Agriculture

#ClimateChange link to #CoralBleaching #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

According to a new research report published today in a special edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, the 2016 global average temperature and extreme heat wave over Asia occurred due to continued long-term climate change.

The report included research from NOAA scientists.

Additionally, climate change was found to have influenced other heat events in 2016, including the extreme heat in the Arctic, development of marine heat waves off Alaska and Australia, as well as the severity of the 2015-2016 El Nino, and the duration of coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef.

The sixth edition of Explaining Extreme Events from a Climate Perspective presents 27 peer-reviewed research papers that examine episodes of extreme weather across six continents and two oceans during 2016.

It features the research of 116 scientists from 18 countries — including five reports co-led by NOAA scientists — who analyzed historical observations and changing trends along with model results to determine whether and how climate change might have influenced an extreme event or shifted the odds of it occurring.

The findings

The new research found climate change increased the risk of wildfires in the western U.S., and the extreme rainfall experienced in China, along with South Africa’s drought and resultant food shortages.

Researchers found that climate change had reduced the likelihood of the cold outbreaks experienced in China and western Australia in 2016.

No conclusive link to climate change was found by scientists examining severe drought in Brazil, record rains in Australia, or stagnant conditions creating poor air quality in Europe.

In the report, 21 of the 27 papers in this edition identified climate change as a significant driver of an event, while six did not.

Of the 131 papers now examined in this report over the last six years, approximately 65 percent have identified a role for climate change, while about 35 percent have not found an appreciable effect.

There could be several reasons no climate signal was found by some papers; it might be that there were no changes in the frequency or severity for that type of event over time or that researchers weren’t able to detect changes using the available observational record or scientific tools and models available today.

Future studies could yield new insights on the climate’s influence on extreme weather.

More about the report

The BAMS annual report is designed to improve the scientific understanding of the drivers of extreme weather, provide insight into how the various weather extremes may be changing over time, and help community and business leaders better prepare for a rapidly changing world.

Press link for more: NOAA.GOV

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Where is the food going to come from? #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #OnePlanet

This is the question everyone should be attending to – where is the food going to come from?

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 11th December 2017

Brexit; the crushing of democracy by billionaires; the next financial crash; a rogue US president: none of them keeps me awake at night. This is not because I don’t care – I care very much. It’s only because I have a bigger question on my mind. Where is the food going to come from?

By mid-century there will be two or three billion more people on Earth. Any one of the issues I am about to list could help precipitate mass starvation. And this is before you consider how they might interact.

The trouble begins where everything begins: with soil.

The UN’s famous projection that, at current rates of soil loss, the world has 60 years of harvests left, appears to be supported by a new set of figures.

Partly as a result of soil degradation, yields are already declining on 20% of the world’s croplands.

Now consider water loss.

In places such as the North China Plain, the central United States, California and north-western India – among the world’s critical growing regions – levels of the groundwater used to irrigate crops are already reaching crisis point. Water in the Upper Ganges aquifer, for example, is being withdrawn at 50 times its recharge rate. But, to keep pace with food demand, farmers in South Asia expect to use between 80 and 200% more water by 2050. Where will it come from?

The next constraint is temperature. One study suggests that, all else being equal, with each degree Celsius of warming the global yield of rice drops by 3%, wheat by 6% and maize by 7%. This could be optimistic. Research published in the journal Agricultural & Environmental Letters finds that 4°C of warming in the US Corn Belt could reduce maize yields by between 84 and 100%.

The reason is that high temperatures at night disrupt the pollination process. But this describes just one component of the likely pollination crisis. Insectageddon, caused by the global deployment of scarcely-tested pesticides, will account for the rest. Already, in some parts of the world, workers are now pollinating plants by hand. But that’s viable only for the most expensive crops.

Then there are the structural factors. Because they tend to use more labour, grow a wider range of crops and work the land more carefully, small farmers, as a rule, grow more food per hectare than large ones. In the poorer regions of the world, people with less than 5 hectares own 30% of the farmland but produce 70% of the food. Since 2000, an area of fertile ground roughly twice the size of the United Kingdom has been seized by land grabbers and consolidated into large farms, generally growing crops for export rather than the food needed by the poor.

While these multiple disasters unfold on land, the seas are being sieved of everything but plastic. Despite a massive increase in effort (bigger boats, bigger engines, more gear), the worldwide fish catch is declining by roughly 1% a year, as populations collapse. The global land grab is mirrored by a global seagrab: small fishers are displaced by big corporations, exporting fish to those who need it less but pay more. Around 3 billion people depend to a large extent on fish and shellfish protein. Where will it come from?

All this would be hard enough. But as people’s incomes increase, their diet tends to shift from plant protein to animal protein. World meat production has quadrupled in 50 years, but global average consumption is still only half that of the UK – where we eat roughly our bodyweight in meat every year – and just over a third of the US level. Because of the way we eat, the UK’s farmland footprint (the land required to meet our demand) is 2.4 times the size of its agricultural area. If everyone aspires to this diet, how do we accommodate it?

The profligacy of livestock farming is astonishing. Already, 36% of the calories grown in the form of grain and pulses – and 53% of the protein – are used to feed farm animals. Two-thirds of this food is lost in conversion from plant to animal. A graph produced last week by Our World in Data suggests that, on average, you need 0.01m2 of land to produce a gram of protein from beans or peas, but 1m2 to produce it from beef cattle or sheep: a difference of 100-fold.

It’s true that much of the grazing land occupied by cattle and sheep cannot be used to grow crops. But it would otherwise have sustained wildlife and ecosystems. Instead, marshes are drained, trees are felled and their seedlings grazed out, predators are exterminated, wild herbivores fenced out and other lifeforms gradually erased as grazing systems intensify. Astonishing places – such as the rainforests of Madagascar and Brazil – are laid waste to make room for yet more cattle.

Because there is not enough land to meet both need and greed, a global transition to eating animals means snatching food from the mouths of the poor. It also means the ecological cleansing of almost every corner of the planet.

The shift in diets would be impossible to sustain even if there were no growth in the human population. But the greater the number of people, the greater the hunger meat eating will cause. From a baseline of 2010, the UN expects meat consumption to rise by 70% by 2030 (this is three times the rate of human population growth). Partly as a result, the global demand for crops could double (from the 2005 baseline) by 2050. The land required to grow them does not exist.

When I say this keeps me up at night, I mean it. I am plagued by visions of starving people seeking to escape from grey wastes, being beaten back by armed police. I see the last rich ecosystems snuffed out, the last of the global megafauna – lions, elephants, whales and tuna – vanishing. And when I wake, I cannot assure myself that it was just a nightmare.

Other people have different dreams: the fantasy of a feeding frenzy that need never end, the fairytale of reconciling continued economic growth with a living world. If humankind spirals into societal collapse, these dreams will be the cause.

There are no easy answers, but the crucial change is a shift from an animal to a plant-based diet. All else being equal, stopping both meat production and the use of farmland to grow biofuels could provide enough calories for another 4 billion people and double the protein available for human consumption. Artificial meat will help: one paper suggests it reduces water use by at least 82% and land use by 99%.

The next Green Revolution will not be like the last one. It will rely not on flogging the land to death, but on reconsidering how we use it and why. Can we do this, or do we – the richer people now consuming the living planet – find mass death easier to contemplate than changing our diet?

http://www.monbiot.com

Press link for more: Monbiot.com

Cities have the power to lead #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #OnePlanet #StopAdani

Cities have the power to lead climate change

Cities, as hubs of innovation, now stand at the forefront of climate action

By CHRISTIANA FIGUERES, VICE-CHAIR OF THE GLOBAL COVENANT OF MAYORS 12/13/17, 9:38 AM CET

Christiana Figueres, vice-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors | via Global Covenant of Mayors

Negotiating the Paris Agreement was a monumental achievement.

