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Big Oil & Big Coal v the planet is the fight of our lives #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #ClimateChange #TheDrum #QandA

By David Sirota

The world’s leading scientists issued a report warning of total planetary dystopia unless we take immediate steps to seriously reduce carbon emissions.

Then, oil and gas corporations dumped millions of dollars into the 2018 elections to defeat the major initiatives that could have slightly reduced fossil fuel use.

Though you may not know it from the cable TV coverage, this was one of the most significant – and the most terrifying – stories of the midterms.

For those who actually care about the survival of the human race, the key questions now should be obvious: is there any reason to hope that we will retreat from “drill baby drill” and enact a sane set of climate policies?

Or is our country – and, by extension, our species – just going to give up?

Before answering, it is worth reviewing exactly what happened over these last few months, because the election illustrates how little the fossil fuel industry is willing to concede in the face of a genuine crisis.

While the dominant media narrative has been about Democratic voters euphorically electing a House majority and yelling a primal scream at Donald Trump, the loudest shriek of defiance was the one bellowed by oil and gas CEOs.

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that we have only 12 years to ward off an ecological disaster, those oil and gas executives’ message to Planet Earth was unequivocal: drop dead.

That message was most explicit in Colorado, where a drilling and fracking boom is happening in the middle of fast-growing suburbs. With oil and gas companies seeking to put noxious derricks and rigs near population centers, local activists backed a ballot measure called Proposition 112 that aimed to make sure new fossil fuel infrastructure is set a bit farther away from schools, hospitals, residential neighborhoods and water sources.

The initiative was an angry response to a state government so awash in fossil fuel campaign cash that it has blocked legislation to merely allow regulators to prioritize the health and safety of residents when those regulators issue permits for drilling and fracking.

According to an industry analysis, Proposition 112 would have left much of the oil and gas reserves near Denver accessible for extraction, but yes, it is true – at a time when climate scientists say we must keep fossil fuel deposits in the ground, there was a chance the initiative would have stopped some extraction.

The oil and gas industry could have looked across a Colorado ravaged by climate-intensified wildfires, droughts and floods and decided to accept the modest measure, knowing that the initiative is the absolute minimum that is required at this perilous moment. Instead, fossil fuel companies did the opposite: they poured $40m into opposing Proposition 112 and spreading insidious agitprop.

Despite scientists warning that fracked natural gas threatens to worsen climate change, oil and gas operatives in the state promoted cartoonishly dishonest claims that burning fossil fuel “is cleaning our air and improving health”. As Colorado’s local media effectively erased the term “climate change” from its election coverage, the industry managed to defeat the measure by outspending its proponents 40-to-1. In the process, fossil fuel companies’ scorched-earth campaign was a clear statement that in the face of an environmental cataclysm, oil and gas moguls will not accept even a tiny reduction in their revenues.

In the Pacific north-west and the south-west, it was a similar tale.

In Washington State, petroleum giants funneled $25m into defeating a proposal to require polluters to pay some of the costs of the climate change havoc they are wreaking. The measure, which would have assessed a $15 fee for every ton of greenhouse gases they emit, was beaten with 56% of the vote, after the industry’s ad campaign featured criticism from a former state attorney general – who viewers weren’t told now works at Chevron’s law firm. In all, $13m of the funding against the measure came from BP – a company that simultaneously claims to unsuspecting consumers that it supports a carbon tax.

In sun-baked Arizona, you may have thought solar energy would be a fairly easy pitch. However, after the owner of the state’s major energy provider pourednearly $30m into the election, Arizonans soundly rejected a ballot initiative to force the utility to get more of its power from renewable sources.

Meanwhile, in a single California county, the fossil fuel industry spent a whopping $8m to defeat a citizens’ initiative to ban new drilling and fracking.

Realizing that they may have overreached, some fossil fuel industry spokespeople are now telling lawmakers that oil and gas companies really do want to work collaboratively on environmental issues. However, their behavior in the election proved that the industry is not operating in good faith. Oil and gas CEOs showed that they will gladly accelerate the climate crisis if doing so allows them to rake in more money.

And make no mistake about it: the industry’s roughly $100m in campaign spending this year was not just about one individual election cycle. It was a shock-and-awe spectacle designed to intimidate any prospective campaigns, organizations and movements that want to challenge the political supremacy of oil and gas – and some prominent Democrats in Washington seem to be cowering in fear.

Always nervous about the donor class and about electoral blowback from Republicans, some congressional Democrats now seem intent on avoiding any direct confrontation over climate change policy.

Indeed, days before the election, the Hill newspaper surveyed lawmakers and major environmental groups, and found that “Democrats are unlikely to pursue major climate change legislation if they win the House majority, despite a growing body of evidence suggesting time is running out to address the issue.”

As her own state was being incinerated by climate-intensified wildfires, the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, faced pressure for climate action from new lawmakers like New York Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – but Pelosi would only commit to reviving a moribund congressional committee to study the issue. The conflict-averse posture follows the party recently rescinding its policy of rejecting fossil fuel campaign cash, as well as Democratic Representative Vicente Gonzalez of climate-ravaged Texas setting up a new Oil & Gas Caucus to promote the “economic benefits of fully harnessing the country’s natural resources”.

Taken together, these developments – coupled with the Trump administration’s opposition to any serious climate policy – have left many voters and activists feeling despondent, even in the aftermath of a “blue wave” election. As former Bernie Sanders campaign aide Claire Sandberg tweeted: “Entire towns are burning to nothing in California. People are being incinerated alive in their cars attempting to flee. But a majority of Democrats still won’t reject fossil fuel money, and no one has put forward a climate plan that is remotely commensurate with the IPCC findings.”

And yet, amid the thick smoke of wildfires and industry propaganda, there is still reason to believe that our children are not guaranteed to live in a real-life version of Mad Max: Fury Road. Our fate is not – yet – sealed, as long as those who want humanity to survive pay attention to exactly what science, the fossil fuel industry and the political trends are telling us, and then act accordingly in the arenas where immediate progress is most likely.

First and foremost, there are now 14 states that have the trifecta of Democratic control of the governorship and both legislative chambers. Those include major fossil fuel producing states such as Colorado, New Mexico and California. Democratic leaders in these states cannot claim that climate inaction is a product of Republican intransigence – the Democrats in these locales have uninhibited power. And so if activists work to hold these local Democratic lawmakers accountable, there is a good chance they can force legislatures to enact emissions standards, renewable energy mandates and other environmental rules that will bolster the fight against climate change.

