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Rudd Kyoto promise pleases business

Mathew Murphy, The Age
BUSINESS and the energy industry leaders have welcomed Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd’s pledge to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, rejecting suggestions the move is merely symbolic or would send the economy into a recession.

It comes after an alliance of some of the world’s biggest companies, including Australian businesses, united to call on political leaders to construct a legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at next week’s climate change summit in Bali.

The unprecedented alliance led by the Prince of Wales’ UK and EU Corporate Leaders Groups on Climate Change, involves 150 companies including financial heavyweights Macquarie Group, Westpac, National Australia Bank, News Corp, Coca-Cola, GE, Virgin and Nike.

The group also includes several Chinese companies, one of them Shanghai Electric.

In a communique to be sent to 130 environment ministers and 70 heads of state before the summit, the group urges binding targets so companies can invest with certainty in developing low-carbon technologies.

In an extraordinary move the group calls for the world’s leaders to be guided “primarily by science” in establishing an emissions reduction target once the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
(1 December 2007)
Full text of the Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders’ Group on Climate Change ‘Bali Communique’ is available at

Asia Faces “Unprecedented” Water Crisis

Daryl Loo, Reuters
Developing countries in Asia could face an “unprecedented” water crisis within a decade due to mismanagement of water resources, the Asian Development Bank said in a report on Thursday.

The effects of climate change, rapid industrialization and population growth on water resources could lead to health and social issues that could cost billions of dollars annually, it said.

“If the present unsatisfactory trends continue, in one or two decades, Asian developing countries are likely to face and cope with a crisis on water quality management that is unprecedented in human history,” Ajit Biswas wrote in the report.

The report, entitled “Asian Water Development Outlook,” was submitted to the Asia-Pacific Water Forum in Singapore, which will discuss the issue at a summit in Japan next week.
(29 November 2007)
Also at Common Dreams.

A Fifth of UN Carbon Credits May Be Bogus

One in five carbon credits issued by the United Nations are going to support clean energy projects that may in fact have helped to increase greenhouse gas emissions, environmental group WWF said on Thursday.1129 06

The United Nations runs a scheme under the Kyoto Protocol that allows rich nations to invest in clean energy projects in developing countries and in return receive certified emissions reduction credits (CERs) to offset their own emissions.

But WWF said in a report that the credits are being delivered to projects that would have gone ahead anyway, even without the extra incentive provided by U.N. approval under the scheme, called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

The report, prepared by Germany’s Oeko Institute for Applied Ecology, said projects lacking this so-called ‘additionality’ help increase gases blamed for global warming by giving firms a spurious justification for continuing to pollute.
(29 November 2007)
Also posted at Common Dreams.

Stern: Climate change a ‘market failure’

Alison Benjamin, Guardian
Climate change is a result of the greatest market failure that the world has seen, Sir Nicholas Stern, whose review last year warned of the economic and social costs of climate change, said tonight.

Delivering the Royal Economic Society (RES) public lecture in Manchester, ahead of next week’s world summit on climate change in Bali, Sir Nicholas said targets and trading must be at the heart of a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The problem of climate change involves a fundamental failure of markets: those who damage others by emitting greenhouse gases generally do not pay,” said Sir Nicholas.

“Climate change is a result of the greatest market failure the world has seen. The evidence on the seriousness of the risks from inaction or delayed action is now overwhelming. We risk damages on a scale larger than the two world wars of the last century. The problem is global and the response must be a collaboration on a global scale.”
(29 November 2007)

“People Want to Protect Themselves a Little Bit”:
Emotions, Denial, and Social Movement Nonparticipation
Kari Marie Norgaard, Sociological Inquiry via Whitman College
Emotions can be a source of information and an impetus for social action, but the desire to avoid unpleasant emotions and the need for emotion management can also prevent social movement participation.

Ethnographic and interview data from a rural Norwegian community describes how people avoided thinking about climate change in part because doing so raised fears of ontological security, emotions of helplessness and guilt, and was a threat to individual and collective senses of identity.

In contrast to existing studies that focus on the public’s lack of information or concern about global warming as the basis for the lack of public response, my work describes the way in which holding information at a distance was an active strategy performed by individuals as part of emotion management.

Following Evitar Zerubavel, I describe this process of collective avoiding as the social organization of denial. Emotions played a key role in denial, providing much of the reason why people preferred to avoid information. Emotion management was also a central aspect of the process of denial, which in this community was carried out through the use of a cultural stock of social narratives that were invoked to achieve “perspectival selectivity” and “selective interpretation.”
(August 2006)
Contributor Damjan writes:
“A great article on denial of global warming form a sociological perspective.”