As drought ravages the Midwest and the world prepared for its third price spike in five years, Timothy A. Wise sat down with the Real News Network to talk about the implications of the crisis. Drawing on his co-authored report with Sophia Murphy, “Resolving the Food Crisis: Assessing Global Policy Reforms Since 2007,” Wise points out that the international community has failed to address any of the important drivers of the food crisis – climate change, biofuels expansion, financial speculation, the lack of publicly managed food reserves, and strong reinvestment in developing country food production.
The Triple Crisis blog invites your comments. Please share your thoughts below.
It was lucky the Olympics opening ceremony was not washed out by rain, because heavy rain, floods, heatwaves and droughts are among extreme weather events on the rise this year.
Last Friday night’s opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London was widely acclaimed for its spectacular display. But besides the brilliant design and smooth implementation, another factor played an important role, and that is luck.
A major topic at the Symposium was carbon farming, which is a payment scheme that allows farmers and land managers to earn credits by storing carbon or reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the land. These credits can then be sold to pay for the various carbon storing activities.
During my weekly conversation with my sister I told her about the unusual searing heat this June, the problems of power cuts and how we are coping in India. She, in turn, told me that in Washington DC, where she lives, there was a terrible storm that damaged her roof and uprooted trees in her garden. They were fortunate that they still had electricity, because most houses in the city were in the dark. She also said it was unbearably hot because the region was in the grip of an unprecedented heat wave. Both of us, living across the oceans, in different countries, with vastly different circumstances, were similarly placed.
Is this, then, what the future holds for us—a changing weather that has no boundaries or preferences. And why are we still so reluctant to make the connection between weather events and a changing climate?
Rio+20 came and went. The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) could have been an important event. Instead it set new standards on how to make oneself irrelevant. One quick recipe: pretend you have never even heard of the global economic and financial crisis!
The Buddhists say enlightenment—the ability to see clearly and act appropriately– is to be found in the “middle path” between grasping and pushing away, expectation and aversion.
Attitudes about the likely outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference seem to fall into one camp or the other. Some grasp towards hope that the “outcome document” produced via intense negotiations by 191 countries—what UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon called a “historic agreement”– will translate into a global action plan for a green economy. Others, like the NGO leader Antonio Tujan Jr, find the agreement repulsive, “an empty coffin” in which the sustainable development promises of the first Rio conference will be buried. Many grumbled even before it began that the Conference would be a waste of time, a global gabfest akin to fiddling while the planet burns.
Elinor Ostrom, a Nobel laureate in economics, was Chief Scientific Adviser to the Planet Under Pressure conference and Professor of Political Science and Senior Co-Research Director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University. She passed away on June 12, 2012. This article was published that day by Project Syndicate.
Much is riding on the United Nations Rio+20 summit. Many are billing it as Plan A for Planet Earth and want leaders bound to a single international agreement to protect our life-support system and prevent a global humanitarian crisis.
In 2009, I published a book with Graciela Chichilnisky, Saving Kyoto (New Holland 2009), that argued passionately for preserving the economic and political architecture of the only international treaty on climate change the world has known – the Kyoto Protocol. The book was timely: the countdown to compliance with Kyoto’s mandated emissions targets had begun; the international community was gathering that year in Copenhagen to negotiate the next round of climate commitments; and there was hope that the Obama administration could usher the U.S. back to the negotiating table in earnest. More importantly from my perspective, however, was the growing realization that the window of opportunity for stabilizing the earth’s climate system was rapidly coming to a close. The urgency of the crisis demanded immediate, extensive emissions reductions. And I firmly believed that a coordinated international effort that mandated reductions from world’s largest emitters was the fairest and most efficient way to stave off climate disaster.
South American governments will attend the Rio +20 conference in a very strained environment: while at the national level, almost every country has undergone a weakening of its environmental management systems, at the international level, countries do not coordinate their positions. Particularly since such contradictions seem to go unnoticed by international analysts, especially from the English language media, it is necessary to explicitly describe them. Five key issues are presented below.