Monday, November 30, 2015

Bad students of the class

For many years, the climate-change class has had two lazy and lousy students, who simply weren't making an effort to work hard enough to get near the top of the class. They're a pair of hill-billy nations, with exceptionally conservative governments of what the French refer to as the climato-sceptique variety. The names of these lousy students: Australia and Canada. They consume huge quantities of fossil fuel, and they take pride in polluting the rest of the planet. In the case of my native land, we even had an idiotic prime minister from 2013 to 2015, Tony Abbott, who suggested that climate change was bullshit, and claimed that coal was good for humanity. It was impossible to imagine a greater asshole.

China can perform wonderful magic tricks

Some magicians can get animals of all kinds to dance.

But China has a trick for getting vehicles moving along a highway to break into amazing dance antics.

In fact, all you need is a metal cable and some kind of a vehicle to throw the cable all over the road, in the way of innocent vehicles. Good trick.

This young Italian fellow can find the right simple words

Matteo Renzi, 40-year-old prime minister of Italy since 2014.

Culture is stronger than ignorance,
beauty is more powerful than barbarity.

Jonah ascends into the great white cloud

I found this French video clip on the web:

It's weird, like many things these days. This dead rugby giant is like one of the assassinated young people at the Bataclan a fortnight ago. There's simply no obvious way of fitting such a happening into the world order. The world seems to have fallen apart. There is no world order, only disorder. And immense sadness.

Everybody's rolling into climate action

The conference president, Laurent Fabius, has officially started the COP21 operations.

China has made a spectacular point by announcing an extraordinarily high level of air pollution in Pekin.

And here in France, citizens have just been informed that the sexy new electricity meter known as Linky will be installed free-of-charge to tens of thousands of customers as of tomorrow.

So, things are in fact moving forward. Thank you COP21 !

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hopes for our children, and for our children's children

The decisions to be made in Paris, from today until December 11, are no less an affair than writing the next chapter of the geological story of our planet. We're facing our primary possession: our unique framework of human life. For the coming decades, our decisions will determine the stability of societies, and the well-being and security of millions of human beings.

This is the goal and ambition of the unique international conference that is about to open in the French capital. It is unique, first and foremost, because of the huge company of people to be gathered together here: 150 heads of state and governments from the delegations of the 195 states that belong to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

At the end of the Paris conference, their future agreement will replace, as of 2020, the Kyoto Protocol, which was a huge disappointment.

We know the figures. Today, the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide (CO2), the major greenhouse gas created by human beings, is higher than ever since the Pliocene era, more than two and a half million years ago. The temperature of the present year will be, for the first time ever, more than 1°C above the pre-industrial level.

Throughout the coming fortnight, the international community will have to agree upon the ambition of reduced output, associated with the choice of economic controls that must be adopted in order to achieve the reduction.

Nothing can arise solely on the grounds of fear and hopelessness. We need to believe in the possibility of social and cultural innovation.

After the massacres of November 13, the French capital acquired world-wide compassion. Today, Paris is about to symbolize the target of immense hope for the future. Our children and our grandchildren will inherit, for years to come, the outcome of COP21.

[This blog post was inspired largely by today’s editorial of Le Monde.]

Start of the COP21 conference in Paris

The big climate conference COP21 will be opening tomorrow in Paris, and our French minister of foreign affairs Laurent Fabius will be playing the role of conference president.

The major goal of the conference attendees will consist of agreeing upon a common goal to reduce the global heating of our planet to less than a degree and a half (Centigrade) before the end of our 21st century.

To remain optimist, we might insist upon the fact that the conference of 195 nations is in fact about to take place really… which is already a giant success. But the big problem will consist of getting these 195 nations to reach a common agreement to prevent increased global warming.

Unfortunately, if the world’s nations don’t get their act together, there’s no plan B. To do so, they’ve got until the end of the conference on 11 December.

It was the UN secretary Ban Ki-moon who once said: “We’ve got no plan B for the simple reason that we’ve got no planet B."