Don’t Let the Americans Know They’re Killing the Globe

These are the words that the TradMed will not speak in the United States:

Even now the world finds itself at the mercy of American domestic politics, for the president cannot fully commit to the action required [on climate change] until the U.S. Congress has done so.

General interest readers in America, apparently, can’t be expected to face the fact that our dysfunctional Congress is not only ruining our own country, it is ruining the globe.

I’m speaking of the Guardian editorial that was published in 56 papers, in 45 countries, in 18 languages.

Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.

Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year’s inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world’s response has been feeble and half-hearted.


Few believe that Copenhagen can any longer produce a fully polished treaty; real progress towards one could only begin with the arrival of President Obama in the White House and the reversal of years of US obstructionism. Even now the world finds itself at the mercy of American domestic politics, for the president cannot fully commit to the action required until the US Congress has done so.

But the politicians in Copenhagen can and must agree the essential elements of a fair and effective deal and, crucially, a firm timetable for turning it into a treaty.

Here are the papers in which it was published. Note that just two in the States–McClatchy’s two Miami properties–bothered publishing the editorial at all.

Asia: 16 papers from 13 countries and regions

Economic Observer, China Chinese

Southern Metropolitan, China Chinese

CommonWealth Magazine, Taiwan English

Joongang Ilbo, South Korea Korean

Tuoitre, Vietnam Vietnamese

Brunei Times, Brunei English

Jakarta Globe, Indonesia English

Cambodia Daily, Cambodia English

The Hindu, India English

The Daily Star, Bangladesh English

The News, Pakistan English

Daily Times, Pakistan English

Gulf News, Dubai English

An Nahar, Lebanon Arabic

Gulf Times, Qatar English

Maariv, Israel Hebrew

Europe – 20 papers from 17 countries

Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany German

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland Polish

Der Standard, Austria German

Delo, Slovenia Slovene

Vecer, Slovenia Slovene

Dagbladet Information, Denmark Danish

Politiken, Denmark Danish

Dagbladet, Norway Norwegian

The Guardian, UK English

Le Monde, France French

Libération, France French

La Repubblica, Italy Italian

El Pais, Spain Spanish

De Volkskrant, Netherlands Dutch

Kathimerini, Greece Greek

Publico, Portugal Portuguese

Hurriyet, Turkey Turkish

Novaya Gazeta, Russia Russian

Irish Times, Ireland English

Le Temps, Switzerland French

Africa – 11 papers from eight countries

The Star, Kenya English

Daily Monitor, Uganda English

The New Vision, Uganda English

Zimbabwe Independent, Zimbabwe English

The New Times, Rwanda English

The Citizen, Tanzania English

Al Shorouk, Egypt Arabic

Botswana Guardian, Botswana English

Mail & Guardian, South Africa English

Business Day, South Africa English

Cape Argus, South Africa English

North and Central America – six papers from five countries

Toronto Star, Canada English

Miami Herald, USA English

El Nuevo Herald, USA Spanish

Jamaica Observer, Jamaica English

La Brujula Semanal, Nicaragua Spanish

El Universal, Mexico Spanish

South America – three papers from two countries

Zero Hora, Brazil Portuguese

Diario Catarinense, Brazil Portuguese

Diaro Clarin, Argentina Spanish

Yet the Miami Herald and the Nuevo Herald left out that sentence (as well as the words, “and must” in the following sentence).

Few believe that Copenhagen can produce a treaty; real progress toward one could only begin with the arrival of President Obama in the White House and the reversal of years of U.S. obstructionism. But the politicians in Copenhagen can agree on the essential elements of a fair and effective deal and, crucially, a firm timetable for turning it into a treaty.

Pocos creen que en Copenhague se alcance un tratado; el verdadero progreso hacia un tratado sólo podía empezar con la llegada del presidente Obama a la Casa Blanca y el cambio del obstruccionismo que practicó Estados Unidos durante años. Pero los políticos en Copenhague pueden acordar los elementos esenciales de un acuerdo justo y eficaz y un cronograma firme para implementar el tratado.

