Global Warming discussion

This page is for those interested in discussing global warming and measures which can be taken to ameliorate its effects. You are welcome to join any of the other six groups preparing for Science for Peace’s “How to Save the World in a Hurry” conference. You will find a prototype “Platform for Survival” on this website’s homepage or at http://tosavetheworld.ca/how-to-save-the-world/platform-for-survival/. It will grow over time as new policy proposals are added. Then the final 25-item version will be adopted at the conference in spring 2018.

We encourage you to enter your remarks below as a comment or a reply. (To enter a whole new post, a password is required, but you can probably say everything you want as either a comment or reply, for which no password is required.) TO PROPOSE A PUBLIC POLICY, ENTER IT AS A SINGLE SENTENCE OF NO MORE THAN 15 WORDS, PRINTED IN ALL CAPS. Please say who will carry out the policy — eg the UN, national governments, corporations — and what work/decisions will be undertaken.

You are also welcome to provide a longer argument in favour of your proposal. You can also include links to supporting material and/or upload a relevant Word or PDF document.

Facebook posts and comments

Here's another proposal from Helmut Burkhardt:
A GLOBAL AUTHORITY MUST OUTLAW NUCLEAR FISSION REACTORS FOR ENERGY PRODUCTION.

(Helmut, would you perhaps elaborate? Many people believe that nuclear fission reactors are GOOD ways of limiting global warming. This is a debate that we must hold on this page over the next few months.)
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How about this proposal for the Platform for Survival?
A GLOBAL AUTHORITY MUST PREVENT LAND-BASED ENERGY FARMING FOR PRODUCING BIOFUELS.
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Give us your thoughts about this proposal for the Platform for Survival:
A GLOBAL AUTHORITY MUST SPEED UP THE TRANSITION TO SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY IN ALL NATIONS, STOP SUBSIDIES TO FOSSIL AND NUCLEAR ENERGY.
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Here's a suggestion for you to consider for the Platform for Survival:
A GLOBAL AUTHORITY MUST HEAVILY TAX ENERGY CONSUMPTION IN EXCESS OF 3.5 KW PER PERSON .
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Helmut Burkhardt suggests this item for the Platform for Survival:
A GLOBAL AUTHORITY MUST IMPLEMENT 2 CHILDREN PER PERSON, HEALTH CARE AND OLD AGE SECURITY FOR ALL HUMANS.
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Helmut Burkhardt 171126,
Global policy proposal Category Global Warming

1 – A GLOBAL AUTHORITY MUST IMPLEMENT 2 CHILDREN PER PERSON, HEALTH CARE AND OLD AGE SECURITY FOR ALL HUMANS
2 – A GLOBAL AUTHORITY MUST HEAVILY TAX ENERGY CONSUMPTION IN EXESS OF 3.5 KW PER PERSON
3 – A GLOBAL AUTHORITY MUST SPEED UP THE TRANSITION TO SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY IN ALL NATIONS, STOP SUBSIDIES TO FOSSIL AND NUCLEAR ENERGY
4 – A GLOBAL AUTHORITY MUST PREVENT LAND-BASED ENERGY FARMING FOR PRODUCING BIOFUELS.
5 – A GLOBAL AUTHORITY MUST OUTLAW NUCLEAR FISSION REACTORS FOR ENERGY PRODUCTION

Footnote:
Only a global authority with legislative, judicial and executive powers can implement this policy. Experience has shown that voluntary compliance of nations, corporations or individuals does not create actions for the common good.
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ICOIAM-2017TAIWAN
Lloyd Helferty from Biochar Consulting (Canada), Energime University and the Climate Smart Food Consulting Group will be presenting the Keynote presentation on Biochar at the 2017 International Conference on Intelligent Agricultural Machinery in Taiwan (ICOIAM-2017TAIWAN), which will be held on December 1st - 2nd, 2017 at National Formosa University in Huwei, Yunlin County, Taiwan.
Lloyd will be introducing the audience to the development of biochar applications in Canada during a presentation called, Producing Smart using Smart Production: The Synergies between Biochar, Climate Smart Food and the use of Practical Agricultural Intelligence Technology for a Collaborative, Prosperous and Sustainable Circular Economy
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Please criticize (or amend, or suggest a replacement for) the following policy proposal for the Platform for Survival: "THE U.N. FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR CLIMATE CHANGE SHALL ESTABLISH AN AGENCY FOR FOREST MANAGEMENT AND PLANT X BILLION TREES."

