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THE LAW OF THE REVERSAL OF TENDENCIES
by Klaus Schlichtmann
ART. IX / 第九条
The International Union of the Hague Peace Conferences
and the Quest for an effective UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION
Deutsch lernen in Tokio?
Täglich sterben über einhunderttausend Menschen an Hunger.
CHARTE DES NATIONS UNIS ◄
EcoEarth.Info Environment Portal
China forcing world to rethink its economic future
Source: Copyright 2006,
Yomiuri Shimbun - Date:
May 14, 2006 - Byline: Lester R. Brown
Our global civilization today is on an economic path that
is environmentally unsustainable, a path that is leading us toward economic
decline and eventual collapse.
Environmental scientists have been saying for some time that the global economy
is being slowly undermined by environmental trends of human origin, including
shrinking forests, expanding deserts, falling water tables, eroding soils,
collapsing fisheries, rising temperatures, melting ice, rising seas, and
increasingly destructive storms.
Although it is obvious that no society can survive the decline of its
environmental support systems, many people are not yet convinced of the need for
economic restructuring. But this is changing now that China has eclipsed the
United States in the consumption of most basic resources.
Among the basic commodities--grain and meat in the food sector, oil and coal in
the energy sector, and steel in the industrial sector--China now consumes more
than the United States of each of these except for oil. It consumes nearly twice
as much meat (67 million tons compared with 39 million tons) and more than twice
as much steel (258 million to 104 million tons).
These numbers are about total consumption. But what if China reaches the U.S.
consumption level per person? If China's economy continues to expand at 8
percent a year, its income per person will reach the current U.S. level in 2031.
If at that point China's per capita resource consumption were the same as in the
United States today, then its projected 1.45 billion people would consume the
equivalent of two thirds of the current world grain harvest. China's paper
consumption would be double the world's current production. There go the world's
If China one day has three cars for every four people--U.S. style--it would have
1.1 billion cars. The whole world today has 800 million cars. To provide the
roads, highways, and parking lots to accommodate such a vast fleet, China would
have to pave an area equal to the land it now plants in rice. It would need 99
million barrels of oil a day. Yet the world currently produces 84 million
barrels per day and may never produce much more.
The Western economic model--the fossil-fuel-based, auto-centered, throwaway
economy--is not going to work for China. If it does not work for China, it will
not work for India, which by 2031 is projected to have a population even larger
than China's. Nor will it work for the 3 billion other people in developing
countries who are also dreaming the "American dream."
And, in an increasingly integrated world economy, where all countries are
competing for the same oil, grain, and steel, the existing economic model will
not work for industrial countries either. China is helping us see that the days
of the old economy are numbered.
Sustaining our early 21st-century global civilization now depends on shifting to
a renewable energy-based, reuse/recycle economy with a diversified transport
system. Business as usual--Plan A--cannot take us where we want to go. It is
time for Plan B, time to build a new economy and a new world.
Plan B has three components--1) a restructuring of the global economy so that it
can sustain civilization; 2) an all-out effort to eradicate poverty, stabilize
population, and restore hope in order to elicit participation of the developing
countries; and 3) a systematic effort to restore natural systems.
Glimpses of the new economy can be seen in the wind farms of western Europe, the
solar rooftops of Japan, the fast-growing hybrid car fleet of the United States,
the reforested mountains of South Korea, and the bicycle-friendly streets of
Amsterdam. Virtually everything we need to do to build an economy that will
sustain economic progress is already being done in one or more countries.
Among the new sources of energy--wind, solar cells, solar thermal, geothermal,
small-scale hydro, biomass--wind is emerging as a major energy source. In
Europe, which is leading the world into the wind era, about 40 million people
now get their residential electricity from wind farms. The European Wind Energy
Association projects that by 2020, half of the region's population--195 million
Europeans--will be getting their residential electricity from wind.
Wind energy is growing fast for six reasons: It is abundant, cheap,
inexhaustible, widely distributed, clean and climate-benign. No other energy
source has this combination of attributes.
For the U.S. automotive fuel economy, the key to greatly reducing oil use and
carbon emissions is gas-electric hybrid cars. The average new car sold in the
United States last year got 9.3 kilometers per liter, compared with 23.2
kilometers per liter for the Toyota Prius. If the United States decided for oil
security and climate stabilization reasons to replace its entire fleet of
passenger vehicles with superefficient gas-electric hybrids over the next 10
years, gasoline use could easily be cut in half. This would involve no change in
the number of cars or kilometers driven, only a shift to the most efficient
automotive propulsion technology now available.
Beyond this, a gas-electric hybrid with an additional storage battery and a
plug-in feature would enable us to use electricity for short distance driving,
such as the daily commute or grocery shopping. This could cut U.S. gasoline use
by an additional 20 percent, for a total reduction of 70 percent. Then, if we
were to invest in thousands of wind farms across the United States to feed cheap
electricity into the grid, we could do most short-distance driving with wind
energy, dramatically reducing both carbon emissions and the pressure on world
Using timers to recharge batteries with electricity coming from wind farms
during the low demand hours between 1 and 6 a.m. costs 50 U.S. cents a gallon
(about 14.6 yen-per-liter) of gasoline. We have not only an inexhaustible
alternative to dwindling reserves of oil, but an incredibly cheap one.
