THE DON JONES INDEX…
GAINS POSTED in GREEN
LOSSES POSTED in RED
DOW JONES INDEX: 5/14/21…34,021.55; 5/14/21…34,548.43; 6/27/13…15,000.00)
LESSON for May 21, 2021 – “DA FURRENERS do JOE!”
Hopefully our computer problems – whether caused by cybernetics or wetware (human beings – evil human beings) are over and the Index is back online today, Friday, (or… probably… Saturday, or… even more probably… Sunday). With a wink and a nod to the events of our lost week… the good, vaxxing up, cases in America down; the bad, war in the Mideast and plague rampant in Third World countries like Brazil and India… we are going to resume listing some of the reactions of world leaders who participated in the Earth Day Climate Summit, with the addition of a few developments (mostly minor) since the global politicians zoomed back to their respective constituencies (or, as in the case of a few dictatorships, subjects).
(See a listing of Joe’s invitees as Attachment One.)
Not surprisingly, not one of the forty thie… er, statesmen and women… categorically dismissed the reality and dangers of climate change – the last to do so was an American President who, in November, either 1) lost, or 2) was cheated out of his re-election. The recount goes on in Arizona, where the margin of victory and defeat was unassailable, and overturning it (because Democrats either used paper ballots with threads of bamboo… Chinese bamboo… that magically transformed votes for Trump into votes for Biden or else they scarpered with boxes of the same ballots, fed them to chickens and then, to eliminate the witnesses, duly incinerated the birds – leading to a Democrat sweep and a hefty spike in the price of poultry at the local grocery stores) would not have changed the national outcome, but Arizones will do what ‘Zones will do so the bamboo and the chickens remain at issue, but even such friends of democracy as Vladimir Putin, Xi and Jair Bolsonaro at least paid a little lip service to at least the concept that untrammeled use of fossil fuels is raising the temperature of the planet.
The points at issue, then, became… for the wealthy nations adhering to the Paris accords, supplemented by the newly enlightened United States of America… whether a so called “tipping” point at which the Earth irrevocably becomes a tropic hell such as Venus or South Georgia in July (or, as we are seeing this week, the dog days of May) should be counted at one, one and one half, two or three degrees Centigrade (a little more for the outliers who still use the Fahrenheit scale. The poor countries, and it must at least be termed a miracle that they were allowed into the sanctuary of the great and powerful, predictably wanted somebody to blame, and that somebody was the aforesaid plutocrats of the G-20 and NATO and Davos.
(Among those excluded, Pakistan, Malaysia and Morocco squawked… fruitlessly.)
On hand, instead, were the European Council, European Union and European Commission – all of a type: white, affluent and oh-so-concerned about those poor, coal-burning Poles and South Africans.
Some honesty came from an unexpected source… Vladimir Putin… who promised Russia would be free of its carbon shackles by 2050 (a date that most Westerners feel would come too late to save the planet). Last winter, the dictator had dismissed rumblings of climate change – like his bro, Donald Trump.
Putin had cast doubt on the man-made origins of global warming, saying "nobody knows the origins of global climate change."
"We know that in the history of our Earth there have been periods of warming and cooling and it could depend on processes in the universe," Putin said. "A small angle in the axis in the rotation of the Earth or its orbit around the Sun could push the planet into serious climate changes."
But Trump is gone, for now, and things American are different…
Biden’s invitation to five African countries to participate and comment was certainly a different approach than his predecessor would have taken (had he even attempted such a summit).
Africa’s participation in the summit reflects the continent’s indispensability as an actor in the world’s efforts to reduce emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius – which question (and by when) was the central point of the debate such as it was. There was some genteel personal sniping… these were, after all, diplomats… but most of the delegates took each others’ good faith and excuses in stride.
With only 19 percent and 1 percent of urban and rural populations having access to electricity, respectively, over 80 percent of the nearly 100 million Congolese rely on the forest for energy. And yet, DRC has outsized importance in climate mitigation. According to Phillip Van Niekerk, DRC’s Cuvette Centrale peatlands are estimated to contain 30 billion tons of carbon, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Some studies suggest that if one-third of it were to burn, it would double atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and raise global temperatures by 5 degrees Celsius. Especially in the world’s poorer countries, progressive environmental policies that further impoverish an already-marginal population are likely to generate political and labor backlash. South African labor, for example,while supporting of low- or zero-carbon future, is insisting on a “just transition.” (CSIS) Any shift from fossil fuels that does not generate employment offsets will be resisted by the ruling party and its labor allies.
The world’s other superpowers (Russia and China) each thanked President Joe for his initiative. Putin obliquely, calling the Yankee replacement for his poodle, Djonald (whom he had defended only a few weeks ago to a German journalist) worthy of (promised) oodles of global cooperation and boasted that he was enhancing the source of non-carbon energy production – primarily nuclear. (Cernobyl? What Cernobyl?)
