Capitalism

China to launch nationwide carbon market. #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

China is launching the biggest carbon market in the world, which will require power plants to hold emissions permits (Pic: Flickr/V.T. Polywoda)

By Li Jing in Beijing

China’s long-awaited nationwide emissions trading scheme (ETS) will be officially launched on 19 December, starting with the power sector only, according to a document from National Development Reform Commission (NDRC).

It represents a scaling back from the original plan for eight economic sectors to take part in the carbon market: petrochemicals, chemicals, building materials, iron and steel, non-ferrous metals, paper, power and aviation.

Nonetheless, it will instantly overtake the EU’s carbon market to become the world’s largest. The power sector accounts for 46% of China’s carbon dioxide emissions, of which an estimated 39% will be covered by the ETS, according to data from World Resource Institute.

Explaining the change, Chinese officials said some industrial sectors did not have strong statistical foundations, and the system would involve constant testing and continuous adjustments.

Carbon futures trading will not be available at the launch stage of the scheme, Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for climate change, said during the UN climate conference in Bonn last month. It is intended to create a cost for emitting carbon, not a platform for market speculation, he said.

An official at NDRC who asked not to be named said the conservative approach reflected the importance leaders attached to the overall stability of the country’s financial markets.

Liu Shuang, a program director with Energy Foundation China, said the power sector was the most suitable sector for China to start its national emission trading scheme, as it had the most credible and transparent emissions data.

Advocates of emissions trading say it creates an efficient system for cutting greenhouse gases where it is cheapest to do so. Polluting plants must hold permits for every tonne of CO2 they emit and can sell surplus allowances if they clean up their operations.

In existing systems, however, industry has lobbied for free allowances and policies resulting in low carbon prices. Critics say that gives little incentive to invest in cleaner technology for the long term.

Press link for more: Climate Change News

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The Oceans make the Earth a habitable planet. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

The oceans make the planet habitable, if we continue to use the oceans as a garbage dump we will quickly make our planet uninhabitable.

Plastics & carbon pollution are real threats to marine life and ultimately to humanity.

Coral bleaching is inevitable as the oceans are heated by global warming.

The science is clear, we know what must be done.

We must demand political leadership.

We have the technology, we must become active it is the challenge for our generation.

First put a price on Pollution. Both carbon & plastic.

We can no longer be complacent.

Time is running out.

Australia quick to action in war has been slow to act on reducing pollution. Future generations will pay an enormous price.

Our carbon emissions per capita are among the highest in the world.

We are amongst the world’s worst when it comes to climate action.

We are literally stealing the future from our children and future generations.

Top economists call for an end to fossil fuel investment! #StopAdani #Auspol #BeatPollution

Declaration on Climate Finance

In advance of French President Macron’s climate and finance summit, we call for an immediate end to investments in new fossil fuel production and infrastructure, and encourage a dramatic increase in investments in renewable energy.

DECLARATION

We the undersigned, call for an immediate end to investments in new fossil fuel production and infrastructure, and encourage a dramatic increase in investments in renewable energy.

We are issuing this call to action in the lead up to the climate summit hosted by President Macron in Paris this December. President Macron and other world leaders, have already spoken out about the need for an increase in finance for climate solutions, but they have remained largely silent about the other, dirtier side of the equation: the ongoing finance of new coal, oil and gas production and infrastructure.

Ongoing global climate change and environmental destructions are happening at an unprecedented scale, and it will take unprecedented actions to limit the worst consequences of our dependence on oil, coal, and gas.

Equally as critical as drastically curbing the carbon intensity of our economic systems is the need for immediate and ambitious actions to stop exploration and expansion of fossil fuel projects and manage the decline of existing production in line with what is necessary to achieve the Paris climate goals.

Research shows that the carbon embedded in existing fossil fuel production will take us far beyond safe climate limits. Thus, not only are new exploration and new production incompatible with limiting global warming to well below 2ºC (and as close to 1.5ºC as possible), but many existing projects will need to be phased-out faster than their natural decline. Simply put: there is no more room for new fossil fuel infrastructure and therefore no case for ongoing investment.

It is time for the community of global economic actors to fully embrace, safe, and renewable energies and phase out fossil fuels. This letter affirms that it is the urgent responsibility and moral obligation of public and private investors and development institutions to lead in putting an end to fossil fuel development.

A global transition to a low carbon future is already well underway and we recognize that a full transition away from fossil fuels is an opportunity for a new economic paradigm of prosperity and equity. Continued expansion of oil, coal, and gas is only serving to hinder the inevitable transition while at the same time exacerbating conflicts, fuelling corruption, threatening biodiversity, clean water and air, and infringing on the rights of Indigenous Peoples and vulnerable countries and communities.

Energy access and demand can and must now be met fully through the renewable energies of the 21st century. Assertions that new fossil fuels, such the current push for gas, are needed for this transformation are not only inaccurate; they also undermine the speed and penetration of renewable energy.

