Hollywood is Burning

Southern California: Excavating the Future in the Land of Competition

In 1953 Josef Stalin said that, if the Soviet Union had Hollywood, the whole world would be communist. Well, have Hollywood he did not, for Hollywood had Hollywood. Just as American culture spanned the countries of the globe—what Hollywood insiders termed their ‘territories’—so too did the culture of southern California. Sunny days, warm watered beaches, girls in skimpy bathing suits and that catchy, infiltrating slang inundated cinemas the world over. Be it the increased sales in hitherto unneeded household appliances, makeup and automobiles, which swept Europe in the post-war years, or the many other cultural nuances attributed to Hollywood film, southern California left its mark on the global brain.1

But the current financial crisis—and impending societal collapse in the US—threatens Hollywood’s hegemony over the celluloid screen.

As inventor and independent financial analyst Max Keiser reported in his blog for Huffington Post, bond trader Cantor Fiztgerald recently filed an application with regulators with the intention of launching an exchange that allows users to hedge and speculate on the financial performances of movies.

Keiser, host of The Oracle on BBC World and podcast Truth About Markets, predicts that “the Cantor/HSX futures will actually drive the prices of stars, films, marketing and the industry as a whole DOWN:” a topsy-turvy world of rivals selling out rivals and driving down prices—perceptions included—for high prices are good marketing in America. Indeed, Max predicts the Hollywood cartel—at the forefront of the consciousness industry since the 1920’s—will enter into a period of infighting as each studio struggles to be the vanguard of Hollywood.2

The theory of technical primacy encapsulates the importance of Hollywood, arguing that Hollywood—a comparably new innovation in the arsenal of imperialism, especially leading up to and after World War II—played nearly as important a role as military and economic forces in bringing about allied victory during World War II.

For example, immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the war became one of the most frequented subjects of the U.S. motion picture industry: from 1942 until 1945, out of the 1,700 movies produced in that period altogether, approximately 500 depicted a pro-war stance.

In fact, the cooperation between Washington and Hollywood’s War Activities Committee in the face of international conflicts was so penetrating, that few agencies within the federal government were not represented by Hollywood, the White House included. Demonstrating symbolically the importance of this relationship, was the U.S governments approval of something like 4,000 members of the U.S. Film Industry—directors, studio bosses and sales managers—to wear military officer uniforms. In reality, the military has been deeply involved with the film industry since the Silent Era.

Hollywood represented a new form of imperialism, not in idea or intent, but rather in effectiveness. It penetrated the public’s consciousness and reoriented social values, as demonstrated by the aforementioned change during the 1950’s in European consumer habits.

The brain is infinitely more advanced at synthesizing data than modern computers. The cornucopia of modules responsible for the gross sum of our realities, nonetheless, functions largely at the realm of the subconscious. In other words, upwards of 90% of our daily experiences are understood separate from our own awareness. In a speech for the leading managers of the U.S. film industry on November 5, 1961, Edward R. Murrow quoted Carl Sandburg:

I meet people occasionally who think that motion pictures, the product that Hollywood makes, is merely entertainment, has nothing to do with education. That’s one of the darndest fool fallacies that is current…Anything that brings you to tears by way of drama does something to the deepest roots of your personality. All movies good or bad are educational and Hollywood is the foremost educational institute on earth, an audience that runs into the estimated 800 million to a billion, What, Hollywood’s more important than Harvard? The answer is, no as clean as Harvard, but nevertheless, farther reaching.

Others echoed this disposition:

“The film is to America what the flag was once to Britain. By its means Uncle Sam may hope someday, if he be not checked in time, to Americanize the world.”3

“If one were to write the history of economic imperialism, the American film production would be one of the most interesting chapters.”4

In a study for the State Department, the Institute of Communications Research recommended the liberal use of film, stating: Films are especially suitable for unsophisticated audiences…it makes no difference what we have to show them. You will find this true almost anywhere except perhaps among intellectual groups where they are blasé about it. There is a fascination that films have for people. Even among intellectuals there, they come to be critical…You can do anything you want to them (sic) as long as you don’t drive them away.”

