2008年12月11日 星期四

Declaration on the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Saul Landau, Cindy Sheehan, Nelson P. Valdés, Cynthia McKinney
December 10, 2008

Saul Landau, an internationally-known scholar, author, commentator, and filmmaker on foreign and domestic policy issues. His most widely praised achievements are the over forty films he has produced on social, political and historical issues, and worldwide human rights, for which he won the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award, the George Polk Award for Investigative Reporting, and the First Amendment Award, as well as an Emmy for "Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang." Landau has written over ten books, short stories and poems. He received an Edgar Allen Poe Award for Assassination on Embassy Row, a report on the 1976 murders of Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier and his colleague, Ronni Moffitt. He is a senior Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and a senior fellow of the Transnational Institute. His latest book is A Bush and Botox World. His latest film is We don't play golf here! And other stories of globalisation .

Cindy Sheehan is an American anti-war activist, whose son, Casey, was killed during his service in the Iraq War in 2004. She attracted international attention in August 2005 for her extended demonstration at a camp outside President George W. Bush's Texas ranch, garnering her both support and criticism. In 2008, she ran against Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi in California, because Pelosi did not introduce articles of impeachment against President Bush, but came second to Pelosi in the election.

Nelson P. Valdés is Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of New Mexico, specializing in Latin America . He is a director of the Cuba-L Direct Projec and has written extensively on Cuban history and politics.

Cynthia McKinney is a former United States Representative and the 2008 Green Party nominee for President of the United States. McKinney served as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993–2003 and 2005–2007, first representing Georgia's 11th Congressional District and then Georgia's 4th Congressional District. She is the first African-American woman to have represented Georgia in the House.

On the morning of December 10, 2008 Cindy Sheehan, Nelson Valdes, Saul Landau, and Cynthia McKinney signed a declaration as the U.S. delegates to an international conference assessing sixty years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights sponsored by the Network of Networks in Defense of Humanity held in Havana Cuba. Here is our declaration:

We celebrate sixty years of failure. Human rights have been converted from a noble goal into an instrument of foreign policy used by rich and powerful nations against the poorest and weakest people of the world.

In 2008, almost three billion people throughout the world suffer the most basic privations.

After sixty years of empty human rights rhetoric, we demand that governments focus their attention on fulfilling the promises of 1948. We write this document on the parchment of environment, which everyone shares, and has warned us all to drastically change the ways in which mass production and consumption take place.

1. The United States is a member of the commonwealth of nations;

2. Benefits accrue to those who cooperate with the global community and view other countries as potential partners for the upliftment of humankind;

3. Unfortunately, the leadership of the United States Government has consistently been a disappointment to those of us who value the tenets and the possibilities for humankind embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

4. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the rights of self-determination, the rights of women, the indigenous, and the rights of association, expression, and resistance to protect and preserve these precious rights;

5. Poverty, severe income inequality on one hand and greed and over-consumption by a few, on the other hand, deny for far too many on the planet universal application of the Universal Declaration;

6. Climate change, unsustainable agriculture, unbridled militarism, terrorism with impunity, nuclear proliferation represent threats to our planet and threats to humankind;

7. The current implosion of the engine of U.S. imperialism and global capitalism contains the seeds of a new global order in which the rights of humankind and the Universal Declaration can find universal application;

8. The incoming Barack Obama Administration has a unique opportunity to make a clean break with the policies of the past, including installation of dictatorships, campaigns of invasion, terror, and slander, torture, and occupation, and can build bridges of peace and justice with dignity and respect to Africa, Latin America, and Europe;

9. Therefore, we call on the President-elect to put the United States on a clear course of global fraternity by

* a) invoking the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

* b) rejecting torture and terror and demonstrating this by closing and vacating Guantanamo and ceding to Cuba its rightful patrimony,

* c) ending the U.S. embargo,

* d) releasing the Cuban Five, and

* e) extraditing Luis Posada Cariles;

10. While this list is not exhaustive, it represents a much'needed down payment on hope and change.

11. We will disseminate this document through our respective networks.

Signed: Saul Landau, Cindy Sheehan, Nelson Valdés, Cynthia McKinney

"And advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool." PNAC, Rebuilding America's Defenses, p. 60

The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can "throw the rascals out" at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. -- Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in our Time

2008年12月2日 星期二

Evo Morales on addressing climate change: `Save the planet from capitalism'

Evo Morales Aym
President of Bolivia

November 28, 2008 -- Sisters and brothers, today our Mother Earth is ill. From the beginning of the 21st century we have lived the hottest years of the last thousand years. Global warming is generating abrupt changes in the weather: the retreat of glaciers and the decrease of the polar ice caps; the increase of the sea level and the flooding of coastal areas, where approximately 60% of the world population live; the increase in the processes of desertification and the decrease of fresh water sources; a higher frequency in natural disasters that the communities of the earth suffer[1]; the extinction of animal and plant species; and the spread of diseases in areas that before were free from those diseases.

One of the most tragic consequences of the climate change is that some nations and territories are the condemned to disappear by the increase of the sea level.

Everything began with the industrial revolution in 1750, which gave birth to the capitalist system. In two and a half centuries, the so called “developed” countries have consumed a large part of the fossil fuels created over five million centuries.