Second only to refrigeration improvement as a means of reducing global warming, the planting of vast numbers of trees is known to be the most effective policy known today. And I understand that there is a new technology that may help with this, though it is still quite new and so far not widely used. It involves drones. A drone can fly over a terrain and appraise its suitability as a location for various types of trees. Then if the land seems promising, the drone shoots a little packet into the soil, which contains a tree seed and some other nutrients (maybe also a little water?). No human hands are required, and presumably such drones could plant far more trees than people. What do you think of this? Presumably the owner of the land would have to consent unless it is government property.
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AN ILLUSTRATION OF STRATEGIC FORESIGHT IN PLANNING
By Metta Spencer Sept 20, 2017
Some Science for Peace members seem to believe that at our upcoming “How to Save the World” forum, we’ll just make a list of good ideas and then go home. They see this as a useless exercise unless we agree to take our ideas out into the streets and mobilize action. I think it is a very useFUL exercise if we do it well, by thinking about HOW to implement these good ideas, and by anticipating some of their flaws and ways of avoiding big mistakes. Then, if our list is truly useful, many other groups will “own” it and work alongside us in implementing it.
But I see that my explanations have not been clear. There are two important goals for the forum:
a) to bring together activists who have been working separately and prompt them to see themselves as engaged in a joint project for which they share common or related solutions; and
b) to compile the smallest number of interventions that together can reduce the risk of all those problems.
To make any such list requires strategic foresight. We must think about the consequences of each proposal, and the conditions that must be met before it can be implemented. This will require research and collective “envisioning the future” to prevent big errors.
To illustrate the kind of work that we need to do, I have commented below on the Prototype Platform for Survival items. These remarks, like the Platform itself, are just meant to exemplify the process. I am not necessarily committed to any of the opinions expressed below. Indeed, your own reflections are as good as my own. Please take a look. If this illustration allays your concerns, I hope you’ll chime in on the Facebook pages with comments of your own.
1 The UN shall establish an agency for safe disposal of greenhouse gas refrigerator coolants.

Consider possible conditions and consequences:
a) Costs. This would be exceedingly expensive, if indeed it can be done at all. Hawken says that the release of coolants will make fully one degree of global warming, so it is by far the most dangerous threat. The Kigali meeting decided to “phase out” the use of current coolants within a few years (soon enough???—let’s push to speed it up) but the big challenge is to recover the stuff in existing air conditioners and refrigerators.
b) Effectiveness. How to recover the coolants? Setting up places all over the world? What kind of authority would they have? Where do old refrigerators go when they die? Those things are so heavy nobody can transport them without help. Maybe set up a system whereby all sales of new refrigerators would require the delivery guys to remove the old one for free. Or pay people a large fee for their old fridges? Or maybe give them something else in exchange for the old fridge which would itself be useful—e.g. a choice between a year’s tuition for their daughters, or a new fruit tree for their back yard, or a wind-up computer for their child, etc. Or it would be great if someone could invent a kit that would enable an ordinary person to replace the coolant in his own fridge and turn the bad stuff into a harmless compound.
c) Cooperation among countries. Is it possible that US climate change deniers will block the whole thing? If that is a real possibility, we’d better strategize about how to handle that obstacle.
d) My opinion: Set up the agency and empower it to work out the details for how best to recover coolants. They would also be responsible for publicizing the problem and recommending political actions to the UN General Assembly or an agency.
2 The UN shall establish an agency for professional forest management and plant X billion trees.
Consider possible conditions and consequences:
a) Costs. Reforestation is right behind refrigeration in terms of effectiveness as a way of reducing greenhouse gas. However, it will be expensive to do. Fortunately, there are now drones that can fly over a terrain, appraise its properties as an ecological environment, then shoot a packet of goodies into the ground containing a seed and the nutrients to get it started sprouting If this can be done on a huge scale, each drone should be able to replace many, many tree-planting teams and save a lot of money. Look into the costs.
b) Challenges: The land is owned by somebody, and there will be difficulties in getting the rights to plant trees. Who will negotiate with the owners to get permission to plant the trees? How will the owners be compensated and what is to keep them from cutting down the trees? Will much land be diverted from food production? How to keep that from happening? How will massive reforestation affect the market for wood products? And for tree fruits? (Fruit trees are being encouraged.) What will be the reactions of lumber companies? Will it be necessary to try to influence them strategically? If so, what are their vulnerabilities and the sources of their power?
3 All states shall ensure full female access to education and access to family planning.