The global investment community has the power to create the conditions under which this shift is possible. Current and future investments in fossil fuel production are at odds with a safe and equitable transition away from ever stronger climate disasters.

Global investor and international development actors and institutions must recognize that continued investments in fossil fuel production supply-side is irreconcilable with meaningful climate action. Instead, let us all prioritize the tremendous investment opportunities for a 100% renewable future that support healthy economies while protecting workers, communities, and the ecological limits of a finite planet.

Signers of the Declaration on Climate Finance:

• Alain Grandjean

• Economist, Scientific advisor to the Foundation for Nature and Mankind

• Alain Karsenty

• Research Director at CIRAD, Montpellier

• Ann Pettifor

• Director of Policy Research in Macroeconomics, Prime

• Anu Muhammad

• Professor of Economics, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

• Aurore Lalucq

• Economist and Director of the Veblen Institute

Camilla Toulmin
Professor, Dr

• Carolina Burle Schmidt Dubeux

• Environemental Economist, PhD and teacher at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro · COPPE/Centro Clima

• Cédric Durand

• Maître de conférences en Économie, université Paris 13

• Claudia Kemfert

• Head of the department of energy, transportation and environment at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin

• Co-Pierre Georg

• Associate Professor, University of Cape Town. Research Economist – Deutsche Bundesbank , Policy Associate – Economic Research Southern Africa

Denis Dupré
Professor of finance and ethics

• Dominique Plihon

• Professor Emeritus of Economics, Paris-Nord University Director, Center of Economics of the University of Paris Nord

• Dr Ben Groom

• Associate Professor of Environment & Development Economics, LSE

• Dr Michael Mason

• Associate Professor, Department of Geography and the Environment, LSE

Dr. Alaa Al Khourdajie
Teaching Fellow in Environmental Economics, School of Economics, University of Edinburgh

• Dr. Ashok Khosla

• Chairman, Development Alternatives

• Dr. Charles Palmer

• Associate Professor of Environment and Development, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE),

• Dr. Ron Milcarek

• UMASS Economics Department

• Dr. Simplice Asongu

• Lead Research Economist, African Governance and Development Institute

• Emilio Padilla Rosa

• Associate Professor, Department of Applied Economics, Autonomous University of Barcelona

• Frank Ackerman

• Principal Economist, Synapse Energy Economics

• Gail Whiteman

• Professor

• Gautam Sethi

• Associate Professor of Economics and Econometrics, Bard Center for Environmental Policy

• Helene Ollivier

• Research fellow of the CNRS and Associate Professor at Paris School of Economics

• Herman Daly

• Emeritus Professor, University of Maryland

• Ian Kinniburgh

• Former Director of Department of Policy and Analysis Division, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

• Ilan Noy

• Chair in the Economics of Disasters, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

• Ivar Ekeland

• Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Former President, the University of Paris-Dauphine

• Jaime De Melo

• Scientific Director at Ferdi (Emeritus Professor, University of Geneva)

• James Kenneth Galbraith

• Economist

• Jean Gadrey

• Jean Gadrey, former Professor of economics, University of Lille

• Jean-Pierre Ponssard,

• Senior Research Fellow CNRS France

• Jeffrey Sachs

• Economist, Senior UN Advisor

• John C. Quiggin

• Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and professor at the School of Economics, University of Queensland

• John Hewson

• Former Leader of the Federal Opposition, Australia

Jon D. Erickson
David Blittersdorf Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy

• José Almeida de Souza Jr.

• Economist

• Jusen Asuka

• Professor Tohoku University

• Kate Pickett

• Professor, University of York Research Champion for Justice & Equality

• Kate Raworth

• Senior Visiting Research Associate, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University

• Katheline Schubert

• Associate Professor at the Paris School of Economics and researcher at the Sorbonne Center for Economics.

• Katrin Millock

• Associate Professor, Paris School of Economics & Research Fellow at CNRS

• Lionel Fontagné

• Professor of Economics at the Paris School of Economics – University Paris 1

• Maria rosa ravelli abreu

• Prof. Universidade Brasilia

• Mariana Mazzucato

• Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value, Director, UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

• Mark Campanale

• Founder & Executive Director, Carbon Tracker Initiative

• Marzio Galeotti, Ph.D.

• Professor of Environmental and Energy Economics, University of Milan – Milan, Italy

• Maxime Combes

• Maxime Combes, economist for ATTAC

• Michael Jacobs

• Visiting Professor, School of Public Policy, University College London

• Michael Pirson

• Professor, Gabelli School of Business, Fordham University

• Mohammad A Jabbar

• Agricultural Economist, International Livestock Research Institute

• Mouez FODHA

• Professor of Economics, Paris School of Economics & University Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne.

