Latest Developments, November 9

In the latest news and analysis…

Shady clients
The Telegraph reports that UK tax officials have received evidence suggesting Britain’s biggest bank “opened offshore accounts in Jersey for serious criminals”:

“The Telegraph understands that among those identified on the list are Daniel Bayes, a drug dealer who is now in Venezuela; Michael Lee, who was convicted of possessing more than 300 weapons at his house in Devon; three bankers facing major fraud allegations and a man once dubbed London’s ‘number two computer crook’.

The leak of the Jersey data, which is understood not to have involved HMRC paying for the list, is expected to have global ramifications as more than 4,000 residents of other countries are identified, although British residents account for more than half of all the clients.”

Corporate aid
MiningWatch has slammed a Canadian parliamentary committee report it says endorses “a wholesale handover of [the Canadian International Development Agency] to the private sector”:

“ ‘This committee report doesn’t just tie Canadian aid to mining interests, it would actually restructure CIDA to better serve the interests of the corporate sector,’ says MiningWatch spokesperson Catherine Coumans.

‘Rather than directing resources and political pressure towards stripping down the legal framework in other countries, the Canadian government should oblige Canadian mining companies operating overseas to meet strong environmental and human rights standards, including respect for free prior and informed consent,’ says Coumans. ‘The government should also ensure that people who have been harmed through the activities of a Canadian company have access to justice in Canadian courts.’ ”

Thinking the unthinkable
Reuters reports that the “taboo subject” of a carbon tax is beginning to garner support in some surprising circles as a potential way to avoid America’s so-called fiscal cliff:

“Prospects for such a tax as a way to address pollution and climate are probably dim in a still deeply-divided Congress, but some analysts say the measure would be more attractive if positioned as a source of new revenue.
In fact, a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, suggesting a $20 per ton tax on carbon emissions could halve the U.S. budget deficit over time.”

Subsidized overfishing
Inter Press Service reports on the latest research linking the $27 billion in fishing subsidies paid out by rich-country governments each year and the progressive destruction of fish stocks in poor countries:

“Most go to building the ever-more-efficient ships that are required to catch ever-dwindling populations of fish around the world, with yet more subsidies going to offset their growing consumption of fuel as they venture ever farther and deeper to fill their holds.
The result, says Dr. Rashid Sumaila, lead author of the [University of British Columbia] study, is that taxpayers are funding the depletion of the world’s fish populations and the impoverishment of coastal communities abroad.”

Extrajudicial drones
Barbara Lochbihler, a member of the European Parliament, explores some of the ethical and legal questions raised by the use of drones in warfare:

“Outside the context of war, in turn, state killings are legal only if they prove absolutely necessary to save lives. They must be conducted either in self-defense after an attack, or in anticipatory self-defense against an immediate threat, when taking time to discuss non-lethal alternatives is not feasible.
More than a decade after September 11, America’s drone program does not fall into the first category of reactive self-defense. Likewise, there is no evidence that any presumed terrorist who was killed outside of official war zones in the last few years represented a threat so immediate to US citizens’ lives that preventive and premeditated killing was the only option. Unless US leaders prove otherwise in every case, American UAV attacks in countries like Pakistan or Yemen should be called what they are: extrajudicial killings.

The US drone program does not make the world a safer place; it creates an environment in which unlawful killings can happen virtually anywhere, at any time, violating the fundamental human right not to be arbitrarily deprived of one’s life.”

Mining renegotiation
Reuters reports the DR Congo is seeking to reassure investors regarding plans to “sharply raise the state stake” in the country’s mining projects, promising to consult beforehand with mining companies as well as the World Bank and IMF:

“A draft of the proposed changes in the mining law seen by Reuters shows Congo is seeking a 35 percent stake in projects that is ‘free of charges and … non-dilutable.’ It also includes a proposal to double royalties on some minerals and introduces a 50 percent levy on miners’ ‘super profits’.
The draft revision defines ‘super profits’ as made when a commodity’s price rises exceptionally over 25 percent compared with its level at the time of the project’s feasibility study.”

Capital endorsement
Human Rights Watch has expressed disappointment at California voters’ decision to stick with the death penalty, arguing continued support for the “barbaric” practice puts them out of step with national and global trends:

“Between 2007 and 2011, the US ranked behind only China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq in number of death sentences handed down. There has been a heartening trend away from the death penalty in the last five years, however, Human Rights Watch said. Of the 17 states that have rejected the death penalty, 5 have done so since 2007 – New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Illinois, and Connecticut. Nationally, the number of executions has been declining since 2009.

