Meditation Focus #142

Being All The Abundance That We Can Be


What follows is the 142nd Meditation Focus suggested for the next 2 weeks beginning Sunday, December 4, 2005.


1. Summary
2. Meditation times
3. More information related to this Meditation Focus
4. Environmental Vigil For Global Warming Meeting in Montreal



After being offered previously with seven gifts — love, compassion, harmony, Light, joy, oneness and gratitude — an eight sage is stepping forward to also offer his invaluable contribution to humanity's global awakening.

As you gradually discover your place in the universe, you are bound to also realize not only how vast and diverse this universe is, but just how infinite is the abundance bestowed upon all living forms. That you have plenty more than what is needed to meet your requirements for survival and happiness is certainly an understatement. When you come to conscious life, once more, you open your eyes upon a world, your planet Earth, that is blessed with so many diverse expressions of the creative Force of Life that you cannot even begin to comprehend how vast is the scope of the blessings made available for your sustenance, comfort and spiritual expansion. The so-called diversity that some of your scientists study and marvel at is but a reflection of the innate profusion of manifestations of Who You Are as an infinitesimal expression of the Universal Creator Being. Realizing this inner microcosm reflecting within you the outer macrocosm of the larger universe of which you are a vital expression is another essential key in re-igniting the sense of Oneness and integral belonging which, in time, will lead you back to the One Source of All That Is.

This abundance of material forms around and within you is also but a mere sampling of the much vaster levels of manifestation existing in several other dimensions acting as a stepping down manifestation ladder for the multitudinous beings evolving through the carefully calibrated pathway leading from unformed potential to manifested expressions of What Is and back to un-manifested potential. Consciously sharing in the knowledge of this stupendous co-evolutionary merry-go-round is opening a window directly into the infinite abundance of blissful moments of cosmic "divinection" tuning you up into the global matrix of perfection you are meant to achieve, while experimenting in the physical realm as you are searching for your way back from the labyrinth of embodiment.

While scarcity consciousness is still the order of the day and principal motivating factor for many human beings nowadays, there will soon come a time when such thinking will simply be obsolete and useless once the connection with the infinite abundance that comes with synchronizing one's life with the Higher Purpose of existence is achieved. Yet it is required to anchor now this emerging awareness of God-given universal abundance in the field of all human consciousness for it to flourish and soon be recognized as the natural state of being, the same that most other life forms on Earth are already attuned to, as part of their natural instinct.

As you join in synchronous meditation with all other participants, worldwide, simply Be All The Abundance That You Can Be, for the Highest Good of All.

This whole Meditation Focus has been archived for your convenience at

To review the previous Meditation Focus of this 20 week series, please go at

"Look around at nature, Spirit made not one type of flower in one hue but thousands. There are hundreds of different Hummingbirds and within each specie, there are the masses of individuals who are each unique unto themselves. Even human twins have variations between them and certainly no two snow flakes are alike. If this is not a lavish show of abundance I can't think of what is! If you could count every single stone, every twig, every individual insect, grain of sand, human, every plant, the fish in the sea, it would take you countless lifetimes just to count what is on the planet at this point in time, let alone all the new births that would come to pass while you were counting! It truly is infinite right here on our home planet let alone the entire of the Galaxies throughout the Universe! "

— Lynx Graywolf - Taken from Angel of Abundance at ://

"The mastery of matter implies unlimited abundance and universal well-being. It will abolish illness and all but eliminate aging and death. The total devaluation of material possessions will spell an end to avarice, greed and materialism since, by definition, one cannot remain attached to that which has become worthless. It will be spiritually and psychologically impossible for us to remain attached to possessions or be materialistic. Human desire, once detached from the thin, physical crust of reality will, by default, discover and attach itself to what remains - the metaphysical - reality itself."