And so it is that the American climate change denialists have succeeded in censoring critical news even more effectively than if there were a state censor. And the one radical upstart–and don’t get me wrong, I cherish McClatchy papers’ willingness to buck conventional narratives–avoided blaming America and instead threw responsibility back off onto those nameless, foreign politicians in Copenhagen, who, if they feel like it, are invited to fix the mess the American lifestyle had significant role in causing.

Fixing the ravages our lifestyle has inflicted on the globe is a task for the rest of the world, I guess the TradMed would like to think. Nevermind that the corporate puppets in our Congress are holding the rest of the world hostage. That’s not important for Americans to know.

46 replies
  1. Phoenix Woman says:

    Thanks for this, EW!

    For years I have been heartily sick of the fact that the most important stories are the ones that never somehow get picked up by those media sources that most Americans depend on for their news: Namely, drive-time radio and TV evening news shows.

    • Leen says:

      and this
      “This Text Is an Extremely Dangerous Document for Developing Countries”: G77 Chief Condemns Secret US-Danish Climate Deal

      The UN climate talks are in disarray here in Copenhagen after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sideline’s the UN’s role in all future climate change negotiations. Moments before we went on the air, Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, the Sudanese chair of the group of 132 developing countries known as G77, condemned the leaked document. [includes rush transcript]

  2. Leen says:

    Ew think you meant “succeeded” above.

    You should of heard Washington Journal a bunch of whack shit climate change “denialist” calling in this morning. But hey they follow their whack shit Reps in D.C. who were on the floor yesterday denying denying denying.

    Now these are more than likely folks who would say no to choice. But could give a rats ass that millions of folks on the globe have had their lives ended due to our need to access oil under other folks sand. Millions have died, been injured, displaced. So even if you do not believe in 98% of the worlds top scientist who say human activity plays a huge part in global warming. Get off the oil teat because lives might be pro life hypocrites.

    The U.S. has 3 % of the worlds oil reserves, we are 4% of the worlds population using 25% of the worlds oil usage every fucking day.

    Live more simply so others can simply live…

    Amy Goodman is broadcasting live everyday from Copenhagen. Yesterday she had

    This young man blew my mind

    “Would You Commit Murder?”–15-Year-Old Maldives Climate Ambassador Asks World Leaders to Take on Climate Change

    WOULD YOU COMMIT MURDER This young man nails it

      • Leen says:

        not that I should be pointing spelling errors out. But thousands of folks come to read what you have to say with good reason

        • AitchD says:

          I love your double-service ending modifier (“with good reason”).

          I didn’t read much of this complaint by Marcy, it’s barely worthy of her effort.

          She has provided me with much better access to ‘news’ with her keen editorial talents than the traditional outlets I have access to. Consequently, there’s something either ironic or paradoxical about her post. Her readers like her because she provides what you can’t find anywhere else. I like her because, even if I could find similar investigative and revealing reportage as hers, I’ve found that she happens to be a very superior writer. I won’t be surprised to learn after another decade that no one has been better.

          Owing to her excellence, she receives innumerable leads and feeds; owing to her judgment, we are the beneficiaries of her excellence.

          Anyway, the post seems silly – except for Marcy’s steam about the US papers’ editorial omissions; 56 papers in 45 countries is a sad and small minority out of hundreds in the world. But if the traditional news sources and outlets were still thriving and excellent, would we know Marcy?

  3. fatster says:

    Just sent this post on to many others, EW. Great job of getting it all together and so succinctly, too. Many thnx.

  4. LabDancer says:

    A theme that emerges clearly is that of The Game, in the sense developed in “The Wire”: those countries & regions which have the biggest users & pushers of the product are markedly unrepresented on the list of where the common editorial was published.

    A less stark theme — but one not necessarily less revealing — appears from the general unrepresentation on the list of “fragile democracies”.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Keep ’em stupid and fearful of everyone else and they’ll never know what they should really fear, the excesses of their own Villagers. The tradmed has been doing that at least since 9/11.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I think it’s instructive that the missing sentence in the Miami Herald’s version of this global editorial was preceded by the language you post above. The context is telling:

    Few believe that Copenhagen can any longer produce a fully polished treaty; real progress towards one could only begin with the arrival of President Obama in the White House and the reversal of years of US obstructionism. [Missing sentence from Miami Herald here.]