Countries around the world have increasingly rejected the death penalty. Of the 193 United Nations member states, 94 have laws abolishing the sentence, while 137 are abolitionist in practice. According to the UN Secretary General, 175 countries were execution-free in 2011. Belarus is the only European country that still applies the death penalty.”

Hunger wages
The Daily Maverick reports that the “poverty, pitiful wages, appalling living conditions” behind South Africa’s global wine and fruit exports have led to violent protests and fears that more will follow:

“The labourers’ perspective is that the table grapes and citrus products that are farmed in the area are for the export market and that the farm owners are making more than enough money.

‘The wealth and well-being these workers produce shouldn’t be rooted in human misery,’ Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said when the report was released. ‘The government and the industries and farmers themselves, need to do a lot more to protect people who live and work on farms.’ ”

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Latest Developments, November 1

In the latest news and analysis…

Base talks
Radio France Internationale reports that negotiations are underway over where foreign troops will be based for a looming military intervention in Mali:

“Time and again, Mali declared there was no need for foreign troops in Bamako to secure institutions, but those troops were welcome in the North to fight Islamist forces. To which the international community responded there was no way its troops would go directly to the North, straight into the lion’s den.
Both sides have softened their position and in the end, the following solution is taking shape: foreign headquarters could be located in Koulikoro, 50km from Bamako. But Bamako’s airport will be the hub for aerial operations.” [Translated from the French.]

Ocean grabbing
The UN’s right to food expert has urged world governments to “take urgent steps to protect, sustain, and share the benefits” of fisheries and oceans:

“ ‘“Ocean-grabbing” – in the shape of shady access agreements that harm small-scale fishers, unreported catch, incursions into protected waters, and the diversion of resources away from local populations – can be as serious a threat as “land-grabbing,”’ [Olivier] De Schutter said as he unveiled a new report on fisheries and the right to food.

The UN expert called on governments to rethink the models of fisheries that they support, highlighting that small-scale fishers actually catch more fish per gallon of fuel than industrial fleets, and discard fewer fish. ‘Industrial fishing in far-flung waters may seem like the economic option, but only because fleets are able to pocket major subsidies while externalizing the costs of over-fishing and resource degradation. Future generations will pay the price when the oceans run dry,’ he said.”

Young adults
Reuters reports that Argentina’s lower house has voted 131 to 2 in favour of lowering the country’s voting age from 18 to 16:

“Skeptics say the new law is aimed at drumming up support for the president before legislative elections scheduled a year from now. Supporters say the measure aims to bring Argentina in line with progressive countries such as Ecuador and Brazil that have already extended voting right to people as young as 16.
[President Cristina] Fernandez-allied lower house member Diana Conti said the bill ‘is neither opportunistic nor demagogic,’ but rather seeks ‘to widen the electoral base of our democracy.’

More than a million new voters are estimated to be eligible to cast ballots now that the bill has passed both houses. The Senate approved the measure earlier this month.”

MDG blind spot
A new Save the Children report argues that the successors to the Millennium Development Goals must include a global strategy for tackling inequality, not just extreme deprivation:

“Consideration of how to tackle capital flight and to strengthen domestic taxation measures will be key to increasing domestic revenues. It is now widely accepted that illicit financial outflows (dominated by corporate tax evasion) dwarf receipts of aid.
Progressive taxation plays a critical role in raising revenues to fund social protection mechanisms and universal access to basic services, and also in establishing the social contract between states and citizens upon which effective political representation and accountability depend.
A major issue for the post-2015 framework is to what extent it should emphasise both domestic budgetary transparency and the international financial transparency between states that is necessary to combat illicit flows.”

Strangelovian world
The Environmental Defense Fund’s Gernot Wagner calls for scientific and governance measures to be taken now in preparation for the inevitable turn to geoengineering as a quick, cheap fix against climate change:

“Imagine a country badly hit by adverse climate changes: India’s crops are wilting; China’s rivers are drying up. Millions of people are suffering. What government, under such circumstances, would not feel justified in taking drastic action, even in defiance of world opinion?
Once we reach that tipping point, there won’t be time to reverse warming by pursuing collective strategies to move the world onto a more sustainable growth path. Instead, speed will be of the essence, which will mean trying untested and largely hypothetical techniques like mimicking volcanoes and putting sulfur particles in the stratosphere to create an artificial shield from the sun.
That artificial sunscreen may well cool the earth. But what else might it do? Floods somewhere, droughts in other places, and a host of unknown and largely unknowable effects in between. That’s the scary prospect. And we’d be experimenting on a planetary scale, in warp speed.”

