Kyle Powys Whyte and Petra Tschakert

October 18, 2010

Lunch Break.

UPDATE 11:30: Nicole Hassoun is asking a question about displacement.  Petra responds that there are strong requests to separate aid money from climate change money, because it often distracts the obligation that the north has. David Keith just mentioned his work with Bill Gates, and referred to Bill as though they hang around at jungle gyms together. That’s kinda cool. He mentioned that he’s working to try to get participants from the developing world engaged. Alan Robock is talking about how this question was addressed at Asilomar a bit, and suggested that some earlier policies failed because of opportunism on the part of developing nations.

UPDATE 11:13: Petra (Penn State) is talking about the fact that if you google “Hand Holding Globe” you find that there are no racially (skin-tone-wise) interesting hands holding globes. What does this tell us? (Not much), but Petra says it does tell us something, presumably that white people are all powerful and self absorbed. Here’s her abstract. She says basically that the white hands maintain a belief in their own omnipotence and ability to control the universe. Yep. I inferred correctly.

She’s wandering over into moral hazard territory. Just suggested that there is a moral hazard that geoengineering will “distract” us from other solutions. Of course, this isn’t a moral hazard in any respect, as I’ll explain on my talk on Wednesday, but why worry about that? The ‘moral hazard’ is technical and fantastic and scary and wrong.

Now she’s talking about spatial heterogeneity, whatever that is. Apparently, there’s an unknown yet not necessarily unintentional consequences. Confusing.

She’s talking about carbon capture and artificial trees now, but sorta explaining the science. She says that she works a lot in west Africa, and she knows what people would think about these trees.

She’s moved on to governance issues. Who will be a part of the voluntary code of practice?

UPDATE 11:00: Kyle (Michigan State) will be talking about indigenous communities and environmental justice. Abstract here. The whole panel is on justice. He made a joke about trust. “Will indigenous peoples be disproportionately affected by X technology?” And yes, this is a question that lots of people seem to ask. (I’ll just call them IPs because I can’t seem to spell indigenous peoples without making multiple typographical errors.)

At any rate, Kyle is suggesting that the proposed policy changes are typically not actionable at the local level. So Kyle was talking earlier about research on environmental exposures. Seems to have concerns that the environmental toxicologists generally recommend restraining behavior, where this doesn’t address the concerns of local tribal peoples in the right sort of way; since it would appear that many IPs are not in a position to constrain their behavior more than they’ve already constrained it. And, in fact, there appear to be political pressures on elected tribal leaders.

Here are some questions. First, here’s a fact: there is no committee of tribal leaders who will respond to concerns about SRMs. If you’re a tribal leader, what information will you have to go by as to whether you should endorse SRM. Is SRM any different than all of the other emerging technologies? We got all the same kinds of arguments from all the same sorts of actors, he says. And, IPs discovered in almost all of the cases, that they have been screwed by those who have these technologies.

Put yourselves in the shoes of the tribal leaders, and you’re going to have to reason analogically. So it appears pretty damn bad for the IPs and tribes. Is there any reason not to reason analogically?

Question 2: Suppose that there are some reasons why it’s different. Suppose that some tribal leaders should look forward to the consequences of SRM. If this is true, you haven’t secured a reasonable endorsement from Indian Country because there’s still a question about the policy culture that can be relied on? We have to rely on how things work today; and his opinion is that, even though we have modern tribal governments, the culture is still highly problematic; environmental policies under discussion right now.

Kyle is now criticizing Waxman Markey for not having a tribal plan built into it. Tribes were excluded, as he says. It took a year for the tribes to be included. Initial impulse was that tribes were excludable. Also working on some issues associated with the RFID tagging of cattle, which produces some strange pressures to subscribe to the use of state veterinarians for cattle rearing. Continues to see all sorts of issues where tribes are excluded.

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