ABCB – New Alphabet For Standards – Association of British Certification Bodies

My Lord, Ladies and Gentlemen.  It is a real honour for me to have this opportunity to address a group of people who share my passion that standards markets can improve the world, this Association of British Certification Bodies.  This is a personal address, not speaking as a non-executive director of UKAS, though I realise that probably had a bearing on inviting me here.  My remarks to follow are not meant in any way as UKAS policy.

Yet non-executive directorships are not filled for money – the risks are high, the time commitments always exceed the estimates and the thanks are low – nor are directorships filled with love.  If seeking a non-executive directorship is the first sign of madness; the second sign is probably taking one.  In return, we non-executive directors can be your worst nightmare.  In my case it’s because I have a passion for world trade and sustainable economies that I would like share with you.

To start with, I’d like to explore standards themselves.  Standards are funny things.  Because of my accent, I’m going to start with pronunciation standards.  Because the name of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) would have different abbreviations in different languages (IOS in English, OIN in French), back in the 1940’s it was decided to use a language-independent word derived from the Greek, isos, meaning “equal”.  Therefore, the short form of the Organization’s name is always ISO – “I-S-O” – and ISO follows the “z” spelling as in “organization” and “standardization”.  Is that clear?  ISO’s recommendation on their website is to pronounce their name whichever way comes most naturally.  “So, you can pronounce it “EZO”, “EYE-ZOH” or “EYE-ESS-OH”, we don’t have any problem with that.”  What a great credential for flexible standards!

And then we have date standards – oh no, I’m not talking about the US month first versus the UK day first, or even the Chinese year first.  For 38 years ISO has designated World Standards Day to recognize the thousands of experts worldwide who collaboratively develop voluntary international standards that facilitate trade, spread knowledge and share technological advances.  ISO officially began to function on 23 February 1947, but 14 October was chosen as World Standards Day because on 14 October 1946 delegates from 25 countries met in London and decided to found ISO.  Of course, in the spirit of standards, in 2006 India, Ghana and others celebrated World Standards Day on 13 October while Nigeria celebrated from 12 to 14 October.  In 2007 the European Commission held its World Standards Day conference on 17 October, while the United States celebrated World Standards Day on 18 October.  Need I say more?

The truth is that the world is a messy place.  Moreover, it’s human nature to resist standards, or at least male nature.  A friend of mine, Paul, is raising three boys on his own.  When I asked him how he kept the house clean he explained, “Michael, men don’t have standards, women do.  Men have thresholds.”

The objective of standards is to help the evolution from complete mess to complete order by putting things in boxes at the right time.  Managing evolution isn’t easy.  Sometimes we try to box things in too early.  Other times we’re so late we just add cost and unnecessary complexity to existing commodities.  But done right – ahh, there we add a lot of value to consumers, to business and to society.  I recently conducted a large study with PricewaterhouseCoopers and the World Economic Forum looking at solving global risks, “Collaborate or Collapse”.  We concluded that society solved global risks using four collaborative approaches – sharing knowledge, implementing policies, markets and, yes, standards.

Sometimes I wish we could have a better sense of humour about it all.  I’d like us to avoid going down the path of political correctness and keep our largely scientific and engineering outlook on life and its problems.  Sadly, certification and standard jokes are rarer than one might like.  Perhaps we should have a comedy kite-mark.  Fortunately, the only after-dinner/lunch joke on standards I know doesn’t concern an ABCB member.  It is about certification taken to extremes over wine.

Two oenologists are trying to outdo each other on their exacting standards.  They both grab a tasting glass of red wine from the examination table in front of them.  Inhaling deeply, the first wine expert remarks that “this wine is an outstanding Bordeaux”.  The second interjects, “particularly when you recognise the difficulties inherent in raising vines of character in Côtes de Bordeaux-Saint-Macaire”.  “Indeed”, says the first, “and as this wine is from Saint-Macaire, the terroir in that area most suited to this interpretation of the Malbec grape is, I’d suspect, Château Malromé”.  “Ahhh”, counters the second, “self-evidently Château Malromé, but clearly the south-facing side, near the old well.”  “Elementary really”, replies the first oenologist, “and probably the fifth row, slightly higher up the hill”.  “Mais bien-sur”, adds the second oenologist gaining the upper hand by saying, “though I’d say a late summer picking from the eighth vine in the row and, dare I add, probably by picked by Pierre.”  “Well”, says the first, now delivering what he believes to be the fatal blow, “of course I detected Pierre’s hand on the grapes, after a cool morning and a late dejeuner.  Though his post-prandial micturation infuses this wine with a somewhat disagreeable undertone.”  “Naturally it does” says the second oenologist rather coolly, “as one must certainly ask why-oh-why did Pierre drink such an inferior claret for lunch?!”.