Similarly, states and cities collectively control trillions dollars of public pension money that can be marshaled for the battle. Shifting that cash out of oil and gas can at once provide more capital for renewable energy and drain fossil fuel companies of resources they need for their extraction binge.

Officials like New York comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, incoming Connecticut treasurer Shawn Wooden and North Carolina treasurer Dale Folwell may be unknown compared with the average backbench senator on the Sunday chat shows, but they and their colleagues who control these massive war chests have an enormous amount of divestment power that can both support the climate change fight, and boost investment returns for retirees. There’s a good chance that at least some of them can be spurred to action if they are no longer permitted to toil in obscurity, and instead face consistent grassroots pressure.

The courts are another arena where the climate fight seems to be accelerating. There, teenagers are mounting a landmark case arguing that the government’s refusal to restrict carbon emissions is endangering the next generation’s constitutional right to life, liberty and property. A federal judge also just blockedthe Keystone XL pipeline, saying that the Trump administration had improperly “discarded prior factual findings related to climate change”.

At the same time, state attorneys general are pursuing a lawsuit examining whether the oil industry deliberately buried science that showed the dangers of climate change. Those cases, which bring even more pressure on the industry, can be supported by concurrent hearings and subpoenas from the low-profile House science committee, which is expected to be chaired by Texas Democratic Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, who has called for more aggressive action on climate change.

So, considering both the election setbacks and opportunities, let’s go back to those original questions: is there reason to hope or are we just going to give up?

The answer is contingent on our ability to focus in an age of distraction.

Will those who truly care about the survival of humanity muster the discipline to occasionally look away from the Washington DC garbage fire and focus more activism on the state and local level?

Will a media that obsesses over Trump’s tweets find the will to more diligently cover a climate crisis that threatens the planet?

Will our political class behold the fossil fuel industry’s sociopathy and realize that we face an existential choice between profits and ecological survival?

In short, will we as a society finally start treating this emergency as an actual emergency?

If the answer is yes, then there is still reason to believe we are not doomed – but we better get to work, because there’s no time to spare.

  • David Sirota is a Guardian US columnist and an investigative journalist

Press link for more: The Guardian

The fight has just begun.

https://youtu.be/uzCxFPzdO0Y

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The Global #ExtinctionRebellion Begins #ClimateStrike #StopAdani #Auspol #qldpol #nswpol #SpringSt #ClimateChange can no longer be ignored. #TheDrum #QandA

Singers perform at the Extinction Rebellion rally in London, England, on October 31, 2018.
Kay Michael / Extinction Rebellion

Dr. Gail Bradbrook, a mother of two boys, has seen enough of her government’s complicity in pumping increasing amounts of CO2 and methane into an already overburdened atmosphere.

A professor of molecular biophysics, her deep understanding of science has led her to confront the existential crisis facing humans. Acting on her love for her children and the disrupted world that is being left to them, she has channeled her horror about this crisis into action.

Dr. Bradbrook co-founded the group Rising Up!, which is now helping to organize the Extinction Rebellion, a movement composed of several thousand people across the UK that is using nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience to demand action on our climate emergency.

On October 31, more than 1,000 of them blocked Parliament Square in London, launching their mass civil disobedience campaign. They issued a “Declaration of Rebellion” against the UK Government for its inaction.

A “rebellion” might sound extreme, but given the times, it is not. This moment has been long in the making for Dr. Bradbrook.

Truthout asked what compelled her to the point of fomenting a rebellion against her government.

Was it the climate crisis, or government inaction?

“Something deeper,” Dr. Bradbrook replied. “A lifetime of a deeper knowing that something isn’t right…starting at age nine, a longing to be part of the change process and a ridiculous nerdy side that is always asking why?

Why is [the state of the planet] like this?”

Bradbrook devoted herself to learning about economics and theories of change. She knew the system had to be changed before it killed us all, but for nearly a decade she repeatedly failed in her attempts to inspire or ignite a mass civil disobedience movement.

“So in 2016 I went on a deep retreat to address personal anxiety and to pray for guidance,” she explained.

When she returned, Dr. Bradbrook galvanized the Extinction Rebellion.

Her online call to action is a critical overview of the extent the climate crisis and should be mandatory viewing for everyone.

It has gone viral.

The Extinction Rebellion is taking hold in the UK.

“The social model of power says that government and institutions don’t have power — we afford them power by our obedience to them, hence the social contract,” she told Truthout. “It’s time to break that.

I believe our biggest responsibility right now is to step forward in acts of peaceful civil disobedience.”

“Based on the science,” reads the group’s website, “we have ten years at the most to reduce CO2 emissions to zero, or the human race and most other species are at high risk of extinction within decades.”

Her statement loosely references a recent UN report warning that humanity has only a dozen years to take dramatic actions in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (1.5C), or face catastrophic impacts.

In order to create a political crisis, Dr. Bradbrook believes mass civil disobedience must involve roughly three percent of her country’s population. She believes it’s possible to build such a coalition, because the kind of changes that Extinction Rebellion is advocating for would ultimately benefit everyone.

The by-products of forcing governments around the world to take drastic actions to mitigate the climate crisis at hand are a more beautiful Earth, deeper connections and less frenetic lives.

“I think that the changes needed will also resolve many other issues we are facing,” Bradbrook explained. “That is why I call for those working in other fields to join this movement…there is a time for mass civil disobedience to change the system and I feel it has arrived.”

Lizia, who described herself to Truthout as a 20-year-old apprentice from Southeast London, said she joined Extinction Rebellion because she had always been moved by the suffering of our planetary citizens and the planet itself.

“What’s harder to swallow is when the suffering is needless and preventable,” she said. “Extinction Rebellion seems to me a culmination of everything I have fought for.”

Describing the sixth mass extinction as “unlike any other injustice I have protested against,” Lizia feels her government has been “apathetic and neglectful towards life” and believes they are actively supporting the slow annihilation that we are experiencing, “all in the name of greed and extremely short-sighted ‘benefits’ such as financial gain or political brownie points. I not only have a moral objection to their conduct, this is a fight for survival.” 