— Taken from Project Mind Foundation Essay Contest at

"Just stand wherever you are — in the kitchen, in the shop, or in the bathroom — and wrap your arms around yourself as tightly as you can. Rock yourself. Before long you will be able to feel God holding you in the same way you are holding yourself. You will be comforted the way you were comforted as a child when your mother held you in her arms and rocked you."

— Jose Hobday in Stories of Awe and Abundance - Taken from

Many much such quotes through


i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes. Please dedicate the last few minutes of your Sunday meditation BOTH to the healing of the Earth as a whole and to reiterate our willingness and desire - if we so choose - to receive assistance from our space family in order to help set things on a path towards a new era of global peace, love and harmony for all. See the Earth as healthy and vibrant with life, and experience the healing of all relations as we awaken globally to the sacredness of all Life and to our underlying unity with All That Is.

ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.

These times below correspond to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT:

Honolulu 6:00 AM -- Anchorage 7:00 AM -- Los Angeles 8:00 AM -- Denver 9:00 AM -- San Salvador, Mexico City, Houston Chicago 10:00 AM -- New York, Toronto Montreal 11:00 AM -- Halifax, Santo Domingo, La Paz Caracas 12:00 PM -- Montevideo, Asuncion * Santiago * 1:00 PM -- Rio de Janeiro * 2:00 PM -- London, Dublin, Lisbon, Reykjavik Casablanca 4:00 PM -- Lagos, Algiers, Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris Madrid 5:00 PM -- Ankara, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Athens, Helsinki Istanbul 6:00 PM -- Baghdad, Moscow Nairobi 7:00 PM -- Tehran 7:30 PM -- Islamabad 9:00 PM -- Calcutta New Delhi 9:30 PM -- Dhaka 10:00 PM -- Rangoon 10:30 PM -- Hanoi, Bangkok Jakarta 11:00 PM -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing Kuala Lumpur +12:00 AM -- Seoul Tokyo +1:00 AM -- Brisbane, Canberra Melbourne +2:00 AM -- Wellington * +5:00 AM

You may also check at to find your corresponding local time for tomorrow if a nearby city is not listed above.


The following suggested material may assist you in threading the consciousness path that can help bring you to a space of perfect balance, vital co-creativity and greater inner harmony.



When thinking about abundance, what do you think?

How do you feel about abundance?

If you are thinking, "It's hard", or "I just don't feel abundant," or similar, you are working against the principles of abundance. The principles of abundance are the highest thought forms you can hold. You are literally saying, "Okay universe you do your stuff, I will be open and allow you to work through me." Granted, this requires a certain amount of surrender in the beginning, but if you will stick with it your trust will increase.

Abundant Principle Affirmation:

"I now let go and let the universe work through me"


"I now surrender my financial affairs to God", (or other spiritual power) Substitute "financial affairs" for any area you would like to work with. At those times when you are feeling abundant you will feel a oneness with your environment. You will feel open and energized. When you tune into abundance you are placing yourself in accordance with universal laws.

Being abundant is your birthright. It is a lot easier to succeed than it is to fail, you have to work hard to fail, whereas to succeed you only have to let go. If you knew how much energy you invest in creating failure you would drop it in an instant.

Be like nature. It is not always right to take action, sometimes we rest, sometimes we shine and sometimes we do take action. It's just a matter of taking action when it feels right. When the time is right you will feel compelled to take the appropriate action to bring about your desired outcome.

Abundant Principle Affirmation

"I listen to and take action when it feels right."

When you resist abundance you are going against your natural state. For example, resisting a desire to become an artist or make that phone call, or follow a childhood dream are all ways in which you resist, you are literally cutting off your energy flow.

What can you learn from these abundant principles? You can learn to follow through on those activities that you love and give you a feeling of being open and energized. Just remember doing what you love will open up your energy and opening up your energy will allow abundance to come into your life.

Abundant Principle Affirmations:

"I am an open channel receiving the abundant energy of a loving universe."


