Ticking Away

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted by all but a few countries on this day in 1997, entering into force in 2005. Over the past decade, many countries have expressed doubts about or just failed to heed the Protocol's guidelines on greenhouse gas emissions. Like many modern environmental scientists, Columbia University's James Hansen says that the Kyoto plan was flawed from the start, and that the planet is in desperate need of a workable replacement. Unfortunately, says Hansen in his Preface to Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity, our politicians are unlikely to overcome "the undue sway of special interests" and deliver what's needed:

I am sorry to say that most of what politicians are doing on the climate front is greenwashing -- their proposals sound good, but they are deceiving you and themselves at the same time. Politicians think that if matters look difficult, compromise is a good approach. Unfortunately, nature and the laws of physics cannot compromise -- they are what they are.

With nature unable to compromise and politicians greenwashing their hands, Hansen sees only one viable, urgent option:

Citizens with a special interest -- in their loved ones -- need to become familiar with the science, exercise their democratic rights, and pay attention to politicians' decisions. Otherwise, it seems, short-term special interests will hold sway in capitals around the world -- and we are running out of time.

Daybook is contributed by Steve King, who teaches in the English Department of Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland. His literary daybook began as a radio series syndicated nationally in Canada. He can be found online at todayinliterature.com.


Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."