Now is the Time for Bold and Unprecedented Action

The Paris Climate Change Accord and Leonardo DiCaprio UN Speech

On November 30th the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference was held in Paris, France. Countries from all around the world pledged $50 billion in research & development for clean energy. Technology companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, combined, and Bill Gates Microsoft Foundation pledged $150 billion to support climate change projects and innovation. A minimum of $100 billion provision was pledge to developing countries to mitigate the risks of climate change. The Oil companies pledged their support for the Paris Climate deal and investing towards a clean energy infrastructure for the future generation living in a 2°C degree world. However, the Paris Climate agreement was not ambitious enough.

The World Bank President Jim Yong Kim says, “the world our children inherit is a completely different world then the world we are living in today.” Financial institutions including Bank of America and HSBC made commitments. Their cooperation led by a coalition of investors is unprecedented when the world is facing global risks from climate change in an era of climate change denial.

Prior to this landmark accord in Paris, there was an unprecedented number of world leaders that attended the September 2014 Climate Summit at the UN. The summit included 100 heads of state and government, joined by 800 leaders from business, finance, and civil society. It included the actor Leonardo DiCaprio that gave an impassioned speech about the Climate, sayingclimate change is not hysteria — it’s a fact. The award-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio described climate change as a “disaster” that has grown beyond the choices individuals make to one “that needs decisive large-scale action by industries and governments around the world.

At the 2014 Climate Summit, governments, business, and civil society long-term convergence agreed to define climate change as the most important issue facing our time and that bold action is needed today to reduce emissions and build resilience. Those leaders in both business and government would lead this effort. They announced their intent to mobilize $200 billion for financing low-carbon and climate-resilient development. New Coalitions agreed to mobilize sufficient public and private funds for low-carbon climate resilient growth essential to keep the world within less than 2° degree Celsius pathway.

Driven largely by economic and population growth, human influence on the climate system is clear. Recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history warming the atmosphere and the ocean. Since the mid 19th Century, the sea level has risen at a much larger rate than during the previous two millennia, and oceanic uptake of CO2 has resulted in acidification of the ocean. As a result, the ocean is warming and the never seen before sea life, deep water sea creatures, are washing up on the shores of continents.

Since the 1950s many people observed that the warming of the climate in unprecedented decades caused irreversible impacts on human and natural systems. There might be this attitude that the damage is irreversible and nothing can be done about it BUT something could be done to mitigate the worst consequential effects of climate change risks.

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions increased since the pre-industrial era. This led to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that are unprecedented in past 800,000 years. Their effects together with anthropogenic drivers detected through the climate system are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th Century. It is very likely the earth will continue to warm and sea level will continue to rise over the next Century.

Limiting climate change risks would require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions along with adaptation to mitigate the global risks. The global risks are at a greater disadvantage for people and communities in developing countries at all development levels. Climate change is projected to increase the displacement of people. Populations that lack the resources for planned migration experience and higher exposure to extreme weather events, particularly in developing countries with low-income, may experience increasing violent conflicts over natural resources.

The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report on Climate Change released in 2007 revealed there will be a decrease in water availability due to climate change, disappearing coral reefs, negative impact of subsistence farmers and fishers, coastal flooding from rising sea levels, and increased morbidity and mortality rates (due to heat waves, floods, droughts, and change in the distribution of disease). The report recommended adaptation measures to reduce the adverse impacts of projected climate change. Key vulnerabilities may be associated with the climate system, including food supply, infrastructure, health, water resources, coastlines, ecosystem, earth cycles (cooling and warming), and oceanic and atmospheric circulation. The impacts of climate change are very likely to impose net annual costs worth billions of dollars per year in environmental damages.

  • Fact 1) Warming of the climate since the 1950s is unprecedented. The atmosphere and ocean are warming. The amount of snow and ice has diminished. Sea levels are rising. CO2 levels in the atmosphere are higher than they have ever been before, not necessarily due to population growth (that has remained relatively the same) but due to the growth in economic activity. Human influence on the climate system is clear. We need substantial reduction in greenhouse gases.
  • Fact 2) Climate change impacts have occurred across the world affecting ecosystems, human health, freshwater resources, and agriculture. The impacts tell us there are significant lack of adaptation and mitigation of risks associated with climate change. Those people marginalized by society due to inequality are the most vulnerable to climate change risks and lack access to resources and stake in decision-making processes.

