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Runaway #climatechange could trigger ‘Hothouse Earth’ with 200ft sea level rises! #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #StopAdani #NoNewCoal @SciNate #Drought #Heatwave #Wildfire Join the dots!

Runaway climate change could trigger ‘Hothouse Earth’ with 200ft sea level rises, warn scientists!

By Sarah Knapton

6 AUGUST 2018 • 8:00 PM

Earth may be on a runaway trajectory towards a ‘hothouse’ climate which will see huge swathes of the planet become uninhabitable and 200ft sea level rises, an international team of scientists has warned.

A new review found that even if targets to cap global warming at 2C are met, it may already be too late because of a ‘domino effect’ of other factors such as the ongoing reduction in Arctic sea ice and the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

Press link for more: Telegraph.co.uk

Many parts of the earth could become uninhabitable!

‘Many parts of Earth could become uninhabitable’: Study’s grim warning

Blake Foden7 August 2018 — 9:05am

Many parts of Earth could become uninhabitable for humans, with the planet at risk of entering an irreversible “hothouse” climate.

That’s the alarming warning from an international team of scientists, including Australian National University professor Will Steffen, in a study published on Tuesday.

Current targets may not stop global warming domino effect

A new study says that the global warming target set at the 2015 Paris climate agreement may be too little to stop catastrophic temperature rises.

As large parts of eastern Australia battle drought and Europe is gripped by a heatwave, Professor Steffen said current efforts to combat global warming would not be enough to meet the emission-reduction targets set by governments in the Paris Agreement, which may be insufficient to prevent the dangerous scenario anyway.

The study warns that Earth is already more than halfway towards the point of no return.

Global average temperatures are just over one degree above pre-industrial temperatures, but rising by 0.17 degrees every 10 years.

Professor Steffen said if temperatures rose to two degrees above pre-industrial levels, a level within Paris Agreement targets, it could trigger natural processes that would cause further warming of the Earth even if all human emissions ceased.

If that happened, global average temperatures may reach up to five degrees above pre-industrial levels – the hottest temperatures experienced in more than 1.2 million years.

Sea levels could also rise between 10 and 60 metres, threatening coastal areas.

“Many parts of the planet could become uninhabitable for humans,” Professor Steffen said.

“… Sitting on our hands means we are at risk of driving the Earth – and human wellbeing – beyond an irreversible point of no return.”

The study, titled Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene, says temperatures could hit the level needed to send the planet down the “Hothouse Earth” path in just a few decades.

“The impacts of a Hothouse Earth pathway on human societies would likely be massive, sometimes abrupt, and undoubtedly disruptive,” says the study, which is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Professor Steffen said scientists considered 10 natural feedback processes as part of the study, some of which were “tipping elements” that could lead to abrupt changes if a critical threshold was crossed.

Those elements included the reduction of Antarctic sea ice and polar sheets, the release of methane trapped on the ocean floor and Amazon rainforest dieback.

“The real concern is these tipping elements can act like a row of dominoes,” Professor Steffen said.

“Once one is pushed over, it pushes Earth towards another.

“It may be very difficult or impossible to stop the whole row of dominoes from tumbling over.”

The impacts on arguably Australia’s most notable natural attraction, the Great Barrier Reef, would be severe.

“A Hothouse Earth trajectory would almost certainly flood deltaic environments, increase the risk of damage from coastal storms, and eliminate coral reefs … by the end of this century or earlier,” the study says.

Press link for more: SMH

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Global heatwave symptom of early stage cycle of civilisational collapse #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #Drought #Wildfire #Anthropocene #ClimateChange #StopAdani #NoNewCoal @abc730 #TheDrum

Welcome to a 1C planet: the precursor of an 8C catastrophe in 82 years if we keep burning up fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow

Nafeez AhmedAug 1

Investigative journalist, recovering academic, tracking the Crisis of Civilization patreon.com/nafeez

Greek Red Cross workers discovered 26 bodies in the devastated resort village of Mati near Athens after horrendous wildfires

Published by INSURGE intelligence, a crowdfunded investigative journalism platform for people and planet. Support us to report where others fear to tread.

The extreme weather events of the summer of 2018 are not just symptoms of climate breakdown.

They are early stage warnings of a protracted process of civilisational collapse as industrial societies face some of the opening symptoms of having already breached the limits of a safe climate.

These events are a taste of things to come on a business-as-usual trajectory.

They elicit a sense of how industrial civilisational systems are vulnerable to collapse due to escalating climate impacts. And they highlight the urgent necessity of communities everywhere undertaking steps to achieve a systemic civilisational transition toward post-capitalist systems which can survive and prosper after fossil fuels.

Climate ‘doom’ is already here

This summer’s extreme weather has hit home some stark realities.

Climate disaster is not slated to happen in some far-flung theoretical future.

It’s here, and now.

Droughts threatening food supplies, floods in Japan, extreme rainfall in the eastern US, wildfires in California, Sweden and Greece.

In the UK, holiday-makers trying to cross the Channel tunnel to France faced massive queues when air conditioning facilities on trains failed due to the heatwave. Thousands of people were stranded for five hours in the 30C heat without water.

In southern Laos, heavy rains led to a dam collapse, rendering thousands of people homeless and flooding several villages.

The stories came in thick and fast, from all over the world.

Most of the traditional media did not report these incidents as symptoms of an evolving climate crisis.

Some commentators did point out that the events might be linked to climate change.

None at all acknowledged that these extreme weather events might be related to the fact that since 2015, we have essentially inhabited a planet that is already around 1C warmer than the pre-industrial average: and that therefore, we are already, based on the best available science, inhabiting a dangerous climate.

The breaching of the 1C tipping point — which former NASA climate science chief James Hansen pinpointed as the upper limit to retain a safe climate — was followed this March by atmospheric carbon concentrations reaching, for the first time since records began, 400 ppm (parts per million).

Once again, the safe upper limit highlighted by Hansen and colleagues — 350 ppm — has already been breached.

Yet these critical climate milestones have been breached consecutively with barely a murmur from either the traditional and alternative media.

The recent spate of catastrophic events are not mere anomalies. They are the latest signifiers of a climate system that is increasingly out of balance — a system that was already fatally struck off balance through industrial overexploitation of natural resources centuries ago.

Our sense-making apparatus is broken

But for the most part, the sense-making apparatus by which we understand what is happening in the world — the Global Media-Industrial Complex (a network of media communications portals comprised of both traditional corporate and alternative outlets) — has failed to convey these stark realities to the vast majority of the human population.

We are largely unaware that 19th and early 20th century climate change induced by industrial fossil fuel burning has already had devastating impacts on the regional climate of Sub-Saharan Africa; just as it now continues to have escalating devastating impacts on weather systems all over the world.

The reality which we are not being told is this: these are the grave consequences of inhabiting a planet where global average temperatures are roughly 1C higher than the pre-industrial norm.

Sadly, instead of confronting this fundamentally existential threat to the human species — one which in its fatal potential implications point to the bankruptcy of the prevailing paradigms of social, political and economic organisation (along with the ideology and value-systems associated with them) — the preoccupation of the Global Media-Industrial Complex is at worst to focus human mind and behaviour on consumerist trivialities.