"I do what I love, the universe amply supplies me." The above affirmations will get you started in creating a consciousness of abundance.

Whether you are thinking about prosperity, health issues or relationships, you can open yourself up to having more simply by choosing where to focus your attention.

Use the principle of gratitude to focus on the good that is already happening in your life.

Affirm thanks to family and friends.   Affirm thanks for your health, eyesight, and your feeling nature.   Affirm thanks for the food you eat, your digestive system, the clothes you wear and the environment where you live.   Affirm thanks to the transport systems, your car, your shoes, and your feet.

See how many things you can be grateful for today. This is a wonderful exercise and very powerful. Be mindful of what is happening here. What you focus on expands.

This simple exercise will also open up your expectancy for your greater good. You are literally saying to the universe, I focus on what is good in my life, I expect the best and I am open to receive it.

Abundant Affirmation:

"I now focus on what is good and working in my life, I expect the best" Just as these abundance principles can work for you, if you think about what you don't want they can also work against you, by creating undesirable results.

This is why you have to be mindful of what you are thinking. Don't beat yourself up if you notice yourself thinking negatively. First, you need to acknowledge your thoughts, negative, positive and neutral.

We need to get rid of the notion that we have good and bad emotions. Emotions just are. The problem lays in getting into habitual thinking patterns where we judge, compare, and evaluate ourselves against others.



Please also keep this important event in mind during your prayers and meditations over the coming week so as to help foster significant progress during this meeting and decisive actions afterwards to mitigate climate change.

This information below may help you to better understand the various aspects pertaining to this situation. It is recommended to view this information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision we wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mind-set, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of global healing and environmental harmony.


1. Montreal the focus of global warming protests
2. What youth want...
3. Climate changes unprecedented in northern Europe, says European Environmental Agency
4. Ban cars, cut global warming
5. Emissions simply don't respect borders, says Linda McQuaig
6. On Climate Change, a Change of Thinking

See also:

Protesters from 30 Countries Unite To Fight Global Warming
Up to a million people will take to the streets of more than 100 cities in 30 countries today to demand greater action on tackling global warming.

What the U.S. wants.... (30.11.05)
The United States releases its plan for tackling climate change as it comes under increasing pressure at Montreal cilmate change conference. CLIP - Note from Jean: An extensive list of what appears to be good steps by the US government but which, to me, looks as merely paying lip-service to environmental concerns of Americans, mostly because the dollar amounts devoted to these initiatives are really meager when compared with the hundreds of billions wasted every year on military pursuits around the world and in space, not to mention billions of dollars in subsidies and tax breaks to the fossil fuel and other polluting industries in the US...

Climate change a security threat: senator (Dec 4)
Tasmanian Greens Senator Christine Milne says climate change is the greatest security crisis facing the planet. Senator Milne has joined 40,000 other climate change protesters in the Canadian city of Montreal. Montreal is hosting the first UN summit on climate change since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol was agreed. Senator Milne says it is foolish for the Australian Government to refuse to ratify the protocol and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "We have so much money and investment going into weapons and into war and talk of terrorism and yet the thing most likely to affect Australian communities is sea level rise, wild storms, increased intensity of the flood, fires and drought regime," she said.

Climate change: 'Drastic measures required' (Dec 4)
(...) The logical conclusion that climate change is a weapon of mass destruction - and leaders who don't tackle it are guilty of crimes against humanity - is too infrequently stated. CLIP

More related news at

Also recommended to your attention

The Big Scoop Series #9: Going Through The Whole Gamut is archived at



Montreal the focus of global warming protests

December 3, 2005

MONTREAL (CP-AP) — Tens of thousands of people ignored frigid temperatures Saturday to lead a worldwide day of protest against global warming.

Bundled-up protesters converged on a downtown square after marching from two separate starting points to listen to speakers and musicians in a rock concert atmosphere.

