Aquino, Hollande, and the climate change circus

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Let’s be clear: a half-truth cannot set us free.

It’s very disappointing that the first-ever visit to Manila by the president of France—the land of “liberty, equality, fraternity”—ended up as a deception summit.

President Aquino and French President Francois Hollande traded half-truths tit for tat.

The Frenchman needed a poster child for climate change devastation, the more impoverished the better. His Filipino counterpart eagerly agreed to play the part of victim, as long as there would be sweeteners to make the medicine go down.


Aquino misrepresented the Haiyan/Yolanda disaster by moving its epicenter from Tacoban City to Guiuan, Eastern Samar, so Hollande could make his symbolic visit there instead.

For his part, President Hollande hyped the significance of the Paris climate change conference beyond what science can bear, and exaggerated the role the Philippines will play in the meeting beyond our paltry contribution of carbon emissions.

The level of prevarication was not grave enough to disrupt Hollande’s visit. The lies were smoothed over by old-fashioned diplomacy (wherein a measure of dishonesty and deception is considered normal), and by the star power of French star and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (she once employed a Filipino nanny).

Distorting the Yolanda disaster
President Aquino’s big lie was to move Ground zero of the Haiyan/Yolanda disaster from Tacloban City to Guiuan. This is the equivalent of relocating the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers from New York City to New Jersey.

The term “ground zero’ is technically associated with nuclear explosions and other large bombs, but is also used in relation to earthquakes, epidemics and other disasters to mark the point of the most severe damage or destruction, or for the geographic or conceptual epicenter of a disaster.

After Pope Francis’s emotional visit to Leyte last January and the administration’s erratic handling of the Yolanda recovery and rehabilitation effort, the Palace grabbed at the chance to direct president Hollande to Guiuan.

Changing the narrative when the nation and the world already know the real story seems perverse and foolish. The only thing it does is direct the planned French development assistance of about $50 million to the wrong projects and the wrong pockets.

It revives old wounds and bitter memories. Leyteños are seething with anger at the official attempt to downplay and make light of what they suffered. What rankles for them is the rewriting of the Yolanda story to suit the guilty conscience of the President.

Hyping the Paris summit
That President Hollande’s team accepted readily this false narrative about Haiyan is amazing, but they were sidetracked by their need to pitch their own narrative and spin on the visit.

This narrative consisted of inflating the importance of the Paris conference, exaggerating the role of the Philippines in the meeting and masking a major scandal that has erupted at the UN Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

While in the country, Hollande gamely lied that his visit to Guiuan and meeting some typhoon survivors would become an inspiration for the Paris conference. He said that his trip was part of a campaign to promote climate change issues ahead of the Paris meeting.

Paris will strive to seal a pact, which would enter into force by 2020, and which would limit global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

Hollande is personally determined to “leave a mark” on history by brokering a historic agreement to contain climate change

He views the Philippines as a frontline state in the battle against climate change, because it has been battered by major storms in recent years.

Anatomy of a scandal
The rhetoric and platitudes might have escaped scrutiny had France not played down a devastating blow to the UN climate change panel, that was announced on February 24, the day before Hollande arrived in Manila.

The setback concerns the resignation of the chairman of the IPCC, Mr. Rajendra Pachauri, under scandalous circumstances, and the parallel disclosure of malpractices in the work of the panel, which was instrumental in raising the international alarm over climate change

Pachauri tendered his resignation amid allegations of sexual harassment by a 29-year-old female employee of the Indian Energy and Research Institute which he has been running.

As in the Bill Cosby scandal, other women also came out to denounce Pachauri for sexual misconduct.     The scandal is considered a major blow to the IPCC and it will lead many countries to review their stand on climate change issues as the world prepares to forge a consensus in Paris in December.

Significantly, Pachauri’s critics have a different take on his predicament. They contend that the real shame is that he stayed in his position at IPCC too long (13 years) — and that he compromised the integrity of the panel and its reports.