There is a multitude of ironic motifs teased easily out of Hollywood films of the 1950’s, many of which not so different from the recurrent themes of Nazi cinema. An internalization of self-censorship as a result of the McCarthy show trials in the 1950’s sent Hollywood film dollars to politically safe westerns, all-encompassing of subtle allusions to a slimy, collectivist red menace.

Hollywood had mustered so much clout, that the industry could dictate the movies of other countries. In Germany, for instance, Hollywood blocked the subsidizing of the German film industry after the war, a once formidable competitor. Due to widespread devastation in Europe and much of the world after the Second World War, Hollywood had secured a dominant position as the bedrock of the global consciousness industry. In fact, the dominance of the Hollywood cartel was so widespread, that it wholly negated the undertakings of a free market in terms of cinema.

The influence of American culture in Europe after the Second World War was enormous—some have referred to it as the new Monroe Doctrine; that is, the Marilyn Monroe Doctrine. The postwar period was a period of huge opportunities for victors, allowing the U.S. to build upon the old European dream of U.S. democracy as a way of life that secured a high standard of living for the masses, and also had the financial means to organize a comprehensive cultural program that embraced all facets of life. One such cultural program, implemented by the U.S., stated as its mission the use of “each material and psychological medium to create respect, even awe in the lifestyle of America, and also to undermine other political philosophies;” and so they did, on up through today. However, representing the power of the consumer, Hollywood did open up its content during the creedal passion period of the 1960’s to reflect the general sentiment of the population at that time, as well as to keep the cash flow coming. Films such as Platoon and Full Metal Jacket portrayed war in a much more critical light than, say, John Wayne films of the 40’s and 50’s.

These days, the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Department of Defense occupy entire floors of Los Angeles office buildings so as to ensure films fulfill the agenda of those institutions. In exchange for high-tech, tax payer funded, otherwise unavailable gear, Hollywood allows the military to censor scripts to suit their needs.5

Southern California’s reign as the epicenter of American culture might very well be over. The state of California is shambles, and one of the country’s most populous regions—approximately 24 million people call the agglomeration home—is also one of the most fragmented and therefore compromised, for its ability to act in a unified, cohesive manner, should it need to, is severely limited. The problems facing southern California are multi-faceted, especially when multiplied over all major facets of life—economic, social, cultural and environmental. The five-county region that makes up southern California ought to be watched closely over the next decade, as it very well might serve as an example of what industrial collapse is. That is what this series is about, but first: Hollywood.

Fittingly, art is imitating reality. A new wave of Hollywood disaster flicks coming this fall reflects the actual position of Hollywood, if not the world. Unlike disaster flicks of the Atomic-Age and Watergate which dealt with the fall of civilization, the new flicks deal with the struggles of post-apocalypse existence. The wave of post-apocalyptic manuscripts is aimed at cinemas and TV screens, where battles with cannibals, the acquisition of survival techniques, and the struggle to keep one’s humanity will be portrayed in stunning detail.

In January expect The Book of Eli, in which Denzel Washington stars as the fierce protector of a book holding the key to mankind’s redemption in an American wasteland wrought by war. NBC’s Day One features a gang of neighbors trying to survive and come to terms with devastation and a beyond dilapidated and useless infrastructure. The Film adaption of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, due in October, includes footage shot during recent disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina.

According to Rob Kutner, writer for The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, escapism plays a part in the latest glut of apocalyptic cinema, since “people are less concerned about their house being foreclosed when it’s being taken over by mutant appliances.” Perhaps some of these films serve social engineering programs by way of predictive programming.6

By portraying on the big screen a world on the edge, when, in fact, the world is on the edge, engineers in Hollywood predispose audiences to accept extreme austerity and catastrophe, causing them even to expect it, as opposed to sacrificing the crazy-quilt lifestyle of society for true human community and overcoming. A process of gradual and subtle inculcation, predictive programming creates an environment in which feedback loops of expectations generate a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Despite the seriousness of the issues tackled by Hollywood this fall and winter, most of the films strive to avoid moralizing the collapse—a tactic that has been historically lethal at the box office.