Nations rallied together and subnational actors, especially cities and local governments, afforded confidence that targets could be met, leading to swift approval and ratification.

As we lean into implementation, leaders in every corner of the world, in cities large and small, are taking bold climate action to ensure we are able to meet these commitments — and, importantly, take even more ambitious action.

However, for some local leaders, implementation of the Agreement comes with challenges. This is especially pertinent when it comes to obtaining the financial support needed to turn ideas into action and make the changes necessary to ensure they can help meet the goals set forth in Paris.

Luckily, one of the many successes of the Paris Agreement was the establishment of mechanisms to increase climate-friendly ideas and investment.

Cities, as hubs of innovation, now stand at the forefront of climate action, ready to accept these investments.

I am proud to serve as the vice-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, an initiative that supports city leaders in meeting these commitments.

Together with our partner city networks both globally and locally, cities in this alliance are developing cutting-edge solutions to the challenges of climate finance.

They are providing critical leadership and support as national governments move towards a greener future.

The power these cities have to tackle climate change cannot be understated.

Mayors and local leaders often have greater influence over the sectors that most impact carbon emissions.

Buildings, transportation, water and waste are all complex systems, and city leaders’ in-depth knowledge of regional environmental landscapes means they are uniquely suited to pinpoint which areas need the most attention to reduce emissions while increasing sustainability and economic efficiency.

“We must see climate in every facet of the economy, from green buildings and infrastructure to sustainable agriculture, so that our growth will be climate neutral.”

Central to scaling timely global climate action is financing the development of modernized low carbon infrastructure.

We must see climate in every facet of the economy, from green buildings and infrastructure to sustainable agriculture, so that our growth will be climate neutral.

Investments in these priorities now will build the tomorrow we want our children to live in.

As cities work to accelerate the collective impact of their actions, improving city-level access to finance will increase investment flows into cities and other urban areas. It will unlock the potential of cities to be a fundamental part of the global climate solution. It will re-shape the economics of development and reinforce sustainable infrastructure as a stronger investment over high-carbon polluting options.

In Cape Town, this philosophy has been taken to heart as a number of new strategies are pursued to increase investments in our green future. Many climate and resilience solutions, such as renewable energy, green transportation and net-zero buildings, are less expensive to operate than they are to build, meaning it takes partnerships between governments and the private sector to finance them.

“Cape Town is poised to become the first city in Africa to install an electric bus system.”

For example, Cape Town is poised to become the first city in Africa to install an electric bus system. The MyCiTi bus system is an ambitious project and will be made possible by a public-private investment partnership and pay dividends to the city in the future. The strategic partnership goes beyond just buying buses: the buses, currently made by Chinese green energy firm BYD, will soon be manufactured at a new plant in Cape Town in 2018. The implementation of the MyCiTi bus system is not only increasing sustainability and helping to reduce carbon emissions, it is boosting the city’s economy and creating hundreds of jobs. This project will help Cape Town save money with reduced maintenance and operating costs while supporting the city’s ongoing journey to build a strong and prosperous green economy.

The city is also collaborating with the private sector to mitigate the dire effects of drought on Cape Town’s water supply. To accelerate emergency water projects, the city is issuing tax-exempt green bonds to private sector developers to incentivize developments that will enhance sustainability and improve water security. Thanks to the investment spurred by green bonds and other innovative strategies, a platform of climate security is being created from which the city’s future is wide open.

“The implementation of the MyCiTi bus system is not only increasing sustainability and helping to reduce carbon emissions, it is boosting the city’s economy and creating hundreds of jobs.”

Cities like Cape Town are helping to spur the global transformation that spells success for the Paris Agreement. By investing in sustainability and resilience now, we can guarantee not only stable returns for our private sector partners, but a stable future for our cities and the world.

Unlocking a sustainable path for cities allows them to accelerate their impact. By 2050, implementing sustainable urban infrastructure choices could save $17 trillion on energy costs alone.

Through initiatives like the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, over 7,400 cities around the world — 9.35 percent of the population — are showing their potential and making real progress to greatly accelerate the world’s achievements towards the legally binding global commitment to create a carbon neutral world this century.

Authors:

Christiana Figueres, Vice-Chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors

Planetary Prosperity Means Zero Carbon #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol #OnePlanetSummit

PLANETARY PROSPERITY MEANS ZERO CARBON

DR.MATHIS WACKERNAGEL – CEO OF GLOBAL FOOTPRINT NETWORK on December 12, 2017

Mother Nature seems to be in full revolt.

A stone’s throw from the city of Oakland, where Global Footprint Network is based, the seasonal Diablo winds recently reached record intensity, fanning the worst fires that the famous wine-producing region of Napa has known, reducing to ashes vineyards and residential neighbourhoods, and pushing tens of thousands of inhabitants on the roads.

Now Santa Ana winds are wreaking similar havoc in Southern California, causing more evacuations and burning more structures.

On the other side of the continent, the Caribbean islands most affected by the hurricanes of the last weeks – Saint Martin, Saint Barthelemy and Puerto Rico in front – face a tremendous reconstruction project, needing to rebuild access to safe water and electricity.

The time is not for discouragement or defeatism.

More than ever, it is evident that every human community must do its utmost to keep pace with the planet that is hosting us.

The time for transformation is now.

Humanity is not idle.

The root causes are recognized.

On December 12, we celebrate the two-year anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement, when world leaders came together to commit to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius and strive for 1.5 degrees.

Although President Donald Trump has withdrawn from the agreement, leaders around the world are standing firm.

In Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, and UN Secretary António Guterres will gather at the One Planet Summit on December 12 to call for concrete action.

Similarly, I am among 31 Blue Planet Laureates who not only want to mark this important anniversary but also remind the world that the climate agreement is achievable and desirable.

We have summarized our position as follows:

Planetary Prosperity Means Zero Carbon

The resource hunger of the human enterprise has become too large for our planet.

The Paris Climate Agreement recognizes this. It aims to limit global warming to less than 2°C above the preindustrial level.

This means ceasing fossil-fuel use before 2050, increasing ecosystem and biodiversity conservation, and improving human well-being.

We, Blue Planet Laureates, wholeheartedly and emphatically support this transformation.

It is technologically possible, economically beneficial, and our best chance for a prosperous future.

Our planet is finite. But human possibilities are not. The transformation will succeed if we apply people’s greatest strengths: foresight, innovation, and care for each other.

Examples across the globe show positive results.

Cities like Zurich, Curitiba, Malmö, Masdar, and Reykjavik have shown leadership. Regions have taken charge, including California, where Gov. Jerry Brown will convene the Global Action Climate Summit next year.

China has made creating an Ecological Civilization in harmony with nature a priority in its latest 5-year plan.

France and the UK have announced the end of fossil fuel cars by 2040, and Tesla surpassed General Motors earlier this year to become the most valuable US auto maker – without ever building a gasoline-powered car.

Other companies such as Schneider Electric thrive on driving down their clients’ carbon emissions and costs. Achieving Paris is possible.

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges of this transformation is sparking the imagination of people around the world and making them realize that a zero-carbon world is much more likely to secure long-term prosperity than continuing our destructive path.

We also need to start to recognize that this transformation primarily builds on foresight and innovation, not sacrifice and suffering.

Even with the UN projecting world population growth of 13 percent by 2030 and 28 percent by 2050, flourishing lives on this one planet are possible through walkable cities that are renewably powered and sustainably fed.

Encouraging smaller families and empowering women around the world will also produce immediate positive health and educational outcomes for those families.

Such steps will also substantially reduce the carbon footprint and ease the resource budget for each country in the long run. Indeed, ‘family planning’ and ‘educating girls’ rank sixth and seventh in Project Drawdown’s ranking of solutions to reverse global warming.

We stand for one-planet prosperity. ‘One planet’ means that we recognize the physical context of our economies. ‘Prosperity’ means that we choose flourishing lives over misery. Will you join us?

