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.

On November 3rd 2011 the United Nations published its Human Development Report 2011. Amongst many other things they said that:

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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Comments on An Open Letter From Croyde to the G20 in Cannes »

November 4, 2011

Jim @ 2:31 pm

The G20 leaders have now released their "final communique", and are proud to announce that:

We, the Leaders of the G20, met in Cannes on 3-4 November 2011.

What did they achieve you may ask yourself? Well, regarding Energy Security they say:

We are determined to enhance the functioning and transparency of energy markets. We call for continued dialogue annually between producers and consumers on short medium and long-term outlook and forecasts for oil, gas and coal. We ask relevant organizations to make recommendations on the functioning and oversight of price reporting agencies. We reaffirm our commitment to rationalise and phase-out over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, while providing targeted support for the poorest. We are committed to the success of the upcoming Durban Conference on Climate Change

whilst regarding the Robin Hood Tax they say:

Over time, new sources of funding need to be found to address development needs and climate change. We discussed a set of options for innovative financing highlighted by Mr Bill Gates. Some of us have implemented or are prepared to explore some of these options. We acknowledge the initiatives in some of our countries to tax the financial sector for various purposes, including a financial transaction tax, inter alia to support development.

On Global Governance they have this to say:

We will pursue consistent and effective engagement with non-members, including the UN and we welcome their contributions to our work.

although for some strange reason on this occasion they appear to have ignored what the United Nations had to say. So there you have it. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose?

There's certainly no airborne ungulates that I can discern in amongst that lot!

Kasia @ 4:18 pm

What they are saying is as follows: nothing, nothing, more nothing, before nothing, between nothing and after nothing. Boring tautology – typical for the politic language.

November 6, 2011

Jim @ 7:31 am

The wording of the G20 "final declaration" expands somewhat on that of their "final communique", so there is now some additional nothingness concerning "global governance":

We agree that, in order to strengthen its ability to build and sustain the political consensus needed to respond to challenges, the G20 must remain efficient, transparent and accountable. To achieve this, we decide to… pursue consistent and effective engagement with non-members, regional and international organisations, including the United Nations, and other actors, and we welcome their contribution to our work as appropriate. We also encourage engagement with civil society. We request our Sherpas to make us proposals for the next meeting.

I can only assume that after due deliberation the G20 have concluded that the UN Human Development Report is in some way inappropriate in these troubled times? Perhaps the G20 Sherpas might mention to their lords and masters that Society is becoming less and less civil whilst we continue to wait for "greater political will and exceptional leadership", not to mention "efficiency, transparency and accountability".

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