Competition and the thirst for profit without limits of the capitalist system are destroying the planet. Under Capitalism we are not human beings but consumers. Under Capitalism Mother Earth does not exist, instead there are raw materials. Capitalism is the source of the asymmetries and imbalances in the world. It generates luxury, ostentation and waste for a few, while millions in the world die from hunger in the world. In the hands of capitalism everything becomes a commodity: the water, the soil, the human genome, the ancestral cultures, justice, ethics, death … and life itself. Everything, absolutely everything, can be bought and sold and under capitalism. And even “climate change” itself has become a business.

“Climate change” has placed all humankind before a great choice: to continue in the ways of capitalism and death, or to start down the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.

In the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the developed countries and economies in transition committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5% below the 1990 levels, through the implementation of different mechanisms among which market mechanisms predominate.

Until 2006, greenhouse effect gases, far from being reduced, have increased by 9.1% in relation to the 1990 levels, demonstrating also in this way the breach of commitments by the developed countries.

The market mechanisms applied in the developing countries[2] have not accomplished a significant reduction of greenhouse effect gas emissions.

Just as well as the market is incapable of regulating global financial and productive system, the market is unable to regulate greenhouse effect gas emissions and will only generate a big business for financial agents and major corporations.

The Earth is much more important than the stock exchanges of Wall Street and the world
While the United States and the European Union allocate $4,100 billion to save the bankers from a financial crisis that they themselves have caused, programs on climate change get 313 times less, that is to say, only $13 billion.

The resources for climate change are unfairly distributed. More resources are directed to reduce emissions (mitigation) and less to reduce the effects of climate change that all the countries suffer (adaptation)[3]. The vast majority of resources flow to those countries that have contaminated the most, and not to the countries where we have preserved the environment most. Around 80% of the Clean Development Mechanism projects are concentrated in four emerging countries.

Capitalist logic promotes a paradox in which the sectors that have contributed the most to deterioration of the environment are those that benefit the most from climate change programs.
At the same time, technology transfer and the financing for clean and sustainable development of the countries of the South have remained just speeches.

The next summit on climate change in Copenhagen must allow us to make a leap forward if we want to save Mother Earth and humanity. For that purpose the following proposals for the process from Poznan to Copenhagen:

Attack the structural causes of climate change
1) Debate the structural causes of climate change. As long as we do not change the capitalist system for a system based in complementarity, solidarity and harmony between the people and nature, the measures that we adopt will be palliatives that will limited and precarious in character. For us, what has failed is the model of “living better”, of unlimited development, industrialisation without frontiers, of modernity that deprecates history, of increasing accumulation of goods at the expense of others and nature. For that reason we promote the idea of Living Well, in harmony with other human beings and with our Mother Earth.

2) Developed countries need to control their patterns of consumption -- of luxury and waste -- especially the excessive consumption of fossil fuels. Subsidies of fossil fuel, that reach $150-250 billion[4], must be progressively eliminated. It is fundamental to develop alternative forms of power, such as solar, geothermal, wind and hydroelectric both at small and medium scales.

3) Agrofuels are not an alternative, because they put the production of foodstuffs for transport before the production of food for human beings. Agrofuels expand the agricultural frontier destroying forests and biodiversity, generate monocropping, promote land concentration, deteriorate soils, exhaust water sources, contribute to rises in food prices and, in many cases, result in more consumption of more energy than is produced.

Substantial commitments to emissions reduction that are met
4) Strict fulfilment by 2012 of the commitments[5] of the developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least by 5% below the 1990 levels. It is unacceptable that the countries that polluted the planet throughout the course of history make statements about larger reductions in the future while not complying with their present commitments.

5) Establish new minimum commitments for the developed countries of greenhouse gas emission reduction of 40% by 2020 and 90% by for 2050, taking as a starting point 1990 emission levels. These minimum commitments must be met internally in developed countries and not through flexible market mechanisms that allow for the purchase of certified emissions reduction certificates to continue polluting in their own country. Likewise, monitoring mechanisms must be established for the measuring, reporting and verifying that are transparent and accessible to the public, to guarantee the compliance of commitments.

6) Developing countries not responsible for the historical pollution must preserve the necessary space to implement an alternative and sustainable form of development that does not repeat the mistakes of savage industrialisation that has brought us to the current situation. To ensure this process, developing countries need, as a prerequisite, finance and technology transfer.

Address ecological debt
7) Acknowledging the historical ecological debt that they owe to the planet, developed countries must create an Integral Financial Mechanism to support developing countries in: implementation of their plans and programs for adaptation to and mitigation of climate change; the innovation, development and transfer of technology; in the preservation and improvement of the sinks and reservoirs; response actions to the serious natural disasters caused by climate change; and the carrying out of sustainable and eco-friendly development plans.

8) This Integral Financial Mechanism, in order to be effective, must count on a contribution of at least 1% of the GDP in developed countries[6] and other contributions from taxes on oil and gas, financial transactions, sea and air transport, and the profits of transnational companies.

9) Contributions from developed countries must be additional to Official Development Assistance (ODA), bilateral aid or aid channelled through organisms not part of the United Nations. Any finance outside the UNFCCC cannot be considered as the fulfilment of developed country’s commitments under the convention.

10) Finance has to be directed to the plans or national programs of the different states and not to projects that follow market logic.

11) Financing must not be concentrated just in some developed countries but has to give priority to the countries that have contributed less to greenhouse gas emissions, those that preserve nature and are suffering the impact of climate change.