Inaction is a greater economic cost than taking necessary action against the existential threat of Climate Change. We need scaling of renewables and sustainable technology by institutions in cooperation across all sectors of the global economy to mitigate the risks of Climate Change. It comes down to a matter of choice. We either continue on the path that we are on and face catastrophic consequences OR we listen to the voice of reason and act accordingly.

The actor Leonardo DiCaprio once again gave his impassioned speech during his well-deserved 2016 Oscar win as a constant reminder thatnow is the time for bold and unprecedented action.”

“We need to put a price tag on carbon emissions and eliminate government subsidies for oil, coal, and gas companies. We need to end the free ride that industrial polluters have been given in the name of a free market economy. They do not deserve our tax dollars. They deserve our scrutiny for the economy itself will die if our ecosystem collapse. The good news is that renewable energy is not only achievable but good economic policy.”

Essay On The Nature of Man

I thought to learn from the collective life new things about the social order. I realized injustice done by others holds a light over mere human weaknesses, adorned with the charms of fallible human imperfections. Before that realization, I was indoctrinated to believe that survival is about competition among individual classes, determined by factors such as ones race, gender, education, and economics. Societal hierarchies accepted, as a fact, the theory of Social Darwinism influenced by Herbert Spencer and other Marxists psychoanalytical orators of their time from the eugenics movement. Darwin theories influenced the nationalist writer Heinrich von Treitschke and the biologist Ernst Haeckel who influenced Hitler and also the social milieu in which he flourished. Natural selection is currently used in a dialectic fashion, manipulated or rather misconstrued for the survival of a particular individual or racial group.

This indoctrination of Darwinist thought is to accept at face value from the dominant culture of Europe and the West that society lives in a “dog-eat-dog” world and achieving prominence is about the “survival of the fittest” determined by ones race; a notion by which the power of the ruling elite uses in consolidating their supremacy, by perpetuating stereotypes, bigotry, and racism: “If I make any grammatical or spelling errors, it is attributed to my race or ethnic group. If I have a responsible job, I got it because of “quotas”, and it is assumed that I am speaking on behalf of my race, if I give my opinion on something.”

There is tremendous authority in the word, to create. Life is about creating the Self. Survival is not about race, gender, education, and economics. Survival is about a way of progression from shared experiences. Then everything begins to make sense, it is the mind … what it demands is intrinsic to being a human being, living a successful life. At work, I answer to superiors to better a position, or keep employment. At social events, I act on selfish impulses out of a desperate need for attention, or respect. And, when the weak attempts to cause problems without looking for solutions, it is to bring down the strong that desires to survive in their cruel environment, in face of the weak struggling to survive in accordance to the human condition. Thomas Hobbes believed that “humans were selfish creatures who would do anything to better their positions; Left to them selves, he thought, people would act on their selfishly motivated impulses.”

In the state of nature and by the laws that govern it, competition is the dualistic force behind the weak and the strong. Thus, competing forces brings about the ailment of our society: war and eugenics, conquest, divide and rule, manipulation, cultural subversion; the dominant social classes vying for power and knowledge as instruments of oppression. The time-honored ethic, from the Greek polis, is that men are beings by nature to live in commonalities of, belonging to a Community, for the public common wealth. And their purpose is the ultimate values from which the rest are derived, or with which their end as individuals fulfilled. The nature of man is bound by natural laws, in accordance to their own free will. Thus, the panacea of our society is without question, personal relationships, cooperation, organization, unity, and multi-cultural synthesis (mixing of the genetic makeup different to that of pure-blooded genealogies).

I thought know thy Self. I know how a real human behaves towards another, the moral and ethical capability a human has for good and evil. As a student developing social dexterity in a certain environment, I made the clear observation that survival is centered on social interaction. Survival is based on the natural history belonging to our social dynamics, rather human-to-human interaction to ensure a broader aspect of the human condition (security, happiness, attention, love, knowledge, experience, and fulfillment). After that clear observation made through personal experiences, I was born into the Cartesian self-actualization (holistic world view about the Self and human-to-human interaction) that survival is the natural history of human progression based on the environment and the complexity of culture.

