Our lives are becoming governed by hashtags and acronyms.
This morning we wake up to the news that #COP15 has reached an agreement. CO2 emissions, and their equivalents will be reduced so that our climate is limited to a 1.5C increase. A great and totally unexpected outcome.
Excepting that this means coal, oil and gas production must be reduced. What is the use of active coal mines and petroleum wells if their product is not being used. From my early reading of the Paris agreement, countries have either ten or 15 years before they need to show their progress in reducing carbon use. Plenty of time for multinationals to buy enough votes in an assortment of carbon-rich countries to increase the amount produced.
But there will be some forms of trade sanctions brought to bear on those nations which do not get behind the Paris Agreement and actually reduce their useage of carbon. Australia is using some creative accounting in its carbon use to appear as though enough is being done. The real numbers should, of course, include PRODUCTION of carbon emitting mine products as well. All that coal and coal-seam gas will add carbon to the atmosphere. It just will not be emitted here in Australia.
With our short-term electoral memory, the Trans Pacific Partnership has faded into the background of our consciousness. Yet if you think about it, the Paris Climate Agreement is the exact reason the multinational companies have been working so hard to get the TPP accepted by as many countries as possible.
Those multinationals which have created the problem of climate change have now set up a win-win situation for themselves.
One of the problems we “ordinary” people see with the TPP is that national sovereignty is lost as the Multinational Corporates gain the ability to sue National Governments for any losses Government legislation causes those corporates. Somehow, our “bought and paid-for” elected representatives do not see a problem with this.
We are now just waiting on the USA to finally sign the TPP and then, in ten or fifteen years, when “climate mitigating” Nations attempt to impose trade sanctions on “non-climate mitigating” Nations, the Multinationals get to take everyone to an International Court which they are setting up under the TPP and from which there is no appeal.
All the coal mines which will be approved in the next five or ten years, all the fracking wells encouraged by Governments will all be protected by the TPP. If any country dares to close them down they will be required to make huge reparations to the Multinationals involved, like Adani, like the Koch Bros, like Chevron.
Any country which signs up as a customer, such as India, which then makes a meaningful cut to their carbon use will also be in the firing line. How dare they take action which will reduce the profits of a Multinational?
The existence of the agreements with the acronyms “COP15” and “TPP” cause me to think back to my youth and a novel I read. Written in 1952 and set in an undefined future to protect the guilty, it was by Fredrick Pohl and Cyril Kornbluth. Originally named “Gravy Planet” and about corporations ruling the world and the wars being fought between themselves, it became “The Space Merchants”.
Like it or not, we are entering what was once only a fictional world where national pride is gone and corporate loyalty is all. And that 1.5C limit to the increase in world temperature will be the real fiction.