The Road to Paris, What the UNFCCC ISN’T telling us.

Follow link in top LH corner of screen to view.

This excerpt from “The Newsroom” just about says what needs to be said, but its T.V. right? No, its bang on the money, as Dr Michael Mann stated in this interview:

“If we had acted when we already knew that there was a potential problem [back in 1988],” says Mann. “If we had acted then, then the emissions curve would be a bunny slope…a pretty gradual, smooth transition. It wouldn’t be very hard to do, it wouldn’t be very expensive. Instead, what several decades of delay have bought us is that we now face the black double diamond slope. That’s what we’re confronting now.”

“With modern technology humans have become so powerful that we now rival the great forces of nature, so much so that we have diverted the planet from its natural course, taking it out of the Holocene’s 10,000 years of climatic stability and clemency into a new, unstable and dangerous geological epoch, the Anthropocene.

The International Commission on Stratigraphy is now going through a formal process of deciding whether it should add the Anthropocene to the Geological Time Scale, the scale on which the entire 4.5 billion year history of the Earth is divided.”

The last Road to Paris post described the technological basis for the future UNFCCC emissions reductions program. Over the last 2 years there has been a succession of high level reports of how the “Green Economy” would change the world, how the re-wiring of the world would be ‘doable’ at $90 TRILLION, how this would only amount to a small % of GDP. Green jobs, sustainable future and “yes we can” stay under 2 degrees.

The 7 year delay between the IPCC reports ensures that information published can be 4 or 5 years old, and more relevant information can miss the cycle of IPCC inclusion.

What is important to realise about the IPCC process is that it is conservative. Predictions made in past reports have been attributed 100’s years in the future in the reports, when they are happening before our eyes now. Witness the melting of Arctic Sea Ice, described by eminent scientists as being in a “death spiral” and the IPCC’s timescale of melt pushed out to the 2090’s-2100

These graphs of ice melt show the new “normal” as opposed to the IPCC RCP 4.5. (Used as the basis for climate “survival” trajectory. (click to see larger graph).


This overlay of 2012 measured ice melt on IPCC projections of Arctic Ice published in 2013. The delay in collating information, checking and publishing often means the IPCC data is outdated, and projections “optimistic”.


This years ice melt may not be less than the record low of 2012, but the melt season has another month to run in the hottest half-year start ever, for the 2nd year in a row. It is interesting to note that this years “melt” season began with a record LOW ice mass.


Another major issue we are misled on is “THERMAL INERTIA”, the time taken for emissions to convert to heat increase. Estimates current in IPCC literature infer many decades difference between “cause and effect”. Previous research seemed to indicate a 40+ “time lag” before temperatures were impacted. This perhaps, as with the IPCC reports, tended to push things out further into the future, leaving responsibility for future generations. Allowing technological development to play catch-up.

Recent research how has brought the “effects” much closer.                

This has an amazing “oh f^+k” immediate impact on me. It appears that the level of warming NOW, (0.8C), that is causing the extreme weather events globally,  IS CAUSED BY THE CUMULATIVE EMISSIONS UP TO 2005 !!!!!!

2005 emissionsAs can be seen, emissions generated in 2005 was 27 billion tonnes, China was a few years into its economic growth spurt which only slowed down when the Financial crisis hit in 2008. This had next to NO impact on emissions rise as the BRICS nations took up the slack of OECD emissions and maintained emissions generation.

Fast forward 10 years and we have hit 40 billion tonnes, A 50% INCREASE. The “carbon budget” is not impacted but the effects of the “locked in” temperature increase of TODAYS CARBON EMISSIONS WILL NOT BE FELT FOR 10 YEARS.

Many scientists are predicting that we have ALREADY 1.2C warming.

2014 saw no increase to this emissions figure, and was hailed by IEA chief Fatih Birol as evidence that the world was finally de-coupling economic growth from emissions generation. everything IS FINE AND WE ARE ON COURSE.

Even the best climate sceptic would avoid using 1 years data to predict the future, however, Fatih’s Crystal Ball detailing the continued use and expansion of fossil fuels past 2050, OR the creation of a liquid carbon industry sequestering hundreds of BILLIONS of tonnes (TWICE AS BIG AS THE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY), can be achieved without pushing global temperatures past 2 degree before he has a chance to become Emperor. But, Christiana Figures is also “spellbound” after having gazed into the Crystal Ball, and this is the road we are taking to Paris.

” . . . . the 450 ppm level will soon be crossed, the question remains, how will we respond . . . . . ”    The Newsroom.

The Road to Paris. The U.N.F.C.C.C. Agenda for the 21st Century, where are we going?


Expectations of a climate change agreement in Paris this year were ‘brightsided’ by Christiana Figueres’ vision of a carbon free planet, but in 2100 not 2050.

It has taken over a year for the IPCC 5th A.R. Report to be digested and spread from the science into the policy sphere, and in front of us is pure science fiction.

The energy policy sector is centred on the International Energy Authority and their insistence that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) will enable a “negative emissions” technology to dominate emissions generation post 2050.

The cat has slowly been let out of the bag since February this year when the Guardian reported :

“EU climate chief and UN’s top climate official both play down expectations that international climate talk pledges will help hit 2C target”.

Canete (2)“The European Union climate chief, Miguel Arias Canete, says talks at a major climate summit in Paris this year will not be a failure even if governments fail to keep warming below the dangerous 2C threshold”

The recent comments by Figueres amplify that;

The overwhelming consensus is that Paris 2015 needs to send an unequivocal signal that the world will take a path towards a steep and deep decline in greenhouse gas pollution by the second half of the century.”

The ramifications of the IPCC 5th A.R. report are only just being ‘teased out’, there is a new era dawning, “the Anthropocene”, and the solutions now advocated are suitably heavily reliant on Geo engineering, Negative Emissions Technology, intellectual arrogance, hubris and science fiction.




“Stranded Carbon Assets and Negative Emissions Technologies, a Working Paper” Oxford University.

So we have a technology based IPCC future where the interim years will be the last thrashings of a dying economic system attempting to scour every last $ from the planet’s resources before 2050.

In the process the ‘mythical carbon budget’ becomes a toy for the use of the fossil fuel industry. If an 80% + chance of staying under 2 degrees is chosen, and equity remains a guiding principle, then ALL the carbon budget is allocated to Non Annex 1 countries.

The “Great White Hope” or great white elephant.

ALL IPCC RECOMMENDED emissions reduction progress is based on the continued development of carbon capture and storage. The development programme designed by the IEA shows the 22 established CCS projects up and running or under construction, to be in line with the IEA forecast of 30 plants by 2020. Capturing and storing 40 million tonnes of carbon underground, 0.1% of the 40 BILLION tonnes emitted this year.

HOWEVER, the fact that in 16 of the plants the liquid carbon is being used to pressure pump oil out of hitherto “spent oil wells” makes a farce of CCS being regarded as ‘emissions free’. Even now CCS is regarded as only being 85% efficient so there are fugitive emissions from the process, and a big Uranium sized “storage” question mark.


