Monday, 30 March 2015

This is important and should be shouted about

Holy Cow!

Thanks to the Guardian, I find The Oslo Principles, a new publication on the Laws relating to climate change. 

It is hard to assess the detail in one chunk, but to me this is so significant it deserves full publication, as well as links:

What it does is set out in law the ways in which both nations and enterprises are legally liable, now, for the impacts of climate change.

The implications of this are very, very far reaching. The commentary, rehearsing the legal arguments and providing references, is 94 pages long, and can be accessed here.Enjoy:

On March 1, 2015, a group of experts in international law, human rights law, environmental law, and other law adopted the Oslo Principles on Global Obligations to Reduce Climate Change.
The experts came from universities, national and international courts, and organizations located in every region of the world.
Based on extensive legal research and discussions over a period of several years, which culminated in a meeting in Oslo, Norway, in 2014, the undersigned experts adopted the following principles:
Climate change threatens the well-being of the Earth. The threats are grave and imminent. Indeed, climate change has already begun to harm human communities and the environment. As a group of legal experts concerned about global climate change and its disastrous effects on the planet and on life, we have come together to identify and articulate a set of Principles that comprise the essential obligations States and enterprises have to avert the critical level of global warming.
These Principles, seeking to overcome the generally abstract nature of previous efforts to define the scope of legal obligations relevant to climate change, express both
1) the current obligations that all States and enterprises have to defend and protect the Earth’s climate and, thus, its biosphere; and
2) basic means of meeting those obligations.
Fulfilling these obligations is necessary and urgent if we are to avoid an unprecedented catastrophe. The obligations set out here derive from broad fundamental principles and a wide range of well-established law.
The biosphere, all forms of life within it and the ecological processes that maintain all living organisms are part of the common heritage of humanity. Human beings, because of their unique nature and capacities, have an essential duty as guardians and trustees of the Earth to preserve, protect and sustain the biosphere and the full diversity of life within it.
Avoiding severe global catastrophe is a moral and legal imperative. To the extent that human activity endangers the biosphere, particularly through the effects of human activity on the global climate, all States and enterprises have an immediate moral and legal duty to prevent the deleterious effects of climate change. While all people, individually and through all the varieties of associations that they form, share the moral duty to avert climate change, the critical legal responsibility rests with States and enterprises.
According to the view of the overwhelming majority of leading scientists and other experts, climate change poses serious risks to both present and future generations of humankind, to other living species and to the biosphere. Climate change further endangers social and economic progress, international peace and security, and equity and justice among human beings and States. Communities and segments of the population already in the most vulnerable circumstances will tend to suffer the effects of climate change most acutely.
Prevailing international scientific opinion recognizes that a two-degree Celsius increase in the Earth’s mean global surface temperature over the pre-industrial level will have a profound, adverse and irreversible impact on human and other life and on the Earth. The even greater increase toward which the climate is currently moving would cause significantly greater damage. Human activity is already causing grave and potentially catastrophic changes in the climate. The rate of global climate change is widely understood to put humanity at a tipping point that requires urgent action to avert disaster. While a small minority of opinion is critical of the consensus, the power of prevailing scientific opinion requires action as set forth in these Principles.
All principles, laws, policies and practices, whether local, national or international, that may affect the environment and, in particular, the global climate must be based on scientific evidence. As this evidence is constantly evolving and improving, lawmakers, policymakers and tribunals have a duty to inform themselves of and base their actions – in good faith and respecting justice and equity – on prevailing scientific knowledge and opinion. If necessary, in order to respect the Precautionary Principle (Principle 1 below), such decision makers must take into account, and take action to avoid, any credible and realistic worst-case scenario accepted by a substantial number of eminent climate change experts.
International law entails obligations to act cooperatively to protect and advance fundamental human rights, including in the context of climate change and its effects on people’s ability to exercise such rights. Threatened human rights include, but are not limited to, the right to life, the rights to health, water, food, a clean environment, and other social, economic and cultural rights, and the rights of children, women, minorities and indigenous peoples.
International law recognises that each State is legally responsible for the deleterious trans- border effects that human activities in its territory have on other States.
The grave and universal nature of climate change’s threat to the Earth affirms the basic principle of human solidarity and requires all States and individuals to act, in regard to decisions affecting the climate, with urgency and respect for justice and equity and to negotiate in good faith to achieve agreements that, taken together, would prevent the critical two-degree Celsius increase in global temperature.
If global emissions contributing to climate change continue to increase, or if the required reductions, as set out in these Principles, fail to prevent a two-degree Celsius temperature increase, States and enterprises must reduce their emissions further.
These Principles set out the legal obligations of States and enterprises to take the urgent measures necessary to avert climate change and its catastrophic effects. They do not claim to address all action that humanity will need to take to respond to the dangers climate change poses to human life and the biosphere. Additional crucial initiatives include:
action by international, national and local actors to adapt to inevitable climate-change effects in ways that minimize harm to human and other forms of life and to the exercise of human rights;