The Inter-Academy Council, the network of the world’s national academies of science, declared last year that policy advocacy had hurt IPCC’s credibility.

One journalist, who has followed Pachauri’s career for 5 years and written a book on the doubts of scientists about IPCC’s reports on climate change, wrote:

“This latest scandal has profoundly undermined the credibility of the IPCC in the run-up to the UN climate change conference in December.”

A cloud now hangs over the 2007 Nobel peace prize awarded jointly to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore.

Poor Al Gore, nobody believes now that he deserves the prize as most of his predictions on global warming have not come about. The IPCC award is bound for the same limbo.

Some now say that climate change is “the worst scientific scandal of a generation” – a bid by researchers to hoodwink the public over global warming and to hide evidence showing fossil fuels were not really heating up our planet. The deception lasted so long because there was so much money to be made from sustaining the lie and the swindle. Many people are employed by the religion of climate change.

Common sense about the Paris conference
Before jumping into the cauldron that the Paris conference will likely become, it is best for our government to study carefully the issues and controversies surrounding the conference. It should not get carried away by the propaganda and the flattery.     Before our government commits to spend huge sums of money and align public policy with climate change, it is best for our government to take a deep breath and a long look at the scandal and controversy in the United Nations.

Prudence will spare our county and our leaders embarrassment and wasteful spending if the fears of analysts turn out to be true.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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13 Comments

  1. lleuxquiocho on

    deception… a strategy that people(like the species of hollande and mamasapanoT) with vested interests usually employ to achieve wanted performance levels… a dubious methodology indeed!!!

  2. Anything that is subject to time changes. Time is the reference point. Climate is only one of them. In science, down to the subatomic level, materials are in motion, because of that things change, the interaction of these with the environment causes change. And you think climate doesn’t change?

  3. If one were to consider fossils of previously existing animals found in mass in one location scientists have theorized climate change is the cause. Climate change could be caused by meteor or volcanic eruption, or the extraordinary activity of the sun., which then cause climate change. Whether man-caused or not, climate change have affected life on earth. Even the universe is changing. It is expanding, according to scientists. To think that the earth is not changing whether its climate or otherwise is rather naive. Even people change, they age. The very materials of the earth change. And climate is only one aspect of nature. Nothing is permanent in earthly life or nature.

  4. Daniel B. Laurente on

    Ignorance always results to wrong perception.
    In early nineteen sixties it’s much hotter than today’s climate even if in those time the forested area of our country was still so large. Grounds were cracking like cobwebs.

  5. Hindi maiiwasan ng tao ang climate change!!noon pa man ay nagbabago na ito,pagkawala ng mga dinosaurs at mga hayop at lupain,at ngayon ay mga kalamidad,
    Ang dapat gawin ng tao ay mag-isip kung anong proteksyon ang kailangan,,kung naniniwala kang may dios,mag-isip-isip ka na,kung tama ba ang ginagawa mo,dahil may kinalalaman ito sa nangyayaring climate change,
    Kung hindi naman naniniwala,umasa ka nalang sa mga kkakayahan ng scientish at mga politiko para,mapabuti ang buhay mo!
    Sa huli!ikaw pa rin ang magdedesisyon kung ano ang mabuti para sa iyon!
    Climate change panakot lang yan ng mga hindi naniniwala sa tunay na dios at kung ano ang magagawa nito sa tao!

  6. Why is it that these “climate scientists” refuse to make public their data and work for others to verify and try to duplicate even though most of their grants come from public funding? Do you think the IPCC reports are written by scientists? You would be wrong. Nature is much too complex to try to model. The former head of the IPCC ( resigned in the face of sexual harassment charges), says that climate change is still his religion. Since when have science and religion ever worked well together. Nature rules and we will never be able to change that. If you only get your information from the media, you will learn nothing. Always look under the covers before you jump into bed.

