Archive for the 'politics' Category


#emissionvaluesintocarads – update 2


Yearly German emissions in the transport sector. (180 Mio. t is roughly 2,2 t per capita, or 1/5 of total emissions) (Source)

In November, I submitted this petition to the German Bundestag, to contain unmissably in each car advertising the CO2 emissions for 10,000 km drive and the production of the car. Recently it was posted on the Bundestag petition forum website (see this post). The opportunity to comment or sign up there is now over. 52 people became co-signers.

I then did some promotion work by mailing to the (German newspaper) TAZ and my local green MEP, but without noteworthy response. Apart from this, I did not have the slightest inclination to deal with the matter because of a peculiar unpleasant excitement in my stomach.

Now a letter arrived today that reads: “The investigation has now been completed. ”

I suspect that this is a text module and such petitions usually refer to any administrative action that went wrong and where the facts need to be determined.

The matter now goes to the Petitions Committee. I am really curious. Stagnation of emissions in the transport sector at a high level has been known for years. Similarly, it is known that Germany will miss its self imposed climate protection goal, because of this among other things. The general attitude of the CDU / CSU seems to be: “We want to protect the climate, but we want nothing to change” (“paradoxical conservatism”). The SPD and unfortunately and also parts of the Left are saying: “We want to protect the climate, but we want no job losses.” (“Decorated clientelism”).

Well, let’s see if Kant or Altmaier (Minister for Economy and Energy) will carry off the palm …


make advertizing (a bit) more climate friendly


Imagine, in every car advertizing, the CO2 emissions for the manufacturing (10 – 30 t) and usage (1 – 3 t / 10.000km) were presented in big letters. Wouldn’t that change the mindset of the general society in the right direction?

Last November , I got up a parliamentary petition for a law enforcing exactly this. As I am German, it has been submitted on a special website of the Bundestag. It is currently beeing made public on its petition website, where also discussions may take place. I must admit, that there are only a couple of contributions as of now, which is no wonder, as the website is practically unknown, and there are quite a few other petitions going on.

If you are interested in the text, you find it on above mentioned webpage – Google translate is delivering pretty good translations lately.

Feel free to do something similar in your country.



Respect and Self Interest

Thinking about justifying differences in income. The topic has many aspects; Here I would like to mentally embark on the respect for the higher:

When the lower is respecting the higher, he is giving him a space of movement and the emotional power to fill his role well. This is benefitting himself insofar as the success of his group is promoted. Part of this respect can be, but is not necessarily, that the lower grants the higher a bigger chunk of the cake being baked together. This is creating additional room for movement for the latter.

The good boss is aware that the respect of his / her people deserves to be earned. He / she feels obliged to them and not to his / her sources of money – or only insofar as this is necessary for the success of the group (company, village, state, club…) and its participants.

The thing becomes awkward when the direction of effect is reversed, when the higher is demanding respect, obedience and his extra gain as the duty of the sub. He can force this by his powerful position – and by a “natural” alliance with the other leaders, this forcing becomes almost unassailable; this is Marx’s “class in and of itself”, and has shown itself over the millennia as a class struggle from above. In doing so, an elitist world view is installed in the minds that is obstructing the emergence of movements that can challenge the structure.

In spite of all the Enlightenment, revolutions and democratization, we are still encountering this elitist view of the world at every turn. Within the shelter given by it, the superiors can overdo it with impunity, and that is what the nobility and the upper classes have done since time immemorial. As shown in 1789 and 1917, they did not get away with it always. The countermovement was able to condense into actionable forces and eliminate the elitist order – without, however, finding a wise approach to the phenomenon of leading and let-oneself-beeing-led.

The advantage of electoral democracy is that power is institutionally anchored in the voluntary respect of the led. In a huge area of society however, the economy, this is not the case, although many leaders feel the commitment to the led and seek to act accordingly. The ideology prevailing there is one in which the satisfaction of the participants (i.e.employees) is not a value in itself, but a means of motivation, and this again a means of capital return. The lords of capital are imbued with elite sentiment, sustained by the rules of order, but not by voluntary respect.

What to do? Frankly, I don’t know.


