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A bird in the hand is worth health care and a climate consensus in the bush

Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. It's better than nothing. We're getting it from all direction now, from Copenhagen to the health care bill. The message is delivered by experienced elder statesmen whose benevolence we do not question because they are retired and have no horse in the race -yet they have access to the halls of power where real stakeholders are denied? Silver hair and silver tongues pitch: "Those who say a bad deal is better than no deal are dead wrong." You're kidding me Grandpa. And what's this for a perverted adage: "One step forward is better than two steps back?" I'm seeing Obama being praised for revising his schedule to get to Copenhagen on the last day, for knowing how late is fashionable when the party's a dud. But that's not a leader. Obama could have given life to the party, instead he ops to give the Gettysburg Address.

McKibben denounces COP15 as sham

Are talks in Copenhagen stalled? Did Hillary's offer of US aid ford the turbulance in time for an Obama second coming? The Guardian has obtained a COP15 internal note which reveals that negotiators know their stated goals do not add up. Poor nations want a temperature rise limited at 1.5°C, rich nations are offering measures to max at 2°C, but know confidentially their best offer will produce a disastrous 3°C. Bill McKibben of 350.ORG declares conference an elaborate sham. Forget yelling at the First World Annex I delegates. They know. Forget too, the goal of 350 PPM. While government representatives pretend their best efforts will cap atmosphere carbon levels at 550 parts per million, their own calculations predict we'll reach 770. The developing nations (the non-Annex I Parties) who will suffer the most by climate change want the damage limited to 1.5°C and they need pledges of countermeasures and disaster relief commensurate to those expectations. But the First World negotiators are offering half the money needed to address a rise of 2°C, knowing warming will get as bad as 3°C. Here's the document's conclusion (highlighting mine): VI. Conclusions The pledges made by a number of Annex I Parties for emissions reductions below base year levels and announcements made by a number of non-Annex I Parties for voluntary actions to address emissions in the lead-up to the COP in Copenhagen could bring significant emission reductions and help to reduce the gap between the current reference emission levels in 2020 and the required level of global emissions of 44 Gt in the same year which is estimated at around 10.5 Gt. Even if Parties agreed to deliver in accordance with the upper range of their pledge, this will leave a gap of around 1.9 to 4.2 Gt. Unless the remaining gap of around 1.9 to 4.2 Gt is closed and Parties commit themselves to strong action prior and after 2020, global emissions will peak later than 2020 and remain on an unsustainable pathway that could lead to concentrations equal or above 550 ppm with the related temperature raise around 3°C. equal or above 550 ppm. This in turn will reduce significantly the probability to stay within a temperature increase of 2°C. If you're tracking Treehugger or Grist for the lowdown on Copenhagen, grab a yardstick from 350.org. Bill McKibben, by the way, wrote The End of Nature in 1989, one of the earliest books to address global warming for a general audience. The American Museum of Natural History's Nature Defense Fund published Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast in 1992. Columbia professor Wallace Broecker coined the phrase in the 1970s --for deniers who thought the conspiracy was a recent one. By the way, COP15 is not named like the G8 or G20, for 15 key players meeting, by coincidence in Copenhagen. COP15 stand for the 15th international gathering of the Conference Of the Parties. The parties, non-Annex I and Annex I, we know now as the plaintiffs and the liars. And from the Climate Score Board:

COP15 protest arrests leave what next

Latest update on Copenhagen demonstrations, from Greenpeace organizer Brinkley Hutchings: “Everyday at the negotiations we have flash mobs, clapping attention-grabbers, and youth crying out to be heard. But the delegates and decision-makers are wearing their earmuffs and blinders, doing everything they can to avoid hearing what we (the youth) have to say. *It has become really apparent that we must escalate.*”