• Mutsuyoshi Nishimura

• Former Ambassador of Japan to the UNFCCC negotiations Research Fellow, The Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIAA)

• Neva Rockefeller Goodwin

• Co-Director, Global Development And Environment Institute, Tufts University

• Nicolas Bouleau

• Mathematician, Economist

• Oliver Sartor, PhD

• Senior Research Fellow Climate and Energy, IDDRI

• Patrick Criqui

• Research Director, CNRS

• Peter A. Victor Ph.D.,FRSC

• Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

• Pierre-Richard Agenor

• Professor of International Macroeconomics and Development Economics, University of Manchester

pirax didier
Econnomist

• Prof Ross Garnaut

• Professorial Research Fellow in Economics, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne

• Prof. James Renwick (Victoria University of Wellington

• Professor at Victoria University of Wellington, School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences

• Prof. Michael Finus

• Chair in Environmental Economics

• Prof. Phoebe Koundouri

• Athens University of Economics and Business, Director of International Center for Research on the Environment and the Economy, Chair Sustainable Development SOlutions Network Greece

• Prof. Simone Borghesi

• President Elect IAERE – Italian Association of Environmental and Resource Economists

• Ramon E. Lopez

• Professor at the University of Chile , Santiago · Departamento de Economía

• Ramón López

• Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile

• RENOUARD Cécile

• Professor, Centre Sèvres-Jesuit University of Paris and researcher, ESSEC Business School

• Reyer Gerlagh

• Professor of Economics, Tilburg University, Netherlands

• Richard Denniss

• Chief Economist, The Australia Institute

• Richard Wilkinson

• Emeritus Professor of Social Epidemiology University of Nottingham.

• Rick Van der Ploeg

• Professor of Economics and Research Director of the Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies at Oxford University, former Chief Financial Spokesperson in the Dutch Parliament

• Robert Costanza

• VC’s Chair in Public Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University

• Robert M. Freund

• Theresa Seley Professor in Management Science, Sloan School of Management, MIT

• Serge Reliant

• Economiste

• Seyhun Orcan Sakalli

• Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Economics, University of Lausanne

• Shahriar Shahida

• Co-Chief Investment Officer Constellation Capital Management LLC

• Shuzo Nishioka

• Counsellor, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies

• Slim Ben Youssef

• Professor, ESC de Tunis

• Suzi Kerr

• Senior Fellow, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

• Takeshi Mizuguchi

• Professor Takasaki City University Of Economics

• Terra Lawson-Remer

• Fellow at the Stanford Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences

• Thomas Porcher

• Associate Professor, Paris School of Business, member of “Les économistes attérrés

• Thomas Sterner

• Chair LOC World Conference of Environmental Economics

• Tim Jackson

• Professor, University of Surrey, UK

• Tom Sanzillo

• Director of Finance for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

• Tom Steyer

• Founder and former co-senior managing partner of Farallon Capital and the co-founder of OneCalifornia Bank

• Valentina Bosetti

• Associate professor at the Department of Economics, Bocconi University, President of the Italian Association of Environmental Economists

• Véronique Seltz

• PhD in Economics

• Yanis Varoufakis

• Greek Economist, Academic and Politician

• Yifat Reuveni

• Head of social-finance innovation JDC College of Management business school, Faculty of Management – Tel Aviv University

Press link for more: Not a penny more

To Save Climate, Stop Investing In Fossil Fuels #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

Paris (AFP) – The development of oil, gas and coal energy must stop in order to avoid the worst ravages of global warming, 80 top economists said Thursday, days ahead of a climate summit in Paris.

To save climate, stop investing in fossil fuels: economists

“We call for an immediate end to investments in new fossil fuel production and infrastructure, and encourage a dramatic increase in investments in renewable energy,” they wrote in a declaration.

The December 12 One Planet Summit organised by French President Emmanuel Macron — with 100 countries and more than 50 heads of state attending — will focus on marshalling public and private money to speed the transition toward a low-carbon economy, especially in developing countries.

But boosting renewable energy such as solar and wind is not enough, the economists warned.

“President Macron and world leaders have already spoken out about the need for an increase in finance for climate solutions,” they wrote.

“But they have remained largely silent about the other, dirtier side of the equation: the ongoing finance of new coal, oil and gas production.”

Many new fossil fuel projects already in the pipeline “will need to be phased out faster than their natural decline,” they added.

Numerous studies have shown that exhausting already developed oil, gas and coal reserves is incompatible with capping global warming at “well under” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the target set down in the 196-nation Paris climate treaty.

“The science is clear: if you look at the known fossil fuel reserves in the ground, you simply can’t burn all that without making a different planet,” said James Hansen, long-time director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The shift from “brown” to “green” energy is further hindered by oil, gas and coal subsidies, which totalled nearly half a trillion dollars (470 billion euros) in 2014, the International Energy Agency has calculated.

In 2015, direct consumer subsidies for fossil fuels topped $333 billion (315 billion euros) worldwide, according to the International Monetary fund.

“It is time to stop wasting public money on dirty fossil fuels and invest it instead in a sustainable future,” said Tim Jackson, a professor at the University of Surrey in Britain.

Signatories of the open letter also included Jeffrey Sachs, a senior UN advisor; James Kenneth Galbraith, an economist at the Texas LBJ School; American billionaire and philanthropist Tom Steyer; and Australian economist Ross Garnaut.