Dirty Money
Deutsche Welle reports that there were more money laundering cases in Germany last year than at any time since the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Act came into effect in 1993:

“An especially clever trick is to legalize dirty money by running it past insolvency proceedings. Lately, it’s not only commodities that are exchanged, but services between larger networks of companies which are difficult to control. Even the trade of CO2 emission certificates is now being used as a means for money laundering.
Yet another problem arises when illegally acquired money is transfered to non-involved third parties to circumvent confiscation. In 2010, the authorities succeeded in only 150 out of 600 preliminary proceedings on this front.According to a study published by the Tax Justice Network that examined 70 countries, Germany is one of the biggest havens for tax evasion – ranking even before Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg or Jersey.”

Contentious project
Le Soleil reports that an Australian-owned mining project in Senegal is proving rather unpopular with the local population:

“Come to see how things are coming along for Grande Côte Opérations, a company specialized in the extraction and separation of sand, the Minister of Energy and Mines, Aly Ngouille Ndiaye, was greeted, along with his delegation, by angry crowds, demanding more participation in the project. According to the spokesman for the youth of Diogo, Mansour Diop, the protesters want more jobs and a better handling of compensation for their ancestral lands which have been given over to the company.
In their view, the rate of compensation has been too low. Minister Aly Ngouille Ndiaye said he was sympathetic to the claims of people who have seen their agricultural land expropriated by this large-scale project.” [Translated from the French.]

Latest Developments, May 8

In the latest news and analysis…

Big deal
Inter Press Service reports that closed-door talks are set to resume around the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership – potentially the biggest trade deal ever signed by the US – with major implications for global health.
“While U.S. global health policy has seen significant strengthening over the past five years, passage of the TPP ‘would start rolling this back,’ warns Peter Maybarduk, director of the Access to Medicines Program at Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group here.
Worldwide over the past 10 years, prices for HIV-related medicines, for instance, have fallen by 99 percent, largely driven by competition from generic drugs. While the fight against generics by large pharmaceutical interests has largely shifted away from the WTO, Maybarduk suggests, the TPP agreement signals the next iteration of that effort.
‘The TPP could well be the worst that we have seen,’ Maybarduk says. ‘Not only does it run contrary to the U.S.’s own pledges on global AIDS work, but the TPP will set the template for the entire Asia- Pacific region. That could have an impact on half of the world’s population.’ ”

Tackling overfishing
The Guardian reports that Senegal’s new government has revoked the fishing licenses of 29 foreign trawlers.
“Hunger is growing in Senegal and other Sahelian countries, but much of the catch by the foreign fleets ends up in Britain and the EU after being exported from ports like Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. Local fishing industry leaders in Senegal, Cape Verde, Mauritania and elsewhere say catches from inshore fishing have been decimated in the past 10 years because of overfishing. In addition, many other ‘pirate’ trawlers operate illegally in west African waters, further decimating stocks.
‘Senegal’s only resource is the sea,’ said Abdou Karim Sall, president of the Fishermen’s Association of Joal and the Committee of Marine Reserves in West Africa. ‘Unless something changes there will be a catastrophe for livelihoods, employment and food security.’ ”

Financial services hype
Juraj Dobrila University’s Milford Bateman argues that the “financial inclusion agenda” promoted by the World Bank is “nonsense.”
“First, as ever, there is the overarching effort to try to get the poor to uncritically accept the tools the rich have used to acquire their great wealth and become powerful. Finance is one of these tools. By claiming that helping the poor to ‘manage their money better’ will rapidly lead to economic and social benefits, the promoters of the financial inclusion agenda hope the poor will abandon any possible interest in supporting the collective capabilities and initiatives that history shows have massively empowered them. I would include here trade unions, social movements, strongly regulated labour markets, universal healthcare, public sector employment, a ‘developmental state’ and, most of all, the programmed redistribution of wealth and power.”

