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Jim Hunt

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COP26 in Glasgow
« on: May 30, 2021, 12:07:58 PM »
The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, more succinctly referred to as COP26, takes place in Glasgow between the 1st and 12th of November 2021. VOC-21APR-02 (also known as the 'Indian variant of concern' of SARS-CoV-2 and/or B.1.617.2) and other VOCs permitting.

Officially the conference is being organised by the United Kingdom "in partnership with Italy", and the COP26 web site is also available in an Italian language version. According to the English language version:

Quote
The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The UK is committed to working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies and people on the frontline of climate change to inspire climate action ahead of COP26.

According to the COP26 YouTube Channel:

Quote
Sir David Attenborough [has been] named COP26 People’s Advocate ahead of crucial UN climate change summit.

As People’s Advocate, Sir David will attend major events in the international calendar to put forward the compelling case to key decision makers and the public for why climate action matters, to evidence the progress underway, and to highlight the actions decision makers will need to take ahead of and at COP26.



According to Sir David:

Quote
There could not be a more important moment that we should have international agreements. The epidemic has shown us how crucial it is to find agreement amongst nations if we're to solve such worldwide problems. But the problems that await us in the next 5 to 10 years are even greater.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2021, 12:13:08 PM by Jim Hunt »
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Jim Hunt

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2021, 11:12:22 PM »
Here too is Alok Sharma, the "COP26 President-Designate", explaining:

Quote
How the UK is striving to make sure these two weeks are the moment that every country and every part of society embraces their responsibility to protect our planet.

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

nanning

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2021, 09:13:11 AM »
This article is very much about emissions and environment and, since we are in a global emergency situation, I think it fits very well in this thread.



https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/may/30/should-we-all-stop-shopping-how-to-end-overconsumption
by Jamie Waters

Overconsumption and the environment: should we all stop shopping?


Over-consumption is at the root of the planet’s environmental crisis. One solution, proposed by author JB MacKinnon, is that we should simply buy less. But would that really work?



Excerpts (not full text):

The Day the World Stops Shopping, his new book, explores what might happen if the world transformed into a society that does not revolve around purchasing, one in which our primary role is not as consumers and our credit cards are not our most commonly deployed tools.

restructure society over several years to support a sustained reduction in the amount we consume.

Consumption – of fast fashion, flights, Black Friday-discounted gadgets – has become the primary driver of ecological crisis. We are devouring the planet’s resources at a rate 1.7 times faster than it can regenerate. The US population is 60% larger than it was in 1970, but consumer spending is up 400% (adjusted for inflation) – and other rich nations, including the UK, aren’t much better. “Many people would like to see the world consume fewer resources, yet we constantly avoid the most obvious means of achieving that,” says MacKinnon. “When people buy less stuff, you get immediate drops in emissions, resource consumption and pollution, unlike anything we’ve achieved with green technology.” That’s not to mention the impact materialism has on our mental health, inducing feelings of inadequacy and envy, and encouraging a culture of overworking.

“This is the best opportunity in the past 30 years to bring consumption back to the centre of the political discourse,” says MacKinnon

“I don’t think anybody is going to say that having a bunch of home-workout gear was as satisfying as being able to have contact with friends, family and neighbours.”

Many of us still shopped – Amazon enjoyed record-breaking global revenues of $386bn in 2020 – but, stripped of opportunities for parading possessions in front of others, there was a widespread rethink in why we buy and wear things.

Nonetheless, as much of the world begins to reopen, there are rallying cries to boost the economy by opening our wallets. Shopping has been cast as a positive act, retail therapy a civic duty. “All the narratives are building around a new Roaring 20s, a hedonistic binge, taking revenge on the virus with our consumption,” says MacKinnon. “But I think a lot of us are going to feel uncomfortable and disquieted, to the point of despair, as we remember what the fully revved-up consumer culture looks like.”

He wants us to act on that discomfort. But he’s not suggesting we live entirely off the land. In his hypothetical model he applies a 25% reduction in consumption – a figure “modest enough to be possible, dramatic enough to be earth-shattering” – and while he won’t specify a figure when discussing what our real-world efforts should be in the coming years, something in this ballpark might well be the goal.

“If you want a rule of thumb for how much impact you’re having as a consumer, the best one is: how much money are you spending? If it’s increasing, you’re probably increasing your impact; if it’s lowering, you’re probably lowering your impact.”

