Climate Refugees

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

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

The report included research from NOAA scientists.

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

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

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

The findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More about the report

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

Press link for more: NOAA.GOV

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Chris Hedges: Fascism in the age of Trump #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

A must watch video

Chris Hedges paints a picture of the years ahead, the end of the American Empire & a path through the insanity we are witnessing.

#ClimateChange takes toll on housing market. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Climate change starts to take its toll on housing market

David Leitch

Source: publichealthwatch

Money talks; BS walks

If there is one thing Australians can relate to its house prices.

There is a lot of coastal real estate.

This research discussed below is, to make a pun, “ground breaking”.

It shows how a large sample of people are demonstrating their core climate beliefs in the largest investment decision many of them will ever make.

Politicians can say what they like.

Scientists should take huge heart from papers such as this because it shows that property buyers and sellers are listening to them.

In my opinion, the most important work that needs to be done in climate change is showing what its impacts will be on the world.

We are long past having to prove that climate change is real and we need to be preparing for next year’s battles and not re-fighting the last war.

I’d like to thank Kate Mackenzie director, finance, policy & decision metrics at Climate-KIC Australia for drawing attention to this paper. Way to go.

“Disaster on the horizon: The price effect of sea level rise”

That’s the title of an SLR paper  published by Bernstein, Gustafson & Lewis.

The headline conclusion is that homes exposed to sea level rise [SLR] sell at a 7 per cent discount relative to observable equivalent unexposed properties equidistant from the beach. This discount has grown over time.

I am mostly just going to quote paragraphs, as it is a well written report and the conclusions come through loud and clear.

“Our first contribution is to show that properties exposed to projected SLR sell at around a 7% discount relative to otherwise similar properties (e.g. same zip, time, distance to coast, elevation, bedrooms, property and owner type), which we show implies very similar time frames for rising sea levels as the medium to highly pessimistic scientific forecasts. This effect is primarily driven by properties unlikely to be inundated for over half a century, suggesting that it is driven by investors pricing long horizon concerns about SLR costs.

Moreover, the same discount does not exist in rental rates, indicating that this discount is due to expectations of future damage, not current property quality……Finally, we show that the SLR exposure discount has increased substantially over the past decade, coinciding with both increased awareness and more pessimistic prognoses about the extent and speed of rising oceans. In particular, we document increased transaction volume and lower prices for sophisticated buyers following the significant revisions of the IPCC’s 2013 release, which increased SLR projects and awareness”

Emphasis added

Comment: An analyst might suggest that a 7 per cent discount is excessive, given the 50-year time horizon. People overvalue the risk.  Still people also overpay on tollroads in the sense that the time saved compared to the toll implies a high value for time and a willingness to pay a premium to avoid inconvenience.

480,000 property sales analysed

“Our main test sample contains over 480,000 sales of residential properties within 0.25 miles of the coast between 2007 and 2016. In our baseline analyses, we define any property that would be inundated at highest high tide with a 6 foot global average SLR to be exposed…….

….We further break this into exposure buckets, with properties that will experience ocean encroachment after 1 foot of global average sea level rise trading at a 22%, 2-3 feet at a 17% discount, 4-5 feet at a 9% discount and 6 feet at a 6% discount.4 Using the long run discount rate provided by Giglio et al. (2014) and assuming complete loss at the onset of inundation, we estimate that markets expect 1 foot of sea level rise within 35 years, 2-3 feet within 45 years, 4-5 feet after 65 years, and 6 feet in 80 years. These results are consistent with the medium to high projections provided in Parris et al. (2012) and utilized by the NOAA in their 2012 report.”

Comment: What a fantastic piece of research. Any investment bank research team would win awards for coming up with this evidence.

At the beginning of our sample in 2007 we find no significant difference between the prices of exposed and unexposed properties. By the end of our sample in 2016, exposed non-owner occupied properties are priced approximately 13.5% below comparable unexposed properties.

Press link for more: Reneweconomy.com

Climate change is the story you missed in 2017. #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

By Lisa Hymas

The effect of climate change on extreme weather has been dramatically undercovered’ Photograph: Enterprise/Rex/Shutterstock

Which story did you hear more about this year – how climate change makes disasters like hurricanes worse, or how Donald Trump threw paper towels at Puerto Ricans?

If you answered the latter, you have plenty of company.

Academic Jennifer Good analyzed two weeks of hurricane coverage during the height of hurricane season on eight major TV networks, and found that about 60% of the stories included the word Trump, and only about 5% mentioned climate change.

Trump doesn’t just suck the oxygen out of the room; he sucks the carbon dioxide out of the national dialogue.

Even in a year when we’ve had string of hurricanes, heatwaves, and wildfires worthy of the Book of Revelation – just what climate scientists have told us to expect – the effect of climate change on extreme weather has been dramatically undercovered.

Some of Trump’s tweets generate more national coverage than devastating disasters.

