The Viridian Design Movement


Viridian Note 00279: Cheery Good News

Bruce Sterling []

Key concepts: Kyoto climate treaty, San Francisco solar initiative, UN environmental report

Attention Conservation Notice: Looks like some modest progress being made.


Global photovoltaic market growing 31% per year.

Some nice pics of the Marrakesh show.

Huge 2-megabyte pic of the spooky Iranian delegation.

Paula Dobriansky, answering a question about hapless people globally smuggled under false pretenses, other than herself, that is. traffic/cap0712.htm

San Francisco Bay Guardian fights the power, SF.CA style.

Source: Reuters, story by Andrew Quinn

USA: November 8, 2001

"SAN FRANCISCO == In a major overhaul of their power
system, San Francisco voters have approved a $100 million
bond to fund the nation's biggest solar power project in
one of the country's most famously foggy cities. (((Not so
famously foggy, however, as to put up with Texan energy
companies ruthlessly stiffing them.)))

"(...) The measures follow a year of turmoil in California as the state's botched energy deregulation scheme unexpectedly resulted in rocketing wholesale and retail power costs, utility bankruptcy and rolling blackouts. (((That turmoil is far from over, too; it's just that the predators formerly rolling in dough are now gasping for air.)))

"The main solar power initiative == which had widespread popular and political backing in this traditionally liberal city == won by a landslide 73-to-26 percent margin. (((Three to One! Woah!)))

"Under its provisions, the city will move ahead with plans to issue a $100 million revenue bond to install 10 megawatts of solar and 30 megawatts of wind power generation on city property, moves which should supply about one quarter of all the power consumed by city

government. (((Not the power consumed by the city, mind
you == by the city government. Oh well, it's a

"A second solar initiative, passed by a somewhat narrower margin, allows the city's Board of Supervisors to issue more solar revenue bonds without seeking voter approval, allowing the city government gradually to expand the solar power program to individual houses and businesses. (((Yay!)))

"Tuesday's landslide vote does not mean construction will begin tomorrow.

"Under the structure of the revenue bond, final approval for the project will come from bond investors who will decide whether or not the plan is economically feasible. (((Then let's hope the skeptics lost their shirts in Enron's stock collapse.)))

"But officials are optimistic that within four years

San Francisco will have 10 megawatts of solar power in
place == eclipsing Sacramento, California, as the largest
single solar power producer in the country.

"The city's solar power plan has been hailed as a big step forward for the solar power industry because it will

establish a steady and growing market for photovoltaic
cells == creating the economies of scale that will allow
producers to ramp up production and bring the cost down.

"'We have just created an enormous market for solar energy in the United States,' said Danny Kennedy, local campaign coordinator for the environmental group Greenpeace, which mobilized behind the solar power initiative.

"'What we need, the market transformation for a massive growth in solar demand and solar production, will come about due to incremental steps like this. If other cities follow San Francisco model we can bring the price down sharply.'

(...) "Pacific Gas & Electric, forced into bankruptcy in April after amassing billions of dollars in debt during California's power crisis, fought hard against the public power initiatives, spending more than $1 million in an effort to persuade city voters that it was still best positioned to serve as San Francisco's power provider. (((Bankrupt, sure, but they still have a handy million bucks to buy the voters with.)))

"The giant utility unit of San Francisco-based PG&E

Corp. has vowed to fight any moves by the city to take
over its power infrastructure == a central plank of the
public power plan == and said it would await the final
vote count before conceding defeat at the ballot box.
(((Graceful all the way. Meanwhile, in distant, sunny

Source: Reuters

"MOROCCO: November 8, 2001

"MARRAKESH, Morocco == Government ministers from around
the world moved a step closer yesterday to bringing a far-
reaching treaty to combat global warming into force after
their officials reached a key agreement.

"Ministers were upbeat in addressing U.N. talks in Marrakesh to define the practicalities of the pact committing industrialised nations to cut their 'greenhouse gas' emissions by an average five percent of 1990 levels by 2012.

"Many were encouraged by a breakthrough in lower-level

talks late this week that put in place a system to ensure
that countries comply with their pollution targets ==
previously seen as a stumbling block which could have sunk
the fragile treaty.