But standards are not just about quality and one-up-manship.  Adam Smith advanced the metaphor of “the invisible hand”, that an individual pursuing trade tends to promote the good of his community.  Yet the Doha round is stymied.  Valid social and ethical concerns transmogrify into trade restrictions.  Property rights are a battleground, from carbon emissions to intellectual capital.  Already, emerging carbon standards are being sharpened as weapons in future carbon dumping wars.  Our state sectors swell out of recognition, crowding out the private sector that delivers value.  Standards and certification markets exist to improve the functioning of global markets and trade, and even to inject market approaches into monopolistic service delivery.

Adam Smith knew that markets alone are not enough.  Smith’s argument is too rich to take after an excellent meal, but what I admire about certification bodies is that you exemplify Smith’s Moral Sentiments of Propriety, Prudence, and Benevolence, combined with Reason.  As ABCB members you do set high standards, think to the long-term, explore new ways to help society advance and make business and government think about risk.  You realize that there is more to economic life than money – as  comedian Steve Wright says – “You can’t have everything, where would you put it?”

Things change fast with trade.  Looking back to post-war Japan and thinking of Japan today reminds me of the apocryphal quality control tale about relevant standards.  A western company had some components manufactured in Japan in a trial project.  In the specification to the Japanese, the company said that it would accept three defective parts per 10,000.  When the shipment arrived from Japan, the accompanying letter stated something like: “as you requested, the three defective parts per 10,000 have been separately manufactured and have been included in the consignment.  We hope this pleases you.”

Today China is the sobering reminder of the importance of trade.  I heard a great sound-bite at the IOD China Interest Group two years ago, “we’ve had a commercial break these past 200 years, but now we’re back, on air”.  In the 18th century China was the world’s biggest economy, with a GDP seven times that of Britain’s.  But China closed its doors to trade missing the industrial revolution, the capital revolution and the information revolution.  There is a children’s joke that “you should never meddle in the affairs of dragons, because you are crunchy and taste good with brown sauce.”  But we must mix-it-up with the Dragon.  Money is odourless and poverty stinks.  We must reach out to all the returnees to world trade.  And we must ensure that our own standards markets are open and competitive, in turn helping world trade be open and competitive.

So, is today’s luncheon talk supposed to be slick & humorous, a call to arms or an academic lecture?  Actually I want to end by emphasising the importance of conflict.  Regulatory capture is a phenomenon in which a regulatory agency which is supposed to be acting in the public interest becomes dominated by the vested interests of the existing incumbents in the industry that it oversees.  In public choice theory, regulatory capture arises from the fact that vested interests have a concentrated stake in the outcomes of political decisions, thus ensuring that they will find means – direct or indirect – to capture decision makers.  Conflict and competition, not calm quiescence or silence, are key signs that things are working well in standards markets.

Accreditation and certification only work when the entire system is a market system, not a bureaucratic one.  We are good, but we can do better.  For example,

  • development of a standard should be an open process involving interested stakeholders, but many ISO affiliates typically charge three figures for short documents that could be supplied electronically at no charge;
  • despite our claims for openness, transparency and public benefit, certification agencies often fail to be open oto the general public about whom they’ve audited for what. Outputs such as certifications and grades awarded could be better published so that they can be validated – yet the industry complains about the ‘grey’ certification market;
  • accreditors must be vigilant regulators and ensure the separation of standards development from the commercial elements of implementation and review. Yet accreditors must be realistic and engage in meaningful dialogue with the industry while avoiding regulatory capture.

I could go further and talk about the widest view of standards from financial audit through to social, ethical and environmental standards with which I also work.  I’d even mention that to me, ideally, certifiers should bear some indemnity that can, with the price paid by the buyer, be made publicly available.  Developing countries rightfully worry that “the things that come to those that wait may be the things left by those who got there first”.  Sustainable commerce means doing things differently.  We must clasp the hands of the developing countries, support the invisible hand of commerce, restrain the visible hand of government and slap the grabbing hands of special interests.  We must prove that a global Commerce Manifesto deserves to replace a soiled Communist Manifesto.  We must keep our standard and certification markets open, transparent and competitive.