“In order to explain the extent of the requisite effort I have been using a revealing comparison. Let us assume that we commit initially to sequestering just 20 percent of all CO2 emitted from fossil fuel combustion in 2010, or about a third of all releases from large stationary sources. After compressing the gas to a density similar to that of crude oil (800 kilograms per cubic meter) it would occupy about 8 billion cubic meters—meanwhile, global crude oil extraction in 2010 amounted to about 4 billion tonnes or (with average density of 850 kilograms per cubic meter) roughly 4.7 billion cubic meters.

This means that in order to sequester just a fifth of current CO2 emissions we would have to create an entirely new worldwide absorption-gathering, compression-transportation- storage industry whose annual throughput would have to be about 70 percent larger than the annual volume now handled by the global crude oil industry whose immense infrastructure of wells, pipelines, compressor stations and storages took generations to build.

Technically possible—but not within a timeframe that would prevent CO2 from rising above 450 ppm.”

The staggering growth of the IEA’s CCS industry ‘visioning’, by 2030 it hopes to be storing 2 gigatons of CO2, out of 40+ gigatons.


 “By 2050, CCS is routinely used to reduce emissions from all applicable processes in power generation and industrial applications at sites around the world, with over 7 000 MtCO2 annually stored in the process.”

IEA. Technology Roadmap. Carbon Capture and Storage. P24.

“The IPCC sees CCS capturing as much as 60,000 million tonnes in 2100, a scale 15 times that of the world’s current oil industry. ”

“Various trends make deep emissions reduction unlikely.  There is a lack of global political consensus on the most appropriate strategies to reduce emissions, and we are locking ourselves into a long-lived energy system fuelled mostly by coal, oil and gas. At the same time global population continues to rise, as does the expectation of a higher standard of living – especially in rapidly developing countries pursuing a perfectly equitable growth agenda.

These points lead us to an uncomfortable conclusion: we are already at risk of failing to meet a target that is itself inadequate to avoid dangerous climate change. Against this backdrop of increasingly challenging news, what are our options?”

Many eminent scientists are calling for very deep emissions reductions immediately, whilst a growing part of the “environmental lobby” support a reliance on technology. Time however may cut that short.

The basic mathematics of emissions generation and “the carbon budget” are very simple.

*  The atmosphere contains over 400 ppm CO2. The temperature has risen at least 0.8C.

*  2 degrees temperature increase is accepted as 450 ppm CO2. This is not a “safe” target

*  The world is currently emitting 2 / 2.5 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere every year. 40 Gigatons.

*  In 20 years’ time, (i.e. 2035), at current emissions levels, the atmosphere will contain the level of CO2 to exceed 2 degrees of warming.

What do we know?

1/ China will not peak emissions until 2030, it has a large CCS contribution projected.

2/ India has not completed its INDC, but is talking of a doubling of coal consumption. India’s emissions are not expected to peak until 2045.

3/ Africa, South America, Asia are not expected to peak emissions until 2060

4/ Governments of Annex 1 countries are doing all they can to preserve the “trickle down” neo liberal theory of “sustainable development”.

5/ Western Industrialised Nations need to cut their emissions generation 80% under 1990 levels by 2030 to allow the Non Annex 1 countries what little there is left of the “carbon budget”. Part of the “climate Justice” reparations and principles of “equity”.

6/ The “postponement” of deep emissions reductions until post 2050 (when it is expected that CCS will be fully proven and tested), allows the complete saturation of the core of the earth, down to a level of 1 kilometre, with poisonous liquid carbon. As well as the pernicious cocktail “mainlined” into immediate subsurface through “fracking”.

7/ All Western Industrialised countries are going gangbusters for Bio Mass renewable energy. All emissions reduction strategy used by the IPCC to arrive at under 2 degrees rely heavily on Bio Mass combustion (Bio Energy > B.E). and Carbon Capture and Storage BECCS).

8/ CCS technology, (negative emissions) is regarded as “the silver bullet” precisely because it can “suck carbon out of the atmosphere”, should there be a failure in emissions reductions targets.

The IEA admits,

“The largest challenge for CCS deployment is the integration of component technologies into large-scale demonstration projects. Lack of understanding and acceptance of the technology by the public and some stakeholders also contribute to delays and difficulties in deployment.”

NO large scale demonstration project exists, CCCS may NEVER be proven as safe OR possible, at scale, and yet incredibly, the future of UNFCCC and IPCC emissions reductions strategies relies on CCS.

With the increasing likelihood of there being a carbon budget overshoot, such global ‘net negative emissions’ may be required to actively reduce atmospheric GHG concentrations to safer levels. However, while this type of large scale removal of CO2 may eventually be required, there are two reasons why hoping to reach emissions targets via such an overshoot trajectory is a dangerous alternative to timely mitigation.
First, there are serious limitations to our ability to predict technological and social development over subsequent decades, and thus, the feasibility of large scale deployment  in the future.
Neglecting to reduce emissions now on the assumption that NET’s can recapture emissions in future would be dangerous if NET deployment on the required scale could not then be realised.
There are also significant dangers of passing tipping points, such as the dieback of the Amazon Rain Forest or the rapid collapse of the Greenland Ice Sheet, that increase of CO2 levels rise. Once alternative Earth System States have been realised, the system may not return to where it originally started if CO2 concentrations are then reduced.
One thing is certain – without viable Carbon Capture and Storage, large scale post 2050 Negative Emissions Technologies, or Carbon Budget increases, will NOT be available.
It is clear that very large-scale negative emissions deployment, if it were possible, is not in any sense preferable to timely decarbonisation of the energy and agricultural systems.
“Stranded Carbon Assets and Negative Emissions Technologies, a Working Paper” Oxford University. Feb 2015.




The Rise and Fall of Spain

“THIS WORLD”, B.B.C. produced a very accurate documentary on “The Spanish Crash” which details the reasons why the stupid idea of unlimited growth failed in the past and will fail again. Here ’tis . . . .



Adbusters “A New Way of Being This Christmas”.


This from adbusters ;




Attention shoppers!


As our planet gets warmer, as animals go extinct, as the humans get sicker, as our economies bail and our politicians grow ever more twisted, we still find ourselves lurching to suck from the breast of the capitalismo machine. This is our solace, our sedative – consumerism is the opiate of the masses.

We’re in a state of “pathological consumption,” George Monbiot explains, “a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us.”

For those of us who do notice it, who decry it, abstain, and try to eschew capitalism … Christmas is the one time where we suddenly absolve ourselves of this stance, as we feel compelled, by a strange and powerful force within, to join in the momentous, orgiastic ritual of America’s consumerist cult.

As we max out our credit cards, we hope we will become America’s economic heroes – saving the nation from the fiscal cliff. But instead, we plummet further into a complicated recession, and as our spirits sink once again, the economists coo into our ears that there is a way out – consume more, they say! This is the paradox of our addiction – filling the void only to fall deeper into it.

The call to consume less – where it is heard – is denounced as pedantic, naive, authoritarian, even insane.

Decide for yourself where the insanity lies. Four out of five Americans are on Adderall, Ritalin or Prozac. One in three are obese. People in the Congo are massacred to facilitate our latest smart phone upgrades. America, Europe, Canada, Australia, we are all living 5 planet lifestyles. If you still need a reason to stop consuming – consider that manufacturing and consumption are responsible for more than half of the global carbon dioxide emissions. And if we heat up just 4 degrees more, we will witness a total and irreversible collapse of human civilization. We’re killing ourselves – and even as the denial about global warming is slowly breaking over us, we still choose – sheeplike – to join the throngs in the malls. Without significant rituals, we clamour to participate in the only ones we have, like the Christmas shopping binge, driven by our desire for meaning – of which our culture is devoid.