  7. klynn says:

    Great work Marcy. The global North-South dialectic appears to now consume climate change with the North feeding the silent war.

    OT Enjoyed the PBS profile on Ann Arbor last night.

  8. eCAHNomics says:

    W went quite a distance in making the U.S. the unilateral power unto itself in the world. O’s just solidifying the gains and trying to extend them. Congress has nothing to do with it.

    • Peterr says:

      I don’t think the editorial is blaming Congress as much as describing the US political system. This is aimed at those nations where Obama is hailed as a hero (even if it is simply because “he’s not Bush”). The paragraph opens by talking about not being able to get a “polished treaty” by the end of the meeting. This line is saying “even if Obama wanted to sign a treaty (unlike Bush), it is not binding unless Congress goes along.”

      They’re saying that a US president committed to a treaty on climate change is a necessary condition for getting said treaty, but not a sufficient condition.

      FWIW, YMMV, etc.

  9. georgewalton says:

    The New York Times is considered by many to be the most liberal/progressive news source around. But even the NYT allows Exxon/Mobil to plant insidious petrolium industry propaganda on its op-ed page.

    Watch PBS programs and there they are too. The fucking NEWS HOUR is for Christ Sakes sponsered by these fossil fuel giants. Same with all the Sunday morning news programs.

    They’re everywhere in the mainstream media.

    So: of course the mainstream media’s editorial policies are not going to permit broad or indepth attacks on one of their more lucrative cash cows.

    Following “the news” in America is so much easier to digest when you grasp the extent to which “democracy” is bought and paid for when the issues revolve around megabucks.

    Educate yourself about the ruling class in America. See how much more sophisticated you become in, say, predicting the future. For example, in respect to the fate of Congressional legislation or the policies the White House pursues.

    • dick c says:

      The New York Times is considered by many to be the most liberal/progressive news source around. But even the NYT allows Exxon/Mobil to plant insidious petrolium industry propaganda on its op-ed page.

      I remember reading a comment something along the lines of “The New York Times’ liberal slant is just the KY jelly used to fuck liberals.” Perhaps it’s just petroleum jelly.

  10. marc5 says:

    I was just chatting about this with someone today, wondering “when” that editorial would reach the USA. I guess it did, just not much.

    Words like astonishing and unbelievable fail.

    But then, AFAIK, the BBC’s stunning Power of Nightmares documentary on the unsavory symbiosis of terrorism and ‘The State’ has never aired on the Official TV here either. Maybe I’m just grumpy today. Time for some Victory Coffee.

    • kindGSL says:

      How about words like “conspiracy” and “terrorism”? I think they work. Just think about what the news industry has done by fooling us.

      Millions of people have died.

      That is normally referred to as “mass murder.”

  11. eCAHNomics says:

    Heh. Rerun of old L&O on curing gays. Couldn’t have been chosen after Rachel’s interview last night.

  12. emal says:

    Well, I just read a post down below that might explain why WaPo didn’t run with this editorial…I mean how could they fit in it as they already met their quota on this subject having decided to instead go with the voice of reason and noted climate science expert, (no not George Will this time) but one Ms. Sarah “I can see Russia from my house” Palin’s opinion instead.

    Just shoot me now…seriously….the USA and what passes as the media and serious fact based editorializing these days is just the laughingstock of the planet.

  13. Blub says:

    Indian national paper

    “Economic Observer”
    Chinese national newsweekly and official party mouthpiece

    “Le Monde”
    French news daily

    Miami Herald (English and Spanish versions)
    local newsdaily for a city that’s probably going to be submerged in 80 years

    Yep. We’re committed.

    • kindGSL says:

      So the only paper NOT in full denial about global warming is the one located in a place that is OBVIOUSLY effected by rising sea levels? I guess editors have to see it to believe it. Or insurance agents care, or something big $$ related.

      I noticed news reporters are trained, selected for and proud of having no compassion. They call it “objectivity” but I think it is CIA values permeating through their industry. I think it has stunted their ability to understand things to the point of a chronic social disease that is actually killing us.