Europe and daily life


For me, at the level of my daily life, Europe means little. At least, this is how it seems. But then I see my Spanish flatmate, and I realize how well the process of growing together is progressing, and how positively the political institution of Europe has affected it.

But on the political level, Europe means something exciting to me. A family with very different members who are nevertheless a family. And I hope that there is a European way of action, that goes beyond the lowest common denominator of the opinions of the 28 Heads of State, who in turn are responsible to several dozen national political parties.

The Guardian has now launched a series of articles on Europe designed to give an overview of many different aspects of the rapprochement process. One of the first articles deals with income inequality: Europe is the world’s least income-differentiated region. 1)

The existence of multinational corporations forces supranational political organs. That is absolutely trivial.

The European political system is not undemocratic, but it is based on the nations and their interests that must be negotiated – not on the European citizen who happens to live in this or that nation. This other thinking is developing slowly and I like that.

A new left-wing European party has recently formed, the DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe – Movement 2025). That is touching for me. They wrote a “Manifesto” which is not accidentally reminding of that other manifesto published in 1848. It had its foundation meeting in the Volksbühne at Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Berlin !! Funny, isn’t it? And workshops in rooms of the Technical University, my alma mater.

I am still undecided whether I will get involved there, but I will definitely keep the matter on the screen.

1) Scandinavia is the leader, France and Germany very similar and somewhere in the middle, Spain and Greece the most unequal in Europe. Mexico, USA, Turkey, Chile the most unequal among all OECD countries (source).


The Web Of The Good

picture: NASA

picture: NASA

In November, the next, that is the 21st, UN Climate Conference will take place in Paris. It is a highly complex event with thousands of participants within the UNFCCC – the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Its goal is to set mandatory emission limits for all member states. Predictably, this will be a difficult task (even given, that climate change and its consequences are hardly disputed any more – except in the US of A).

The EU created with its cap-and-trade-system the biggest tool globally to decrease GHG emissions. But it went to work too faint-heartedly from the beginning. This is why the system is currently in the process of being reformed, concerning the rate of decrease as well as some modalities.

Meanwhile, under the radar of the mass media, a global emission alliance is forming from the bottom up.

It all started with single cities and regions which decided to put their own house in order first and give themselves their own emissions cap. This happened (and in some cases will happen soon) in Australia, New Zealand, California, Quebec, Tokyo, Kasakhstan, Mexico, Washington (State), Ontario, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative with 9 east coast states in the US, South Korea, some Regions in China.

California and Quebec have now joined their emissions allowances systems. This means, that a power plant in California, which did not use its bought allowances, can sell it to another in Quebec, which needs more than expected, et vice versa.

And this is just the beginning. More and more regions with local certificate systems will connect with each other and make their allowances mutually tradeable. The EU is no exception: expanding the certificate trade region is woven into its program, first with Australia.

The advantage of this approach: a big single global treaty is not necessary. The regions can follow individually their moral aspirations or not. Each region joining increases the factual and moral / normative power of the movement.

It is a bottom – up – process. The participants feel much less alienated compared to a process, where the formation of will must first rise to the very top, where some regulations are adopted, which subsequently take effect on the lower, local institutions. This whole process can easily be blocked by the unwilling. With the bottom – up – process, the unwilling become mere bystanders and will be bypassed.

Feels good.

(translation from my german blog post)


Syria – the first climate war?

This is certainly an exaggeration.

But there is at least some truth in it.

What few know is, that Syria suffered a heavy drought between 2006 and 2011. The NYT writes (here), that it forced a million peasants into the cities, adding up to another million refugees from Iraq, all left on their own, more or less empoverished without proper education and jobs.

With all the surrounding powers financing one ore the other insurgent group to fight their proxy war, the connection from drought to instability in this case is not one-to-one (and will probably never be), but it is definitely there.

An NCAR analysis (look here) predicted, that the mediterranean area will have very severe drought problems in 2060. Recent statistics (look here) show, that this prediction is corroborated by an already measurable increase in drought in the mediterranean area (NOAA):

Microsoft Word - JCLID1100296_CoverSheet.doc

Update: There appeared a balanced article in the Guardian – here.

July 2018
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