How might a lower-consuming society look? Everything is reoriented because people, brands and governments are no longer striving for economic growth. Individuals are more self-sufficient, growing food, mending things and embracing wabi-sabi, the Japanese concept of imperfect aesthetics (think patched-up pockets or chipped ceramics). Brands produce fewer but better-quality goods, while governments ban planned obsolescence (the practice of producing items to only function for a set period of time), stick “durability” labels on items so shoppers can be assured of longevity, and introduce tax subsidies so it’s cheaper to repair something than to bin it and buy a new version.


MacKinnon rejects my suggestion that perhaps consumerism is hard-wired into human nature, but says it is “deeply ingrained” in society and it’s “much easier for us to think, ‘Let’s make all these cars run on solar power instead of gas,’ rather than, ‘How do we end up with fewer cars?’” Plus, he says, “to some extent there was a point where we gave in to the idea that lowering consumption could not be a solution, because it inevitably results in economic collapse.”

Well, doesn’t it? Were we all to stop shopping overnight it would be disastrous, he admits, but if we built a new system, it could support a surprisingly robust economy. “If you’re producing durable goods, you still need considerable labour.

“there’s probably all kinds of different ways you can organise society around principles of lower consumption, none of which I think necessarily exists right now.”

Most importantly, being freed from the corporate rat-race means our work-life balance shifts. We compare ourselves less to others and have more time away from screens.
..
There are lots of opportunities, I think, for people to genuinely feel they have a higher quality of life.”


Over the decades various communities have practised “voluntary simplicity,” whether by choice or necessity. For the book, MacKinnon visited, among other places, sleepy Sado Island in the Sea of Japan; a farming community outside Tokyo; and the suburbs of Seattle where, since the 1990s, many folks have embraced “downshifting” in reaction to the city’s conquest by the moneyed tech crowd (the most widespread rejection of consumer culture in recent times).

In general, these people buy few clothes, read library books, walk or catch buses, avoid social media and rarely listen to music or watch TV. When I ask MacKinnon whether he noticed anything distinctive about them his face lights up. “Talking to somebody working in corporate America versus somebody who’s been practising voluntary simplicity for three decades is night and day, in terms of the kind of human being they are. It makes you want to be the voluntary simplicity person very much,” he says. “They make time for people and have more depth and generosity of spirit. At times, it did feel like I was talking to a more evolved being.”

“That’s the reality we need to confront, to some extent. We’re certainly not talking about a return to the Stone Age, but maybe we have to accept that a lower-consuming society isn’t an endless parade of distractions like the society we have today.”

Getting people to believe that this can be a satisfying existence will be the biggest hurdle. “When what you’ve known throughout your lifetime is what satisfaction you can draw from a consumeristic materialistic society, it’s very hard to imagine there’s an alternative that’s going to work as well or better,” he says. “But there is.”


Perhaps the book’s most startling comment comes from Abdullah al Maher, the CEO of a Bangladesh knitwear firm that produces for fast-fashion giants including H&M and Zara. He admits that transitioning to a lower-consuming society would be painful for his country: its 6,000 clothing factories would probably halve. But in this new system, the factories would provide better wages, pollute less and compete on quality instead of speed. “There’ll be no ratrace then,” Maher says, adding: “You know, it wouldn’t be so bad.”

It’s a striking statement from a powerful businessman in a nation that is a factory for the world. And it’s the sort of comment that gives MacKinnon confidence. “I’m hopeful that, coming out of the pandemic, people are going to have discussions that start to move the idea of reducing consumption back into the public discourse, from the fringes where it’s been for three decades,” he says.


Such conversations will involve tossing up whether we’re prepared to give up our vibrant, high-velocity, acquisitive lives in order to calm our minds and save the earth. Although we might not like the answer, and change is always uncomfortable, it’s tough to argue that there’s even a contest.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2021, 12:36:57 PM by nanning »
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

Jim Hunt

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2021, 03:10:12 PM »
Hi Nanning,

I'm not entirely sure that's the sort of future Alok has in mind when he says at 5:25 or thereabouts that:

Quote
It is a future that is still within our grasp, so long as we act now, and we act together, to limit the rise in global temperatures by building back greener, and building back better.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

gerontocrat

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2021, 03:28:20 PM »
Find me a Government that has a stated policy of reducing economic activity.

Find me a Government that has accepted AGW that does not see renewable energy as a spur to economic growth.
_______________________________________________
ps: At the end of the article Guardian has added a footnote; an advert for author JB MacKinnon's book. Cost 20 quid but only £17.40 if you order it from the Guardian. i.e. a discount to encourage additional sales / economic activity.
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nukefix

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2021, 04:00:10 PM »
CO2-tax is sorely needed.