  14. oldtree says:

    As screwy as we are, others are not likely considering our ignorance or stupidity funny any longer. Soon, they are going to have to get rid of our country as a blight on the surface of the planet. Do you get the feeling that they are just biding their time? There is nothing of worth left here, or we wouldn’t have wars that can’t end or be declared. We wouldn’t talk about democracy and then destroy it in any country we have a presence. We wouldn’t be the laughing stock of the civilized world.
    fan, fertilizer, get together and share.

    • kindGSL says:

      Whenever I really felt like giving up, that threat would always re-power me, and if I can’t set the example, there is no way I can expect others to follow it.

      When I realized what evils our leaders were up to, I figured the only way to combat world opinion would be to show the people of the world that we are TRYING to fight this (and expose it) from the inside too; that they have allies here.

      It is a risky thing to do, I admit that, because our government is dangerous and out of control, but this is big stakes poker. Our lives are all on the line.

      I felt I was doing my duty, not only to my country, but to everyone. (I could not help it if people could not understand. I really tried hard to explain it.) It was, and is, REALLY scary thinking I, or anyone I cared about, could be disappeared and tortured.

      I think Americans need to wake up to the idea that that is a FACT of our government post Bush and Obama has done nothing to turn back the clock on it.

      We could say a lot about that if we started really talking about it, but nooooo, it is all ‘state secrets’.

      As Yoda said, there is no try, there is only do and don’t do.

      When ‘state secrets’ is actually a ruse to cover up very serious high crimes, like political murders and pedophile sex ring kidnappings, the more proper term for it is actually ‘criminal cover up’.

      When people collude to commit and cover up crimes against the nation, it is called ‘treason’.

      When we citizens hear the words, “state secrets” – ‘treason’ and ‘criminal cover up’ should be the FIRST thoughts in our mind. What are they trying to hide?

  15. fuckno says:

    HOPENHAGEN will be another Obama Phyrric victory for the people.

    This issue is more important than even Healthcare!

    And one of the more insidious aspects is this:

    Woman Who Invented Credit Default Swaps is One of the Key Architects of Carbon Derivatives, Which Would Be at the Very CENTER of Cap and Trade

    “Indeed, the same dynamic that led to the S&L crisis also led to last year’s CDS crisis, and will lead to the next crisis as well. So – while CDS might be a particularly dangerous type of “weapon of mass destruction” (in Warren Buffet’s words), the new carbon derivatives may very well become the new form of looting on the public’s dime. If the government allows massive carbon derivatives trading with as little oversight as over the CDS market, taxpayers will end up spending many trillions bailing out the giant banks and propping up the economy when the carbon market bubble bursts.”

    • dick c says:

      I don’t know much about any inherent evil of credit default swaps, but the idea of opening a carbon market to outside investors seems to me like something that will only raise the prices unnecessarily. I suppose if it will make the super-rich super-duper-rich it’s inevitable.

      • fuckno says:

        Look to Wall Street receiving trillions of taxpayer moneys to cover in a large part losses from exactly such OTC instruments of financial destruction.

        It will not only raise prices unnecessarily, it will distort the market, cause a bubble and force taxpayers to dump trillions into Wall Street again.

        It doesn’t have to be that way, if people reject such fraud.

      • Blub says:

        there already is a carbon market, but the reality is that this isn’t really what we should be doing. Basically, the idea should be to establish your carbon intensity reduction target, develop a program of strategies to reduce intensity, with shifts to renewable energy, more efficient factories, better construction processes, more energy-efficient buildings and infrastructure, more mass transit use, etc etc (real programs, not derivatives), and then plug the gap between the target and the combined reduction potential of all of those programs with carbon credit offsets and sequestration project. Not the bloody other way around as Congress and the president seems to be suggesting.

        As usual, our corporate-bribed rulers are going at this backassedly (since Bible Spice is all the rage these days) – trying to fool us into thinking that arcane financial manipulations can solve REAL problems. Financial solutions like cap and trade work but only to create flexiblity and liquidity to support a basic program of real economy measures. Without those real underlying policies to reduce real energy intensity underpinning cap and trade, this is just another financial bubble and windfall for Goldman, Sachs. It’s a joke, letting us fool ourselves into sinking that we can avoid the hard policies.