Good’s analysis lines up with research done by my organization, Media Matters for America, which found that TV news outlets gave far too little coverage to the welldocumented links between climate change and hurricanes. ABC and NBC both completely failed to bring up climate change during their news coverage of Harvey, a storm that caused the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in the continental US. When Irma hit soon after, breaking the record for hurricane intensity, ABC didn’t do much better.

Coverage was even worse of Hurricane Maria, the third hurricane to make landfall in the US this year. Not only did media outlets largely fail to cover the climate connection; in many cases, they largely failed to cover the hurricane itself.

The weekend after Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, the five major Sunday political talkshows devoted less than one minute in total to the storm and the humanitarian emergency it triggered. And Maria got only about a third as many mentions in major print and online media outlets as did Harvey and Irma, researchers at the MIT Media Lab found.

The media has a responsibility to report the big story, and to help the public understand the immediacy of the threat.

When Trump visited Puerto Rico on 3 October, almost two weeks after Maria assailed the island, he got wall-to-wall coverage as journalists reported on his paper-towel toss and other egregious missteps. But after that trip, prime-time cable news coverage of Puerto Rico’s recovery plummeted, Media Matters found, even though many residents to this day suffer from electricity outages and a lack of clean water, a dire situation that deserves serious and sustained coverage.

Scientists have been telling us that climate change will make hurricanes more intense and dangerous, an unfortunate reality made all too clear by this year’s record-busting hurricane season. “These are precisely the sort of things we expect to happen as we continue to warm the planet,” climate scientist Michael Mann, a distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State, told Huffington Post.

But while nearly three-quarters of Americans know that most scientists are in agreement that climate change is happening, according to recent poll, only 42% of Americans believe climate change will pose a serious threat to them during their lifetimes. Too many still believe – wrongly – that climate disasters are just something that will happen in the future. They are happening now.

In the first nine months of 2017, the US was assailed by 15 weather and climate disasters that each did more than a billion dollars in damage – in the case of the hurricanes, much more. The combined economic hit from Harvey, Irma and Maria could end up being $200bn or more, according to Moody’s Analytics. And then in October, unprecedented wildfires in northern California did an estimated $3bn in damage.

Climate change can be hard to see and intuitively grasp. It’s a relatively slow-moving scientific phenomenon caused by pollution from all around the globe. It’s not usually dramatic to watch like a candidate debate or the fallout from a White House scandal.

But an extreme weather event is a moment when people can see and feel climate change – and if they’re unlucky, get seriously hurt by it. When those disasters happen, media outlets need to cover them as climate change stories. And when a number of them happen in quick succession, as they did this year, the media have an even greater responsibility to report the big-picture story about climate change and help the public understand the immediacy of the threat.

If we are to fend off the worst possible outcomes of climate change, we need to shift as quickly as possible to a cleaner energy system. We could expect more Americans to get on board with that solution if they more fully understood the problem – and that’s where the critical role of the media comes in. As the weather gets worse, we need our journalism to get better.

Lisa Hymas is the climate and energy program director at Media Matters

Press link for more: The Guardian

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

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

by Aisha Binte Abdur Rob

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

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

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

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

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

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

The prediction presented in the reported since been consistently substantiated.

The magnitude of the crisis

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

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

Meanwhile, climate displacement has been widely evidenced.

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

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

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

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

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

Internal displacement within Bangladesh is now an exponentially growing phenomenon.

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

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

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

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

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

Moreover, there are limits to the capacity for adaptation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Future prospects: COP24 and PDD

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

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

Protecting the climate migrant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press link for more: New Age BD

Air Pollution is Criminal Negligence causing death #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

Words like climate change, green house syndrome and Kyoto Protocol appear to have no bearing on the minds of Indian authorities, whose responsibility it is to make the lives of the citizens more livable.

Today, the entire nation is expressing concern over the health emergency situation that prevails in Delhi, which is not only ringing alarm bells but also spreading a fear-psychosis all over.

The killer smog-haze intensified by smoke or other atmospheric pollutants-is back to wreak havoc.

It has blanketed the entire National Capital Region (NCR).

The recurrence of smog is symptomatic of the toxic indifference of the powers-that-be, which has given birth to this man-made and easily avoidable catastrophe.

The apathy of the officials needs to be condemned in no uncertain terms because they have become oblivious of the agonising travails of the people.

That is criminal negligence of the worst order.

It was way back in 2008 that a Harvard University Study came up with a startling reality – around 40 per cent of denizens in the city were suffering from respiratory ailments because authorities gave a damn to the well-being of the people living in the national capital.

Six years later, a WHO survey pointed out that 13 Indian cities were among the 20 most polluted in the world.

The toxic chamber aka Delhi had the dubious distinction of being the worst of the lot!

A World Bank study in 2013 observed that pollution-related health damages were costing India about one per cent of its GDP.

The tragic irony is that all these findings have fallen on deaf ears.

Rather than spring into action, the policy makers have turned a blind eye, which has resulted in smog assuming fatalistic proportions.

