted uranium, and banning antipersonnel mines.
* The US must stop the use of cluster bombs, and oppose the proliferation of light arms.
* US authorities must cease all forms of torture and mistreatment, firmly condemn its practice, and allow independent investigation of all cases in which the US may be involved.
Iran Will Dominate Bush's Europe Trip (19 February 2005)
As transatlantic ties thaw, Tehran's nuclear program could prove a sticking point with the U.S. skeptical of a diplomatic initiative. Washington - President Bush departs Sunday on a European fence-mending trip under a full head of political steam. He takes with him his reelection mandate, his conviction that events in the Middle East are beginning to move his way and the momentum from a successful warm-up act by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who visited Europe this month. Yet Bush's hopes of reviving the North Atlantic alliance and enlisting Europe in his bid to remake the Middle East could quickly run aground on a simmering, unresolved issue: Iran's nuclear program. U.S. and European officials agree that preventing Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons is an urgent priority, but differ strongly about how to do it. Americans are skeptical of a European diplomatic initiative, whereas Europeans criticize the United States for doing nothing but issue warnings to Iran, which insists that its nuclear energy program is peaceful. CLIP
OTHER ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Study Predicts City Flood Threat Due to Warming (15 February 2005)
Washington - By the end of this century, global warming threatens to raise the sea level enough that a heavy storm would send flood waters into Boston's downtown waterfront, the Financial District, and much of the Back Bay, based on projections in a federally funded report to be released today. The five-year study, commissioned by the US Environmental Protection Agency and completed by university researchers, indicates that the mildest impact of global warming would leave local landmarks such as Massachusetts General Hospital, the Public Garden, the Esplanade, and MIT in a pool of water after a strong storm surge in the harbor. Global warming, which melts polar ice and has been gradually raising the atmospheric temperature, could actually cause the sea level in the Boston area to rise as much as 3 feet in the next 100 years, the researchers predict. The overall effects of climate change on buildings, emergency services, and energy prices could cost the Boston metropolitan area as much as $94 billion over the coming century, the study concludes. CLIP
Global Warming Could Worsen U.S. Pollution: Report (Feb 19)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Global warming could stifle cleansing summer winds across parts of the northern United States over the next 50 years and worsen air pollution, U.S. researchers said on Saturday. Further warming of the atmosphere, as is happening now, would block cold fronts bringing cooler, cleaner air from Canada and allow stagnant air and ozone pollution to build up over cities in the Northeast and Midwest, they predicted. "The air just cooks," said Loretta Mickley of Harvard University's Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences. "The pollution accumulates, accumulates, accumulates, until a cold front comes in and the winds sweep it away." CLIP
Britain Criticizes U.S. Climate Record (Feb 18)
UNITED NATIONS - In another jab at its closest ally, Britain criticized U.S. environmental policy again on Thursday, urging the Bush administration to place climate change high on its agenda. At a U.N. event marking the entry into force of the Kyoto accord on global warming, Britain's ambassador to the United Nations , Sir Emyr Jones Parry, said it was "important that climate change rises up the US agenda." He called for a "strong U.S. contribution" to international talks on cutting gas emissions beyond the targets set by the Kyoto agreement. "We need much more effort. The post-Kyoto regime will require serious, concerted international commitment," he said. (...) Jones Parry called global warming an "urgent problem," noting that the five hottest years on record have occurred since 1997. He singled out the United States as a major polluter, saying that it has only 4 percent of the world's population, but produces 20 percent of global emissions. "It consumes almost a quarter of the world's energy, more than China, Russia and Japan combined," he said, adding that the average U.S. citizen produces twice as much carbon per year as a British or Japanese counterpart. CLIP
Oceans of evidence for global warming (February 19, 2005)
The first evidence of human-produced global warming in the oceans has been found, thanks to computer analysis of seven million temperature readings taken over 40 years to depths of 700 metres (2,300ft). Tim Barnett, of the Scripps Institution in San Diego, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington yesterday he was "stunned" by the findings, which have yet to be published in the scientific press. "The statistical significance of these results is far too strong to be merely dismissed and should wipe out much of the uncertainty about the reality of global warning," he said. In effect, US scientists financed by the government have once again told the Bush administration that global warming is real, and that humans were responsible. CLIP
'The targets are grossly inadequate' - Press review (February 16, 2005)
The protocol comes into effect, despite the US boycott. (...) "The targets set by the 1997 protocol - to reduce emissions by 2012 to 5.2% below the 1990 levels - are grossly inadequate. Our own government's unilateral goal of reducing emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2010 is substantially closer to what is necessary. This ambitious target would be a source of pride were it not for the fact that Britain is not on course to reach it." CLIP
Brazil's President Creates Massive Forest Reserves after Killing of American Nun (18 February 2005)
Anapu, Brazil - Brazil's president ordered the creation of two massive new rain forest reserves Thursday amid increasing pressure to protect a lawless Amazon region from violent loggers and ranchers after the killing last weekend of an American nun who fought to protect the jungle. Decrees signed by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will form a reserve of 8.15 million acres and a national park of 1.1 million acres in the state of Para, where 73-year-old Dorothy Stang was shot to death in a dispute with a powerful rancher. "We can't give in to people committing acts of violence," said Environment Minister Marina Silva, who announced the decrees. "The government is putting the brakes on in front of the predators." Stang, a naturalized Brazilian originally from Dayton, Ohio, was attacked Saturday in a settlement 30 miles from Anapu, which is located in Para. A witness said she read from a Bible after being confronted by the gunman and was then shot six times at close range. The decrees were announced after more than 60 groups signed a letter to the president demanding strong moves to curb "violence and impunity associated with the illegal occupation of lands and deforestation" in the Amazon - and especially in Para, nearly twice the size of Texas. CLIP
The Arctic is the Chemical Sink of the Globe, Says WWF (February 17, 2005)
WASHINGTON, DC The Arctic and its wildlife are increasingly contaminated with chemicals and pollutants that were never produced or used in that region, warns World Wildlife Fund in a new report. The report - The tip of the iceberg: Chemical contamination in the Arctic - shows that air, river and ocean currents, drifting sea ice and migrating wildlife species carry industrial and agricultural chemicals from distant sites of production and use to the polar environment. Once pollutants reach the Arctic, polar ice can trap contaminants that are gradually released into the environment during melting periods, even years later. As a result, the Arctic is becoming the chemical sink of the globe, according to WWF. "Not only is chemical contamination increasing in the Arctic, but also modern chemicals are now appearing in many arctic species alongside older chemicals, some of them banned for over 20 years," said Brettania Walker, Toxics Officer at WWF's Arctic Programme. CLIP
WWF Report Warns of Looming 'Budget Deficit' with Nature (November 4, 2004 ) http://www.worldrevolution.org/article/1622
WASHINGTON - People are consuming the earth's natural resources 20 percent faster than nature can renew them-a dangerous imbalance that is fueling the loss of species and may lead to critical resource shortages in the years ahead, according to a World Wildlife Fund study released on Thursday. Driven largely by energy and materials consumption in the United States and other industrialized nations, the size of humanity's "ecological footprint," as measured by the amount of natural resources we consume, has increased 2.5 times over the past 40 years, while key environmental values have declined by similar amounts. The finding is one of several alarming trends documented in the 2004 edition of WWF's Living Planet Report, an index that tracks species abundance and human resource use around the globe. The world has some 28 billion acres of productive land and ocean to meet the needs of 6.3 billion people-an average of 4.4 acres per person. At current rates of consumption, however, the global ecological footprint requires an average of 5.4 acres' productivity per person-roughly 20 percent more than what can be sustained today's levels. CLIP
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