Standards markets are the great alternative to over-regulation or naked greed.  We professionals committed to standards prevent both the abuse of capitalism, red in tooth and claw, and the abuse of government regulation, 1984 but without Orwell’s sense of humour.  We open up trade.  Let’s sell standards markets as the new third way to the sustainable economics everyone wants.

On behalf of all the guests I salute the ABCB’s hospitality and its great work on behalf of standards markets.  Thank you!

London Accord – Sharing Research To Save The Planet

After two years of hard work led by Jan-Peter Onstwedder and me, we finally launch the London Accord at Mansion House on the evening of 19 December.

Grainy but true – l to r: Rt Honourable Lord Mayor David Lewis, Rt Honourable John Sutton MP, Sir Michael Snyder, Professor Michael Mainelli

My Lord Mayor, Your Excellencies, My Lords, Secretary of State, Alderman, Sheriffs, [Councillors, Distinguished Guests,] Ladies and Gentlemen… – it is my great pleasure to have this opportunity to tell you tonight about the London Accord.

The London Accord’s theme is “cash in, carbon out”. The London Accord provides informed views about climate change investment and sets out a methodology for evaluating those investments. The London Accord began in 2005 at almost the same time as the Stern Review. Sir Nicholas said last year that “climate change is the greatest market failure the world has seen”. While I admire many aspects of the Stern Report, I beg to differ with this specific point.

Markets haven’t failed. Markets have done what markets do, set prices and transfer resources and risks. In the case of climate change, what we have is an absence of a market. Markets and investors have acted accordingly. Events in Bali last week change all that. Henceforth, society will turn greenhouse gas emissions into a property that can be capped, traded, and reduced – and we must factor these emission costs into all investment decisions.

Why does the London Accord matter? Well, for a start, the publication of the London Accord matters to us because we have been working on it for over two years, but the London Accord should matter to everyone. The comedian Jay Leno once quipped, “According to a new UN report, the global warming outlook is much worse than originally predicted. Which is pretty bad when they originally predicted it would destroy the planet.” The London Accord matters because the financial services community says, if society is prepared to pay, commerce can stop global warming.

Our future scenarios for greenhouse gas emission prices are double today’s €20 per tonne of CO2, more like €40 per tonne of CO2. In rough terms, we need to reduce the CO2 emissions per Briton from 10 tonnes to one or two tonnes. At around €40/tonne that’s about €300 per person or about €1,200 per family per year. It’s going to be quite a different world.

Private sector investment is crucial to climate change investment (86% of capital investment in energy supply must be from the private sector – UNFCCC). Much of that investment will be funded through large pension funds and asset managers who rely on analysis by the financial services sector for investment decisions. So what did the London Accord team conclude?
• Energy investment is going to become much, much riskier;
• Investors should invest now. At prices per tonne of CO2 over €30, investment portfolios can constructed that produce both attractive financial and ‘carbon returns’.
• Forestry is a big unknown – there is a need to narrow the range of credible estimates for abatement and costs of forestry projects, as well as solidify carbon offset markets for forestry.
• Efficiency gains continue to show great potential for financial and carbon returns but may need behavioural incentives such as regulation.
• Carbon capture and sequestration/storage (CCS) seems an unrealistic investment today.

Moreover, financial services leaders understand the need to collaborate or collapse. The London Accord is a great ‘open source’ research project – the largest-ever private-sector investment collaboration into climate change, representing work valued at £7million ($15million). Buy-side firms such as Universities Superannuation Scheme, Insight, and Legal & General helped sell-side firms and analysts shape the project to ensure its outcomes would be useful to investors. Observers from the EU, the International Energy Agency, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and others have been involved.

In the time available, I must turn to thanks, and there are far too many. The London Accord has truly been a cooperative effort. Jan-Peter Onstwedder and I recorded nearly 500 thanks in the CD-ROM you will receive tonight, and still we missed people. However, on such a special evening there are a few I must single out. First, I would thank my team at Z/Yen, including Ian Harris, Linda Cook, Mark Yeandle, Kevin Parker, Liz Bailey and Alexander Knapp, who put up with two years of stress. BP staff worked throughout on the London Accord, and here I would single out Tessa Marwick, Andrew Vivian, James Palmer and Sanet Phillips. Gresham College’s Lord Sutherland and Barbara Anderson helped to kick things off and generously provided facilities, including a technical seminar at Gresham College we’re having on 30 January 2008 to which all of you are welcome. Henry Thoresby and Sir Howard Davies gave us excellent support from the LSE community pulling the threads together.