“We must be committed to harmony between man and Nature,” declared Chinese President Xi (or, at least, his speechwriters did). “All things that grow live in harmony and benefit from the nourishment of Nature… Mother Nature is the cradle of all living beings, including humans. It provides everything essential for humanity to survive and thrive. Mother Nature has nourished us, and we must treat Nature as our root, respect it, protect it, and follow its laws. Failure to respect Nature or follow its laws will only invite its revenge.
“ We need to look for ways to protect the environment, grow the economy, create jobs and remove poverty all at the same time, so as to deliver social equity and justice in the course of green transition and increase people’s sense of benefit, happiness and security.” (Except, perhaps, for the Uighurs.) And, perhaps taking a swipe at ol’ 45, Xi welcomed the United States’ “return to the multilateral climate governance process” albeit still committed to “the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.”
Some of the assembled leaders chose to call out others at the virtual conference for their inattention to the problem. Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, like Trump a climate change denialist, was read the riot act by environmentalists, who said they were skeptical about Bolsonaro following through on the pledges, given his past criticisms of conservation efforts and calls to develop protected indigenous reserves. Reuters cited deforestation in Brazil's portion of the Amazon, which has soared to a 12-year high in 2020 with an area 14 times the size of New York City destroyed.
"The government makes totally empty promises," said Marcio Astrini, the head of Brazilian environmental group Climate Observatory.
Bolsonaro, at least, participated in the summit… it is highly unlikely that Djonald Unconcerned would have even participated, let along sponsored the zoomfest… and did tell Reuters he would join the rest of the civilized world in addressing the issue, believed or not. Teenaged Cassandra Greta Thunberg didn’t… girlcotting the summit because the mood of the world environmental community remained “in denial” specifically claiming that the politicians were abandoning the 1.5⁰ maximum climate increase in favor of… 2? 3? 10? (See Attachment Two)
So, in her absence, plenty of other youthful finger pointers were quick to pounce on the politicians… one being a 22 year old Samoan, In other cases, the leaders’ own domestic critics administered a flogging – particularly in the South Pacific where an apparent New Zealandish revenant of the underground press of half a century ago, stuff, called PM Jacinda Ardern, an all-but-saint to white leftists, part of the cabal of callous, rich oilies as traffick in “low targets, dirty lobbying, tokenistic speeches, and broken promises.” Australia’s ABC News castigated PM Scott Morrison for what they called a “shambolic approach” — abrupt policy reversals, leadership vacuums, indecision, broken promises and a “frustrated” private sector increasingly alarmed about the prospect of being isolated by global investors – whose legacy has been that “our carbon emissions have fallen at a much slower clip than the US and Europe.”
(President Ivan Duque) Márquez neglected to address the root causes of human-induced disasters in Colombia that include environmentally detrimental practices in the mining and extraction sector as well as surface level resource exploitation, Colombia’s Impakter pointed out, deficiencies which can have rippling effects on communities.
“Researchers have argued that ‘the substitution of social justice for market laws leads to different crises, especially those that erode human rights’,” they added.
And there were, of course, global lobby-bobbies who saw, heard and evaluated the leaders’ promises and found some of them lacking in substance. Greenpeace's International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan called out Chile, saying that “postponing a meeting doesn’t postpone climate change and its impacts on the very people Piñera is claiming to protect ... Leaders cannot hide, instead they have to listen to the people's demands and act urgently on the impact the climate crisis is having on our ecology and social fabric.”
Greenpeace Israel joined a chorus of Environmentalists saying Netanyahu’s pledge to lift their carbon footprints off the throats of the world was “at odds” with reality. “In practice, Israel has no plan to fight the climate crisis.” Also reaping scorn (or, at least, doubt from world environmentalists was Indonesia’s Joko Widodo who, said the Jakarta Post, “ did not specify any net-zero emissions goal, or when Indonesia would reach a point of balancing out the greenhouse emissions.”
And in what was billed as her final appearance on the climate stage, reaction to German Chancellor Angela Merkl’s performance was underwhelming – at least in the view of certain agitators for economic equality and the environment. DW Media reported that groups such as the international church network ACT Alliance EU, have bemoaned the fact that wealthier countries have failed to live up to their promise to help, pointing out that Germany, France, and Spain, for instance, have now opted to provide loans to be paid back at current market rates while presenting those as aid.
"That is unfair because those loans have to be paid back with interest, which means lender nations are going to profit," said Sabine Minninger, an environmental policy expert for the church organization Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World).