Press link for more: Au.news.yahoo.com

Humans Have a Right to Breathe Clean Air #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol #BeatPollution

By Ellie Goulding

Masai wife of elder chief cooking in her hut in the village of Oliolomutia, next to the Masai Mara Nature Reserve, Kenya (Photo by Julio Etchart/ullstein bild via Getty Images) Julio Etchart—ullstein bild/Getty Images

Last weekend, I sat in an earthen hut in rural Kenya, as my Maasai women hosts very kindly made me some tea. Smoke from the traditional stove — three stones supporting a pot over an open fire — wafted through the hut, to be inhaled by all of us gathered inside.

Given my lungs are my livelihood, and singing is my passion, I am always very conscious of pollution.

My few moments in these conditions can hardly be said to pose much personal risk but I came out of the hut feeling as if I was struggling for air.

I couldn’t help but worry about those women and their children who breathe that air every day.

The Maasai women told me that they prepare food or tea 3 times a day, spending as much as 6 hours over their smoky stoves.

Indoor air pollution from traditional cooking practices that rely on polluting fuels is one of the world’s greatest health risks.

More than 4.3 million people die prematurely every year from health problems attributed to bad indoor air from cooking.

Most of the those afflicted are women and children—800,000 children under five years old die every year from respiratory infections caused by indoor air pollution.

That’s because soot from the cookstoves regularly causes pneumonia in kids.

The dirty air can also directly bring about noncommunicable diseases like stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer.

Most of the victims are from low- and middle-income countries, and most aren’t aware that there are safer ways to prepare food at home.

I do know what it feels like to struggle for breath.

When I was young my asthma was bad enough that it prevented me from taking part in sport. It was heartbreaking to look around that hut and think of the mothers who would, through no fault of their own, have to endure and deal with the panic and pain of comforting a child through respiratory distress.

I have heard the staggering numbers before, but once you feel it first hand, they have a lot more impact.

This shouldn’t be written off as a marginal problem for a few women in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Today, nearly half of the world’s population use solid fuels like wood or dung or coal for indoor cooking and heating.

So for every million who die from this exposure, many millions more are at risk.

That’s just the indoor threat.

In many cities around the world, there’s no such thing as stepping outside to get some fresh air.

Pollution from factories, coal plants, and cars makes the air unsafe for billions more people, again mostly in poorer countries.

The cost of all these health problems is staggering.

There are estimates that air pollution costs the global economy over $5 trillion a year.

And when premature deaths from both indoor and outdoor air quality are added together, air pollution is the world’s greatest killer, claiming more than 6.5 million lives every year.

This just has to change.

Healthy air shouldn’t be a privilege for those of us who can afford to cook with gas or electricity, or who are fortunate enough to live in places where industry and traffic don’t poison our every breath.

I think being able to breathe clean air should be a basic human right.

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It’s not like we don’t know how to address this problem.

Old cars, buses and trucks can be replaced with newer vehicles that don’t belch soot from their tailpipes.

Better public transport would mean fewer cars on the road.

And if we keep building wind turbines and solar power plants, we can shut down some of the coal-fired power plants that are contributing so much to pollution as well as global warming.

For the Maasai women I met, and the billions of others worldwide who live with dangerous air in their homes, the fixes are even simpler.

With UN Environment, we delivered nearly two dozen cookstoves, one to each of the households in the village.

The stoves burn hotter and with less smoke than traditional designs.

They are a bit more expensive but need less wood or charcoal, so families can eventually save money.

Most importantly, these stoves will immediately clean up the air in their homes.

The children in this village now have better chances of living healthy lives. And the mothers are far less likely to ever have to endure the terrifying and helpless feeling of watching their child struggle to draw a breathe.

As a UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador, I want to encourage everyone to help #BeatPollution. Because wherever you are in the world, pollution is impacting your life, and we have both the power – and the obligation – to do something about it.

Press link for more: Time.com

What will it take to get our leaders to act? #ClimateChange #StopAdani #Auspol #Qldpol

Bill McKibben: Winning Slowly Is the Same as Losing

The technology exists to combat climate change – what will it take to get our leaders to act?

A Houston interstate after Hurricane Harvey in August. Richard Carson/Reuters

If we don’t win very quickly on climate change, then we will never win.

That’s the core truth about global warming.

It’s what makes it different from every other problem our political systems have faced.

I wrote the first book for a general audience about climate change in 1989 – back when one had to search for examples to help people understand what the “greenhouse effect” would feel like. We knew it was coming, but not how fast or how hard. And because no one wanted to overestimate – because scientists by their nature are conservative – each of the changes we’ve observed has taken us somewhat by surprise.