Press link for more: Impakter.com

Issues of climate displacement ignored. #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

by Aisha Binte Abdur Rob

WITH the conclusion of COP23, a sense of fearful apprehension has settled among researchers and activists of the climate change crisis.

At the 2017 conference, political leaders and activists convened from around the globe to deliberate on the urgent threat of climate change.

However, the agenda was dominated by matters of climate finance and climate risk insurance.

Discussions revolved around issues that are characteristic of the classic economical and developmental approach to climate change.

The continued neglect of climate displacement is indicative of a fundamental disconnect between the global politics of climate change and local realities lived by those whose lives are upended by the changing climate.

In spite of the 1990 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that identified climate migration to be the gravest effect of climate change, the issue remained ignored.

The prediction presented in the reported since been consistently substantiated.

The magnitude of the crisis

GLOBAL negotiations over climate change continue to sideline, if not subverted entirely, the recognition of climate-induced forced migration.

While the resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in June this year marked a progress, COP23 signifies a relapse.

Meanwhile, climate displacement has been widely evidenced.

A recent Oxfam report shows that due to extreme climate change over 20 million people are displace in the period of 2008 to 2016.

As stated by the UNHCR, ‘displacement linked to climate change is not a future hypothetical — it’s a current reality.’

Its data indicates that since 2008, 21.5 million are displaced due to climate change annually.

Even the most conservative predictions suggest that climate change will displace about 250 million people by 2050.

The crisis is most dire in Bangladesh where climate displacement has begun taking its toll on the most vulnerable and marginalised factions of society.

Internal displacement within Bangladesh is now an exponentially growing phenomenon.

According to a slum census conducted in 2014, those living in the peripheries of cities have increased by 2.2 million since 1997.

Figures from the International Organisation for Migration show that about 70 per cent of Dhaka’s slum-dwellers have taken refuge in the capital in order to escape natural disasters. And the status quo will only aggravate over time.

It is generally understood that even a 3-foot rise in sea level would immerse 20 per cent of the country and compel some 30 million people to migrate elsewhere.

Despite the immediacy of the threat and its potential for catastrophic damage, climate-induced migrants seldom feature on the international agendas or national development plans.

The advancements made in climate adaptation process cannot match the magnitude and pace of the crisis at hand.

Moreover, there are limits to the capacity for adaptation.

It is, therefore, essential to focus on climate-driven migration.

There is a legal lacuna in that climate migrants have no recognised status in international law.

As far as refugee law is concerned, the 1951 Refugee Convention protects those with well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group.

This definition is clearly a product of its times and the phenomenon of climate-induced migration cannot coherently be accommodated in this paradigm.

International human rights law is considerably better suited to protect the climate migrant, given that it protects against forcible return to life-threatening circumstances, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and also imposes positive duties on states to realise the right to life, right to food and so on.

However, the slow onset of climate change adversities, such as land infertility and rise in sea levels is another limitation of international protection in this regard, since the law requires some degree of imminent danger.

Future prospects: COP24 and PDD

MOST policymakers anticipate that COP24 in 2018 will produce a binding instrument of international law for climate displacement, filling the lacuna in the present framework.

The Nansen Initiative was succeeded by the Platform on Disaster Displacement in 2016 for follow-up and implementation of the recommendations of the Protection Agenda. It is also expected to make substantial contribution to the protection of climate refugees by furthering understanding of the challenges of climate change in at risk communities around the world. It will be a way of formulating a global framework for meeting these challenges. For the most part, it serves as a tool for political consensus-building.

Protecting the climate migrant

AN INTERNATIONALLY binding convention akin to the Refugee Convention is often viewed as a panacea for climate-induced migration. However, such a right-based framework at the international level is ill-suited to present needs. The linear causality between climate change and forced migration presumed by such proposals is not empirically substantiated. There is an intricate web of causes that drive human movement. Moreover, the gradual onset of climate change means that displacement will usually and predominantly be internal, not cross-border. Perhaps most significantly, the political obstacles to the creation of a new treaty cannot be easily surmounted. Therefore, a treaty which would then not be widely ratified, implemented or enforced would be of little benefit.

At the international level, an incremental evolution is more likely to succeed, where initially voluntary guidelines develop to become clustered bilateral or multilateral treaties that could eventually metamorphose into an overarching international regime for protecting climate refugees. Presently, the scopes of humanitarian migration avenues must be expanded. There should be greater options for voluntary migration, facilitated by regional free movement treaties. Such treaties must have training facilities for working abroad and create special visa categories for individuals from regions identified to be at high risk from the impact of climate change.

While a right-based framework is currently unsuitable for the international arena, on the national front, it is precisely what is needed. Adaptation to climate change must be designed with a comprehensive view of its intimate connections to human rights and particular emphasis should be given to socio-economic and cultural rights. This is especially so given that the harshness of climate change manifests on preexisting socio-economic vulnerabilities.

A human rights’ based approach should be integrated into the adaptation framework of Bangladesh Climate Strategy and Action Plan and National Adaptation Programme of Action, with appropriate monitoring and review mechanisms. A comprehensive institutional framework is needed to identify specific duties for relevant state organs. Greater awareness of rights and duties in relation to climate displacement must be promoted and key bodies for enforcement must be accessible and fully resourced to address the concerns of the displaced.

Furthermore, there must be ‘just transition’ for the displaced, which is the crux of the rights-based approach. It is often the case that climate initiatives seek to overhaul current systems without being mindful of the impact these changes have on individuals’ lives. From basic necessities to material, cultural and spiritual dimensions of life, displacement must be addressed comprehensively.

In this new epoch in the history of human civilisation, the continued survival of our species depends on our ability to meet the novel challenges posed by climate change. It also depends, more fundamentally, on the realisation that human-made borders cannot be understood as the limits of our humanity.

Aisha Binte Abdur Rob studies human rights and transitional justice at the Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University, UK.

Press link for more: New Age BD

Women, Gender Equality & #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol

Women, gender equality and climate change: driving forward!

Fanny-Benedetti & Celine Mas

French President Emmanuel Macron again sounded the alarm at the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

At the summit, which took place from 6 to 17 November 2017 in Bonn, he warned that the planet is under threat and that if we continue on our current trajectory, we risk “tacitly, collectively accepting the disappearance of a significant number of populations by 2100.”

Furthermore, a group of over 15,000 scientists from more than 184 countries have issued a notice highlighting our moral imperative to current and future generations to take action to reverse the vicious cycles that have been created by the overexploitation of the planet’s natural resources and through our unsustainable modes of production and consumption, which represent a risk for the future of all of humanity.

As the primary users of new agricultural techniques, as green energy entrepreneurs, or simply as those who decide on modes of consumption and behaviour within the family, women are key actors in bringing about change and developing solutions that secure our transition to a sustainable future.

While climate negotiations are failing to give us news that’s sufficiently heartening, the increasing attention given to the specific role of women in the fight against climate disruption and the ecological transition is a reason to feel encouraged.

Again this year, at the COP23 in Bonn, the role of women took the spotlight thanks to the activism of the feminist associations present, such as Care France, Adéquations and Women in Europe for a Common Future, which alongside UN Women have tirelessly brought the subject to attention, at every stage in the negotiation process.

These advocacy efforts are starting to pay off, as the states have just adopted a gender-focused action plan, a first within the framework of these negotiations. The plan obliges states to make commitments that go beyond making observations on the differentiated impact that climate change has on men and women, by ensuring that all of their climate mitigation efforts are designed to decrease this gender gap, whereby women are disproportionately affected.

In fact, each change to the climate affects women in a specific way, especially in the Global South, because female populations in these countries provide an essential contribution to food security, agriculture, health and energy sectors. Every consequence of climate change which impacts on natural resources — such as drought, flooding and other extreme meteorological events—will exacerbate the poverty of these women who generally carry out household tasks unaided.