"'The progress made thus far is solid and encouraging,' Iran's Environment Minister Massoumeh Ebtekathe told the plenary session on behalf of the G77 group of developing countries. (((Massoumeh Ebtekathe is an Iranian, Muslim, woman. From an OPEC state. She's encouraged by global diplomacy while the Yankees quail. Go figure.)))

"'The agreement reached last night is indeed a very good outcome,' she said.

"The question of whether countries that emit more greenhouse gases than allowed under the so-called Kyoto Protocol of 1997 would face binding sanctions had been thorny at recent similar forums, but many delegates said it now seemed settled. (((Especially since the Americans, the number one planetary offenders and the primary target for thorny binding sanctions, aren't there.)))

"'UNPRECEDENTED IN INTERNATIONAL LAW' (((It's been a good month for such things)))

"Environmental groups, which had accused Japan, Russia, Canada and Australia of trying to wriggle out of a binding sanctions regime for countries that miss their pollution targets, welcomed the agreement.

"'Binding consequences are definitely there,' Jennifer Morgan of the World Wildlife Fund said. 'Countries now know if they miss their targets there will be consequences.' ((("Henceforth we can declare a new kind of war on the sinister ExxonMobil network, pursuing their menacing economic fronts until we smoke them out of their holes!")))

"Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Samoa's ambassador to the U.N. who chaired the talks on compliance, called the compliance system's strength 'unprecedented in international law'. (...)

"Stressing the importance of a climate change treaty, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said the Kyoto process, which was rejected by the United States in March, was 'a victory for multilateralism.' (...)

"The United States faced a barrage of criticism when it pulled out of the treaty saying Kyoto's pollution- cutting requirements for developed countries but not poorer ones would hurt the U.S. economy. (((What's left of it.)))


"U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky (((boo, hiss)))) gave no hint that Washington would return to the treaty President George W. Bush described as 'fatally flawed'.

"'Our collective long-term objective must be to create a truly global approach that stitches together actions by all countries into a tapestry of national and international cooperation,' she told the conference. (((Emptily.)))

(...) "The European Union, a vocal advocate of Kyoto, has said it will ratify it next year."

(((UN news flash! == Imperilled mankind to be rescued by
"UPDATE - Earth on edge of a precipice - UN report "UK: November 8, 2001

"LONDON == The human race is plundering Earth at an
unsustainable rate, (((yes, yes, yawn, get to the
point))) but the growing power of women over their own
futures (((huh?!))) could save the planet from
destruction, the United Nations said yesterday.

"'We are looking over a cliff here. It is a crisis of global proportions that needs to be addressed with some urgency,' Alex Marshall, editor of the U.N. Population Fund's annual report for 2001 told a news conference.

"The report, 'Footprints and Milestones: Population and Environmental Change', said bluntly more people were using more resources more intensively than ever before.

"'Putting this report together scared me stiff quite frankly,' Marshall said. (((Maybe you should rename it "Diapers and Diplomas," Alex.)))

"But he added that a ray of hope lay in the fact that women were winning the war to control their fertility and had finally gained the ear of government and big business.

"'One of the major changes is the increasing power of women's groups. Women are getting together as never before and are making changes,' he said. (((And if those women don't make some changes and gain some power, we can get the US military to blow up their patriarchal oppressors!)))

"'Nearly 60 percent of women now have access to some sort of family planning == even if you take China out of that you still have about 40 percent,' he explained in an interview to Reuters. (...)

"The world's population, which has doubled to 6.1 billion in the past 40 years, is projected to surge 50 percent to 9.3 billion within another half century, with all the growth in developing countries whose resources are already overstretched. (((Apparently, they're all going to stand on each other's feet for 50 years while a depopulating Russia becomes a vast vacant lot.)))

"The HIV/AIDS epidemic was threatening to swamp Africa and and was spreading very rapidly in Asia with four million people already infected in India alone out of a world total of 35 million carriers of the deadly disease, Marshall said.

"The report said 15.5 million more people would die from HIV/AIDS over the next five years in the 45 most affected countries than would otherwise be the case." (((HIV/AIDS is definitely not good news, but this report panics over a deadly epidemic while it also panics over a population boom. Huh? What this UN report really suggests is that people who don't control sex will not survive their ignorance.)))

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