The UK Column returned after its summer break and briefly mentioned the campaigning organisation Extinction Rebellion.
Mike Robinson referred to Ian R Crane`s remark that Extinction Rebellion `are absolutely campaigning for citizens assemblies to take over from parliament, and, in fact, they`re involved with an organisation which is aiming to replace the House of Lords`."
There were other examples of how representative democracy is being undermined by what has been called `participatory democracy`. These organisations include NGOs and charities which push forward their own political agendas outside of parliament.
Brian Gerrish remarks: "The House of Lords deliberately collapsed, but don`t worry we`ve got the solution here. Right?
"Right," agrees Mike Robinson. "OK, so let`s move on to this then. So #100 Ways AidWorks and this is all about international aid and this is, apparently, according to the International Development Secretary Alok Sharma, `is all about developing infrastructure in emerging countries - emerging markets. So he has decided to set up a new commission which is going to bring together leading experts to turbocharge quality infrastructure projects in developing countries. The commission is going to be made up of UK and international business `- common purpose [?] - `the very best of British expertise and will make recommendations to improve the planning, delivery and financing of infrastructure projects`."
"Well, so why doesn`t Britain just join the Belt and Road initiative then? Because surely that`s what that`s doing, because that seems to be quite successful at building infrastructure projects in developing countries at the moment. But no, that`s the wrong type of infrastructure project, of course.
What this is all about is the UN global goals and the 2.5 trillion dollar funding gap that there is to fulfill the global goals. So this commission which is being established is going to make sure that the UK gets involved in financing and developing infrastructure and promotes inclusive growth, while meeting the Paris climate commitments."
"So that`s what it`s all about. And so he said an extra 2.5 trillion dollars is needed every year to end poverty in developing countries and the UK must mobilise private-sector investment to overcome this challenge. `Alongside the life-saving work of UK aid we need to boost infrastructure projects that form the backbone of economic growth.` That`s fantastic stuff," says Mike Robinson sarcastically.
"Well in the meantime then, the G7 has been going on and well let`s just have a brief look at some of the headlines from the media on this. This is the Guardian. `We need to cancel the next G7. Let`s resume them when Trump is gone.` [Michael H Fuchs] We`ve got Business Insider. `Trump`s G7 performance shows how he`s living in a totally different reality and isolating the US from the rest of the world.`
And the Guardian again. `Birritz was an empty charade. The G7 is a relic of a bygone age.` [Simon Tisdall].
And what are the sort of views that are being expressed in these articles ?...Trump is a problem. The G7 is not equipped to work towards its goals and the biggest obstacle is the US president, Donald Trump."
"This is one of the Guardian articles. `The goal of G7 is to bring together some of the world`s most prosperous democracies to coordinate on the most important issues of the day whether on climate change or responding to Russia`s invasion of Crimea or making gender equality a reality. The G7 countries are supposed to lead, crafting policies that can foster global peace and prosperity in ways that uphold democratic values`."
"And if everybody has managed not to throw up in the nearest bin over that, then it goes on to say that Trump wants America to work alone to destroy the current global trading system/foreign assistance that helps address transnational challenges, ignore human rights and doesn`t believe climate change is real. `The G7`s an annual long weekend of toddler daycare for Trump` - it`s the language ... but in the meantime then the other focus was all about Emmanuel Macron, what a brilliant global leader he is, and, of course, he was leading the way to agree to help Brazil to fight the Amazon fires. This is, you know, the fact that the Amazon allegedly is burning and we`ve all got to get together globally and intervene in... Brazil ."
"So that was the Rio Times. `G7 Agrees to Help Brazil Fight Amazon Fires, Says French President Macron.`
Well Brazil didn`t like that very much. They`ve rejected the 22 million dollar aid package and this is really what it`s about,
Balsonaro saying `Other heads of state sympathised with Brazil after all respect for the sovereignty of any country is the least that can be expected in a civilised world.`
So really what he`s complaining about is that G7 was attempting to ride roughshod over his decisions about... how he was going to deal with this problem and he went on to say this: `Thanks for Donald Trump. We are having great success in fighting fires. Brazil is and will continue to be an example for the world in sustainable development. The fake news campaign fabricated against our sovereignty will not thrive. The US can always count on Brazil.`
So he`s seeing it as an attack on him. and on his government and so on."
"So the question I wanted to ask was, you know, what is the situation with these fires?
And in fact if we look at NASA`s Earth Observatory website and their section on the fires in Brazil it says: `In the Amazon, fire season has arrived. In the Amazon region, fires are rare for much of the year because wet weather prevents them from starting and spreading. However, in July and August, activity typically increases due to the arrival of the dry season. Many people use fire to maintain farmland and pastures and to clear land for other purposes, typically activity peaks in early September and mostly stops by November. As of August 16 2019, an analysis of NASA satellite data indicated that the total fire activity across the Amazon basin this year has been close to the average in comparison`."
" Now anybody looking at the mainstream media coverage of this would think that the entire Amazon rainforest was burning down. But NASA here quite clearly saying that... `the level of fires at the moment is about average for the last 15 years.
They say the
Amazon spreads across Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and parts of other countries. Though activity appears to be above average in the states of Amazonas and Rondônia, it has so far appeared below average in Mato Grosso and Pará, according to estimates from the Global Fire Emissions Database, a research project that compiles and analyses NASA data`."
"And then we have this. This is Forbes which is attempting to put a bit more clarity on the situation and I recommend this article because it`s actually quite detailed and ...what`s interesting is that the main expert that they`re talking to is somebody from the International Panel of Climate Change. [United Nations, IPCC] and what he`s saying - well first of all, he`s talking about the claim that the Amazon is the lungs of the world and he says - this is his language - it`s bullshit. There`s no science behind that. The Amazon produces a lot of oxygen but it uses the same amount of oxygen through respiration. ... and the article goes on to say neither is the Amazon forest burning down"
"So this is Daniel Nepstad, the environmentalist they have got to, and he said `we don`t know if there are any more forest fires this year than in past years which tells me there probably isn`t. I`ve been working on and studying these fires for 25 years and our `on the ground ` networks are tracking this.` So he`s quite clear about that and the sort of claims that are being made about the whole thing and it is clearly an attack on the sovereignty of Brazil."
Returning to Extinction Rebellion and its attack on the globe:
"As Thunberg’s yacht rounded the Statue of Liberty, it was met by a flotilla of 17 support boats, each with its sail printed with a message spelling out a recommended sustainable development goal, as promoted by the United Nations. These included combating discrimination and promoting peace, as well as using less plastic, not wasting food or water, using public transportation and vaccinating children against diseases