        If you really want to reduce our carbon footprint, build mass transit systems, retrofit buildings on a national scale, build lots of new clean powerplants, plant lots and lots of trees, jail the directors of the American Petroleum Institute, and above all, shut down Big Coal (or at least kick them down to size).

    • fuckno says:

      some more from the Guardian/Hansen article:

      “Hansen, in repeated appearances before Congress beginning in 1989, has done more than any other scientist to educate politicians about the causes of global warming and to prod them into action to avoid its most catastrophic consequences. But he is vehemently opposed to the carbon market schemes – in which permits to pollute are bought and sold – which are seen by the EU and other governments as the most efficient way to cut emissions and move to a new clean energy economy.

      Hansen is also fiercely critical of Barack Obama – and even Al Gore, who won a Nobel peace prize for his efforts to get the world to act on climate change – saying politicians have failed to meet what he regards as the moral challenge of our age.”

  16. Larue says:

    Mz Wheeler, as I replied to David below on his thread:

    The battlefield is vast.
    The enemy is everywhere.

    Perhaps the rest of the world’s countries can maneuver USA into a decent form, if our OWN folks can’t get it done. On ANY given issue, including climate change.

    Thanks for your thread, and all you do.

  17. GrahamFirchlis says:

    Perhaps a little distance does provide some clarity. The Left here in the USA should take note that as the Guardian editiorial points out, Congress – specifically the Senate – is now and will continue to be the sticking point for future climate change disposition. Too many on the Left, IMHO, blame Obama for something he can encourage but cannot control, on this and many other issues. The dominant obstructionists are imbedded in the Senate, and they include the entire Republican caucus plus a dozen BlueDogs and Joe Lieberman (Idiot-Conn). These are the people who must be swayed if there is to be any hope that we will make meaningful progress on any important issue.

    It is perfectly fine, needed in fact, to advise and direct Obama and the bulk of the Democratic caucus on progressive goals and why they matter, but on most things that is preaching to the choir and the use of vituperation is both unjustified and counterproductive. Lieberman is untouchable, he knows this is his last term and has finally shown his true self clearly as a radical reactionary who only pretended to care about progressive values in order to get elected. That leaves the BlueDogs, who must be pressured relentlessly and that will have to include not just letters and advertisements – both good – but also demonstrations and picketing and promotion of viable primary challengers from the Left.

    These people are deeply vested in their own status quo, and they will not be easy to sway, nor will it be easy to unseat them with more liberal candidates who can also win in a general election, but that is the dual path that must be pursued. Energy expended attacking Obama or Reid or even more absurdly Pelosi is energy wasted, that would be far better spent focused on educating the general populace and motivating them to rise up against the real obstructionists.

    The emerging good news is the decision, ordered by Obama in a reversal of Bush policy, by the EPA to start hearings on regulation of climate change related gases and particulates. If Obama presses forward, and I expect him to, on an administrative path to regulation, Congress will be forced to step up and formulate their own version of regulation or stand by and watch their power and influence be stripped away along with those big fat fossil fuel energy supplier contribitions. Serious, meaningful pressure from both the administration and the public may persuade some of the BlueDogs that their future in office depends on being submissive to a different set of pressure groups than they are used to.

    There is real opportunity ahead, if we can find a way to capitalize on it.

    • kindGSL says:

      You are ignoring the fact that they’re mass murderers, treasonous and crooks.

      Obama could quickly sweep out the Senate if his justice department just investigated some of their crimes. The Senate is LOADED with criminals who have had the perfect cover-up for their debaucheries for decades.

      Why do you think our country is awash with illegal drugs? The Senate is fully in control of that money maker, I guarantee it.

      • GrahamFirchlis says:

        Ah yes, the appeal to authoritarianism. Obama as benevolent tyrant, sweeping all the evildoers from their perch of power and ruling us all with a firm yet kind and caring hand.

        You do know that approach never, ever turns out well for anyone, don’t you?