Iain

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2021, 08:55:53 PM »
Good find, Nanning, JB’s thinking aligns with what I have been thinking for a while.

When I spend £100,  I can choose what on – steaks, fruit and veg, flight to NY, a toaster.
Each has a different carbon cost per £ and I can see what it is, I can choose

But there is a secondary affect, because when I buy, what I’m really paying for is all the work which went into producing the goods or services. Some of the money for the toaster went to the retailer, the delivery driver…..the guy or gal who dug the iron ore out, all down the supply chain They all spend their wages on more stuff, causing more emissions

That affect would be zero if I’d saved the money for a rainy day / early retirement

I say the secondary “Induced emissions” are c. 0.75kg CO2/£ spent,
I took got that number from considering a middle class family (in work) who spend on consumer goods, flights on hols, meat, etc
Versus the same family, now with no work, because I and others have withheld it from them by not spending

Now they only buy the basics, with a much lower carbon footprint.

Solution – if the world went on a 4 day week, then production, earnings, spending, consumption and emissions would drop by almost exactly 1/5th. Enjoy the time off.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/climate-change-carbon-emissions-family-household-flights-vegan-a9203096.html

<Edit - middle class income is £47k>
« Last Edit: May 31, 2021, 09:07:52 PM by Iain »
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etienne

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2021, 06:20:24 AM »
Buy nothing day is en event that started in 1992.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buy_Nothing_Day

It seems that it lost much of its importance the last years, and was oft linked to anti advertising actions. There used to be people collecting advertisement and dump them once a year in front of some official building. I guess this was around the year 2000.

I still have some links on my computer, most don't work anymore, but here are two that still work, but what they publish has changed :
http://www.casseursdepub.org/
https://www.adbusters.org/spoof-ads  became more human rights oriented

nanning

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2021, 08:18:28 AM »
To gerontocrat:
"i.e. a discount to encourage additional sales / economic activity."
If reading that book makes people change their ways according to the book, I can only see it as a positive catalyst. Especially if they get warmed to the idea and start spreading it around.

To Iain:
"Now they only buy the basics, with a much lower carbon footprint."
Exactly, it is the affluence part that does the real damage. The extra money and therefore the extra spending.
If only affluent people could be weaned of their material wishes and affluent services.

Imo one is happier if one only buys the basics (preferably of high quality and morality) and has no further material wishes etc. Contentment.

"<Edit - middle class income is £47k>"
I wonder, does that income put them in the top 1% bracket of richest people?
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

nukefix

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2021, 10:26:30 AM »
Exactly, it is the affluence part that does the real damage. The extra money and therefore the extra spending.
If only affluent people could be weaned of their material wishes and affluent services.
It is unlikely that people will cease to pay for services that make their life easier, if they can afford them. A carbon tax could steer consumption into less polluting sources and be helpful. On the other hand that is paying to pollute, so unless carbon offsetting actually works I'm not sure how moral this is.

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2021, 10:33:08 AM »
“CO2-tax is sorely needed.”
It is in place for petrol and diesel, so could be increased as a nudge to EVs
Not for heating oil – that is more of a necessity and would affect the old and vulnerable

VAT – Value Added Tax – at 20% is charged on most consumer goods, if increased it would affect the big spenders more, but the low spenders buying just one TV too. A tax free allowance or ration would be fairer, but difficult to administer.

“"<Edit - middle class income is £47k>"
I wonder, does that income put them in the top 1% bracket of richest people?”
£47k net (per person) is in the top 10%, £100k is in the top 2%, £120k for the top 1%

Agreed, need a curb on advertising, take back freewill.
"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

nanning

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2021, 11:28:59 AM »
I think a carbon tax is vulnerable to 'creative' accounting.
Perhaps I am too careful because of the failing carbon offset-scheme.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" - Bertrand Russell
"It is preoccupation with what other people from your groups think of you, that prevents you from living freely and nobly" - Nanning
Why do you keep accumulating stuff?

NeilT

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2021, 01:52:20 PM »
How might a lower-consuming society look?

Somewhat like the great depression for those employees of the 3,000 Bangladeshi factories which close.

Consumerism was a deliberate policy decision to make sure a great depression never happened again.  Of course social systems, social security and a whole host of other controls are now in place, but you won't get a government voting to put half it's workers out of work.  It is simply not going to happen.