The Declaration

During their action on October 31 in London, Extinction Rebellion sent out a press release, which read in part:

The disruption we have caused today is nothing to the destruction that is being unleashed by our leaders’ criminal inaction on climate and ecological breakdown. Just yesterday a WWF report announced that humanity has wiped out 60 percent of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, yet Philip Hammond MP entirely neglected to mention climate breakdown in his budget. Our politicians have failed us. We must take our future into our own hands.

Today we pledge, in accordance with our consciences, and with a clear duty to our children; our communities; this nation and planet; a non-violent rebellion on behalf of life itself and against our criminally negligent government. The abject failure to protect citizens and the next generations from unimaginable suffering brought about by climate breakdown and social collapse is no longer tolerable.

We will not stand idly by and allow the ongoing destruction of all that we love. Our hearts break and we rage against this madness. We have both a right and duty to rebel in the face of this tyranny of idiocy, of this planned collective suicide. Join us.

George Monbiot, long-time climate change and environmental journalist for The Guardian spoke at the action, as did MP Caroline Lucas, Green Party MEP from South West England Molly Scott Cato, and 15-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, who is currently breaking Swedish law by refusing to go to school due to inaction on the climate.

More than a thousand people blocked the road in front of Parliament for the launching of the rebellion, and conscientious protectors of the Earth locked themselves onto each other in the middle of the road. Thousands of others supported the rebellion online and pledged future arrest and involvement in a series of actions planned for November.

Demands from the group include demanding the UK government tell the truth about the ecological emergency upon us, enact legally binding policies to reduce carbon emissions to net-zero by 2025, and create a national Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes needed as part of creating a functional democracy.

Extinction Rebellion describes the British government’s position towards our crisis as “criminal inaction.”

“Even the Most Optimistic Predictions Are Dire”

Dr. Bradbrook’s presentation outlines many of the basic facts of the climate crisis, and underscores how bleak our situation truly is.

After discussing the imperative to grieve what is happening, she outlines the over-conservative nature of much of the climate science most governments and mainstream media rely upon. She quotes Professor Hans Schellnhuber, who was the head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the senior advisor to Pope Francis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the European Union: “Climate change is now reaching the end-game…the issue is the very survival of our civilization.”

Discussing non-linear temperature increases, Dr. Bradbrook spells out how Earth can easily tip into a “hothouse state” and remain there, considering the fact that there is already only a meager five percent chance of keeping global warming to 2°C. Yet even the goal of preventing the planet from warming more than 2°C is now acknowledged by most scientists as being an outdated politically influenced goal, with the real goal being more in the realm of limiting warming to 1.5°C, if not even 1°C, which we have already surpassed.

This civilisation is finished!

https://youtu.be/uzCxFPzdO0Y

Of the sixth mass extinction event already well underway, Dr. Bradbrook outlines how one in four mammals, one in eight birds, one third of all the world’s amphibians and 70 percent of the world’s assessed plants are already an endangered species, and how a 2018 study of British mammals showed one in five could be extinct within a single decade.

“I don’t personally know how to deal with the grief from all of this, when I think about the specifics,” she says.

In her presentation, Dr. Bradbrook discusses a 2017 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that showed that there is a one in 20 chance that the 2.2 trillion tons of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere could cause an existential warming threat (meaning it could cause the extinction of humans) if Earth’s temperature warms to 5°C or greater, which it may very well do at current trajectories.

“It is equivalent to a one-in-20 chance the plane you are about to board will crash,” one of the authors of the study has said. “We would never get on that plane with a one-in-20 chance of it coming down but we are willing to send our children and grandchildren on that plane.”

This kind of warming would lead to loss of humans on a mass scale. Yet Dr. Bradbrook points out that governmental responses are nowhere near proportional to the amount of danger we face.

In fact, in some ways, they’re going backward. In the UK, the government has scrapped support for onshore wind, killed off the flagship green home scheme, sold off the green investment bank, watered down the incentive to buy a greener car, ditched the green tax target, and refused tidal power, among other regressive actions.

Meanwhile, London’s Heathrow Airport has approved a third runway that will increase the airport’s emissions by 7.3m tonnes — the carbon equivalent of more than the country of Cyprus. Fracking is tax subsidized, even though an increase in global methane emissions has been linked to fracking. Dr. Bradbrook’s presentation underscores how the UK is experiencing its worst period of environmental policy in 30 years.

“The scope of the crisis shows starkly just how massively our governments have failed us,” Lizia told Truthout of this aspect of the crisis.

“I have heard stories from generations above about retirement pensions, adequate healthcare, easy access to higher education, owning houses and vehicles… but in my own short lifetime I have witnessed spiraling desperation and consequent emotional detachment, apathy and abuse in the people around me from the failing of many vital services,” she said. “What on Earth will the result be to sit back and let those in charge handle an issue of this magnitude?” 

And in the US, under the Trump administration, the situation is far worse.

Dr. Bradbrook’s presentation shows that the first IPCC report was in 1990, which was 28 years ago. The UN, even back then, warned us to keep global temperatures from reaching 1°C (above a late 19th century baseline temperature) or face societal collapse. Global temperatures are currently at 1.1°C, and will likely reach a 1.5°C increase within a decade from now. Carbon dioxide levels are now 60 percent higher than they were in 1990, and are still rising, as are methane levels.

“We have to conclude that conventional methods of dealing with climate change have failed,” Dr. Bradbrook says. “Governments have failed to implement the wide-scale changes that only they have the power to implement. And environmental organizations have failed to pressure governments enough to implement these changes.”

She then shares a quote from Dr. Kate Marvel of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who is studying human activities effect on the climate and what we can expect in the future.

“To be a climate scientist is to be an active participant in a slow-motion horror story,” Dr. Marvel has written. “We are inevitably sending our children to live on an unfamiliar planet…. As a climate scientist, I am often asked to talk about hope. Particularly in the current political climate, audiences want to be told that everything will be all right in the end. Climate change is bleak, the organizers always say. Tell us a happy story. Give us hope. The problem is, I don’t have any.”

Dr. Marvel adds something that is worth quoting in full:

Hope is a creature of privilege….[T]he opposite of hope is not despair. It is grief. Even while resolving to limit the damage we can mourn. And here, the sheer scale of the problem provides a perverse comfort: we are in this together. The swiftness of the change, its scale, and inevitability binds us into one, broken hearts trapped together under a warming atmosphere. We need courage, not hope…Courage is the resolve to do well without the assurance of a happy ending.