What we have in store, according to Roger Smith—an executive at the research firm Global Media Intelligence and a former film executive who oversaw Terminator 2—is “the film version of the Cuban Missile Crisis; we have to get the edge of extinction each time.”

I’d place a bet that, were Hollywood to go bust, the human species would have a better shot at surviving than if not. Indeed, U.S. movie box office grosses for July 31-August 2 were down 21.5 percent from a year ago 21.5 percent, though many Hollywood officials would be quick to deem those statistics insignificant.7

With summer blockbuster grosses down, Hollywood continues its struggle to find a place in a digital world that eats old business models for breakfast. In a bid to seek new audiences, IMAX Corp. partnered in June with China’s largest film studio to release three Chinese language movies, representing the first time Imax shows foreign-language films on its giant specialty screens.8

New technologies, venues and business models have both benefitted and hurt those businesses which rely on intellectual-property rights. Hollywood has yet to adequately take advantage of the digital positives, such as marketing and distribution, while prosecuting effectively the negatives—negative, at least, in their view—such as piracy. Prosecuting alleged pirates in a court of law has had mixed results. The MPAA, although less-so than the music industry, has indeed also taken this route, though it in many ways has proved inefficient. “You have to do some enforcement,” says Dan Glickman, chairman and chief executive officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, “but we have to do more than that, and the focus has to be on technological solutions and on doing a much better job educating people about the impact of piracy.”9

Will a Hollywood futures market hasten the loosely knit cartels downfall? Keiser seems to thinks so.10

Look for studios to sabotage each other’s projects by short selling and ‘naked’ short selling competing projects on the Cantor Exchange to drive the perception of a film’s popularity down before it’s released. No problem, just spend more on marketing. More money will be made trading box office futures than at the box office. Inside information will become legal. Milton Friedman will rise from the dead and advise the Honduran government. Brat Pitt will star.

  1. Reinhold Wangleitner. 1994. Coca-Colonization and the Cold War. UNC Press, Chapt. 8, The Influence of Hollywood. []
  2. Max Keiser. Will Hollywood Futures on the CantorExchange Kill Hollywood? Huffington Post, 8 December 2008. []
  3. Warning by London Morning Post in 1923. []
  4. Rudolf Oertel. []
  5. Nick Turse. Hollywood is Becoming The Pentagon’s Mouthpiece for Propaganda, AlterNet, 22 May 2008. []
  6. John Jurgensen and Jamin Brophy Warren. Hollywood Destroys the World. Wall Street Journal, 31 July 2009. []
  7. Lauren A. E. Schuker. Summer Box-Office Sales Cool Down. Wall Street Journal, 3 August 2009. []
  8. Lauren A. E. Schuker. Imax Set to Partner With Chinese Studio. Wall Street Journal, 15 June 2009. []
  9. William Tripplet. On The Future of Movies. Wall Street Journal, 21 July 2009. []
  10. Max Keiser. Dr. Blankfein Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love Goldman Sachs, Max Keiser, 2009. []
Justin O'Connell blogs at The Handshake Times. He can be reached at: justin@libertycpm.com. Read other articles by Justin.

12 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Don Hawkins said on August 11th, 2009 at 3:54pm #