The surreal keeps becoming the commonplace: For instance, after Hurricane Harvey set a record for American rainstorms, and Hurricane Irma set a record for sustained wind speeds, and Hurricane Maria knocked Puerto Rico back a quarter-century, something even weirder happened. Hurricane Ophelia formed much farther to the east than any hurricane on record, and proceeded to blow past Southern Europe (whipping up winds that fanned record forest fires in Portugal) before crashing into Ireland. Along the way, it produced an artifact for our age: The warning chart that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency issued shows Ophelia ending in a straight line at 60 degrees north latitude, because the computer program never imagined you’d see a hurricane up there. “When you set up a grid, you define boundaries of that grid,” a slightly red-faced NOAA programmer explained. “That’s a pretty unusual place to have a tropical cyclone.” The agency, he added, might have to “revisit” its mapping software.

In fact, that’s the problem with climate change.

It won’t stand still.

Health care is a grave problem in the U.S. right now too, one that Donald Trump seems set on making steadily worse.

If his administration manages to defund Obamacare, millions of people will suffer. But if, in three years’ time, some new administration takes over with a different resolve, it won’t have become exponentially harder to deal with our health care issues.

That suffering in the interim wouldn’t have changed the fundamental equation.

But with global warming, the fundamental equation is precisely what’s shifting. And the remarkable changes we’ve seen so far – the thawed Arctic that makes the Earth look profoundly different from outer space; the planet’s seawater turning 30 percent more acidic – are just the beginning. “We’re inching ever closer to committing to the melting of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, which will guarantee 20 feet of sea-level rise,” says Penn State’s Michael Mann, one of the planet’s foremost climatologists. “We don’t know where the ice-sheet collapse tipping point is, but we are dangerously close.” The latest models show that with very rapid cuts in emissions, Antarctic ice might remain largely intact for centuries; without them, we might see 11 feet of sea-level rise by century’s end, enough to wipe cities like Shanghai and Mumbai “off the map.”

The warning chart that NOAA issued shows Hurricane Ophelia ending in a straight line at 60 degrees north latitude, because the computer program never anticipated a hurricane so far north.

There are plenty of tipping points like this: The Amazon, for instance, appears to be drying out and starting to burn as temperatures rise and drought deepens, and without a giant rainforest in South America, the world would function very differently.

In the North Atlantic, says Mann, “we’re ahead of schedule with the slowdown and potential collapse” of the giant conveyor belt that circulates warm water toward the North Pole, keeping Western Europe temperate.

It’s tipping points like these that make climate change such a distinct problem: If we don’t act quickly, and on a global scale, then the problem will literally become insoluble.

We’ll simply move into a dramatically different climate regime, and on to a planet abruptly and disastrously altered from the one that underwrote the rise of human civilization. “Every bit of additional warming at this point is perilous,” says Mann.

Another way of saying this: By 2075 the world will be powered by solar panels and windmills – free energy is a hard business proposition to beat. But on current trajectories, they’ll light up a busted planet. The decisions we make in 2075 won’t matter; indeed, the decisions we make in 2025 will matter much less than the ones we make in the next few years.

The leverage is now.

Trump, oddly, is not the central problem here, or at least not the only problem. Yes, he’s abrogated the Paris agreements; true, he’s doing his best to revive the coal mines of Kentucky; of course it’s insane that he thinks climate change is a Chinese hoax.

But we weren’t moving fast enough to catch up with physics before Trump.

In fact, it’s even possible that Trump – by jumping the climate shark so spectacularly – may run some small risk of disrupting the fossil-fuel industry’s careful strategy.

That strategy, we now know, began in the late 1970s. The oil giants, led by Exxon, knew about climate change before almost anyone else. One of Exxon’s chief scientists told senior management in 1978 that the temperature would rise at least four degrees Fahrenheit and that it would be a disaster.

Management believed the findings – as the Los Angeles Times reported, companies like Exxon and Shell began redesigning drill rigs and pipelines to cope with the sea-level rise and tundra thaw.

Yet, year after year, the industry used the review process of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to stress “uncertainty,” which became Big Oil’s byword. In 1997, just as the Kyoto climate treaty was being negotiated, Exxon CEO Lee Raymond told the World Petroleum Congress meeting in Beijing, “It is highly unlikely that the temperature in the middle of the next century will be significantly affected whether policies are enacted now or 20 years from now.”

In other words: Delay. Go slowly. Do nothing dramatic. As the company put it in a secret 1998 memo helping establish one of the innumerable front groups that spread climate disinformation, “Victory will be achieved when average citizens ‘understand’ (recognize) uncertainties in climate science,” and when “recognition of uncertainty becomes part of the ‘conventional wisdom.’ ”

And it’s not just the oil companies.

As America’s electric utilities began to understand that solar and wind power could undercut their traditional business, they began engaging in the same kind of behavior. In Arizona, whose sole reason for existence is the sun, the local utility helped rig elections for the state’s public-utility commission, which in turn allowed utilities to impose ruinous costs on homeowners who wanted to put solar panels on their roofs. As The New York Times reported in July, the booming U.S. market for new residential solar has come to “a shuddering stop” after “a concerted and well-funded lobbying campaign by traditional utilities, which have been working in state capitals across the country to reverse incentives for homeowners to install solar panels.” It’s not that they think they can keep solar panels at bay forever – every utility website, like every fossil-fuel industry annual report, has pictures of solar panels and spinning windmills.