At best, its focus is to pull us into useless, polarising left-right dichotomies and forms of impotent outrage that tend to distract us from taking transformative systemic action, internally (within and through our own selves, behaviours psychologies, beliefs, values, consciousness and spirit) and externally (in our relationships as well as our structural-institutional and socio-cultural contexts).

Collapse happens when the system is overwhelmed

These are the ingredients for the beginning of civilisational collapse processes. In each of these cases, we see how extreme weather events induced by climate change creates unanticipated conditions for which international, national and local institutions are woefully unprepared.

In order to respond, massive new expenditures are involved, including emergency mobilisations as well as new spending to try to build more robust adaptations that might be better prepared ‘next time’.

But the reality is that we are already failing to avert an ongoing trajectory of global temperatures rising to not merely a dangerous 2C (imagine a doubling intensity of the sorts of events we’ve seen this summer happening year on year); but, potentially, as high as 8C (the catastrophic impacts of which would render much of the planet uninhabitable).

In these contexts, we can begin to see how a protracted collapse process might unfold. Such a collapse process does not in itself guarantee the ‘end of the world’, or even simply the disappearance of civilisation.

What it does imply is that specific political, economic, social, military and other institutional systems are likely to become increasingly overwhelmed due to rising costs of responding to unpredictable and unanticipated climate wild cards.

It should be noted that as those costs are rising, we are simultaneously facing diminishing economic returns from our constant overexploitation of planetary resources, in terms of fossil fuels and other natural resourcs.

In other words, in coming decades, business-as-usual implies a future of tepid if not declining economic growth, amidst escalating costs of fossil fuel consumption, compounded by exponentially accelerating costs of intensifying climate impacts as they begin to erode and then pummel and then destroy the habitable infrastructure of industrial civilisation as we know it.

Collapse does not arrive in this scenario as a singular point of terminal completion. Rather, collapse occurs as a a series of discrete but consecutive and interconnected amplifying feedback processes by which these dynamics interact and worsen one another.

Earth System Disruption (ESD) — the biophysical processes of climate, energy and ecological breakdown — increasingly lead to Human System Destabilisation (HSD). HSD in turn inhibits our capacity to meaningfully respond and adapt to the conditions of ESD. ESD, meanwhile, simply worsens. This, eventually, leads to further HSD. The cycle continues as a self-reinforcing amplifying feedback loop, and each time round the cycle comprises a process of collapse.

This model, which I developed in my Springer Energy Briefs study Failing States, Collapse Systems, demonstrates that the type of collapse we are likely to see occurring in coming years is a protracted, cyclical process that worsens with each round. It is not a final process, and it is not set-in-stone. At each point, the possibility of intervening at critical points to mitigate, ameliorate, adapt, or subvert still exists. But it gets harder and harder to do so effectively the deeper into the collapse cycle we go.

Insanity

One primary sympton of the collapse process is that as it deepens, the capacity of the prevailing civilisational configuration to understand what is happening becomes increasingly diminished.

Far from waking up and taking action, we see that the human species is becoming increasingly mired in obsessing over geopolitical and economic competition, self-defeating acts of ‘self’-preservation (where the ‘self’ is completely misidentified), and focused entirely on projecting problems onto the ‘Other’.

A key signifier of how insidious this is, is in yourself. Look to see how your critical preoccupations are not with yourself or those with which you identify; but that and those whom you oppose and consider to be ‘wrong.’

At core, the critical precondition for effective action at this point is for each of us to radically subvert and challenge these processes through a combination of internal introspection and outward action.

In ourselves, the task ahead is for each of us to become the seeds of that new, potential civilisational form — ‘another world’ which is waiting to be birthed not through some far-flung ‘revolution’ in the future, but here and now through the transformations we undertake in ourselves and in our contexts.

We first wake up. We wake up to the reality of what is happening in the world. We then wake up to our own complicity in that reality and truly face up to the intricate acts of self-deception we routinely undertake to conceal ourselves from this complicity. We then look to mobilise ourselves anew to undo these threads of complicity where feasible, and to create new patterns of work and play that connect us back with the Earth and the Cosmos. And we work to connect our own re-patterning with the re-patterning work of others, with a view to plant the seed-networks of the next system — a system which is not so much ‘next’, but here and now, emergent in the fresh choices we make everyday.

So… welcome. Welcome to a 1C planet. Welcome to the fight to save ourselves from ourselves.

This story was 100% reader-funded. Please support our independent journalism and share widely.

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is the founding editor of INSURGE intelligence. Nafeez is a 16-year investigative journalist, formerly of The Guardian where he reported on the geopolitics of social, economic and environmental crises. Nafeez reports on ‘global system change’ for VICE’s Motherboard, and on regional geopolitics for Middle East Eye. He has bylines in The Independent on Sunday, The Independent, The Scotsman, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, New York Observer, The New Statesman, Prospect, Le Monde diplomatique, among other places. He has twice won the Project Censored Award for his investigative reporting; twice been featured in the Evening Standard’s top 1,000 list of most influential Londoners; and won the Naples Prize, Italy’s most prestigious literary award created by the President of the Republic. Nafeez is also a widely-published and cited interdisciplinary academic applying complex systems analysis to ecological and political violence.

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Press link for more: Medium.com

Climate Change First Became News 30 Years Ago. Why Haven’t We Fixed It? #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #NoNewCoal

In the time it took to build the case that climate change is a pollution problem, it’s become unnervingly more than that.

Photograph by Randy Olson, National Geographic Creative

This story appears in the July 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Thirty years ago, the potentially disruptive impact of heat-trapping emissions from burning fossil fuels and rain forests became front-page news.

It had taken a century of accumulating science, and a big shift in perceptions, for that to happen. Indeed, Svante Arrhenius, the pioneering Swedish scientist who in 1896 first estimated the scope of warming from widespread coal burning, mainly foresaw this as a boon, both in agricultural bounty and “more equable and better climates, especially as regards the colder regions of the Earth.”

There were scattered news reports through the decades, including a remarkably clear 1956 article in the New York Times that conveyed how accumulating greenhouse gas emissions from energy production would lead to long-lasting environmental changes. In its closing the article foresaw what’s become the main impediment to tackling harmful emissions: the abundance of fossil fuels. “Coal and oil are still plentiful and cheap in many parts of the world, and there is every reason to believe that both will be consumed by industry so long as it pays to do so.”

Climate 101: Causes and Effects

The climate is certainly changing. But what’s causing this change? And how does the rising temperature affect the environment, and our lives?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established in late 1988, after a variety of factors had pushed the greenhouse effect into the spotlight. That year there was severe drought and heat in the United States and vast fires in the Amazon rain forest and in Yellowstone National Park. The outline of a solution had been forged just one year earlier as the world’s nations agreed on the Montreal Protocol, which set steps to eliminate certain synthetic compounds imperiling the atmosphere’s protective ozone layer.