The demonstration coincided with the 10-day UN Climate Change Conference underway in Montreal, where officials are reviewing and updating the Kyoto protocol on lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

"This is protest is important because time is running out to deal with climate change," said Steven Guilbeault, the director of the Greenpeace movement for Quebec.

"Ten years ago we thought we had a lot of time, five years ago we thought we had a lot of time, but now science is telling us that we don't have a lot of time," he said.

"Global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter, that's what we're dealing with," he said.

Some of the protesters livened things up with colourful costumes — including several in polar bear outfits and another in a Grim Reaper costume — while others carried protest signs that ranged from the serious to the whimsical.

One read: Stop Worrying About Your Money — Think About Our Planet. Another said, Mr. Bush, your White House is making our planet dirty. "It's hot in here, there's too much carbon in the atmosphere," chanted one group to the beat of drummers.

At the end of the march, which included native American musicians, protesters symbolically held their breath for a minute.

"I hope we're saying to Canada, especially, that we have to stick by the Kyoto accord because we're not doing a good job," said Marilyn Gillis, 63, a retired Montreal teacher.

Quebec Environment Minister Thomas Muclair was among those at the head of the parade."I am here today to show the public that we (the government) are with them." On average, Quebecers generate only half the greenhouse gases of other Canadians, Muclair said.

He said it was "no accident" he was leading the demonstration, following the failure of the province and Ottawa to finalize a deal to reduce greenhouse gases that had been due to be unveiled at the conference.

Several other Canadian and Quebec politicians showed up at the start of the protest, including Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew and the leader of the separatist Bloc Quebecois, Gilles Duceppe.

Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair pledged that if he becomes premier, he will enact a law to ensure the province meets its six-per-cent greenhouse gas reduction target and invest in public transport.

The head of the national Green Party, Jim Harris, called on the federal government to invest in sustainable development, including in Canada's large auto industry.

"The unions want jobs, but they'd be happier producing hybrids. But Canada doesn't produce hybrid cars. Why? Because we give subsidies to outdated industries," he said.

However, a spokeswoman for the demonstration, Isabelle Gareau, said politicians had been warned to resist the temptation to politicize the non-partisan event amid the federal election campaign, which began Tuesday. Gareau also estimated the crowd at 40,000 people.

Some protesters travelled from the United States, which has been critcized at the conference for trying to tackle climate change through new technology and incentives for business.

Jennifer Morgan, International Director of the World Wildlife Fund's Climate Change Program, urged politicians to "listen to these tens of thousands of people." She placed the blame for a lack of progress on reducing greenhouse gases squarely on her native country. "The U.S. administration is the biggest obstacle to progress at this meeting, they have come here to try to (destroy) and slow things down," she said. "The best way to put pressure on the Bush administration is to move forward without it."

"We want to show that people in the United States really care about the issue even though our government might be a little slow on the uptake," added Lindsey Franklin, 20, from Middlebury College in Vermont.

The march was expected to be the largest of the demonstrations held in 32 countries, including Japan, Germany, France, Bangladesh, Brazil, Australia and South Africa.

In London, protesters passed 10 Downing Street, home of Prime Minister Tony Blair, where they presented a letter demanding that the government reaffirm its commitment to Kyoto. Events were also held across the U.S., including Washington, Boston, Los Angeles and hurricane-ravaged New Orleans.

Five environmental groups, including Greenpeace and the Climate Crisis Coalition, delivered a petition signed by 600,000 Americans to the U.S. Consulate in Montreal urging the Bush administration and the U.S. Congress to help slow global warming.

"We are here representing the people of the United States who want action to be taken," said Ted Glick of the Climate Crises Coalition.



What youth want...


We stand in solidarity with vulnerable communities who are disproportionately impacted by climate change, including low-income people, marginalized groups, indigenous peoples and people living in geographically vulnerable areas. As stewards of the Earth, we demand the right for all future generations to inherit a healthy planet. We make this declaration knowing in our hearts that Beyond Kyoto – It’s Us!