It’s not the “fiscal cliff” you should worry about … it’s the culture, stupid! We are hanging by a nail onto our collective sanity – a cultural cliff hanger.

Buy Nothing Christmas gets to the heart of this matter. Reclaiming the ritual of this magical season – consciously and deliberately – is a radical, emancipatory choice. As Christmas approaches, can you find the strength to break the addiction, to wake up from the nightmare … will you be brave enough to plant the seed of a new way of being? Make your life a demonstration, a defiance, a piece of art, a heroic journey. Start this Christmas – dare to gather your friends and family together and vow to do it differently this year.

And if you’re ready, bring this message to the streets. From now until the New Year, gather your fellow revellers and march around NYC’s Times Square – the iconic centre of global advertising – proudly holding up #BUYNOTHINGXMAS signs for the whole world to see.

Here’s to the coming year of the snake!

From all of us here at Adbusters

Greed, Fear and a $1 Quadrillion debt.

Max Keiser “On the Edge” interviews Nicole Foss from “the automatic earth” explain ‘austerity’ and the necessity for banks and governments to sell assets in a vain attempt to collateralise the existing $1 quadrillion derivative debt. The impossibility of this happening in a flatlining global economy will re-ignite the fear that stopped the world in 2008.

“They can’t get ahead of the curve; everything they’re doing is too little too late, and when fear is in control then you have a downward spiral and it won’t stop until deleveraging has run its course. Until the small amount of remaining debt is acceptably collateralized to the few remaining creditors, and we’re absolutely nowhere near that point at the moment, we’re far closer to a top than a bottom.”



Nicole Foss has also presented a ‘book length’ article, one of the most comprehensive I have read explaining why a global transformation to renewables is not going to happen.

Renewable Energy: The Vision And A Dose Of Reality

Dmitri Orlov interview with Jay Taylor

Dmitri Orlov discuss’ his book ‘Re-inventing collapse’ in a radio interview with Jay Taylor and gives hints at the new book underway – ‘The 5 Stages of Collapse, a survivor’s toolkit’. ( Some parts of the telephone interview are a little patchy).

Friendly Fascism, Corruption and Bubbles. How Spanish banks survived the crash of 2008.

This article gives a short history of fascism and corruption in Spain before describing the current financial problems and their relationship with property and finance.

“Looking back, we probably should have known Spain’s banks would end up this way, and that their reported financial results bore no relation to reality.”

Spain is attracting a great deal of news coverage for all the right reasons lately, but the Spanish people have suffered enough.

It has a recently re-instated monarchy, On 22 November 1975, two days after fascist dictator General Francisco Franco’s death, the Bourbon heir Juan Carlos was designated King according to the law of succession promulgated by Franco. In 1969, when Franco named Juan Carlos as the next head of state, Spain had had no monarch for 38 years.

It has a King who,  as head of the Spanish “branch” of the World Wildlife Fund, thinks it appropriate to holiday in Botswana shooting elephants. That’s the King on the right (ahem)

The king’s daughter, la Infanta Christina Federica Victoria Antonia,  is married to Inaki Undangarin, Duke of Palma de Mallorca, who is currently facing charges of embezzlement of millions of euros.

It has a justice system in tatters, the Supreme Court suspended fellow Judge Baltasar Garzon from practicing for 11 years after investigating so called irregularities in Garzon’s investigation into wide scale corruption within the conservative Partido Popular. Up to 70 senior members were being investigated.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Carlos Dívar on Thursday resigned under pressure for charging 32 long weekend trips to Marbella and other Spanish destinations to the judiciary.

Carlos Divar had bi partisan support when appointed in 2008, the only candidate acceptable to the PP because of his “low profile”. This followed the appointments to the supreme court initiated by Jose Louis Aznar, ex- prime minister of Spain from 1996 – 2004. Aznar, now a very prominent member of Rupert Murdoch’s  News Ltd board, was a founder member of the “coalition of the willing” leading the “oil wars”, even before John Howard. The only natural resources Spain has is a small amount of coal in Asturia.

Aznar was “scholared” in politics by Manuel Fraga.  From 1951, Fraga served in various posts in the Franco regime, including minister for information and tourism.  He took part in the Transition (restoration of the Monarchy),  and formed the conservative People’s Alliance (AP), the precursor to the Popular Party (PP).

Fraga was known as a heavy-handed politician,  the drastic measures he took as chief of state security during the first days of the Spanish transition to democracy deeply damaged his popularity. The phrase “¡La calle es mía!” (“The streets are mine!”) was attributed to him. This phrase was his answer to complaints of police repression of street protests. He claimed that the streets did not belong to “people” but to the State.    

A certain sexual liberality in films was popularly summarized in the expression Con Fraga hasta la braga (“With Fraga [you can see] even the panties”).

Manuel Fraga with Gen Franco, “El Caudillo”, ‘the leader’.

Continue reading

“A FIT AND PROPER PERSON”, 1 – Rupert Murdoch.


Rupert Murdoch has been head of News Limited before, during and after the News of the World phone hacking broke. It highlighted the extent of political influence the Murdoch press has, and uncovered illegal payment of police, “willful ignorance”, sham investigations, and political favouritism in the process of the takeover of BSkyB televison.

He was seen as “NOT A FIT PERSON” to be the head of an international corporation by the Leveson Inquiry report, an opinion quickly denied by the News Ltd Board of Directors which includes Jose Maria Aznar, who have “full confidence” in Murdoch senior, although not commenting of James Murdoch, who once headed BSkyB.

The fact that the takeover has been abandoned may thankfully prevent a “launch” in the U.K. of the rabid Fox News network which has now contributed to America having the lowest political standards anyone can remember due mainly to corporate influence.

Some of the resignations and arrests so far.



For an in depth report from September 2011 Rueters ran this story by John LLoyd “WHAT RUPERT DID” ;

First, the News of the World (NotW), for many years the highest circulation newspaper in Britain, systemically hacked into the phones of politicians, celebrities, and people in the news – including murder victims and their relatives – in order to produce exclusives. Their journalists also bribed policemen, both with petty cash and – allegedly – with large payments: an early estimate was that News International (NI) had spent £100,000 on such bribes.

Second, many political figures have felt bound to confess they had sought to placate and woo Rupert Murdoch. In one of the debates on the issue in the House of Commons, David Cameron made the humiliating comment that ‘your bins are gone through by some media organization, but you hold back from dealing with it because you want good relations with the media’. Peter (Lord) Mandelson, in an interview in mid-July, said that all politicians avoided confrontation with the press ‘because we were too fearful’.

Third, now that this bubble has burst, it seems we ‘knew’ that these things happened. We – really, the political and media people – ‘knew’ that phones were hacked, policemen were paid off, and politicians were exposed, or threatened with exposure if they felt like attacking News International. As with the Wikileaks’ revelations, ‘knowing’ becomes knowing only when detail, context, and impact are combined. We ‘knew’, for example, that Saudi Arabia feared Iran (or, again, the political/policy/media circle ‘knew’). But we knew the scale of it and depth of it only when a diplomatic cable exposed by Wikileaks quoted members of the Saudi ruling house asking the USA to ‘cut off the head of the snake’.