The crystallizing moment came on June 23, in unnerving Senate testimony. James E. Hansen—a climate scientist who’d turned his attention from studying the searing conditions on Venus to Earth’s human-changed atmosphere—concluded bluntly that “the greenhouse effect has been detected and is changing our climate now.”

My journalistic journey to learn about climate change science, impacts, and related energy choices began in earnest later that month in Toronto, at the first World Conference on the Changing Atmosphere. It’s never stopped, weaving from the North Pole to the White House, from solar-tech labs and nuclear plant fuel pools to the Vatican. Details changed, but in many ways the main issues remain roughly as I and other journalists found them in 1988.

In 1988 a variety of factors —including severe drought and heat and vast fires in parts of the world—had pushed the greenhouse effect into the spotlight.

That October, my Discover magazine cover story touched on the flooding threat to Miami, the potential amped-up power of hurricanes, China’s predicted emissions surge, the vulnerability of California’s snowpack and thus its water supply, and more. It also described vexing uncertainties in warming projections that remain today. It ended with this quote from Michael B. McElroy, then, as now, a Harvard University professor: “If we choose to take on this challenge, it appears that we can slow the rate of change substantially, giving us time to develop mechanisms so that the cost to society and the damage to ecosystems can be minimized. We could alternatively close our eyes, hope for the best, and pay the cost when the bill comes due.”

That warning probably sounds familiar. Scientists, climate campaigners, and concerned politicians have been making similar statements ever since. Their warnings have not kept emissions from increasing. Glen Peters, a scientist at the Center for International Climate Research in Oslo, Norway, charted the rise of the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere from the year 1870—and found that nearly half that rise has come from human emissions in the past 30 years.

Plenty is happening with renewable energy technologies, with soaring growth in solar and wind systems and in performance of the batteries necessary to keep lights on when the sun is down and the air is still. But the world remains more than 85 percent reliant on fossil fuels to satisfy its thirst for energy. Gains in energy efficiency and renewable energy have been swamped by rising demand for fossil energy as poverty ebbs. In the U.S. and much of Europe, low-carbon nuclear power is in retreat as communities, recalling past scares, press to close aging plants, and high costs hinder the development of new ones.

What explains the lack of decisive progress on human-driven climate change?

Having invested half of my 62 years in reporting and writing climate-related stories, blog posts, and books, I’ve lately found it useful—if sometimes uncomfortable—to look back for misperceptions or missed opportunities that let the problem worsen.

The Force of Climate Change

To explain how the enormity of climate change affects our grasp of it, Rice University’s Tim Morton cites a scene from the Star Wars movie The Empire Strikes Back where the Millennium Falcon flies into a “cave” that’s actually a giant worm’s maw. Living with climate change is like that, he says: “Because the worm is ‘everywhere’ in your field of vision, you can’t really tell the difference between it and the asteroid you think you landed on. For a while, you can kid yourself that you’re not inside a gigantic worm—until it starts digesting you.” —AR

Can we name the main culprits?

There are almost as many theories and targets as there are advocates of one stripe or another. Among them: lack of basic research funding (I was often in that camp), industry influence on politics, poor media coverage, and doubt-sowing by those invested in fossil fuels or opposed to government intervention.

There’s also our “inconvenient mind”—my description for a host of human behavioral traits and social norms that cut against getting climate change right.

For years I thought the answer was like the conclusion in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express: that all suspects were guilty. But there’s another possibility.

Maybe climate change is less an environmental wrong to be set right and more an emerging source of risk—a case of humanity’s planet-scale power outrunning, at least for now, our capacity for containing our momentous impacts.

In a 2009 piece called “Puberty on the Scale of a Planet,” I toyed with this notion, suggesting that our species was in a turbulent transition from adolescence to adulthood, resisting admonitions to grow up—with fossil fuels standing in for testosterone.

But the situation is even more tangled.

The more I reported in unlit Kenyan slums and Indian villages where people cook on illicit charcoal or hand-gathered twigs, the clearer it became that there’s no single “we” when it comes to energy, nor for vulnerability to climate hazards.

The rich “we” can afford to convert to clean energy and cut vulnerability to heat, floods, and more. But the rest of humanity is still struggling to get the basic economic benefits that we’ve gotten from burning fossil fuels.

Climate change is unlike any environmental problem we’ve faced.

We can’t ‘fix’ it the way we’ve started to fix smog or the ozone hole.

Research by an array of scientists and scholars supports a daunting conclusion: Climate change is unlike any environmental problem we’ve ever faced. We can’t “fix” it the way we’ve started to fix smog or the ozone hole, with circumscribed regulations and treaties and limited technological changes.

Climate change is too big in space, time, and complexity; the emissions that cause it are too central a consequence of the effort of some 7.5 billion people now, and some 10 billion within several decades, to prosper on Earth.

The real shape of what’s happening to Earth emerges only when the greenhouse emissions surge is considered alongside other metrics for human activity.

A 2015 scientific report titled “The Great Acceleration” included a planetary dashboard of graphs charting signals of human activity, from tropical forest loss to paper manufacturing to water use. Most have the same shape as the curve for CO2 emissions. Pollution and climate impacts, then, are symptoms of a broader situation: the human-Earth mash-up moment that’s increasingly called the Anthropocene.

Adam Frank, an astrophysicist at the University of Rochester, has begun assessing possible outcomes for our planet under different scenarios. He draws on the rapidly expanding body of knowledge about other planets outside our solar system that could harbor life and plots possible trajectories for Earth-like planets inhabited by sentient species.

While the mathematical models are fairly simple, three broad scenarios emerge, which Frank describes in a new book called Light of the Stars.

The first scenario is the “soft landing,” in which a civilization and its planet come smoothly to a new, steady state.

The second is “die off,” in which a planet’s environmental conditions degrade and populations drop precipitously but seem to survive. “It’s hard to know if a technological civilization could survive losing something like 70 percent of its population,” Frank says.

And there’s a third scenario: collapse. “The population rises, the planetary state ‘heats up,’ and at some point the population crashes down to zero,” Frank says. “We even found solutions where the collapse could happen after the population changed from a high-impact energy source—fossil fuels—to a lower-impact one, solar.”

Grassland birds of the Great Plains wade by the water’s edge as a storm begins to take shape in the background.

A landspout tornado grinds across a farm field. Though they can cause damage, typically landspout tornadoes – or narrow, rope-like condensation funnels that form underneath a growing cumulus cloud – are weak in strength.

Photograph by Jim Reed, National Geographic Creative

Press link for more: National Geographic

It’s impossible to lead a totally ethical life—but it’s fun to try #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #NoNewCoal #ClimateChange

It’s impossible to lead a totally ethical life—but it’s fun to try.

By

Ephrat Livni July 15, 2018

You want to do the right thing. But in a world where it often seems impossible to eat, shop, drive, travel, or pretty much do anything without causing some measure of harm to others and the planet, leading an ethical life seems like a very tall order indeed.

