Loading...

德班会议将是一场‘‘灾难’’。既是对现有的附加件工名单国家,《京都议定书》也不会获得延期,而且也必然不会延伸到其他国家。各国将重回各自为政的局面:增加消耗、加快增长,追求不可持续且可望不可及的发展目标。哥本哈根会议展现了参会代表仍按照200年前工业革命的发展概念来表达观点。坎昆会议,与会者‘‘卑躬屈膝’’地济济一堂,试图靠软弱无力的外交途径为德班会议协商新阶段《京都议定书》建立平台。

世界领袖及其支持者无法勇敢面对科学发展事实,而且,无法将经济发展思想与百折不挠的治理社会环境的科学法则相结合。这将是一项挑战,难度非常大,将招致整体沦陷并演变为异议和‘‘骚动’’。当前,全球金融危机与全球环境重大问题纠缠不清。货币仅仅是商品和服务(原料和能源)的一种表现。德班的领袖们会伪称金融灾难是不同的,与环境问题无关,并为他们自己免除环境责任。后果是,双生危机将归并为货币通货膨胀、对现今稀缺资源的抢取豪夺,以及对明天的环境灾难漠不关心。欧洲领袖指望着用“紧急资助”解救希腊的经济问题,这只是用“筹集资本”或“增加欧元债券”等货币手段提出解决方案。美国人正在呼吁增加工作机会,但误将希望放在印制更多美元之上,更糟糕的是,他们攻击美国环境保护署(EPA)是“就业杀手”,以期改善他们的经济状况。

在过去数十年间,银行家和经济策略家偏执地赞成放松贷款管制并达到了疯狂的程度,最终导致了2008年华尔街巨变,他们还简单地将美国政府和大多数欧盟国家纳入他们的视野锁定范围。面对金融世界的崩溃,之后,他们提倡采用不可思议的大型一揽子经济政策激励措施和更高的债务融资限额——货币就那么轻易地在计算机屏幕上‘‘造’’出来了。抗议者现在已经占据了美国的华尔街和其他富裕国家的金融区,然而却遭受了当众侮辱,因为恰在公司面临破产和员工下岗的时候,关键财务顾问收受肮脏的红利。他们曾游说国会议员,要求立新法,这样他们贪婪的逻辑就不是严格意义的犯罪。奥巴马总统上台执政承诺改变,任用了同一批财务顾问还招募他们的人。

数百年前,美国人两手空空来到新世界,拥有了丰富的资源,不受约束地发展了几个世纪,成为发达国家,而生态服务却受到不可容忍地过度利用。伍迪·格斯(Woody Guthrie)的歌词阐述了这种心理定势。‘‘从加利福利亚,到纽约岛,从红树林,到墨西哥湾,这片大陆为你我而在……’’这种心理定势在前总统乔治·W·布什(George W Bush)的开放的得克萨斯州下得以延续,在加州进步主义共和党人罗纳德·里根(Ronald Regan)推崇下得以兴盛。当下,共和党在党派茶话会上怂恿和鼓动总统候选人米歇尔·巴赫曼(Michele Bachmann)在2012年总统选举中与奥巴马一决胜负,米歇尔坚持认为二氧化碳是自然的,是植物所需要的,是无害的。她使用标语“EPA是就业杀手”来刺激失业者,而忽视了营造绿色经济才能带来更多的就业机会的趋势。美国将派出一个低层次代表团前往德班,不提议不表态。由此可见,“气候变化”这个词只是美国国会的一个宣誓词而已。

哥本哈根会议和坎昆会议

经世界各地筹备会议后,2009年12月在哥本哈根对《联合国气候变化框架公约》第十五次缔约方会议(COP15)的期望是强烈的,大家一致认为失效的负面影响将会在未来数十年间招致灾难。太平洋岛国绘声绘色地描述了当海平面上升后他们的岛屿消失的情景。澳大利亚总理招人厌地操纵会议,将自己标榜为世界的救星,声称,如果联合国要设立监督排放限额的机构,他就是最好人选(这个机构比联合国秘书处具有更高权力)。美国轻率对待,不做出承诺。温家宝总理率领的中国代表团并未受邀参与光荣的联合结论的起草。若事态不是如此严重,那就有趣了,然而,澳大利亚总理意识到了希望的覆灭,打碎了他的宏伟计划,怒骂协调官员,无礼地宣布发誓,他被中国人蒙骗了。具有讽刺意味的是,之前他曾告诉他们,他是中国人的“挚友”。中国人回国后,着手雄心壮志的减排计划;澳大利亚总理回国后,因其副手搅乱了他的碳政策而被免职。欧洲国家为恪守《京都议定书》努力多年,但对最大的排污者还没签定协定而感到沮丧。谴责四起,其中许多是痛苦的醒悟。