The risk of death as a result of natural disasters linked to climate change is 14 times higher for women and children, essentially because they are not the primary beneficiaries of catastrophe alert and prevention programmes.

If women have often been considered as secondary actors, it’s time for a thorough review, appreciation and endorsement of their vital role. This inevitably means reassessing the way that financing is attributed.

Studies show that taking gender into account in policies focused on development, transport, sustainable forest management, water management and renewable energy strengthens their impact and increases their socio-economic return on investment. Taking action in favour of women and for equality therefore means contributing to the fight against climate change.

UN Women notably supports women’s action on climate change through its International Day of Rural Women on 15 October, and its flagship programme which promotes women’s empowerment through climate-smart agriculture. This programme aims to improve African women’s access to technology and information by managing digital platforms for women and providing agricultural data in real time such as information on farming technology, market prices and weather forecasts, as well as increasing women’s access to financing, credit and investment.

In France, women are already at the forefront of activities in the social and solidarity economy sector, in agribusiness, health, social integration and recycling.

However, the means allocated to gender concerns in the climate sphere remain largely insufficient. In 2015, only 0.01 percent of international funding was being used to support projects that incorporate both climate and women’s rights elements. This lack of access to funding is a serious impediment to the development of projects led by women that accelerate the ecological transition. The question of financing is undeniably one that states must address — by making real commitments — in order to create climate resilience, and to prevent humanity from suffering the worst consequences of its own imprudence.

Press link for more: The Hindu

Canada’s Leap Manifesto is not enough. #ClimateChange #NeoLiberalism #Auspold

Anti-racist Jewish Canadian activist and writer Naomi Klein is one of my heroines because of her resolute opposition in a series of popular books to the gross human rights abuses associated with neoliberalism, corporatism, globalization, war criminality and climate criminality [1-5].

Naomi Klein deserves great praise for overcoming tribal loyalties in supporting Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Apartheid Israel [6] and opposing the gross human rights abuses of Apartheid Israel and its ongoing Palestinian Genocide (ethnic cleansing of 90% of Palestine, 7 million Palestinian exiles, denial of all human rights to 5 million Occupied Palestinians highly abusively and indefinitely confined to the Gaza Concentration Camp (2 million) or to West Bank ghettoes (3 million), and 2 million Palestinian deaths from violence, 0.1 million, and imposed deprivation, 1.9 million, since WW1) [6].

Indeed Naomi Klein famously declared:

“There is a debate among Jews – I’m a Jew by the way.

The debate boils down to the question: “Never again to everyone, or never again to us? [Some Jews] even think we get one get-away-with-genocide-free card…There is another strain in the Jewish tradition that say[s], “Never again to anyone”” [7].

Naomi Klein’s “No Logo” attacks branding-based consumerism and unethical behaviour of corporations, notable in the low-wage Developing World [1]. The same anti-globalization theme is addressed in Naomi Klein’s compendium “Fences and Windows” [2]. Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” exposes the callous but highly profitable exploitation of natural and man-made crises by governments and corporations [3]. “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate” by Naomi Klein exposes the dire impact on the environment of corporate greed, mendacity and lobbying [4].

Unfortunately not quantitatively explored in these books by non-scientist Naomi Klein are the greatest of the crimes of neoliberalism against Humanity from a numerical, scientific perspective, namely the ongoing Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust (in which 17 million people, half of them children, die avoidably from deprivation each year in the Developing World minus China) [8], the ongoing disaster in which 7 million people die each year from air pollution that largely derives from burning carbon fuels [9], and a worsening climate genocide in which 10 billion may perish this century due to egregiously insufficient climate change action [10]. Our heroine Naomi Klein is on the board of the corporate-funded climate action organization 350 dot org that demands a return of the atmospheric CO2 concentration to 350 ppm CO2 from the present disastrous 405 ppm CO2, whereas numerous scientists and science-informed activists demand a return to 300 ppm CO2. Indeed the very fact that our activist heroes like Naomi Klein are visible means that the One Percenter Establishment and its corporate Mainstream media have permitted them to be so.

Naomi Klein’s latest book, “No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics” [5] is a demolition of Donald Trump’s crass neoliberalism, racism, misogyny, bigotry, bullying, war mongering, climate change denialism and primitive winding-back of hard-won rights of women, minorities, Humanity and the Biosphere. In Chapter 13, “Time to Leap because small steps won’t cut it” ([5], pages 231-256), Naomi Klein describes the genesis and significant adoption of “The Leap Manifesto. A Call for a Canada Based on Caring for the Earth and one Another” – a detailed proposal for collective action for positive social change in the face of a regressive, neo-fascist Trumpism and a worsening climate emergency. The book concludes on an optimistic note: “Faced with a grave common threat, we can choose to come together and make an evolutionary leap… Let’s leap” ([5], page 266). In a postscript Naomi Klein sets out the text of “The Leap Manifesto” ([5], pages 267-271).

Unfortunately, as set out below, The Leap Manifesto is not enough. Already at a temperature rise of +1C, Island Nations in the Caribbean and the Pacific are being devastated by global warming-exacerbated hurricanes and a temperature rise of +2C – regarded by all governments except the climate change denialist Trump Administration as catastrophic – is now unavoidable. All that decent, sane people can do is to try to make the future “less bad” for their children and for future generations.

This month over 15,000 scientists from 184 countries issued a dire warning to Humanity on catastrophic climate change and biodiversity loss, stating that “We have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century” and that “Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out”. They documented their case quantitatively by a Figure showing bad to disastrous trends in 9 out of 10 key areas from 1960 to 2016 [11]. Based on quasi-linear trajectories in the last decade one can extrapolate from this data to estimate the state of the world in 2040 if the current trends remain the same.

The change from 2016 to 2040 is estimated to be – 96.8% (annual increase in Ozone depletors – a good result showing that effective global action can happen), – 42.4% (freshwater resources per capita), – 23.0% (reconstructed marine catch), + 60.4% (number of hypoxic ocean dead zones), – 1.8% (total forest area), – 63.6% (vertebrate species abundance as a percentage of that in 1970), annual CO2 emissions up from 26.0 Gt CO2 to 51.1 Gt CO2, human population up from 7.2 billion to 10.3 billion, methanogenic ruminant livestock population up from 3.8 billion to 4.7 billion, and global warming up from +1C to + 2.2C [12], noting that all governments are agreed than a +2C rise would be catastrophic and the Paris Agreement aims at no more than +1.5C to +2C. Even at the present +1C Island Nations and mega-delta countries are being devastated by global warming-exacerbated storms and sea surges i.e. catastrophe is being experience by many people already around the world.

Urgently needed in addressing this present and worsening existential crisis for Humanity and the Biosphere in Canada and the World are the following:

(1) a peaceful Climate Revolution and negative greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, with reduction of atmospheric CO2 to a safe level of about 300 ppm CO2 involving re-afforestation, biochar and other processes (e.g. Accelerated Weathering of Limestone) coupled with correspondingly rapid cessation of GHG pollution, fossil fuel burning, fossil fuel subsidies, deforestation, methanogenic livestock production, and population growth;

(2) a rapid switch to the best non-carbon and renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tide and hydro options) and to waste avoidance, energy efficiency, public transport, sufficiency and needs-based production;

(3) rigorous address of Carbon Debt via a Carbon Tax involving a fully-applied, damage-related Carbon Price ($200 per tonne CO2-equivalent), divestment from fossil fuels, and intra-national and international judicial processes to severely punish environmental vandals and climate criminals by dispossession and custodial punishment;

(4) replacement of neoliberalism with sustainable social humanism (socialism, eco-socialism, welfare state) for the common good coupled with zero tolerance for lying, Indigenous Rights, Indigenous People-informed love of nature, preventive medicine, minimizing preventable deaths, enhanced socially beneficial employment (e.g. feeding, housing, protecting, moving, needs-based manufacturing, enabling, caring, teaching, health and culture);

(5) an annual wealth tax, life-long universal free education (pre-school, primary, secondary, tertiary and life-long education), universal free health and a universal basic income to abolish anti-democracy wealth inequity and the global avoidable mortality holocaust (17 million avoidable deaths from deprivation annually);

(6) science-informed risk management with an end to racism, discrimination, corporate-driven Mainstream media lying, obscene military expenditure (at the expense of health, education), war, genocide, avoidable mass mortality, air pollution deaths (7 million annually), global warming, intergenerational injustice, intergenerational inequity, climate genocide (direst projection: 10 billion deaths this century from climate inaction), speciescide, ecocide, omnicide and terracide variously due to population increase and homicidally greedy and mendacious neoliberalism.