12) The Integral Financial Mechanism must be under the coverage of the United Nations, not under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and other intermediaries such as the World Bank and regional development banks; its management must be collective, transparent and non-bureaucratic. Its decisions must be made by all member countries, especially by developing countries, and not by the donors or bureaucratic administrators.

Technology transfer to developing countries
13) Innovation and technology related to climate changes must be within the public domain, not under any private monopolistic patent regime that obstructs and makes technology transfer more expensive to developing countries.

14) Products that are the fruit of public financing for technology innovation and development of have to be placed within the public domain and not under a private regime of patents[7], so that they can be freely accessed by developing countries.

15) Encourage and improve the system of voluntary and compulsory licenses so that all countries can access products already patented quickly and free of cost. Developed countries cannot treat patents and intellectual property rights as something “sacred” that has to be preserved at any cost. The regime of flexibilities available for the intellectual property rights in the cases of serious problems for public health has to be adapted and substantially enlarged to heal Mother Earth.

16) Recover and promote indigenous peoples' practices in harmony with nature which have proven to be sustainable through centuries.

Adaptation and mitigation with the participation of all the people
17) Promote mitigation actions, programs and plans with the participation of local communities and indigenous people in the framework of full respect for and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The best mechanism to confront the challenge of climate change are not market mechanisms, but conscious, motivated and well organised human beings endowed with an identity of their own.

18) The reduction of the emissions from deforestation and forest degradation must be based on a mechanism of direct compensation from developed to developing countries, through a sovereign implementation that ensures broad participation of local communities, and a mechanism for monitoring, reporting and verifying that is transparent and public.

A UN for the environment and climate change
19) We need a World Environment and Climate Change Organisation to which multilateral trade and financial organisations are subordinated, so as to promote a different model of development that environmentally friendly and resolves the profound problems of impoverishment. This organisation must have effective follow-up, verification and sanctioning mechanisms to ensure that the present and future agreements are complied with.

20) It is fundamental to structurally transform the World Trade Organiation, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the international economic system as a whole, in order to guarantee fair and complementary trade, as well as financing without conditions for sustainable development that avoids the waste of natural resources and fossil fuels in the production processes, trade and product transport.

In this negotiation process towards Copenhagen, it is fundamental to guarantee the participation of our people as active stakeholders at a national, regional and worldwide level, especially taking into account those sectors most affected, such as indigenous peoples who have always promoted the defense of Mother Earth.

Humankind is capable of saving the Earth if we recover the principles of solidarity, complementarity and harmony with nature in contraposition to the reign of competition, profits and rampant consumption of natural resources.

[1] Due to the “Niña” phenomenon, that becomes more frequent as a result of the climate change, Bolivia has lost 4% of its GDP in 2007.
[2] Known as the Clean Development Mechanism
[3] At the present there is only one adaptation fund with approximately $500 million for more than 150 developing countries. According to the UNFCCC secretary, $171 billion is required for adaptation and $380 billionis required for mitigation.
[4] Stern report
[5] Kyoto Protocol, Art. 3.
[6] The Stern Review has suggested one percent of global GDP, which represents less than $700 billion per year.
[7] According to UNCTAD (1998), public financing in developing countries contributes with 40% of the resources for innovation and development of technology.

2008年11月27日 星期四

To bail or not to bail …....

Saul Landau
Progresso Weekly
November 27 - December 3, 2008

Saul Landau, an internationally-known scholar, author, commentator, and filmmaker on foreign and domestic policy issues. Landau's most widely praised achievements are the over forty films he has produced on social, political and historical issues, and worldwide human rights, for which he won the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award, the George Polk Award for Investigative Reporting, and the First Amendment Award, as well as an Emmy for "Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang." Landau has written over ten books, short stories and poems. He received an Edgar Allen Poe Award for Assassination on Embassy Row, a report on the 1976 murders of Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier and his colleague, Ronni Moffitt.

He is a senior Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. Saul Landau is the author of A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD (Counterpunch A/K) whose more than 40 films are available on DVD from http://roundworldproductions.com/Site/Films_by_Saul_Landau_on_DVD.html.

To bail, or not to bail: that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageously low gas mileage,
Or to take measures against a sea of warming vehicles,
And by opposing end them?
They have not born the whips and scorns of time,
Auto conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
The “Heartbeat of America” has suffered a major myocardial infarction. In one year, Chevrolet --as American as apple pie -- has slashed 25,000 jobs and closed a dozen of its U.S. factories. General Motors’ auto parts manufacturer, Delphi, went into declared bankruptcy -- another 14 factories and 25,000 more jobs gone by 2010. Don’t worry, however, GM’s competitors, Ford and Chrysler, also announced major bad health news. By 2012, Ford will eliminate at least 55,000 jobs.

The once haughty CEOs of the auto industry strutted through the Halls of Congress giving orders. Now they beg, in vain, for bail out money -- although it’s not clear what they would do with it. Wired.com reported that GM North America president Troy Clarke emailed 29,000 employees: “Your elected officials must hear from all of us now on why this support is critical. ... This level of economic devastation far exceeds the $25 billion of government support that our industry needs to bridge this current period.” (Nov. 12, 2008) Reuters reported that GM dealers received a letter from GM sales chief, Mark LaNeve, encouraging them to do something about “the deepest crisis our industry has ever faced.”