Consider possible conditions and consequences:
Education gives women more job opportunities, enables them to raise healthier children, etc That, plus access to family planning enables them to give birth to fewer children, which in turn will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Obstacles: Family planning services and products can be funded pretty easily – even through voluntary donations. Girls’ schooling is no more expensive than educating boys, but there are other restrictions on girls for cost reasons such as the price of menstrual pads, which apparently keeps many girls at home in poor countries.
Patriarchy is a powerful cultural force in some societies. In one South American country (I forget which one) they pay families a small sum each month if their kids go to school regularly. Otherwise, the kids will try to earn money with odd jobs, etc. to help support their families. Our proposal elsewhere for a basic income would presumably reduce the need to subsidize poor families to send their kids of school. Or is something else required in the case of girls? In some countries patriarchy will resist change.
My opinion: The cheapest and most effective way of changing public opinion is through soap operas produced in the local language and featuring characters who are much like the people whose opinions we want to change. I’ve written a book about it. The method began with a soap opera in Mexico that promoted adult literacy courses. It had a huge impact and costs almost nothing, but the scripts have to be developed according to Sabido’s formula.
4 The FAO shall promote and fund expansion of “climate smart agriculture,” including biochar.
Consider possible conditions and consequences:
Hawken lists a number of agricultural innovations that can restrain global warming. Taken together, the same measures are now widely called “climate smart agriculture.” With it, food can actually be produced with “carbon negative” results – reducing instead of adding to carbon emissions.
Any problems?: Is the FAO the best way of promoting this? Does it have a means of reaching a billion farmers? If not, what is a better way? We should find out. Must we expect strong opposition from any vested interests, such as Monsanto? Are these methods labor-intensive or can they (should they?) be adopted by big agribusiness companies? There is no market now for biochar. How about enacting a law that a certain percentage of all fertilizer must be biochar? That will also reduce the use of nitrogen fertilizer, which causes eutrophication of lakes, rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico.
5 All national armed forces shall be reduced by at least 80%, including equipment emitting CO2.
There is an old Roman slogan: “If you would have peace, prepare for war.” Alan Newcombe showed that it was false; indeed, countries that are prepared for war with a strong military are MORE likely to get into war than countries that are militarily weak. Moreover, the manufacture and maintenance of weaponry and other military hardware is immensely deleterious, for it generates a good portion of the CO2 emissions, even if it is never deployed, but especially if it is used in warfare. Hence, eliminating national armed forces would be a great boon to humankind.
Consider possible conditions and consequences:
But there will be huge opposition to this proposal on at least the following grounds:
a) Politicians and most citizens believe that some kind of national defence is necessary, whether or not the country has any enemies that seem to threaten them. They will not diminish their “defences” unless provided with some credible alternative, so we propose one elsewhere in this list—a peace force and peacekeeping force maintained by the UN. Even that will not appeal to many people, since they know that the Security Council is controlled by the P5. Additional measures will be required to make the UN responsive to the needs of all peoples, not just certain states.
b) Arms manufacturers are powerful. Even if the population can be convinced to avoid warfare (which the peace movement has failed to do, so far), the wealth of big corporations boosts their political clout; they can fund or withhold funds from politicians’ electoral campaigns.
c) Further, arms manufacturers have clout because they provide jobs. Any strategy to overcome their influence must face the reality that jobs matter. Read Shaw’s play Major Barbara. The Salvation army woman tries to help the poor. Her father, a munitions maker, offers her all the money she can use but she doesn’t want to take it from such an immoral source. Her superiors in the Salvation Army are only too glad to accept it. Her father argues that he is doing more for the poor than she is, since he gives them jobs and she only gives them a hot meal. We activists deplore his argument, but it is exactly the same reason why the Canadian government insists on selling personnel carriers to Saudi Arabia. There would be huge opposition if those workers’ jobs were lost.
d) So we have to strategize on how to create other reliable sources of income for the workers, so they can afford to follow their consciences. A universal basic income is one option. It must be considered below.
e) Another argument against Shaw’s thesis is that automation is going to take away the jobs from munitions and tank factories more than even service jobs such as child care and the rebuilding of infrastructure (roads, etc).
f) There can be other regulatory approaches too—including the Arms Trade Treaty, which limits the number of countries who can buy weapons. But if weaponry is a business, the manufacturers will be looking to expand their markets and we have a shortage of strategies for opposing this.
g) The question of jobs must be seen in the context of a future in which jobs will become increasingly scarce, even for professionals. See Jeremy Rifkin’s work on the impact of the zero-marginal growth economy.
6 The UN shall create a parliamentary assembly which can override any Security Council veto.