MONTREAL, QUEBEC:Young people from 26 countries have written a declaration calling on governments to give them a permanent place in the talks about dealing with climate change.

The declaration, called "Our climate, our challenge, our future", capped a five-day youth meeting in Montreal.The declaration will be presented to ministers at the United Nations climate change meeting next week.

Our climate, our challenge, Our Future International Youth Declaration, Montréal 2005

We, the youth of today and leaders of tomorrow, face an unprecedented challenge as a result of global climate change and share in the responsibility of addressing it. Taking a step back from the complexities of compromise and negotiation, we cannot help but think the purpose of the Convention has been sidelined. We are frightened by the scale of this emerging global environmental crisis. We stand in solidarity with vulnerable communities who are disproportionately impacted by climate change, including low-income people, marginalized groups, indigenous peoples and people living in geographically vulnerable areas. As stewards of the Earth, we demand the right for all future generations to inherit a healthy planet. We make this declaration knowing in our hearts that Beyond Kyoto – It’s Us!

Our commitments Youth around the world are committed to protecting the climate. We engage our communities in participatory action and encourage the respect of humanity’s place in nature, cultural diversity, indigenous rights and traditional knowledge. We are supporting clean energy through our own consumption choices. We are moving forward to expand our involvement at the domestic and international levels and encourage broader participation on the part of our peers.

Our demands We further the call of previous youth COP declarations for a permanent, funded youth constituency to be included in the international climate change negotiation process by COP 12.

In accordance with scientific knowledge, we need minimum binding emissions reduction targets of 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 for “developed” countries. Moreover, agreement must be reached before 2008 and should include additional support to decarbonize “developing” countries, funded in part by penalties for non-compliance of “developed” countries.

Flexible mechanisms must supplement, not substitute, domestic emissions reductions: This requires that the vast majority of reductions be achieved at home. The additionality, monitoring and transparency of project-based flexible mechanisms cannot be compromised. The process must include a participatory role for local communities.

We ask governments for a just transition to low-impact renewable energy and insist on the removal of fossil fuel subsidies. Human rights and social justice must be included in the transition from fossil fuel dependence. Projects involving nuclear energy, large-scale hydro-electric power and waste incineration do not contribute to sustainability. Carbon sequestration is a last resort to mitigating climate change.

Adaptation options need to be addressed in parallel with mitigation. More resources are urgently needed for the most vulnerable countries with the lowest adaptive capacity, especially in the form of funding for local adaptation. Plans for both human adaptation and appropriate ecological management techniques must be incorporated into national policies.

Food and water security must be guaranteed in order to avoid conflict under a changing climate. Environmentally displaced peoples must be provided assistance.

We urge governments to refine their urban planning policies, promote green architecture, incorporate public transportation systems, and encourage non-motorized modes of transport.

Vehicle fuel efficiency standards must be enhanced. Aviation and maritime emissions must be reduced through mandatory targets.

We insist that governments incorporate an ambitious multi-disciplinary approach to sustainable development in our education systems, including a curriculum on climate change.

Our vision We respect both past and future generations and recognize that humanity is part of the Earth’s ecosystems. Human and ecological wellbeing must supersede economic concerns if only because economies depend on ecosystems. Technology alone is not a solution; we do not want the continuation of unsustainable habits. We value community, culture and life above superficial consumption.

Communities, each with a unique insight into their own situation, are the best producers of solutions for mitigation and adaptation. We support business initiatives that are striving to help us achieve our vision. Governments’ responsibilities are to the people, before corporations.

Climate change solutions must guarantee the right to a healthy environment and the environment’s right to health, as well as ensure equity amongst present and all future generations. Education should promote sustainability within a diversity of cultures. The low-carbon economy is not a low-job economy.

We envision a world where all members of society have not only the right but the means to influence the world around them and where sustainability, equity, and justice are uncompromised values.

