International Environment Forum - A Bahá'í inspired organization for environment and sustainability en IEF Contribution to UN75 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">IEF Contribution to UN75</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">21. February 2020 - 0:07</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/70" hreflang="en">United Nations</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> IEF CONTRIBUTION TO UN75</h2> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>The United Nations is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2020 by reflecting on its future, and everyone is invited to contribute. The following is a brief description of many of the ways IEF and IEF members can participate in this process. As you will see, we are already engaged in various ways.</p> <p>The UN is holding the “world’s biggest conversation” on “the world we want, the UN we need”. There are many opportunities to feed into this process including:<br> &bull; By making a short social media video talking about the “three things that will change the world” and posting them on the #UN75 hashtag<br> &bull; By filling in this short survey <a href=""></a> <br> &bull; By holding your own meeting and conversation <a href=""></a> </p> <p>To mark its 75th anniversary in 2020, the United Nations is igniting a people’s debate, UN75. Launched by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, it promises to be the largest and furthest-reaching global conversation ever on building the future we want.</p> <p>In a world of dramatic changes and complex challenges, from the climate crisis to population shifts to the unknown course of technology, we need collective action more than ever before. Through UN75, the United Nations will encourage people to put their heads together to define how enhanced international cooperation can help realize a better world by 2045, the UN’s 100th birthday. </p> <p>At this pivotal moment in history, UN75 asks three big questions:<br> &bull; What kind of future do we want to create?<br> &bull; Are we on track?<br> &bull; What action is needed to bridge the gap?</p> <p>The IEF has been participating in international discourses on important issues of global concern, especially concerning the environment and sustainability, since its founding over 20 years ago. Many of our members have long experience at the international level, including in intergovernmental organizations. We thus have important perspectives to share.</p> <p>We participated in a similar wide consultation preparing for the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012, and our contributions had an impact. This is our chance to contribute again. We are therefore launching our own consultation, and shall contribute the results to the United Nations as part of UN75. Add your contributions in the comments below.</p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" height="66" width="142"></p> <p><small>Last updated 20 February 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Thu, 20 Feb 2020 22:07:16 +0000 admin 1039 at Civil Society Declaration for UN75 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Civil Society Declaration for UN75</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">21. February 2020 - 0:33</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/70" hreflang="en">United Nations</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/108" hreflang="en">Civil society</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> Civil Society Declaration for UN75</h2> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>UN2020 is taking the lead on preparing a Civil Society Declaration and Plan of Action for the UN 75th anniversary. The Declaration is expected to be finalized in April and presented at the UN75 People's Forum taking place on 23-24 April at UN Headquarters in New York City. This is timed to coincide with the Day of Multilateralism (April 23rd) and will feed into the UN Secretary-General’s UN75 interim report to be published in May. Further, the declaration will serve as a key tool to contribute to the negotiations for the draft political declaration (expected to be finalized in June). UN2020 has appointed Daniel Perell (<a href=""></a>) of the Baha’i International Community as the lead ‘penholder’ of the draft, supported by a core drafting team from key networks.</p> <p>IEF is already participating in an on-line consultation this week organized by Together First, in which IEF is a partner. On 21 February, a call for papers and perspectives will be sent out by UN2020 and Together First, and a zero draft will be prepared on 24-28 February based on the feedback received. The core drafting team will review the input on 28 February, and a zero draft will be posted by 2 March for consultation to 15 March. Revision I will be posted for review 23 March – 5 April, while a 2-page version is drafted. On 6-12 April a revision 2 is created while the abbreviated version is shared on line. All drafts are finalized and shared on line 13-20 April, an presented at the Peoples’ Forum 23-24 April.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> UN75 Civil Society Declaration and Plan of Action</h2> <p>Draft outline</p> <p><b>Declaration:</b></p> <p><u>Preambular paras: Context and the role of Civil Society</u></p> <p>This opening section will provide a brief framing of the historical context and current moment.<br> • The construction of a peaceful, sustainable and just world has always been a process of fits and starts, of crises and victory.<br> • Progress has been made, but articulate challenges with which we are confronted.<br> • The vital role of civil society will be articulated.<br> • Now we are facing a number of crises: WMD, Climate Change, nationalism’s rise, etc.<br> • At the threshold of a defining moment for humanity, vision and political will are necessary</p> <p>Preambular Paras: What humanity needs from global governance</p> <p>Articulate the needs from the UN at this moment in history and going forward.</p> <p>Showcase some of the results from the UN@75 Office’ global survey</p> <p><b>Plan of Action:</b> </p> <p><u>Operative Paras: Recommendations for the UN</u></p> <p>These operative paras will be informed by key stakeholders and partners including the Together First Consultation. While many other processes will take forward a number of proposals for global governance reform in the short, medium and long term, and encompassing a range of ambitions, the operative paras of this declaration are meant to be those which can serve as key proposals to be taken on board now. As such, a limited number of proposals where there is a broad consensus of support will form the crux of the contribution. While some of these proposals may be visionary and inspirational in nature, at least some suggestions must be:<br> • Achievable as a consequences of the mechanisms established by the UN75 process<br> • Within the UN’s ambit<br> • Short-term proposals that have reached a threshold of political will and could be considered for implementation during the UN’s 75th anniversary<br> • Longer-term proposals (beyond 2020 but with a limited time frame) that might require more time to mature and garner political support <br> • Already enjoy the support of a broad base of civil society</p> <p>In other words we should prioritise those proposals where the inclusion of the idea here could make a meaningful difference</p> <p><u>Operative paras: Plan of action for Civil Society</u></p> <p>Much of this will also come through consultation with the object of ensuring that civil society<br> • Continues to lend its voice to the global discussions<br> • Puts people at the center<br> • Works collaboratively with Member States where possible<br> • Raises awareness and builds consensus among ‘the people’</p> <p>Civil society requests for the UN75 process i.e.:<br> • Civil society should be in the room for the drafting of the member state declaration<br> • Civil society should be consulted on the member state declaration<br> • Civil society should have a platform in September etc….</p> <hr> <p>If you have suggestions for the Civil Society Declaration, please make them in the comments below.</p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" height="66" width="142"></p> <p><small>Last updated 20 February 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Thu, 20 Feb 2020 22:33:11 +0000 admin 1040 at Negotiations on UN75 declaration <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Negotiations on UN75 declaration</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">14. February 2020 - 13:08</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/70" hreflang="en">United Nations</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> Negotiations on UN75 declaration</h2> <p>11 February 2020 </p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">UN75 Co-Facilitators Outline Five Elements for Declaration</h2> <p>UN Member States are beginning negotiations on a declaration for the UN’s 75th anniversary. In a food-for-thought paper, the co-facilitators suggest five possible elements of the declaration, to be discussed during informal consultations on 21 February 2020.</p> <p>Plans to issue a declaration were agreed in June 2019. The declaration is meant to be “concise, substantive, forward-looking and unifying” and to reflect Member States’ commitment to multilateralism, the UN and “their shared vision for a common future.”</p> <p>On 6 January 2020, the UNGA President announced the appointment of the Permanent Representative of Qatar, Alya Ahmed bin Saif Al-Thani, and the Permanent Representative of Sweden, Anna-Karin Eneström, as co-facilitators for the intergovernmental negotiations on the declaration to be adopted at the commemoration event, which will convene on 21 September 2020.</p> <p>In a letter of 7 February 2020, the co-facilitators wrote to UN Member States to announce the first informal consultations on the document. They suggest discussion of five possible elements:<br> &bull; Acknowledging achievements: What are the UN’s main contributions to its three pillars of work – development, human rights, and peace and security?<br> &bull; Looking ahead: What measures are needed over the next 25 years to strengthen multilateralism and reinvigorate global governance?<br> &bull; Responding to major global challenges: What are today’s most fundamental global challenges? How is the UN standing up to new challenges?<br> &bull; Delivering on commitments: How can the UN better deliver on its purposes and principles?<br> &bull; Building consensus and mobilizing for change: How can the Decade of Action advance implementation of the 2030 Agenda and leave no one behind? How can the UN maximize its use of resources and partner with diverse actors? How can the UN strengthen the rights, empowerment and participation of women and youth?</p> <p>The first informal consultation will convene on 21 February 2020 at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The meeting will be open to Member States and permanent observers.</p> <p>The UNGA has agreed that negotiations on the declaration will conclude by June 2020, and the declaration is to be adopted by consensus.</p> <p><small>Source: <a href="">…</a></small></p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" height="66" width="142"></p> <p><small>Last updated 14 February 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Fri, 14 Feb 2020 11:08:41 +0000 admin 1037 at Eco-crises and systemic collapse <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Eco-crises and systemic collapse</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">12. February 2020 - 17:36</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/57" hreflang="en">Environment</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> Multiple eco-crises could trigger 'systemic collapse'</h2> <p>, 6 February 2020 </p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;"> <p>Overlapping environmental crises could tip the planet into "global systemic collapse," more than 200 top scientists have warned. Climate change, extreme weather events from hurricanes to heatwaves, the decline of life-sustaining ecosystems, food security and dwindling stores of fresh water—each poses a monumental challenge to humanity in the 21st century.</p> <p>Out of 30 global-scale risks, these five topped the list both in terms of likelihood and impact, according to scientists surveyed by Future Earth, an international research organisation under the International Science Council. In combination, they "have the potential to impact and amplify one another in ways that might cascade to create global systemic collapse," a team led by Maria Ivanova, a professor at the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts, said in a 50-page report "Our Future on Earth": <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>Extreme heat waves, for example, speed global warming by releasing planet-warming gases from natural sources, even as they intensify water crises and food scarcity. Biodiversity loss, meanwhile, weakens the capacity of natural and agricultural systems to cope with climate extremes, also putting food supplies at risk. Scientists worry especially that rising temperatures could tip the planet's climate system into a self-perpetuating spiral of global warming. As it is, humanity is struggling—so far unsuccessfully—to cap CO2 and methane emissions, mostly from burning fossil fuels. If at the same time a warming Earth also begins to emit large amounts of these gases from, say, thawing permafrost, such efforts could be overwhelmed. Heat waves are a direct threat to human lives and can cause food shortages as well</p> <p>"Many scientists and policymakers are embedded in institutions that are used to thinking and acting on isolated risks, one at a time," the report said. "We call on the world's academics, business leaders and policy makers to pay attention to these five global risks and ensure they are treated as interacting systems."</p> <p>Nearly 1,000 decision makers and top CEOs highlighted the same threats in a similar survey last month ahead of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.</p> <p>"2020 is a critical time to look at these issues," said Amy Luers, Executive Director of Future Earth. "Our actions in the next decade will determine our collective future."</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">A year of decisions</h3> <p>In October, the world's nations are set to gather for a major United Nations meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, China to try to stanch the destruction of ecosystems and the decline of biodiversity. Scientists agree that Earth is at the outset of a mass extinction event—only the 5th in half-a-billion years—which could drive a million species, or one-in-eight, into oblivion over the coming decades or centuries.</p> <p>The following month, a critical UN climate summit COP26 in Glasgow will reveal whether the world's major economies are willing to ramp up carbon cutting pledges that fall far short of what is needed to keep the planet hospitable for our species. In the future, humanity will face the devastating combined impacts of multiple interacting climate hazards</p> <p>2020 is also a critical year in ongoing negotiations over the high seas, where a Far West free-for-all has led to overfishing and unrestrained resource extraction.</p> <p>Some scientists have begun to look at the likelihood and impacts of cascading environmental crises. Recent research has shown, for example, that some parts of the world may soon be coping with up to six extreme weather events at once, ranging from heat waves and wildfires to diluvian rains and deadly storm surges. "Human society will be faced with the devastating combined impacts of multiple interacting climate hazards," Erik Franklin, a researcher at the University of Hawaii's Institute of Marine Biology and co-author of a key study in late 2018, told AFP. "They are happening now and will continue to get worse." That is true even in optimistic emissions reduction scenarios. In all such scenarios, tropical coastal areas suffer the most. </p> <p>If, for example, humanity caps global warming at two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels, New York City will likely face one major climate hazard every year, on average, by 2100. The 2015 Paris climate treaty calls for holding the rise in temperature to "well below" 2C. If, however, carbon pollution continues unabated, New York City could be hit by up to four such calamities at once, including extreme rain, sea level rise and storm surges.</p> <hr> <p><small>Source: based on an article by Marlowe Hood, <a href="">…</a></small></p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" height="66"></p> <p><small>Last updated 12 February 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Wed, 12 Feb 2020 15:36:10 +0000 admin 1035 at Global Oil Industry Meltdown <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Global Oil Industry Meltdown</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">12. February 2020 - 17:30</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/9" hreflang="en">Climate change</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/135" hreflang="en">Economy</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Government Agency Warns<br /> Global Oil Industry Is on the Brink of a Meltdown</h2> <p>We are not running out of oil, but it's becoming uneconomical to exploit it—another reason we need to move to renewables as quickly as possible.</p> <p>by Nafeez Ahmed<br /> 4 February 2020</p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>A government research report produced by Finland warns that the increasingly unsustainable economics of the oil industry could derail the global financial system within the next few years.</p> <p>The new report is published by the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), which operates under the government’s Ministry of Economic Affairs. GTK is currently the European Commission’s lead coordinator of the EU’s ProMine project, its flagship mineral resources database and modelling system. The report was produced as an internal research exercise for the Finnish government, which until 2019 held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.</p> <p>Signed off by GTK’s director of scientific research Dr Saku Vuori, the report is written by GTK senior scientist Dr Simon Michaux of the Ore Geology and Mineral Economics Unit. It conducts a comprehensive global assessment of scientific research into the state of the global oil industry with goal of determining how the risks of a global supply gap could impact mining and mineral production.</p> <p>The peer-reviewed report calls for the European Commission to consider oil as the world’s most important "critical raw material." Despite offering a scathing critique of conventional peak oil theory, the report arrives at the shock conclusion that the economic viability of the entire global oil market could come undone within the next few years.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Oil, oil everywhere, too costly to drill</h3> <p>The plateauing of conventional crude oil production in January 2005 was one of the triggers of events leading to the 2008 global financial crash, according to the report. As debt built-up in the subprime mortgage sector, the crude oil plateau drove up the underlying energy costs for the entire economy making that debt more difficult to repay—and eventually resulting in catastrophic defaults. The report warns that “unresolved” dynamics in the global energy system were only temporarily relieved due to "Quantitative Easing"—the creation of new money by central banks. A correction is now overdue, it warns.</p> <p>The report says we are not running out of oil—vast reserves exist—but says that it is becoming uneconomical to exploit it. The plateauing of crude oil production was “a decisive turning point for the industrial ecosystem,” with demand shortfall being made up from liquid fuels which are far more expensive and difficult to extract—namely, unconventional oil sources like crude oil from deep offshore sources, oil sands, and especially shale oil (also known as "tight oil," extracted by fracking).</p> <p>These sources require far more elaborate and expensive methods of extraction, refining and processing than conventional crude mined onshore, which has driven up costs of production and operations.</p> <p>Yet the shift to more expensive sources of oil to sustain the global economy, the report finds, is not only already undermining economic growth, but likely to become unsustainable on its own terms. In short, we have entered a new era of expensive energy that is likely to trigger a long-term economic contraction.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">The coming crash</h3> <p>‘Quantitative Easing’ or QE as it’s often known in shorthand, consists of massive programs of money creation through central banks purchasing government debt. But the report warns that the scale of QE could pave the way for another financial crash as oil markets become unstable, most likely within half a decade.</p> <p>The role of QE in propping up the oil industry and wider global economy was not anticipated in traditional peak oil theory, which failed to predict the low oil prices endangering profitability. The report concludes that: “The era of cheap and abundant energy is long gone… Money supply and debt have grown faster than the real economy. Debt saturation and paralysis is now a very real risk, requiring a global scale reset.”</p> <p>Although the world therefore needs to urgently transition away from fossil fuels, it may well be too late to do so in a way that avoids an economic crisis. And doing so will require industrial civilization as we know it to be fundamentally transformed:</p> <p>“To phase out petroleum products (and fossil fuels in general), the entire global industrial ecosystem will need to be reengineered, retooled and fundamentally rebuilt," the report notes. "This will be perhaps the greatest industrial challenge the world has ever faced historically.”</p> <p>Professor Nate Hagens, a former Vice President at investment firms Salomon Brothers and Lehman Brothers who now teaches ecological economics at the University of Minnesota, said he "finds the report quite plausible."</p> <p>"But our institutions and policies and expectations are ‘energy blind’,” he told me. He believes that the report’s warning of a coming economic crisis is very likely.</p> <p>“We optimize around growth, which requires energy which requires carbon energy,” he said. “We have created approaching 300 trillion dollars in financial claims, on a finite amount of high quality resources... All in all, we’ve created too many claims for future energy and resources to support.”</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">From Saudi peak to shale bubble</h3> <p>The report offers the first independent public government assessment concluding that Saudi Arabia, once the world’s largest oil producer, is now probably approaching (and may already have passed) a production peak.</p> <p>The study cites accelerating rig counts amid disproportionately low oil output as mounting evidence of the Saudi oil sector’s declining productivity. It also cites data from the recent IPO held by the Saudi national oil firm, Aramco, indicating that production levels from the country’s largest field, Ghawar, is 1.2 million barrels lower than previously claimed, suggesting the field is nearing maturity.</p> <p>Meanwhile, as Saudi Arabia has been unable to keep up with demand, US shale has stepped in, contributing to the vast bulk of new global oil supply since 2005—71.4 percent of it to be exact.</p> <p>The rest of the international oil market is dominated by Russia and Iraq, with other members of the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) consortium of Middle East oil producers overall contributing just 22 percent of total supply, barely enough to cover losses from countries whose production has been declining.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">A bubble ready to burst</h3> <p>The report warns that global production growth may therefore soon stall due to the dodgy debt-driven economics of the US shale industry. While Saudi Arabia will no longer be able to ramp up production much, the US shale oil sector could be on the brink of unravelling due to massive unrepayable debts, declining production rates, and poor well quality.</p> <p>While the productivity of shale oil wells has increased at first glance, the report says this has come at the expense of “observable decreases in real productivity.” Increasing production “has come at a cost of increased lateral drilling per hole and the increase of water, chemical, and proppant.”</p> <p>So while average production from fracked US shale wells increased between 2010 and 2018 by 28 percent, in the same period water injection, chemical and proppant use increased by 118 percent. The report says this indicates the huge spike in extraction costs.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the report warns that most shale oil companies experience negative cash flow due to mounting unrepayable debt levels. As a result, we are fast approaching a point where investors are losing faith in the industry, which is now running out of money to sustain continued operations amidst declining profitability.</p> <p>The exact date of a peak in US shale oil production is difficult to estimate, but the report concludes that production “is likely to be in terminal decline within the next 5 to 10 years, with the possibility that it has already peaked due to contraction of upstream capital investment.”</p> <p>If that happens, it would mean we can no longer rely on the principal source of oil behind global production growth.</p> <p>According to World Oil, two major oil industry service providers, Halliburton and Schlumberger, already believe that despite production reaching record highs, US shale oil fracking has already peaked and is in a period of sustained contraction.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">A global peak?</h3> <p>The report is heavily critical of conventional peak oil theory, which predicted that global oil production would peak and decline shortly after 2000 due to ‘below-ground’ geological depletion, leading to permanently spiralling oil prices. The approach is described as “too simplistic” for overlooking “the complex and dynamic interactions of a number of issues around the oil industry (most notably geopolitical actions and the effect on Quantitative Easing).”</p> <p>But the report also dismisses the now fashionable rejection of the entire relevance of peak oil. Although there is “plenty of oil left,” it is “increasingly expensive to access”.</p> <p>The current economic system cannot sustain oil prices above $100 a barrel and keep growing, while producers for most new fields cannot sustain profits at prices as low as $45 a barrel without more borrowing.</p> <p>According to Dr. Michaux, the global economy is therefore caught between a rock and a hard place. “Oil prices will be held low for a time,” he explained. “The problem is all consumers at all scales in all sectors are saturated with debt. Costs are going up, while the ability to generate wealth is contracting.”</p> <p>This means that although the oil industry can’t cope with the lower prices, the global economy can’t cope with high prices. “I now see peak oil as being defined by a contracting window between an oil price high enough to keep producers in business and a price low enough for consumers to access oil derived goods and services,” said Michaux.</p> <p>As a result of this combination of geological challenges and above-ground market constraints, Michaux’s government study warns that a global peak in total oil production is either “imminent” over the next few years, or may already have happened, possibly in November 2018. But we will only be able to fully confirm the peak around five years after the fact.</p> <p>More than half the world’s oil producing countries are now in decline, the report claims, with the bulk of new production concentrated among just six main producers. When looking specifically at crude oil operations, the report says, about 81 percent of the world’s oil fields are now in decline, with the rate of discoveries of new oil fields declining to record lows.</p> <p>By 2040, this means the world would need to replace over four times the current crude oil output of Saudi Arabia, just to keep output consistently flat.</p> <p>Rather than global oil supply being constrained simply by the volume of oil deposits in the ground, as conventional peak oil theory assumes, the report says that it is instead constrained “by the number of economically viable projects available to be developed at a low enough production cost.”</p> <p>Currently, the bulk of continued expansion in global supply is dependent on the United States. With the US shale sector on the verge of breakdown, the report warns that the “window of oil market viability is closing, which suggests the resumption of the 2008 correction will be soon.”</p> <p>According to Dr. Hagens, this new analysis confirms that “‘peak oil’ is now really about ‘peak credit.’ If we can somehow continue to keep growing our financial claims to allow us access to future energy today, we’ll continue to be able to extract the next most costly tranche of hydrocarbons.”</p> <p>But as debt levels are becoming dangerously unstable, this can only continue for so long; and only pushes the problem forward, making future oil decline rates steeper. Eventually the situation will become unworkable. He argues that it’s the “global credit orgy of the last 50 years,” but especially since 2008, that has kept the growth engine growing.</p> <p>I asked Hagens whether he agrees with the report’s verdict that an overall peak could therefore be imminent. “I find it extremely plausible,” he said.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Global reset and the need for a new industrial paradigm</h3> <p>Because we are “using finance to paper over this biophysical gap”, he added, this will eventually “lead to a deflationary pulse in global economies.”</p> <p>Levels of global debt are now thoroughly out of control, the report says—finding that US government debt creation has been approximately twice the rate of economic growth over the last 40 years. By increasing the volume of debt, countries were able to maintain growth as costs of energy went up. As a result, most national economies now have debt to GDP ratio exceeding 90 percent, which means that they need to go further into debt just to keep their economies functioning while maintaining debt repayments.</p> <p>Growth in GDP therefore amounts to a “debt fueled mirage,” according to the report. As we have not properly planned for the possible phasing out of fossil fuel energy, it is entirely possible that as energy systems, oil in particular, come to contract, we could witness “the peak of industrial output per capita sometime in the next few years.”</p> <p>As oil markets become unreliable, the report urges, the world needs to develop “an entirely new energy system based around an entirely different paradigm.” The report calls on technical professionals and policymakers to focus on how “to create a high technology society” based on a smaller clean energy footprint that isn’t reliant on endless material growth. “If this is not achieved, the alternative is the degradation (and fragmentation) of the current industrial ecosystem.”</p> <p>In short, this means we need an extremely rapid shift to renewables, along with a total reorganization of how our societies function for the coming post-fossil fuels world.</p> <p>All major industrial nations need to “work together in how to transition away from oil and fossil fuels in general,” the report concludes, warning: “The alternative is conflict.” Industrial civilization will need to “evolve” into “a lower energy consumption profile with less complexity,” based on a “complete restructure of the demand side of energy requirements.”</p> <p>Right now, though, “no one is preparing for this,” said Hagens. “Not only are we speeding, but we are wearing energy blind-folds at the same time. But the momentum of our current system forces us to have conversations about a bigger system not a smaller one—so the correct and valid plans and blueprints are not discussed… It is a perfect storm—and when the waters recede we are going to have smaller, simpler and more local, regional economies.”</p> <hr /> <p><small>Source: <a href="">…</a></small></p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="66" src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" /></p> <p><small>Last updated 12 February 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Wed, 12 Feb 2020 15:30:35 +0000 admin 1034 at Leaves - February IEF newsletter is available <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Leaves - February IEF newsletter is available</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">11. February 2020 - 19:08</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Read on line: <a href="/newslt128"><strong><em>Leaves</em></strong> 22(2) February 2020</a> light text version with fewer illustrations.<br /> Download as a <a href="/fl/IEF_Leaves200215.pdf">pdf version</a> [512 kb].</p> <table background="/gr/BLEAF1.JPG" style="background-color: rgb(0, 153, 0); width: 100%; height: 55px; text-align: left; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Tue, 11 Feb 2020 17:08:08 +0000 admin 255 at It is 100 seconds to midnight <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">It is 100 seconds to midnight</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">25. January 2020 - 0:15</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/293" hreflang="en">Catastrophe</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/9" hreflang="en">Climate change</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/294" hreflang="en">Nuclear war</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">It is 100 seconds to midnight</h2> <p>2020 Doomsday Clock Statement<br /> Science and Security Board<br /> Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists</p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p><b>To: Leaders and citizens of the world<br /> Re: Closer than ever: It is 100 seconds to midnight<br /> Date: 23 January 2020</b></p> <p>Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers—nuclear war and climate change—that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond. The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.</p> <p>In the nuclear realm, national leaders have ended or undermined several major arms control treaties and negotiations during the last year, creating an environment conducive to a renewed nuclear arms race, to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and to lowered barriers to nuclear war. Political conflicts regarding nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea remain unresolved and are, if anything, worsening. US-Russia cooperation on arms control and disarmament is all but nonexistent.</p> <p>Public awareness of the climate crisis grew over the course of 2019, largely because of mass protests by young people around the world. Just the same, governmental action on climate change still falls far short of meeting the challenge at hand. At UN climate meetings last year, national delegates made fine speeches but put forward few concrete plans to further limit the carbon dioxide emissions that are disrupting Earth’s climate. This limited political response came during a year when the effects of manmade climate change were manifested by one of the warmest years on record, extensive wildfires, and quicker-than-expected melting of glacial ice.</p> <p>Continued corruption of the information ecosphere on which democracy and public decision making depend has heightened the nuclear and climate threats. In the last year, many governments used cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns to sow distrust in institutions and among nations, undermining domestic and international efforts to foster peace and protect the planet.</p> <p>This situation—two major threats to human civilization, amplified by sophisticated, technology-propelled propaganda—would be serious enough if leaders around the world were focused on managing the danger and reducing the risk of catastrophe. Instead, over the last two years, we have seen influential leaders denigrate and discard the most effective methods for addressing complex threats—international agreements with strong verification regimes—in favor of their own narrow interests and domestic political gain. By undermining cooperative, science- and lawbased approaches to managing the most urgent threats to humanity, these leaders have helped to create a situation that will, if unaddressed, lead to catastrophe, sooner rather than later.</p> <p>Faced with this daunting threat landscape and a new willingness of political leaders to reject the negotiations and institutions that can protect civilization over the long term, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board today moves the Doomsday Clock 20 seconds closer to midnight—closer to apocalypse than ever. In so doing, board members are explicitly warning leaders and citizens around the world that the international security situation is now more dangerous than it has ever been, even at the height of the Cold War.</p> <p>Civilization-ending nuclear war—whether started by design, blunder, or simple miscommunication— is a genuine possibility. Climate change that could devastate the planet is undeniably happening. And for a variety of reasons that include a corrupted and manipulated media environment, democratic governments and other institutions that should be working to address these threats have failed to rise to the challenge.</p> <p>The Bulletin believes that human beings can manage the dangers posed by the technology that humans create. Indeed, in the 1990s leaders in the United States and the Soviet Union took bold actions that made nuclear war markedly less likely—and as a result the Bulletin moved the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock the farthest it has been from midnight.</p> <p>But given the inaction—and in too many cases counterproductive actions— of international leaders, the members of the Science and Security Board are compelled to declare a state of emergency that requires the immediate, focused, and unrelenting attention of the entire world. It is 100 seconds to midnight. The Clock continues to tick. Immediate action is required.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">A retreat from arms control creates a dangerous nuclear reality</h3> <p>The world is sleepwalking its way through a newly unstable nuclear landscape. The arms control boundaries that have helped prevent nuclear catastrophe for the last half century are being steadily dismantled.</p> <p>In several areas, a bad situation continues to worsen. Throughout 2019, Iran increased its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, increased its uranium enrichment levels, and added new and improved centrifuges—all to express its frustration that the United States had withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA), re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran, and pressured other parties to the Iran nuclear agreement to stop their compliance with the agreement. Early this year, amid high US-Iranian tensions, the US military conducted a drone air strike that killed a prominent Iranian general in Iraq. Iranian leaders vowed to exact “severe revenge” on US military forces, and the Iranian government announced it would no longer observe limits, imposed by the JCPOA, on the number of centrifuges that it uses to enrich uranium.</p> <p>Although Iran has not formally exited the nuclear deal, its actions appear likely to reduce the “breakout time” it would need to build a nuclear weapon, to less than the 12 months envisioned by parties to the JCPOA. At that point, other parties to the nuclear agreement—including the European Union and possibly Russia and China—may be compelled to acknowledge that Iran is not complying. What little is left of the agreement could crumble, reducing constraints on the Iranian nuclear program and increasing the likelihood of military conflict with the United States.</p> <p>The demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty became official in 2019, and, as predicted, the United States and Russia have begun a new competition to develop and deploy weapons the treaty had long banned. Meanwhile, the United States continues to suggest that it will not extend New START, the agreement that limits US and Russian deployed strategic nuclear weapons and delivery systems, and that it may withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, which provides aerial overflights to build confidence and transparency around the world. Russia, meanwhile, continues to support an extension of New START.</p> <p>The assault on arms control is exacerbated by the decay of great power relations. Despite declaring its intent to bring China into an arms control agreement, the United States has adopted a bullying and derisive tone toward its Chinese and Russian competitors. The three countries disagree on whether to pursue negotiations on outer space, missile defenses, and cyberwarfare. One of the few issues they do agree on: They all oppose the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which opened for signature in 2017. As an alternative, the United States has promoted, within the context of the review conference process of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), an initiative called “Creating the Environment for Nuclear Disarmament.” The success of this initiative may depend on its reception at the 2020 NPT Review Conference—a landmark 50th anniversary of the treaty.</p> <p>US efforts to reach agreement with North Korea made little progress in 2019, despite an early summit in Hanoi and subsequent workinglevel meetings. After a North Korean deadline for end-of-year progress passed, Kim Jong Un announced he would demonstrate a new “strategic weapon” and indicated that North Korea would forge ahead without sanctions relief. Until now, the willingness of both sides to continue a dialogue was positive, but Chairman Kim seems to have lost faith in President Trump’s willingness to come to an agreement.</p> <p>Without conscious efforts to reinvigorate arms control, the world is headed into an unregulated nuclear environment. Such an outcome could reproduce the intense arms race that was the hallmark of the early decades of the nuclear age. Both the United States and Russia have massive stockpiles of warheads and fissile material in reserve from which to draw, if they choose. Should China decide to build up to US and Russian arsenal levels—a development previously dismissed as unlikely but now being debated—deterrence calculations could become more complicated, making the situation more dangerous. An unconstrained North Korea, coupled with a more assertive China, could further destabilize Northeast Asian security. As we wrote last year and re-emphasize now, any belief that the threat of nuclear war has been vanquished is a mirage.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">An insufficient response to an increasingly threatened climate</h3> <p>In the past year, some countries have taken action to combat climate change, but others— including the United States, which formalized its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, and Brazil, which dismantled policies that had protected the Amazon rainforest—have taken major steps backward. The highly anticipated UN Climate Action Summit in September fell far short of Secretary General António Guterres’ request that countries come not with “beautiful speeches, but with concrete plans.” The 60 or so countries that have committed (in more or less vague terms) to net zero emissions of carbon dioxide account for just 11 percent of global emissions. The UN climate conference in Madrid similarly disappointed. The countries involved in negotiations there barely reached an agreement, and the result was little more than a weak nudge, asking countries to consider further curbing their emissions. The agreement made no advances in providing further support to poorer countries to cut emissions and deal with increasingly damaging climate impacts.</p> <p>Lip service continued, with some governments now echoing many scientists’ use of the term “climate emergency.” But the policies and actions that governments proposed were hardly commensurate to an emergency. Exploration and exploitation of fossil fuels continues to grow. A recent UN report finds that global governmental support and private sector investment have put fossil fuels on course to be over-produced at more than twice the level needed to meet the emissions reduction goals set out in Paris.</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, these continuing trends are reflected in our atmosphere and environment: Greenhouse gas emissions rose again over the past year, taking both annual emissions and atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to record highs. The world is heading in the opposite direction from the clear demands of climate science and plain arithmetic: Net carbon dioxide emissions need to go down to zero if the world is to stop the continuing buildup of greenhouse gases. World emissions are going in the wrong direction.</p> <p>The consequences of climate change in the lives of people around the world have been striking and tragic. India was ravaged in 2019 both by record-breaking heat waves and record-breaking floods, each taking a heavy toll on human lives. Wildfires from the Arctic to Australia, and many regions in between, have erupted with a frequency, intensity, extent, and duration that further degrade ecosystems and endanger people. It is not good news when wildfires spring up simultaneously in both the northern and southern hemispheres, making the notion of a limited “fire season” increasingly a thing of the past.</p> <p>The dramatic effects of a changing climate, alongside the glacial progress of government responses, have unsurprisingly led to rising concern and anger among growing numbers of people. Climate change has catalyzed a wave of youth engagement, activism, and protest that seems akin to the mobilization triggered by nuclear disaster and nuclear weapons fears in the 1970s and 1980s. Politicians are taking notice, and, in some cases, starting to propose policies scaled to the urgency and magnitude of the climate problem. We hope that public support for strong climate policies will continue to spread, corporations will accelerate their investments in low-carbon technologies, the price of renewable energy will continue to decline, and politicians will take action. We also hope that these developments will happen rapidly enough to lead to the major transformation that is needed to check climate change.</p> <p>But the actions of many world leaders continue to increase global risk, at a time when the opposite is urgently needed.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">The increased threat of information warfare and other disruptive technologies</h3> <p>Nuclear war and climate change are major threats to the physical world. But information is an essential aspect of human interaction, and threats to the information ecosphere—especially when coupled with the emergence of new destabilizing technologies in artificial intelligence, space, hypersonics, and biology—portend a dangerous and multifaceted global instability.</p> <p>In recent years, national leaders have increasingly dismissed information with which they do not agree as fake news, promulgating their own untruths, exaggerations, and misrepresentations in response. Unfortunately, this trend accelerated in 2019. Leaders claimed their lies to be truth, calling into question the integrity of, and creating public distrust in, national institutions that have historically provided societal stability and cohesion.</p> <p>In the United States, there is active political antagonism toward science and a growing sense of government-sanctioned disdain for expert opinion, creating fear and doubt regarding well-established science about climate change and other urgent challenges. Countries have long attempted to employ propaganda in service of their political agendas. Now, however, the internet provides widespread, inexpensive access to worldwide audiences, facilitating the broadcast of false and manipulative messages to large populations and enabling millions of individuals to indulge in their prejudices, biases, and ideological differences.</p> <p>The recent emergence of so-called “deepfakes”— audio and video recordings that are essentially undetectable as false—threatens to further undermine the ability of citizens and decision makers to separate truth from fiction. The resulting falsehoods hold the potential to create economic, social, and military chaos, increasing the possibility of misunderstandings or provocations that could lead to war, and fomenting public confusion that leads to inaction on serious issues facing the planet. Agreement on facts is essential to democracy and effective collective action.</p> <p>Other new technologies, including developments in biological engineering, high-speed (hypersonic) weapons, and space weapons, present further opportunities for disruption.</p> <p>Genetic engineering and synthetic biology technologies are now increasingly affordable, readily available, and spreading rapidly. Globally, governments and companies are collecting vast amounts of health-related data, including genomic data, ostensibly for the purpose of improving healthcare and increasing profits. But the same data could also be useful in developing highly effective biological weapons, and disagreements regarding verification of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention continue to place the world at risk.</p> <p>Artificial intelligence is progressing at a frenzied pace. In addition to the concern about marginally controlled AI development and its incorporation into weaponry that would make kill decisions without human supervision, AI is now being used in military command and control systems. Research and experience have demonstrated the vulnerability of these systems to hacking and manipulation. Given AI’s known shortcomings, it is crucial that the nuclear command and control system remain firmly in the hands of human decision makers.</p> <p>There is increasing investment in and deployment of hypersonic weapons that will severely limit response times available to targeted nations and create a dangerous degree of ambiguity and uncertainty, at least in part because of their likely ability to carry either nuclear or conventional warheads. This uncertainty could lead to rapid escalation of military conflicts. At a minimum, these weapons are highly destabilizing and presage a new arms race.</p> <p>Meanwhile, space has become a new arena for weapons development, with multiple countries testing and deploying kinetic, laser, and radiofrequency anti-satellite capabilities, and the United States creating a new military service, the Space Force.</p> <p>The overall global trend is toward complex, hightech, highly automated, high-speed warfare. The computerized and increasingly AI-assisted nature of militaries, the sophistication of their weapons, and the new, more aggressive military doctrines asserted by the most heavily armed countries could result in global catastrophe.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">How the world should respond</h3> <p>To say the world is nearer to doomsday today than during the Cold War—when the United States and Soviet Union had tens of thousands more nuclear weapons than they now possess— is to make a profound assertion that demands serious explanation. After much deliberation, the members of the Science and Security Board have concluded that the complex technological threats the world faces are at least as dangerous today as they were last year and the year before, when we set the Clock at two minutes to midnight (as close as it had ever been, and the same setting that was announced in 1953, after the United States and the Soviet Union tested their first thermonuclear weapons).</p> <p>But this year, we move the Clock 20 seconds closer to midnight not just because trends in our major areas of concern—nuclear weapons and climate change—have failed to improve significantly over the last two years. We move the Clock toward midnight because the means by which political leaders had previously managed these potentially civilization-ending dangers are themselves being dismantled or undermined, without a realistic effort to replace them with new or better management regimes. In effect, the international political infrastructure for controlling existential risk is degrading, leaving the world in a situation of high and rising threat. Global leaders are not responding appropriately to reduce this threat level and counteract the hollowing-out of international political institutions, negotiations, and agreements that aim to contain it. The result is a heightened and growing risk of disaster.</p> <p>To be sure, some of these negative trends have been long in development. That they could be seen coming miles in the distance but still were allowed to occur is not just disheartening but also a sign of fundamental dysfunction in the world’s efforts to manage and reduce existential risk.</p> <p>Last year, we called the extremely troubling state of world security an untenable “new abnormal.”</p> <p>“In this extraordinarily dangerous state of affairs, nuclear war and climate change pose severe threats to humanity, yet go largely unaddressed,” we wrote. “Meanwhile, the use of cyber-enabled information warfare by countries, leaders, and subnational groups of many stripes around the world exacerbates these enormous threats and endangers the information ecosystem that underpins democracy and civilization as we know it. At the same time, other disruptive technologies complicate and further darken the world security situation.”</p> <p>This dangerous situation remains—and continues to deteriorate. Compounding the nuclear, climate, and information warfare threats, the world’s institutional and political capacity for dealing with these threats and reducing the possibility of civilization-scale catastrophe has been diminished. Because of the worldwide governmental trend toward dysfunction in dealing with global threats, we feel compelled to move the Doomsday Clock forward. The need for emergency action is urgent. There are many practical, concrete steps that leaders could take—and citizens should demand— to improve the current, absolutely unacceptable state of world security affairs. Among them:</p> <p>• US and Russian leaders can return to the negotiating table to: reinstate the INF Treaty or take other action to restrain an unnecessary arms race in medium-range missiles; extend the limits of New START beyond 2021; seek further reductions in nuclear arms; discuss a lowering of the alert status of the nuclear arsenals of both countries; limit nuclear modernization programs that threaten to create a new nuclear arms race; and start talks on cyber warfare, missile defenses, the militarization of space, hypersonic technology, and the elimination of battlefield nuclear weapons.</p> <p>• The countries of the world should publicly rededicate themselves to the temperature goal of the Paris climate agreement, which is restricting warming “well below” 2 degrees Celsius higher than the preindustrial level. That goal is consistent with consensus views on climate science, and, notwithstanding the inadequate climate action to date, it may well remain within reach if major changes in the worldwide energy system and land use are undertaken promptly. If that goal is to be attained, industrialized countries will need to curb emissions rapidly, going beyond their initial, inadequate pledges and supporting developing countries so they can leapfrog the entrenched, fossil fuel-intensive patterns previously pursued by industrialized countries.</p> <p>• US citizens should demand climate action from their government. Climate change is a serious and worsening threat to humanity. Citizens should insist that their government acknowledge it and act accordingly. President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change agreement was a dire mistake. Whoever wins the 2020 US presidential election should reverse that decision.</p> <p>• The United States and other signatories of the Iran nuclear deal can work together to restrain nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Iran is poised to violate key thresholds of the deal. Whoever wins the United States’ 2020 presidential election must prioritize dealing with this problem, whether through a return to the original nuclear agreement or via negotiation of a new and broader accord.</p> <p>• The international community should begin multilateral discussions aimed at establishing norms of behavior, both domestic and international, that discourage and penalize the misuse of science. Science provides the world’s searchlight in times of fog and confusion. Furthermore, focused attention is needed to prevent information technology from undermining public trust in political institutions, in the media, and in the existence of objective reality itself. Cyber-enabled information warfare is a threat to the common good. Deception campaigns—and leaders intent on blurring the line between fact and politically motivated fantasy—are a profound threat to effective democracies, reducing their ability to address nuclear weapons, climate change, and other existential dangers.</p> <p>The global security situation is unsustainable and extremely dangerous, but that situation can be improved, if leaders seek change and citizens demand it. There is no reason the Doomsday Clock cannot move away from midnight. It has done so in the past when wise leaders acted, under pressure from informed and engaged citizens around the world. We believe that mass civic engagement will be necessary to compel the change the world needs.</p> <p>Citizens around the world have the power to unmask social media disinformation and improve the long-term prospects of their children and grandchildren. They can insist on facts, and discount nonsense. They can demand—through public protest, at the ballot box, and in many other creative ways—that their leaders take immediate steps to reduce the existential threats of nuclear war and climate change. It is now 100 seconds to midnight, the most dangerous situation that humanity has ever faced. Now is the time to unite—and act.</p> <p><small>Source: <a href="">…</a></small></p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="66" src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" /></p> <p><small>Last updated 24 January 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Fri, 24 Jan 2020 22:15:52 +0000 admin 1032 at Greta Thunberg’s Remarks at the Davos Economic Forum <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Greta Thunberg’s Remarks at the Davos Economic Forum</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">23. January 2020 - 22:25</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/9" hreflang="en">Climate change</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Greta Thunberg’s Remarks at the Davos Economic Forum</h2> <p>22 January 2020<br /> New York Times, reporting from the World Economic Forum in Davos</p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>DAVOS, Switzerland — Greta Thunberg spoke here Tuesday afternoon at an event hosted by The New York Times and the World Economic Forum. Here is the full transcript of her remarks:</p> <p>One year ago I came to Davos and told you that our house is on fire. I said I wanted you to panic. I’ve been warned that telling people to panic about the climate crisis is a very dangerous thing to do. But don’t worry. It’s fine. Trust me, I’ve done this before and I can assure you it doesn’t lead to anything.</p> <p>And, for the record, when we children tell you to panic we’re not telling you to go on like before. We’re not telling you to rely on technologies that don’t even exist today at scale and that science says perhaps never will.</p> <p>We are not telling you to keep talking about reaching “net zero emissions” or “carbon neutrality” by cheating and fiddling around with numbers. We are not telling you to “offset your emissions” by just paying someone else to plant trees in places like Africa while at the same time forests like the Amazon are being slaughtered at an infinitely higher rate.</p> <p>Planting trees is good, of course, but it’s nowhere near enough of what is needed and it cannot replace real mitigation and rewilding nature.</p> <p>Let’s be clear. We don’t need a “low carbon economy.” We don’t need to “lower emissions.” Our emissions have to stop if we are to have a chance to stay below the 1.5-degree target. And, until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero.</p> <p>Because distant net zero emission targets will mean absolutely nothing if we just continue to ignore the carbon dioxide budget — that applies for today, not distant future dates. If high emissions continue like now even for a few years, that remaining budget will soon be completely used up.</p> <p>The fact that the U.S.A. is leaving the Paris accord seems to outrage and worry everyone, and it should. But the fact that we’re all about to fail the commitments you signed up for in the Paris Agreement doesn’t seem to bother the people in power even the least.</p> <p>Any plan or policy of yours that doesn’t include radical emission cuts at the source, starting today, is completely insufficient for meeting the 1.5-degree or well-below-2-degrees commitments of the Paris Agreement.</p> <p>And again, this is not about right or left. We couldn’t care less about your party politics. From a sustainability perspective, the right, the left as well as the center have all failed. No political ideology or economic structure has been able to tackle the climate and environmental emergency and create a cohesive and sustainable world. Because that world, in case you haven’t noticed, is currently on fire.</p> <p>You say children shouldn’t worry. You say: “Just leave this to us. We will fix this, we promise we won’t let you down. Don’t be so pessimistic.”</p> <p>And then, nothing. Silence. Or something worse than silence. Empty words and promises which give the impression that sufficient action is being taken.</p> <p>All the solutions are obviously not available within today’s societies. Nor do we have the time to wait for new technological solutions to become available to start drastically reducing our emissions. So, of course the transition isn’t going to be easy. It will be hard. And unless we start facing this now together, with all cards on the table, we won’t be able to solve this in time.</p> <p>In the days running up to the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum, I joined a group of climate activists demanding that you, the world’s most powerful and influential business and political leaders, begin to take the action needed.</p> <p>We demand at this year’s World Economic Forum, participants from all companies, banks, institutions and governments:</p> <p>- Immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction.</p> <p>- Immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies.</p> <p>- And immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels.</p> <p>We don’t want these things done by 2050, 2030 or even 2021. We want this done now.</p> <p>It may seem like we’re asking for a lot. And you will of course say that we are naïve. But this is just the very minimum amount of effort that is needed to start the rapid sustainable transition.</p> <p>So either you do this or you’re going to have to explain to your children why you are giving up on the 1.5-degree target. Giving up without even trying. Well I’m here to tell you that, unlike you, my generation will not give up without a fight.</p> <p>The facts are clear, but they’re still too uncomfortable for you to address. You just leave it because you think it’s too depressing and people will give up. But people will not give up. You are the ones who are giving up.</p> <p>Last week I met with Polish coal miners who lost their jobs because their mine was closed. And even they had not given up. On the contrary, they seem to understand the fact that we need to change more than you do.</p> <p>I wonder, what will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing a climate chaos that you knowingly brought upon them? That it seemed so bad for the economy that we decided to resign the idea of securing future living conditions without even trying?</p> <p>Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour. And we are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p><small>Source: <a href="">…</a></small></p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="66" src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" /></p> <p><small>Last updated 23 January 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Thu, 23 Jan 2020 20:25:35 +0000 admin 1031 at Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">15. January 2020 - 15:48</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/51" hreflang="en">Governance</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century</h2> <p>New book by Augusto Lopez-Claros, Arthur Dahl and Maja Groff </p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <img src="/gr/GlobalGovernance.jpg" alt="Global Governance" style="width: 179px; height: 333px;"> </div> <p>As the world teeters on the brink of any number of global catastrophes from climate change to the increasing temptation to use weapons of mass destruction, and where hope for world peace is receding, it is time to put global governance back at the center of international debate. IEF members Arthur Dahl and Maja Groff, together with Augusto Lopez-Claros, have done just that in their new book <i>Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century</i> published by Cambridge University Press on 23 January 2020. In over 500 pages of careful reasoning, they lay out the deficiencies in the present United Nations system and propose all the changes necessary both to correct flaws built into the UN Charter at its inception to make it acceptable to the victorious powers defending their national sovereignty, and to adapt it to the needs of a global system facing new challenges that did not exist in 1945. In this year of rethinking the role of the United Nations on its 75th anniversary, positive proposals to face and resolve global catastrophic risks are needed more than ever.</p> <p>Part I of the book provides the background, reviewing the challenges of the 21st century, providing a short history of proposals for global governance and the first real steps in the League of Nations and the United Nations, and looking at the example of European integration after World War II, starting with a Coal and Steel Community and building the supranational institutions of the European Union step by step as trust was built that interstate cooperation could work.</p> <p>The second part of the book presents proposals to reform the central institutions of the United Nations to give it the competencies in legislative, executive and judicial functions that are taken for granted in national governments but are still limited at the global level.</p> <p>The General Assembly would be reformed with proportional representation and the power to adopt binding legislation in those areas requiring global governance, including peace and security and the global environment. It would be supported by advisory mechanisms, including scientific advice across global issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, atmospheric and oceanic pollution, and management of the global commons. Technology assessment of issues such as geoengineering, nanotechnology, gene editing, and artificial intelligence would provide the basis for global legislation prohibiting dangerous and encouraging constructive uses while applying the precautionary principle. An Office of Ethical Assessment would ensure that fundamental human and environmental rights and responsibilities are considered in any measures adopted. A Second Chamber of Civil Society would allow all the major groups and stakeholders to propose and comment on the necessary actions to protect the common global interests of humanity and the planet. One immediate step that could catalyse progress in this direction would be the creation of a World Parliamentary Assembly already under discussion.</p> <p>At the executive level, the disfunctional Security Council would be replaced by a UN Executive Council chaired by the Secretary-General, with all governments having a voice and none a veto. It would oversee the effective management of the UN System, with subsidiary bodies for disarmament, mediation and conciliation, and an International Peace Force able to implement decisions for collective security to ensure world peace. The transition to collective security would require carefully staged and balanced reductions in national armaments as the international force becomes operational, while the human and material resources presently devoted to unproductive military expenditures would be redirected to constructive uses. An independent UN funding mechanism would ensure adequate resources to carry out the necessary functions of global governance.</p> <p>The International Court of Justice would be given binding jurisdiction to interpret global law and adjudicate international disputes. It would be supported by the International Criminal Court, an Anti-corruption Court and an International Human Rights Tribunal, as well as an Office of the UN Attorney-General and an International Judicial Training Institute. A UN Bill of Rights would define both individual and national rights and responsibilities.</p> <p>To give global governance the capacity to manage the multiple global risks that threaten our future, the UN Specialized Agencies would be enhanced and completed with agencies for global economic management and regulation of the private sector, and to reduce inequalities within and between countries. The global financial architecture would be reinforced and the International Monetary Fund given the capacity to address threats of financial collapse. Responding to global environmental crises requires that the many environmental conventions should be consolidated under global legislation for effective management of climate change, biodiversity, chemicals, plastics, and the equitable distribution of natural resources. Global management is also needed to deal with population imbalances and the inevitable mass displacement of populations being triggered by the climate crisis and sea level rise.</p> <p>The book gives particular attention to cross-cutting issues such as corruption, the destroyer of prosperity that has now reached a scale requiring international enforcement. Major attention also needs to be directed to education for transformation, so that all lesser loyalties are subordinated to a sense of global citizenship as members of one human race.</p> <p>The last part of the book explores the values and principles necessary to underlie an enhanced international system, so that global good governance can be operationalized. This is required both to build public support and participation in governance at all levels, and to ensure that all those working within the international system and contributing to its processes believe in its values and are there to be of service to all of humanity.</p> <p>The big question, of course, is how to get from here to there. The book discusses some immediate steps forward, and explores scenarios of alternative future paths. Since previous steps towards global governance were the result of the terrible suffering of World Wars I and II, it is possible that another crisis will be necessary to push governments to act finally in their own common interest. Launching the debate now on bridging the governance gap at the global level, by showing that UN reform is not impossible and that there are practical ways forward, should prepare the way for rapid action once the inertia of the present system is overcome.</p> <p>While there will obviously be opposition to these proposals, particularly by vested interests in the present system and the contrary forces rejecting multilateralism, there is no real alternative in a globalized world to achieving effective global governance. The longer we resist, the more painful will be the transition. In today’s globalized world, national sovereignty has been eroded to almost nothing. For more than a century, the world has ignored calls to acknowledge that the Earth is one country and all humanity its citizens. Now the planet itself, through the climate catastrophe and biodiversity collapse, is sending us signals that we ignore at our peril. Everyone everywhere needs to take this message to heart. All of our governments need to be pressured to acknowledge that their national autonomy can only be guaranteed by an effective global government. The more governments come on board to support these proposals or others like them, the sooner can the process of building global governance for the 21st century get under way.</p> <p>The book <i>Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century</i>, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 515 pages, can be ordered from Cambridge University Press and as an e-book on Amazon, and is available on line in <a href="">open access</a>.<br> <a href="">Order from Cambridge</a><br> <a href=";qid=1578675426&amp;s=books&amp;sr=1-1">e-book from Amazon</a></p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" height="66"></p> <p><small>Last updated 20 January 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Wed, 15 Jan 2020 13:48:07 +0000 admin 1029 at WEF Global Risks Report 2020 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">WEF Global Risks Report 2020</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">15. January 2020 - 12:55</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/57" hreflang="en">Environment</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> WEF Global Risks Report 2020</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 15th edition of the World Economic Forum’s <i>Global Risks Report 2020</i> is published as critical risks are manifesting. The global economy is facing an increased risk of stagnation, climate change is striking harder and more rapidly than expected, and fragmented cyberspace threatens the full potential of next-generation technologies — all while citizens worldwide protest political and economic conditions and voice concerns about systems that exacerbate inequality. The challenges before us demand immediate collective action, but fractures within the global community appear to only be widening. Stakeholders need to act quickly and with purpose within an unsettled global landscape.</p> <p>For the first time the <i>Global Risks Report</i> is dominated by the environment, with climate-linked issues like extreme heat and ecosystems loss highlighted. Geoeconomic and political pressures are also top short-term concerns.</p> <p>Following a year of floods and droughts, when fires ravaged Australia and the Amazon, and teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg was chosen as Time’s Person of the Year, it is perhaps little wonder that environmental issues dominate leaders’ concerns for the future. But the latest edition of the World Economic Forum’s <i>Global Risks Report</i> shows how loudly they are sounding the alarm. Established leaders and up-and-comers agree: climate change is the stand-out long-term risk the world faces.</p> <p>The report, which identifies the top threats facing our world by likelihood and extent of impact, names failure to mitigate and adapt to climate change as the key concern for the Forum’s network of business leaders, NGOs, academics and others. The group places it as the number one risk by impact and number two by likelihood over the next 10 years. In fact, respondents to the Global Risks Perception Survey, which underpins the report, rank issues related to global warming – such as extreme weather and biodiversity loss – as the top five risks in terms of likelihood over the coming decade. This is the first time one category has occupied all of the top slots since the report was launched in 2006. Climate change is hitting harder and accelerating faster than many people predicted. And efforts to meet commitments to limit global warming are slipping, with countries veering off course. </p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Long term risk outlook by likelihood over the next decade</h3> <p>1. extreme weather<br> 2. climate action failure<br> 3. natural disaster<br> 4. biodiversity loss<br> 5. human-made environmental disasters<br> 6. data fraud or theft<br> 7. cyberattacks<br> 8. water crises<br> 9. global governance failure<br> 10. asset bubble</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Top ten long term risks by impact</h3> <p>1. climate action failure<br> 2. weapons of mass destruction<br> 3. biodiversity loss<br> 4. extreme weather<br> 5. water crises<br> 6. information infrastructure breakdown<br> 7. natural disasters<br> 8. cyberattacks<br> 9. human-made environmental disasters<br> 10. infectious diseases</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Short-term risk outlook in 2020</h3> <p>1. economic confrontations<br> 2. domestic political polarization<br> 3. extreme heat waves<br> 4. destruction of natural ecosystems<br> 5. cyberattacks: infrastructure<br> 6. protectionism on trade/investment<br> 7. populist and nativist agendas<br> 8. cyberattacks: theft of money/data<br> 9. recession in a major economy<br> 10. uncontrolled fires</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Gathering economic clouds</h3> <p>Growing downward pressure on the global economy, driven by fragile macroeconomic structures and financial inequality, is deemed the biggest short-term threat by the ‘multi-stakeholders’ questioned. The risk of stagnation is exacerbated as leaders increasingly follow nationalist policies. Over three-quarters of respondents think this darkening economic outlook and domestic political polarization are set to become more likely in the short term.</p> <p>Trade tensions and geopolitical turbulence are also adding to the economic uncertainty – in particular the potential fallout from the United States and China’s trade stand-off. The two countries account for more than 40% of global GDP. They are also the world’s top two emitters of greenhouse gases. So the world’s economic performance and ability to address climate change is inextricably linked with theirs.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Risks in a digital world</h3> <p>Geopolitical and economic uncertainties are also driving concerns about digital technology: unequal access, a lack of governance, and more frequent and more damaging cyberattacks. The report highlights how long-mounting interconnected risks are starting to be felt. The synchronized slowdown of the global economy, the warmest temperatures on record and an increasingly unstable geopolitical environment are creating significant challenges. “It is sobering that in the face of this development, when the challenges before us demand immediate collective action, fractures within the global community appear to only be widening,” the report says. </p> <p>Waiting for the fog of geopolitical and geoeconomic uncertainty to lift before taking action is not a viable option, and would mean missing crucial windows to address pressing issues, it continues. The good news is that, despite global divisions, some businesses are committed to looking beyond their balance sheets towards tackling the urgent issues that are looming.</p> <hr> <p>Source: WEF, Charlotte Edmond, Senior Writer, Formative Content, 15 January 2020.<br> <a href="">…</a></p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" height="66" width="142"></p> <p><small>Last updated 15 January 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Wed, 15 Jan 2020 10:55:01 +0000 admin 1028 at