Consider possible conditions and consequences:
Strategic rationale: The UN cannot be trusted to provide security for its member states mainly because of the veto-power of the P5. Moreover, even the General Assembly is a body of STATES, not individuals. There is little reason to suppose that the vote of each state reflects the actual opinion of the population it represents. The UN is not a democracy, thouh the GA is more democratic than the Security Council or various regulatory agencies, including the World Bank, the IMG, and the WTO. One partial solution would be the creation of a house of the people, elected directly by individual human beings. There will be huge problems with that system too, but making it strong enough to override a Security Council veto will at lrast encourage people in weak states to believe that the UN may defend them. Help in strengthening the power of the ICC and ICJ would also build confidence in the world’s population and potentially make them willing to disarm their militaries.
7 A ready UN Peace Force shall be created and deployed to any area where war seems likely.

Consider possible conditions and consequences:
This proposal has been around for a long time. I think Brian Urquhart promoted it 30 years ago. Its potential depends largely on the nature of its mandate. Would it be an unarmed peacekeeping force? Would it be allowed to enter a country without the permission of that state? (For example, could it protect the Rohingya right now if Aung San Suu Kyi refuses to invite outside peacekeepers in?) What states and social groups will oppose it? How would it be funded and who would command it? Would it include civilian peace workers? How many states would willingly reduce their own militaries and contribute instead to this international force? The strategic analysis must be very thorough before such a project is likely to be taken seriously in connection with other elements of this Platform for Survival.
8 The World Bank, IMF, and WTO shall be held more accountable, responsive to human needs.
Consider possible conditions and consequences:
This is an overly pithy proposal that would have to be unpacked if its merits are to be appraised at all. Who is keeping them now from being held accountable? Is it just a bunch of economists with a doctrine called the “Washington Consensus” or what? Are these financial treaties such as NAFTA weakening the power of individual states to set their own environmental and product safety standards? What constraints are these institutions placing on democratic power-sharing arrangements? There need to be several conferences on this just to make sure we know the implications of what we are proposing – and only then can we begin thinking about HOW to restructure these organizations most effectively. ( Or even whether we should desire to do so. )
9 All states shall sign, ratify, and within a decade reach full compliance with the Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons.

Consider possible conditions and consequences:
The TPNW has only now been adopted at the UN, and as its opponents predicted, almost no one in nuclear weapons states has even heard of it. The peace movement has been working for decades to bring the seriousness of nuclear weapons to public attention, but we have failed. Something is wrong with our strategy, and we need to rethink it instead of proceeding along the same route. Apparently the notion of deterrence is more credible to people than any alternative that we are putting forward. We have not opposed it with a coherent plan for defending them, so we’d better do so. And then maybe they will believe us when we say that the existing arsenals are a source of terrible danger, not a source of security.
One argument hinges on the pursuit of nuclear weapons by terrorists who look forward to martyrdom with delight. Clearly, they cannot be deterred. If we show that (a) these terrorist groups are really pursuing nuclear weapons and would certainly use them, and (b) a nuclear weapons convention can include credible systems of surveillance and methods of enforcement, etc, and (c) a more democratic UN can be created that can use a peace force fairly to protect people anywhere in the world, then public opinion may warm to the idea of nuclear disarmament and begin to demand it.
This will pose a new set of problems, to be sure: How to protect us from that powerful new “peace force”. Who will guard the guardians? Who will keep these peacekeepers from becoming bullies, as the police are in the US vis a vis the black population? Can we defer that question until later or does our alternative model of security have to include a mechanism of protection against a “police state”?
10 Until disarmament is achieved, all nuclear weapons states shall immediately de-alert nuclear weapons and commit to a policy of no-first use.