But as industry analyst Nancy LaPlaca says, “Keeping the current business model just another year is always key for utilities that have a monopoly and want to keep that going.”

The planetary futurist Alex Steffen calls this tactic “predatory delay, the deliberate slowing of needed change to prolong a profitable but unsustainable status quo that will be paid by other people eventually.”

It’s not confined to the moneybags at the oil companies and the utilities – he’s written extensively about the otherwise-liberal urbanites in his home state of California. “A lot of cities are happy to talk about providing their power cleanly, but reducing cars, densifying, spending on bike paths, raising building standards – those things are all so contentious they’re not even discussed.” Ditto the folks who block windmills out of fear of chopping birds, thus helping lock in the next great mass extinction.

Much of the labor movement has grown more outspoken on climate change. They know that a dollar invested in renewable energy generates three times as many jobs as one wasted on fossil fuel, but the union that builds pipelines has fought so tenaciously to avoid change that the AFL-CIO came out for building the Dakota Access Pipeline, even after guards sicced German shepherds on native protesters.

In careful language that might have been written by a team at Exxon, the union said it supported new pipelines “as part of a comprehensive energy policy that creates jobs, makes the United States more competitive and addresses the threat of climate change.” “Comprehensive,” “balanced,” “measured” are the high cards in this rhetorical deck. “Realistic” is the ace in the hole.

There’s a reason this kind of appeal is so persuasive.

In almost every other political fight, a balanced and measured and “realistic” answer makes sense. I think billionaires should be taxed at 90 percent, and you think they contribute so much to society that they should pay no tax at all.

We meet somewhere in the middle, and come back each election cycle to argue it again, depending on how the economy is doing or Where the deficit lies.

Humans and their societies do work best with gradual transitions – it gives everyone some time to adapt. But climate change, sadly, isn’t a classic contest between two groups of people. It’s a negotiation between people on the one hand and physics on the other. And physics doesn’t do compromise.

Precisely because we’ve waited so long to take any significant action, physics now demands we move much faster than we want to.

Political realism and what you might call “reality realism” are in stark opposition. That’s our dilemma.
You could draw it on a graph. The planet’s greenhouse-gas emissions are still rising, though more slowly – let’s say we manage to top out by 2020.

In that case, to meet the planet’s goal of holding temperature increases under two degrees Celsius, we have to cut emissions 4.6 percent annually till they go to zero. If we wait till 2025, we have to cut them seven percent annually. If we wait till 2030 – well, it’s not even worth putting on the chart.

I have to sometimes restrain myself from pointing out how easy it would have been if we’d acted back in the late 1980s, when I was first writing about this – a gradual half a percent a year.

A glide path, not a desperate rappel down a deadly cliff.

The rate at which the world would have to move to zero emissions to keep global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius.

Yes, we’ve waited too long.

But maybe, just maybe, our task is not yet an impossible one.

That’s because the engineers have been doing their jobs much more vigorously than the politicians.

Over the past decade, the price of a solar panel has fallen 80 percent; across most of the U.S., wind is now the least expensive form of power.

In early October, an auction in Saudi Arabia for new electric generation was won by a solar farm pledging to deliver electrons for less than three cents a kilowatt hour, the cheapest price ever paid for electricity from any source in any place.

Danny Kennedy, a longtime solar pioneer who runs California’s Clean Energy Fund, a nonprofit connecting investors and startups, says every day brings some new project: “Just this week I’ve had entrepreneurs in here doing crowdfunding by Bitcoin to build microgrids in Southern Africa, and someone using lasers to cut silicon wafers to reduce the cost of solar cells by half.” He’d just come back from a conference in Shanghai – “You should feel the buzz; the Chinese have really realized their self-interest lies in dominating the disruptive technologies.”

That is to say, if we wanted to power the planet on sun and wind and water, we could.

It would be extremely hard, at the outer edge of the possible, but it’s mathematically achievable.

Mark Jacobson, who heads Stanford’s Atmosphere/Energy program, has worked to show precisely how it could happen in all 50 U.S. states and 139 foreign countries – how much wind, how much sun, how much hydro it would take to produce 80 percent of our power renewably by 2030. If we did, he notes, we’d not only dramatically slow global warming, we’d also eliminate most of the air pollution that kills 7 million people a year and sickens hundreds of millions more, almost all of them in the poorest places on the planet (pollution now outweighs tuberculosis, malaria, AIDS, hunger and war as a killer). “There’s no way you can be in Houston or Flint or Puerto Rico right now and not feel the urgency,” says Elizabeth Yeampierre, one of America’s leading climate-justice advocates. “Moving quickly can happen, but only if you uplift the work that’s really innovative, that’s already happening on the ground.”