    Not on Two Celsius Track

    BONN, Germany (Reuters) “We are absolutely not on track” to stay below two degrees Celsius, de Boer said.
    Temperatures have risen by 0.7 Celsius in the past century and the U.N. Climate Panel projects further rises that will spur heatwaves, droughts, floods, and raise world sea levels.
    New Zealand on Monday set a goal of cutting carbon emissions by between 10 and 20 percent by 2020 below 1990 levels, but said the targets hinged on goals by other nations in Copenhagen.
    “It’s a long way below the levels of ambition needed,” said Kim Carstensen, leader of the WWF environment group’s global climate initiative, said of New Zealand’s goal.
    Developing nations such as China and India want the rich to cut by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Average cuts outlined so far work out at about 10-14 percent.
    Michael Zammit Cutajar, chairing talks on the 200-page text, said that roughly 30 pages would be a goal for the document’s length by the end of the meeting in Bangkok.
    De Boer said that there was still a willingness to reach an agreement despite recession that has made many countries unwilling to do more to cut emissions. “There’s still a huge political will to come to an agreement in Copenhagen,” he said.
    Developing nations also said it was vital to have more talks on the financing of any deal in Copenhagen. African nations, for instance, say that at least $267 billion a year will be needed by 2020 to help the poor combat climate change.
    With time pressing, Elliot Diringer of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change said Copenhagen would, at best, agree a framework for a deal with many details to be filled in later.
    And he said it was “highly unlikely” that the U.S. Congress would agree on a climate bill by Copenhagen.

    Just can’t get it together.

    James Lovelock: It’s like the pre-World War II calm in Britain when I was a young man. No one did anything until bombs began to fall. We really don’t notice climate change; it seems theoretical to most of us. When the first great climate disaster strikes, I hope we will all pull together just as if our nation was being invaded.

    Of course the time is NOW and yet here in the States just nonsense. Long long long speech’s and the subject illusion.

  2. Don Hawkins said on August 11th, 2009 at 4:25pm #

    Justin that was well put. By portraying on the big screen a world on the edge, when, in fact, the world is on the edge, engineers in Hollywood predispose audiences to accept extreme austerity and catastrophe, causing them even to expect it, as opposed to sacrificing the crazy-quilt lifestyle of society for true human community and overcoming. A process of gradual and subtle inculcation, predictive programming creates an environment in which feedback loops of expectations generate a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Check this out forecast for precipitation Worldwide. India a bit of trouble. Australia forget about it no rain and in the states slower but on the way. California this coming January to about April probably to much rain and I mean way to much rain then back to dry. Yes Hollywood in a bit of trouble but won’t have to spend much on special effect’s in the coming years. The Southwest and great plains first for major changes.

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/images/glbPrecMonNorm.gif

  3. Justin said on August 11th, 2009 at 4:29pm #

    hello Don,

    were rational measures taken, it seems to me climate disaster could be averted; for instance, much of the worlds agricultural centers ought to move north. During the Global Cimate Optimum between 900 and 1300, viticulture thrived in England, where it has not thrived since.

    Further, science is inherently contradictory. There is plenty of evidence showing that the earth is cooling and dimming–dimmed by thirty percent in fifty years.

    The legislation being passed by global state-enterprises are austerity measures for the underclass; in effect, the hoarding of resources by the rich.

    Do you disagree?

    Justin

  4. Justin said on August 11th, 2009 at 4:33pm #

    Hey don, also, i’ve read that the midwest-where we have produced much of our food-is going fallow, whilst Russia’s interior will become fertile. Again, there are ways to avert the disaster, but unfortunately the global political awakening must quicken and quicken fast.

    Dog food factories in India need to convert to human food, now. And the media blackout in regards to Africa implies economic warfare/genocide hitting that region hard. I maintain we can feed six and a half billion people reasonably well, for now. I know that sounds cargoistic–that technology, etc can get us out of this–but we handle our resources atrociously, and the uberclass is greedy as all hell.

    Thank you for your comments,
    Justin

  5. bidrec said on August 11th, 2009 at 5:25pm #

    You make an interesting point. It was actually Cantor Fitzgerald that made what looks like naked short selling possible.

    “Ian Schneider was a Senior Managing Director at Cantor Fitzgerald …. In 1990, Ian recognized that securities lending could be separated from a pure custody product and developed a non-custodial securities lending agency business at Cantor. In 1992, Ian identified Stephen Dimino as the person to develop and run the securities lending agency business. Ian and Stephen were both Partners at Cantor…Stephen and Ian were instrumental in developing third party lending capabilities…” http://tinyurl.com/kly2d4

    There can be no naked shorting because of the “concern that agent lenders have regarding the risk of disintermediation ” http://tinyurl.com/mhy6b4 See, anyone who shorts without borrowing is cutting out “legitimate” lending agents.