Consider possible conditions and consequences:
This may not be a hard thing to sell. Obama almost bought it himself. We need to find out more about the arguments of the military strategists who opposed it. I don’t know their arguments, so someone should do a little research to see how they continue to convince the US to keep its weapons on high alert. I guess Russia is also on high alert, but I don’t know about the other states. This is a ripe field for study.
11 The UN shall protect the human rights of all people and send peacekeepers and mediators wherever assistance is required to resolve conflicts.

Consider possible conditions and consequences:
Maybe this item is redundant. It depends on the mandate of the aforementioned UN Peace Force. This also brings up the validity of “Right to Protect” as an international law. Neither it nor the ICC seems to have taken root yet. The UN charter has several different clauses authorizing various degrees of interference in the internal affairs of states that are belligerents. The protection of human rights raises all kinds of questions about thresholds of violation, and who is supposed to decide when an egregious violation is taking place, etc. (The Security Council is not now the most credible body.) This is an area where we need another conference or two.
12 NATO and other military alliances shall immediately and verifiably abandon any policy to use nuclear weapons.

Consider possible conditions and consequences:
This item is probably redundant. We just need to include NATO or “alliances” in item 10. That gives us some space for another item.
13 A significant Tobin tax shall be collected for the UN to spend on programs prescribed herein.
Consider possible conditions and consequences:
This might be pretty easy to get public opinion to support, but I wonder whether there is any mechanism by which such a measure can be imposed. Can the UN just pass a resolution that would be binding on all its member states? I doubt that international law has such a provision. The opposition would presumably come from big banks. However, I have heard that they might actually like the idea because it would help stabilize exchange rates. We should ask an expert such as Wilson Prichard or Alex Michalos.
14 All UN agencies and large corporations shall appoint 10% of their directors from NGO organizations affiliated to the UN’s Economic and Social Council.

Consider possible conditions and consequences:
I’m proud of this solution. I have argued for years that the best way to curb the power of multinational corporations is to require them to appoint a certain number of people to their boards of directors from panels elected by various NGO constituencies. Of course, the question then emerges as to who will decide which NGOs are acceptable to elect these panels. It would be a heavy lift to create the institutions adequate to do this. But suddenly I realize that there is already am existing body that certifies NGOs: the UN’s own agency, ECOSOC. So we could use it for this purpose. It would vastly increase the number of NGOs applying for such recognition, but it is a credible outfit and could simply keep using the procedures and criteria that it has been using all along. I am not sure how high the requirement should be set. Ten percent is not going to turn corporations into civic-minded institutions. However, I imagine that it will get harder to convince businesses if we demand more than 10%.
Another question occurs now: Would these new directors be compensated for their service? They are supposed to be watchdogs, and if they are paid by the outfit that they are supposed to be surveilling, it would be a potential source of corruption. On the other hand, I think all corporations do compensate their directors, don’t they? In fact, they rake in piles of money. This is not considered a public service. By putting ordinary people on the board and not paying them, we will be creating a strange social situation—not a very pleasant relationship.
I think we have to say that the corporation must have the right to choose people for their boards, not give the NGOs the right to force their members on the corporation. In effect, the ECOSOC’s NGOs will nominate people and the corporation should have the right to examine them before picking them. Not all members of NGOs would have the kind of skills that would make them effective on the job. I couldn’t perform such a role, for example. I cannot read a balance sheet or make business decisions at all.

15 All states shall develop programs to offer a subsistence-level basic income to all their citizens, to be funded mainly from significant taxation of wealth.

Consider possible conditions and consequences:
Of course, this proposal will have to be worked on by huge teams of economists to figure out the costs and the feasibility. I am frankly amazed that it has been taken seriously by competent economists, for I would have guessed that no nation could afford it. Let’s get Thomas Piketty to look it over. He is absolutely convincing that inequality will continue increasing unless we tax wealth instead of income. And if we could put through a sufficient wealth tax, then presumably we would have plenty of money to create a basic income of, say, $10,000 per year. This would relieve workers of the pressures that make them consent to work for Major Barbara’s munitions-making father. Not that $10,000 is enough to live on, but it is close enough so that all except handicapped people could find enough other money to get along. This plan is gaining popularity. Andrew Coyne wrote a piece noting that it is accepted both by the right and the left, but questioning whether it is exactly the same thing that both sides are favoring. This is a fertile ground for research, since it is being promoted even by such figures as Mark Zuckerberg, who foresees a vast loss of jobs in the next decade.
16 The WHO shall create and fund an extensive, worldwide early-warning system to diagnose, isolate, and treat patients with diseases that could become pandemics.