Dr. Bradbrook is asking us to consider this ethical question: “What do you do when your government is actively promoting the gassing of the world and driving extinction events?”

Risking Everything

Truthout asked Dr. Bradbrook what she is willing to risk with her actions for the Extinction Rebellion.

“Everything. I don’t mean to sound melodramatic, but my life, if necessary,” she replied. “My freedom. The risk of ridicule. Though I also pray for protection for myself and my children and those around us.”

While she is not actively seeking out danger, Dr. Bradbrook said she is willing to risk “everything” because “the stakes are so high,” and went on to quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”

She notes how environmental activists in other parts of the world are being killed on a regular basis, and said this: “I come from a place of deep privilege, which is another reason to step out of its comforting deadly embrace and offer service.”

Lizia felt similarly, but added another angle.

“I believe that the fate of our futures lie with our youth,” she said. “We must find a way to adequately educate them not just academically, but also equip them with the true life skills required for survival, and allow them the space to grow wild and passionate.” 

Dr. Bradbrook believes we are all locked into a damaging individualism, a constant and personal asking of “what about me” and “what do I need” and “how can I feel better.” She believes this is precisely what must change in order to raise our consciousness.

“I feel the time has come to be fully initiated into our service, to give up hope as a drug for our hidden worries that we are suppressing. To fully face the grief of these times and to act accordingly is what we are called upon now, which means being willing to take risks,” she said.

Dr. Bradbrook believes it is now our responsibility personally to honor the Earth by “making changes in our relationship to her.”

“Our personal responsibility is to fully face this crisis at an emotional level, to be willing to hit the depths of grief and despair, and then to act accordingly,” she explained. “To stop having our lives be about us, because they aren’t. We are here, I believe, to serve life, to make of ourselves worthy ancestors once we die.”

20-year-old Lizia underscored Dr. Bradbrook’s comment in a poignant way. She told Truthout about how, while playing sports at school, she was taught that winning didn’t matter, only that you participated and had fun.

Now, winning is a life-or-death matter: “’Winning’ for me would be gaining some certainty that I will be able to grow old,” she said.

Dr. Bradbrook told Truthout that the actions of the rebellion must be disruptive, and they must be sacrificial. Recently, a major series of actions took place on November 12, and more are planned for November 17 at Parliament Square in London.

The Extinction Rebellion is being contacted daily by people around the world seeking to join, and is already in dialogue with groups from 15 countries, including the Climate Mobilization within the US.

When asked what she was willing to risk by joining the Extinction Rebellion, Lizia was blunt.

“My existence is at risk if I do nothing,” she said. “The lives of my siblings, my peers, everyone and everything I love are at risk if I do nothing. My friends are willingly being arrested, others are leaving education and ‘ruining their future prospects’ because – what future?”

Press link for more: Truth Out

Fifty arrests as #climatechange activists descend on London again #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #TheDrum #QandA

Almost 50 climate change activists have now been arrested in London this week after tags were spray painted on the government’s environment headquarters and a huge banner was unfurled on Westminster Bridge.

Extinction Rebellion campaigners descended on the capital again today following a blockade at the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy department in Victoria Street.

The group displayed a huge banner on Westminster Bridge, reading “Climate Change… We’re F***ed”, while others staged a sit-in at the entrances to Defraand Downing Street.

The campaigners turned their attention to the threat of an “imminent” global food crisis.

Climate change activists staged a second day of civil disobedience today, as they call on the government to take Britain’s commitments to greenhouse gas emissions seriously. (Extinction Rebellion)

The Met Police said 27 people were arrested on suspicion of various offences, including obstruction of a public highway and criminal damage.

At least seven of those were from Downing Street, the group said, and another seven at the Department for Food and Rural Affairs.

We await confirmation of any charges.

Extinction Rebellion activists hit Westminster with civil disobedience

The action follows Monday’s blockade at the BEIS headquarters which saw people glue themselves to the doors to prevent staff gaining access – 22 people were arrested in total.

George Barda of the group told the Standard that while fracking may be the most visible ecological issue in Britain, we face a must more sinister threat from the neglect of farm lands and countryside, as billions of hectares of farming land is lost every year.

He said: “Fracking is just the most overt manifestation of the government’s failure to protect the environment. The focus today is on land use.

A protester glues he hand to a fence outside Downing Street as part of a civil disobedience by Extinction Rebellion. Activists are calling on the government to act to turnaround environmental policy as part of a week of coordinated actions. (Extinction Rebellion)

Michael Gove has been spouting nice words about how we should take our soil seriously, but the reality is that large areas of the country have seen decline in soil fertility. and we are facing a major food shortage.”

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has reported that humanity has roughly 50-60 harvests left, at the current rate of rising infertility and loss of land.

“Without a functioning planet, all our other problems become minor in comparison,” said Mr Barda, on the eve of a major announcement on the state of Britain’s exit from the European Union.

The need for action must transcend politics, he added, while the Conservative government makes only “rhetorical” commitments on environmental matters.

“When the Tories shook off the Lib Dems they stripped the renewable energy industry of all support overnight and killed 30,000 jobs,” the activist said. “We’ve got to dissuade people form the idea that a nice environment is some kind of luxury. It’s the air we breath and the food we eat.

The FAO said: “The main problem humanity is currently facing is not global warming, extinction of species or any other environmental crisis – the main problem we will have to face is the degradation of our soils.

“The world population continues to increase while we destroy more and more topsoil. If this is allowed to continue there won’t be enough fertile soil left to feed a growing world population.”

Christian Climate Action campaigners who joined them said at least five of their members were arrested, with some bundled to the ground, handcuffed and carried to police vans during the non-violent protest.

Holly-Anna Petersen of the group said police were forcefully pushing down members as they made arrests.

“There are photos on our twitter of them pushing some of our members to the ground with incredible force – I think that they were on high alert today due to everything that was happening with Brexit,” she said. “I was really scared for one of our members who is 82 years old, but he is very brave and determined.

“People around our world are already suffering the effects of climate change and scientists have said that if we carry on our current trajectory that we will have climate breakdown by 2030.

“We need the political will to unlock this. In the last few years the government has virtually banned onshore wind, slashed subsidies for electric vehicles, promoted fracking, cancelled the zero carbon homes initiative and scrapped solar subsidies.