  • transparency in the conduct of all actors with responsibility to implement these Principles;
  • widespread education initiatives to ensure that humanity, in general, and all people making relevant decisions, including legislative and judicial decisions, understand the urgency of action to avert climate change; and
  • guarantees of public access to information about the climate effects of policies, projects and practices, public participation in relevant decision-making, and the establishment of appropriate institutions to coordinate and implement efforts to reduce climate change.
    No single source of law alone requires States and enterprises to fulfil these Principles. Rather, a network of intersecting sources provides States and enterprises with obligations to respond urgently and effectively to climate change in a manner that respects, protects, and fulfils the basic dignity and human rights of the world’s people and the safety and integrity of the biosphere. These sources are local, national, regional, and international and derive from diverse substantive canons, including, inter alia, international human rights law, environmental law and tort law.
    Under well-established principles of international law, States are entitled to a degree of discretion in the means they choose to fulfil their obligations under these Principles.
    1. Precautionary Principle: There is clear and convincing evidence that the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by human activity are causing significant changes to the climate and that these changes pose grave risks of irreversible harm to humanity, including present and future generations, to the environment, including other living species and the entire
natural habitat, and to the global economy.
  1. The Precautionary Principle requires that:
    1. 1)  GHG emissions be reduced to the extent and at a pace necessary to protect against the threats of climate change that can still be avoided; and
    2. 2)  the level of reductions of GHG emissions required to achieve this, should be based on any credible and realistic worst-case scenario accepted by a substantial number of eminent climate change experts.
  2. The measures required by the Precautionary Principle should be adopted without regard to the cost, unless that cost is completely disproportionate to the reduction in emissions that will be brought about by expending it.
2. Least developed countries: Countries that qualify as least developed, as defined and
classified by the United Nations Committee on Development Policy.
3. Permissible quantum of GHG emissions: Maximum amount of total global GHG emissions per capita in a given year, calculated on a global basis, that, based on Principle 1.a, may be allowed consistent with a plan of steady emissions reductions to ensure that the total
global average surface temperature increase ultimately caused by GHG emissions never exceeds pre-industrial temperatures by more than 2 degrees Celsius.
4. Above- or below-permissible-quantum country: A country that, in a specific year, has GHG emissions per capita that, respectively, exceed or fall below the permissible annual quantum.
5. Reduction of GHG: For the purpose of these Principles and Obligations, reduction of GHG emissions includes measures to reduce GHG already in the atmosphere as well as to reduce GHG emissions.
A. Obligations of States and Enterprises
6. States and enterprises must take measures, based on Principle 1, to ensure that the global average surface temperature increase never exceeds pre-industrial temperature by more than 2 degrees Celsius.
  1. The extent of the measures legally required must be determined in light of the Precautionary Principle, defined in Principle 1.
  2. The permissible quantum of GHG emissions that a State or enterprise may produce in a specific year must be determined in accordance with this Principle.
7. All States and enterprises must reduce their GHG emissions to the extent that they can achieve such reduction without relevant additional cost. Relevant measures include switching off power-consuming equipment when not in use; eliminating excessive power consumption where possible, including for heating, cooling and lighting; promoting, to the maximum extent possible, measures that will reduce the need for consuming energy, such as improved insulation of buildings and improved efficiency of energy-consuming devices; elimination of broad fossil-fuel subsidies, including tax exemptions for certain industries, such as air transportation.
8. States and enterprises must refrain from starting new activities that cause excessive GHG emissions, including, for example, erecting or expanding coal-fired power plants, without taking countervailing measures, unless the relevant activities can be shown to be indispensable in light of prevailing circumstances, as might be the case, in particular, in the least developed countries. If the new activities are shown to be indispensable, a least developed country is obligated to opt for less GHG-emitting new activities only if and to the extent that developed countries or other entities provide the relevant least developed country with the additional means to meet this obligation.
9. Developed and developing countries, as well as enterprises, must take available GHG- reduction measures that entail costs if the costs will be offset through future savings or financial gains. Least developed countries and local enterprises in least developed countries have the same obligation to the extent that other entities provide the financial and technical means required without imposing more than a minimal financial burden on the relevant least developed countries or enterprises.
10. Any entity to which an obligation in these Principles applies has flexibility in selecting the measures it uses to meet this obligation, if the measures chosen, in their totality, achieve the legally required result, as described in these Principles.
11. No Country or enterprise is relieved of its obligations under these Principles even if its contributions to total GHG emissions are small.
12. States and enterprises must comply with the obligations set out in these Principles even if relevant national law or international agreements, whether existing or later promulgated, set lower standards and, thus, would result in less reduction of GHG emissions.
B. Obligations of States
13. Every above-permissible-quantum country is required to reduce the GHG-emissions within its jurisdiction or control to the permissible quantum within the shortest time feasible. This obligation in no way diminishes the obligations set out under Principles 7, 8 and 9.
14. The obligations of States are common but differentiated.
15. Least developed countries do not have a legal obligation to reduce GHG emissions at their own expense. They are subject only to the duties set out in Principles 7, 8, and 9.