    Instead there are naked long sales because the lender “never relinquishes ownership, the [lender] can sell the securities at any time.” Even if they are on loan to someone else and he does not have them. http://tinyurl.com/n9teyh

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute.

  6. Don Hawkins said on August 11th, 2009 at 6:21pm #

    Unless we see World leaders step up and face the problem for what it is the end of the human race and the knowledge we have gained and much of that in just the last fifty years not a good ending to the movie. The path so far is band-aids and not even that. To try for real requires a Herculean effort harder than say World War Two. When James Hansen said think of this as kind of a war he knew then a few years ago what it would take. Hansen is not alone all the great minds we have today know and also know the path we are on not a good ending. I have written before that if we don’t see Obama give that people of Earth we are in deep do do speech before 2012 and sooner would be better again not a good ending. So far the policy makers I see don’t have the knowledge to try and need to ask for help from the people who do. To try is like a war without the bombs but knowledge and some very cool smart minds in all Countries working together. Can it be done maybe but we will never find out unless we try and so far that is not happening. Not only do the leaders have to face the truth but so do we. Granted there are many so called leaders, elites who just don’t care. Well I still feel that people of Earth we are in deep do do could be very helpful. It looks like first Denmark then the climate bill in the States so if nothing else the witting in say the first part of 2010 will be interesting to say the least and the problem itself will be showing itself more. Without the do do speech how many people will know many. Anyway how much money did Bank of America get to keep going and how much money over ten years in the climate bill not to keep the Earth going but us human’s with just a little bit bigger brain than let’s see apes. Yes by all means we need to keep the bank’s going sorry that thinking is academic.

  7. Annie Ladysmith said on August 11th, 2009 at 6:57pm #

    Hollywoo-is-burning, that is great news, when can we expect to dump the ashes in the Pacific?? I won’t believe it until i see the ashes.
    Actually, for all you global-warming-alarmists who bow down your minds to your patron saint Al, i’v got a tidbit for you: Yellowstone is going to blow WAY before the ice caps melt, it’s already bulging the lake out of it’s socket. Can’t ya find someone to save the volcano…that’s a cause i could believe in.

  8. Michael Kenny said on August 12th, 2009 at 6:37am #

    As far as Europe is concerned, what is interesting is the way in which the Hollywood “message” has actually shot itself in the foot. “Awe” is a very good word to describe the way in which we regarded the US during my 1950s childhood. Vietnam changed that and except for a slight rise during the Clinton years, the US has been negatively perceived in Europe ever since. Indeed, even those whom US political mythology classifies as “pro-American” would not want to see Europe become “like” the US. The cause has been much more TV series than films. Hollywood’s TV output, both fiction and reality shows, has created an image of an America peopled by criminals, perverts, screwballs, racists, bullies, ignoramuses and bigots. Not a pretty picture! The European media, influenced by Hollywood, have gone looking for this “reality” and, of course, have found it and have confirmed the negative image peddled by Hollywood. Propaganda is a two-edged sword!

  9. b99 said on August 12th, 2009 at 7:19am #

    Ah, Annie’s a National Geographic reader!

  10. Justin said on August 12th, 2009 at 8:28am #

    Michael, where you living? You make very very important points–i don’t think you know how important. NATO troops have been entering the US now for a little while. Knowing the US has a very negative image worldwide, I figured the reason for these troops being deployed to the US was because enforcing the military state here would cause them little grief, whereas US troops wouldn’t be as hardline domestically. The NATO troops already think of us as “criminals, perverts, screwballs, racists, bullies, ignoramuses and bigots.”

    My logic isn’t perfect, but there is an element of truth to that.