The proposals of The Leap Manifesto fall far short of the above list of what is urgently needed as set out below in (A) Things supported by the Leap Manifesto, (B) Things equivocally supported by The Leap Manifesto as subjects for debate, and (C) Things not even mentioned by The Leap Manifesto (comments are given in brackets with Manifesto quotes given in inverted commas):

(A) Things supported by the Leap Manifesto.

(1) Renewable energy-powered public transport (“accessible public transport” and “High-speed rail powered by renewables and affordable public transport”).

(2) Eliminate racism and discrimination (“systematically eliminate racial and gender inequality”).

(3) Low environmental impact but high social value jobs (“caring for one another and caring for the planet could be the economy’s fastest growing sectors” and “expanding the sectors of our economy that are already low carbon: caregiving, teaching, social work, the arts, and public-interest media”, although health is not mentioned; “”We want training and other resources for workers in carbon-intensive jobs , ensuring they are fully able to take part in the clean energy economy”).

(4) Indigenous Rights (“fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; these were initially rejected by the genocide-based colonial countries of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US; this also carries the vital accession to the Indigenous Peoples’ philosophy of sustainability).

(5) Energy efficiency (“we want a universal program to build energy-efficient homes…”).

(6) End fossil fuel subsidies (“An end to fossil fuel subsidies” although no mention is made of the damage-related Carbon Price of $200 per tonne CO2-eqivalent that in the absence of a proper Carbon Tax means an annual global fossil fuel subsidy of $13 trillion each year [15]).

(7) Cut obscene military spending occurring at the expense of health, education etc. (“Cuts to military spending”; huge military expenditure domestically and in war is obscene, economy-perverting, and dirty GHG-wise with this official perversion being linked to huge preventable deaths in rich, war-making countries – thus annual preventable deaths from all kinds of preventable causes from smoking to suicide in the rich, war-making countries of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are 1.7 million, 150,000, 100,000, 85,000 and 17,000, respectively, or since 9-11 totalling 27.2 million, 2.4 million, 1.6 million, 1.4 million, and 0.3 million, respectively, as compared to 32 million Muslims killed by violence, 5 million, or imposed deprivation, 27 million, in 20 countries invaded by the US Alliance in the US War on Terror since the US Government’s 9-11 false flag atrocity) [16]).

(B) Things equivocally supported by The Leap Manifesto as subjects for debate or for relatively slow introduction.

(1) 100% renewable energy but slowly (“it is feasible for Canada to get 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources within 2 decades” – but many states will achieve this by 2020 [13].

(2) Cessation of greenhouse gas pollution (“by 2050 we could have a 100 percent clean economy” – but some plan to “cut carbon emissions 80% by 2020”).

(3) Green agriculture (“Moving to a far more localized and ecologically based agricultural system” – but no mention of the disaster of methanogenic livestock and attendant land clearing that contributes over 50% of annual GHG pollution).

(4) Higher taxes on the rich but no annual wealth tax (“Higher … taxes on corporations and wealthy people” – but no annual wealth tax that would radically address the huge and anti-democratic accumulated wealth disparity that is at the heart of the terracidal neoliberal agenda [17, 18]).

(5) Carbon tax (“A progressive carbon tax … based on a “polluter pays” principle”; progressive” implies that the cost of pollution would not initially be “fully borne” by the polluter as explicitly demanded by Nicholas Stern and by science-trained Pope Francis in his encyclical “Laudato si’”, although The Leap Manifesto does advocate actions “based on a simple “polluter pays” principle”).

(6) A universal basic income (“a universal basic income” – but this is to involve a “vigorous debate”).

(7) Economy for the common good (“We declare that “austerity”… is a fossilized from of thinking that has become a threat to life on earth” and “Deepening poverty and inequality are a scar on the country’s present. And Canada’s record on climate change is a crime against humanity’s future”- but there is no systemic plan for social justice apart from taxing the rich incomes and fiscal spending re-allocation).

(C) Things extraordinarily not even mentioned by The Leap Manifesto.

(1) Climate Revolution, Negative Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions, Atmospheric CO2 (Atmospheric carbon dioxide) , 300 ppm CO2, re-afforestation, biochar , Accelerated Weathering of Limestone (AWL), cessation of GHG pollution, fossil fuel burning, deforestation, methanogenic livestock production, population, population growth (astonishing omissions) .

(2) Non-carbon energy, geothermal energy, solar energy, wind energy, wave energy, tide energy, hydro energy, waste avoidance, energy efficiency, sufficiency, needs-based production (more astonishing omissions).

(3) Carbon Tax is mentioned but not Carbon Debt, Carbon Price, damage-related Carbon Price, dollars per tonne CO2-equivalent, divestment from fossil fuels, intra-national justice, international justice, judicial processes, punish environmental vandals, punish climate criminals, dispossession, custodial punishment (in short, the Historical Carbon Debt (aka Historical Climate Debt) of a country can be measured by the amount of global warming greenhouse gas (GHG) it has introduced into the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century.

Thus the total Carbon Debt of the world from 1751-2016 is about 1,850 billion tonnes CO2. Assuming a damage-related Carbon Price of $200 per tonne CO2-equivalent, this corresponds to a Carbon Debt of $370 trillion, similar to the total wealth of the world and 4.5 times the world’s total annual GDP. Using estimates from Professor James Hansen of national contributions to Historical Carbon Debt and assuming a damage-related Carbon Price in USD of $200 per tonne CO2-equivalent, the World has a Carbon Debt of $370 trillion that is increasing at $13 trillion per year. By way of example, Canada’s sister country Australia has a Carbon Debt of $7.5 trillion that is increasing at $400 billion per year and at $40,000 per head per year for under-30 year old Australians [15]).

(4) Neoliberalism, sustainability, social humanism, socialism, eco-socialism, welfare state, common good, zero tolerance for lying, Indigenous People-informed love of nature, needs-based manufacturing, health, preventive medicine, minimizing preventable deaths (A radical economic systemic change is needed to save the planet, but utterly absent from the soft, bourgeois, PC, Left-lite Leap Manifesto are the key terms in this regard. Neoliberalism – extreme Capitalism and Corporatism – involves maximizing the freedom of the smart and advantaged One Percent to exploit human and natural resources for private profit, with an asserted “trickle down” to the 99 Percenters.

In contrast, social humanism (socialism, democratic socialism, eco-socialism, the welfare state) involves maximizing happiness, opportunity and dignity for everybody via evolving intra-national and international social contracts [19]. However The Leap Manifesto does attack One Percenter-driven “austerity” and describes the Universal Basic Income as “a sturdy safety net [that] could help ensure that no one is forced to take work that threatens their children’s tomorrow, just to feed those children today”).