Even the United Auto Workers Union conceded billions of dollars in hard-won gains to keep the factories open. They let the companies cut the retired auto workers’ health benefits. But the workers don’t accuse the UAW of selling out. They understand that the cars they made do not compete with Toyota and Honda. The trendy SUVs, Hummers and other heavy gas drinkers slowly rust away on auto dealers’ lots -- many of which have already shut down. The Big Three’s real gold mine was the phenomenal growth of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) during the 1990s, rising from 7 percent of the total car and truck market at the beginning of the decade to roughly 20 percent by the end. (Mark Brenner and Jane Slaughter, Labor Notes, www.alternet.org, Nov. 19, 2008)

The elite economists and members of the business and chattering classes wring their hands in despair. The U.S. economy has revolved around the car for almost a century. Think of the millions of miles of highways built for it and its big brother, the truck. Think of the infinite number of parking garages and lots. Think of how each house has at least a one, if not a three car garage. How will we get to work, take the kids to school, shop, get away from the house and family, or -- for teenagers -- find a place to have sex?

As Congress debates what to do to save the car industry, few Members consider the incompatibility of life ruled by the automobile and the continuation of life itself. Indeed, if China, India, Brazil and other “developing” countries continue to produce cars, along with the Western, Japanese and Korean factories, the earth’s climate will become less hospitable for human beings -- even if the techno geniuses figure out how to use fuels more harmonious with Nature than gasoline. Think of what the manufacture of cars entail -- the amount of metals, chemicals, plastics and other less than healthy products! Think of the waste on concrete, steel and other material to build endless garages and ribbons of highway.

The car and the city never got along unless one believes rush hour in the major capitals of the world make cities hot. Then there’s pollution, stench and frustration, not to mention the amount of resources cities must spend to meet the needs of the auto. Delphi’s CEO Steve Miller signaled what was at stake: “I want you to view what is happening at Delphi as a flash point, a test case, for all the economic and social trends that are on a collision course in our country and around the globe.” (Brenner and Slaughter)

Some of my friends have already converted their cars’ engines to burn used McDonald’s grease; others await the electric versions run off power generated by the sun or wind. None of them, however, can conceive of living without their cars.

How does one confront the reality of Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth”? Unless we change our ways, he warned and keeps warning, the environment cannot sustain our species. Gore’s alerts focus on the mantra of continuous and unthinking growth.

The city itself presents a basic challenge. Stare at the skylines of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco or Detroit! Skyscrapers that require heating and cooling 24/7, 365 days a year -- buildings in which nothing gets produced! Tens of thousand or millions of cars enter and leave underground or above ground garages each weekday -- for which the drivers pay do their vehicles occupy a space. The cars’ occupants often produce nothing tangible. From their offices, they send out millions of emails relating to businesses that often produce nothing you can touch, invoices, statements about stock and bond sales. At lunch hour, many race to their cars to meet a friend or lover for a meal -- or drive to a motel for a “nooner.” Then, back into the car, back into the garage and back into the artificially cooled or heated office to manufacture more data on the computer.

The late afternoon rush hour often begins before 4 p.m. and endures until 7. Drivers or passengers allow the frustrations of their unproductive day to simmer or sometimes boil inside of them.

The car has also become an instrument used by temporarily psychotic drivers: road rage. Others have developed a highly unnatural relationship between themselves and their mobile pieces of metal and plastic -- some give them pet names! Think of the car as an instrument people use to kill each other or themselves. Or, think of the car as the weirdest way ever invented to transport people. Vast social entities -- cities like Los Angeles -- virtually require inhabitants to own at least one such vehicle.

Don’t think of the manufacturing process in which over nearly a century workers have sacrificed their physical and mental health over smoky, noisy, fast moving assembly lines. How can one conceive of life without the ubiquitous car? Indeed, even more remote: what will we do with the cities replete with non-productive skyscrapers and garages? Fanatic “deep ecologists” have even hinted at a Khmer Rouge (of Cambodia during the late 1970s) solution -- without the killing fields -- and call for the gradual extinction of cities and other technology deemed destructive to Nature.

What does President Obama think? He will confront demands to save, at any cost, the auto industry and the millions of jobs connected to it. He might start his era of change by reversing the old slogan: “What’s bad for GM is good for America -- and the rest of the world.”

Then, he might think of constructing public transportation -- jobs for millions -- in a scientific and efficient manner, much the same way he ran his presidential campaign.

2008年11月16日 星期日












2008年11月15日 星期六

Will Population Control Solve the Climate Crisis?

Simon Butler
Green Left Weekly
November 8, 2008

At best, population control schemes focus on treating a symptom of an irrational, polluting social and economic system rather than the causes. In China, for instance, such measures haven’t solved that country’s environmental problems.

At worst, populationist theories shift the blame for climate change onto the poorest and most vulnerable people in the Third World.

They do not address the reasons why environmental damage, or even instances of overpopulation, happen in the first place and they divert attention away from the main challenge facing the climate movement — the urgent need to construct a new economy based on environmentally sustainable technologies and the rising of living standards globally.

For at least 200 years, “overpopulation” has been used to explain a host of social problems such as poverty, famine, unemployment and — more recently — environmental destruction.

Between 1798-1826, the conservative English economist and clergyman Thomas Malthus published six editions of his influential Essay on the Principle of Population, which argued that population growth inevitably outstrips food production.

Malthus’ argument was that the English working class was poor because they were too numerous, not because they were exploited. He opposed welfare or higher wages because, he said, that would allow the poor to survive, and breed, compounding “overpopulation” and leading to more poverty.