16. A country with GHG emissions close to the permissible quantum is not obligated to reduce its emissions to the permissible quantum if and to the extent that doing so would create undue hardship, considering, in particular, the country’s historical GHG contributions, its capabilities in terms of its wealth, its needs, its dependence on fossil fuel, and its access to renewable energy.
17. Because the permissible quantum will decrease as time progresses, a below-permissible- quantum country producing emissions close to the permissible quantum should refrain from increasing the level of its GHG emissions, unless so refraining would cause undue hardship.
18. If and to the extent that an above-permissible-quantum country has taken all steps reasonably available but nevertheless has failed to fulfil the obligations in Principle 13 or, as appropriate, Principle 15, that country must provide financial or technical means to below- permissible-quantum countries to achieve the reduction of GHG emissions that the responsible above-permissible-quantum country has failed to achieve. The receiving country must use these means for GHG-reduction purposes. Both countries have a joint responsibility to ensure that the support provided, whether financial or technical, is not used for other purposes, although such support may provide benefits in addition to GHG reduction. On the request of a State that has provided technical or financial means to another State to achieve GHG reductions, the receiving State must provide information to allow the supporting State to determine whether the support was used to achieve the intended purpose. Reductions brought about through such financial or technical support shall count as reductions for the State that has provided the financial or technical means and not as reductions for the receiving state.
19. The global reduction of GHG emissions required to ensure that the global average surface temperature increase never exceeds pre-industrial temperatures by more than
2 degrees Celsius, according to estimates based on the Precautionary Principle, may be impossible to achieve without additional reductions by above-permissible-quantum countries.
  1. If that is the case, those countries must, to the extent reasonably possible, reduce their emissions enough to ensure the global average temperature increase does not exceed the stated level.
  2. If such additional contributions do not suffice to meet the obligation to ensure that the global average surface temperature increase never exceeds pre-industrial temperature by more than 2 degrees Celsius, as set forth by Principle 6, below- permissible-quantum countries must reduce their emissions to the extent necessary to achieve that result. Unless such a country is a developed country, this obligation applies only if and to the extent that developed above-permissible-quantum countries or other entities provide the relevant country with the means to meet this obligation.
20. States must make their best efforts to bring about lawful and appropriate trade consequences for States that fail to comply with the obligations set out in these Principles.
21. States shall refrain from providing new subsidies, aid, credits, grants, guarantees, or insurance for installation of major new facilities or major expansion of existing facilities that will result in the emission of unnecessarily high or, in the given circumstances, unsustainable quantities of GHG, either within or outside their territories. For a least developed country, there may be an exception to this requirement if choosing more efficient facilities would be unduly burdensome for that country.
22. A State that fails or is reasonably likely to fail to meet its obligations shall, without prejudice to the imposition of possible consequences for such failure or impending failure, initiate or support research designed to identify and develop means to reduce GHG emissions.
23. Neither high cost nor the lack of financial means can, alone, excuse a State’s failure to meet its obligations to achieve GHG reductions or constitute a defence against legal sanctions that may be imposed as a consequence of such a failure. To avoid such sanctions, a State must show excessive hardship or extraordinary circumstances beyond the State’s control that have prevented the State from meeting its obligations.
24. States must regulate GHG-emissions in their jurisdictions or under their control to meet their obligations set forth in these Principles.
C. Procedural Obligations of States
25. States must accept the jurisdiction of independent courts or tribunals in which the State’s compliance with its obligations as set forth in these Principles can be challenged and adjudicated.
  1. States must participate in these proceedings in good faith and ensure that such proceedings are fair and efficient.
  2. In such proceedings, the State whose compliance with its obligations has been challenged must fully disclose the ways in which it has effected compliance in order to enable the court or tribunal to determine whether the State has complied with the relevant obligations and, where it is found the State has not complied, to determine the extent and nature of the State’s failure to comply.
26. Each State must make available information that is necessary to enable persons within its territories to assess the risks to their lives and health that climate change poses.
D. Obligations of Enterprises
27. Enterprises must assess their facilities and property to evaluate their vulnerability to climate change; the financial effect that future climate change will have on the enterprises; and the enterprises’ efforts to increase their resilience to future climate change. Enterprises must publicly disclose this information and ensure, in particular, that it is readily accessible to those who are or are likely to be directly or indirectly affected by their activities, including investors, clients, and securities regulators.
28. An enterprise whose activity includes fossil-fuel production must assess the impact that any limitations imposed on future extraction or use of fossil fuels, consistent with the “carbon budget” concept enunciated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and others, will have on its financial situation. The enterprise must disclose this information to investors, securities regulators and the public.
29. Before building any major new facilities, enterprises must conduct environmental impact assessments. Such an assessment must include an analysis of the proposed facility’s carbon footprint and ways to reduce it and the potential effects of future climate change on the proposed facility.
30. Enterprises in the banking and finance sectors should take into account the GHG effects of any projects they consider financing.