Let us take the discussion about that 3,000 reduction in factories.  So we'd have to pay more, less would be produced, things would be less stressed.  Really?  For whom?

Now if the owner had said "yes we'll keep all 6,000 factories online and charge you more for less", then, yes, things would be less stressed and better paid.  But that is not what was said.  Half the output, half the factories, keep the workers in the same conditions, rake in the profits.

What about the other employees, the one's whose factory was closed down?  Crushing and abject poverty and even higher prices for the goods they can't afford.

There is no simple "one size fits all" solution to this problem and, when it comes to renewable energy, there is certainly no politically or personally acceptable solution to all the people.

This leaves us with fiscal controls.

But just remember that the carbon tax on the poor  sod who is driving a 15 year old car, just managing to pay the fuel to and from work and feed the family, is going to drive a whole section of the community deeper into poverty.

Far from this wonderful nirvana of "such a better world", the vast number of disadvantaged will be even more disadvantaged.

And they have a vote.

So we try to apply blanket restrictions to fix a problem and they will apply a blanket vote to stop us.

This situation requires a far more astute response and a far more sensitive response.

Now if you want to talk 50% luxury tax on goods which the average worker won't ever afford, then, maybe.  Perhaps a fuel limit before higher taxation kicks in, so those who need to drive to work can and those who just want to travel distance can look at the cost of switching to EV.  After all they can afford it.

I so often see the suggestions that this more simple world would benefit "the common man".  Nothing is further from the truth.  It is this complicated and overconsuming world that has allowed the "common man" to get out from the grinding life of hard work and poverty.

However the faster we move to EV and renewable energy, the sooner older EV will be available to the second hand car market and the sooner the "common man" will be able to consume cleanly.

Flights, yes, if you must. I remember flying before Easyjet came along.  The cheapest flight return, Edinburgh/London, was around £250 - £350.  Now you can do that for £25 to £30 if you time it right.  So there is room for change.

No reason why holiday flights shouldn't attract 100% taxes.  The only thing is, I believe, that those who use these holidays to escape their lives will simply pull out the plastic and pay it off all year.  Which doesn't fix the problem and doesn't improve their lives.
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Iain

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2021, 01:09:40 PM »
“Somewhat like the great depression”
4 day week for all. 4/5ths wages, Everyone keeps their jobs.
Taper gradually (40h week, 39, 38) so the market adjusts and you can tell your landlord in advance to expect less in rent.

“And they have a vote.”
Yes, so has to be sellable to them. Would you like some time off to de-stress and play footie with the kids? Downside is you get a smaller telly.

Rationing and tax on flights - easy to check when the booking form has a Question - “Is this the first flight you have taken this year” Do some random (or bulk) checks from passport control scans and make an example of the miscreants.
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kassy

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2021, 01:54:14 PM »
The problem is that there are some climatic bounds which we need to stay in to even have a chance to keep our modern world (many demage and thus money loss are already locked in).
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

Jim Hunt

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2021, 02:21:21 PM »
Yes, so has to be sellable to them.

Meanwhile Alok'n'Allegra's advertising campaign continues. Since the G7 Summit next week is being held here in Cornwall, they have recently paid a visit to the once Great Britain's "world beating" geothermal energy drilling site at the Eden Project:

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Iain

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2021, 02:34:37 PM »
"(many demage and thus money loss are already locked in)."

Not sure what you mean there - can you expand on it
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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2021, 09:31:31 PM »
Yes sure. We had the luxury to first keep spending money to make more money because ´future tech´ which we hardly invested in (on a global scale) would make solving the problem cheaper over the long run that is no longer an option. Lots of what we are doing now we should have start investing in 20 years ago or so.

Now we and our kids and grandkids will have to spend money on sucking CO2 out of the air but we will also have to spend money fighting coastal erosion/relocating cities etc. While on the other side of the balance damage from climate disasters stacks up.
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

Jim Hunt

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2021, 02:20:31 PM »
An intriguing discussion on Twitter, involving Kevin Anderson and yours truly amongst others:

https://twitter.com/keithalexander/status/1400769160813162497

Are there any Kate Raworth "doughnut" fans in the ASIF house?

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

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Re: COP26 in Glasgow
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2021, 11:23:39 AM »
An intriguing discussion on Twitter, involving Kevin Anderson and yours truly amongst others:

https://twitter.com/keithalexander/status/1400769160813162497

Are there any Kate Raworth "doughnut" fans in the ASIF house?



I am a fan of the donut economy.
Huge fan, even.