Fourth, the News International titles, in common with all newspapers and especially tabloid newspapers, had huge reservoirs of indignation ready to be poured over governments (especially), corporations, and other institutions which lie, cover up, disguise, obfuscate, and spin. Yet here is another thing we ‘knew’: that, though the news media relentlessly promoted transparency and accountability, they are of all institutions the least likely to live by their rules – indeed, they reject these rules in the name of freedom.

Fifth, journalism has been at the heart of a generally optimistic narrative of freedom and openness over the past three decades, as communism collapsed in central and eastern Europe, apartheid ended in South Africa, media deregulation in India saw an explosion of news media in both broadcasting and print, and partial privatization and the granting of a measure of editorial freedom was allowed to the news media in China, which has elevated the struggle for a journalism of accountability to one of the major elements of a wider push for democratic change. At least until recently, it has been assumed that the world was getting freer, and in getting freer was becoming more open; and that this was due, in considerable part, to the globalization, and liberating effects, of independent news media and their democratic ethic.

John Lloyd however ends with this chilling thought ;

The columnist Nick Cohen wrote that the ‘News of the World routinely humiliated and taunted its targets because of their sex lives. Far from throwing the paper aside in disgust, the News of the World’s audience wanted more of the same.’


Banco Flamenco.

As 15M and Los Indignados showed, the Spanish society really know how to put on a protest. This is the Indignados in Puerta del Sol Madrid.


There protests are realistic, – news hit the streets of Spanish banks who borrowed €316.3bn from the ECB in March compared with €169.8bn in February. It is the Spanish banks lending to property speculators which has caused the Spanish bubble to burst.

The innovation continues as “La Nina Ninja” continues her dance troup bank protests throughout Spain, they have even taken notice in the commercial t.v. news.

…………….    “This is no crisis, they call it capitalism . . . “

……………….   The ;rumba’ song that accompanies the flamenco, “Banquero, Banquero, Banquero”, is proving an underground smash.


………………  La Nina Ninja on t.v. . . . .


MAX KEISER’S “ON THE EDGE” series this week interviews the Post Carbon Institute’s CHRIS MARTENSEN  on Japan’s ability to remain the world’s 2nd or 3rd biggest economy. Post Fukushima Japan is shutting down all nuclear reactors which supply 30% of Japan’s electricity.

As a new scientific report confirms Kelp off Southern California was contaminated with short-lived radioisotopes a month after Japan’s Fukushima accident ;



LIMITS TO GROWTH, the case gets stronger.

At a recent Oxford University lecture cycle entitled “IS THE PLANET FULL?” –  some serious responses were put forward to further the work of Limits to Growth – the book written in 1972 by Denis Meadows et al, sponsored by the Club of Rome and Massachusetts Intitute of Technolgy. This film clip features Ian Johnson, for 26 years  the World Bank’s Vice President for Sustainable Development (ESSD), a contempory of Herman Daly, and now secretary general of the Club of Rome.



For some other very interesting talks including the “burning issue” of population go to the Oxford University’s website


JOSE MARIA AZNAR is emerging (as Matt Taibbi describes Goldman Sachs) as the ;  “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money” 

AZNAR’s appointments to the Spanish judiciary have seen the end of Balthasar Garzon’s investigation into the Gurtel Case which had up to 70 investigations into high ranking officials of the Aznar/Rajoy conservative party. Santiago Menéndez, (who was head of the revenue collection in Aznar’s government), is the new ONIF director. THE NATIONAL OFFICE OF FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS. His first act was to sack was chief investigator Víctor de la Morena, who was in charge of many criminal probes, including the Gürtel case initiated by Garzon, and the ongoing case against royal son-in-law Iñaki Urdangarin. With Garzon found guilty of charges emanating from the Gurtel Case and suspended from the judiciary for 11 years Aznar’s witch hunt of Garzon is complete. His strategic placement of stooges in government positions leaves the way open for Spanish corruption to be borne again with massive building projects under slave labour conditions.

As Barcelona heads into it’s 50th day without rain, it’s depressing news all round on the environmental front, new environment minister Miguel Arias Cañete (Minister of Agriculture and Fishing in the governments of José María Aznar)           ” believes environmental regulations and laws in 26 areas are needlessly restricting the development of the Spanish economy.”  

His prehistoric outlook on his portfolio include relaxation of the coastal laws which allowed development such as Benidorm (pic) to happen.  This bullshit is accompanied by Cañete’s IGNORANT statement that “Environmental sustainability cannot be understood today without taking into account the economic factor.”

SPAIN has fallen hopelessly behind the European Emissions Reduction target of 20% by 2020, and Spain is choosing flawed understanding of environmental sustainability to justify economic growth.



Daily fog which descends on Madrid 

YET ANOTHER AZNAR APPOINTEE IS HIS WIFE, ANA BOTELLA, who is now Mayor of Madrid and in the process of wasting tens of millions of euros in a bid to host the 2020 Olympics. Spain has been criticised recently by the E.U. for failing to reduce the NO2 (Nitrogen Oxide from deisel fumes i.e. carcinogenic) levels from THE 50% INCREASE above current Eurpoean air quality standards – and whereas the London Olympics are the Green Games, Spain’s, if succesful will be the “Dirty Games” – in more ways than one.

But Botella’s past environmental record has been a matter of public debate for years. The wife of former conservative prime minister José María Aznar had her first dispute with the environmentalists in early 2008, when she blamed “the African dust” for pollution in the city, apparently forgetting that 80 percent of the city’s pollution comes from NO2 from vehicle exhausts, not the Sahara desert. Environmentalists called her “ignorant” and she was even rebuked by the environment minister.

MEANWHILE YET ANOTHER AZNAR STOOGE, Mariano Rajoy, Prime Minister of Spain, blusters his way through the daily demonstrations by students and those protesting austerity cuts, in Valencia and Barcelona, – contrast this with the red carpet treatment given to speculators and shiesters of all kinds. Aznar’s contact from NEWS LIMITED no doubt encouraged the idea of “Europa Vegas”, the €17bn (£14.3bn) massive casino project planned by the US billionaire Sheldon Adelson It is being touted to be built in either Barcelona or Madrid.  “We believe we have the necessary package of agreements with the government which we need to provide assurance of success,” Local officials, though, are bending over backwards to accommodate Adelson, who is reportedly demanding tax breaks, gambling law changes, new labour laws and free land as he extends his empire from Las Vegas and Asia into Europe.

“We need the support of the government,” he said. “We can’t draw up a plan, give it to the building department and wait six months to get an answer.”

Madrid is in the lead. Its regional prime minister, Esperanza Aguirre, has met Adelson five times. “We should change whatever norms have to be changed,” she said recently. “We have to encourage this … though there are some demands that can be accepted and others that cannot.” (During José María Aznar’s first term in government, Ms. Aguirre was appointed Minister of Education and Culture )

Francisco Camps (recently found not guilty on corruption charges in the Gurtel case), shares a tender moment with Esperanza Aguirre. And so the circle is complete.

SUSAN GEORGE, – “Transforming the Global Economy.”

