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Climate Salvation: urgent but not yet - Kennedy Graham COP21 blog 3

The new ‘text’ circulated this week at COP-21 tells the story of our global drama. The ‘Ad Hoc Working Group for Enhanced Action’ has submitted the text to the Conference of the Parties which is now required to deliberate and adopt it. This is jargon for ‘the diplomatic grouping responsible for the future of Earth’. There are two documents. The first is the draft Paris Agreement that is essentially a protocol to the 1992 Framework Convention. It is a free-standing document. The second is a draft decision of the Conference. The Conference, in its decision, will itself adopt the Paris Agreement and attach it as an Annex. The two texts are like the work of an addict: 1) We know, and now acknowledge belatedly, that we have a problem. But we refuse to impose binding strictures upon ourselves. So we allow ourselves voluntary measures. 2) We know, and acknowledge, that these voluntary measures are insufficient to prevent dangerous climate change. But we are putting in place a monitoring mechanism that we know will not remedy matters in time.

Resolving our Cognitive Dissonance - Kennedy Graham COP21 blog 2

How to resolve the inherent contradictions, the cognitive dissonance, that continues to bedevil our climate negotiations, a quarter-century on? Can we achieve a workable global consensus on value, agency, and criteria? But ultimately the answer, if there is to be one, lies in new spiritual insight – a paradigmatic change in human self-perception. The initiatives taken in recent years by religious leaders of all faiths are becoming the beacon. If they are emulated by the faithful, and beyond to civil society, to the market and to political leadership, it may reduce the cognitive dissonance we still encounter in this epic struggle, spawning a genuine consensus over how to live on planet Earth. If this were to occur, we might gain a new understanding on what is of intrinsic worth, who is empowered to take legitimate decisions on all our behalf, and what criteria we adopt for determining policy.

Testing The Climate, Taunting the Gods - Kennedy Graham COP21 blog 1

The national leaders of the world – there are, strictly as yet, no world leaders – have assembled in Paris and offered their wisdom on how to save the climate of planet Earth from humans, in the sense at least of keeping it congenial for humankind, and maybe a few other life-forms. There is a sense of urgency, which should not come as a surprise since non-linear climate change has already set in and pretty much everyone is discernibly suffering. But there was a sense of urgency in Copenhagen 6 years ago, and this did not prevent failure. The danger of Paris is not the absence of a text. The danger is the lowered expectations to beguile the global public. Let’s acknowledge a few truths first, at the outset of Paris, and dispel some emerging mythology being disseminated, not least by NZ.

International Women’s Day is a call to recognise inequality

As a Member of Parliament human rights is the fundamental lens through which I make decisions. And it is the deepest responsibility I hold for New Zealand, for our global family and for future generations. International Women’s Day is a call for action to us all. Starting simply, perhaps, by asking oneself “what is my personal relationship with inequality? Where do I experience it? Why do I care, or not? What can I do?” These are sincere questions.

Moving towards Green, in Greece

On 25 January, Syriza won Greece’s parliamentary election with 36 percent of the votes. That translates into 149 out of the 300 seats in the Greek Parliament, including 50 bonus seats for being the largest party. Greek voters have decisively changed the political tide away from the previous conservative government’s cuts to public services and towards public investment values. This signifies what may become a shift in fiscal and monetary policy across Europe and beyond.


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