2010年底墨西哥的COP16尝试重拾1年前受打击的国家信心,会议带来了一些共识:世界各地200余国家/地区真正地为全球福祉团结在一起。尽管会上没有取得太多实质性的一致意见,但是至少有大批的协议(只有一国,内陆玻利维亚政见不同)可以用来处理德班的艰巨议题。

对“常识”的观察及其提升到现代科学的紧迫性

纵观历史,人类用五官建立对周围环境属性的感知但是,当全球经济触及全球环境范畴时,个人和群体,特别是决策者,都需要使他们的常识与全球现实一致。这是新科学发展观的本质。我们不能再依赖我们的感知去想象利用燃料取热后燃料会化为乌有。虽然,个人可以认为地平线无边无际,某处的彩虹总有‘‘新世界’’,但是,我们现在看到的星球就是一个物质上非常封闭的系统,任何原子都无法离开或进入星球。我们在真空中做轨道运动和旋转,唯一的外部影响是重力和电磁辐射,它们拯救我们免于被湮没。

生物圈仅仅是由陆地、海洋和大气组成的平台和环境,维持植物和包括人类在内的动物的生命。现代科学世界里,我们需要重新认识一个真相,陆地本质上是一个物质固体,构成了一个划着历史行政界限的平台。海洋包括开放的大洋等,还有流动的大气,过去考虑国家发展时忽视了这些。现代科学震惊了我们,让我们反思,实验室发现了CFC的危险,随后NASA证实臭氧层空洞的存在,有害辐射束就这样放进来了,引发成千上万的皮肤癌。第一个气候变化条约——《蒙特利尔定书》(1987),由于赤裸裸的私利和缺乏新科学,仓促完成。

建造更美好的星球需要什么

有人预测,德班会议后,各国将通过增加消费追求更快的增长速度,环境问题只会被委婉而空洞地谈及,并不会提出实质解决办法,人类能获得的物质是有限的现实将逐渐凸兀。相应的反馈是急切地加速消费,企图强化地域安全——可贮存资源的储藏安全,还有军事实力及其造成威胁的能力。所有国家应保护资源限制消费,这本应是一条共同的‘‘入场’’条件,却不被重视,即使是善意的人给与了提醒。土地、海洋和化石燃料、铁矿等稀缺资源将引发侵略和战争。

众所周知的资本主义终归走到了危机时刻。马克思的预言如果成真将是非常可怕的事。他在《资本论》中写道,“在所有生产力尚有开发空间之前,没有社会秩序会消失”。过去的生产力建立在“原始”资料是免费的假设之上,而且,所有排放物——废气、废液和废物,都有容纳之处,都可以无偿地被大自然消化。然而,现在输入或输出都没有免费空间了。马克思不能想到这些细节问题,1859年,那会提出科学发展观?

现在,70亿人口的环境足迹填满了拥挤的空间,然而在过去,这个空间不仅宽敞而且无边无际。不仅缺乏资源的输入,最近令人吃惊的是,输出的废物也无处容身。人们希望,利用精心设计的碳“隔离”方法,用每吨20-30美元(资金从何而来)的成本将二氧化碳埋到深洞中,让社会几代人担心它带来的后果;在中国、美国加州和德国,人们正用改良技术努力改变能源结构,这是英雄之举,符合政治家风范,但是,根据目前心理定势预期的能源输出总额的增长需求相比,此举相形见绌。

经济和环境行为的利己主义

240年前,亚当·斯密提出了令人诧异的声明——人类从自身利益出发共同促进经济发展,这带来了经济学的突破性进展。他冥思苦想,认为以社会仁慈捐助者自居的人都不怀好意,这是声明的推论。要促进环境保护,唯一的出路是要符合个人和每个国家的自身利益。那些富得可以沉浸于哲学的好心人,虔诚地布道绿色理念,但是,这些人对于那些朝不保夕的人而言毫无可比性,他们会暗笑那些专心致力于挥霍财富的富人。