Islamophobia
The East London Communities Organisation’s Muhammad Abdul Bari writes that Europe’s “counter-jihad movement” poses a serious threat to the continent’s communal harmony.
“It is disheartening that a continent that had learnt many lessons in such a hard way, after the devastation of the two World Wars, and which prides itself in equality and human rights, is allowing itself to be influenced by the forces of intolerance and hate. It is now open season to malign Muslims because of their religious and cultural practices. Yet Muslim immigrants arriving after the war joined in the effort to rebuild the economies of war-torn Europe in the 1950s. In almost every field of life, Muslims have been an integral part of the European tapestry. Muslims are today at home in Europe, have been contributors to its past and are stakeholders in its future.
Yet the language and rhetoric used by the Far Right and the level of political expediency in mainstream European politics is mind boggling. The hate mongers are apparently succeeding in swapping a racist agenda for an Islamophobic one. The lacklustre response from European leaders has paved the way for anti-Muslim bigotry to move closer to the mainstream.”

Bribery’s cost
In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, Global Financial Integrity’s Clark Gascoigne argues that the sort of bribery Wal-Mart is alleged to have committed in Mexico is neither victimless nor unavoidable.
“Environmental regulations exist for many reasons—to protect the health, safety and well-being of the community. If environmental laws were circumvented to build a new Wal-Mart supercenter too close to an important watershed, for example, drinking water could be contaminated and people could become sick or die.

While bribery is pervasive in Mexican society, it is very difficult for small businesses and local residents to escape paying up. They don’t carry the weight needed to change an entire society. However, a major company like Wal-Mart—with the promise of bringing thousands of jobs to local Mexican communities—has the leverage needed to say no to corruption and still conduct business. The company, apparently, chose not to do that.”

Immigration targeting
The Globe and Mail reports on concerns that Canada’s immigration policy is moving away from 50 years of trying to remove race and national origin from the equation.
“Overall it would be a mistake, says [Dalhousie University’s Howard Ramos], to conceive of the uneven outcomes for different immigrant groups as evidence that immigration was failing.
‘Immigrants in Canada have a high degree of integration. This [language] policy doesn’t reflect that success at all. It’s creating a problem where I don’t necessarily think a problem exists,’ he says. ‘The points system was introduced to correct the injustices of focusing on culture and language too heavily. It was a society and a time that was much more ethnocentric – and I don’t think it’s a time we should try and return to.’ ”

Democracy undone
Inter Press Service reports on some of the problems bilateral investment treaties pose for governments wishing to implement sound public policy.
“ ‘Foreign investors may challenge, in an international arbitration process, any change in law and policy to protect the environment and public health, to promote social or cultural goals, or to grapple with financial or economic crises. However, it is impossible to predict the outcome with any precision because each will depend in large part on the composition of the arbitral tribunal deciding the case, which consists of three highly-paid individuals, typically specialized in commercial rather than public law,’ [according to the International Institute for Sustainable Developments Nathalie Bernasconi].

‘A lack of transparency, unpredictability and conflicts of interest have simply become unacceptable. This discontent has led countries like Australia to disfavor investor-state dispute settlement entirely and others to terminate their investment treaties.
‘Watching these developments, countries like Brazil, which never ratified any of its investment treaties, must count themselves lucky,’ she added.”

Latest Developments, April 3

In the latest news and analysis…

Aid and inequality
New data suggest aid actually increases the gap between rich and poor in recipient countries, according to Helmut Schmidt University’s Dierk Herzer and the Kiel Institute’s Peter Nunnenkamp.
“All in all, there is little reason for being optimistic and expecting foreign aid to be effective in alleviating poverty in recipient countries even if it had no discernible average growth effects. Calls on donors to strengthen the conditionality of aid, focus on countries with less corruption and better governance, and prevent leakage by stricter monitoring and closer involvement of the poor in aid delivery are insufficient even if such measures help restrict local rent-seeking. Better accountability is also required on the part of donors. Aid agencies tend to ignore their own incentive problems which prevent aid from reducing inequality. Public outrage in the North about corruption in the South abstracts from the selfish aid motives that lead donors to favour rich local elites. Overcoming the gap between the donors’ rhetoric on pro-poor growth and inequality-increasing aid allocation is no easier than overcoming rent-seeking and leakage in the recipient countries.”