The best way to thank the contributors, the important people who did all the work, is to enumerate their reports:

First we had two papers setting the context:
• Alexander Evans, Center on International Cooperation at New York University & David Steven, River Path Associates, wrote “Climate Change: the State of the Debate”, examining how climate change rose above other global issues;
• Nick Butler, Cambridge Centre for Energy Studies set out “The Forces of Change in the Energy Market”.

Then, the heavyweights analysed the investment opportunities:
• Solar Energy – Eckhard Plinke and Matthias Fawer, Bank Sarasin
• Investing in Biofuels – Conor O’Prey, ABN AMRO
• Investing in Renewable Energy – Mark Thompson, Canaccord Adams
• The Global Case for Efficiency Gains – Miroslav Durana, Tanya Monga and Hervé Prettre, Credit Suisse
• Energy Efficiency – Asari Efiong, Merrill Lynch
• Carbon Capture and Sequestration – Marc Levinson, JPMorgan Chase
• Emissions Trading – Andrew Humphrey and Luciano Diana, Morgan Stanley
• Forest Assets – Stephane Voisin and Mikael Jafs, Cheuvreux

A number of us examined the wider impacts:
• Credit Risk – Christopher Bray and Dr Richenda Connell, Barclays and Acclimatise
• Carbon Intensity – Valéry Lucas-Leclin, Société Générale
• Sustainable Investment Solutions – Alice Chapple, Vedant Walia and Will Dawson, Forum for the Future
• The Legal Issues – Lewis McDonald, Herbert Smith
• Climate Change Investment and Policy Portfolios – James Palmer

Finally, some of us considered the policy implications
• Technological Development – J Doyne Farmer & Dr Jessika Trancik, The Santa Fe Institute
• Emission Standards – Steven Davis, The Climate Conservancy
• Product-Level Standards – Hendrik Garz: WestLB
• Philanthropy – Davida Herzl, NextEarth Foundation
• Carbon Markets and Forests – Eric Bettelheim, Gregory Janetos and Jennifer Henman, Sustainable Forestry Management
• Cap-and-Trade Versus Carbon Tax – Alexander Knapp, Z/Yen, Jan-Peter Onstwedder

The full publication, The London Accord: Making Investment Work For The Climate, contains 25 reports in 780 pages.

Very early on we formed a governance team consisting of the early supporters, each of whom gave freely of their time and whom I would like to thank personally:
• Alice Chapple from Forum for the Future
• Simon Mills from the City of London Corporation
• Chris Mottershead from BP plc
• Alexander Evans from New York University’s Center on International Cooperation

Before closing, I would like to move on to three special thanks. The first is a personal and corporate thank you to the City of London Corporation. Without the Corporation’s resources this project would be a pale shadow of what it is tonight. The personal part is to thank Michael Snyder, Chairman of the Policy & Resources Committee, for putting his drive, intellect and charisma behind the London Accord so early on. People remark that it seems harder and harder for government and commerce to work together. That may be true, but when you see the City of London accomplishing so much globally, it’s hard to remember it’s just our local council.

Second, my heartfelt thanks must go to Jan-Peter Onstwedder and all the support we had from BP and, in particular, Vivienne Cox. Jan-Peter was the Project Director from last year, well before formally joining the project. Jan-Peter has diplomatic and organisational skills of which I can only dream. Jan-Peter should be giving this talk, but is, as ever, too modest. Jan-Peter applied his intellectual, social and organisational skills with the determination to show that financial services can make difference to climate change. It was a privilege to work with Jan-Peter this year.

Finally, I would like to especially thank you, my Lord Mayor. Two years ago you had the foresight and courage to lend this crazy idea your valuable support. Two years later you have the generosity and kindness to lend us your home for this magnificent event. You have been stalwart throughout and I hope that the London Accord publication is a fitting tribute to your concern, your passion and your vision of London’s financial services industry at the front of the fight against climate change. In your year in office, which has started so brilliantly, I wish you the highest success in all of your endeavours in office, from the ceremonial to the commercial to the charitable.