Susan George has been in the “economic” limelight for many years in Europe, Canada & the U.S. This 2008 lecture given in Ottawa is prescient in many areas, Her tireless calls for an end to tax havens, full tax collection, financial institutions tax are logical, practicle, (given issues such as climate change mitigation/adaptation funding) and moral. The discussion talks across social, economic and environmental crisi that we now face and provides startling figures that show solutions are possible.



Show me the money…, er…



The last post gave Goldman Sachs predictions for the coming year, “SNAFU” (with a big rider on the Euro staying afloat). Thanks to I.M.F. boss Christine “let them eat cake” Lagarde, it should see the year out. It’s a fair bet that a great many people around the world will have a shit year because of what Goldman Sachs has activated.


 Whatever happens financially Goldman Sachs wins, betting on winners and losers, currency trading, “hypothetical future value” (Enron) or Credit Default swaps, or “re-hypothecasition”. (For a great explanation of this and the “SHADOW BANKING SYSTEM”  go to ;

Still the best article written on Goldman Sachs is Matt Taibbi from Rolling Stone at ;

Here the Occupy Movement in U.S. tries to pick up some of the pieces that lay shattered on the ground from Goldman Sachs’ practice of bundling shonky mortgages together and selling them as “financial products.”



American author Barbara Ehrenreich wrote “Nickel and Dimed” together with “Bright Sided” exploring the difficulties experienced by the “working poor” trying to get by on $7 per hour, the minimum wage in U.S.A., meanwhile the 1% surrounding Lloyd Blankfein’s space fill the air with hubris and nonchalance. This is being repeated in European countries who are now experiencing severe austerity measures ON TOP OF 23% unemployment (SPAIN) to offset the extreme waste and self obsession of the past 10 years.



LONE VOICES in the fight to free the U.S. from corporate influence are Ralph Nader and RON PAUL. Paul is a Republican Presidential candidate in the current selection process but very rarely gets in the news overseas,



Al Jazeera gives a specific “root” for the Greek and ultimately European financial crisis and yes GOLDMAN SACHS has its head deep in the trough.



So the Greek future is clouded with G.S. gas and pressure is building again in the most troubled member of the eurozone. Government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis warned this morning that Greece could be forced out of the eurozone unless it can agree the details of its second rescue package, worth €130bn. Kapsis told Skai TV that:

The bailout agreement needs to be signed otherwise we will be out of the markets, out of the euro…The situation will be much worse.

That €130bn package was agreed in principle last October, at an EU summit in Brussels. Nearly 10 weeks later, the Greek government still hasn’t agreed its side of the deal – yet more austerity cutbacks, and a debt-swap deal with its creditors. Kapsis warned that “The next three to fourth months are the most crucial.”

The immediate priority is to hammer out a deal with Greece’s debt-holders. The original plan was for a 50% haircut, but IMF officials are now indicating that this may not be enough to repair Greece’s finances.

National Bank of Greece president Vassilis Rapanos has also warned that Greeks must either lower their standard of living, or quit the euro and turn the clock back by decades

Rapanos told an audience at the Athens Stock Exchange that the first quarter of 2012 will be decisive for the country, as he conducted the traditional cutting of the New Year cake.



AND NOW THE CLOCK POINTS HISTRIONICALLY TO NOON,                                      SOME NEW KIND OF NORTH,                                                                                   AND WHICH WAY DO WE GO ?                                                                                     WHAT ARE DAYS FOR ?                                                                                                   TO WAKE US UP,                                                                                                           TO PUT BETWEEN THE ENDLESS NIGHTS.                                                                  Laurie Anderson, “Another day in America”.


In a year when “Time” magazine awarded the “Person of the Year” to “The Protester” we are bound to examine the society that gave rise to the nomination. If we are unable, in truth, to question the viability of the society that gives the protester this status, then that society is not free. It is captive to a mindset that is totally subjective.

When a burning man sparks a global movement  in the middle east, against the intellectual conspiracy that maintains brutal dictatorships with oppressive regimes, it is no wonder that the virus of protest spreads to those places where the myth originate, to the west.

The year 2011 has been a defining year, and as another defining year approaches, each successive year will herald a yet more defining year. There is a choice we have to make NOW.

To accept the “neutrality” of progress and all that technology offers as we sleepwalk towards a future made baron for generations to come, or to progressively rid ourselves of the shackles of amnesia and be the advocate of change rather than the victim.

Highlights from Stewart Brand and Winona LaDuke Debate.  A Spirited Exchange on Technology and the Environment.  (Eart Island Journal)

An audience question from Actor/activist Peter Coyote presents the “debate” as one between “Intelligence and Wisdom”.

Winona Laduke, anti-tar sands activist, reminds us what role amnesia plays in the acceptance of lifestyle and the intellectual hubris it promotes. The argument from Stewart Brand to accept the “neutrality” of consumerism and marketing  is totally rejected by La Duke.



Post war hardships subsided to the illusion of a vision of “You’ve never had it so good” and that was before the credit boom. The 30’s depression mantra that, “my kids will be better off than I was”, will in a very short time, not only be unrealizable, but a fool’s paradise. The next “new bubble” emerges marketing “choice” based on amnesia, but the big economic bubble is now bursting. The “lifestyle” experiment is coming to an end.

When we look to the west, we observe a social form that has tried to engineer world domination with a century of world wars, until it was taken to its science fiction conclusion with star wars.         So the west opted for a more subtle method of ideological domination, “Lifestyle”, free market capitalism, another vote winning  “no brainer.”

The global ”Occupy” virus has exposed amnesia by revealing the extent of the “inequality” that has evolved, both within western society, and between developed and developing. When the attempt is made to share the “pie” with “other than” western society, the magnanimous gesture is based on the unsustainable demand that the “American lifestyle is non-negotiable”.


 29 experts, including Herman Daly, were asked,  “What do you think should be the two or three highest priority political outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), scheduled for Rio de Janeiro in June 2012?”

His answer succinctly sums up the Steady-State perspective.

“The conclusion of the 1972 Limits to Growth study by the Club of Rome still stands 40 years later. Even though economies are still growing, and still put growth in first place, it is no longer economic growth, at least in wealthy countries, but has become uneconomic growth. In other words, the environmental and social costs of increased production are growing faster than the benefits, increasing “illth” faster than wealth, thereby making us poorer, not richer.

We hide the uneconomic nature of growth from ourselves by faulty national accounting because growth is our panacea, indeed our idol, and we are very afraid of the idea of a steady-state economy. The increasing “illth” is evident in exploding financial debt, in biodiversity loss, and in destruction of natural services, most notably climate regulation.

The major job of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development is to help us overcome this denial and shift the path of progress from quantitative growth to qualitative development, from bigger to better. Specifically this will mean working toward a steady-state economy at a sustainable (smaller than present) scale relative to the containing ecosystem that is finite and already overstressed.

Since growth now makes us poorer, not richer, poverty reduction will require sharing in the present, not the empty promise of growth in the future”


Dmitry Orlov, a presentation and an interview.