These principles were prepared by an Expert Group on Global Climate Obligations, which consisted of the following members:
Antonio Benjamin, Justice, High Court of Justice of Brazil
Michael Gerrard, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice and Director, Sabin
Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia University Law School
Toon Huydecoper, retired Advocate-General of the Netherlands Supreme Court
Michael Kirby, retired Justice of the High Court of Australia
M.C. Mehta, advocate before the Supreme Court of India
Thomas Pogge, Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs and founding Director, Global Justice Program, Yale University
Qin Tianbao, Professor of Environmental and International Law and Assistant Dean for International Affiliations, Wuhan University School of Law
Dinah Shelton, Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law, George Washington University and Law School, and Commissioner and former President, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
James Silk, Clinical Professor of Law, Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, and Director, Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights, Yale Law School
Jessica Simor QC, barrister, Matrix Chambers, London
Jaap Spier,* Advocate-General of the Netherlands Supreme Court and Honorary Professor,
Maastricht University Faculty of Law
Elisabeth Steiner, Judge, European Court of Human Rights;
Philip Sutherland, Professor, Stellenbosch University Faculty of Law
* Rapporteur of the Expert Group on Global Climate Obligations

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Sea ice, sea level and permafrost

Recent updates all over the place point out that Arctic sea ice levels are pretty low considering the time of year. Historically, the rate of decline of Winter Arctic sea ice cover (area, extent) is slower than that of the Summer (and the intermediate seasons). This year, the maximum so far (as pointed out at Neven's excellent blog, the finale is not yet concluded for certain, rather like a Tchaikovsky symphony) is below two standards deviation from the long term average. (here)

I don't subscribe to the notion that one season's extent is indicative of following seasons, for the simple reason that the range of inter-seasonal variability exceeds the range of climate variability. In other words, it isn't enough that there isn't much ice now to determine how much there will be at the end of this Summer (if only it was that easy!). But here we see the fortification (or continuation) of an existing and persistent trend, a reminder that we are apparently set into a pattern for the long term.

