COP21 is the same hot air that Kyoto was and, unfortunately, the media will spinning it the same way today they did then. 'COP21 deal signed, ending fossil fuel era: experts' by Kevin Grandia and published by the normally sane National Observer is emblematic of the hypnotic Kool-Aid that must have been passed out these past two weeks in Paris. But i'm sure that as the coming days unfold and after the 'experts' get some sleep and put some distance between themselves and the Kool-Aid dispenser, the details of the 'historic' deal be more soberly analysed.
The National Observer references Dr. James Hansen's landmark 1988 speech to Congress condemning the role of fossil fuels in Global Warming, for instance, but somehow forget to mention that just this morning Dr. Hansen called the Paris talks a fraud in his Guardian interview, saying, "It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”
Hansen's remark 'appear to be the cheapest' refers to the fact that the true full cost of fossil fuels must include all the accounted for damage being done to the environment and the eventual cleanup of those damages...costs that capitalist accounting schemes avoid as externalities. Profit is defined as the difference between the cost of production and the price, but when so much of the long-term costs are avoided it's no wonder that the fossil fuel industries appear wildly profitable when they are far from it.
According to Hansen, the international jamboree is pointless unless greenhouse gas emissions are taxed across the board. He argues that only this will force down emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst ravages of climate change.
In another section of the National Observer article our intrepid Kool-Aid consuming author Kevin Grandia writes "In fact, while this COP 21 was underway here in Paris there was news that global greenhouse gas emissions have peaked and are now falling." Linking to the Nature article which explains how slowing demand for coal in China should produce a drop in total global greenhouse-gas emissions for 2015.
Which is true...but...the demand for coal and all fossil fuels, like all commodities, despite their plummeting prices which should stimulate demand, are steadily dropping and will drop more as the big industrial users slow their production and their demand for all the commodities that go into the stuff consumers are forgoing as well as the energy it takes to run the factories that produce it. It's just another fallacy, another bit of, sleep deprived Kool-Aid induced, spin to equate a small drop in GHG levels in 2015 with anything other than the global recession.
So the question becomes why is global demand for the all the commodities that go into manufactured goods and the shipping of them [Baltic Dry Index] dropping precipitously? The answer is that enough consumers are far enough over their heads in debt that aggregate demand for needless crap is drying up [and that's certainly reflected in the zero to negative interest rates as well].
The global recession is real and like in every recession discretionary demand drops and consumers continue to buy necessities - like bread - but stop buying non-necessities - like Oreos. Consequently commodity prices fall causing degrowth and deflation, the twin evils of the speculator class and the reality that the Bankers and Billionaire's Club members refuse to speak of.
So here we are, the captured governments and media are spewing the bullshit they're told to spew by the elites in the hope that no-one will notice that the best hope the rest of us have for reversing the planetary pollution that will, if not curtailed somehow, destroy our kids futures is galloping on unabated. Another job well done by capitalism, eh.