Saturday, December 11, 2010

It Just Doesn't Get Any Better

And one for the road:

Jeff Beck's tribute to the legendary Les Paul:

And to bridge the generation gap again. Knopfler and Chet Atkins. Wait for "Imagine":

And just the one more:


LMA said...

Is all this great music in celebration of the Cancun Agreements?

The Mound of Sound said...

You could say that. After all, most of these songwriters behind the tributes are dead and most of the music is blues.

LMA said...

Looking forward to reading your views of the Agreements in more detail.

The Mound of Sound said...

Harper knows that Cancun won't budge the Republican fossil fuel rearguard that now controls the House. He'll stick to his argument that we have to synchronize Canada's emissions policy with that of the States.

As for the possibility of Canadian emissions cuts, they'll shift Athabasca's burden onto other provinces. Their line will be that the Tar Sands benefits the federal government and every other province so it's only fitting that the rest of Canada pick up the emissions tab.

Don't read into Cancun more than what's actually there. We won't see anything resembling an agreement at least until Durban. At best Cancun rescued a process that had been gored in Copenhagen. However keeping that process moving forward is going to become steadily more difficult.

When it comes right down to it the best climate science minds warn that we have until 2015 to cap global carbon emissions which would have to be followed by massive GHG reductions.

Think that through. It would mean abandoning coal altogether in less than two decades and embracing a monumental alternative energy regime to utterly decarbonize our economies and our societies. It would mean shutting down Athabasca even as Peak Oil sets in.

It would mean massively restructuring the way we live, fundamentally altering the society we have developed since the advent of the Industrial Revolution. How do we ever get our minds around that, particularly without sacrificing the essential elements of democracy?

Where will we even find leaders with that sort of vision? There's certainly none on the horizon that I can identify. It's a challenge that almost dictates revolutionary solutions. I think corporatism is already rallying to sabotage that sort of action.

At the end of the day I suspect human nature and greed will leave us falling back on geo-engineering options (the "Hail Mary" plan) that may ameliorate climate change impacts on the developed world while sacrificing the Third World including most of the southern hemisphere and south Asia. Within the current generation we'll be facing some awfully tough - and potentially dangerous - choices.

LMA said...

Agree with all of the above, and would only add that I am extremely relieved that Cancun did not end in total failure. To get 190+ nations to agree on a green climate fund for developing nations, REDD plan to stop deforestation, and mechanisms of accountability for reducing emissions was nothing short of a miracle.

As you say, the question is whether next year in Durban will be the end of the beginning, or the beginning of the end.

The Mound of Sound said...

Of all the code words used in the global warming/climate change summits, none is more insidious than "targets."

I noticed your last post over at RT mentioned the importance of binding targets next year at Durban. A target is something one aims at, nothing more. It is a phrase laden with wiggle room and that's exactly how it will be abused.

If we're to do any good at all, we'll have to have binding, enforceable emission reduction quotas. They're going to have to be specific to each nation, measurable, verifiable and enforceable. The political will for that sort of thing probably exists in three-quarters of the nations, the three-quarters that doesn't really matter.

Call it carbon rationing if you like but that's the underlying principle of anything workable. But once you start rationing carbon you face the glaring inequities. X emissions for the poor bugger in south central Africa, 20X for Norte Americanos.

That glaring inequity is what will drive the demand for massive and rapid carbon emission reductions in the industrialized world. But where reductions are needed most is where the greatest sacrifices will have to be accepted - the very societies that really aren't much interested in sacrifices, the mental legacy of Reagan's Age of Ruin.

This is not a painless process, not entirely. There is no magic wand. A lot of preparation will be necessary to prepare the public for what will be required of them and have you seen anyone initiating that sort of public awareness effort? The Brits and the Euros are at least publicly addressing climate change and adaptation but our leaders won't even deal with that.

James Lovelock put it best when he said the only way out of this is to abandon entirely all notions of sustainable development and learn to accept what he termed "sustainable retreat." That demands a shift in public consciousness of seismic proportions.

Maybe it's best that we stick with "targets." At least we can fool ourselves into believing we're doing something.

LMA said...

It's hard to get our heads around the fact that we have to consume less. I think the older generation gets that because we grew up with less. I have a friend who is almost 90 and runs a large farm in southwestern Ontario. In the winter, she refuses to turn up the thermostat, closes down most of her house, and wears long johns. No central AC in the summer, just opens the windows and uses a couple of fans. Can you imagine the younger generation doing that? Most panic at the very thought of giving up some of their toys and comforts.

Hopefully, there will be some momentum for change after Cancun, and we will begin to realize that this is a global problem, and that as painful as it is, in this instance we are our brother's keeper.

Rock on, MoS, although I prefer Disco and the Bee Gees myself!

The Mound of Sound said...

Disco? The Bee Gees? I guess it's time I armed myself with holy water, a Crucifix and a supply of wooden stakes.

The amazing thing is that there is so much we can do to grow smaller that really isn't painful. I know, I've done it. Smaller house, energy-efficient renos, running errands on one trip instead of three or four. I don't heat rooms I don't use and keep the therm quite low on those I do - while they're in use.

My one big sacrifice is on air travel. I used to enjoy winter vacations in the tropics or summer trips to Europe. No more. I simply told myself I've had my share of that stuff, more than my share. Now I spend my holidays on the beach beside the ocean at home and its splendid.

The less you travel the more you look around and the more you can find that's astonishingly enjoyable right where you stand. It's not all sackcloth and ashes, not even remotely.

LMA said...

Well, I must admit I have to be in the right frame of mind to listen to the music of the '70's, or it sounds pretty cornball.

You are so right about learning to appreciate what is around you, and I find the best moments of life are when you can lose yourself and really appreciate and feel part of the natural world. The best things in life really are free, despite what all the adverts say, especially at this time of year.