Coke tries to sell Hopenhagen in bottle

For a few brief seconds, the Yes Men merry pranksters unmasked climate summit sponsor Coca-Cola for the environmental villain it is. Coca-Cola had been among the organizers to brand the Hopenhagen campaign, a custom fit for their slogan Bottle of Hope. Coke then saturated the conference with posters intent to distill the Hopenhagen spirit into their bottle. Doesn't the limited satisfaction of drinking a soda come from the advertising theme? The condensation on the bottle, the sound it makes as the pressure is released, plus the images of the latest ads, define the product's refreshment factor. In Copenhagen, Coke was promoting the elation to come from fighting for the planet, which could then be evoked to make an irresistible elixir. Incidentally, the slogan presumably refers to an honorable scheme to manufacture bottles from sustainable materials. What marketer could have been better placed to capitalize on the ephemeral essence of Copenhagen's aspirations? Less sophisticated admen would have insisted on Cokenhagen. Household products would have required the unsubtle "Soapenhagen" proposed by Clean Coal. This is a detail from one of Coca-Cola's posters by artist Andrew Bannecker for Bernstein and Andriulli. It's a idyllic agricultural scene emerging like smoke from a genie's bottle, in this case a Bottle of Hope we recognize as Coke's. All of this beneath a banner proclaiming it "Hopenhagen." I am particularly unamused by the brick farm silo in the familiar shape of a coke bottle. What do you suppose Coke sees as its role in such a dreamy, by the caterpillar's presence, organic, pastoral scene? I suppose there's some consolation that as COP15 tanks, Coke's Bottles of Hope will taste false. Disappointment will be a pause that doesn't refresh at all. Perhaps a perception of bitterness will wean consumers from the phoniness of too sweet. Coke's bottled Hopenhagen will come with a foreboding aftertaste.

Jokenhagen, the COP15 that wasn’t

You heard about the Yes Men successfully pulling off another stunt in Copenhagen? The delegates were fooled, even the media, and so unsurprisingly, the substance of their theatrics is being glossed over. While the reporters track the footprints to sort truth from facade, they are wiping all traces behind them. Url-shortening conduit bit.ly warns for example that clicking through might endanger your browser. The Yes Men prank Canada is as far as most news stories go. Why Canada -- is the more to the story. First the substance: Canada is a wealthy-nation holdout on the climate talks. Its conservative government is offering to curb carbon emissions by a mere 3% etc. So the Yes Men thought they'd lead by example, role-playing Canada stepping up as all industrialized powers must. Their special announcement was called AGENDA 2020, wherein Canada pledged a 40% cut in emissions by 2020, to reach a 80% cut by 2050. Plus they vowed a "climate debt mechanism" comprising 1% of Canada's GDP, climbing to 5% by 2030, to go toward emissions reduction and clean energy projects in Africa. Drastic cuts, and huge payments of "climate debt" are what scientists project will be necessary to reach the environmental 350ppm line in the sand. A COP15 without such figures will be a failure. It's small wonder the media is describing this "prank" without mentioning what was said. Some Canadian outlets are providing reasonable detail of the commotion which was provoked. Check out the Globe and Mail, then the Toronto Star for good overviews. The operation as it unfurled: preparations and execution were a collaboration between YM and the red-jacketed Climate Debt Agents (CDA). 0. YM begin tweeting as Canadian envoy PM Jim Prentice (example: "My staff have notified me of a fake account pretending to represent me. It is @JimPrentice hope we can get it removed shortly. 5:31 AM Dec 14th from web" ) 1. YM botch amusing anti-CocaCola prank 2. YM as Prentice tweets special announcement of a bold step forward. 3. YM (enviro-canada.com) offers Environment Canada press release 4. CDA fakes press conference outlining AGENDA 2020 5. Another CDA press conference features the envoy from Uganda, applauding Canada 6. Phony YM Wall Street Journal European Edition picks up story 7. YM (as ec-gc.ca) Environment Canadia press release pretending to denounce fraudulent prank 8. And the obligatory CDA press conference. 9. The real Canadian delegates provide the hijinks from there. Championing minor pranks here and there as they toured for the release of their new movie The Yes Men Save the World, a reputation no doubt preceded them to the Climate Conference. The Yes Men anti-CocaCola prank earlier this week was stopped after just 20 seconds, but may have been a ruse to resolve expectations that they were obviously in Copenhagen to do something. The CBC covers the moves of the Canadian and US delegates to get a handle on their PR. Interesting too were the frantic efforts to unmask the deception. While web sleuths followed the internet clues, a CBC reader comments

