No fare deal for London or Venezuela

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Boris Scraps Venezuela Oil Deal

Canceling London-Venezuela Deal: Mindless Vandalism

Not many Londoners can be happy as they grope through the frozen murkiness of the commute to their first days back at work after the winter break. Adding to their misery is London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, who has made their journey much more expensive with huge fare rises.

Critics of Johnson’s transport policies have highlighted how these massive increases – 20 percent for single bus fares alone – would not have been so high if Johnson hadn’t trashed other sources of funding for London’s transport. Continue reading

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System Change Not Climate Change

by A.A. French

After being in Copenhagen for five days now, there are some thoughts running through my head that I’d like to express and share with y’all. This is going to be short, and probably not all that eloquent, but it will help me get some points across that I think are really important at this critical moment in the fight for our climate. I do want to say that while this post is critical of the way things are happening at COP15, I still deeply respect the youth of all delegations who are inside this conference, trying to scrap out a decent deal for the world. I thank them for all their efforts, but am coming from a different perspective here.

I came to Copenhagen hesitant and nervous….not wanting to place too much hope into the talks that had effectively been castrated by the UNFCCC leadership and Yvo de Boer. But I still wanted to be here all the same; after all, it’s supposedly the climate party of the century! So I hooked up with some French activists and an amazing organization called Climate Justice Action and planned on doing all that I could during the two weeks of the conference. I wanted to rally, protest, take part in negotiations, have my voice heard and above all- help bring a fair, ambitious and binding treaty out of Copenhagen. But upon arriving in Denmark, I entered a catatonic state of dumbfoundedness… having finally come to the realization, like so many others (James Hansen, Breakthrough Institute etc), that these talks were doomed to fail and there was nothing anyone could do about it. As quickly as it had come, my dream of that fair, ambitious and binding treaty that we’ve all been working towards disappeared in a smoggy cloud of yen, dollars, euros and political and moral weakness.

Since 2006, I’ve been a part of the youth climate movement and I always believed that it was possible to achieve the sort of change we needed through the United States Congress, the United Nations Conference of Parties or other governmental bodies. To put it short and use that worn out term, I believed in “the system”. I believed that governments did have the power to stop climate change and did in fact want to stop climate change. I thought COP 15 would be a conference of folks dedicated to doing whatever was necessary to solve the climate crisis, regardless of money, corporate influence or politics.

I was wrong.

The first five days of the conference have been full of back door dealings by Annex 1 countries, oppression of “developing” countries like Tuvalu by official delegations and a lack of desire for a legitimate deal in Copenhagen by members of the US delegation. So, even with tens of thousands of people working on a global climate treaty for the past fifteen years, we have yet to reach any sort of legitimate, legally binding treaty that addresses climate change and climate justice while refusing to give into corporate and big business pressure. You would think that when you put the world’s top negotiators, scientists, governmental representatives and UN hot shots together for 15 years, they’d at least be able to figure something out right? Continue reading

Canceling London-Venezuela Deal: Mindless Vandalism

June 2nd 2008, by Ken Livingstone

Boris Johnson’s cancellation of London’s oil agreement with Venezuela is a piece of rightwing dogmatism that is equally costly to the people of London and Caracas. The agreement was that Londoners on income support received half-price bus travel, subsidised via cheap Venezuelan oil, in return for London providing transport, planning and other expertise to Venezuela.

The basic principle of London-Caracas agreement was simple, reasonable and indeed a rather textbook illustration of relative advantage in foreign trade. Each side provided the other with that in which they are rich, and which for them is therefore relatively cheap – oil, on one hand, and the expertise in managing a modern advanced city on the other – in return for something which was scarce, and therefore relatively expensive, for the other side. Continue reading

The Shape Of Things To Come: Boris Scraps Venezuela Oil Deal

LONDON, England (AP) — The British capital’s new mayor, Boris Johnson is ending a deal that has provided cheap Venezuelan fuel for London’s transport network. Johnson was a critic of the oil deal struck by his predecessor, Ken Livingstone.

The agreement, signed last year by the Conservative Johnson’s predecessor and Labour Party rival, Ken Livingstone, provided discounted gas for London’s iconic red buses in exchange for advice on urban planning in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital.

Money saved on gas was put into a program providing half-rate bus fares for low-income Londoners. Continue reading