It’s true that practically everything we do in life has ethical repercussions. “Any decision that has an impact on others now or in the future is an ethical choice,” explains ethicist Christopher Gilbert, author of the new book There’s No Right Way To Do the Wrong Thing. Gilbert says it’s useful to consider ethics like a moral ladder. On the lowest rung, you think only of yourself. Past the middle rung, you’re thinking of the decision’s influence on some. And on the highest rungs, you’re wondering how every choice impacts all affected by it. “When we step up that ladder and consistently strive to stay at the top rung, we are living an ethical life,” he says.

Will we be at the top rung all of the time? Almost certainly not. But the answer isn’t to throw up our hands. Rather, we can keep on trying, every day and throughout our lives, to approach the world thoughtfully and consider the implications of our individual actions on others.

Save the silkworm

Depending how far and wide you extend your empathy and ethical efforts, you may find that seemingly simple dilemmas, like what to wear or what to eat, become incredibly complex upon reflection.

The clothing retailer ASOS, for example, recently announced it won’t sell silk products anymore out of concern for the welfare of silkworms who die in the material’s production process. But as Marc Bain points out in Quartzy, refusing to buy silk also has an economic impact on workers in India and China, where silk production is a tradition. Add to that the fact that even cotton is problematic—it’s a crop that demands a lot of water, making it environmentally taxing—and you find yourself in a pickle over the simple act of choosing a shirt. Now you’re making a decision that impacts worms, the Earth and your fellow humans.

What do you do? Most of us draw lines, which are arguably arbitrary. Maybe you stop your sympathies at silkworms because there’s no scientific proof they feel pain, but you won’t purchase a fur because foxes howl when trapped. Or maybe you’re a vegan who dresses entirely in synthetics. Unfortunately, in that case, you’re still hurting the earth by purchasing products that never break down and take a lot of energy to make.

Some of us eat fish because they’re supposedly dumb, but not octopuses, who’ve proven to be as clever as humans. Others eat no animals at all, but perhaps enjoy sweets laced with the salty tears of child slaves captured for the Cote D’Ivoire cocoa trade.

Basically, there are no easy answers when it comes to the ethics of consumption. And even if you can afford to purchase cruelty-free everything, your choices may not be doing much. Conscious consumerism is a lie, according to writer Alden Wicker. Our purchases don’t change the world. “Sadly, this is not the way capitalism is set up to work,” she concludes after years of promoting ethical shopping.

The myth of conscious consumerism

Wicker’s position is supported by ethicist Michal Jemma Carrington of the University of Melbourne in Australia. Carrington contends that there is a persistent myth that consumers are insufficiently vigilant about their purchases. In fact, there’s a much bigger system that needs fixing.

Basically, corporations claim that if consumers wanted to pay for ethically-made products, the companies would produce more of them. Supposedly, companies are just responding to market demands: at the supermarket or in shops, we will often choose the cheaper, less sustainable products despite our convictions, creating an “ethical consumption gap.”

Does that make us all morally bankrupt? In a paper in Marketing Theory (pdf), Carrington and his colleagues contend that it does not. Complaints about the alleged ethical gap in consumers are a ruse, they argue.

Just like Wicker, they think that we can’t change the world merely by exercising our purchasing power. In fact, our individual choices are no match for capitalism. Claims about a gap between consumer preferences and behavior serve a capitalist system, putting responsibility on the individual when markets currently rely on unsustainable growth rates. The paper notes, “[I]n the context of the natural environment, many observers have argued that in order to halt the ecological catastrophe we need not only responsible consumption but significantly reduced consumption.” Put simply, the choice isn’t between silk, cotton, or synthetics. For environmental purposes, we should choose nothing.

Moreover, capitalism and all systems are bigger than us individuals. By virtue of accidents of birth, we find ourselves unfairly profiting from all kinds of inequalities, depending on where we are born, who our parents are, our racial or ethnic backgrounds, and more. Your passport determines more than just access—it means you are the beneficiary, albeit abstractly, of actions you may not approve. Most of us, wherever we live, are funding wars or policies we disagree with. We can’t help but do wrong.

“Evil lives in the conscious desire to act solely for oneself”

The answer isn’t to despair and ignore morality, however. Gilbert advises looking at the small picture rather than being overwhelmed by the big one.

“As much as we’d love to believe bad ethics come from bad people and good ethics come from the rest of us, our everyday choices such as cutting someone off on the freeway, fudging on our taxes, taking credit for something someone else did—these are all ethical choices,” he tells Quartz. We don’t think of our individual acts as having major implications, but those are the things we can control.

In his research, he’s found that people are outraged by ethical abstractions and don’t think a lot about simple things they might be doing wrong. “When people list unethical behavior, they often cite the illegal actions of corporations or the heinous decisions of politicians–these are strong examples of a growing disregard for ethics, but what’s missing on the list are the smaller and far more numerous everyday choices we make,” Gilbert says.

He suggests using ethics as philosophical and existential guardrails that guide us as we try to climb the rungs of the moral ladder. By extending the consideration we give our actions to an ever-wider group, we succeed in being more ethical, if not perfectly moral.

So, take the silk shirt question, for example. An unethical approach would be to totally disregard the dilemma and be solely concerned for your smooth and shiny style. But a more moral way to handle the problem would be to attempt to resolve it—to think of the worms and workers who are affected, production processes, supply chains, and the nature of capitalism itself—and to reach a reasoned conclusion that at least takes others into consideration. Ultimately, you may buy no shirt at all, because what the environment requires is “degrowth.” Or you could determine that maintaining the traditions of making silk and supporting the work of laborers who make the material is important. There isn’t a simple answer to complex questions, but the ethical approach is to engage with the difficulties rather than avoiding them.

“When considering ethics, good and evil become limiting concepts,” Gilbert says. “Instead, it’s far more beneficial to consider our ability to make personal choices that [correspond to] either our higher or our lower nature. From that perspective evil lives in the conscious desire to act solely for oneself.”

Good fun

There’s no need to feel bad about failing to live a perfectly ethical life. That would be counterproductive. Feeling guilty doesn’t actually make us more moral. Oxford University ethicist Carissa Veliz explains in Practical Ethics that guilty feelings about wrong actions don’t make us more inclined to do better.

Not only that, feeling guilty is a selfish response. It’s more self-involvement, which is pretty much the opposite of ethical living. Veliz argues that guilt is only a boon for guilty people’s egos, and will make you more likely to look away from injustices. The ethical response to bad acts is considering how to right them, rather than thinking about your personal feelings.

Moreover, Veliz supports the Aristotlean view that figuring out how to live the good life is fun. The more you enjoy morality, the more likely it is that you’ll live ethically. “In that sense, learning to feel pleasure about morality (more specifically, about acting virtuously) may be a necessary condition for moral excellence, and guilt seems to be the opposite of pleasure,” she writes.

In order to develop more moral behavior, it’s much more important to focus on the things we do right, and the good we can bring about—even if that’s just redress after making a wrong. The ethicist contends that there’s no need to get “snooty or grumpy” about morality. A truly ethical life is joyful, lived with a clear conscience, “knowing that we are doing the best we can, even if that means our behavior may be unsatisfactory at times,” she writes.