UN Climate Change Conference COP15 should call for coping, less hoping

Yes, we know the theme. Ich bin ein Hopenhagener. With climate change about to engulf us, today we are all Hopenhageners. I think "COPE" might be a better derivation for the summit in Copenhagen than the ol' Obama bait 'n switch. Anyway, do they know it's only "Copenhagen" in English? To the Danes --and yes, they call their land Danmark-- their capital is København. The anglo-centrics who bring you the COP15 "Hopehagen" campaign are the International Advertising Association, in partnership with Coca-Cola, Siemens, BMW, Dupont, plus some who did not collaborate with the Nazis. The admen behind Product Obama know full well where HOPE got us in 2008. Will they be so cavalier about addressing climate CHANGE too?

Leave it to pirates to run honest bourse

With investment bankers trying to weasel another broker's percentage from a carbon-credit trading system, comes a living example of rudimentary venture capitalism. In Haradheere, Somalia, there's a stock market for pirates, by comparison, something benefiting all participants. The pirate's market is no middleman's monopoly. It works just like the collectives of investors who floated Britain's privateers and the Dutch East Indies Trading Companies, just two examples of crown-sanctioned adventure-mercenary conquerors. Had you wondered why the definition of "float" includes the economies participant to navigational buoyancy? Got a boat, a weapon, a tip on an incoming treasure galleon? Invest the pirates with your contribution and reap a stake in the rewards. Every successive stock market since the formative times, from commodities, to insurance, to futures, etc, have well surpassed the illegitimacy and immorality of the seafaring pirate variety. Sang the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance: Away to the cheating world go you, Where pirates all are well-to-do. While the corporate media decries the savagery of the lawless Somali coastal enterprises, sophisticated traders descend upon COP15 to extort a cap-and-trade protection racket from a world desperate to arrest climate change. The pirate bourse is a reminder of what purpose the stock markets used to play. If you had a money-making idea, and needed investors, that's where you went. But to describe a business proposal as germinating from an idea, is to peddle platitudes defining entrepreneurship as being about intellectual innovation. In practice, business opportunities chiefly present themselves from licenses obtained from the state, to operate lucrative monopolies. It usually takes the combination of disproportionate profits and manageable risk to interest wealthy investors. I think I enjoy this Somalia juxtaposition particularly because Wall Street can't get a piece of the pirate action. Only those with real pirate commodities need apply. And of course, only those financiers brave enough to circulate in a "pirate's lair" like Haradheere. So the suddenly infamous Dalsan Bank of Haradheere is basically for scrappers and warlords only, and certainly no whites need apply, unless it's to be ransomed. Here's a snippet from yesterday's Reuters article: Piracy investor Sahra Ibrahim, a 22-year-old divorcee, was lined up with others waiting for her cut of a ransom pay-out after one of the gangs freed a Spanish tuna fishing vessel. "I am waiting for my share after I contributed a rocket-propelled grenade for the operation," she said, adding that she got the weapon from her ex-husband in alimony. "I am really happy and lucky. I have made $75,000 in only 38 days since I joined the 'company'." If it sounds like a personal testament for a get-rich-quick scheme, it is! But unlike the television infomercials, this bourse is grounded in providing a legitimate function in Somalia. Note that the ransom from which Ms. Ibrahim expects to profit was paid for the release of a "tuna fishing vessel." For those who want to judge the pirates like terrorists, the inconvenient characteristic about the Somali pirates is the role they play as coast guard for a national government not up

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