(5) Annual wealth tax, life-long universal free education, universal free health, pre-school education, primary education, secondary education, tertiary education (college education, university education), life-long education, health, anti-democracy wealth inequity, avoidable mortality, global avoidable mortality holocaust (the present gross wealth inequity, in which the One Percenters have 50% of the world’s wealth, is bad for the economy because the poor cannot buy the goods and services they produce, and bad for democracy because Big Money purchases people, politicians, parties, policies, public perception of reality, votes, more political power and hence more private profit – gross wealth inequity has converted Western democracies into kleptocracies, plutocracies, Murdochracies, lobbyocracies, , corporatocracies and dollarocracies entrenched through mendacious corporate Mainstream media).

(6) Science, science-informed risk management, corporate-driven Mainstream media lying, Mainstream media lying, lying, obscene military expenditure, war, genocide, avoidable mass mortality, air pollution, air pollution deaths, global warming, intergenerational injustice, intergenerational inequity, climate genocide, speciescide, ecocide, omnicide, terracide, population, population increase, homicidal greed, mendacious neoliberalism (a veritable Herd of Elephants in the Room ignored by the “sensible centre” Leap Manifesto). .

Final comments

The Green Left and the Greens in general are often described by their opponents as Watermelons (“Green on the outside but red on the inside”). The Leap Manifesto is indignant, ostensible reddish on the outside but is actually on close examination a wishy-washy and naïve lower case green on the inside. The most notorious One Percenters could not be happier to provide effective free expression and hence “visibility” to The Leap Manifesto via corporate Mainstream media, and are laughing all the way to the bank. Indeed a Google Search today for “Leap Manifesto” (that compromises planetary salvation) yields 157,000 results whereas a Google Search for “social humanism” (that is crucial for planetary salvation) yields a mere 36,000.

Activism for Humanity and the Biosphere is severely compromised by many activists who are insufficiently activist (activism lite) by variously being climate lite, socialism lite, anti-Apartheid lite, anti-war lite etc. The Canadian Leap Manifesto has good intentions but has astonishingly avoided key, massive realities – fear of frightening the horses, fear of being rendered “invisible” like “hard-core activists” by mendacious corporate Mainstream media, or both?

Our heroine Naomi Klein entitled her latest book “No is not enough” but this insufficiency also applies to The Leap Manifesto she espouses – Canada’s Leap Manifesto is not enough by far. As demonstrated in the recent dire warning to Humanity by over 15,000 scientists [11, 12], we are badly running out of time to save the Planet. Science-informed people – and especially the young who are most threatened by climate change, climate injustice and intergenerational inequity – must (a) inform everyone they can of the need to urgently reverse man-made climate change by radical systemic change and a return to a safe and sustainable 300 ppm CO2, (b) urge support for the pro-equity, social humanist and Terraphile Greens and Socialists, and (c) expose the continuing deadly war crimes, deadly climate crimes and deadly economic crimes, and demand judicial punishment of war criminals, climate criminals and homicidally greedy neoliberal One Percenters.

References

1 Naomi Klein, “No Logo”, Random House, 1999.

2 Naomi Klein, “Fences and Windows”, Random House, 2002.

3 Naomi Klein, “The Shock Doctrine”, Random House, 2007.

4 Naomi Klein, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate”, Simon & Schuster, 2014.

5 Naomi Klein, “No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics”, Allen Lane, 2017.

6 “Palestinian Genocide”.

7 “Jews Against Racist Zionism”.

8 Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”, including an avoidable mortality-related history of every country from Neolithic times and is now available for free perusal on the web.

9 “Stop air pollution deaths”.

10 “Climate Genocide”.

11 William J. Ripple et al., 15,364 signatories from 184 countries, “World scientists’ warning to Humanity: a second notice”, Bioscience, 13 November 2017.

12 Gideon Polya, “Over 15,000 Scientists Issue Dire Warning To Humanity On Catastrophic Climate Change And Biodiversity Loss”, Countercurrents, 20 November 2017: http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/11/20/over-15000-scientists-issue-dire-warning-to-humanity-on-catastrophic-climate-change-and-biodiversity-loss/ .

13 100% renewable energy by 2020”.

14 “Cut carbon emissions 80% by 2020”.

15 “Carbon Debt Carbon Credit”.

16 Gideon Polya, “Planetary Salvation Compromised By Activism Lite, Climate Lite, Anti-Apartheid Lite & Anti-War Lite Weakness”, Countercurrents, 15 November 2017: http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/11/15/planetary-salvation-compromised-by-activism-lite-climate-lite-anti-apartheid-lite-anti-war-lite-weakness/ .

17 Thomas Piketty, “Capital in the Twenty-first Century”, Harvard, 2014.

18 “1% ON 1%: annual one percent tax on One Percenter wealth”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/1-on-1 .

19 Brian Ellis, “Social Humanism”, Routledge, 2012.

Press link for more: MWCNEWS.NET

Decline of Nature poses severe threat to global prosperity #StopAdani #auspol

Top economists show that the decline of nature poses severe threats to continued national and global prosperity

New research from a team of Oxford economists, launched at the World Forum on Natural Capital in Edinburgh, has shown that Ministries of Finance and Treasuries are often blind to how dependent economies are on nature, which is declining at a dangerous rate.

As a result, businesses and politicians are failing to register the systemic risk building up as the natural world fails.

Professor Cameron Hepburn, who led the research at the University of Oxford’s Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School, says that flawed economic and political institutions are to blame. “Much of the value that economies create is built upon a natural foundation – the air, water, food, energy and raw materials that the planet provides.

Without nature, no other value is possible.”

It’s called natural capital, and it’s the basis for all human prosperity. But because most economies fail to account for this dependency, “business as usual” is driving a dangerous trend of environmental decline.

“We are poisoning the well from which we drink. The dire state of nature and the implications for our future barely registers in economic decision-making”

Oliver Greenfield

Extreme weather, mass extinctions, falling agricultural yields, and toxic air and water are already damaging the global economy, with pollution alone costing 4.6 trillion USD every year. And we’re in danger of losing other indispensable natural capitals, like topsoil for food production or a stable climate, without which organised economies cannot function.

“We are poisoning the well from which we drink,” says Oliver Greenfield, convenor of the Green Economy Coalition, who commissioned the research. “The dire state of nature and the implications for our future, barely registers in economic decision-making.  To put this another way, we are building up a big systemic risk to our economies and societies, and just like the financial crisis, most economists currently don’t see it”.

The research finds three central failings are to blame. Firstly, we currently lack the tools to adequately measure and understand the value of nature, meaning it is largely invisible to policymakers. Secondly, many economic models assume that environmental value can be easily and indefinitely replaced by man-made value; for example, the loss in natural capital from logging a forest is off-set by the creation of valuable jobs and timber – ignoring the question of what happens when the last tree is cut down. Finally, we don’t have the laws and institutions required to protect our critical stocks of natural capital from unsustainable exploitation.

Thankfully, the research finds encouraging signs that our economy can be rapidly rewired to protect the planet. Governments and businesses must start measuring their stocks of natural capital in comprehensive natural wealth accounts, and ensure that those assets are protected and improved. Better data is needed on the value of the natural wealth that underpins economic activity, so that value can be accounted for by treasuries and financial centres. And critical natural assets – without which society cannot survive – must be given special status so that they cannot be squandered.

This research is an urgent wake-up call to governments and businesses around the world: our economies are flying blind, and new models and methodologies are urgently required. “The opportunity to properly value nature is not just a task for economists but for all of us,” Oliver Greenfield added. “The societies and economies that understand their dependency on nature are healthier and more connected, with a brighter future.”

Press link for more: Green Economy Coalition

Economic Growth Will Destroy Everything. #Neoliberalism #ClimateChange #StopAdani

Economic growth will destroy everything.

There’s no way of greening it – we need a new system.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 22nd November 2017

Everyone wants everything – how is that going to work?

The promise of economic growth is that the poor can live like the rich and the rich can live like the oligarchs.

But already we are bursting through the physical limits of the planet that sustains us.

Climate breakdown, soil loss, the collapse of habitats and species, the sea of plastic, insectageddon: all are driven by rising consumption.