Malthus was wrong about food production. In the last two centuries, food production has grown faster than population — his theories nevertheless gained wide acceptance among the English elite of the day because they provided a convenient excuse to blame the poor for their own predicament.

In the 1960s, Malthus’ anti-human ideas were resuscitated by a new generation of conservative theorists who argued that the people of the global South remained hungry because there were too many to feed. US environmentalist Paul Erlich, in his 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb, argued for population control measures in the Third World to, he said, avert an ecological crisis.

Populationists like Erlich usually don’t question the unequal allocation of resources on a global scale. Nor do they admit that high birth rates in the Third World are largely a response to dire poverty.

Instead, they look at the world’s resources as though they were dividing up a pie: reduce the world’s population and those remaining will each get a bigger slice. They fail to address the question of power and, therefore, unequal access to global resources.

Most environmentalists who believe that population control is necessary would still reject the most extreme forms of the populationist argument.

But the fact remains that the real driver of climate change is not population growth but a market economy locked into burning fossil fuels for energy. The corporations that profit most from taking the lion’s share of global resources are the same polluting industries that, today, are resisting the necessary shift away from carbon-based economies.

Populationists tend to downplay the question of power. As renowned US ecologist Barry Commoner commented, populationist solutions to environmental destruction are “equivalent to attempting to save a leaking ship by lightening the load by forcing passengers overboard”.

He went on to ask the question that populationists tend to ignore: “One is constrained to ask if there is not something wrong with the ship”.

The world is not experiencing runaway population growth. Global population is growing, but the rate of growth is slowing. It peaked in the 1960s and has been in decline ever since. Global population grew by 140% between 1950 and 2000. Experts predict a further rise of 50% between 2000 and 2050, and just 11% in the 50 years after that.

The simplistic view that population control is the main way to reverse runaway climate change can obscure debate over other measures. These include: the rapid replacement of fossil fuel-generated energy with renewables; improvements in energy efficiency; and the introduction of sustainable agricultural methods.

In rich countries such as Australia, we need to campaign for environmental outcomes that sharply reduce Third World poverty, including cancelling debt owed to First World nations.

It is well documented — including in the wealthy countries — that birth rates fall as living standards rise. Furthermore, the greater economic independence women have, and the more control women have over their own bodies, the fewer children they have. Development, along with women’s emancipation, is the best contraception.

It is undeniable that parts of the world are overcrowded, and that land degradation through over-logging, erosion, over-hunting, over-fishing and poor waste disposal are massive problems in the countries of the global South.

These social, economic and environment problems are interlinked, and point to the real causes of overpopulation and environmental destruction of the Third World — extreme poverty. Liberty and justice and rights for the poor, especially women, have to be our concern.

2008年11月1日 星期六

世界自然基金會 : 我們將需要兩個地球來維持我們目前的生活方式

世界自然基金會 (WWF)

瑞士,格蘭德 -人類對地球自然資源需求不斷增加,超出了地球承載力的近1/3,這使全球正走向生態信貸短缺的未來。

這是最新一期 WWF(世界自然基金會)地球生命力報告中發出的警告,除了全球自然資源和生物多樣性的持續減少,越來越多的國家正陷入永久或季節性缺水的狀況。

WWF全球總幹事詹姆士.李普(James Leape)說:「全球正關注的是高估金融資產所導致的後果,但如今整個人類社會要面對的卻是生態信貸的短缺,這是由於人類低估環境資產而造成的,而環境 資產卻是所有生命和繁榮的基礎。我們大多數人都在利用或者逐漸透支異地的生態資本,來維持現有的生活方式和經濟增長。如果我們對於地球的需求繼續以同一速 度增加,到21世紀30年代中期,我們將需要兩個地球來維持我們目前的生活方式。」




ZSL 編輯Jonathan Loh說:「我們在生態方面採取的方式與金融機構在經濟方面採取的方式相同,都在尋求速成,而不適當考慮後果,這樣的全球生態危機帶來的後果比目前經濟崩潰更為嚴重。」

由化石燃料以及土地污染所產生的碳排放量在人類足跡中比例最大,並成為氣候變化的主要誘因。經過全面分析,環球足跡網絡得出地球的生態足跡,也就是生 產我們消費的所有資源和消納我們產出的所有廢棄物所需的全球(平均)生物生產土地面積(包括陸地和海洋),為人均2.7全球公頃。而現有人均生態承載力的 最高限僅為2.1全球公頃。

GFN執行理事Mathis Wackernagel博士說:「持續的生態赤字將導致嚴重的經濟後果,資源局限性和生態系統崩潰將引發大規模的物價上漲,隨之投資價值下降,而食品和能源價格也會暴漲。」

美國和中國的國家生態足跡最大,它們的生態足跡總額分別達約21%的全球生物承載力,但美國公民的人均生態足跡量是9.4全球公頃,而中國公民人均量 是2.1全球公頃。生物承載力在全球的分佈不均,美國、巴西、俄羅斯、中國、印度、加拿大、阿根廷和澳大利亞八國擁有全球超過一半的生物承載力。其中三個 國家的人口和消費模式使其成為生態負債國,生態足跡大於其國家生物承載力,這三個國家是美國(生態足跡是國家生物承載力的1.8倍)、中國(生態足跡是國 家生物承載力的2.3倍)和印度(生態足跡是國家生物承載力的2.2倍)。