Consider possible conditions and consequences:
Actually the WHO already has such a facility, but it is not as quick as we need. We are overdue for a terrible pandemic such as the Spanish flu of 1918. Prevention is our only hope. I recommend a TED talk by Larry Brilliant, the man who wiped out smallpox. He says that the whole prevention of a pandemic depends on EARLY DETECTION, EARLY RESPONSE. And early detection can be done most effectively by an outfit in Ottawa run by the Canadian government called Global Public Health Intelligence Network, which operates simply by monitoring social media around the world. People start talking about new diseases online before any public health official notices the outbreak. They do it with a very small budget, and Brilliant proposes increasing it greatly. So I contacted GPHIN and had a conversation about inviting the woman to send someone to our meeting, but she didn’t claim that GRHIN is as effective as Brilliant had claimed. A great deal depends on the effectiveness of the response, which he did not go into.
It takes too long to produce a new vaccine for every dangerous new virus. More investment needs to be put into that kind of effort. Pharmaceutical houses won’t do it because they cannot make enough money from vaccines or even from new antibiotics. There is an urgent need to intensify public concern. Much depends on having epidemiologists make models and know which groups to give vaccines to first (mostly children), and when to impose a quarantine etc. I don’t think there is much real opposition to such proposals. It is just that nobody is sufficiently alarmed to be committed now, so we should do so ourselves by including this in our forum.
17 All states shall donate 60% of their savings from military cutbacks to UN’s agencies.

Consider possible conditions and consequences:
Problem; How are you going to make them do it? I think the goal of .7% for ODA was adopted internationally decades ago but only the Scandinavian countries have met that standard. This is going to be one of the hardest items on the Platform to achieve. Strategically, this is where we need a social movement with a lot of excited participants who are aware of all the good things that will be done with the money. Right wingers will resist strongly, and I don’t know of any mechanism for enforcing this policy.
18 All states with above-average GDP shall publicly fund research and development of vaccines, new antibiotics and other treatments for resistant microbes.

Consider possible conditions and consequences:
This item should rather easily attract public support. I have seen a Frontline TV documentary already promoting the idea that governments have to fund the research because Big Pharma will not. Everyone knows that we are vulnerable to resistant microbes and need to do something about it.
19 All states shall undergo and publicize the results of an IAEA safety review of existing and planned nuclear reactors.

Consider possible conditions and consequences:
I am looking for an expert on reactor safety to put onto our organizing committee. Some of the people who know about the risks are so committed to abolishing reactors completely that they refuse to consider what to do about the existing ones that are not going away anytime soon. We may want to put an item on the Platform urging the prohibition of new reactors, but even if we do so, there is no prospect that the existing 500 or so reactors are going to be dismantled. The most we can do is try to stop new ones from being built. But it should be possible to get a policy made that the existing ones should be inspected, and if new risks are discovered, they should be stopped. I presume that the cleavages between pro- and con- will be the same as at thr present time – i.e. that no new pressures will arise from groups that are pro-nuclear-power. But we should think about it carefully. I am troubled by the fact that I cannot find a qualified person who will take a stand in factor of this intermediate position. Opinions are too polarized, in my judgment.
20 All Internet companies and states shall expand law enforcement efforts over cyber crime.
Consider possible conditions and consequences:
I am out of my depth talking about this. About twice a week I have to consult someone for advice about an email that is phishing. I cannot even tell whom to believe. Some of them really look like my bank or my credit card company. Can’t Internet service providers catch these guys? Is anyone even trying to do so? Do police ever get engaged with this issue? Maybe we just have to live with it. Besides, it is not a danger on the same scale as weapons of mass destruction, so it is possible that I should not even include this on the Prototype Platform. If we decide to delete this item, it will give us room for something more important.
21 The UN shall convene meetings to negotiate and fulfill a treaty prohibiting cyber attacks.