Perhaps the most pitiable appeals arose from those places that were both poor and low-lying… notably a few Third World coastal cities like Tokyo, Lagos and New Orleans, almost the entire nation of Bangladesh and, worst off of all, the island nations of Antigua and Barbuda, the Marshall Islands and Tokelau and Samoa where the threat… probably within no more than a hundred years… will be existential.
said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (who has been announced as one of the winners of the United Nations Champions of the Earth award in recognition of her country’s initiatives to address climate change).
“Serving as Prime Minister of Bangladesh – one of the world’s least-developed countries – Sheikh Hasina has proven that investing in climate change is conducive to achieving social and economic development,” said the announcement issued by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which confers the awards.
"We are low-lying atoll nations, barely a metre above sea level," said David Kabua, President of the Marshall Islands.
"For millennia, our people have navigated between our islands to build thriving communities and cultures.
"Today, we are navigating through the storm of climate change, determined to do our part to steer the world to safety."
We remind the “major emitting nations” that the 44 members of the Alliance of Small Island States, through no fault of our own, “confront the greatest threats of Climate Change,” declared Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda. “
Barely mentioned were the numerous other perils attendant to half a degree Celsius or ten years of climate change… effects like species migration and/or extinction (“Gangs of New York” and “Titanic” actor Leonardi diCaprio has pledged 43 million to help out the giant turtles of the Galapagos and this… fellow… in Oklahoma adopted 68 giant felines (which gesture of solidarity went unappreciated by the animal control people who confiscated the beasts.)
(This is the place where we are supposed to interject the Trump boys and their Great White Hunter safaris. Noted and done. After all, Daddy, then President, visited Rome in 2017 and the Pope said in his (separate) address that he had brought up the climate issue in their conversation, urging Trump to clock in on the right side of the race to save the planet. After all, isn’t “conserve” the root word of “conservatism”?
But a week later after meeting the former American leader, Trump announced the US would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. (See Frank’s response to the 2021 summit as Attachment Two.)
Consequently, most of the global Greenies were too flummoxed and still blinkin’ at the abrupt retirement of the Devil to Mar-a-Lago to toss more barbs into the hide of Joe Biden.
Global politics and economics, however, remained at least a subsidiary, if underlying, theme of the Zoomfest.
Debt and disease have also impacted the climate sustainability, particularly for some small nations, the poor and those with special circumstances (like a skyrocketing plague problem and little or no vaxxing infrastructure). Like sea levels or a dependence on single crop economies, like that of Antigua and Barbuda, whose single crop is tourism. With pandemic restrictions preventing international tourist travel, the economy of the islands, according to Megan Rowling of Reuters, “was likely to shrink by about 30% in 2020-21, pushing up its debt-to-GDP ratio from just under 70% to 95%.”
“Countries more fortunate than mine should take a long, hard look at what we are battling,” Shiekh Hasina told the virtualosities. “ suggests rising sea levels will force hundreds of millions of people to abandon low-lying coastal cities worldwide by mid-century. Will the global community act in time to avert this catastrophe?
“If greater efforts are not made by wealthy emitting countries to curb climate heating and protect at-risk communities with more finance, the flow of “climate refugees” seeking shelter in rich nations would likely increase,” Browne told Rowlings.
Some of those wealthier emitting nations congratulated themselves and their tribes on their capacity to pivot from fossil fuel to alternate energy sources. “Over the past four decades, Denmark has developed a cutting-edge wind industry,” PM Mette Fredricksen boasted in Foreign Policy. “Thanks to innovative technologies, smart regulation, and financial support from the government, wind energy in Denmark is now as cost-competitive as that generated by fossil fuels.” Another self-congratulator, the European Council’s Charles Michel, declared “Green finance was born in Europe”. (See remedies, below)
“Israeli ingenuity will enable us to play our part in the global transition to a net-zero carbon economy,” claimed embattled (literally) PM Netanyahu.
President Lopez Obrador showed a pinch of Mexican ingenuity by suggesting that the US offer visas in exchange for his tree planting program, already up and running in Central America. "I add a complementary proposal, with all due respect, the U.S. government could offer those who participate in this program that after sowing their lands for three consecutive years, they would have the possibility to obtain a temporary work visa," Lopez Obrador said.
"And after another three or four years, they could obtain residency in the United States or dual nationality," he added. (See Attachment Five)
Canada’s Pierre Trudeau brought, with him, a virtual chorus line of supporters, authorities and flunkies who nodded with appreciation at every one of the PM’s BMs. The Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change assured the zoomers that “…Canada will continue to support developing countries in their transition to a carbon neutral and nature positive future.”