  7. “A half truth cannot set us free.” A clear case of the kettle calling the pot black.

  8. The visit of Hollande in Philippines is very misleading, (1) he was misled to go to an area, which is not a the epicenter of the disaster wrought about by Haiyan/Yolanda, (2) the agenda by which he came to visit is not really pertinent to Philippines being a country that generates CO2 gas.

    Looking at the numbers, and without a doubt China is the world’s populous nation ranked at number 1, while falling behind is USA which is ranked at number 3. The Philippines comes in at number 12 and France is at number 21. The top two contending countries generate CO2 due to large industries, it is known that USA was a not a signatory of the Kyoto protocol, largely due to their claim that it met the ‘lowest’ CO2 emission at 5,433,057 kt. Whereas, China has CO2 emission at 8,286,892 kt.

    So, how does Philippines figure out on this issue of CO2 emission? Consider the comparision between France (the so called ambassador for climate change) has a population of 64,641,279 and a CO2 gas emission of 361,273 kt. While, Philippine (the perennially disaster prone country), population is at 100,096,496 and a CO2 gas emission of 81,591 kt. The question then should be, why concern so much about CO2 gas emission, when the country does not even emit as much CO2 as USA, which claimed to have the ‘lowest’ CO2 emission?

    In related news abroad, France is cracking down on their people who glorify terrorism, after the attack on Hebdo, with USA and French official leaning toward an assessment that the Paris terror attacks were inspired by al-Qaida but not directly supervised by the group. This makes the visit a suspect on its timely manner, leading to the passage (or not) of BBL and the Mamasapano massacre.

    And now, France is willing to extend 1.5 million Euros (1.7 million USD) in aid through their non-government organization ACTED. Further, France followed through with a pledge of 50 million Euros (56 million USD) in loans, to help prevent future weather-related disasters in the Philippines.

    Is the visit really for climate change or is it just a cover-up for another agenda?

  9. I think these disasters (such as the Haiyan) are not caused by the so called climate change but rather a natural cycle. If I am not mistaken, according to Australian history, the same phenomenon occurred in that area (Samar & leyte) during the 16th century or earlier, with huge amount of fatalities. I would assume during those times, cars and power plants does not exist.

  10. in my simple understanding ( i am not a scientist), typhoons are caused by low pressure areas. our beloved nation is just the receiving end of typhoons. low pressure areas always occur somewhere in the pacific islands (east of phii.) in simple logic if there are no LPAS, there will be no typhoons. therefore, why not make a comprehensive study and solutions of these LPAS. and on concentrate their causes somewhere in the solomon islands, guam, palau, yap islands, etc.

  11. Leodegardo Pruna on

    In this case, the person should be separated from his works/studies. We have been witnesses of extremes in weather conditions which caused much devastation. There is reason for climate change and science has proven through simulation what happens under certain conditions. To challenge nature would be a big mistake. God bless the Philippines.

  12. Eddie de Leon on

    I agree with you that both Abnoy and Hollande were spinning their own propaganda messages and telling half-truths.
    But I don’t agree with you about your disbelief that climate change is happening.

  13. The Philippine government is always boasting of the increase in remittances of the OFW’s. They should be embarrassed that 8 to 10% of the population has to leave the country to find a decent job. The Philippines should be exporting goods, not labor. The stress on some of the families must be very, very high. Where is the energy policy? Wind and sun power will not help. Great Britain has many wind turbines, yet they produce less that 15% of their rated production. 30% is considered very good. Not good enough to increase living standards. Climate science has become a science unto itself. It does not follow the format and rules of standard science. It is drives by billions of dollars and politics. Don’t believe me? In the first week of February, Christiana Figueres who is the Exec. Sec. of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change had this to say: At a news conference last week in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.
    “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.
    When will governments open their eyes and say enough? Build plentiful, cheap power and they will come. Bring the OFWs home. Let them live with respect and dignity.