As youth, we have the right to shape the world we live in. We are already taking steps in our own lives and communities to realize our vision and we demand that our leaders do the same.

Climate change is an opportunity to unite. The age of competition is of the past; the age of cooperation is dawning!

More on this group at



Climate changes unprecedented in northern Europe, says European Environmental Agency


"Without effective action over several decades, global warming will see ice sheets melting in the north and the spread of deserts from the south," says Jacqueline McGlade, Executive director of the EEA.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK: "The European environment - State and outlook 2005," a five year assessment across 31 countries, provides an overview of Europe's environment and points to challenges of which climate change is just one.

Other areas of concern include biodiversity, marine ecosystems, land and water resources, air pollution and health. For the first time, the report has a country by country analysis with performance indicators and comparisons for all of the participants: the EU-25 plus Bulgaria, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Romania, Turkey and including Switzerland.

The report says Europe's average temperature rose by 0.95 °C during the 20th century. This is 35 per cent higher than the global average increase of 0.7 °C and temperatures will continue to rise. The EU has recognised this and set a target limiting the global temperature increase to 2 °C above pre industrial levels.

"Without effective action over several decades, global warming will see ice sheets melting in the north and the spread of deserts from the south. The continent's population could effectively become concentrated in the centre. Even if we constrain global warming to the EU target of a 2 °C increase, we will be living in atmospheric conditions that human beings have never experienced. Deeper cuts in emissions are needed," says Jacqueline McGlade, Executive director of the EEA.

Past EU legislation on environment has worked, says the report. Yet, it has taken ten to twenty years for these actions to show results, the report says.

These environmental success stories are now being overtaken by changes in personal consumption patterns. Europeans are living longer and more live alone putting greater demands on living space. Between 1990 and 2000, more than 800 000 hectares, of Europe's land was built on.

"Policy makers must be farsighted. We need a gradual shift away from taxes on labour and investment towards taxes on pollution and the inefficient use of materials and land. We also need reforms in the way that subsidies are applied to transport, housing, energy and agriculture. We need subsidies encouraging sustainable practices and efficient technologies," says Professor McGlade.

"With the necessary incentives built in, such reforms will lead to more investment, innovation and competitiveness. We have already seen this in practice in certain countries and sectors. Strong taxation of petrol in Europe and high regulatory standards led to cars that have been almost twice as fuel efficient as cars on America's roads, in recent decades. We have seen the cost of inaction in terms of people's lives and our environment with examples such as the collapse of fish stocks, the use of asbestos in buildings, acid rain and lead in petrol. It pays to act now to secure the long term," says Professor McGlade.



Ban cars, cut global warming


World Carfree Network, an international association of organizations focused on sustainable transport, is urging the delegates at the Montreal summit to focus on cars, both as one of the most threatening causes of climate change and as an indicator of one relatively painless solution to the crisis.

MONTREAL, QUEBEC: World Car Free Network release say as representatives of 180 nations meet in Montreal for the first summit on climate change since the Kyoto Protocol came into effect, an unacknowledged elephant is lounging in their midst.

World Carfree Network, an international association of organizations focused on sustainable transport, is urging the delegates at the Montreal summit to focus on cars, both as one of the most threatening causes of climate change and as an indicator of one relatively painless solution to the crisis. Globally, road transport (cars and trucks) accounts for as much as 40 percent of the gases that contribute to climate change, and emissions from private cars are increasing faster than those from any other source.

“It should be obvious that cars are directly connected to climate change. Of all transport emissions, road transport makes up 77 percent, while air travel only makes up 9 percent and rail a mere 4 percent,” said Lela Gary, director of the website and a network member.

While road transport is a troubling factor, it is probably the easiest piece in the whole climate-change puzzle. Emissions from road transport could be cut in half in developed countries in a few years with little or no economic pain, simply by limiting car use in city centers to service vehicles and deliveries; redirecting funds for road construction to public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure, rail freight systems and non-motorized municipal delivery systems. The result could be an almost immediate reduction in climate-damaging emissions of up to 20 percent.