Remedial measures have been suggested by Supreme Court-appointed panels, including a decade-and-half ruling that mandated introduction of CNG in public transport system.

Though belated, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is gradually getting down to business like ordering closure of educational institutions, a five-day ban on construction and demolition activities.

For all the talks with neighbouring states over burning of crop residue, stubble, it is a fact that pollutants and toxic gases, emanating from industrial units, vehicles, generators and power plants are sure shot recipes for disaster.

The odd-even scheme for vehicles lasted exactly a year.

Severity of the situation is discernible as PM 2.5 and PM10 levels are at an all-time high.

The concrete jungle that Delhi is traps pollutants that hang like the Sword of Damocles.

Sadly, for all their electioneering blabber, no leader talks of the menace or on how to tackle the life-threatening pollution levels.

It has become a health risk to even breathe in and around Delhi.

The Modi government, which champions Swachh Bharat movement, should also recognise that people do have an undeclared right to health and, in turn, to clean air.

The culprits can be nailed if stringent laws and punitive measures are implemented.

Given this sordid situation, don’t blame tourists and potential investors if they shy away from Delhi or even India!

Press link for more: The Hans India

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.

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It took a long time for China to wake up to #ClimateChange #StopAdani #auspol

Experience of climate change has altered people’s attitudes, argues the editor of a Chinese magazine

Hu Shuli

China

It took a long time for China to wake up to climate change. But in the coming years the country will become a world leader on tackling the causes of a warming planet.

To understand why, consider how quickly China has come around on the issue.

In the relatively recent past, many Chinese believed that climate change was a lie made up by developed countries to contain the growth of developing ones, ­especially China.

Even after scientists accepted the correlation between global warming and carbon emissions, many in the government clung to the idea that countries have a “common but differentiated responsibility”—with an emphasis on “differentiated”.

Whenever an official was able to resist foreign pressure in international discussions, he was considered a hero.

Since industrialisation, the argument ran, developed countries have accumulated a larger carbon footprint.

First-hand experience of climate change has altered the Chinese people’s attitude.

A turning-point came in 2008.

That year, on the eve of China’s most important holiday, the Spring Festival, rare freezing temperatures and heavy rain nearly paralysed the entire south of the country.

Thanks to the wide reach of the internet, every extreme-weather event since, including Typhoon Hato in 2017, has attracted massive attention.

The smog that arrives predictably each winter has made air pollution one of the most widely discussed topics among the Chinese.

The people have moved from ignorance to fighting for the right to information, to taking the initiative, to demanding government action.

During recent trade summits, the Chinese government temporarily shut down many industrial businesses in order to clear the air and save its face.

But that does nothing to save the planet.

China is the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide. It is now working to put its own house in order.

Climate change and air pollution are related, but not identical, issues.

Most air pollution is produced by the same sources that emit carbon dioxide: heating, power generation, industrial activity and cars.

That means controlling pollution can also mean cutting emissions.

This can be seen as the uniquely Chinese path to tackling climate change in 2018 and beyond.

In 2009 China announced plans to cut its carbon emissions by 40-45% relative to GDP growth by 2020, compared with 2005 levels.

Then, in 2014, it said it wanted carbon-emission levels to peak around 2030, and would even try to move this date forward if possible.

This marked a striking shift, from emphasising lowering the concentration of emissions to trying to control total levels.

Under China’s current political system, the central government breaks down carbon-emission targets for different levels of government.

Now, checks on targets are becoming more stringent. The party may urge more advanced regions to meet goals ahead of schedule.

Even after Donald Trump said he would pull America out of the Paris agreement on climate change, the attitude of China’s government and people has not regressed.

Rather, many have called upon the country to take on more responsibility for the sake of all humanity.

Warming on the idea

What measures will it take?

Recent efforts to cut overcapacity are the starting-point.

Overcapacity is primarily concentrated in high-emission industries such as steel and coal.

The government wants to control the capacity of these sectors.

Industrial businesses will feel the force of strict environmental and carbon-emissions regulations. This inextricably links progress to economic reforms and efforts to improve regional industrial structures.

Ultimately, this is a matter of governance.

China’s economic development has reached a stage in which manufacturing is giving way to service industries. Goods like steel, cement and glass have already reached their peak output, or will soon do so. Solutions to climate change are compatible with China’s transition.

In the short term, the country will face economic and social costs from its actions, including slower growth and rising unemployment.

That means the social safety-net will need to be shored up.

Also, China’s emphasis must move from mitigation of climate change to adaptation to it. That involves upgrading infrastructure, changing lifestyles and further raising public consciousness. In the long run, as China’s industries shift from manufacturing to services, social resistance to the economic effects of climate-change action will decrease.

Current achievements are still a long way from meeting the expectations of the people. China’s climate awakening means the country needs to put in a long-term effort to adopt more intensive and effective measures to cope with global warming.

Luckily, Chinese people have by now realised the true meaning of the idea, “We only have one Earth.”

Hu ShuliBEIJINGHu Shuli: editor-in-chief, Caixin Media

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