Building an economy that will sustain economic progress requires a cooperative
worldwide effort. This means eradicating poverty and stabilizing population--in
effect, restoring hope among the world's poor. Eradicating poverty accelerates
the shift to smaller families. Smaller families in turn help to eradicate
The principal line items in the budget to eradicate poverty are investments in
universal primary school education; school lunch programs for the poorest of the
poor; basic village-level health care, including vaccinations for childhood
diseases; and reproductive health and family planning services for all the
world's women. In total, reaching these goals will take 68 billion dollars of
additional expenditures each year.
A strategy for eradicating poverty will not succeed if an economy's
environmental support systems are collapsing. This means putting together an
earth restoration budget--one to reforest the earth, restore fisheries,
eliminate overgrazing, protect biological diversity, and raise water
productivity to the point where we can stabilize water tables and restore the
flow of rivers. Adopted worldwide, these measures require additional
expenditures of 93 billion dollars per year.
Combining social goals and earth restoration components into a Plan B budget
means an additional annual expenditure of 161 billion dollars. Such an
investment is huge, but it is not a charitable act. It is an investment in the
world in which our children will live.
If we fail to build a new economy before decline sets in, it will not be because
of a lack of fiscal resources, but rather because of obsolete priorities. The
world is now spending 975 billion dollars annually for military purposes. The
U.S. 2006 military budget of 492 billion dollars, accounting for half of the
world total, goes largely to the development and production of new weapon
systems. Unfortunately, these weapons are of little help in curbing terrorism,
nor can they reverse the deforestation of the Earth or stabilize climate.
The military threats to national security today pale beside the trends of
environmental destruction and disruption that threaten the economy and thus our
early 21st-century civilization itself. New threats call for new strategies.
These threats are environmental degradation, climate change, the persistence of
poverty, and the loss of hope.
The U.S. military budget is totally out of sync with these new threats. If the
United States were to underwrite the entire 161 billion dollars Plan B budget by
shifting resources from the 492 billion dollars spent on the military, it still
would be spending more for military purposes than all other members of the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization plus China and Russia combined.
Of all the resources needed to build an economy that will sustain economic
progress, none is more scarce than time. With climate change we may be
approaching the point of no return. The temptation is to reset the clock. But we
cannot. Nature is the timekeeper.
It is decision time. Like earlier civilizations that got into environmental
trouble, we can decide to stay with business as usual and watch our global
economy decline and eventually collapse. Or we can shift to Plan B, building an
economy that will sustain economic progress.
It is hard to find the words to express the gravity of our situation and the
momentous nature of the decision we are about to make. How can we convey the
urgency of moving quickly? Will tomorrow be too late?
One way or another, the decision will be made by our generation. Of that there
is little doubt. But it will affect life on Earth for all generations to come.
Brown is president of the Earth Policy Institute--whose Web site is www.
earthpolicy.org--and author of "Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a
Civilization in Trouble."
Originally posted at: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/world/20060514TDY10001.htm
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Peace Constitutions 平和憲法
ZITATE & SPRÜCHE
フリードリッヒ • ニーチェ:
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Human, All too Human
284 The means to real peace. -
No government nowadays admits that it maintains
an army so as to satisfy occasional thirsts for conquest; the army is supposed
to be for defence. That morality which sanctions self-protection is called upon
to be its advocate. But that means to reserve morality to oneself and to accuse
one‘s neighbour of immorality, since he has to be thought of as ready for
aggression and conquest if our own state is obliged to take thought of means of
self-defence; moreover, when our neighbour denies any thirst for aggression just
as heatedly as our State does,
and protests that he too maintains an army only for reasons of legitimate
self-defence, our declaration of why we require an army declares our neighbour a
hypocrite and cunning criminal who would be only too happy to pounce upon a harmless and unprepared victim and
subdue him without a struggle. This is how all states now confront one another:
they presuppose an evil disposition in their neighbour and a benevolent
disposition in themselves. This presupposition, however, is a piece of inhumanity as bad as, if not worse than, a war
would be; indeed, fundamentally it already constitutes an invitation to and
cause of wars, because, as aforesaid, it imputes immorality to one‘s neighbour
and thereby seems to provoke hostility and hostile acts on his part. The
doctrine of the army as a means of self-defence must be renounced just as
completely as the thirst for conquest. And perhaps there will come a great day
on which a nation distinguished for wars and victories and for the highest
development of military discipline and thinking, and accustomed to making the
heaviest sacrifices on behalf of these things, will cry of its own free will: ,we shall shatter the sword‘ - and demolish its entire military
machine down to its last foundations. To
disarm while being the best armed, out
of anelevation of sensibility
- that is the means to real peace, which must always rest on a
disposition for peace: whereas the so-called armed peace such as now parades
about in every country is a disposition to fractiousness which trusts neither
itself nor its neighbour and fails to lay down its arms half out of hatred, half
out of fear. Better to perish than to hate and fear, and twofold better to perish than to make
oneself hated and feared - this must one day become the supreme
maxim of every individual state! - As is well known, our liberal representatives
of the people lack the time to reflect on the nature of man: otherwise they
would know that they labour in vain when they work for a ,gradual reduction of
the military burden‘. On
the contrary, it is only when this kind of distress is at its greatest that the
only kind of god that can help here will be closest at hand. The
tree of the glory of war can be destroyed only at a single stroke, by a
lightning-bolt: lightning, however, as you well know, comes out of a cloud and
from on high. (R.J. Hollingdale, transl., Human, All Too Human. A Book for Free
Spirits, Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy (1996), pp. 380-81)