Even much of the money is in place. For $50,000 in insulation, panels and appliances, Mosaic, the biggest solar lender in the country, can make a home run on 100 percent clean energy. “And we can make a zero-down loan, where people save money from Day One,” says the company’s CEO, Billy Parrish. Mosaic raised $300 million for its last round of bond financing, but it was nearly six times oversubscribed – that is, investors were ready to pony up about $1.8 billion. But even that amounts to small change: 36,000 homes in a nation of more than a hundred million dwellings. To go to scale, government is going to have to lead: loan guarantees for poor people, taking subsidies away from fossil fuels, making sure that when homeowners feed lowcarbon energy into the grid they get a good price from utilities. Even in California that kind of change comes hard: As Kennedy says, “The state legislature did not pass key legislation on clean energy this year despite a lot of hot air expended on it, and despite the fact that the Dems have a supermajority. I’m told to be patient and ‘we’ll get it done next year,’ but I find it frightening that folks think we have another year to wait.”

And so the only real question is, how do we suddenly make it happen fast?

That’s where politics comes in.

I said earlier that Trump wasn’t the whole problem – in fact, it’s just possible that in his know-nothing recklessness, he has upset the ever-so-patient apple cart.

You could almost see the oil companies wincing when Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement – for them, the agreement was a pathway to slow and managed change.

The promises it contained didn’t keep the planet from overheating – indeed, even if everyone had kept them, the Earth would still have gotten 3.5 degrees Celsius hotter, enough to collapse every ecosystem you’d like to name.

The accords did ensure that we’d still be burning significant amounts of hydrocarbons by 2050, and that the Exxons of the world would be able to recover most of the reserves they’ve so carefully mapped and explored.

But now some of those bets are off.

Around the rest of the world, most nations rejected Trump’s pullout with diplomatically expressed rage. “To everyone for whom the future of our planet is important, I say let’s continue going down this path,” said Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. (The exception: petro baron Vladimir Putin, whose official remarks concluded, “Don’t worry, be happy.”) In this country, the polling showed that almost nothing Trump had done was less popular. Perhaps, if Trump continues to sink, this particular piece of nonsense will sink with him.

And with Washington effectively gridlocked, the fight has moved elsewhere. When Trump pulled out of the climate accords, for instance, he explained that he’d been elected to govern “Pittsburgh, not Paris.” The next day the mayor of Pittsburgh said his town was now planning on 100 percent renewable energy, a pledge that’s been made by places as diverse as Atlanta, San Diego and Salt Lake City. Next year, representatives of thousands of regions, provinces, cities, parishes, arrondissements, districts and counties will descend on San Francisco for a Paris-like gathering of subnational actors, summoned by California Gov. Jerry Brown. According to Brown (who is as sadly compromised as most other leaders – he continues to allow wide-scale fracking and oil production across the state), Trump’s decision to leave the path of gradualism “is a stimulus … In a way, it’s a rising of … awareness.”

The pressure has also increased on banks and corporations.

In Australia, campaigners have forced the four major banks to refuse financing for what would have been one of the world’s biggest coal mines; BNP Paribas, the world’s eighth-largest lender, just announced it was out of the tar-sands and coal business. Several big California cities just announced they were suing the big oil companies for the damages caused by sea-level rise. The attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts have Exxon under investigation for pretending to take climate change seriously. All of that adds up to weaken the spreadsheet and the corporate resolve: “We’re trying to persuade a dying industry to get out of the way,” says Mark Campanale, the head of the NGO Carbon Tracker.

The best chance of forcing the future, of course, lies with movements – with people gathering in large enough numbers to concentrate the minds of CEOs and presidential candidates. Here, too, Trump seems to be upping the ante – nearly a quarter million Americans marched on D.C. for climate action in April, the largest such demonstration in Washington’s history. That activism keeps ramping up: At 350.org, we’re rolling out a vast Fossil Free campaign across the globe this winter, joining organizations like the Sierra Club to pressure governments to sign up for 100 percent renewable energy, blocking new pipelines and frack wells as fast as the industry can propose them, and calling out the banks and hedge funds that underwrite the past. It’s working – just in the last few weeks Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the largest in the world, announced plans to divest from fossil fuels, and the Nebraska Public Service Commission threw yet more roadblocks in front of the Keystone pipeline.

But the question is, is it working fast enough?

Paraphrasing the great abolitionist leader Theodore Parker, Martin Luther King Jr. used to regularly end his speeches with the phrase “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” The line was a favorite of Obama’s too, and for all three men it meant the same thing: “This may take a while, but we’re going to win.” For most political fights, it is the simultaneously frustrating and inspiring truth. But not for climate change. The arc of the physical universe appears to be short, and it bends toward heat.

Win soon or suffer the consequences.

Press link for more: Rolling Stone

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

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.”

Press link for more: National Geopolitical

Listening to the voices we don’t want to hear #Science #ClimateChange #StopAdani

Climate change: We were warned in 1992

By Anthony Doerr:

November 20, 2017

Twenty-five years ago this month, more than 1,500 prominent scientists, including over half of the living Nobel laureates, issued a manifesto titled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” in which they admonished, “A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated.”