雖然中國的人均生態足跡比歐盟低得多,但中國和歐盟消費資源的速度都是其生物承載力生產速度的2倍以上。2005年,中國的足跡貿易的逆差為 1.65億全球公頃,比德國或玻利維亞的總生物承載力還要大。2005年,中國進口和出口足跡分別占國際貿易總足跡的9%和6%,而在1961年,相應數 值分別為5%和不到1%,可謂增加迅猛。

2008年的報告中首次計算了水足跡。新的水足跡度量標準顯示出商品形式的水的意義所在,例如,生產一件棉質的T恤需要2900升水。人均每年消費 124萬升水(約一個奧運會游泳池一半的水量),從美國人均每年消費248萬升水到也門人均每年消費61.9萬升水,消費水量因國家而異。由於氣候變化, 約50個國家目前正承受著中度或重度的缺水壓力,常年或季節性缺水的人口數量預計也會增加。

報告還提出了一些關鍵的「可持續性楔形」概念,如果結合這些概念,可以穩定生態環境並扭轉日益惡化的生態環境,避免陷入生態負債的狀況,避免給全球支 持系統帶來持久損害。針對氣候變化這一重大挑戰,報告顯示了一系列有效的、可再生的、低排放的「楔形」方法,可滿足2050年前預期的能源需求,還能削減 60%至80%的碳排放量。考慮將生態系統方法納入到消費、發展和貿易中會極大地有助於保護世界重要的生物資源。

***** ***** *****

WWF 中文網站編者按:

報告及包括視頻在內的多媒體資料可在 wwf.extranet.largeblue.net 上找到,密碼:mA1aGb73

全球生態足跡正以不斷加快的速度惡化。2006年WWF地球生命力報告顯示,當年的生態足跡超出了2003年的25%(2008年地球生命力報告 ——生態足跡超過2005年的30%),2050年左右人類將需要兩個星球(2008年地球生命力報告——2030年人類將需要兩個星球)。


2008地球生命力報告專題網站 http://www.wwfchina.org/aboutwwf/miniwebsite/2008LPR/

點擊下載《地球生命力報告》中文 http://www.wwfchina.org/wwfpress/publication/policy/ChineseLPR2008.pdf

點擊下載地球生命力報告》英文 http://assets.panda.org/downloads/living_planet_report_2008.pdf

2008年10月27日 星期一







- 制訂長期辦法,促進和平、人類安全和可持續發展,重點是以非暴力手段解決衝突,加強人與人之間的交流,執行國際公約,加強地區合作。

- 認清多邊的和多重的安全威脅,遵照國際法原則,通過聯合國來應對這些威脅。

- 建立跨地區的衝突解決機制,在尊重國家主權和人權的基礎上,在外交政策和安全問題上制定共同的前景目標。

- 全面執行聯合國安理會第1325號決議。該決議承認,衝突對婦女的影響異常嚴重,而婦女也是促進和平、重建與和解的重要力量。

- 廢除以「打擊恐怖主義」之名制訂的對民眾日常生活施加限制、並將和平組織和少數群體非法化的反恐法律。確保無論是一國國內的還是地區或國際性的附加安全措施都應得到公民和議會的民主審核,並尊重國際公認的法律原則。

- 在應對宗教極端主義時,應特別強調教育的作用以及各種宗教/信仰內部以及他們之間各種層次的對話的作用。保障完全的言論自由和資訊自由,使人們可以通過理性辯論增加相互理解。

- 頒布國家法律,確保政府的國防、武器出口和安全預算完全公開。

- 削減以衛生和教育項目為代價的軍費開支。

- 實現安全領域及相關決策過程的民主化。

- 執行現有的國家憲法,維護人的安全、保障和平與對話。

- 採取切實步驟加強國際刑事法庭的作用。

- 將《不擴散核武器條約》作為地區合作的基礎,採取措施實現亞歐無核化,同時爭取建立一個無核世界。動員全世界共同參與2010年審議《不擴散核武器條約》。

- 承擔基本義務,控制軍火交易核武器擴散。構建聯合國監督下的、有約束力的透明機制,控制武器進出口,並就此達成一致。

- 支持公民社會在軍控方面發揮作用,提高他們在此方面的能力。

- 簽署並批准2008年12月奧斯陸《集束炸彈公約》。

- 制定法律以實現《歐盟國家武器出口行為準則》的法律約束力(針對歐盟成員國);採取步驟商量出台一個亞洲的相關《行為準則》(針對亞洲各國)。

- 將減少武裝暴力納入《千年發展目標》。

- 幫助和保護大規模殺傷性武器使用的倖存以及受到其影響的受害者。追究負責大規模殺傷性武器及有毒化學品生產的公司的責任,使受害者得到賠償。

- 採取立法程序,取消本國領土上的美國軍事基地。

- 確保外國軍隊在商定的時間內分步驟從伊拉克和阿富汗撤軍。

- 實施支付得起的社會保障政策,這也是減貧的重要方面。承認統一的全民社保(包括就業保障計劃、養老金、殘疾人保障和贍養費等)是一種普遍權利。

- 應對氣候變化——開發非壟斷的可再生能源以應對氣候變化、促進可持續發展。實施立法,鼓勵全民減少能源消耗。

- 在執行《京都議定書》的同時,共同努力,確保2009年12月在哥本哈根達成長遠而有約束力的協議,其中包括經合組織各國作出的鄭重而有法律效力的承諾,即在商定的時間內減排80%以上。