Like Gilbert, she argues that ethics are a tool. We use notions of right and wrong not to flog ourselves but to “help us lead happy lives in harmony with the environment, animals, and people around us.”

The moral of the story? The best way to live an ethical life isn’t to find all the answers, but to be willing to wrestle with difficult questions.

“We need a new conversation about ethics,” Gilbert says. Ethics aren’t terrible constraints. On the contrary, he considers them a privilege. We’re lucky to have the opportunity to consider the effects of our actions on others, and we can do the right thing, at least sometimes. As Gilbert says, “We can each take concrete steps to re-align our moral compasses, give ourselves control over fairness and equity and in the end, create the healthier world we actually want to live in.”

Press link for more: QZ.com

“Life Depends on Climate, Biodiversity Inextricable Link; Let’s Defend It” #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #NoNewCoal #ClimateChange #Longman

Mountains of the Mộc Châu District, Vietnam

Credit: Unsplash/ Linh Pham

UN Climate Change News, 18 July 2018 –  Biodiversity and climate change are not separate issues, and if we are to protect the first one we must address the second, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said this week during the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York.

The event – organised by the Secretariat of the UN Biodiversity Convention (CBD) – underscored opportunities that nature provides for human development and the global economy.

Recalling that it was in Rio at the 1992 Earth Summit that the CBD was open for signature along with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention to Combat Desertification, Ms Espinosa said:

“1992 was an important year for our planet’s long-term health. Since then, our organizations have been intricately tied with respect to our overall direction and vision. […] Ours is a long-term vision of the future; one that considers the health of the planet, all forms of life, and the sustainable use of its resources.”

Conserving natural terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems and restoring degraded ecosystems is essential for the overall goals of both the UNFCCC and the Convention on Biological Diversity because ecosystems play a key role in the global carbon cycle and in adapting to climate change, while also providing a wide range of ecosystem services that are essential for human well-being.

“If we are to protect our biodiversity, we must address climate change. But to address climate change, we must protect our biodiversity.

It’s the same with respect to desertification.

They’re not separate issues—they’re one and the same.

They’re threat multipliers, and tied to some of humanity’s biggest challenges,” said Ms Espinosa.

She further discussed how the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are dependent on the health and vitality of the Earth’s natural environment in all its diversity and complexity, and talked about how the need for long-term, sustainable solutions link the climate change and biodiversity agendas.

“There is an urgent need for a ‘Global Deal for Biodiversity’ and for a game-changer in the way humans engage with nature, in order to achieve the objective of living in harmony with nature by 2050,” said the CBD Executive Secretary, Cristiana Paşca Palmer, who hosted the event.

During the roundtable discussions, participants shed light on how political leadership, drive and inclusiveness can bend the curve on biodiversity loss, and drive new orientations towards the opportunities that nature provide to local, national and global well-being. Participants also presented solutions and innovations to tackle the identified problems related to biodiversity and talked about how concrete actions should be taken to address the problems.

1992 was an important year for our planet’s long-term health.

It was the year of the Rio Earth Summit, where the UNFCCC, the UN Biodiversity Convention and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification were opened for signature.

Since then, our organizations have been intricately tied with respect to our overall direction and vision.

We work to achieve results that have an impact today and to ensure our societies are sustainable and resilient over the long term.

That last part is a significant challenge.

Since the dawn of civilization, humanity has capitalized on its unique capacity for communication and ingenuity, resulting in explosive bursts of output.

We’ve gone from hunter-gatherers to large-scale farmers and industrialists in the blink of an eye.

And, in the transition from the Industrial Revolution to the Information Age, we’ve pressed the accelerator even harder.

We’ve never gone further or faster, but we’ve rarely looked in the rearview mirror to see what we’ve left behind.

While the results have always been closer than they appeared, they’re blindingly obvious now.

We see it in the degradation of our natural environment.

We see it in the extinction of plants, in our fished-out oceans, and the reduction of our biodiversity.

This last point is vital!

Because we know that biodiversity is about more than just one species—it’s about life itself.

We are all connected, and we all depend on this one planet.

But to depend on it means we must also defend it.

We also see the residual effects of our accelerated ambition in the amount of carbon dioxide in the air and its effects upon our climate.

We continue to pass warning signs, and they’re getting larger and larger.

Superstorm Sandy hit here in 2012, inflicting more than $70 billion in damages. It also resulted in 147 deaths in the Northeast United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.

48 of those deaths were here in New York.

2017 was also a year of warning signs.

It was nothing less than a climate disaster with hurricanes and flooding devastating many cities, villages and the entire country of Barbuda.

Other regions experience extreme drought or wildfires. Still others deal with rapidly-changing weather patterns that affect everything; from the flora and fauna that has always grown there, to the lives of those who call those places home.

It’s unacceptable. How much more evidence do we need before we realize that short-term thinking is hazardous to the long-term health of humanity?

I believe our organizations reflect a better and more comprehensive approach. Ours is a long-term vision of the future; one that considers the health of the planet, all forms of life, and the sustainable use of its resources.

We have several instruments leading us forward, including the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. By combining our efforts and working together even more in the future, we can strengthen our ability to achieve their objectives.

Our goals, after all, are one and the same. If we are to protect our biodiversity, we must address climate change. But to address climate change, we must protect our biodiversity. It’s the same with respect to desertification.

They’re not separate issues—they’re one and the same.

They’re threat multipliers, and tied to some of humanity’s biggest challenges.

I recently had the opportunity to speak at the Environment and waters Leaders Forum in Singapore, and I explained how this relationship works with respect to clean water.

Global warming is the origin of more frequent droughts and floods, hurricanes, and extreme weather events related to water.

And this puts pressure on everything: food, energy and, yes, clean water. This struggle for resources, in turn, worsens social, economic and environmental pressures. This can lead to displacement, social upheaval and violent conflict.

That’s why, when we consider any finite resource such as water, we must consider the impact of climate change.

But to ensure there is an adequate supply of these resources in the future, and to ensure we protect the biodiversity of our planet, we must take climate action now.

I’m optimistic we can do it. But we can’t do it alone. We need your help, especially with respect to the work we need to achieve with respect to the Paris Agreement at COP24.

While the Agreement is one of the most successful multilateral agreements of modern times, it requires guidelines for its implementation.

By the end of this year, and certainly by COP24 in Poland this December, we must achieve three goals.

First, we must complete the implementation manual of the Agreement itself—also known as the Paris Agreement Work Program.

Second, nations must significantly accelerate global climate ambition before 2020.

And third, that ambition must be reflected in the next round of Nationally-Determined Contributions.

Why is this important? Because current contributions will not reach our goal of limiting global temperature rise to, ideally, 1.5-degrees Celsius.

We need more climate action, more climate ambition, and we need countries to understand that time is running out.

We are not only ignoring the warning signs on the road ahead, we’re running out of road.

You have the power to influence to help us achieve these goals.

We encourage you to work with your national leaders and let them know they need to increase their climate ambition and fulfil the Paris Agreement.