Meantime, Down South, recent observations (not yet officially published) are that the Larsen C ice shelf, thought to be stable when assessed in 2010, is now showing a big crack comparable to the one which preceded the loss of Larsen B some years back. Unlike some media, I won't publish more till the original is published, but you can check out the discussion paper at The Cryosphere.

Add to this the recent material illustrating the instability of the Totten Glacier in East Antarctica, the latest of a run of observations done in different parts of the EAIS showing a trend towards likely destabilisation (At least 4 papers recently on different glaciers).

Looking at a couple of other papers (I'll have to go find the sources at some point) I was caught by surprise when it was noted that the potential for sea level rise from the melting of permafrost is potentially very large (over time and relative to scale) and that permafrost is indeed melting reasonably rapidly across all Arctic landmasses (and, one supposes, potential under the ocean as well).

Which is all apropos of what?

One looks at a range of things and extrapolates a pattern. The apparent pattern is that a lot of the markers which might indicate an accelerated rate of sea level rise are all pointing in the same direction, and furthermore, that the observations of the changes are imminent, not down-the-line projections. For some time I've said, along with Rasmus Benestad and others, that the current 'mainstream' estimates of SLR are on the low side. 

I'd like to see a concerted effort to assess recent developments in observations and evidence as a whole and a review of the conclusions. IMO the odds of a 1 metre rise by the end of the century are now much shorter than they would have been twelve months ago. if a reader can point me to any material on the projected contribution of permafrost melting to SLR, that would be helpful, too.

Monday, 16 March 2015

The Legacy problem

This post addresses a key challenge in climate discussions - what kind of future do we want for our descendants and whether we have to choose the lesser of two evils if we are to prosper.

That we are capable of incrementally changing the nature of our planet for the future should now be acknowledged as a given. That our current action pathways are destructive and will, unchecked, almost certainly result in great harm, suffering, damage and destruction to Nature and ecosystems, human societies and the social stability of our society and cultures should also be acknowledged, though even at this level there are divisions among people.

What is unquestionable is that by necessity, in living our lives, we effect the conditions of future lives by default. We are laying down a legacy for our descendants.

The central questions of climate change action relate to the nature and pace of the legacy and the extent to which this legacy can be altered, to decisions about what kind of legacy is preferable. 

Opinions about the nature of what we can or should do are strongly connected to opinions about what the risks are, what the timescales are, and what kind of human society is desirable.

What is generally accepted is that Energy is a key component of both the problems and the answers. So we have to have an idea about what to do about energy if we intend to plot any future scenario.

As things stand, our society is dependent on access to reliable energy, whether it is electricity, gas, full for transport or industrial production. Energy is a part of what we now are and much of what we do. We collectively use a vast amount of energy to support the ways in which live and this creates the first problem: the infrastructure of supply is necessarily vast, much, much bigger than most people realise or understand.

Even if our chosen pathway incorporates plans to reduce overall energy use, the reality is that, if we are to sustain a culture comparable to that of the present we need to produce large amounts of energy in the future. One set of questions arise from the choices we make about how we make use of that energy and how we reduce current levels of consumption. A second set of questions revolve around the extent to which we want to sustain that culture or whether it would be better to permit a degree of regression.

Another set of questions, my focus here, is the practicality of oil and coal divestment and usage, against the practicality of renewable energy and, third, the practicality of nuclear power.

Though there are other energy matters which could be included here, these three options form the basis of possible future energy production.

I work in renewable energy and believe strongly that any relatively cost-effective renewable energy should be encouraged and supported in the vast majority of cases. But I have to acknowledge that even with a vast uptake of renewables for the next thirty years there is still likely to be a shortfall between what can be supplied and what will be needed, however well we improve our energy efficiency.

In the absence of a magic bullet to suddenly solve these problems (all current solutions are partial and specific to certain preconditions), we have to make a difficult choice about how our needs are to be supplemented. That choice is between fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

The time may come in the next ten, twenty years that neither of these is necessary, but that time is not now. Given that we must choose to develop one or the other in the timescale from the present out 25 years, we need to decide which of these represents the better choice in terms of legacy.

Some of the risks associated with Fossil are relatively well understood. The timescales are in question, but the problems are potentially existential, intolerably painful and, in general, unacceptable. Other associated problems are less certain but even worse in their impact. 