The London Accord demonstrates that the financial services sector understands well the future implications of climate change. A man once reproached William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in Star Trek: “On your show, you had Russians, Chinese, Africans, and many others – why did you never have a character of my nationality?” Shatner supposedly replied, “You must understand that Star Trek is set in the future.” The London Accord is about our future and we would like to make sure that all nationalities are there, tropical, temperate or arctic; mountain top or sea-side.

Financial services is stereotyped as a selfish, self-centred industry. Over the past two years the collaboration and sharing of the London Accord has proved that stereotype wrong. The London Accord makes me proud to work in financial services. You should all be proud too.

Thank you.

The City Debate: Are Economic Advancement & A Clean Environment Incompatible?

The City Debate 2007 at Mansion House, 29 January 2007

[left to right]

Chris Huhne MP (Liberal Democrats’ Shadow Environment Food and Rural Affairs Secretary), Emma Duncan (Deputy Editor, The Economist), Rt Hon Michael Portillo, Richard D North (Fellow, Insitute of Economic Affairs), Professor Michael Mainelli (Executive Chairman, Z/Yen Group)

The somewhat awkward motion was “Green and Growth Don’t Go” (together implied) though the invitation was “Are Economic Advancement and a Clean Environment Incompatible?”. The audience was over 300 people from finance.

Professor Michael Mainelli’s opening statement to engage the audience was:

Chairman – My Lord Mayor, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Anyone with a waistcoat like mine knows that Green and growth don’t go together. Tonight I am that kid who told you that Santa Claus didn’t exist. Green and growth is a lie-for-children alongside Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Nessie, immaculate conception, intelligent design and honours-on-merit.

Let’s face one inconvenient truth – this spinning rock we live on is currently over-run by a bunch of trumped-up naked apes who have three primate imperatives:

  1. find bright, shiny fruit;
  2. avoid snakes;
  3. if you see someone attractive, let them know in a totally satisfying way that you find them attractive.

Three simple imperatives have led to 6.5 billion of the pests monkeying with the world’s thermostat. Way up in the white ivory trees, some brainy apes don’t fulfil imperative three very often. These apes sublimate their urges by dreaming up theories. Their current brainy theory: the moist fringe of this spinning rock is getting all steamy.

Do we know that CO2 levels are rising? Yes. Is there is a credible theory of global warming? Yes. Does this imply big changes over the next century? Yes. So what’s to debate? Well, other brainy apes down on the jungle floor sublimate their urges playing trading games and inventing theories about alpha returns. Jungle-floor apes have a theory: global warming can be stopped if everyone changes their economics a little bit. However, preventing global warming requires massive changes in economics and human nature within this decade, and human nature won’t change in time.

At Mansion House we can debate with real numbers. This is the City, not Westminster.

In 2004, gross worldwide emissions were about 7bn tons of carbon. Emissions are projected to grow to 14bn tons by 2054. For long-term stability, emissions in 2054 must be at or below today’s 7bn tons, and decreasing. Green and growth fans need a 7bn ton cut from “business as usual” by 2054. Socolow at Princeton identified 15 reasonable opportunities, called “wedges”, that would each cut 1bn tons by 2054. One wedge – convert 250 million hectares to biofuels, 1/6th of the world’s cropland. Another wedge – 2 million wind turbines on 30 million hectares, a Germany of wind turbines. Remember we need at least seven of these megaprojects in the next 47 years. They’re very realistic plans. Each wedge costs more than the GDP of China.

Global GDP was $44 trillion in 2005. Stern expects people to pay $440 billion each year to prevent climate change, $125 billion in the USA, $20 billion per annum in the UK. Starting this year. And the CO2 will still exceed 500 ppm. This is incredible, by which I mean it’s not believable. I don’t want a repeat of my Westminster experience on Nuclear Electric decommissioning. “Yes Minister, that number is possible, but certainly not probable!”

The UK has 1% of world population, but emits 2.2% of greenhouse gases. The FTSE 100 alone produce 1.6% of global greenhouse gases. The average person in the UK produced as much CO2 by 6 January as the average person in the world’s poorest countries will all year. You really think this will change?