A recording of the public lecture by Dmitry Orlov on 9 June 2009, at the Davenport Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.  This was the opening talk to the 3 day conference The New Emergency: Managing Risk and Building Resilience in a Resource Constrained World.
This conference was organised by Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability. The talk is entitled  “Seizing the Mid-Collapse Moment”



More recently Dmitry Orlov gave an interview with Tancrede Bastie which is available in FRENCH at and at and                        

The last question and response are incisive comments about the difficulties associated with the future.


“If you read Dmitry carefully, scrupulously separating the factual bad news, which are beyond his control, from his views on what can be done to survive and live in a post-industrial world, you will find evidence of strong optimism.”  T.B.

TB: What difference do you see between American and European close future?

DO: European countries are historical entities that still hold vestiges of allegiances beyond the monetized, corporate realm, while the United States was started as a corporate entity, based on a revolution that was essentially a tax revolt and thus has no fall-back. The European population is less transient than in America, with a stronger sense of regional belonging and are more likely to be acquainted with their neighbors and to be able to find a common language and to find solutions to common problems.

Probably the largest difference, and the one most promising for fruitful discussion, is in the area of local politics. European political life may be damaged by money politics and free market liberalism, but unlike in the United States, it does not seem completely brain-dead. At least I hope that it isn’t completely dead; the warm air coming out of Brussels is often indistinguishable from the vapor vented by Washington, but better things might happen on the local level. In Europe there is something of a political spectrum left, dissent is not entirely futile, and revolt is not entirely suicidal. In all, the European political landscape may offer many more possibilities for relocalization, for demonitization of human relationships, for devolution to more local institutions and support systems, than the United States.

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Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (2) …..

IMF warns that world risks sliding into a 1930s-style slump…….                                     (By the way; “the Ranch” means the biggest economy in the world)


The world risks sliding into a 1930s-style slump unless countries settle their differences and work together to tackle Europe’s deepening debt crisis, the head of the International Monetary Fund has warned.

The IMF managing director’s call came amid growing concern that 2012 will see Europe slide into a double-dip recession, with knock-on effects for the rest of the global economy. “The world economic outlook at the moment is not particularly rosy. It is quite gloomy,” she said.




The “ruckus” in question is over this,  $707 trillion, 568 billion, 901 million

the Bank of International Settlements reported a number that quietly slipped through the cracks of the broader media. Which is paradoxical because it is the biggest ever reported in the financial world: the number in question is $707,568,901,000,000 – and represents the latest total amount of all notional Over The Counter (read unregulated) outstanding derivatives reported by the world’s financial institutions to the BIS for its semi-annual OTC derivatives report

Seems like we need some of that “IBANA” that was used in the last session of the Durban COP 17 talks …..


George Papandreou and Democracy.

AMY GOODMAN got a scoop when covering the Durban COP 17 when George Papandreou attended the talks. This interview the ex Greek P.M. talks of democracy in Greece, the referendum, the Occupy movement. He defines tax havens and globalisation as the biggest threat to democracy as they remove “power” from the nation. Very interesting to hear him speak after reading so much during the ongoing Euro crisis.



“SHOW ME THE MONEY”, …..o.k.

As the world staggers at the ability of 194 nations of the world to agree that the planet is, after all, worth saving, and then agree to do something about it, the $100 BILLION per year to finance a Green Climate Fund immediately springs to mind.                 SHOW ME THE MONEY …… Here it is …….



After 2020 the world will unite to stop global temperature reaching 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The world will reduce its global carbon emissions by 50% (average) to prevent 2 degrees warming. Many countries will have to reduce their emissions ‘drastically’ by over 90% to meet their individual “share” of the reductions.

We are now faced with the “Green Economy” which was discussed here at ;

The compliance with this “grand plan” depends on replacing the world STATIONARY energy infrastructure, ELECTRICAL  ENERGY GENERATION MUST BECOME EMISSION FREE BY 2050. Australia has a plan prepared by Beyond Zero Emissions for a 10 year transfer of Australia’s energy sector which they estimate will cost $375 BILLION over 10 years.

A report issued by the U.N. (W.E.S.S. 2011), “costs” this ‘global transition’ at between $15-20 TRILLION to “rewire” the world with renewable energy. So where is the money coming from?

SUSAN GEORGE, HEAD OF THE “TRANSNATIONAL INSTITUTE” (TNI) here further details the necessity for a Tobin Tax, but ALSO STRESSES THE NEED TO SHUT DOWN TAX HAVENS which deprive global governments of over $100 BILLION p.a.



Only a few weeks ago, the I.E.A. released its World Energy Outlook stating that cost to maintain and extend the existing and proposed fossil fuel demand would, by 2035, be $38 TRILLION.










!0 Mw ocean based wind turbine. Prototype by ARUP.



Hannah Stoddardt from OXFAM states below in a discussion with Chris Huhne, U.K. environment minister the possibility of a bunker fuel tax that would ‘compensate’ for the 6% of global emissions resulting from the SHIPPING INDUSTRY, at present NOT part of the KYOTO PROTOCOL. 10’s if not 100’s of BILLIONS of dollars are owed the planet from the 90,000 FREIGHTERS that deliver goods completely unregulated using the worst fuel possible – bunker fuel,  60,000 DEATHS REPORTED ON SHIPPING ROUTES FROM SULHUR DIOXIDE HELPED DESEASES.

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Professor Tim Jackson has been stirring serious intellectual involvement since he launched “Prosperity Without Growth”. He along with Andrew Simms at “nef”, CASSE and many NGO’s have been through 2 “Degrowth” Conferences and are holding a 3rd in Venice next year. There are no rational answers being proposed by the existing economic system. The refusal to instigate a “Robin Hood Tax” universally shows a direct bias and an obstruction to change. It throws every decision impacting the future to the mercy of it’s “ECONOMIC BENEFIT”, and farther away from social and environmental needs

In this Deakin Lecture speech Jackson questions the basic fundamentals of growth and introduces “Degrowth”.



This Tim Jackson film is part of a series of speakers from all over Europe at a conference with CEECEC a sustainability body funded by the E.U. The whole day of lectures on Degrowth with excellent European academics can be found at ;



Goldman Sachs, the Vampire Squid.

The full, frightening extent of Goldman Sachs influence in Europe is revealed in a startling tale of “U.S.A. like” revolving doors for high finance executives, into and out of high government positions. This was  previously thought to be “un European”.


The U.K. “Independent” had a full run down on Goldman’s Grip on Europe;

The ascension of Mario Monti to the Italian prime ministership is remarkable for more reasons than it is possible to count. By replacing the scandal-surfing Silvio Berlusconi, Italy has dislodged the undislodgeable. By imposing rule by unelected technocrats, it has suspended the normal rules of democracy, and maybe democracy itself. And by putting a senior adviser at Goldman Sachs in charge of a Western nation, it has taken to new heights the political power of an investment bank that you might have thought was prohibitively politically toxic.

This is the most remarkable thing of all: a giant leap forward for, or perhaps even the successful culmination of, the Goldman Sachs Project.

The full story, well worth reading at ;

Who Reigns in Spain

Spanish banking stocks fell in July after Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services and Fitch Ratings downgraded the country’s leading lenders, citing dimming economic growth prospects, a depressed property market and turbulence in capital markets.In reports issued later, the two credit rating agencies said they are keeping the negative outlook on all the banks.

