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COP21 Paris - Compromising environment & failing humanity COP21 Paris - Compromising environment & failing humanity
by Thanos Kalamidas
2015-12-12 11:07:20
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Paris is the centre of Europe, doesn’t matter what the rest – especially Berlin or London – believe. The heart of Europe beats in Paris in just too many ways and these first days of December it was supposed to be the environmental heart of the world beating in Paris. It did and it didn’t.

While COP21 is nearly closing its works and the first decision drafts have already appeared the truth is that the real issues are not environmental and definitely not inside the area the talks take place. There is one agenda in the surface and three more underneath that actually battle their place in the spotlight constantly.

cop01_400The first issue that definitely overwhelms you from the minute you enter the grounds that host COP21 is security. I never felt so weird in a place, regarding security measures, as I felt entering the area that hosts COP21. I felt immediately suspect of something and I started instinctively checking what was wrong with my clothing or my appearance. You arrive at Le Bourget train-station from central Paris and straight away volunteers, security forces and police lead you through certain pathways to the busses that will take you to the conference area. On your arrival another lot of volunteers, security personnel and police leads you to security checks and then to the main halls. All the way and while you have gone a few security checks, you know – it is more than obvious – that cameras watching you, microphones listen to every word you say, people screen you and others try to profile you.

Paris has not recovered from the terrorist hits and it will probably take time to recover. But if they think that this overwhelming security inspires any kind of safety they are joking. Actually the same situation is everywhere in Paris this moment. You walk in the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the most central and known street in Paris, leading to the Parisian landmark of the Arc de Triomphe and every few corners there is a group of fully armed soldiers with machine-guns and ready-for-action eyes. There was absolutely no moment I felt safe with all of them around. Actually they made me feel more insecure and checking around all the time.

One evening I sat in a café near Notre Dame and suddenly we heard sirens coming our way. For the next two minutes a busy café in one of the most visited areas in the world fell absolutely silent waiting to see what was coming. Life started again when an ambulance drove fast in front of us and everybody felt that it was …life as usual. The tragic? Perhaps a human being was dying that moment inside that ambulance. But at least it was not another terrorist hit and you could feel the sigh of relieve coming out from everybody, tourist and locals alike.

Fear has veiled all Paris and I’m afraid fear has veiled all Europe and unfortunately fear creates monsters. Marine Le Pen is the real winner of the first part of the French local elections. The far-right, the xenophobic, the racist, the in the closet fascist Marine Le Pen. And her victory is huge and scary. She’s second this minute only because the rest of the French political spectrum has united against her. Otherwise in the beginning of the 21st century the country that made a revolution symbol for democracy and the resistance to fascism national pride is going to live the establishment of a new Vichy government, this time not with a traitor army marshal like Philippe Pétain was, but with the daughter of a collaborator.

The same time in the perimeters of the COP21 Arnold Schwarzenegger tries to persuade everybody to become part time vegetarian as the only way to save the earth, Matt Damon was bubbling something about water somebody had written to him obviously in a language he couldn’t understand and he had just learned by heart and Sean Penn …to tell you the truth I have absolutely no idea what Sean Penn was doing in an international conference about the climate change but he had some good jokes about Donald Trump.

Donald Trump. Am I the only one who feels that things are not as they show but there is something more serious behind that, which we are in denial to see? Donald Trump is a racist, Islamophobic, xenophobic, fascist. So it is Marine Le Pen. She actually admires Donald. So it is Timo Soini who is government in Finland. So it is Lars Løkke Rasmussen who governs Denmark. Actually Viktor Orbán, the Hungarian Prime Minister is much worse; an open fascist to the limits of a Nazi. So Donald Trump is not alone this moment, he is just one in many who hold places with power over nations. We might laugh and get angry as much as we like with Donald Trump, alas the truth is that Donald Trump enjoys certain and increasing popularity among the people who count. The US voters.

cop02_400More than 30% of the Republican voters in USA – far more than the rest nominees of the Republican Party got in the last survey for the presidential elections – want Donald Trump as their champion. They support Donald Trump, they agree with Donald Trump; they believe what Donald Trump believes or better tells them to believe. Actually Donald Trump has one of the highest support rates in this part of the electoral race, in the history of both US parties.

And let’s say that somehow they manage to kick out Donald Trump from the race. Then who’s going to take his place? Ben Carson? Ted Cruz? Jeb Bush? Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina or Rand Paul with Marco Rubio? The only difference between the above and Donald Trump is that Trump is louder. Have you heard any of the things Ben Carson has said or the things Ted Cruz is standing for? The only thing both of them didn’t say after the events in San Bernardino was that a good Muslim is only the dead Muslim. These people are the alternative for Donald Trump?

There is something we don’t want to see, the problem is not Donald Trump but the fact that this world is full of little and big Donald Trumps. And don’t think that the democrats in USA will escape from this escalation of fear and phobia. Sanders is a unique case but the rest including Hilary have to compromise with the new reality of a paranoid and phobic American society if they want to win the coming presidential election. Look at Obama, the man’s first promise as president was to withdraw all troops from Iraq and slowly he did it. Now under this new situation and public pressure – the little Donald Trumps we were saying before – he is getting ready to send troops in Syria to fight ISIL. Isn’t that a sign that things are not exactly as we like them to be?