《蒙特利尔议定书》是全球‘‘梦魇’’,各国互相牵制,于是被迫承诺。臭氧层空洞在NASA的影像资料上显而易见,它会造成成千上百万人患皮肤癌,CFC的实验结果震惊了各国,他们签约承诺禁用那些氟化物的干扰化学品。由于环境问题广泛蔓延而匆忙签署《京都议定书》只会发生在恐惧和震惊之后。如果极地冰川融化加速并引发岛屿消失,威胁到世界海岸栖息地,那么,自利主义和真正的自卫本能将推动各国齐心协力走上正途,这条正道本应在德班大会提出,却将事与愿违不被提出。最近一段时间,极端天气事件频繁发生,然而,其表象并未折服世界,只让被洪水没及脖颈的巴基斯坦和泰国贫民对此信服。

12月10日,赶赴德班的代表团将陆续返回各自的国家,互相推脱责任,决心将加快增长速度和消费以免‘‘落伍’’,而环境不过是一个遥远的二选。不仅全球变暖和气候变化在决策中被遗忘,而且,因为有关废弃物和有害物的大量议题会减少就业机会而被避重就轻地一带而过。临界点就在那儿,莫名其妙地、不可避免地被突破而造就一场悲剧——天气终将引起饥荒、水资源污染或严重疾病的爆发。到那时,各国才能不顾私利地携手共度难关,共享知识,低声下气地赞成降低期望,保持在中国目前的发展目标——“中等富裕国家”,而不是西方资本主义风气下无拘无束快速发家致富的目标。

我们可以乐观地预言,解决之道可以轻而易举地找到,马克思在《资本论》中写道: “人类总是给自己制定自己能够完成的任务;随着对事物的了解入微,我们总将发现只有具备解决方案的物质条件或者至少正在形成的时候,任务才自然形成了。”

解决方案就在于新科学发展观之中。从原始人进化到现代人,我们至今所关注的“能源”,比如木料或原煤,都只是它们所能提供什么。现代热力工程师看到一吨原煤,会说它能产生24亿焦耳的热量。他能证明这个论断。实验室记录了试验的数据,这数据对设计钢厂和发电站非常有用。但是对现代世界而言,对全球经济和全球环境而言,24亿焦耳只解答了问题的一半。

新科学发展观期待得到世界领袖的赏识。只有在德班会议之后,当环境灾难震撼他们时,他们才会明白能源“消费”只是分子,其分母是一个天文数字,而我们要做的,是降低它势不可挡的增长速度。

Durban will be a disaster. An extension of Kyoto Protocol will not be achieved, even by existing List A counties, and there will certainly be no expansion to other countries. Nations will fall back to policies of individually increasing consumption and growth, and pursuing development goals that are not only unsustainable, but unattainable. The Copenhagen meeting showed what happens when representatives press their visions based on concepts of development that came out of the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago. The Cancun meeting reacted by humbly coming together diplomatically but feebly to try to establish for Durban a platform for negotiating a new phase of the Kyoto Protocol.

World leaders and their constituencies cannot face up to the facts of scientific development and furthermore cannot integrate concepts of economic development with the indomitable scientific laws governing our global environment. This will be a challenge too difficult, resulting in aggregate descent into dissent and turmoil. The current Global Financial Crisis together with major global environment problems are inextricably linked. Money is a mere representation of goods and services (matter and energy). Leaders in Durban will pretend that financial woes are different and separate from environment problems, and excuse themselves from responsibilities for the environment. In the aftermath, twin crises will merge as money hyperinflates and there is a rush to grab scarce resources today and a disinterest in tomorrow’s environmental disasters. European leaders looking to “bailout” Greece from its economic problems are simply presenting solutions in money terms such as “raising capitalization” or “creating euro bonds”. Americans are rightly clamoring for more jobs but wrongly hoping that creating more dollars out of nothing or even worse, attacking the EPA as a “job-killer” will improve their economy.

