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Climate Change, Peak Oil, Business As Usual. Or... Transition
By Films For Action / filmsforaction.org
May 26, 2009
The Waxman-Markey Climate Bill is a political compromise that makes Coal, Electric Industries Big Winners in the Climate Bill Deal, but simply doesn't address the factual scientific reality.  Corporate funded Big "Enviro" groups say compromise is good because before now, we had no climate bill at all.  However, a review by critics of the bill's provisions indicates that no bill may be better than this bill.



If you think it's about renewable energy, here's what Rep. Markey said: "We have in it huge subsidies for clean coal—huge—much more than we have in for renewables.  We already have all of these nuclear programs, as well.  No one is saying that any of these technologies are going to be excluded."  And here's what Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen said: "We can talk about the aspirations of hoping to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions, but when you look at what this bill will do, it will not result in significant reductions." Climate, Energy Bill Weakened by Industry Lobbying



But what's worse in Waxman-Markey is that the CO2 offsets oftentimes exacerbate emission, such as industrial hog farms that trade methane for CO2 and claim a marketable offset.  And the Government Accountability Office (GAO) claims it's virtually impossible to verify whether carbon offsets represent real emissions reductions, while US-purchased offsets in developing countries often subsidize business-as-usual projects. Good news, there's a climate bill - bad news, it stinks




The challenge is staggering. An energy chemist at the California Institute of Technology, Nate Lewis, calculates that even slow worldwide economic growth of 1.6 percent per
year and dramatic increases in efficiencies of 500 percent above present levels will still create a doubling of our energy needs by 2050.  If we are to meet the 80 percent CO2 reduction target by then, nearly twice the total energy we produce today will have to be clean zero
carbon energy (Newsweek, Mar 23/09). Very Best Strategies Crucial For Green Energy & Climate Stability


The bottom line is that bottom line profit concerns are dictating energy policy, trying "to have our cake and eat it too" by maintaining economic expansion without suffering the ecological damage.  This doesn't even account for exponential rise in population.  But if we try to maintain the current level of industrial society, and resolve peak oil inflation with any and all alternatives to petroleum, we will push the globe to ecological catastrophe.  Yet almost universal in all discussions is the assumption to maintain the current level of industrial society, and "solutions" must fit that assumption.  Such denial and desperate clinging to society's golden age of oil and creature comforts is wishful thinking.  Oil has peaked, and energy descent means everything is becoming prohibitively expensive -including climate solutions.




The Transition Initiative- "from oil dependency to local resilience" - appears to be the wisest course of action. Climate change says we should change, whereas peak oil says we will be forced to change.  Both categorically state that fossil fuels have no role to play in our future, and the sooner we can stop using them the better.  Both climate change and peak oil must be given an equal degree of importance in any decision-making processes.  The Transition Handbook is a well presented manual and well worth reading.  In a nutshell it says the question is not "How can we keep everything going as it is?"  We should instead ask
"How we can ensure well-being for all within realistic energy constraints?".  Rather than deciding our plan of action first
and then picking the energy options to match it, we should start by basing our choices on asking the right questions about the energy available to underpin our just purposes and local plans.

  

The Sustainability Action Network (headquartered in Lawrence, KS) has launched a Transition Kaw Valley Initiative, and Kansas City is launching a Transition Kansas City Initiative in about a week - see below for details.



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LAWRENCE PEAK OIL TASK FORCE ¤ FOURTH MEETING
Thursday, 28 May 2009, 4:00pm
City Manager's Conference Room, City Hall 4th Floor, 6th & Massachusetts St.

The Task Force will discuss how to structure itself into sub-committee focus areas such as: food security, transportation, scarce energy land use planning, medical and public services, emergency planning, etc. These meetings are open to the public, and the public is encouraged to attend. And the Peak Oil Task Force web page is developing an extensive list of resources (click on "resources") including other cities' action plans such as San Francisco and Austin, videos, advocacy groups like Post Carbon Institute and Transition Boulder County, and key data and reports.


TRANSITION KANSAS CITY ¤ PLANNING GROUP
Thursday, 4 June 2009, 7:00pm
Plaza Library, 4801 Main St., Kansas City MO, main floor small meeting room

One month ago, there was an exploratory meeting hosted by the Kansas City Greens to gauge interest in a Transition KC Initiative. About 30 people showed up and decided that the need, the interest, and the information are ready, so they called a planning meeting to chart out their course. For more info, or to get on their e-mail list, call (816)767-8873, or contact them at

As George Monbiot put it: "Our hopes of a soft landing rest on just two propositions: that the oil producers' figures are correct, and that governments act before they have to. I hope that reassures you." Reassured? Act now.



LAWRENCE SUSTAINABILITY ADVISORY BOARD
Wednesday, 10 June 2009, 5:30pm
Recycling and Resource Recovery Annex, 320 N.E. Industrial Lane, Lawrence KS

The June agenda has not been published, so we apologize for that. The S.A.B. meets monthly to discuss any and all aspects of furthering sustainability policies and practices by the City of Lawrence government and private persons. The public is welcome. Minutes are finalized in about a month after each meeting http://www.lawrencerecycles.org/envadvisoryboard.shtml


KANSAS CITY ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMISSION
Wednesday, 10 June 2009, 4:00-6:00pm
Mid America Regional Council, Rivergate Center 2nd floor, 600 Broadway, Kansas City MO

The Environmental Management Commission promotes environmental awareness and resource efficiency to the City's leader and staff, to assist the progress of Kansas City toward sustainability. Members of the general public are encouraged to attend and observe meetings and to join and participate in its efforts. They recently published Sustainability in Kansas City - guidebook detailing the progress of "greening Kansas City". More information and the EMC April 2009 minutes are available at http://www.kcmo.org/manager.nsf/web/emc


PERMACULTURE & SUSTAINABLE SOILS ¤ LECTURE #4 IN THE SERIES
Tuesday, 16 June 2009, 7:00-9:00pm
Douglas County Co-op Extension Office, 21st & Harper Ave, Lawrence KS

In this fourth of seven seminars, Steve Moring of the Kaw Permaculture Collaborative will examine living and biologically diverse soils that support abundant life. We will examine basic soil types, their chemistry, nutrient cycling, and dynamics of interaction of life in the soil. We will learn the basics in creating productive soils without the use of petrochemical inputs, an imperative for the coming Peak Oil cost inflation. Pre-registration is required by contacting Steve prior to 16 May.

More info available from Steve Moring at (785)863-4102, or Bill Wood at (785)843-7058, KPC is a project of the Sustainability Action Network, Inc.



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The SUSTAINABILITY ACTION NETWORK, Inc. is a Kansas not-for-profit organization
Our mission is to advocate and organize societal scale action to address sustainability issues. The triple crises of Energy-Ecology-Economy, the global "3E Trifecta", are building so rapidly that large scale action is needed immediately and methodically to overcome institutional barriers and advance public policy that preserves ecological sustainability. Our focus is to build a relocalized economy-ecology in concert with the Transition Town movement in many other communities. To join the Sustainability Action Network (until our website is operational) please contact us at: "paradigm@ixks dot com."


This article was adapted from SAN's weekly Announcement Newsletter. To subscribe to this list, please send an e-mail to "paradigm@ixks dot com" with the subject line reading “subscribe.”
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Climate Change, Peak Oil, Business As Usual. Or... Transition