In the meantime Denmark brought back passport controls in its borders with Sweden. Another EU country, part of the free moving pact, ally and partner. What does Denmark wants to say? That Sweden is a place where terrorists thrive? And why is that? Does it have to do with the fact that after Germany, Sweden has one of the biggest Muslim minorities in Europe? By the way, why Denmark didn’t do the same with Germany? Germany is the other country Denmark has borders. So is Sweden considered dangerous for the Danish government and Germany liable that can …control her Muslims? Does that also has to do with the fact that Sweden is the only country in the area with a socialist government who still fights xenophobia and welcomes Syrian refugees? Still giving settler without asking religion and political believes? And who’s next? Since moves like that work like domino and if Denmark has done it why not Hungary or Belgium or Austria? And then EU is dead.

Back to COP21, they decided to exclude any talk about refugees and population movements. Things like that have serious impact in the environment but the same time seem that they bother the states that contribute big for the budget of most of the organizations that participate in COP21. In the next draft it was the turn of human rights to be neglected. Human rights? What this has to do with the environment? But hey, Arnold Schwarzenegger effects to persuade us to turn half vegetarians so we can save … I don’t know what, perhaps the cows, is important for the delegates of that what is turning to be a circus.

cop03_400The Kyoto protocol was signed in December 1997 aiming to be effective in 2015. The Kyoto Protocol implemented the objective of the UNFCCC to fight global warming by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. The Protocol was based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities: it puts the obligation to reduce current emissions on developed countries on the basis that they are historically responsible for the current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The protocol was actually the blueprint on the things that had to change immediately if we still wanted a chance to save our planet of a polluted future without clean air and water. It was simple, scientifically methodical and realistically effective. There was enough time between 1997 and 2015 for all the governments to apply the necessary preparations and do the year checks through the COP gatherings.

But then started the cannibalism. You see the plan worked for the people and the planet, NOT for the mega cooperatives, the investors, the oil sharks, the energy giants, the shareholders and of course their puppets the politicians. Please don’t let me forget the majority of the environmental NGOs who have turned to be beraucrats, lobbyists for unclear interests with huge budgets that count to billions and Hollywood stars for their window dressing.

COP21 in Paris was a circus after a series of similar circuses that have started with COP15 in Copenhagen. The participants including private companies which with expensive and really fancy kiosks that cost tens of thousands of euros tried to sell their new “environment friendly” ...nuclear reactors or whatever else was to sell. NGOs with millions of euros for budget that do nothing more than pushing papers between governments to excuse their existence and the money they spent, thousands of lobbyists that represent from nuclear energy companies to cigarette manufacturers and on top of that former war lords and present dictators who try to legitimize their existence though the environmental movement. And while all these sell their products, the organizers - the ones responsible for the continuation of the Kyoto protocol - excluded from every draft any talk about equality, child labour, trafficking, illegal hunting, destruction of Antarctica for oil and I lost control how many other subjects. All importnat to envirnment but obviously not to them!

The last draft presented included only one thing which obviously they all agreed in, called it actually compromise. To increase the money offered to private companies so they ...might decrease their emissions. They actually approved to bribe the ones responsible for the destruction and rape of this planet so they will not do as much evil so much so often.

I feel disgust. And the same time I feel hostage to all these little Donald Trumps that have overtaken every single aspect of this planet lately, without giving a damn about the future. As long the price of their shares increases now – today - so they can book their new 1000 yards yacht, who gives a damn. COP21 was not a disappointment or a failure as you might see it called the next few days even though the first reactions talk about a …necessary compromise. Compromise with whom? The COP21 was an embarrassment and I’m afraid the consequences are going to be very high for all of us, including all those little and big Donald Trumps

***********************************************************

These were some first thoughts and a personal reaction to what I lived and saw the last ten days in COP21 and Paris. Still the failure of another COP is very disappointing and if we don’t do something I don’t understand why bother organizing another one next year. Except of course the profit for the organizers with average price for every kiosk 150,000 euros and al the profit for the local businesses, hotels, restaurants etc.


        
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Nikos Laios2015-12-12 11:34:52
The truths that you speak of are indeed dark and ominous for our world.

As idealistic and noble as the human spirit is, it runs smack damn into the wall of the negative aspects of our human condition;fear,insecurity, greed, lust,avarice, power and violence.

We still are not able to transcend our imaturity and unite in a purpose of common good for both humanity and the world. When will this be? This century? The next? I fear that the earth clock is ticking and we are running out of time....


Emanuel Paparella2015-12-12 12:53:46
Indeed Thanos, Hitler was “democratically” elected Chancellor and so will Le Pen and Trump. In the end we will get what we deserve while continuing to violate our mother, mother nature.

On the disaster that is Trump and his meons, although things may be worse than they appear, as mentioned in my article yesterday, there is also another side, they may paradoxically also be a bit better than they seem. Let me explain what I mean: the Republicans are approximately 50% of the general electorate, the people who will actually vote, (some 100 millions) which effectively means that Trump presently has the support of 20% of all the votes that will be cast. This is not to minimize the danger democracy runs at the moment, and not to deny that 20% of 100 millions is still a big number of little mad people (20 millions) and that there are many little fascists running around who would like to see Trump nominated by the Republican party, and that we run the danger of Trump becoming the first mad president of the US elected by all the little mad people, with the intellectual mentality of third graders, who think like him.

At that point, when Le Pen and Trump become presidents of their respective countries representing Western democracy and giving their blessings to the rape of nature, we will have rendered moot the fighting of World War II and darkness will cover the land and we might as well bid adieu to democracy.


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