  11. Don Hawkins said on August 12th, 2009 at 8:28am #

    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
    Incheon (Republic of Korea)
    11 August 2009
    Remarks to the Global Environment Forum
    Honourable Ahn Sang-Soo, Mayor of Incheon Metropolitan City,
    Honourable Mr. Ko Kun, Co-Chairman of the global Enviroment Forum,
    Honourable Mr. Lee Man-yi, Minister of Environment,
    Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen, Dear Friends,
    It is a great privilege for me to participate in this global Environment Forum.
    Let me begin by offering my sincere congratulations to Mayor Ahn and the the citizens of the Metropolitan City of Incheon.
    Environment Forum as well as the Global Fair and Festival 2009, you show true global vision ? vision that underlines the importance of local government and cities in coping with the challenges of the 21st century.
    Ladies and gentlemen,
    As you know, Incheon is famous as the gateway to Korea.
    But here today, I am especially proud as UN Secretary-General – and a Korean citizen – to be able to say that Incheon is also a gateway to our common future.
    The very fact that this most important Forum meets here today testifies to that.
    The Songdo Convensia is one of the world’s most green convention centres. And it is located in one of the world’s most eco-friendly cities.
    Songdo is remarkable not only for what it has become but for what it used to be.
    People who grew up here remember the smokestacks and toxic fumes.
    In a few short decades, these have given way to clean buildings and clear skies.
    We are here today to recognize the connections between us and deal with a common problem. Of this, too, Songdo is a symbol and key.
    I understand that Songdo modeled itself on the Swedish sister city of Hammarby Sjostad (SCHÖ-stad).
    That city, too, used to be an industrial site before it transformed itself through ecofriendly development.
    These two cities – one in Europe, the other in Asia – show visionary civic leadership. They understand that we have a choice: adapt or perish.
    It is that simple.
    Other cities around the world are taking this enlightened approach. Reykjavik in Iceland? Curitiba in Brazil… Kampala in Uganda… Sydney in Australia.
    Whenever I visit these places, I am impressed.
    People everywhere are accepting that we must all live cleaner, greener, more sustainable lives. This is our future.
    I must admit that, as a Korean, Songdo occupies a special place in my heart.
    It helps show how Korea has emerged as a world leader on greening the economy.
    Some 80 per cent of Korea’s $38 billion national stimulus package is dedicated to green growth? the highest percentage in the world.
    Nearly a million green jobs will be created in the coming four years.
    This represents a fundamental shift in Korea’s approach to building national prosperity.
    I applaud this progress. I commend the visionary leadership of President Lee Myung Bak of Korea.
    But Korea must do more.
    The world is looking to Korea for leadership. This powerful emerging economy can serve as a bridge between developed and developing countries.
    But to do this, Korea must set ambitious goals for reducing its own emissions.
    I understand that the Korean Government is now seriously considering amending the mid-term target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    As the Minister of Environment said, the Korean Government is now is considering three options.
    As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I urge you to aim high – be more ambitious commensurate with your economic development.
    Korea long inspired others with its comeback spirit of renewal. After the Second World War, it arose to become one of the world’s strongest economies.
    Songdo was an industrial wasteland, but it transformed itself into one of the world’s greenest cities.
    Korea should now go further.
    It should make itself a model of international engagement on climate change. Climate change, as all previous speakers have already stated, is the fundamental threat to humankind.
    It exacerbates all of the problems we face: poverty, disease, hunger and insecurity. It impedes progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. It deepens the food and energy crises.
    That is the harsh reality.
    But there is an upside: if we combat climate change with a sustainable, low-emissions approach, just like we see around us in Songdo, we can change the way countries develop.
    We can foster a green economy and green growth.
    We can fight hunger and poverty while protecting the environment.
    The downside is equally dramatic.
    If we fail to act, climate change will intensify droughts, floods and other natural disasters.
    Water shortages will affect hundreds of millions of people. Malnutrition will engulf large parts of the developing world. Tensions will worsen. Social unrest – even violence – could follow.
    The damage to national economies will be enormous. The human suffering will be incalculable.
    We have the power to change course. But we must do it now.