We also need you to continue talking about why biodiversity is important. Use your examples, your stories, your evidence. We will also share this information. We encourage you to also make the link to climate change.

Ladies and gentlemen, we value the relationship we currently have. Let us continue to work together to achieve even more.

As I’ve outlined today, our organizations are intricately linked and have been since their inception.

We have accomplished much, but our future work is critical.

Let’s work to stop the cycle of generations leaving a legacy of neglect. Let ours be the one to stop it. Let us instead build an inheritance that is worthy of passing down.

And that means building something better: a planet that is cleaner, greener and more prosperous for all.

Thank you.

Press link for more: UNFCCC

#ClimateChange is an existential threat. #auspol #qldpol #Longman #NoNewCoal #StopAdani

The effects of climate change are often talked about in sea level rise and worsening storms, certainly the most immediate and obvious symptoms.

There is a threat more difficult to contemplate — what happens to human civilization.

It is not just alarmist talk to speak of survival of human civilization, at least in the form people today know it. When they were here last month, climate scientists Michael Mann and David Titley warned that, as larger parts of the earth’s surface become uninhabitable, millions of people will be disrupted, in search of new places to live.

What will this do to infrastructure and trade, the way people make their living, support their families and run their countries?

Human beings are adaptable and can live in a variety of climates. But human civilization evolved with a particular set of climate patterns.

Those patterns have a certain predictability that allow for manufacturing plants, ports, electricity generation, for example. Human civilization depends on such things.

And what of the threat of scarcity — of livable land, food, shelter?

If humans don’t head off the worst of human-caused climate change, much of the land now densely inhabited by people will be under water.

Sea levels will rise such that Orlando could be the southernmost point of Florida, and Baton Rouge could be the edge of Louisiana, said Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State and director of the Earth System Science Center there.

California’s inland sea would probably return, and there would be no Charleston, South Carolina. Now, factor in Shanghai, Bangkok and cities all over the globe.

Titley, a retired rear admiral and director of the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk at Penn State University, who specialized in national security, says this scenario would displace 500 million people around the world.

Consider that about a million refugees entered the European Union in recent years, fleeing climate-exacerbated problems in Syria.

“I argue that one million unplanned refugees shook the EU to its core,” Titley said. “Multiply that by 500.”

“Anybody who says they can tell you with certainty what the political impacts are, put your hand on your wallet and back away,” he said. “That is unknowable, but the chances are it will be pretty bad.”

“These are changes the likes of which human civilization — not the earth, but human civilization — have not seen before,” Titley said. “The question is how are we going to deal with them?”

This doomsday picture doesn’t have to be the future for the grandchildren of today’s adults, they both say.

When people talk about renewable energy sources or of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, it is this worst-case scenario they are trying to prevent.

Press link for more: WV Gazette Mail

C of E calls on Investing bodies to show sense of urgency on #ClimateChange #Divest @ElliottShayne CEO @ANZ_AU #NoNewCoal #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol Ethical corporations shouldn’t steal our children’s future.

Oxford amendment calls for National Investing Bodies to show sense of urgency on climate change

MEMBERS of the General Synod are being urged to “strengthen the hand” of the Church’s National Investing Bodies (NIBs) in discussions with fossil-fuel companies, by voting to increase the threat of disinvestment.

Scores of Anglican clergy have signed a letter (below) in support of Oxford diocese’s attempt, via an amendment, to commit the NIBs to a “more rigorous and urgent policy” on climate change.

On Thursday, the Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft said that the matter should not be left to investment experts: “Where we invest affects the credibility of the leadership we offer as a church, both in the United Kingdom and globally.”

The NIBs’ motion, set to be debated on Sunday, commits them to “engaging urgently and robustly with companies rated poorly by TPI and, beginning in 2020, to starting to disinvest from the ones that are not taking seriously their responsibilities to assist with the transition to a low carbon economy”. “TPI” refers to the Transition Pathway Initiative, which helps investors to assess how effectively companies are addressing climate change (News, 6 July).

An amendment from the diocese of Oxford would change the second clause to “and to divest from any fossil-fuel company which is not on an unequivocal path by 2020 to aligning its business investment plan with the Paris Agreement to restrict global warming to well below 2°C”.

On Monday, the Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, said that it would “strengthen the hand of the NIBs in their dialogue” with fossil-fuel companies. He praised the investors’ work in shareholder engagement, and their “fantastic success” to date, but said that this must be “set against the substantive challenge of the whole world scaling down its dependence on fossil fuels to get to carbon zero. . . There is still a very long way to go.”

Given that fossil-fuel companies made plans decades in advance, it was “not unreasonable” to expect them to declare their plans to reduce emissions by 2050; yet many were still not disclosing “basic information” that would enable investors to make assessments.

The 2020 time-frame gave the companies “plenty of time . . . to make serious changes to their plans and intentions,” he wrote in a blog this week. “Some are doing so. Many are not.”

The amendment was not removing discretion from the NIBs, he emphasised, but describing “ethical and principled disinvestment”.

“The chief motivation is whether the C of E as a whole should continue to profit from investment in fossil-fuel companies who are not keeping to the very important principles of the Paris Agreement.”

Another signatory, the environmental co-ordinator at the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Revd Dr Rachel Mash, said this week: “We have very few years left to slow the course of climate change and avoid unbelievably devastating effects on the most vulnerable. This amendment will allow the Church of England to take a prophetic role in challenging the fossil fuel companies to align themselves with the Paris agreement.”

A paper outlining the NIBs’ position, written by the Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, argues that they have “no intention to remain invested in companies behaving in an unethical way”, but that “engagement is the most significant ethical investment contribution that the NIBs can make.” It suggests that the Oxford amendment would mean that the NIBs would be “forced automatically to walk away from the fossil fuel sector” if the conditions were not met.

“Pulling out wholescale and hoping other investors fill the engagement void left by our departure is not, we believe, Christian ethical leadership,” Dr Walker writes.

Dr Croft has described this as a “caricature of our position. We are not proposing walking away. Engagement by the Church and its investment bodies can continue in different ways. . . the pressure, threat and reality of divestment must be a tool in that debate.”

The NIBs had failed to engage in “a more important and substantial primary ethical debate”, he wrote: “At present, the fossil fuel companies’ intentions are to continue to extract and burn more fossil fuels than the Paris Agreement allows.”

Christian Aid, which is calling on church investors to divest from all fossil-fuel companies, said this week that the C of E’s investor engagement had generated “limited success”.

“The reality is that oil and gas companies are moving much too slowly, and are even betting against the world taking decisive action to stop climate change,” the charity’s director of policy and public affairs, Christine Allen, said. “People living on the front lines can no longer wait. Church investors need to send a stronger signal that they will no longer stand for the foot-dragging of the fossil-fuel industry.”

Oxford amendment to fossil-fuels motion crucial

From the Bishops of Swaziland, Dorchester, Reading, Buckingham, Wolverhampton, Dunwich, and Taunton, and 84 others

Sir, — This Sunday, the Church of England’s General Synod will debate future investments in oil and gas companies. This will provide a crucial opportunity for the Church to demonstrate credible leadership on one of the most important moral issues of our time.