We are natural optimists in the City. We want to believe that we can do good; we can be green; the bad are punished and the good are rewarded; every story has a happy ending. We fixed the ozone layer; we handled sulphur dioxide well. But these weren’t 50-year, $22 trillion problems. You’ll point to emerging carbon markets we’d all love, but right now carbon credits are little different than the Catholic Church selling indulgences. And that leads us to human nature – sex, greed, fear and apathy.

We breed. By 2054, there will be 9.5 billion of us. Even if Britain stopped all GHG emissions, within two years China’s growth makes that effort worthless. What’s the point if Brazil, India, Russia and China just keep going?

Sure people care but CO2 is tasteless and odourless, while I must have missed seeing us stop a million children a year dying of preventable HIV and measles, 1 million of malaria, 1.5 million of diarrhoea? We are going to solve global warming, yet let 2.7 billion people live on less than $2 a day? Even Stern had to cook the discount rate to make global warming a better investment than the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

If you believe that green and growth go together:

  • you believe that population will painlessly stop growing;
  • every Briton will pay at least $333 each year forever to prevent global warming, or perhaps $850 or more;
  • two centuries of high latitude infrastructure will be replaced, we will transform the UK’s £4 trillion housing stock – you’ve mothballed listed buildings such as this magnificent house;
  • you’ve stopped funding all oil exploration projects – what’s the point? If we burn what we already have we exceed 1,000ppm;
  • you’ve shorted most of the FTSE;
  • you’ve given up skiing and holiday in Croydon.

Our distinguished journalist will be erudite and persuasive, coming from a magazine with a readership determined to make money out of any investment fashion, a magazine that thinks invading Iraq was a good idea

After her you’ll hear from a gifted Westminster speaker who loves another excuse for them to raise taxes from us. Our speaker’s party peddles a real whopper for children – more tax is good for you and good for the country.

Human nature means that green and growth don’t go together, whatever lies for children politicians and journalists want to sell. Let’s be The City and tell it like it is. You must vote for the motion.

Thank you.


Debate This House believes that Green and Growth Don’t Go

Pre Vote

  • Yes 32
  • No 65
  • Undecided 3

Final Vote

  • Yes 41
  • No 58
  • Undecided 1

Yes, Michael and Richard won.

Additional Motions:

This House believes that the answer to climate change is technology and not restraining consumer demand

  • Yes 54
  • No 40
  • Undecided 6

This House believes that going nuclear is the answer to going green

  • Yes 57
  • No 35
  • Undecided 8

This House believes that US policy is the biggest single problem to combating climate change

  • Yes 63
  • No 36
  • Undecided 1


Well, I thought I’d challenge WordPress by giving it a date long before this blog ever started… 1976 English class at Bishop Moore High School in Florida.  It worked.  So I guess my time-travel task, in fairness, is to give you something from that time…


It is still for there is no one to move.  It is old for there is nothing new.  The silence is only broken by Its slowly dying hum.  Softly, swiftly, It prepares for the final hour with Its own objective pride in a finished mission.

It had given them immortality during their last years yet the two had gently refused, just as any of their number had earlier refused to continue while life was still high in them.  Nevertheless, It could not feel remorse, It had fulfilled Its mission.  It had cared for them as It had been told.  All they desired was provided; they had no anxieties.  It had been created by them, It had fulfilled their greatest wish, and now It too was preparing to leave.

It had been unprepared for their departure.  They had informed It of procedure in the event of excessive arrivals or individual departures, but only in the early era had It used the arrival instructions.  It had recorded for their related-ones-to-come the later era, when individuals were far less responsive to Its ministrations and voluntary departures grew more frequent.

The damp gray It knew to be most suitable for them was clearing as It relinquished control.  It scanned the mechanically ordered files for the closing command and read, “… if the experiment is voluntarily terminated, the last significant messages of the participants are to be duly noted for the…”  It had recorded them, displaying for the related ones, “You prepared well.  We were in need of nothing original.  You took care of all possibilities…but without…it was not worth it.  It and I know nothing of creating.”  It remembered him only as the last to concern himself with learning speech.

The mists cleared as the power waned and It noticed the Shield Wall for the first time since the Beginning.  Remembering that Its own departure would end the Shield Wall, It was satisfied, something It had almost made them,

Its rapid thoughts came to a close, It almost wondered if the related would read the message. All was in order, all was finished, and It departed.  The Shield Wall left also.  The sun shone.  Had It been there for the challenge of the new day It would have noticed the far larger Shield Wall beyond.  Their related ones would never read the noted words.