- 在「共同但有區別」的責任的基礎上大幅度減少碳排放,支持全球範圍內旨在適應和減緩氣候變化的方案,並為之提供資金保障。

- 停止為造成饑謹、貧困、社會和政治不公正以及氣候變化的項目融資。

- 在決定為適應氣候變化提供資金時確保公民社會參與決策,並使決策能夠反映男女貧困人口的需求和權利,考慮他們提出的方案。將「氣候投資基金」等氣候項目的控制權移交給聯合國,停止氣候項目的貸款性融資。

- 貿易——停止正在進行的一切不公正、不公平的自貿協定談判(包括雙邊及多邊),並對已有的此類協定進行重新談判。

- 債務——取消或停止償還一切不合法債務,禁止對貸款或減債方案附加條件。進行全面的、參與性的債務評估/審計,理清債務關係。

- 彌補對南方國家欠下的生態和歷史債務。

- 取消債務是提高援助有效性的重要前提,援助不應加重債務負擔。歸還從南方國家盜走的、存在八國集團和其他北方國家銀行中的資產,採取措施防止跨國公司避稅,防止資本從南方國家外逃到北方國家。

- 援助——確保援助不強加任何貿易或採購條件。取消有條件援助

- 尊重各國及各國人民的權利,使其履行義務,改變已導致債務、糧食和氣候危機的不利政策,如結構調整方案、不平等的貿易協定、投資保護條約以及基礎設施整合倡議等。承認群眾組織、社會運動、工會、非政組織和其他公民團體都是推動發展的獨立的社會力量,他們為促進民主化進程發揮著積極作用。

- 糧食安全——農業及貿易政策應以糧食安全、主權和可獲得性為核心,從而實現所有人的糧食安全,解決當前的糧食危機。

- 各國政府應認識到飢餓人口不斷增加,原因包括:對用於生產作物燃料的糧食進行的投機性炒作、糧食期貨以及高昂的油價。現行的私有化、放鬆管制和自由化政策使小規模糧食生產者受到排擠,人們為追逐利潤和投機而攫取土地。聯合國制定的應對糧食危機《全面行動框架》未同公民社會組織磋商,因此缺乏合法性。

- 應對糧食危機要考慮到危機對婦女和女童所造成的更為嚴重的影響。從長遠來看,應該注重幫助女性小農穫得土地控制權。

- 保障人人享有獲得健康的、符合食用者文化習俗的食品的權利。糧食的生產過程應是生態友好和可持續的,不破壞生物的多樣性。糧食生產者和漁民應能夠獲得並掌控其生產資料(如:土地、種子、水和相應的技術)。要充分認識婦女在糧食生產過程中的權利和作用。

- 實施農業改革,加強本地糧食生產與消費,增加糧食品種、加強對農業的控制,降低對國際市場的依存度。

- 暫停作物燃料生產。

- 採取及時行動制止糧食囤積和炒作糧食價格。

- 確保科研和科學技術對大眾負責,首先解決糧食安全、主權和食品安全等急迫的問題。

- 各國在採取行動保證各自國家的糧食安全,穩定國內市場的過程中,不得妨害他國的權益。

- 勞工權利——保障所有工人享有體面的工作條件,尊重核心勞工標準。制定並實施法律,承認、保護和提臨時工、移民工、和家政工人的權利。

- 批准聯合國《保護移民工人及其家庭成員權利國際公約》及其他有關公約,將其視作保障移民工權利、體面就業和福利的最低要求。承認並保障移民家政工人的權利,同公民社會及工會磋商,制定相關規定保障他們的勞動權和人權。在技術和培訓認證方面制定各國統一的標準。

- 取消一切將移民和遭羈押人員、無證件移民,包括18歲以下的未成年人視為非法的立法(如《歐盟遣散法規》),對人員招募者和招募機構實施監管。

- 承擔責任,採取補救措施,消除外國投資對社會、環境帶來的負面影響。

- 執行有約束力的國際立法,確保企業承擔社會責任。


- 重申安全的飲用水和衛生條件屬於基本人權之一,應予以保障。以市場為基礎的解決方案並不能應對由政府不負責任的水政策所帶來的後果,例如任由工業化或高密度農業對水資源造成破壞。保障水資源管理的透明、負責和良政。公眾的參與是高效、民主的水資源分配的關鍵。一切供水服務必須是價格合理,水質合格,經與公眾磋商,由公眾參與的。

- 資助與制定社區災害預警計劃。
- 消除千百萬人因種族、性別、殘疾、性傾向、年齡、種姓、艾滋病病情以及民族而受到的羞辱、歧視和違反人權現象。

- 承認千年發展目標的實現取決於婦女和女童權益是否得到保障。確保男女平等、 婦女權利關切成為2010年千年發展目標中期審議的核心內容。

- 制定可靠的時間表和預算保障,履行將本國國民入總額的0.7%用於官方援助的承諾,以彌補實現千年發展目標的資金缺口。

- 捐助國應立即廢除有害的附加條件,確保各國政府享有一定的政策空間,來調整千年發展目標,並制定本國具體的實施計劃。還應確保貧困的婦女和男子全面參與政策的制訂。

- 確保政府同民眾之間現有的磋商機制具有充分的代表性和包容性。

- 設立國際團結基金,用以支持婦女參與政治生活;

- 支持各種活動、學習網絡和輔導,以確保更多的婦女可以介入各級公共生活並全面參與其中。

- 對各級民選機構(包括政黨)規定女性候選人和女性代表最低名額,對未遵守者予以處罰。

- 國家經濟與社會發展計劃中都要包含增加婦女參政的指標和辦法;