Beyond aid
War on Want’s John Hilary argues it is time to “move beyond aid in any discussion of social and economic justice” and calls for a “radical reorientation” of the global economy towards a system that is not stacked in favour of rich countries.
“Sadly, the millennium development goals agreed in 2000 drew attention away from this pressing agenda. By focusing on the symptoms of human poverty rather than its underlying determinants, the goals have arguably diverted attention from the real business of development. Reclaiming that agenda will be a key part of moving the debate forward beyond 2015.
But perhaps the greatest problem with aid is that it perpetuates the colonial myth that the countries of the global south require ‘our’ intervention to save them from themselves.”

Provoking piracy
The Guardian quotes a Senegalese fisherman who suggests overfishing by foreign boats off Senegal’s coast will lead to violence if left unchecked.
“The catches are already down 75% on 10 years ago because of the foreign fishing boats. They destroy our gear. If this goes on there will be a catastrophe. Until now we haven’t taken any direct action against the foreign fishermen. Once we took the captain from one of the vessels and we beat him around the balls.
For sure, in 10 years time people will go fishing with guns. They are desperate. When people had enough to eat and drink, Senegal was a calm country. As the situation becomes more difficult it will become more and more like Somalia. We will fight for fish at sea. If we cannot eat, what do you expect us to do?”

New paradigm
The UN News Centre reports that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said a new economic model is necessary in order for sustainable development to become possible.
“ ‘Gross National Product (GDP) has long been the yardstick by which economies and politicians have been measured. Yet it fails to take into account the social and environmental costs of so-called progress,’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his remarks at a high-level meeting at UN Headquarters in New York.

‘We need a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness,’ the Secretary-General told the meeting’s participants.”

 

Affirmative action ban
The Associated Press reports that a US federal court has upheld California’s ban on university admission policies that take race, ethnicity or gender into consideration.
“At least six states have adopted bans on using affirmative action in state college admissions. Besides California and Michigan, they include Arizona, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Washington.
Advocates of affirmative action say such bans lead to the exclusion of minority students and less campus diversity.
In California, the year after ban was adopted, the number of black, Latino and Native American students at the University of California’s most prestigious campuses — Berkeley and Los Angeles — plummeted by 50 percent, according to the plaintiffs cited in the court opinion.”

Happy science
Columbia University’s Earth Institute has released the first edition of the World Happiness Report, in which it explains the “new science of happiness.”
“Over time as living standards have risen, happiness has increased in some countries, but not in others (like for example, the United States). On average, the world has become a little happier in the last 30 years (by 0.14 times the standard deviation of happiness around the world).”

EU transparency
The Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative’s Bishop Stephen Munga argues that the EITI is useful but limited.
“It provides information at a national level, but does not enable communities to know how much wealth was generated in their locality and should therefore be returned to them. It is also voluntary. Governments decide whether to sign up. Only 35 have done so, leaving dozens of resource-rich countries with no publically available information.
This is why we need robust EU legislation revealing information at project level and published in all countries where EU companies work. Information must be relevant to local communities and attributed to the projects in their area. If not, legislation will simply not achieve its intended aim.”

Food racism
Le Monde reports on the debate in Austria over attempts to change traditional food names that “perpetuate racial prejudice.”
“The rightwing press was quick to jump on the story. Would it be necessary to change ‘Moor in a shirt’ to ‘Othello,’ asked the Kronen Zeitung tabloid, always eager to ridicule political correctness, while a commentator with the daily Die Presse slammed the ‘paternalistic lobby’ and the ‘professional indignants.’

‘Words are a key part of collective identity,’ counters SOS-Mitmensch’s Alexander Pollack. ‘And Austrians proved that by insisting, when they joined the EU, on keeping their own food names, notably for vegetables. If potatoes [erdäpfel in Austria, kartoffel in Germany] are taken so seriously here, the fight for human dignity and respect for others must be too.’” (Translated from the French.)

Latest Developments, February 21

In the latest news and analysis…

Perpetual growth
The Guardian reports on a new UN-commissioned study that argues the international community needs to take “dramatic action” if it wants to “avert a collapse of civilisation.”
“ ‘The rapidly deteriorating biophysical situation is more than bad enough, but it is barely recognised by a global society infected by the irrational belief that physical economies can grow forever and disregarding the facts that the rich in developed and developing countries get richer and the poor are left behind.
‘The perpetual growth myth … promotes the impossible idea that indiscriminate economic growth is the cure for all the world’s problems, while it is actually the disease that is at the root cause of our unsustainable global practices’, [the authors] say.”