The European Union, which is the most pro-active in combating climate change, has chosen to focus on bio-fuels for cars, which reduce emissions far less than would a shift to public and non-motorized transport. It is well-known that a shift away from cars would threaten the multi-billion dollar automobile industry, but the public remains largely unaware that rail and non-motorized transport are both less expensive for communities and a better boost for local economies than automobile-based transport.

For example, the construction of a mile of urban expressway costs around $100 million, while a rail line of similar capacity costs around $15 million per mile and a cycling road only $1 million. As early as 1999, a study by the German Environment Agency found that the more environmentally-friendly modes of transport are almost always less expensive. Moreover, the US Center for Transportation Excellence states that every $1 that US tax payers invest in public transport generates $6 in economic returns, including new jobs and increased business sales. For every $10 million invested in public transport, local business sales increase by $30 million.

“The summit in Montreal is a tipping point,” said J.H. Crawford, a member of the network’s advisory board. “The time has come to redirect subsidies from automobile transport to more sustainable modes such as rail and bicycle. This summit gives world leaders a platform from which to garner popular support for action on climate change while actually helping local economies.”



Emissions simply don't respect borders, says Linda McQuaig

Dec. 4, 2005

No doubt some people would adamantly deny the need for mandatory worldwide action against climate change, even as freezing flood waters engulfed them.

This scenario is no longer far-fetched. As we endlessly bicker over how to address the problem, the frightening implications of climate change creep ever closer.

Last week, even as a pivotal U.N. conference on climate change ground to a stalemate in Montreal, a British scientific journal reported evidence suggesting the long-feared slowdown of the Gulf Stream is already underway. Without the stream's warming influence, far northern countries like Britain — where the surprisingly temperate climate allows palm trees to grow in Cornwall — could become like Siberia, within our lifetimes.

Scientists say this same Gulf Stream slowdown could bring more brutal winters to parts of Canada and the U.S., and contribute to ever-greater hurricane intensity in the tropics.

Oh well, on with the conference bickering.

The U.S. is the leading resister of Kyoto, the international agreement aimed at combating climate change. While George W. Bush focuses on fighting terrorism, he barely acknowledges the terrorism to be unleashed by nature, which truly does amount to a rebuff of America's gas-guzzling "way of life." But then it's harder to vilify nature, to rally crowds with: "You're either with us — or with nature."

Kyoto opponents reject its mandatory requirements, insisting each country be responsible for reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions.

That might be fine, if emissions respected borders. But they don't. Regardless of origin, they all end up in the collective haze that hovers above the planet, playing capriciously with climate systems. The only possible solution involves coordinated global action.

Kyoto opponents often argue that reducing emissions will hurt the economy. Yet a statement by Nobel prize-winning economists Kenneth Arrow and Robert Solow, signed by 2,500 economists, maintained that reducing emissions wouldn't hurt U.S. living standards, and might actually improve them. Even if it did hurt them, should this be grounds for inaction?

Climate change illustrates the insanity of the doctrine of limitless economic growth, which lies at the heart of unbridled capitalism.

By making economic growth the priority that trumps all others, we've placed in jeopardy the very ecosystems that allow us to exist on this planet and to enjoy all those luxury consumer items that economic growth can bring.

As British historian R.H. Tawney noted years ago: "So merciless is the tyranny of economic appetites ... that a doctrine which confines them to their proper sphere, as the servant, not the master of civilization, may reasonably be regarded as ... a permanent element in any sane philosophy."

Tawney's common-sense insight is utterly lost on today's political leaders.

And so it is that, as the waves crash through the levees and the palm trees of Cornwall turn to ice, we'll go down clinging to our flat screen TVs and our high-definition camcorders.