- 暴力問題是妨礙婦女參政的主要障礙,應採取具體措施加以解決——制定法律,規定凡對婦女施加暴力的男子不得擔任任何公職。

- 參與式民主不僅僅是自由選舉,所有利益相關方都應參與到民主進程中來。對地區問題應進行積極的建設性的交流,促進停火、停止國內衝突。

- 保護最優的言論表達和資訊自由,確保透明度。

- 除加強地方政府問責制外,支持促進地方參與式民主的各種主動行動。

- 制訂、資助並有效地實施權力分散政策。

- 批准並全面執行聯合國《殘疾人權利公約》,並明確認識若沒有各級殘疾人的真正參與,公約無法得以貫徹。

- 呼籲各國將殘疾人關切納入地方及全國經濟社會發展規劃主流。

- 敦促政府採取主動的積極措施,進一步消除對殘疾人的歧視,為殘疾人創造便利的、包容性的環境。

- 通過在公民社會和政府等利益相關方之間建立夥伴關係,提高殘疾人及殘疾人組織的權利,使其平等參與各方面的生活。

- 支持各國殘疾人培養計劃,使殘疾人成為殘疾人問題專家。

- 承認艾滋病病毒攜帶者在減少艾滋病影響方面發揮的領導作用,使他們切實參與有關政策和計劃的制定。認識並關注艾滋病的性別動態。

- 執行國際「GIPA(即艾滋病病毒感染者/艾滋病患者以及受艾滋病影響的人群更大程度參與艾滋病防治工作)宣言」,並為此提供充足資金;

- 確保將造成人員失蹤的責任人及其同謀者繩之以法,並依法向失蹤人員家庭提供賠償。

- 保護艾滋病病毒攜帶者的權利,使其免受羞辱、排斥、歧視和人權侵犯,並獲得免費治療、照顧和支持——在全球貿易協定中排除對延長生命的藥品的限制;對「艾滋孤兒」給予特殊關心和扶持。

- 釋放歐亞地區所有政治犯和尋求避難者;

- 全球有2.6億人仍在遭受基於種姓歧視的排斥、隔離和人權侵犯。必須立即採取行動,執行國際及國家立法和計劃,徹底消除種姓制度。

- 制定多管齊下、經費充足的區域性政策,打擊人口販運。

- 建立亞洲地區人權機制。亞歐人民論壇對東盟憲章表示歡迎,該憲章將保護和促進人權、促進地區人權機制的建立。要使該機制能夠確保其授權調查範圍的獨立和有效。亞歐人民論壇要求亞歐會議探討將東盟人權機制擴大到其他亞洲國家的可能性,並加強亞洲和歐洲地區人權機制的跨地區密切合作。

2008年10月8日 星期三

Pensions: Downturn has wiped one fifth off retirement funds

Phillip Inman
The Guardian,
October 8 2008

Personal pension funds have crashed by almost a fifth over the last year, following steep falls in world stock markets, a report said yesterday.

In the last month alone, retirement savings have lost more than 10% of their value as investors sell their shares to avoid the worst effects of the credit crunch.

Financial adviser Hargreaves Lansdown said the dependence of most UK personal pensions on stock market investments meant further falls in share values would drag retirement funds even lower.

Critics of the government's handling of the crisis said ministers had ignored the plight of pension funds as they dithered over how to rescue the banking system.

Ros Altmann, an independent pensions analyst, said confidence was declining at an alarming rate as savers sought a safe haven for their money.

She said occupational schemes, most of them heavily invested in the stock market, would be badly affected.

More than a million people have stopped paying into their pensions in the last year following belt-tightening and what Altmann said was a loss offaith in the pension saving system.

Although the FTSE 100 index finished up 16 points last night, it is almost 25% down on last year. According to Hargreaves Lansdown, that resulted in a
18.6% decline in the average managed personal pension fund over the same period.

It said an index of personal pensions held in managed funds had declined by 11.43% since the first week of September.

Pensions have also been hit by a steep decline in property values. Commercial property fell sharply last year from all-time highs, and was quickly followed by residential property.

Managed funds account for the bulk of UK personal pension savings. Whilethey appear to give pension savers a spread of assets, most of them are more than 80% invested in shares.

Members of final-salary pensions offered mainly by a small group of blue chip companies and the public sector will be unaffected by the gyrations of the stockmarket. However, analysts warned that the increasing volatility of pension values would persuade companies to end their commitment.

Tom McPhail, head of pensions research at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "In the end, final salary schemes will be the big losers. Finance directors who mustmake up the difference with company funds when the stock market falls will hate the volatility they see at the moment and think hard about closing their schemes."

Recent research showed that most companies with final salary schemes are distracted by concerns for the survival of their businesses and are not looking to change their pension arrangements.

McPhail said while that might be the case in the short term, it was likely in the coming months they would turn their attention to switching to cheaper pension arrangements.

Altmann said the government needed to put in long-term safeguards to restore confidence in pensions. She said: "The government's response to the credit crunch is dreadful for pensions. This knee-jerk panic reaction shows no sign of understanding how we got into the mess, nor how to get out of it.

"It's far safer now to put your money into a bank, because there is suddenly a 100% guarantee, whereas the Financial Services Compensation Scheme only covers around 90% of an investment up to a capped amount. This can only serve to further undermine confidence at the very time when we will need pensions more."