Plundering Somalia
Inter Press Service reports on a new paper criticizing international policy towards Somalia, with one of the authors suggesting this week’s London summit on the country’s future “seeks mainly to rally public opinion around more violence, more intervention, and more counterterrorism options” rather than promoting a holistic approach to problem solving.
“[Global Policy Forum’s James] Paul said the violence-prone naval approach [to halting piracy] has not worked, because it ignores the illegal foreign fishing and toxic waste dumping that is taking place off the Somali coast.
The fishing and dumping provokes the piracy and has led ordinary Somalis to approve the piracy as a legitimate form of national defence.
But powerful members of the Security Council, notably the U.S. and the UK, have blocked any action on fishing and dumping.
‘They pretend that there is no information about the matter, even while their naval fleets are closely monitoring the movement of all ships in Somali waters,’ Paul said. ‘So much for root causes and holistic approaches. Violence is virtually the only option allowed onto the table in London.’ ”

UN responsibility
The New Media Advocacy Project’s Abby Goldberg writes about a legal petition that calls on the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti to compensate and apologize to victims of a deadly cholera outbreak thought to have been caused by UN personnel.
“If the petition is successful, it will be the first case in history in which the UN takes legal responsibility for harm caused by their personnel.

The UN must consider the legal request and how to respond, not only for Haitians, but also for the success of peacekeeping operations globally. This case is about Haiti, but it is also about the UN and a changing world. As one of the lawyers who filed the case said, ‘there is a difference between immunity and impunity. Impunity cannot be tolerated.’ The UN can, and must, do better.”

Emission friction
Oxfam’s Duncan Green is baffled by widespread international opposition to the EU’s plan to charge airlines flying in and out of Europe for their carbon emissions, given that three-quarters of the greenhouse gases taxed would come from European and American carriers.
“The main objection to the EU’s policy is that it applies to air-miles clocked up outside European airspace. But the vast majority of emissions captured by the EU [Emission Trading Scheme] scope are from EU and US operators.  By implication, if India and others genuinely want developed countries to act to cut GHG emissions it would seem against their own interest to try to block the EU ETS, because obviously the EU would never apply it just to its own carriers – so if they were to be successful they’d also prevent us doing something about the large majority of emissions from EU/US carriers.”

Re-inventing the World Bank
Former World Bank executive Ana Palacio says the debate over the US monopoly on the institution’s presidency is “legitimate,” but thinks the organization requires far more significant reforms.
“Just as reconstruction finance gave way to development lending over the course of the Bank’s history, its current focus on banking operations should be reconsidered, as the organization’s main source of added value now lies in its formidable potential as a center of knowledge and a coordinator of international policies.

Today, the international community should look for a World Bank president who is attuned to ordinary people’s growing refusal to tolerate glaring global inequalities, and who understands that development is more than GDP growth. Such a leader, regardless of his or her country of origin, will reinvent the World Bank for the century ahead.”

Universal energy
The Steps Centre’s Rob Byrne and Jim Watson highlight the argument that the world’s poor should not be required to take a low-carbon approach to achieving universal energy access.
“[Practical Action’s Teodoro] Sanchez estimates that half the world’s energy-poor could switch to cooking on sustainable biomass and half to liquefied petroleum gas. Furthermore, half could access electricity from diesel generators while the other half do so from renewable sources. If these plans were implemented, he argues, the increase in global CO2 emissions would be less than 2% above 2005 levels.
If the world takes climate change seriously, this increase could easily be absorbed by cuts in industrialised country emissions and further action to slow emissions growth in the rapidly developing countries (especially China). The cost of this up to 2030 would be about $570bn (including capacity building and institutional costs); less than 3% of the estimated global energy investments needed during the same period.”

Questioning development
And, finally, a piece from last week by the Latin American Center of Social Ecology’s Eduardo Gudynas who argues sustainability will require a profound questioning of the concept of development and a recognition of the rights of nature. 
“The social and environmental crisis is so serious that it is now time to put aside minor adjustments and reforms, and instead address the root causes of resistance to the idea of development. We must adopt an approach whereby the term ‘sustainable development’ no longer requires the suffix ‘development’. The civil society programme in Rio+20 should not focus simply on fixing the superficial problems of development: it is necessary to look for alternatives to the entire body of ideas about development.

If sustainable development strengthens its demands for change, it must abandon the traditional idea of development and thus break with the anthropocentric ethics that are characteristic of Western cultural tradition.”