“We have tried all other mechanisms to bring about change and they have failed. Non-violent direct action is the only means that we have left to wake up our politicians.”

A government spokesperson said in an earlier comment: “The UK is a world leader in the fight against climate change. Natural gas can continue to play a role as we deliver our emissions reduction targets, so it is only right that we utilise our domestic gas resources as we transition to a low-carbon economy.

“Shale gas has the potential to be a new domestic energy source, enhancing our energy security and delivering economic benefits, including the creation of well paid, quality jobs.”

Press link for more: Evening Standard

https://youtu.be/uzCxFPzdO0Y

Our planet no longer has a stable climate. Stop throwing fuel on the fire! Join #StopAdani Stop #ClimateChange #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #auspol #qldpol #TheDrum #QandA

Boiled down, climate change is a simple math problem.

There’s a finite amount of carbon the world can chuck in the atmosphere and still have a stable climate.

Each passing year we plunk more of it up there, the smaller the amount we have left to burn.

That what makes the findings of a new International Energy Agency (IEA) report released on Tuesday so daunting.

Rather than working to solve global warming, the report shows that the world is on track to take the climate math test, bathe it in gasoline, set it on fire, and then toss it into a dumpster of oily rags for good measure.

The latest iteration of the annual World Energy Outlook report takes stock of where the world’s energy mix is at today and where it’s headed out until 2040.

It confirms that after a few years of flatlining, global carbon emissions rose again in 2017. And unless we issue a dramatic course correction, they’ll keep rising into the coming decades thanks to a glut of fossil fuel power plants under construction, cheap natural gas, our love of plastic, and an extra 1.7 billion Earthlings that will call our planet home by 2040. 

All told, fossil fuel infrastructure already built or scheduled “will account for some 95 percent of all emissions permitted under international climate targets in coming decades,” IEA director Faith Bristol said in a statement.

Almost all of the growth in emissions and consumption will happen in Asia, and in China and India in particular.

By 2040, China is projected to become the largest net oil importer in history even as demand slows in the developed world. But even if demand slows in the developed world, production isn’t likely to.

The U.S., in particular, is slated to “pull away from the rest of the field as the world’s largest oil and gas producer” thanks to fracking.

America will account for more than half of all oil and gas produced globally by 2025, according to the report. 

Scientists recently laid out the reality that we need to decrease carbon emissions 45 percent by 2030 in order to keep global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial level.

The IEA analysis shows that hope is basically in the toilet the way things are going, and that at our current rate we’ll essentially have a single year’s-worth of emissions wiggle room left to meet the 2 degrees Celsius goal by 2040. 

The report had some small bits of good news the world could build on.

The IEA itself has modeled massive renewable energy growth over the next five years, while the new report shows electricity now accounts for a fifth of all energy consumption thanks to increasing electrification and digification around the world.

That means effectively decarbonizing the electricity sector could pay massive climate dividends, something power-hogging companies like Apple and Facebook are already doing because it makes economic sense. 

According to the IEA, 70 percent of new energy investments are coming from or largely influenced by government.

That means that stronger climate regulations and commitments—like the ones that will be under consideration at international climate talks next month—also have a huge role to play. But as with all things climate, everything is going to have to happen faster than it currently is.

Press link for more: Earther.gizmodo

To get a feel for the situation we are in watch this video

https://youtu.be/uzCxFPzdO0Y

The forsaken children strike back: 21 young people sue to save planet #ExtinctionRebellion #StopAdani #ClimateStrike #auspol #qldpol #TheDrum #QandA The world is demanding #ClimateAction

We face an unprecedented challenge an existential threat.

https://youtu.be/uzCxFPzdO0Y

Our children face a very uncertain future!

By Joseph Stiglitz

Joseph Stiglitz speaking at the Australian National Press Club Yesterday.

A remarkable trial is set to begin in Eugene, Oregon, on November 19. The Trump administration is being sued by 21 children on behalf of themselves and future generations. The claim is that the administration, through its climate change policies, is violating the children’s basic rights.

It should be obvious that the threat of climate change is putting at risk their future—it has been obvious for a long time.

It’s not just the increase in temperature and the rising sea level, it’s the accompanying increase in extreme weather events, such as floods, hurricanes and droughts that can also devastate harvests and cause forest fires.

The acidification of the ocean will destroy coral reefs, including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

As habitats get destroyed, so will species. Those in more temperate zones are already facing new diseases.

Approaches to climate change are being scrutinised.

Photo: Jonathan Carroll

The judge in the case has already ruled that the “right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life is fundamental to a free and ordered society”. As The New York Times put it: “The young plaintiffs have demanded, among other things, that the courts force the government to implement an enforceable national remedial plan to phase out fossil fuel emissions” in an effort to “stabilise the climate system”. The courts could then supervise the government’s efforts.

Each of these 21 children will be affected not just by the economic burdens their generation will have to bear as cities relocate.

One, Levi, lives on an island off the coast of Florida, and his island will be submerged. He will join millions of others around the world who will lose their homes—South Pacific islanders whose countries will disappear and Bangladeshis whose only asset, the land and house they own, will disappear.

Levi will be relatively lucky: he will be able to move elsewhere in the US. But where will the millions of Bangladeshis go?

Or the millions in sub-Saharan Africa who face the opposite threat, desertification of their lands?

These are not just ordinary “economic migrants”.

Their right to a livelihood has been taken away by those elsewhere — in the US, Europe and China — whose greenhouse gas emissions, the result of unbridled consumption, is the prime cause of this climate change.

Their “right to consume” is depriving others of the right to live.

Another plaintiff in the case, Alex, is a student at my university, Columbia. He lives on a farm in southern Oregon whose viability is undermined by climate change and is now threatened by forest fires.

So often when we see injustices like this, we say: “There ought to be a law.” The US Declaration of Independence spoke of the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These children’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are being taken away because of greenhouse gas emissions. Their future is in jeopardy so Americans today can drive gas-guzzling cars. It seems unfair, and it is. It is a matter of social justice — this time between different generations.

The Western Arctic is one of the fastest-warming regions in the world and is seen as an early indicator of global climate change. 

Photo: AP

In this case, there is a law and a longstanding legal doctrine.