For me, the problems with nuclear power are all about legacy. As things stand we have not satisfactorily resolved the problems of what to do to avoid harm completely - after all, in these processes we are creating highly toxic and damaging materials which need to be managed (potential) for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

But I feel there is a fundamental difference: the legacy problems associated with fossil fuel use cannot be resolved - once they are in the system, we have no choice but to live with the consequences. In this sense, the legacy (including the uncertain elements) are bound in and unavoidable, unchangeable. What will be will be.

On the other hand, I think that the legacy problems and issues of nuclear energy can be resolved. Since the source of risk is physically constrained (a relatively small amount of highly damaging residue), there is at least the possibility of finding the means by which the legacy can be managed, since the solution is engineerable. Though dreadful in themselves, nuclear incidents are localised when compared to the harms stimulated by climate change from fossil fuel use. The side-effects (ecosystem failure, drought, famine, flooding) of the latter do not arise from the former.

Being a member of the Green Party, I tend towards the view that nuclear weapons have limited justification and the risks that they exist to manage are extremely uncertain. But there is a big difference between nuclear weapons and nuclear energy.

So, here is the legacy problem - which of the two energy options is the lesser of two 'evils' for the next twenty five years, and for our legacy? We must assume that our descendants will be living with changes, some of which will be negative, but we must also assume that the direction of our decisions will make a difference to the kinds of threats they will face and the opportunities they have to find solutions.

In the absence of other practical solutions, I am inclined to suggest that nuclear energy is the lesser evil.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015


This is a piece of fiction.

It is a popular delusion that wealthy and powerful people feel the need to be members of clubs or secret societies and that they spend their time conspiring to manage the 'World order' to suit their best interests.

There are clubs and societies. Some of them are very exclusive. In some of these clubs, some of the members will sometimes talk about politics, capital, and so forth, quite possible over a bottle of old rare port. But this is no more than ordinary social behaviour. There are no grand conspiracies.

The main reason that this is so is that there is no need for such conspiracies. By and large, the more powerful or wealthy a person is, the more likely he or she is to have a certain set of values, expectations and prejudices, just like everyone else. The shared values and desires of a group of people are sufficient to generate understandings and agreements which do not require contracts, promises or secret meetings. Most of these are clever, or at least cunning people. They have experience, habit, often history, as well as a broad understanding of how the world really works.

So, when I say that in the early twenty-first century there was an agreement, I don't mean to say that anything was made explicit or written down or even directly discussed. Call it instead a feeling, a mutual understanding, a general sense that certain problems implied certain solutions.

Nor need all of these people shared an agenda, world-view or ideology. They did share a knowledge of power and its applications.

The agreement related to Climate Change, or what some people call Global Warming.

There was no serious doubt in these people's minds that this was a real phenomenon, with real risks and a real possibility of a number of social and financial crises attached to it. These people were smart enough to understand that the projections of tens of thousands of scientists was not random and needed to be addressed.

The direst warnings were of social, political, environmental and financial collapses which would cause millions, perhaps billions of premature deaths, large scale extinctions, anarchy, famine, extremism, brutality, the end of the rule of law (in some places).

But there were certain items at risk which could not be let go. Perhaps surprisingly, it was understood that the environment, nature, ecosystems, had to be protected in the long term. Nothing would survive if this was destroyed, so  radial measures to protect the environment from the worst ravages of exploitation were considered justifiable.

Given the nature of the wealth and its sources, the other item at issue was the survival of Markets and Capital, trade and business. Without these, there was no basis on which to generate, protect or justify wealth.

And the agreement was this: let it run its course. Any rational analysis came to the same conclusion; that there were too many people on earth for the planet to sustain, and that the imbalance of resource demand over supply would worsen if population increased as projected. So the solution was reasonably simple: without having to make hard decisions, or get involved in ethical finery, a simple strategy of inertia (no need to rush to change anything) would produce the desired result -  a reduction of the world's population, a reduction on the unsustainable demand on resources, a reduction of poverty by eradicating the poor, rather than the cause of poverty, inequity.

And so, not consciously, nor conspiratorially, the program was set. The usual balance of fine words and half-hearted gestures, of grand plans and good intentions, mixed with the absence of real action or the necessary hard decisions. This was the simple, elegant solution; let what will be come to pass.

And that is how we get to where we are today... the dawn of the Passive Holocaust.