While the Church of England disinvested from companies involved in the extraction of coal and tar sands in 2015, it is seeking to bring about change through “engagement” with oil and gas companies. Yet, as companies such as Shell and BP are still pursuing business plans that would lead to 3-5+°C of global warming, there is little sign that notice is being taken.

At Shell’s annual meeting in May this year, only 5.5 per cent of investors supported a resolution calling on the company to set emission-reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement.

The diocese of Oxford is proposing an amendment at the Synod calling on the Church of England to disinvest from any fossil-fuel company “which is not on an unequivocal path by 2020 to aligning its business investment plan with the Paris Agreement to restrict global warming to well below 2°C”. This goes further than the weaker motion proposed by church investors.

We urge Synod members to vote in favour of this amendment, which reflects the urgency of action required to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. It gives oil and gas companies time to bring their business investment plans in line with the Paris Agreement. It also sets robust and clear criteria for disinvestment by the Church, beginning in 2020, thus intensifying the Church’s engagement efforts.

By passing this amendment, the Synod will play its part in accelerating the clean-energy transition. It will show true leadership on the urgent issue of climate change both within the UK and the worldwide Anglican Communion.

ELLINAH SWAZILAND, COLIN DORCHESTER, ANDREW READING, ALAN BUCKINGHAM, CLIVE WOLVERHAMPTON, MICHAEL DUNWICH, RUTH TAUNTON, DAVID ATKINSON, GRAHAM CRAY, MICHAEL DOE, ROBERT PATERSON, APILEMEKI QILIHO, MAURICE SINCLAIR (bishops); RACHEL MASH (Environmental Coordinator of Anglican Church of Southern Africa); TIM STRATFORD, JOHN HAWKINS, OIIVIA GRAHAM, MALCOLM CHAMBERLAIN (archdeacons); MARTIN WEBSTER (retired archdeacon); and of the other clergy: JANE HASLAM, MIKE HASLAM, PHILIP HAWTHORN, JULIA HICKS, JONATHAN MORRIS, GRAHAM OWEN, ROSALIND SELLERS, CATHERINE SOURBUT (Bath & Wells), DEBBIE COLLINS, JOHN NIGHTINGALE, AL BARRETT, ANDREW LENOX-CONYNGHAM, PETER SELLICK (Birmingham), DEREK FRENCH, JOHN RODWELL, ED SAVILLE (Blackburn), STEPHEN SAXBY (Chelmsford), DEBBIE BEER, MARK BETSON, DAVID FAREY, PETER OWEN-JONES, ADAM RANSOM (Chichester), GRAHAM COLES (Coventry), TOM AMBROSE (Ely), ELIZABETH BUSSMAN (Europe), SIMON HOLLAND, SIMON HOWARD (Exeter), VAL THORNE (Gloucester), SUSAN BOLAN, LESLEY CRAWLEY, ALAN CRAWLEY, STUART THOMAS (Guildford), JOHN BENNETT, ANN BROXHAM, DEBBY PLUMMER (Leeds), KEITH HEBDEN, ANDREW QUIGLEY (Leicester), GILLIAN STRAINE (London), JOHN HUGHES (Manchester), JANET APPLEBY (Newcastle), HELEN BUDD, GRAHAM KIRK-SPRIGGS, JAMES RIDGE (Norwich), HILARY CAMPBELL, BARBARA DOUBTFIRE, CHRISTOPHER EVANS, GRAEME FANCOURT, DARRELL HANNAH, MARGOT HODSON, MARK LAYNESMITH, HUGH LEE, TINA MOLYNEUX, AINSLEY SWIFT, JO WILLIAMS, TERENCE WINROW (Oxford), JIMMY HOLDEN, MIKE PERRY, RUTH SCHOFIELD (Salisbury), MICHAEL BAYLEY, DAVID GOSS, NICHOLAS JOWETT, MALCOLM LILES, MARK NEWITT (Sheffield), AARON KENNEDY (Southwark), RACHEL PENNANT (St Albans), CHERYL COLLINS, STEPHEN MORLEY (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich), CLAIRE McILROY (Truro), BEN CHASE (Winchester), FRANCIS BUXTON, DAVID PARRY (Church in Wales)

c/o 19 Berberry Close, Birmingham B30 1TB

Press link for more: Church Times UK

Australia deemed a world laggard in energy efficiency #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #StopAdani

By Angela MacDonald-Smith

Angela Macdonald-Smith writes on energy specialising in gas, oil, electricity. Based in AFR Sydney newsroom, Angela is chief of staff for resources and energy.

More efficient power use would cut bills. Mark Piovesan

Australia has gone into reverse on energy efficiency and now ranks behind India, Indonesia and China in what is a huge, largely untapped opportunity to cut energy bills and carbon emissions.

In a 2018 international ranking on energy efficiency, released overnight, Australia ranks 18th among the world’s 25 largest energy users, down from 16th in 2016 and at the bottom of the list of major developed economies.

Italy and Germany tied for top place, scoring almost double Australia’s points, while Saudi Arabia was last.

Without stronger measures to improve, it will be “impossible” for Australia to meet the carbon reduction goals necessary to cap global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, said report author Shruti Vaidyanathan at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

It will also be more expensive, said Australian Energy Efficiency council chief Luke Menzel, pointing to CSIRO research last year that found ambitious improvements in energy productivity would cut household energy bills and reduce wholesale power prices.

“We are a way behind our international competitors in terms of the energy efficiency and productivity of our economy but that means there are a lot of fairly straightforward options and opportunities that we have to bring down energy bills pretty quickly by pursuing those demand-side savings,” Mr Menzel said.

Wake-up call

“It’s a bit of a wake-up call and hopefully a timely reminder that the NEG [National Energy Guarantee] is not the only game in town. There’s a whole other conversation we need to have about what’s happening behind the meter.”

The strongest score for Australia was in building energy efficiency, the only area where it outperformed the median thanks to building codes, its commercial building labelling program and appliance labelling.

But in industrial and transport energy efficiency, Australia ranks near the bottom. In industrial energy efficiency it was particularly poor, putting it 22nd out of 25, with the report highlighting the absence of accords with the manufacturing sector on efficiency or requirements for regular energy audits at sites.

In transportation Australia also lags behind, being the only developed economy without fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles and a low use of public transit. Australia invests only about 26¢ in rail transport for every dollar on road construction, it noted.

Australia has a national energy productivity plan which aims to lift productivity by 40 per cent between 2015 and 2030, but implementation of the goals are seen as “slow”.

“Our global competitors are saving energy and money with smart energy-efficiency policy and investments, while Australia lags at the back of the pack,” Mr Menzel said.

Press link for more: AFR.COM

#ClimateChange a big issue in the next U.S. election. #auspol #qldpol 100% #renewable by 2035. #StopAdani #GreenNewDeal

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Will Be The Leading Democrat On Climate Change

The progressive newcomer and avowed Democratic Socialist is likely to win in November on the most ambitious climate platform of anyone in her party.