    As we move toward Copenhagen in December, we must “Seal a Deal” on climate change that secures our common future. I’m glad that the Chairman of the forum and many other speakers have used my campaign slogan “Seal the Deal” in Copenhagen. I won’t charge them loyalty. Please use this “Seal the Deal” as widely as possible, as much as you can. We must seal the deal in Copenhagen for the future of humanity.
    We have just four months. Four months to secure the future of our planet.
    Any agreement must be fair, effective, equitable and comprehensive, and based on science. And it must help vulnerable nations adapt to climate change.
    Ladies and gentlemen,
    The science is clear. We know what to do and we know how to do it. Songdo shows us the way.
    What is needed is the political will. We have the capacity. We have finance. We have the technology. The largest lacking is political will. That is why I will convey some meetings focused on climate change. I have invited all the leaders of the world including President Lee.
    Two years ago, only a handful of world leaders could talk about climate change.
    Today, leaders of all the world, all the countries on every continent are aware of the threats we face now.
    This is great progress, for we need leadership of the very highest order.
    Awareness is the first step. The challenge now is to act.
    Since my first day as Secretary-General, I have spoken out about the grave climate change threat.
    My words, at times, have been blunt.
    When the leaders of the G-8 agreed in July to keep the global temperature increase within two degrees centigrade by the year 2050, that was welcomed and I welcome that statement.
    But I also said again, it was not enough.
    But leaders have agreed to cut green house gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. That is welcomed again. But that must be accompanied by the ambitious mid-term target by 2020 as science tells us to do. There I said, while I applaud their commitment, that is not enough.
    I called for matching these long-term goals with ambitious mid-term emission reduction targets.
    Let me be clear about what we need to do.
    There are four points [of] very important key political issues.
    First industrialized countries must lead by committing to binding mid-term reduction targets on the order of 25 to 40 per cent below 1990 levels.
    Unfortunately, the mid-term emission targets announced so far are not close enough to this range. This must change. That is why I am urging at this time, that the Korean government should take more ambitious targets.
    Second, developing countries need to take nationally appropriate mitigation actions in order to reduce the growth in their emissions substantially below business as usual.
    Their actions must be measurable, reportable and verifiable.
    Third, developed countries must provide sufficient, measurable, reportable and verifiable financial and technological support to developing countries.
    This will allow developing countries to pursue their mitigation efforts as part of their sustainable green growth strategies and to adapt to accelerating climate impacts.
    Significant resources will be needed from both public and private sources.
    Developing countries, especially the most vulnerable, will collectively need billions of dollars in public financing for adaptation.
    I am talking here about new money – not re-packaged Official Development Assistance. This is one of the most important issues which we are going to discuss on September 22nd in New York, and this year again at the G20 Summit Meeting in Pittsburgh on September 24th.
    Fourth, we need an equitable and accountable mechanism for distributing these financial and technological resources, taking into account the views of all countries in decision-making.
    Accomplishing all of this requires tough decisions. It will take flexibility and hard work to negotiate the most difficult issues.
    Trust between developed and developing countries is essential.
    When governments succeed in sealing a deal in Copenhagen, we will have shown the spirit of international solidarity. We will have shown leadership – political will.
    Distinguished participants,
    The city of Incheon has a remarkable history.
    Here, in 1950, the Korean war came to a famous turning point, following a daring landing by UN forces.
    Against all the odds, the operation succeeded. Courage and leadership turned the tide.
    Today, we need to turn a different tide – the tide of climate change. We need bold “outside of the box” thinking.
    We need your support and cooperation.
    You can shape the international debate and influence important decisions.
    You can encourage countries to work together.
    I promise you my best effort as Secretary-General of the United Nations — my best effort to push, pull and cajole national leaders into acting in our common global interest.
    Together, we truly can turn the tide, once again, here in Incheon.
    I need your support, your commitment, and your leadership.
    Thank you very much.

    The next six months we will see then —————

  12. Don Hawkins said on August 12th, 2009 at 8:56am #

    And so far how will this play out. “Mrs. President the rocket’s are ready”. “Awaiting your order for stratospheric aerosol injection”. “May God help us give the order”.