We know what matters.


Linda McQuaig is a Toronto-based author and commentator.



On Climate Change, a Change of Thinking


December 4, 2005

IN December 1997, representatives of most of the world's nations met in Kyoto, Japan, to negotiate a binding agreement to cut emissions of "greenhouse" gases.

They succeeded. The Kyoto Protocol was ultimately ratified by 156 countries. It was the first agreement of its kind. But it may also prove to be the last.

Today, in the middle of new global warming talks in Montreal, there is a sense that the whole idea of global agreements to cut greenhouse gases won't work.

A major reason the optimism over Kyoto has eroded so rapidly is that its major requirement - that 38 participating industrialized countries cut their greenhouse emissions below 1990 levels by the year 2012 - was seen as just a first step toward increasingly aggressive cuts.

But in the years after the protocol was announced, developing countries, including the fast-growing giants China and India, have held firm on their insistence that they would accept no emissions cuts, even though they are likely to be the world's dominant source of greenhouse gases in coming years.

Their refusal helped fuel strong opposition to the treaty in the United States Senate and its eventual rejection by President Bush.

But the current stalemate is not just because of the inadequacies of the protocol. It is also a response to the world's ballooning energy appetite, which, largely because of economic growth in China, has exceeded almost everyone's expectations. And there are still no viable alternatives to fossil fuels, the main source of greenhouse gases.

Then, too, there is a growing recognition of the economic costs incurred by signing on to the Kyoto Protocol.

As Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, a proponent of emissions targets, said in a statement on Nov. 1: "The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge."

This is as true, in different ways, in developed nations with high unemployment, like Germany and France, as it is in Russia, which said last week that it may have spot energy shortages this winter.

Some veterans of climate diplomacy and science now say that perhaps the entire architecture of the climate treaty process might be flawed.

The basic template came out of the first international pact intended to protect the atmosphere, the 1987 Montreal Protocol for eliminating chemicals that harmed the ozone layer, said Richard A. Benedick, the Reagan administration's chief representative in the talks leading to that agreement.

That agreement was a success, but a misleading one in the context of climate. It led, Mr. Benedick now says, to "years wasted in these annual shindigs designed to generate sound bites instead of sober contemplation of difficult issues."

While it was relatively easy to phase out ozone-harming chemicals, called chlorofluorocarbons, which were made by a handful of companies in a few countries, taking on carbon dioxide, the main climate threat, was a completely different matter, he said.

Carbon dioxide is generated by activities as varied as surfing the Web, driving a car, burning wood or flying to Montreal. Its production is woven into the fabric of an industrial society, and, for now, economic growth is inconceivable without it.

Developing countries - China and India being only the most dramatic examples - want to burn whatever energy they need, in whatever form available, to grow their economies and raise the living standard of their people.

And the United States - by far the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases - continues to say that emissions targets or requirements would stunt economic growth in both rich and poor nations. All this has turned the Montreal meeting, many participants have conceded, into, at best, a preliminary meeting on how to start over in addressing the threat of global warming.

Indeed, from here on, progress on climate is less likely to come from megaconferences like the one in Montreal and more likely from focused initiatives by clusters of countries with common interests, said Mr. Benedick, who is now a consultant and president of the National Council on Science and the Environment, a private group promoting science-based environmental policies.

The only real answer at the moment is still far out on the horizon: nonpolluting energy sources. But the amount of money being devoted to research and develop such technologies, much less install them, is nowhere near the scale of the problem, many experts on energy technology said.

Enormous investments in basic research have to be made promptly, even with the knowledge that most of the research is likely to fail, if there is to be any chance of creating options for the world's vastly increased energy thirst in a few decades, said Richard G. Richels, an economist at the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit center for energy and environment research.

"The train is not leaving the station, and it needs to leave the station," Mr. Richels said. "If we don't have the technologies available at that time, it's going to be a mess."

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