Alexander C. Kaufman

QUEENS, N.Y. ― Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning primary victory over powerful U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley in the working-class New York district stretching from the Bronx to Queens is likely to propel her avowedly left-wing platform into the Democratic mainstream as the 2018 midterm elections heat up.

But her detailed proposals to deal with climate change could prove among the most influential at a time when the Democrats have failed to rally around any policy that could feasibly reduce greenhouse gas emissions dramatically enough to make a difference.

Ocasio-Cortez outlined plans to transition the United States to a 100 percent renewable energy system by 2035. It’s a goal hailed by environmentalists as the last best hope of staving off the most catastrophic effects of human-caused planetary warming, and it’s one already adopted by a coalition of mayors representing 42 percent of U.S. electricity use and representing major cities such as Atlanta and St. Louis.

What sets Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal apart is her plan to meet the target by implementing what she called a “Green New Deal,” a federal plan to spur “the investment of trillions of dollars and the creation of millions of high-wage jobs.” Though the slogan harks back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1930s New Deal program of infrastructure spending and labor reforms, she compared the program she envisions to the tens of billions of dollars spent on armaments manufacturing and the rebuilding of Europe after World War II.

“The Green New Deal we are proposing will be similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan,” she told HuffPost by email last week. “We must again invest in the development, manufacturing, deployment, and distribution of energy, but this time green energy.”

The 28-year-old ― who has a degree in economics and seems likely to defeat Republican Anthony Pappas in November in the overwhelmingly Democratic district ― suggested that storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, still struggling to regain reliable electricity nearly a year after the deadliest hurricane in modern U.S. history, could be a testing ground for such a policy.

“Our fellow Americans on the island have suffered horrendous losses and need investment at a scale that only the American government can provide,” she said.

Xavier Garcia/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A power plant in Puerto Rican could be replaced with a more modern facility that relies on renewable energy under Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal.

She criticized the Green New Deal rhetoric then-candidate Barack Obama deployed in 2008 to describe moderate, so-called market-based policies to start to incentivize companies to pollute less, such as the cap-and-trade program Democrats failed to pass in 2010, and the solar and wind tax credits that have helped the renewable industry grow.

“Half measures will not work,” she said. “The time for slow and incremental efforts has long past.”

In an interview with In These Times, she called herself an “environmental hardliner” and suggested running on aggressive policies that take seriously scientists’ increasingly dire warnings on climate change can help win back working-class Americans who voted for President Donald Trump in 2016.

“It’s kind of ironic, because the areas of the district that are experiencing the worst of climate volatility right now are actually pockets of Democrats who voted for Trump,” she said. “They may have voted for Trump, but they are screaming at the top of their lungs that their elected officials aren’t rebuilding the crumbling seawall.”

It’s a bold policy prescription at a time when, even across the city, Democratic hopefuls who received support from the national party are ignoring the issue. Max Rose, an Army combat veteran favored to win the Democratic primary in the district stretching from Staten Island to South Brooklyn, where Trump won in 2016, barely mentioned climate change in his platform, noting only under his jingoistic proposals for preserving “American leadership” that he supports rejoining the Paris climate agreement.

We must again invest in the development, manufacturing, deployment, and distribution of energy, but this time green energy. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The issue faces similar neglect even in deep-blue states. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) failed for a second time in March to pass a carbon tax ― a relatively conservative policy so widely accepted that big oil companies and a handful of Republicans are now pushing a similar policy proposal nationally. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) failed for a third time this month to pressure Republicans in the state Senate to hold a vote on the Climate and Community Protection Act, a bill that requires the state to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 and mandates that state funding for energy projects go to low-income communities and union-wage projects.

On the federal level, even the most purportedly hawkish Democrats on climate change have proposed conservative policies.

Last July, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) introduced a carbon tax bill alongside companion legislation by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.). The bill, announced at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, proposed using part of the $2.1 trillion it projected generating in the first decade to lower corporate taxes by 6 percent. In February, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) proposed yet again a nearly decade-old cap-and-dividend bill that would put a price on CO₂ emissions and establish auctions for pollution permits, returning the proceeds to Americans in the form of a rebate.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) introduced a companion bill in the House. But the legislation excludes emissions from meat production, which, according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates, makes up a growing portion of the 9 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases that come from agriculture.

There are some exceptions. In April 2017, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) rolled out a bill to all but end fossil fuel use by 2050. Last September, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) proposed the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act ― considered one of the most progressive climate bills yet introduced ― which calls for ending oil, gas and coal use by 2035, cutting all subsidies to drilling, mining and refining companies, and providing funding to workers to transition into new industries.

Ocasio-Cortez’s ambition and embrace of left-wing economic ideas aren’t the only ways in which she breaks with most of her party on climate change. She rose to prominence in progressive circles in part by calling for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the 15-year-old agency widely condemned as a paramilitary force now executing Trump’s ruthless immigration agenda. Rather than spending the final weekend before her primary in New York, Ocasio-Cortez traveled to a child-detention center in Texas, demonstrating, as Time put it, that she “keenly saw the debate about President Trump’s border policy as a way to energize voters in a primary that had a remarkably low turnout” and “set herself apart from Crowley.”

On Tuesday, the Democratic Socialists of America cemented Ocasio-Cortez’s approach as the platform issue for its climate and environmental justice working group.

“Immigration justice is climate justice,” the organization said on Twitter, linking to its latest petition. “We are calling on all climate justice organizations to mobilize to #AbolishICE.”

Press link for more: Huffington Post

The City of London will be powered with 100% renewable energy by October 2018 #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ClimateChange

The City of London will be powered with 100% renewable energy by October 2018

Greg Beach

The City of London, the historic “Square Mile” central district of London, will soon switch to clean energy in a big way.

Starting in October 2018, the City of London will source 100 percent of its power needs from renewable energy sources by installing solar panels on local buildings, investing in larger solar and wind projects and purchasing clean energy from the grid.

Though no longer a square mile, closer now to 1.12 square miles, the City of London is a major financial center within the city and the world.

Its green energy transformation sends a clear message that London intends to take strong action against climate change.

In its plans to transform the neighborhood’s energy system, the City of London Corporation will partner with several sites throughout London, such as schools, social housing, markets and 11,000 acres of green space, at which renewable energy capacity will be installed. “Sourcing 100 percent renewable energy will make us cleaner and greener, reducing our grid reliance, and running some of our buildings on zero carbon electricity,” Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee Catherine McGuinness said in a statement. “We are always looking at the environmental impact of our work and hope that we can be a beacon to other organisations to follow suit.”

Related: London considers car-free days to fight air pollution

The City of London is among the many municipalities around the world that are stepping up to fulfill the pledges made in the Paris Agreement, even when national governments are not doing enough. “By generating our own electricity and investing in renewables, we are doing our bit to help meet international and national energy ptargets,” McGuinness said. “This is a big step for the City Corporation and it demonstrates our commitment to making us a more socially and environmentally responsible business.”

Via CleanTechnica

Press link for more: Inhabitat.com