Mr (has) Bean at the G20, ex Spanish P.M. Jose Luis Zapatero

IMF chief Christine Lagarde, the new woman in P.M. Mariano Rajoy’s life.


Spain has become the new poster child for what ails the EU periphery, with its 10-year bond rate surpassing even Italy’s in a very short timespan. Looking at the details, that shouldn’t be all that surprising.

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Capitalism vs the Climate – Naomi Klein

This article appears in the November edition of :The Nation”,,0

There is a question from a gentleman in the fourth row.

He introduces himself as Richard Rothschild. He tells the crowd that he ran for county commissioner in Maryland’s Carroll County because he had come to the conclusion that policies to combat global warming were actually “an attack on middle-class American capitalism.” His question for the panelists, gathered in a Washington, DC, Marriott Hotel in late June, is this: “To what extent is this entire movement simply a green Trojan horse, whose belly is full with red Marxist socioeconomic doctrine?”

Here at the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, the premier gathering for those dedicated to denying the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet, this qualifies as a rhetorical question. Like asking a meeting of German central bankers if Greeks are untrustworthy. Still, the panelists aren’t going to pass up an opportunity to tell the questioner just how right he is.

Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who specializes in harassing climate scientists with nuisance lawsuits and Freedom of Information fishing expeditions, angles the table mic over to his mouth. “You can believe this is about the climate,” he says darkly, “and many people do, but it’s not a reasonable belief.” Horner, whose prematurely silver hair makes him look like a right-wing Anderson Cooper, likes to invoke Saul Alinsky: “The issue isn’t the issue.” The issue, apparently, is that “no free society would do to itself what this agenda requires…. The first step to that is to remove these nagging freedoms that keep getting in the way.”

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The Economic Conspiracy, and the search for reality.

Since 1981, democracy and the environment have been trapped in a conspiracy theory. There, I’ve said it, the taboo word.

The “Amway” conspiracy, “Greed is Good”, call it what you will, has lulled the western world onto a t.v. inspired stupor.  The economic miracle, which, for the last 30 years, has provided untold advances and wealth, has at the same time, driven civilization to the point of collapse. A free market fundamentalism, which, has become the largest empire ever seen, has gripped every western “democracy”, and the new converts from former communist/socialist bloc countries.  It is a conspiracy that was introduced by Ronald Reagan, the Hollywood actor, and has turned citizens into  “consumers.”



It is a conspiracy that seeks to exploit every resource available, to explore every nook and cranny looking for extractable material, if not financially viable now, it will be in the future. No place is sacred, no species immune, no tradition inviolable.

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OCCUPY EVERYWHERE ; THE MOVEMENT AGAINST CORPORATE POWER.      Organised by “The Nation” magazine and “The New School”

An engrossing panel discussion occured just 2 nights ago in New York which is long, (over 2 hours) but one of the best discussions I have seen/heard on the nature of the “Occupy” movement, the situation it faces and possible outcomes.

The panelists were, Michael Moore, filmaker; Patrick Bruner, a representative elected from OWS; Rinku Sen, racial justice advocate; Bill Grider, journalist and author; and Naomi Klein, Canadian author. A brilliant clarion call to get activated and a frank discussion of obstacles and what everyone can do to Occupy Everywhere.



Goldman Sachs Does Rule The World.

As news breaks of the recent UNDEMOCRATIC appointments of heads of governments in Greece and Italy, I am reposting this “prescient” news item by Alessio Rastani made on September 29th.



The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. In fact, the history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled dry American empire, reads like a Who’s Who of Goldman Sachs graduates.           Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone.

Read more:

Yesterday’s post was centred upon the issue of the UNDEMOCRATIC placement of unelected technocrats to head the governments of Greece and Italy, and the dramatic effects that will have on democracy as we know it. The amazing story that broke today in the French newspaper Le Monde, traced the employment history of Lucas Papademos, (Greek Prime Minister), Mario Monti (Italian Prime Minister) and Mario Draghi (Head of the European Central Bank) and found that all 3, until recently worked for, or have been in partnership with, GOLDMAN SACHS.




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DEMOCRACY, ENVIRONMENT, GROWTH, which is the odd man out ?

The 3 concepts of Environment, Growth and Democracy cannot co exist. The false hope of having a healthy environment, exponential economic growth and a flourishing democracy has been exposed drammatically since the failure of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009. The final act of this tragi-comedy was played out during the G-20 summit in November 2011, when Prime Minister George Papandreou of Greece was told his idea of a referendum to decide the fate of the next  austerity measures would not be allowed. If he pursued the idea, an $8 billion bail out, essential for Greece to exist, which had been agreed, would be witheld.

Silvio Berlusconi, at the same conference, arrived without any extra proposals to rein in Italy’s $2 trillion debt, perhaps hoping for some “bunga bunga”. He was told EU commissioners would be installed in every Italian government department to ensure austerity measures were enacted. The next issue of Italian government bonds saw no purchases by the European Central Bank which had intervened when other PIIGS nations bond issues had been undersubscribed. The interest rate on Italian bond issues climed over 7%, Italy was facing financial collapse caused by the recently formed “Frankfurt Group” at the very same G-20 Summit that disposed of the elected Greek Prime Minister.

The European Union has always had problems with democracy, a messy process that can interfere with the grand designs of people at the top who know best. When Ireland voted no to the Nice Treaty, it was told to come up with the right result in a second ballot. The real decisions in Europe are now taken by the Frankfurt Group, an unelected cabal made of up eight people: Lagarde; Merkel; Sarkozy; Mario Draghi, the new president of the ECB; José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission; Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the Eurogroup; Herman van Rompuy, the president of the European Council; and Olli Rehn, Europe’s economic and monetary affairs commissioner.

This group, which is accountable to no one, calls the shots in Europe. The cabal decides whether Greece should be allowed to hold a referendum and if and when Athens should get the next tranche of its bailout cash. What matters to this group is what the financial markets think not what voters might want.

To the extent that governments had any power, it has been removed and placed in the hands of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF. It is as if the democratic clock has been turned back to the days when France was ruled by the Bourbons. (Larry Elliot, Guardian, 9/11/2011).

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And now for the really bad news on the European economy.

Nils Pratley from the Gaurdian posted this in the Guardian today. The latest              “bad” news all surrounds Italy and their 2 trillion euro debt. This chart makes Italy look good, and its easy to see why Merkosy and Obama want this sorted. I think even Julia Gillard put her 2 bobs worth in.

Italy’s finances look shaky but some of its neighbours in the eurozone – and the UK – might be even worse off

Italy’s finances look shaky – a debt-to-GDP ratio of 118%, a heavy proportion of debt to be rolled over and growth almost at a standstill. On the other hand, the level of household debt is much lower that of most other large European countries.

Nor does the government have the same size of unfunded pension and other liabilities as some other European countries.

This chart and caption, published a couple of weeks ago by Société Générale analysts, is alarming. For those interested in graphs, there are more on the following page which give some further indication of the dire state of European and global indebtedness. As an example, Australians are constantly re -assured that the banks have little or no exposure to Greek debt, but as the graphs show, they may have a lot of exposure to French debt, which in turn has a lot of exposure to Greek debt, and so the wheel turns.

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The Myth of “Rising Tide Economics”, and the Fact of a 4 Degree Warmer World.