The promise of private luxury for everyone cannot be met: neither the physical nor the ecological space exists.

But growth must go on: this is everywhere the political imperative.

And we must adjust our tastes accordingly.

In the name of autonomy and choice, marketing uses the latest findings in neuroscience to break down our defences. Those who seek to resist must, like the Simple Lifers in Brave New World, be silenced – in this case by the media.

With every generation, the baseline of normalised consumption shifts.

Thirty years ago, it was ridiculous to buy bottled water, where tap water is clean and abundant.

Today, worldwide, we use a million plastic bottles a minute.

Every Friday is a Black Friday, every Christmas a more garish festival of destruction. Among the snow saunas, portable watermelon coolers and smart phones for dogs with which we are urged to fill our lives, my #extremecivilisation prize now goes to the PancakeBot: a 3-D batter printer that allows you to eat the Mona Lisa or the Taj Mahal or your dog’s bottom every morning. In practice, it will clog up your kitchen for a week until you decide you don’t have room for it. For junk like this we’re trashing the living planet, and our own prospects of survival. Everything must go.

The ancillary promise is that, through green consumerism, we can reconcile perpetual growth with planetary survival. But a series of research papers reveal that there is no significant difference between the ecological footprints of people who care about their impacts and people who don’t. One recent article, published in the journal Environment and Behaviour, finds that those who identify themselves as conscious consumers use more energy and carbon than those who do not.

Why?

Because, environmental awareness tends to be higher among wealthy people.

It is not attitudes that govern our impacts on the planet, but income.

The richer we are, the bigger our footprint, regardless of our good intentions.

Those who see themselves as green consumers, the paper found, “mainly focus on behaviours that have relatively small benefits.”

I know people who recycle meticulously, save their plastic bags, carefully measure the water in their kettles, then take their holidays in the Caribbean, cancelling their environmental savings 100-fold.

I’ve come to believe that the recycling licences their long-haul flights.

It persuades people they’ve gone green, enabling them to overlook their greater impacts.

None of this means that we should not try to reduce our impacts, but we should be aware of the limits of the exercise.

Our behaviour within the system cannot change the outcomes of the system.

It is the system that needs to change.

Research by Oxfam suggests that the world’s richest 1% (if your household has an income of £70,000 or more, this means you) produce around 175 times as much carbon as the poorest 10%.

How, in a world in which everyone is supposed to aspire to high incomes, can we avoid turning the Earth, on which all prosperity depends, into a dust ball?

By decoupling, the economists tell us: detaching economic growth from our use of materials. So how well is this going?

A paper in the journal PlosOne finds that while in some countries relative decoupling has occurred, “no country has achieved absolute decoupling during the past 50 years.” What this means is that the amount of materials and energy associated with each increment of GDP might decline, but, as growth outpaces efficiency, the total use of resources keeps rising. More importantly, the paper reveals that, in the long term, both absolute and relative decoupling from the use of essential resources is impossible, because of the physical limits of efficiency.

A global growth rate of 3% means that the size of the world economy doubles every 24 years. This is why environmental crises are accelerating at such a rate. Yet the plan is to ensure that it doubles and doubles again, and keeps doubling in perpetuity. In seeking to defend the living world from the maelstrom of destruction, we might believe we are fighting corporations and governments and the general foolishness of humankind. But they are all proxies for the real issue: perpetual growth on a planet that is not growing.

Those who justify this system insist that economic growth is essential for the relief of poverty. But a paper in the World Economic Review finds that the poorest 60% of the world’s people receive only 5% of the additional income generated by rising GDP. As a result, $111 of growth is required for every $1 reduction in poverty. This is why, on current trends, it would take 200 years to ensure that everyone receives $5 a day. By this point, average per capita income will have reached $1m a year, and the economy will be 175 times bigger than it is today. This is not a formula for poverty relief. It is a formula for the destruction of everything and everyone.

When you hear that something makes economic sense, this means it makes the opposite of common sense. Those sensible men and women who run the world’s treasuries and central banks, who see an indefinite rise in consumption as normal and necessary, are beserkers, smashing through the wonders of the living world, destroying the prosperity of future generations to sustain a set of figures that bear ever less relation to general welfare.

Green consumerism, material decoupling, sustainable growth: all are illusions, designed to justify an economic model that is driving us to catastrophe. The current system, based on private luxury and public squalor, will immiserate us all: under this model, luxury and deprivation are one beast with two heads.

We need a different system, rooted not in economic abstractions but in physical realities, that establish the parameters by which we judge its health. We need to build a world in which growth is unnecessary, a world of private sufficiency and public luxury. And we must do it before catastrophe forces our hand.

http://www.monbiot.com

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Climate Change Drove ISIS in Iraq #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

Climate Change and Water Woes Drove ISIS Recruiting in Iraq

Photograph by Carolyn Drake, MagnumNovember 14, 2017

An oven burns near a family’s reed hut in Chibaish, Iraq.

The family moved to this area in search of water, but much of the former marshes remain desolate after years of draining and neglect.

An Iraqi shepherd leads his camels in search of water in the Kut Desert, about 180 kilometers south of Baghdad.

The country has seen years of drought, which ISIS recruiters exploited to attract followers.

Photograph by ALI AL-SAADI, AFP, Getty Images

Turkey has built more than 600 large dams, in some cases flooding ancient cities like Hasankeyf, above.

The dams has decreased the amount of water flowing across borders into Iraq and other countries.

Samarra, IraqIt was a few weeks after the rains failed in the winter of 2009 that residents of Shirqat first noticed the strange bearded men.

Circling like vultures among the stalls of the town’s fertilizer market in Iraq’s northern Salahaddin governorate, they’d arrow in on the most shabbily dressed farmers, and tempt them with promises of easy riches. “Join us, and you’ll never have to worry about feeding your family,” Saleh Mohammed Al-Jabouri, a local tribal sheikh, remembers one recruiter saying.

With every flood or bout of extreme heat or cold, the jihadists would reappear, often supplementing their sales pitches with gifts.

When a particularly vicious drought struck in 2010, the fifth in seven years, they doled out food baskets.

When fierce winds eviscerated hundreds of eggplant fields near Kirkuk in the spring of 2012, they distributed cash.

As farming communities limped from one debilitating crisis to another, the recruiters—all members of what soon became the Islamic State—began to see a return on their investment.

Two agricultural laborers in Azwai, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it farming community just south of Shirqat, ran off to join the jihadists in December 2013.

Seven more from outlying villages followed a month later. By the time the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) seized this swath of Iraq—along with most of the country’s west and north—in a brutal summer-long blitzkrieg in 2014, few locals were surprised to see dozens of former fertilizer market regulars among its ranks.

“We said just wait until the next harvest, life will get better, life will become easier,” Jabouri said.

“But things just weren’t getting better. There was always another disaster.”

Across rural Iraq and Syria, farmers, officials, and village elders tell similar stories of desperate farmhands swapping backhoes for assault rifles.

Already battered by decades of shoddy environmental policies, which had hobbled agriculture and impoverished its dependents, these men were in no state to navigate the extra challenges of climate change.

And so when ISIS came along, propelled in large part by sectarian grievances and religious fanaticism, many of the most environmentally damaged Sunni Arab villages quickly emerged as some of the deep-pocketed jihadists’ foremost recruiting grounds.

Around Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s northern Iraqi hometown, ISIS appears to have attracted much more support from water-deprived communities than from their better-resourced peers.

In Tharthar subdistrict, a semi-arid expanse west of the Tigris, farmers with fields closest to the encroaching sands joined the jihadists in greater numbers than their counterparts near the river valley.

Throughout 100 plus interviews conducted over three years, farmers and agricultural officials alike sometimes wondered aloud: if only we’d received a little more assistance, might this entire blood-soaked mess have been averted?