The law is America’s Constitution, which promises fair treatment and due process to all individuals. In the case of these children, this is especially important because they don’t even have the right to vote. They can’t express their concerns through the electoral process. And that is why the doctrine of public interest declares that the state (the sovereign) holds natural resources in trust for future generations. (It’s a doctrine that, not surprisingly, goes back centuries, included in the Justinian law and formally incorporated into American civil law in the 19th century.)

I’m an expert witness in this case. I chaired an international commission that concluded that limiting temperature increases to 1.5C to 2CX, which the international community agreed to in Paris and Copenhagen, is achievable at a low cost, with a carbon price eventually rising to perhaps $US100 ($138) a ton of carbon, which translates into about 88 cents per gallon (3.78 litres) of gasoline, accompanied by some other regulatory measures.

Others have estimated that the increased energy costs would likely be no higher than 2 to 3 per cent of GDP, and eliminating the hundreds of billions of dollars in fossil fuel subsidies would actually save money.

These costs pale in comparison to the multiple episodes when energy costs have increased far more, and in each of these instances our economy managed these increases.

These numbers also pale in comparison to the likely costs of not taking action.

Government procedures for discounting future events mean that the wellbeing of future generations is systematically being downplayed. The Trump administration has been using a 7 per cent discount rate. That means that a dollar today is viewed as 32 times as valuable as a dollar spent 50 years from now. In essence, the Trump administration is saying, as are governments in some other countries, “Our children count for very little, and our children’s children count for essentially nothing.”

Climate change’s effects are long-lasting. Today’s pollution will affect our children’s children. No just society can simply ignore this. Conservative governments often make a big fuss over an increase in the fiscal deficit, saying it would impose a burden on our children. They’re wrong, at least if the money is well spent on investments in infrastructure, technology or education. But they’re hypocrites if they make such claims and do nothing about climate change.

It would be one thing if there were some other planet we could migrate to if, as the scientific evidence shows overwhelmingly, we ruin this planet with our continuing carbon emissions.

But Earth is our only home.

We need to cherish it, not destroy it.

Professor Joseph Stiglitz is a Nobel Prize winner in Economics and the winner of the 2018 Sydney Peace Prize. He will deliver the Sydney Peace Prize address at Sydney Town Hall on Thursday night.

Press link for more: SMH.COM

Social media influencer urges young people to protest over environment #StopAdani #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #auspol #qldpol Stop #Airpollution & #ClimateChange Give our children a fighting chance!

Jack Harries was at protest by Extinction Rebellion aiming to bring London to a standstill

Jack Harries

The 25-year-old, whose YouTube channel has 4 million subscribers, spoke to the Guardian as he helped hold a 68-metre banner over the side of Westminster Bridge with the words: “Climate change: we’re fucked”.

Harries, who has made a number of films about environmental destruction, said he was willing to use his social media influence to inspire his followers to take action over the climate.

He said: “As a young person growing up in London I feel scared for the state of my future [and] overwhelmed by the news about climate change, and I feel like our government is simply ignoring the problem.

“It’s worth noting I don’t want to be here, but I feel that it’s my duty as a young person to make our voices heard and to force our governments to listen because, ultimately, it’s our future that’s at stake.

https://youtu.be/giN50RKUJIQ

The climate protesters ready to go to prison for the planet – video

He added: “Climate change is a global issue and it’s up to all of us to stand up to be heard. I think we have gone past the point of turning off our lightbulbs or having shorter showers. This is an existential threat. Young people should be angry and should be demanding change from their leaders.

“For far too long leaders have avoided action on climate change because they have banked on the fact that young people don’t understand. We are here today to tell them that we do understand the issues, and we are scared.”

Harries spoke at the beginning of a new day of action by the Extinction Rebellion group, which is orchestrating a week of events planned to bring London to a standstill. They say they have 500 activists who have signed up to be arrested.

Seven protesters were held outside Downing Street after spraypainting messages on the walls beside the gates, gluing themselves to fencing and lying on the ground holding food containers reading “food shortages are coming”.

Seven more were arrested outside the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) after a group ran up to Nobel House, Westminster, and spraypainted the walls with messages including the extinction symbol and “climate breakdown = extinction”.

Derek Langley, 63, from Cambridge, was among those who stood with paint-stained hands in the air to take responsibility for the action. He said: “If we carry on like we are now, my grandchildren have no future, absolutely no future. This is the last-ditch attempt, it’s too late to try anything else.”

A second protester, facing police who arrived minutes later, said: “You don’t have to waste your time with CCTV because we’re not running away and we’ve got paint on our hands.”

A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion said the protesters used water-based spray chalk, which washes away easily.

Press link for more: The Guardian

‘Risk is too great’: Woodside CEO rails against climate inaction #auspol #qldpol #wapol #nswpol #springst #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike Demand #ClimateAction #StopAdani #ClimateChange

By Nick Toscano & Cole Latimer

The head of oil and gas giant Woodside Petroleum has stepped up demands for more decisive political action on climate change, warning the “risk of inaction is too great”.

Woodside chief Peter Coleman on Tuesday seized on the findings of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which set out the radical changes needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

Woodside CEO Peter Coleman.

Photo: Jessica Hromas

“The scientists have warned of the consequences of inaction,” he said in a speech at the Melbourne Mining Club. “Regardless of what you think of that science, if we wait to see if the scientists are right or not, it will be too late to act.”

Despite the Morrison government rejecting the need to overhaul its climate policies before the next federal election, Mr Coleman on Tuesday echoed calls by other Australian resources companies for action, including a price on carbon.

Australia’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions have skyrocketed since the LNP axed the price on carbon pollution.

“Here in Australia, the lack of a clear road-map from successive governments has left business uncertain what they can contribute, but the past decade has shown we cannot wait for government to lead on this,” he said.

“If we are to have a chance of transitioning to a lower-carbon economy, large and experienced companies like ours will play a crucial role – companies that employ thousands of people, companies that are capable of building large facilities and running complex operations.”

But Mr Coleman also warned that the national debate over climate policy must not be simplified to a “showdown” between coal-fired and renewable energy at the expense of a “more balanced approach”, which should include more gas in the mix as governments strive to reduce emissions.

Woodside’s Karratha gas plant.

Photo: Aaron Bunch

“We risk ending up in a situation like Germany, where the growth in renewables without a corresponding increase in gas-fired power has resulted in issues with intermittency and overcapacity, and a failure to reach emissions-reductions targets,” he said.

