At the climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, environmental groups have said that while everybody agrees that there is a climate crisis, no action has been taken in accordance with the consensus.
Naomi Klein, author and journalist, tells Al Jazeera why climate change has emerged as the single greatest barrier to human development, and why there is a critical need for a mass movement to tackle it.
“This Text Is an Extremely Dangerous Document for Developing Countries”: G77 Chief Condemns Secret US-Danish Climate Deal
The UN climate talks are in disarray here in Copenhagen after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN’s role in all future climate change negotiations. Moments before we went on the air, Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, the Sudanese chair of the group of 132 developing countries known as G77, condemned the leaked document. [includes rush transcript]
Top American intellectual Noam Chomsky says that the general public should fear more from the US and Israel than Iran.
During a lecture entitled “Obama, the Middle East and the Prospects of Peace” delivered at Boston University on Tuesday, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor stressed that Iran is acting within the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
“All states [must] resolve their conflicts within the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty,” he said.
Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou has the European Commission over a barrel and doesn’t even know it. Instead of dragging the EC over the coals–like he should –he’s carrying on like a blubbering crybaby. “Steady on there, Georgie”. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson didn’t go wobbly when he stormed up Capital Hill and demanded a $700 billion TARP bailout, did he? Well, then, at least learn from history. The EC is not going to let Greece default and trigger another Lehman Brothers-type meltdown. That won’t happen. If G-Sax and JPM are Too Big To Fail (TBTF), then surely Greece is too. That means the Greek Finance Minister needs to summon his courage and hammer out the best deal possible for his country. Wishy-washy will get you nowhere.
Markets started tumbling this week on news that Fitch Ratings cut Greece’s debt rating from A- to to BBB+ which means it will cost the government more to roll over its debt in the future. It also means that the ECB may not accept Greek government bonds as collateral when they return to the pre-crisis rules in 2011. The ratings flap has reawakened Dubai fears and the possibility of a sovereign default within the EU.
I tried to contact Mark Higson the other day only to learn he had died nine years ago. He was just 40, an honourable man. We met soon after he had resigned from the Foreign Office in 1991 and I asked him if the government knew that Hawk fighter-bombers sold to Indonesia were being used against civilians in East Timor.
“Everyone knows,” he said, “except parliament and the public.”
“And the media?”
“The media – the big names – have been invited to King Charles Street (the Foreign Office) and flattered and briefed with lies. They are no trouble.”
All the crying from the left about how Obama “the peace candidate” has now become “a war president” … Whatever are they talking about? Here’s what I wrote in this report in August 2008, during the election campaign:
We find Obama threatening, several times, to attack Iran if they don’t do what the United States wants them to do nuclear-wise; threatening more than once to attack Pakistan if their anti-terrorist policies are not tough enough or if there would be a regime change in the nuclear-armed country not to his liking; calling for a large increase in US troops and tougher policies for Afghanistan; wholly and unequivocally embracing Israel as if it were the 51st state.
There’s no fixed number of greenbacks in a vault at the Treasury which limit how much the federal government can spend. Since the US pays its debts in its own currency–it can print as many dollars as it pleases. Of course, if boosting the money supply triggers inflation, the Fed has to withdraw liquidity and raise interest rates. But that’s not the problem at present. The problem is how to zap the economy back to life. The problem is how to get 16 million people out of unemployment lines and back to work. That’s the real challenge. The problem is political not economic. Obama is surrounded by industry reps who are trying to scare him about the size of the deficits. But deficits aren’t the problem; unemployment is. Once people get back to work and build their savings, their creditworthiness will improve, and the next economic expansion will begin. When more people are paying into the system, the deficits will come down. But the deficits won’t come down if tens of millions of people are still on the sidelines and forced to cut their spending. Judging by last Thursday’s speech at the “Jobs Summit”, Obama still doesn’t grasp this:
Kevin G. Hall: Obama has to make bold moves if he is to reduce unemployment
Kevin G. Hall, the former South America correspondent, is now the bureau’s national economics reporter. During his career he has reported from Mexico City, Saudi Arabia, Miami, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., for the Journal of Commerce and United Press International. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese.