Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Flat Earth Society Is Alive And Doing Well In Saudi Arabia

As the world, at least most of the countries in the world, express concern and even regret over the failure of the Conference at Copenhagen to come to a meaningful conclusion the Saudi Arabian chief negotiator at the talks expressed Saudi Arabia’s glee and satisfaction that the Copenhagen Conference failed to take any positive steps towards meeting the most important challenge that civilization has ever met. Mr. Mohammad Al-Sabban went further as to predict that the world seems to be heading towards a stalemate on the question of anthropomorphic global warming, AGW. Mr. Al-Sabban proceeded on an interview on the BBC to predict that the action on climate change will become similar to that on the Doha round of the WTO. The WTO members have been engaged in negotiations for the past ten years with no resolution in sight.

It is shameful that a country takes pride in the fact that it is not likely for the world community to make any progress on the climate change issue for at least the next ten years and furthermore Saudi Arabia is proud of its record on AGW because it was essentially the work of a China-Sudan-Saudi Arabia cabal that sank the Copenhagen Conference. Saudi Arabia’s obstructionist role in Copenhagen earned it the moniker the” most likely villain in the awkward squad”.

When the world was initially presented with the problem of AGW, many countries, institutions , scientists and individuals were skeptical until the world scientific community has practically united in adopting the view that human activities are the culprit behind climate change. It has been estimated by the scientific community that any change greater than 2 degrees Celsius will have profound global catastrophic implications that range from disease , to storms, higher ocean levels, food shortages and extinction of specie. The fact that human civilization has become a major evolutionary force can be seen in numerous scientific studies.

The Proceeding of the National Academy of Science concluded that “ Since 2000, a growing global economy, an increase in the carbon emissions required to produce each unit of economic activity, and a decreasing efficiency of carbon sinks on land and in oceans have combined to produce the most rapid 7-year increase in atmospheric CO2 since the beginning of continuous atmospheric monitoring in 1959. This is also the most rapid increase since the beginning of the industrial revolution.”

And the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, has also said that :” Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observation of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level. Observational evidence from all continents and most oceans shows that major natural systems are being affected by regional climate changes, particularly temperature increases.”

In light of all the scientific evidence from all over the world that climate change is a fact , that its effects will be dramatic, that it is our duty and obligation to try to mitigate it Saudi Arabia is glad that we are not planning any action. But that position is to be expected. Would we expect the drug pusher to support measures designed to decrease drug usage? Of course not. To allow Saudi Arabia and China to have a major say in how to deal with global warming is similar to the proverbial image of putting the fox in charge of the hen house. I am not sure that Saudi Arabia and possibly all other major exporters of fossil fuels should have a say in what is to be done in order to implement strong steps that are bound to create major withdrawal symptoms but that are necessary if the addict is to be given a chance to overcome the addiction. Saudi Arabia and all the other 25 countries in its camp have prevented the global community from making any progress towards rehabilitation and sustainability by insisting that the world is flat. Such a position is demonstrably evil and unethical. But that fact that the global community allowed the "Awkward squad" to carry the day is a powerful statement about our lack of resolve. Shame on all of us.


Dalal said...

How many tons of C02 does Saudi Arabia produce a year?

Ghassan Karam said...

Saudi Arabia produces almost 400 million metric tons each year which is the equivalent of 13.5 metric tons per capita. That is enough to place it among the large producers on a per capita basis.
But that has nothing to do with my post. Absolutely nothing. The scientific evidence about climate change and its catastrophic effects is well documented and non controversial.
This means that we ; the human race; have a challenge to take major steps to prevent a calamity in the making. If we do not then there is no one to blame but ourselves.
Saudi Arabia has become one of the leader of the camps of denial . They are glad that the world will not take any action simply because if we do then civilization will have to develop a clean form of renewable energy as a replacement for the fossil fuels that are plentiful in Saudi Arabia. That is not only selfish but also short sighted since nature does not recognize political boundaries.

Surely the Saudis are not the only state in the obstructionist group but sadly it is one of the leaders because of its inherent interest in maintaining the current dependence on fossil fuel.

Of course wars and military armaments are to be discouraged since they are not an efficient use of resources. One of the most important principles of Georgescu Roegens’ bioeconomic society is to ban not only wars but also war materiel.

Sebouh said...

Hi Guys, The Industrial Revolution in the 19th century saw the large-scale use of fossil fuels for industrial activities.
These industries created jobs and over the years, people moved from rural areas to the cities. This trend is continuing even today. More and more land that was covered with vegetation has been cleared to make houses. Natural resources are being used extensively for construction, industries, transport, and consumption. Consumerism our increasing want for material things has increased by leaps and bounds, creating mountains of waste. Also, our population has increased to an incredible extent.
All this has contributed to a rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
According to Alex Callinicos, the United Nations climate change conference that was held last month in Copenhagen was an enormous betrayel of the hopes that had been placed in the summit.
Nevertheless, Copenhagen exposed very clearly the main obstacle to addressing global warming. Despite the evident danger of catastrophic climate change, individual states are reluctant to take on burden of cutting emissions. Instead they seek to displace the costs involved onto their rivals.
Finally, the author Alex Callinicos argues that this isn’t much of a “new world order”. Really addressing Climate Change will require a determined challenge to the competitive logic of capitalism.
By the way for Dalal and others. If you want to know some of the effects of Climate Change in Lebanon. Then I recommend visiting there you will see Ski Lebanon Mzaar through webcam and compare it with previous years. After viewing the pictures you will be somehow convinced that the Climate Change has becoming a global phenomenon.

Sebouh said...

This message is to Dalal and other respected viewers.
I strongly believe that the Human made Climate Change challenge cannot drastically be confronted under the current Profit and Loss business mentality.

Big business and Capitalism will always put their profits before any other consideration,even the future of our planet.
What is needed is a wakeup call to the public and informing them about this reality. Therefore, I think we will never reach a consensus under the current Profit and Loss mentality, becuase each country or state is after their own interest not with long term needs of the whole humanity. This is the turth. If I had spoken otherwise then I would be lying to the viewers and to myself.

Ghassan Karam said...

As you can see from the last post by Dalal, she does not think that climate change is a worthwhile issue. To her the world is flat and all this talk about the greatest challenge in the history of civilization makes no sense. That is a shame that all the work by all the scientists all over the world for decades can be dismmissed as nonsense.
Sebouh, you are both right and wrong on the issue of capitalism and climate change. This is not the right venue for a lengthy discussion so I will try to be very brief. You are confusing sustainability with climate change, I think. There is no doubt whatsoever that Capitalism is not sustainable. (Ultimately, if you are to be a believer in entropy, nothing is). But there is nothing to suggest that capitalism cannot resolve the climate change issue. You see, if the climate change is resolved that solves only one problem, It does not transform the system to a sustainable one. Climate change is not reversible on the human time scale and so the best that we can do is to stablize the emissions so that the concentrations will eventually go down . Can we theoretically stablize the emissions under capitalism? Of course we can. Just slap a large enough tax on carbon. The trick is to agree to impose such a tax in a world made up of 200 sovereign states where each is tryingh to profit at the expense of the other. That is not due to capitalism that is due to what Dworkin called “the selfish gene” and even that can be overcome through global governance. That is why against all sorts of odds there was a slight, a very slight chance, that the world would finally do the right thing at Copoenhagen. Unfortunately we did not. As I said before some of the best scientists in the world believe that it is too late to contain the temp. change to the 4 degrees that most thing is the tipping point. I personally think that is true but even then that is not an excuse to live like a drunken sailor as if there is no tomorrow. Humans are part of nature, we are embedded in the web of life and the more damage that we cause to the natural system then the weaker are the chances of survival for our own specie.

ghassan karam said...

(The above posts were sent originally to but in reference to this same post. I moved them to this blog since I thought that they were relevant to this conversation and since they were posted in response to the same post by me. The first three were sent on January 7 while the last two on January 9).


Free Blog Counter