John Locke defines the Self, in the terms of Paulo Freire Pedagogy of the Oppressed, as being conscious of Consciousness. Our consciousness is a particular manner of thinking based on reason, sensibility of pleasure and pain capable of happiness or misery, and so is concerned for the Self, as far as that consciousness extends. According to Paulo Freire, “People as uncompleted beings are conscious of their in-completion and their attempt to become more fully human.” Perhaps the mind is a tabula rasa –a blank slate, and it is through our shared experiences, sensations, and a source from which all our innate ideas are born. It is through our innate ideas the mind becomes concerned for that Freudian id: ego –the Self. Then, the intelligent mind gives birth to our modern Prometheus.

The nature of man is governed by natural laws, docent omnia –everything teaches, rather to learn or accumulate knowledge of the self and our environment as an inborn innate idea. Nosce Te-ipsum human awareness or consciousness motivates our desire for power and knowledge, scio nescio scientific knowledge. “And thus knowledge itself is powernam et ipsa scientia potestas est, quoted by Sir Francis Bacon. In the Book of Genesis, the tree of conscience –the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was in the middle of the Garden of Eden from which God directly forbade Adam to eat (Genesis 2:17). Eve, after being tempted and Adam, thus being tempted ate from the Tree of Knowledge. Since the fall of Adam from the Garden of Eden, man is merely acting like God. The Romans and Greeks credited Prometheus, who challenged Zeus by stealing from Mount Olympus the sacred fire–as a source of divine wisdom and inspiration, having fashioned human beings. This endless thirst for infinite-absolute knowledge and understanding of God. Intelligent design, rather our ambitious design is a mere representation of thought into existence, act of creation.

Events in society reintroduced concepts about Intelligent Design, where heated debate brings to the forefront of discussions on creationism and biological evolution. Avoiding false assumptions depends on avoiding the stereotypical “either-or” beliefs on creation and evolution, because man is beginning to have a greater understanding. Perhaps, humans are becoming androgynous beings with an enlightened understanding of existence —cogito, ergo sum, René Descartes, “I think, therefore I am.” In the Book of Exodus, God said to Moses, “I AM Who I AM” (Exodus 3:13).

The natural history of survival is a gradual continuous progression, with a beginning and an end, but only in the sense of turning a full circle, leading to the pinnacle of civilization: scientific, technological, spiritual, and social advancement to an earlier, healthier state. Hobbes wrote, “The life of man is brutish and short.” “Ars longa, vita brevis…” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “trust yourself and you will learn the art of living” a life of self-actualized fulfillment, the intellectual, the sensual, the erotic, the aesthetic, and the spiritual. Human beings are merely determined to survive, live life as intuition is to reason … this instinct for survival is the natural history of humanity progression, creation as a whole of existence.

“On man when he came into life the Father conferred the seeds of all kinds and every way of life. If they be vegetative, he will be like a plant. If sensitive, he will become brutish. If rational, he will grow into a heavenly being. If intellectual, he will be an angel and the son of God. And if, happy in life, he withdraws into the center of his own unity, his spirit, made one with God, in the solitary darkness of God, who is set above all things, shall surpass them all.” – Count Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

The Obama Administration Asia Pivot On Hold

The Indomitable Rise of the Sleeping Dragon

The United States engagement with the Asia-Pacific region is due to economic reasons and not military aggression. It is imperative for the United States to strengthen regional security among China’s neighbors in the South China sea. The inevitable economic rise of China as a global super power brought about a multi-polar world. As a result, the Asia-Pacific is a strategic priority and the U.S. seeks to re-establish hegemonic dominance by rebuilding its economic strength as its main pillar.

The global community should understand the historical context how China developed into an economic powerhouse. Mao Zedong, influenced by Russia, established communism in China. During the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong shaped a Chinese-style communism based on a Confucian dynamic—a philosophy that maintained society through hierarchy and collectivism. During the Great Leap Forward, Mao Zedong policies made the intellectuals devote time to agricultural production and industrialization to modernize China, followed after by Deng Xiaoping economic liberalization. This established the People’s Republic of China as the most effective foreign policy initiative established by Russia during the early 19th Century. Then, Mao Zedong closed its doors to Russia.

Henry Kissinger’s “Open Door” policy under Richard Nixon later developed China into a major player on the global stage. The “indomitable rise of the sleeping dragon” brought redistribution of power among nations displaying global dominance known as major geopolitical realignment. However, China rise created problems for the United States. After WWII, the United States benefited from exorbitant privilege, the dollar status as the world’s reserve currency.