The bankers and economic strategist who over the decades rabidly endorsed deregulation of lending to insane extents, leading to the 2008 Wall Street crash, simply have the US government and most EU governments locked into their perspective. Facing breakdown of the financial world, they then promoted the solution of unimaginably large packages of stimulus, and deeper debt limits – money simply created on computer screens. The Wall Street protesters now occupying financial districts in the US and other rich countries are affronted that the key financial advisors were given obscene bonuses even as companies crashed and staff laid off. They had lobbied lawmakers to create new laws so that their rapacious logic was not technically criminal. President Obama came to power promising change and kept on the same financial advisors, and recruited their like.

Americans came to the New World centuries ago almost vacant (they perceived) and endowed with wonderful resources, and could grow rich for centuries before ecological services started to become unforgiving of their free abuse. The mental set is captured in the lyrics of Woody Guthrie
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me.
This mental set was alive and well under former president George W Bush of the wide open state of Texas and promoted previously by fellow Republican Ronald Regan of progressive California. Now Republicans are agitating for a showdown with Obama for the 2012 presidential elections, egged on by their Tea Party clique where presidential candidate Michele Bachmann insists that carbon dioxide is natural, needed by plants, and harmless. She uses the line that EPA is a “job killer” to excite the unemployed, ignoring the trend towards more jobs required produce a greener economy. The USA will send a low-power delegation to Durban with nothing to say or offer. The term “Climate Change” is a swear word on Washington’s Capitol Hill.

The previous Copenhagen and Cancun meetings
The buildup and expectations for COP15 in December 2009 in Norway were intense, with preliminary meetings around the world and an atmosphere of hope that acknowledgement of the downsides of failure would lead to disasters within decades. Pacific Ocean island nations emotionally portrayed their lands as disappearing under rising ocean levels. The Australian prime minister obnoxiously manipulated the meeting to portray himself as a saviour of the world and prime candidate to lead whatever new UN body was created to police emissions limits (effectively more powerful than the UN secretary general). The US dallied and would not commit. The Chinese, led by their premier, were not invited to participate in drafting what was to be a glorious united conclusion. It would be funny if it was not so serious, but the Australian prime minister, realizing the debacle that shattered his grand plans, stormed into the corridor announcing in quite rude swearing that he had been cheated by the Chinese. The irony was that he had previously told them he was their “true friend” (真友). The Chinese came home and set about their own ambitious agenda to reduce emissions and the Australian prime minister went home and was deposed by his deputy for messing up his carbon policy. European nations, who had worked assiduously for years to keep their Kyoto commitments were dismayed that the biggest polluters had not signed up. There were blames all around and many were bitterly disillusioned.

COP 16 in late 2010 in Mexico tried to pick up the fragile national egos from a year before and bring together some recognition that the 200 odd nations/territories around the globe really had to have some unity on global well-being. Not too much of substance was agreed, but at least there was wholesale agreement (only one country, landlocked Bolivia, dissented) to tackle the hard questions in Durban.

Observations of the “common senses” and need to upgrade to modern science

Through human history people use their five senses to establish the nature of the environment around them, what is good to eat, the functions of myriad objects, from stones to today’s complex accessories, and they look at the broader surroundings for what it can provide and what may be harmful. But as the global economy stretches the bounds of the globe’s environment, individuals and groups, and especially decision makers need to reconcile what they have acquired as common sense with global physical reality. This is the essence of the new outlook on scientific development. No longer can we rely on our senses to imagine that when we harness fuel for heat, the fuel has, “gone up in smoke”. Though an individual sees the horizon as boundless, and that somewhere over the rainbow there was always some new world, we now see our planet as a very materially closed system, with barely an atom leaving or entering it. We are orbiting and spinning in a vacuum, with the only external influence being with the forces of gravity and electromagnetic radiation to save us from oblivion.

The biosphere is simply the land, sea and air as a platform and environment to support plant and animal life, including humans. In modern science we need to revisit the obvious fact that land is essentially a physical solid, and constitutes a platform on which historical administrative boundaries are drawn. The sea – the open oceans, and more so, the air, being fluid, were formerly ignored in national development considerations. Modern science has jolted us to rethink that, with the scientific discovery of the dangers of CFC’s in the lab, and then NASA’s proof with imagery of a hole in the ozone layer, letting in harmful radiation set to cause millions of skin cancers. The first climate change treaty, Montreal 1987, was rushed through out of shock from new science and unabashed self-interest.