“Whether it’s 1.5 degrees you’re going for or two degrees you’re going for … you need to use your full energy endowment to get there.”

Woodside is a leading producer of liquefied natural gas. Mr Coleman said the global push to limit warming would require a mix of innovative, renewable energy solutions and a “growing role for natural gas” in the decades ahead.

His comments come as a World Economic Survey found energy prices and power bill shocks were the top risks for Australian businesses, which it attributed to the country’s “badly managed transition” from ageing coal-fired power generation to renewables” that had caused supply shortages and price hikes.

“This, in turn, is likely to explain the sensitivity of Australia businesses to the possibility of further price shocks,” the report said.

The annual survey canvassed more than 12,500 executives across 140 countries. It is the second year in a row energy has topped the list as Australian businesses’ leading risk.

Power contractor Energy Action said Australian businesses were facing more power price pain in the coming months.

“Wholesale prices will continue to rise, the Australian Energy Market Operator said there are likely to be power shortages ahead,” Energy Action chief executive Ivan Slavich said.

The ASX wholesale electricity futures market is forecasting up to a 26 per cent rise in prices for the next two years, making it more expensive for energy retailers who would usually pass on the extra costs to consumers.

Energy experts said a $30 increase in wholesale prices equated to about an extra 10 per cent on a typical household annual retail bill.

“As you get close to summer the market will get more jittery and I don’t see anything from a supply perspective that will reduce this,” Mr Slavich said.

The World Economic Survey survey found the top risks globally were underemployment, followed by a failure of national governance, energy price shocks, and cyber attacks.

Jennifer Westacott, of the Business Council of Australia, said failed policies of successive federal and state governments had “created this mess” by causing a lack of investment certainty, baseload generation being withdrawn from the system and artificial constraints being placed on gas exploration.

“Future generations won’t forgive us if we keep kicking energy and climate policies down the road,” she said. “We need an energy policy that will ensure security, reliability and affordability while meeting Australia’s emissions reduction target.”

Press link for more: SMH.COM

This Civilisation is finished! So what is to be done? #ShedALight #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #wapol #SpringSt #StopAdani #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #ClimateChange #TheDrum #QandA

Watch Rupert Read’s Lecture https://youtu.be/uzCxFPzdO0Y

Rupert Read (born 1966) is an academic and a Green Party politician in England.

He is Chair of the Green House thinktank, a former Green Party spokesperson for transport, former East of England party co-ordinator and currently a Reader in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia.

Watch Tony Juniper’s Lecture https://youtu.be/cPn46dJRuFY

Anthony Juniper CBE (born 24 September 1960) is a British campaigner, writer, sustainability advisor and environmentalist who served as Executive Director of Friends of the Earth, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. He was Vice Chair of Friends of the Earth International from 2000–2008.

Two lectures from recent Shed A Light talks Churchill College Cambridge.

Shed A Light is a series of talks that seek to present alternative framings of future human-nature interactions and the pragmatic solution pathways that we could take to get there.

By recognising the interlinkages between struggles for ecological, social and economic justice in addition to the desperate need for immediate societal transformation, Shed A Light aims to engage everyone with the green agenda and prompt broad-based discussions on sustainability issues.

The Paris Agreement explicitly commits us to use non-existent, utterly reckless, unaffordable and ineffective ‘Negative Emissions Technologies’ which will almost certainly fail to be realised. Barring a multifaceted miracle, within a generation, we will be facing an exponentially rising tide of climate disasters that will bring this civilization down. We, therefore, need to engage with climate realism. This means an epic struggle to mitigate and adapt, an epic struggle to take on the climate-criminals and, notably, to start planning seriously for civilizational collapse.

Dr Rupert Read is a Reader in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia. Rupert is a specialist in Wittgenstein, environmental philosophy, critiques of Rawlsian liberalism, and philosophy of film. His research in environmental ethics and economics has included publications on problems of ‘natural capital’ valuations of nature, as well as pioneering work on the Precautionary Principle. Recently, his work was cited by the Supreme Court of the Philippines in their landmark decision to ban the cultivation of GM aubergine. Rupert is also chair of the UK-based post-growth think tank, Green House, and is a former Green Party of England & Wales councillor, spokesperson, European parliamentary candidate and national parliamentary candidate. He stood as the Green Party MP-candidate for Cambridge in 2015.

Press link for more: Chu.cam.ac.uk

How Capitalism Torched the Planet & Left it a Smoking Fascist Greenhouse #auspol #qldpol #nswpol Main Stream Media stood by and cheered them on. #ClimateChange #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion

By Umair Haque

Umair Haque

Umair Haque is the Director of the London-based Havas Media Lab and heads Bubblegeneration, a strategy lab that helps discover strategic innovation. He studies the economics of the future: the impact that new technologies, management innovations, and shifting consumer preferences will exert tomorrow on the industries and markets of today.

Sometimes, when I write scary essays, I encourage you not to read them.

This one’s different.

It’s going to be brutal, scary, jarring, and alarming. But if you want my thoughts on the future, then read away.

It strikes me that the planet’s fate is now probably sealed. We have just a decade in which to control climate change— or goodbye, an unknown level of catastrophic, inescapable, runaway warming is inevitable. The reality is: we’re probably not going to make it. It’s highly dubious at this juncture that humanity is going to win the fight against climate change.

Yet that is for a very unexpected — yet perfectly predictable — reason: the sudden explosion in global fascism — which in turn is a consequence of capitalism having failed as a model of global order.

If, when, Brazil elects a neo-fascist who plans to raze and sell off the Amazon — the world’s lungs — then how do you suppose the fight against warming will be won?

It will be set back by decades — decades…we don’t have.

America’s newest Supreme Court justice is already striking down environmental laws — in his first few days in office — but he will be on the bench for life…beside a President who hasn’t just decimated the EPA, but stacked it with the kind of delusional simpletons who think global warming is a hoax. Again, the world is set by back by decades…it doesn’t have.

Do you see my point yet?

Let me make it razor sharp.

Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro, far-right lawmaker.

My friends, catastrophic climate change is not a problem for fascists — it is a solution.

History’s most perfect, lethal, and efficient one means of genocide, ever, period.

Who needs to build a camp or a gas chamber when the flood and hurricane will do the dirty work for free?