Angela Merkl was far from alone in suspicions that she… in her capacity as Chancellor, if not personally… openly stated that the wealthier countries should profit off the miseries of the poor. The European Council’s Charles Michel proposed issuing “Green Bonds” to poor countries to bring their compliance with environmental policies up to speed – monies which would be loaned out and paid back, over time, with interest. French President Macron, on the other hand, advised the supplicants to consult, hire and trust various hedge-fund cryptobankers, utilizing such Macronistic vehicle as the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFS) and One Planet Initiative to bring together “sovereign funds, asset managers and private equity, so that everyone can use this same methodology.”
When desperation is not at hand, “methodology” seems paramount.
New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern encouraged other nations to look to her administration “in taking financial action to address climate change” (RNZ) but also took a bit of a battering from the local rag stuff.co which cited a statement by Oxfam New Zealand’s Jo Spratt who said that the Kween Kiwi was failing to be a leader or even a fast follower in the climate crisis, Spratt added in a statement. “Our emissions are continuing to go up, and we are not contributing our fair share of climate finance to those on the frontlines of climate breakdown.”
“President Biden and I are launching the 'India-US Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership',” announced India’s PM Narenda Modi. “Together, we will help mobilise investments, demonstrate clean technologies and enable green collaborations." (See Attachment Six)
(Maybe that collaboration will actually result in the production of… like… stuff?)
Argentina’s Fernandez said international credit organizations should contribute more, particularly with contributions "for ecosystem services" and "debt swaps for climate action."
Alternative power sources should be sought more aggressively and implemented more universally. “We are economically disadvantaged,” admits Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lotay Tshering. “It limits our economic growth a bit. But politically, myself, my government, and the people of Bhutan are okay with this because now we are becoming more and more clear that this is the way forward. It’s not for the short term but for generations to come,” he said. “The only way forward is we all must agree, be willing to sacrifice a little bit now more from an economic point of view.”
Tshering’s appeal is not entirely altruistic, for Bhutan is the world’s only climate-positive economy due, he says, because it is heavily reliant on hydropower, which it exports principally to neighbouring India. Largely due to this electricity development and the export relationship with India, the country “maintains solid growth and macroeconomic stability”, according to an analysis by the World Bank.
“To continue to be viable markets,” proposed Antigua/Barbuda’s Browne, “to remain viable democracies that uphold human rights and the rule of law; to achieve climate justice, and to provide economic conditions that discourage refugees, we (AOSIS, the Alliance of Small Island States) need the following:
· Urgent access to COVID-19 vaccines, which should be prioritised based on vulnerability.
· Immediate action to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
· A programme of debt forgiveness and debt rescheduling
· Concessional financing that takes account of vulnerabilities and,
· Funding to compensate for damage to help reconstruct our economies and funding to acquire decarbonised technologies to assist in building resilience.”
Andrew Holness of another small island nation, Jamaica, added his four suggestions for the summit to consider…
“We need to take specific actions to include:
1) The establishment of a global disaster fund to help SIDS recover, and manage disaster risk.
2) The development of innovative risk-informed financing for disasters and climate events.
3) The inclusion of vulnerability measures as the PRIME CONSIDERATION in determining access for financing rather than only income criteria.
4) The scaling-up of debt-for-climate-adaptation swaps to simultaneously address climate crises AND the systemic debt issues affecting already burdened developing countries.”
“Jamaica has great sprinters,” he added, (but) “we know that a great start does not guarantee a win.”
Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi alternatively proposed raising the price of forest carbon credits should be raised to at least $100 per tonne in order to achieve the climate objectives set out in the Paris Agreement. Tshisekedi said the current price of $5 per tonne was neither fair nor realistic.
They’ll do it all over again at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, this November. Johnson said of Glasgow: "It must be a summit of agreement, of action, of deeds, not words. For that to happen, over the next six months, we must be relentless in our ambition and determination, laying the foundations on which success will be built," adding, "If all that emerges from COP26 is more hot air, then we have absolutely no chance of keeping our planet cool."
Maybe even, this time, in person?
MAY 14 – MAY 20
It was a good week to watch other people’s troubles on TV… war in the Mideast, plague in India, terror amongst the oilies’ computer pipelines (which did lead to shortages and higher prices for Mister Jones, but not for long). Mostly as a result of the latter, the stock market crashed but, as the ransom was paid and deliveries resumed, shot back up again.
It would seem that catastrophe surrounds us, but the Don keeps whistling along – as of believing in the words, not the deeds, of the power brokers such as were assembled virtually by President Joe… mainly to raise the dog whistle to his lips and blow out a squeaky sonata to the effect that “America is back”. Back into the Paris Climate accords, back into brokering peace in the Middle East (with, this time, plenty of help from Egypt).
THE DON JONES INDEX
CHART of CATEGORIES w/VALUE ADDED to EQUAL BASELINE of 15,000
(REFLECTING… approximately… DOW JONES INDEX of June 27, 2013)
See a further explanation of categories here…
ECONOMIC INDICES (60%)