by Joe Coleman
In Denmark, an island named Samso is trying to ditch fossil fuels as soon as they can. They are asking residents to invest in 21 wind turbines that generate power from offshore. A local man in Samso, Soren Hermansen, led the effort to convince the town’s leaders to do away with fossil fuels. The island now creates more renewable energy annually than it uses.
Samso now exports their wind power to the rest of the mainland. Forty percent of all electricity in the small Nordic country comes from wind power. Back on September 1st, so much wind power was produced that all of the country’s energy needs were fulfilled, which allowed coal plants to be shut down temporarily.
President Obama and other world leaders are attending the United Nation’s COP21 climate summit in Paris, France. The goal of the summit is to figure out how to phase-out fossil fuels by 2050 and avoid a 2 degrees Celsius increase in planetary warming. On Monday, President Obama lauded certain world leaders for submitting voluntary pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions.Even though victims of climate change from around the world are pinning their hopes on the COP21, many are calling the summit an expensive farce. The UN climate summit has come under scrutiny for its unprecedented level of corporate sponsorship. Numerous corporations, some among the heaviest polluters in the world, are exploiting the summit to “greenwash” their image. Instead of proposing real solutions, the summit has become a venue for businesses to push for corporate and privatized responses to climate change.
Also, organizers are accused of exploiting the Paris terror attacks as a means of silencing voices of dissent. A major protest march scheduled to kick off the summit was canceled as a result of the attacks. Security at the summit is extremely tight and protesters are kept far away by cops wearing SWAT-style body armor.
Back in Denmark, residents may feel content for doing their part to affect positive social change. Unfortunately, their efforts are in vain. The very structure of a corporation is designed to do 2 things, 1). Make profits for the shareholders at the expense of Everyone and Everything else, and 2. to deflect responsibility for its actions. Shareholders as a rule have no more interest in helping our planet than a pedophile has in a centenarian. As long as corporations rule the roost in the developed world, global warming will continue to plague our planet.