November 4, 2011
An Open Letter From Croyde to the G20 in Cannes
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, but by the time they reach adulthood engineers understand technology better than politicians. If this is not self-evident to you, dear reader, please watch the presentation given by Jacque Fresco in Bristol, UK on August 21st 2010. Jacque's views on politicians are forcefully expressed at around 44:44 into the 3 and a bit hour video:
Dr. R Buckminster Fuller is possibly most famous for inventing the geodesic dome. However he had many other bright ideas, and in 1969 he developed a World Game™ simulation to explore utilisation of global resources. It posed this critical question:
How do we make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone?" In other words, how do we provide a decent living standard for everyone in an environmentally sustainable way? How does this change happen spontaneously around the globe?
The premier strategy of the World Game™ was the interconnection of electric power grids around the world with an emphasis on tapping abundant renewable energy resources. Electricity provides the foundation of our modern society, and power grids act as freeways that deliver the electricity to power our homes, businesses and industry.
On September 23rd 2011 the Institution of Mechanical Engineers issued a statement ahead of December’s COP17 climate change talks in Durban. Amongst other things they said that:
The technology needed to cut the world’s greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050 already exists, according to a joint statement by eleven of the world’s largest engineering organisations. While the world’s politicians have been locked in talks with no output, engineers across the globe have been busy developing technologies that can bring down emissions and help create a more stable future for the planet. We are now overdue for government commitment, with ambitious, concrete emissions targets that give the right signals to industry, so they can be rolled out on a global scale.
Climate change and limited natural resources have been linked to an increased likelihood of conflict, one of the most pernicious threats to human development. They may also undermine the prospects for peace.
Energy is central to a range of services supporting human development, from modern medical care, transportation, information and communications to lighting, heating, cooking and mechanical power for agriculture. Equitable and sustainable development requires making energy available for all, controlling emissions and shifting to new and cleaner energy sources.
Providing clean energy to the 1.5 billion people who lack electricity and the 2.6 billion who rely on traditional biomass for cooking is a major win-win-win. Clean energy offers the potential to alleviate poverty, reduce health impacts from indoor air pollution and drive social and economic development, while mitigating energy’s impact on the climate.
Policymakers have yet to steer energy finance towards tackling energy poverty or climate change on a larger scale, especially in places less attractive to the private sector. Redirecting energy finance will require greater political will and exceptional leadership.
Both Bucky and Jacque have said that the best sort of "energy finance" is to provide energy free of charge to all those who need it, but the UN are more "realistic". They suggest a different method of funding:
The prime candidate to close the financing gap is a currency transaction tax. Originally proposed and promoted in the 1994 Human Development Report, the idea is increasingly being accepted as a practical policy option. What is new today is its greater feasibility. The infrastructure for global realtime settlements, introduced after the most recent global financial crisis, makes it straightforward to implement.
This is also an occasion to reconsider a broader financial transaction tax. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently pointed out that many G20 countries have already implemented some form of financial transaction tax. While the revenue potential depends on the tax’s design and the response of traders, a broad-based, low-rate financial transactions tax of 0.01–0.05 percent could generate nearly €200 billion a year at the European level and $650 billion at the global level.
A global campaign to promote a participatory and informed initiative, key in both donor and developing countries, can harness existing capacities for advocacy, analysis, planning, knowledge management and communications. The time is right for such a campaign. The UN General Assembly has designated 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy For All while the Rio+20 conference will provide a unique opportunity to define a global approach for universal access to energy, bringing together the energy, green economy and climate agendas.
The leaders of the Group of 20 Nations are currently meeting in Cannes, and much hand-wringing and soul-searching is taking place over "The Greek Isssue". We hold this truth to be self-evident, that Greece is an irrelevant distraction from "making the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time". That can best be achieved by "the interconnection of electric power grids around the world with an emphasis on tapping abundant renewable energy resources."
Is there anyone in Cannes willing and able to exercise "greater political will and exceptional leadership"?
Will anyone there be beautiful and brave?
Will pigs soon fly through that azure sky?
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