What is needed for a better planet

It is predicted that after Durban and nations pursue their own races to higher growth through increased consumption, while merely mealy-mouthing environmental concerns, the reality of finite matter within our reach will become manifest. The response will be to greedily speed up consumption and attempt to strengthen positions of security – security of stocks of storable resources and also of military might and capacity to threaten. The need for a common and joint admission that all nations should conserve resources and limit consumption will not be heeded, even if well-meaning people mention it. There will be aggression and battles over resources – land, sea, and the fossil fuels, ores and anything scarce.

Capitalism, as we know it, will be in crisis. It is quite eerie that Marx’s prediction will come true. He wrote in Capital, “No social order ever disappears before all the productive forces for which there is room in it have been developed”. The productive forces of the past have been based on the assumption that “virgin” resources are free, and that there was room for all emissions – gases, liquids and solids, to be dumped back into Nature for free. There is no free room left on the input or output side. Marx could not have imagined the details because the science required for a new outlook on development had not been discovered in 1859.

Now we face the specter of 7 billion people with environmental footprints cramming and crowding a space previously considered not only very large, but boundless. There are shortages of resources to input, and just as seriously, and only a recent surprise, no where to hide unwanted waste output. Through the fancy term of carbon “sequestration”, we hope to pay $20-30 per ton (money from where?) to bury carbon dioxide down deep holes and let society generations on worry about its consequences. The efforts to change the energy mix to hopefully more benign technologies, as is occurring in China, California, and Germany are heroic and statesmanlike, but will be dwarfed by the gross increases in energy output “demanded” by expectations under the current mental set.

Self-interest in economic and environmental behavior

The breakthrough for the success in the discipline of economics came 240 years ago when Adam Smith made the startling assertion that people acting in self-interest collectively promoted economic development. As a corollary he mused that people posing as benevolent givers to society were mainly up to no good. To promote environmental conservation, the only success will be if it appeals to individuals’ and individual nations’ self-interest. Pious preaching of green ideals by those well-intentioned and affluent enough to enjoy philosophy will do no good for those struggling for the next meal, and will be sniggered at by greedy rich who are bent on engorging their current wealth.

With the Montreal Protocol, it was global fear, mutual among nations, that forced commitment. A hole in the ozone layer, threatening millions of people to skin cancer, obvious in NASA imagery, and the lab results of CFC’s shocked nations into signing up to ban the offending chemicals. Wide-scale environmental concern, and rush to sign some future form of Kyoto Protocol will only happen through fear and shock. If polar ice melting accelerated and caused some islands to disappear, and threatened seashore habitation world wide, self-interest, indeed self-preservation would drive nations together in a way they are supposed to at Durban but will not. The recent past has witnessed increasing extremes of weather, but the pattern has not yet convinced world opinion, and it is mainly the poor in Pakistan and Thailand up to their necks in flooding.

On December 10, when delegates fly out of Durban to their own countries, blaming each other, determined to increase growth and consumption as a way out of recession, the environment will be a distant second concern. Not only will Global Warming and Climate Change be ignored in decisions, but the wider issues of all waste, and hazards will be skimmed over in the rush for more employment. Somewhere, somehow, inevitably there will be a tipping point into tragedy – weather causing famine or contaminated water, or a major disease outbreak. Only then, out of self-interest, will nations be driven together to share knowledge and humbly agree to reduce expectations to the level China has now set as its goal – that of a “moderately well-off society”, rather than the unregulated some get rich quick ethos of Western capitalism.

We can optimistically forecast that out of difficulties, a solution will unfold. Marx wrote in Capital,

mankind always sets itself only such tasks as it can solve; since looking at the matter more closely, we will always find that the task itself arises only when the material conditions necessary for the solution already exist, or are at least in the process of formation.

A solution which suggests itself lies in the new outlook on scientific development. From primitive man and evolution up to an including the current time, what we now focus on as “sources of energy” such as wood or coal, are only conceived of as what they can give. A modern thermodynamic engineer will look at a ton of coal and says it can generate 24 gigajoules of heat. He can prove it. The data is recorded in lab tests and proves very useful for designing steel mills and electric power plants. But for the modern world, which is both a global economy and global environment, 24 Gj is only half the answer.

There is a new outlook on scientific development waiting for world leaders to realize. It will only be after Durban, when environmental catastrophes shock them, that they will know that energy “consumption” is a numerator that has a denominator – a huge number whose inexorable increase we need to slow.

: http://www.coulterexergy.com/archives/984

No comments yet.