The United States Dollar as the reserve currency allowed the United States to borrow cheaply, by selling its assets in return for goods, mostly obtaining resources from the global periphery, and purchasing exports from China, a developing country. The rise of the developing world shook the foundations of the West. Taken by surprise, the imperialist model became unsustainable. America based its economy on the Keynesian model of consumption, outsourcing jobs overseas, resulting in the general decline of a once robust manufacturing & export industry. The standard of living declined for the American middle class. Americans could no longer afford home mortgages and job security, due to changes in the U.S. labor market. The 2007-2009 U.S. financial crisis was the worst recession seen in over a decade.

The core problem at the U.S.-China adversarial relationship is China exploitation of a symbiotic relationship, as coined by Niall Ferguson, “Chimerica”. China ran a trade surplus, selling goods in return for financial claims. Firms, households, and government saved more than they were willing to invest at home and played this game for a very long time. Described in the exact words published by Daniel Griswold from the CATO Institute, “China manipulated its currency.” Griswold discussed how the global markets resorted to protectionist measures that spurred a trade war. The United States and China played a very dangerous game of competitive devaluations that allowed worldwide inflation to hurt domestic economies. Because China used the least acceptable means at maintaining a fixed currency rate by not trading at a floating exchange rate. The U.S. Federal Reserve under Ben Bernanke pushed hard for the rise of the Yuan due to China’s government monopoly over the currency conversions.

According to HSBC Economist report, decades from now, China may strengthen and internationalize the Yuan, allowing it to compete among the world reserve currencies. The most practical thing the United States could do is set the game multi-polarity in the G-Zero world coined by Ian Bremmer, the CEO of Eurasia Group, on geopolitical risk analysis. Winners take all. In this G-Zero world, we are all connected by each other rise and fall.

Building Global Democracies

We can create a world that eschews war and societal conflict over cultural differences, and it is possible under a capitalist system with social protection against abuses within the system. What sets the United States apart from the rest of the world is its democracy. America is a melting pot—a mix of cultures—where people from the rest of the world comes to the United States to share innovative ideas and pursue a dream of success and freedom from oppression—to create a new way of life. The United States can lead the rest of the world in building global democratic governance open to trade, human rights, and development.

School, Life, the Pursuit of Higher Education

“We must have a sense of the future. The only thing that’s real is now. The now’s to come are going to be as real for the people living in the next century.” – Al Gore

Earth

My goal is to finish my education. Perhaps one day becoming a Political Economist. I would like to work as a business consultant for corporate enterprises in regards to building sustainable practices. I’ve named my focus area Global Business. It is an interdisciplinary field that draws on political science, economics, psychology, and cultural studies. The relationships between political and economic power are thought to be overly complex and inter-related. The course work focuses on how global economies are interdependent and connected. I will explore the relationship between trade, global markets, development, and the structures between states and institutions.

The program is writing intensive and focuses on the rationale for data, analysis, and academic research. The idea is that finishing at a steady pace will allow me to fully develop my intellectual ability and myself on a personal level. My goal is to change those depressive anxieties of navigating an all too uncertain environment into living a much healthier lifestyle. Earning a degree in the Liberal Arts is worth much less than one would expect from earning an MBA. But, I’m pursuing my passions in a social, political, and economic context.

Perhaps you’re wondering where I’m going with this Blog? It’s a personal legacy –the Dream. Much later, I will be able to go back and connect the dots.

“Anything is possible.”

Global movements happen once every century. I hope to capture this historical moment through my academic major and this blog.

The Changing Labor Market in the US Economy

The Atlantic magazine came out with a news article about the Rise of the New Global ElitesThe decline of the West started with the rise of the developing world. A US-based CEO of one of the world’s largest hedge fund told a writer for the Atlantic that the hollowing out of the American middle class didn’t really matter, if the transformation of the world economy lifts people out of poverty into the middle class. On a very serious note, it’s harder to argue that an American is inherently more important than someone from the developing world.

In a Plutonomy there is no such animal as “the U.S. consumer” or “the UK consumer”, or indeed the “Russian consumer”. There are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take. There are the rest, the “non-rich”, the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie.

China As The Clean Tech Hub of the World

There’s a global race to Innovate. A lot of stuff is happening inside of China that we do not get to see outside of China. If China wins the clean tech race, then the United States will be the one to capitalize on those foreign direct investments, inside the US clean tech industry coming out of Silicon Valley. Energy security fuels the growth of nations. Clean tech models will stick. We will be able to scale clean technology all across the United States.