“This beast [ISIS] has many causes, but in the countryside these new problems just pushed people over the edge,” said Omar, a former agriculture ministry administrator from Mosul, who fled as the jihadists seized his city three years ago and who wished to withhold his surname for security reasons.

Seeds of Discontent

Looking back, it seems almost inevitable that something was going to snap.

For decades, Iraqi agriculture has been mired in a long, sad decline that showed few signs of abating. First the oil boom robbed farming of much of its importance from the early 1970s. With massive revenues coming out of the ground, Baghdad gradually lost interest in other parts of the economy.

An Iraqi shepherd leads his camels in search of water in the Kut Desert, about 180 kilometers south of Baghdad.

The country has seen years of drought, which ISIS recruiters exploited to attract support.

And then when Saddam Hussein rose to power in 1979, he swiftly sucked Iraq into a series of conflicts that struck farmers disproportionately hard.

He press-ganged tens of thousands of agricultural laborers into service for the eight year Iran-Iraq war.

That conflict left many farms desperately shorthanded and saw the repurposing of much farm machinery for military use.

Hussein torched some of southern Iraq’s most bountiful date plantations for fear that Iranian saboteurs might use them as cover to attack oil facilities around Basra.

Where once 12 million palm trees stood, there’s now just miles of dusty scrubland laced with oil spills. (Learn more about the damage caused in southern Iraq.)

All the while, Hussein—and then his successors—stood idly by as Iraqi farmers’ water supply slowly seeped away.

Years of below average rains in the Kurdish region and Nineveh governorate, the only parts of Iraq where rain-fed agriculture was historically possible, had increased the country’s dependence on the Euphrates and Tigris, the Fertile Crescent’s two great rivers.

At the same time, upstream Turkey and Iran were relentlessly damming them and their tributaries. Turkey has built over 600 large dams, including dozens of major ones near the Iraqi and Syrian borders. The Tigris and Euphrates’ combined flow in southern Iraq has subsequently shrunk so much that the Persian Gulf now barrels up to 45 miles upriver at high tide (the rivers used to project freshwater up to 3 miles out to sea).

“The disappearance of our water and environment has been unstoppable in places,’ said Hassan Al-Janabi, the minister of water resources.

As the rains and rivers declined, many farmers turned to wells to fill the void, only to find that they too had their limitations. With no electricity for up to 20 hours a day, the only way to power the pumps was with diesel generators, which are prohibitively expensive for many smallholders.

Around Samarra, farmers can shell out at least $6,000 on fuel a year to water 12 acres of fields.

Little by little, water was becoming a resource that in some parts of Iraq only wealthier landowners could afford.

“Every year the rains became less, so people were having to spend more and more on their generators,” said Ahmed El Thaer Abbas, director of the Tharthar Agricultural Office. “It’s not sustainable.” Once the provider of over a quarter of local farmers’ water, rains now supply less than ten percent of their needs, he added.

Ripe for Radicalization

By 2011, much of the Iraqi countryside was in desperate financial straits. Some 39 percent of people in rural areas were living in poverty, according to the World Bank. That’s two and a half times the country’s urban rate. Almost half lacked safe drinking water. The problems were so devastating in 2012-13 that tens of thousands of villagers ditched their fields altogether, preferring to try their luck in the slum districts of nearby cities instead.

Some 39 percent of those polled in Salahaddin cited drought as a reason for their displacement. Studies from neighboring Syria, large parts of which enjoy similar conditions to northern and western Iraq, suggest that anthropogenic climate change has tripled the probability of long, debilitating droughts.

But still the blows kept on coming. And by now, armed groups—ISIS’s forebears included—were paying close attention. When severe water shortages killed off countless livestock in 2011-12, jihadists descended on the animal markets to size up the frantic farmers, many of whom were trying to sell off their remaining cows and sheep before they too succumbed to drought.

“They just watched us. We were like food on the table to them,” said Abbas Luay Essawi, a herder from Hawija. In Kirkuk governorate alone, about two thirds of farms lost at least one animal, according to the International Organization on Migration.

Soaring temperatures also began playing into these groups’ hands. Amid unprecedented heatwaves, farmers pumped more water in order to keep their crops alive, but in so doing merely added to the burden on the aquifers, many of which were already struggling to keep pace with demand that had previously been met by the rains and rivers. After several years of energetic groundwater extraction near the oil refining town of Baiji, Samir Saed’s two wells ran dry in early 2014, forcing him to lay off the two young men he employed as farm laborers. Jobless and angry, he suspects they soon joined ISIS.

“There are many stories like this; they were frustrated and just saw it as another type of work,” he says.

Summer temperatures in the Middle East are set to soar twice as fast as the global average, possibly threatening the inhabitability of the region by the end of the century, researchers say.

Above all, though, the jihadists expertly exploited the desperation in Iraq’s agricultural heartland by rationalizing its inhabitants’ woes. They spread rumors that the Shia-dominated government was delaying crop payments and cutting off water to Sunni farmers. In fact, the lack of rain wasn’t due to climate change, but really a man-made ploy designed to drive Sunni landowners from their rich fertile fields, their emissaries suggested. Broke and unable to deal with their fast changing environment, many farmers ate it up. A large majority of the Islamic State’s Iraqi foot soldiers hailed from rural parts of the country’s west, north and center, terrorism analysts say.

Turkey has built more than 600 large dams, in some cases flooding ancient cities like Hasankeyf, above. The dams has decreased the amount of water flowing across borders into Iraq and other countries.

“It’s like this: agriculture employs a big percentage of Iraqis, and so when there’s a negative impact on agriculture this will translate into major social problems,” said Samir Raouf, a UNDP consultant and former deputy minister of science and technology.

What’s next?

For the moment at least, ISIS is mostly defeated in Iraq. From a high of 40 percent of Iraq’s territory in late 2014, it now only controls a few isolated villages, and small chunks of largely featureless desert. But the conditions that contributed to its success in the countryside are, if anything, more pronounced than ever.

The jihadists adopted scorched earth tactics as they were beaten back, laying waste to hundreds of thousands of acres of prime farmland. And so for returning farmers, climate change and shoddy governance are now among the least of their worries. ISIS fighters ripped up buried irrigation pipes to mold makeshift mortars. They poisoned wells, blew up water canals, and carted off everything that was of any value, notably generators, tractors, and water pump parts.

In Tharthar subdistrict, some farmers are still paying installments on enormous crop pivots they can no longer use. More or less broke after the oil price crash, the Iraqi state can’t afford to pay farmers for crops they’ve delivered to state silos, let alone cover the multi-billion dollar agricultural clean up bill. “Until all of this is fixed, farming in Iraq is dead,” said Naif Saido Kassem, until recently director of the agricultural office in Sinjar, to the north of Mosul. He estimates the agricultural damage in his subdistrict alone at $70 million.

Even more devastatingly perhaps, Iraq’s water situation is set to plumb new lows. Turkey has almost finished building the Ilisu Dam, which threatens to further cut the Tigris’ flow when it comes online, probably next year. Hotter temperatures are evaporating more and more surface water—up to six feet worth in Iraq’s lakes every year, according to Nature Iraq, a local NGO. As Baghdad’s relations with the upstream Kurdish region deteriorate, farmers might once more bear the brunt of the dispute. Kurdish authorities have cut off water to mostly Arab areas on several occasions in the past.

Some farmers still have hope. “We are tough. We will come back like we always have in the past,” said Ahmed, who grows wheat, barley, and some fruits near Dibis, northwest of Kirkuk. But against the backdrop of a climate of distrust so severe that the security forces are blocking most fertilizer from liberated farmland for fear that it might be used in making bombs, few share his optimism. If Iraq can’t get a grip on its crumbling environment, the next war might not be far off.

“ISIS is gone for now, but with all these water and heat problems, things will only get worse,” said Jabouri, the tribal sheikh from Shirqat. “We need help now.”

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