        If the congress is to be changed, it is the people who will have to do it. Foolish to wish for a princely sort in shining armor to fix it for us; time to roll up our sleeves and do the dirty work ourselves.

  18. Blub says:

    Oh.. here’s some #s and why we won’t do anything about carbon:

    US: coal reserves (proven recoverable) – 275 billion tons, annual coal production – 0.95 billion tons = 253 years of production, peak coal is still way ahead

    China: coal reserves – 126 billion tons (proven recoverable), annual coal production – 2.2 billion tons = 57 years of production, peak coal is left in the dust

    Sure, China might always find more recoverable coal reserves, but there are diminishing returns to that game and they know it. You don’t base a national energy policy on stuff you simply don’t have unless you’re name is shrub. And they know that if they’re not off their coal diet in 25-30 years (which produces 79% of their power), they’re screwed, game over, irrespective of climate change.

    We, on other hand, have more of the stuff than we know what to do with and can keep on blowing up villages in West VA and turning square mile after square miles of the Dakotas into open pit, slag wasteland forever.. and after we get done with forever, we can still get the stuff cheaply from Canada for a few more thousand years.

    This isn’t just about climate change.

    See the problem?

  19. KarenM says:

    One of those I follow on Twitter suggested today that perhaps the most compassionate thing we could do regarding the climate and #collapse, would be to provide hospice for the earth… witness death. Naturally, she’s on to the WH’s inertia.

  20. ubetchaiam says:

    Folks, I would concentrate on the ‘offsets’ portion of the legislation. the idea that U.S. companies can continue to pollute by buying tax credits for forests in another country is ridiculous.

    And the reason only McClatchy and the FL papers carried it and no one else is because if the CMM did carry it, it would become obvious to U.S. citizens they have to change their lifestyles and the powers that be don’t want them thinking that way.

    • Blub says:

      yep. see my #27. Cap and trade is fundamentally flawed in it’s first principles. Carbon credit offsets are designed to work only as a gap closer to a real carbon deintensification program, based on tangible measures, not as the starting point to back into a deintensification target. This is the green equivalent of trickle down economics and it’s only going to create yet another useless financial bubble. But then again, that’s precisely what it’s designed to do.

      If you really want to do something about carbon intensity, slap a 50% tax on gasolne.

  21. EdwardTeller says:

    Meanwhile, the WaPo prints an “op-ed” purported to have been written by a nutty person whose new, ugly fucking house I can almost see from mine.

    It is more complicated that even emptywheel imagines, though. These assholes want do anything they feel they can. Can anyone here name the biggest recent oil spill in oceanic waters on the globe, not caused by drilling? If you can’t, it is mostly because you’re not supposed to even discuss it, let alone talk about it rationally.

    Before 2010 is over, one country, another or more than one will have used a nuclear weapon in anger, for the first time since 1945. The media will then let Sarah Palin explain it to us…

    • kindGSL says:

      Wrong, we have been using nuclear weapons in ‘anger’ for decades now. The Islamic world is feeling our wrath.

      Look up uranium, especially it’s effects on troops and babies. What we are doing is a major war crime. The world should unite against us over it and we should be renounced.

      I bet we are, in papers we never see.

  22. opit says:

    The favourite tool of media mastery is to turn people against each other who should have common cause. For years I didn’t think much about the global warming/climate change debate. I was bemused somewhat because a had a sci-fi novel about a new ice age by Larry Niven at home : and that man has a prodigeous store of invention and knowledge both.
    So when Climategate blew up I said ‘shit’ and ‘idiocy’ and started digging.
    I had been following the dysfunction of the NPT, especially as applied to Iraq, Iran and North Korea : designated as ‘bad guys’ by the Brainwashing Brigade’ under Bush : which hasn’t changed under Obama.
    I don’t recall how I managed search terms that mixed up the NPT with climate change…OMG.
    It starts on Dec 4 at
    Sure. I’ve run with it and have some pretty wild stuff noted by now. That’s icing on the cake. The Endgamers are right : and I’ve never read one of their tales that mentioned Spin Control as a tool of energy policy. But really ; what makes more sense ?

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