The economic growth paradigm has as its central tenet that poverty can be eradicated everywhere if growth continues exponentially.  “A rising tide will lift all boats”. The trickle-down effect has been used maliciously by right wing think tanks, modern politicians
of all beliefs, and of course the wealthy who have been unerringly welded to economic rationalism theory since the Great Depression.  More “modern” economic rationalism prolonged the myth by stating it could also fix global warming.

In light of current economic experience, and judging what “the science” tells us of rising sea levels that theory is o.k. ONLY if you’ve got a boat, literally !

What the global financial crisis told us, nay shouted to the world, was that for 30 years bubbles had been the only thing that had been keeping the world’s economy afloat, bubbles caused by drawing down 400 years-worth of fossil fuel accumulation every year.  In exact parallel to exhortations to increase GDP, energy consumption has increased causing ever increasing levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

This link, that growth does not occur without energy expenditure, has cemented the belief of man-made global warming. The data is scientific and peer reviewed and the root cause of global warming is now accepted by the scientific community as anthropogenic. Eventually, as oil prices have settled at historic highs over $100 per barrel, growth has stalled. Reaching a “peak price” in 2008 of $147 per barrel equated to 25% of global GDP – the biggest bubble of them all burst, and in 2008 we discovered someone forgot the boat had no lifejackets. Continue reading

Dmitry Orlov speaks,.

Well he does, and he speaks very well and his very deadpan delivery hides quite a wicked sense of humour. He engages because he takes a different aspect of a familiar issue and places a unique interpetation around it. Being able to see the same issue from a different perspective and make it tangible is a great talent, particularly when there are recommendations for a better future.

Born in Russia, Orlov has witnessed collapse, and can place experience behind his words.


Richard Heinberg in Totnes, The End of Growth.

No discussion of energy or economic growth is complete without the invaluable insights of Richard Heinberg. He is the author of ten books including:

  • The End of Growth: Adapting to our New Economic Reality (June 2011)
  • Blackout: Coal, Climate, and the Last Energy Crisis (2009)
  • Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines (2007)
  • The Oil Depletion Protocol: A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism and Economic Collapse (2006)
  • Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World (2004)
  • The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies (2003)

He is Senior Fellow-in-Residence of the Post Carbon Institute and is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost Peak Oil educators. He has authored scores of essays and articles that have appeared in such journals as Nature, The Ecologist, The American Prospect, Public Policy Research, Quarterly Review, Z Magazine, Resurgence, The Futurist, European Business Review, Earth Island Journal, Yes!, Pacific Ecologist, and The Sun; and on web sites such as,,,, and

This talk was given at Totnes, the first Transition Town, which together with Rob Hopkins has set a standard for being informed and offering solutions.

In this film clip Richard introduces 5 principles that must be adopted which mirror the basic tenets of a Steady State Economy, and in doing so suggests that we are on the verge of the Sustainability Transition.

The European economic crisis made easy

Well if you’re going to understand the European debt crisis there’s a lot to understand, here’s a very simple explanation. Sadly it’s accurate, all too accurate as first China, and then Brazil refuse to contribute to the European Financial Stability Fund, I mean, why would you ? The next problem to reverse the “confidence” that “the markets” expressed after Sarkozy & Merkel announced the deal was the complete surprise at the Greek governments decision to hold a referendum on the terms of the agreement.


A simpler view of the European bail out is here given by Max Keiser. Huffington Post blogger, ex BBC World News reporter and BIG critic of the I.M.F. and their attemots to take away sovereignty from individual Euro countries through debt enslavement. Why does Christine Lagarde look so much like Margaret Thatcher with a tan?                That’s brilliant Max !


Why shouldn’t the Greek citizens have a say, they’re the ones that will be paying for this limpet like belief in the current economic system for the rest of their lives. So as we lurch into more roller coaster economics you have to wonder how this lady will be voting  ……

Nicole Foss on finance and bubbles

This is the first film of 5 produced by Nicole Foss about the Peak Oil and Economic Crisis we are currently facing. The other 4 are in the main body of the post. The Automatic Earth’s co-editor Illargi has an interview in the “Words” section as an MP3.

In the new economy there were 3 types of people                                                
The have’s,                                                                                                                     The have not’s,                                                                                                              And the have-not-paid-for-what-they-have’s.        

Satyajit Das ; “Built to Fail”                                            

The following post features extracts from a Nicole Foss article in TAE from 2009  called “Renewable Power? Not in your lifetime.” calling on Nicole’s insights into her knowledgr of power systems and international finance.

It should also be remembered that a United Nations Report from February 2011, the “World Economic and Social Survey 2011” has put the financial cost of “repowering” the Green economy with renewables at between $15-20 TRILLION. This is discussed in the second post on this blog

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Andrew Simms, Limits to Growth

Andrew Simms is the head of new economics foundation (nef), a U.K. “think tank” that has published many reports centering on consumption, economic growth, and in this talk, Limits to Growth. Again he cites the pioneering work of Herman Daly and ecological economics as a response to resource depletion, climate change and exponential growth on a finite planet. An excellent and energetic speaker.

Their website is full of great stuff to download and at the forefront of solutions.

Paul Gilding, The Great Disruption

I haven’t read Australian Paul Gilding’s book yet, but I have seen it reviewed in places like the New York Times and through that found this YouTube clip. I have also posted an interview he did recently with Radio New Zealand’s Sunday Morning show in the “Words” section.

Susan George on finance options for a “Green economy” and Social Justice.

Susan George is President of the board of the Transnational Institute,  and honorary president of ATTAC-France [Association for Taxation of Financial Transaction to Aid Citizens]. Her areas of expertise are:

European Union reform; European trade policy; Debt and International Financial Institutions; Alternatives to Corporate Globalisation; Currency Transaction Tax; Food Security; International Trade. In this short film clip Ms George elaborates on possible funding for the future.

Four Degrees or More

Hans-Joachim Scellnhuber, is one of the most respected scientists in the world and was in Melbourne in July to give the first keynote speech entitled “Climate Change, the Critical Decade” at the :Four Degrees or More” conference.. Here it is.


Hans Joachim “John” Schellnhuber is the founding Director of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, (PIK) and Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change. He is also providing advice to the President of the European Union Commission, José Manuel Barroso. In 2007, he has been appointed as Chief Government Advisor on Climate and Related Issues during Germany’s EU Council Presidency and G8 Presidency. Continue reading

Arab Spring, European Summer, American Autumn, Winter of Discontent.

As we put another load in the washing machine, or wonder who will be the first to be ejected from the latest “X Factor” show, other important issues enter the minds of a new global citizenry.

Clocks are stopping as another crash occurs, defining moments are now common to more and more people, as the way things have been for the last 30 years lurch towards an as yet undefined precipice. Socially, economically and environmentally the prosperity bus is finding less and less traction as the steep gradient on the Mountain of Debt slows the engines of growth. Continue reading

Goldman Sachs rules the world.

Stock market trader Alessio Rastani set the world back in their lounge chairs with perhaps the most truthful statement ever explaining why global governments are impotent and unable to provide a society fit for the majority of its inhabitants. Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone journalist had detailed exactly the same thing in an long, but very readable article in April 2010 on Goldman Sachs (see link below). The bottom line – they just don’t care about anything else but money. Continue reading