Consider possible conditions and consequences:
But when we get to the level of “cyber attacks” we do want to take it seriously, though I guess the line is fuzzy between cyber crime and cyber attacks. Presumably it is a difficult tasks to trace down the source of hacking, and there are no treaties or other binding methods of punishing people who do these things. There could be, and should be. There had been a group of governmental experts who worked to put together a set of rules for nations to adopt, but their efforts have been abandoned. Here is a letter from Paul Meyer:
“There is a mix of domestic and international measures that complicate things. If one takes the prevention of cyberwar as a priority the focus should be on the international level. In this light, I suggest a near term item for promoting international cyber security would be to encourage states to implement the recommendations of the 2015 consensus report of the UN Group of Governmental Experts on "Developments in the Field of Information and Communication Technology in the context of International Security". The latest UN GGE has just failed to agree on a report which makes implementing action on the previous 2015 report all the more desirable.
“Perhaps the best way to proceed would be to request the Science for Peace working group to generate a couple of suggestions to be included in the outcome list.”
Accordingly, I will probably edit one item on the Platform to make it refer to the GGE group’s proposal, as Paul suggests.

22 All states shall adopt decentralization plans for their electricity grids to inhibit cyber war.

Consider possible conditions and consequences:
Here again, we need input from internet experts. But read Ted Koppel’s book Lights Out, which outlines this scenario. It would be the first real cyber war, and it would be as damaging as a WMD attack. The prevention means include decentralization. If a household has solar panels on their roof, they will have an autonomous source of energy—unless the contract with the electricity company requires them to feed back the energy they produced into the grid before drawing off the amount they need. It’s a technological problem and I don’t think it is a hard one to fix, but it won’t be done unless someone calls attention to it.
23 All states shall enable NGOs and specialists to expose Internet disinformation campaigns.
Consider possible conditions and consequences:
This is important. An article in the NY Times just claimed that Russia has a new theory of war. You don’t need to kill anyone. You just feed false information into their communication system and wait for the society to fall apart from confusion and misconceptions.
I notice that today Facebook and Twitter have said they are going to invest a lot of money into trying to fix ‘false news.’ But how do they plan to do this? By checking the validity of all the information being disseminated? No. They want to train the consumer to be more skeptical about whom to believe. They hope to teach us not to believe certain people. That’s impossible! If Facebook and Twitter cannot ascertain where a false message is coming from, there surely is no way for the reader to do so.
And I do not want the government setting up a “Ministry of Truth” which will tell all their citizens whose Facebook postings to trust. Nobody in a public office should be involved in censorship or warning people of potential disinformation campaigns. That is too much like Orwell’s “1984.” However, I believe that when all those guys lose their jobs building armored personnel carriers for Saudi Arabia, they should be supported by a basic income and recruited as volunteers in NGOs that do such good deeds as tracking and exposing the sources of disinformation campaigns so as to alert the public.
24 All devices controlled through the Internet shall be designed to obviate destructive hacking.
Consider possible conditions and consequences:
I’ve been reading that the “internet of things” is going to make us all terribly vulnerable. We may be out on the highway in our electronic driverless car when someone in St. Petersburg hacks into the Ford Motor Internet office and flips a switch. There we all sit, helpless. Meanwhile the St Petersburg team has turned on all the burners on our kitchen stoves, turned on the TV full blast, ordered the drone delivery of a pizza to our house, cancelled all our credit cards, and unlocked our backyard gate, letting our English bulldog wander away.

Preventing such events is a technological problem beyond the pay scale of a political sociologist, so I have no idea how to fix it. But I do think it must be on our checklist of things to demand. Can this be prevented? If so, who will oppose doing so and what vulnerabilities of theirs can we exploit? I expect to hear your replies during the forum, if not before. Please send advice immediately. Thank you.
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4 Comments

  1. admin

    November 26, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Global Warming links

    The following links are taken from the corresponding Facebook page for this topic:

    • In the article about seven megatrends that can beat global warming, there is an interesting story about the prospect of growing meat in vats instead as parts of animals that ever live.
      That is likely to happen, it seems, and not too far in the future. It should make vegetarians happy–at least those vegetarians whose motivation is to keep from treating living creatures cruelly and who want to reduce the carbon emissions involved in animal husbandry. (Some vegetarians are motivated by a belief that meat is unhealthful, so they won’t appreciate this innovation.)
      But the thing that interests me is that we may actually need herds of animals moving around the landscape in order to keep it fertile. Desertification seems to be caused largely by the fact that there are no herds stirring up the soil and spreading their manure on it. See the writings of Alan Savory. If this is important, then it means that we should not all become vegetarians or even restrict ourselves to the meat that is produced indoors. What do you people think of this conundrum?

  2. A very interesting talk on how solar and a new way of using electric vehicles could be a disruptive solution to reducing GHG
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b3ttqYDwF0&feature=youtu.be

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