They cited stresses on the planet’s atmosphere, forests, oceans and soils, and called on everybody to act decisively.

“No more than one or a few decades remain,” the scientists wrote, “before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost.”

I was 19 years old when their warning was published and though I understood, in a teenager-y, “Rainforest Rap” sort of way, that humans were messing with the planet, the document freaked me out.

It was so urgent, so dire. E.O. Wilson had signed it.

Carl Sagan had signed it!

So did I act immediately and decisively?

Um, I did not.

In the ensuing years I wrote cheques to some conservation organisations, replaced some incandescent bulbs and rode my bike to work.

I hammered together a composting bin that promptly fell apart.

I gave a self-important lecture to a neighbour on the importance of using his recycling can.

I also hurtled through the troposphere on hundreds of airplanes (each round trip from New York to London costs the Arctic another three square metres of ice), bought and sold multiple automobiles and helped my wife put two more Americans onto the planet.

Our air-conditioning compressor is at least a decade old, my truck averages 15 miles to the gallon and I routinely walk up to a podium, open a brand new plastic bottle of water, take a sip and promptly forget that it exists.

Sometimes I wake at 2am worrying that my great-granddaughter will have to march through her distant, broiling future gathering all the plastic I ever disposed of.

“You mean he knew,” she’ll ask her mum, as she pulls the plastic clamshell I ate a Chinese chicken salad out of back in November 2017, “and he still did this?”

 If our biological imperative is to pass our genes to the next generation, our moral imperative has to be to try, before we become corpses, to leave them a planet they can survive on.

“I told you,” her mother will say. “He was the absolute worst.”

This autumn, as smoke from dozens of wildfires made the air outside our windows in Boise, Idaho, about as healthy as a casino smoking lounge, as Harvey flooded parts of Texas and Maria smashed Puerto Rico, as 210,000 gallons of oil leaked from the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota, I was tempted to imagine US President Donald Trump cruising in his jumbo jet above the various cataclysms with some coal-friendly legislation in his lap and his fingers in his ears.

This is a man, after all, who in a single month in 2007 poured 2 million gallons of fresh water through the lawns, pool and 22 bathrooms of his Palm Beach, Florida, residence.

But sometimes making villains out of other people can distract us from our own complicities. If Trump were never elected, Harvey still would have flooded Houston, October still would have been the 394th consecutive month that global average temperatures were above the 20th century average, and New Delhi would still be choking on air so foul that just breathing for a day is roughly equivalent to smoking 44 cigarettes.

In a season when the silencing of voices is so rightfully in the public discussion, maybe the 25th anniversary of the “Scientists’ Warning” offers an opportunity to reflect on just how well each of us is listening to the voices we don’t want to hear.

Here’s what I think happens with me.

Maybe I wake up, turn on my phone, read something like, “On average, populations of vertebrate species declined by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012,” and I feel queasy — as though I’m living in a world that’s a shadow of the world I was born into — and at the same time I probably also get a little less sensitive to the insanity of our trajectory, and then I put down my phone and get swamped by the tsunami of the day: One kid has strep throat, another needs to go to the dentist, I’ve forgotten six or seven internet passwords, the dog just pooped on the rug.

Hour by hour, minute by minute, I make decisions that seem like the right things to do at the time, but which prevent me from reflecting on the most significant, most critical fact in my life: Every day I participate in a system that is womanising our big, gorgeous planet against our kids.

“Death,” Zadie Smith wrote in 2013, “is what happens to everyone else; If I truly believed that being a corpse was not only a possible future but my only guaranteed future — I’d do all kinds of things differently.”

If our biological imperative is to pass our genes to the next generation, our moral imperative has to be to try, before we become corpses, to leave them a planet they can survive on.

Since the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity,” humans have done extraordinary things. We stabilised the stratospheric ozone layer; we connected people in instantaneous and previously unimaginable ways; we landed a golf cart on Mars and drove it around.

We even got every nation-state on earth (except ours, apparently) to agree to try to achieve net zero greenhouse-gas emissions by midcentury.

But we’ve also removed enough forests to cover Texas nearly twice, pumped almost half of the carbon emitted in human history into the atmosphere, grown the population by over two billion and cut the number of wild animals on earth by something close to half.

This month a new coalition of scientists, led by researchers at Oregon State University, published a new warning: “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice.”

It’s not as poetic as the first, unfortunately, but it’s just as grim. “Soon,” they write, “it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out.” Over 15,000 scientists have signed the new call to action; according to the Alliance of World Scientists, that’s the most people to ever co-sign and formally support a published journal article.

For decades science has been warning us that we are compromising earth’s systems, and that none of us will be immune to the consequences.

Everywhere you look, people are trying: adopting renewable energy, working to guarantee women control over their reproductive decisions, fighting food waste, shifting to plant-based diets.

Maybe the most important thing the rest of us can do is take our fingers out of our ears and join them.

— New York Times News Service

Anthony Doerr is the author, most recently, of the novel All the Light We Cannot See.

Press link for more: Gulf News.com