Climate Chaos, Capitalism, Cosmopolitics & Energy

London, UK - 24 July 2007, 18:41 GMT

Dear ATCA Colleagues

[Please note that the views presented by individual contributors are not necessarily representative of the views of ATCA, which is neutral. ATCA conducts collective Socratic dialogue on global opportunities and threats.]

We are grateful to:

. Prof Barbara Harriss-White, based in Oxford, UK, for "Climate Chaos, Capitalism, Cosmopolitics and Energy Policy Coherence;"
. John Menzies, an Australian national, who operates between Sofia, Bulgaria, and Vancouver, Canada, for "Climate Chaos or a Chaotic Climate?;"
. Elizabeth Marshall, based in Wick, Caithness, UK, for "Extreme Weather's Result: Infrastructure and Harvest Damage plus Rising Food Prices;" and
. Aurora Carlson, based on the West Coast, Sweden, for "Climate Chaos, Potential Human Extinction and Our Thoughts, Intentions & Emotions;"

in response to the ATCA think-pieces: "Extreme Weather: Flash floods Cause Chaos across Britain; Emergency Services in meltdown; Claims to cross USD 4 billion" and "Climate Chaos: UK Extreme Weather Update: Water runs out in flood-hit areas; Power Supplies Threatened Government Emergency Committee Meets; USD 2 billion+ pa for Flood Defences."

Barbara Harriss-White is Professor of Development Studies and Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford University, UK. Since 1969 she has carried out research in South Asia through primary field studies of villages, small town economies and markets. Her recent books are 'India Working: Essays in Society and Economy' (2003); 'Trade Liberalisation and India's Informal Economy' (2007), ' Defining Poverty in the Developing World' (2007) and 'Rural Commercial Capital: Agricultural Markets in West Bengal' (2007). She is interested in long term agrarian and regional capitalist transformation, the informal economy and social structures of accumulation on the one hand -- and welfare (particularly poverty, gendered life chances, nutrition, disability, destitution, caste discrimination, ageing and social security) on the other. From 2004-7 she has directed the Department of International Development, Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford University, handing over this October. Having founded Oxford University's M Phil. in Development Studies, she is now creating its new MSc in Contemporary India. For many years she was a Trustee of ActionAid and is now a Trustee of the International Food Policy Research Institute. Between 2004-6, she also used methods developed to study food policy in India to take a look at energy politics in the UK. She writes:

Dear DK and Colleagues

Re: Climate Chaos, Capitalism, Cosmopolitics and Energy Policy Coherence

In the Guardian newspaper on July 13th, the distinguished sociologist Ulrich Beck (Professor both at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and at the London School of Economics) made a call to New Labour for a transnational social and ecological agenda. It is a powerful piece not unconnected to the ATCA postings on the extreme weather disasters being experienced in the UK.

[CONTINUES] [ATCA Membership]

The messages of climate chaos are so threatening to people's sense of order, their ontological security, and local and national responses are so weak, piecemeal and incoherent that it is hardly surprising that the aggregate public reaction is to put up denial. I'm afraid that any political response that allows for a strongly democratically regulated economy, equitable redistribution, energy efficient technology and low waste as a disciplined starting point for cosmopolitics must begin with the dissonance and denial that pervades national political life. It must gain a mass democratic following of people who hurt - and people do not hurt. It remains to be seen whether Britain's floods turn out to be politically catalytic. It is for cosmopolitics to seize the nettle involved in confronting the need of capitalism to grow and to require growing material consumption; historically, confrontations with capitalism have not been made for these reasons nor have they been made without bloodshed.

Good wishes

Barbara Harriss-White

John C Menzies is the Chairman and CEO of EurOmax Resources listed in Toronto, Canada, and Managing Director of Martern EOOD, a Bulgarian company, actively exploring for metals -- specifically gold and copper -- in South East (SE) Europe. Under the current management EurOmax has become profitable from oil and gas operations in Canada and has expanded internationally. John is also Chairman of the SE Europe Geoscience Foundation, an Earth and Environmental Sciences education and research NGO, bringing the best in modern science and technology to SE Europe with regular conferences and workshops and it recently awarded 23 research grants to graduate students in five countries in the region. He is also the Chairman of the Surya foundation which has a developing broad range of community initiatives in Bulgaria.

John Menzies holds a BSc (Hons) in Geology. He has more than 25 years experience in the resource sector. He was a senior geologist for Amax Inc responsible for gold exploration in Western Australia from a base in Kalgoorlie. As a consultant he advised companies on projects as diverse as gold, base metals, diamonds and industrial minerals. More recently he has focused on the financial aspects of the natural resources sectors and has been involved in the successful development of mining and energy projects internationally. He has acted as director and executive of both Australian and Canadian listed companies and is a member of professional societies in Australia, North America and Europe. He writes:

Dear DK and Colleagues

Re: Climate Chaos or a Chaotic Climate?

Is it Climate chaos or just business as usual? The climate is always chaotic -- and that is why is so difficult to model. These are 1 in 150 year events in the UK -- these happen and they happen all the time strangely enough around the world. In Australia, Brisbane recently saw the lowest ever temperature of 0.1C with Ipswich at -4.87C (at least a 1 in 150 year event). Argentina's capital recently saw snow fall (at least a 1 in 100 year event). Is this climate chaos or just a chaotic climate? Although the impression we might get from reading the newspapers is that weather until now has been normal and unchanging -- the reality is very different.

[ATCA Membership]

3. Geographical Determinations of the Canadian Arctic Expedition F A McDiarmid The Geographical Journal, Vol. 62, No. 4. (Oct., 1923), pp. 293-302


John Menzies


We look forward to your further thoughts, observations and views. Thank you.

Best wishes

For and on behalf of DK Matai, Chairman, Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance (ATCA)

ATCA: The Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance is a philanthropic expert initiative founded in 2001 to resolve complex global challenges through collective Socratic dialogue and joint executive action to build a wisdom based global economy. Adhering to the doctrine of non-violence, ATCA addresses asymmetric threats and social opportunities arising from climate chaos and the environment; radical poverty and microfinance; geo-politics and energy; organised crime & extremism; advanced technologies -- bio, info, nano, robo & AI; demographic skews and resource shortages; pandemics; financial systems and systemic risk; as well as transhumanism and ethics. Present membership of ATCA is by invitation only and has over 5,000 distinguished members from over 120 countries: including 1,000 Parliamentarians; 1,500 Chairmen and CEOs of corporations; 1,000 Heads of NGOs; 750 Directors at Academic Centres of Excellence; 500 Inventors and Original thinkers; as well as 250 Editors-in-Chief of major media.

The views presented by individual contributors are not necessarily representative of the views of ATCA, which is neutral. Please do not forward or use the material circulated without permission and full attribution.

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