Please don’t mistake this for conspiracism: climate change accords perfectly with the foundational fascist belief that only the strong should survive, and the weak — the dirty, the impure, the foul — should perish.

That is why neo-fascists do not lift a finger to stop climate change — but do everything they can to in fact accelerate it, and prevent every effort to reverse or mitigate it.

But I want to tell you the sad, strange, terrible story of how we got here.

Call it a lament for a planet, if you like.

You see, not so long ago, we — the world — were optimistic that climate change could be managed, in at least some way.

The worst impacts probably avoided, forestalled, escaped — if we worked together as a world. But now we are not so sure at all.

Why is that?

What happened?

Fascism happened — at precisely the wrong moment.

That shredded all our plans. But fascism happened because capitalism failed — failed for the world, but succeeded wildly for capitalists.

Now, this will be a subtle story, because I want to tell it to you the way it should be told.

Let me begin with an example, and zoom out from there.

The world is in the midst of a great mass extinction— one of just a handful in history.

Now, if we had been serious, at any point, really, about preventing climate catastrophe, we would have made an effort to “price in” this extinction — with a new set of global measures for GDP and profit and costs and tariffs and taxes and so on. But we didn’t, so all these dead beings, these animals and plants and microbes and so on — strange and wonderful things we will never know — are “unpriced” in the foolish, self-destructive economy we have made.

Life is literally free to capitalism, and so capitalism therefore quite naturally abuses it and destroys it, in order to maximize its profits, and that is how you get a spectacular, eerie, grim mass extinction in half a century, of which there have only been five in all of previous history.

But biological life was not the only unpaid cost — “negative externality” — of capitalism.

It was just one. And these unpaid costs weren’t to be additive: they were to multiply, exponentiate, snarl upon themselves — in ways that we would come to find impossible to then untangle. (And all this was what economists and thinkers, especially American ones, seemed to whistle at and walk away, anytime someone suggested it.)

You see, capitalism promised people — the middle classes which had come to make up the modern world — better lives. But it had no intention of delivering — its only goal was to maximize profits for the owners of capital, not to make anyone else one iota richer. 

So first it ate through people’s towns and cities and communities, then through social systems, then through their savings, and finally, through their democracies. 

Even if people’s incomes “rose”, cleverly, the prices they paid for the very same things which capitalism sold back to them with the other hand, the very things they were busy producing, rose even more — and so middle classes began to stagnate, while inequality exploded.

Let’s specify the unpaid costs in question: trust, connection, cohesion, belonging, meaning, purpose, truth itself.

These were social costs — not environmental ones, like the mass extinction above. And I will make the link between the two clear in just a moment. First I want you to understand their effect.

A sense of frustration, of resignation, of pessimism came to sweep the world.

People lost trust in their great systems and institutions.

They turned away from democracy, and towards authoritarianism, in a great, thunderous wave, which tilted the globe on its very axis.

The wave rippled outward from history’s greatest epicenter of human stupidity, America, like a supersonic tsunami, crossing Europe, reaching Asia’s shores, crashing south into Brazil, cresting far away in Australia.

Nations fell like dominoes to a new wave of fascists, who proclaimed the same things as the old ones — reichs and camps and reigns of the pure.

People began to turn on those below them — the powerless one, the different one, the Mexican, the Jew, the Muslim— in the quest for just the sense of superiority and power, the fortune and glory, capitalism had promised them, but never delivered.

The capitalists had gotten rich — unimaginably rich.

They were richer than kings of old. But capitalism had imploded into fascism.

History laughed at the foolishness of people who once again believed, like little children hearing a fairy tale, that capitalism — which told people to exploit and abuse one another, not hold each other close, mortal and frail things that they are — was somehow ever going to benefit them.

Now. Let me connect the dots of capitalism’s unpaid social and environmental costs, and how they are linked, not additively, 2+2=5, but with the mathematics of catastrophe.

When we tell the story of how capitalism imploded into fascism, it will go something like this: the social costs of capitalism meant that democracy collapsed into neo-fascism — and neo-fascism made it unlikely, if not outright impossible, that the world could do anything at all about climate change, in the short window it had left, at the precise juncture it needed to act most.

Do you see the link?

The terrible and tragic irony?

How funny and sad it is?

The social costs of capitalism weren’t just additive to the environmental costs — they were more like multiplicative, snarled upon themselves, like a great flood meeting a great hurricane.

The social costs exponentiated the environmental, making them now impossible to reduce, pay, address, manage. 2+2 didn’t equal 4 — it equalled infinity, in this case.

Both together made a system that spiralled out of control.

Wham!

The planet’s fate was being sealed, by capitalism imploding into fascism — which meant that a disintegrating world could hardly work together anymore to solve its greatest problem of all.

Let me sharpen all that a little.

By 2005, after a great tussle, much of the world had agreed on a plan to reduce carbon emissions —the Kyoto Protocol.

It was just barely enough — barely — to imagine that one day climate change might be lessened and reduced enough to be manageable. Still, there was one notable holdout — as usual, America.

Now, at this point, the world, which was in a very different place politically than it is today, imagined that with enough of the usual diplomatic bickering and horse-trading, maybe, just maybe, it would get the job done.

And yet by 2010 or so, the point of all this, which was to create a global carbon pricing system had still not been accomplished — in large part thanks to America, whose unshakeable devotion to capitalism meant that such a thing was simply politically impossible. So by this point the world was behind — and yet, one could still imagine a kind of success.

Maybe an American President would come along who would see sense.

Maybe progress was going in the right direction, generally. After all, slowly, the world was making headway, towards less carbon emissions, towards a little more cooperation, here and there.

And then — Bang! America was the first nation to fall to the neo fascist wave.

Instead of a President who might have taken the country into a decarbonized future, Americans elected the king of the idiots (no, please don’t give me an apologia for the electoral college.)

This king of the idiots did what kings of idiots do: he lionized, of all things…coal.

He questioned whether climate change was…real.

He packed the government with lobbyists and cronies who were quite happy to see the world burn, if it meant a penthouse overlooking a drowned Central Park.

He broke up with allies, friends, and partners.

Do you see the point?

The idea of a decarbonizing future was suddenly turned on its head.

It had been a possibility yesterday — but now, it was becoming an impossibility.

Before the neofascist wave, the world might have indeed “solved” climate change.

Maybe not in the hard sense that life would go on tomorrow as it does today — but in the soft sense that the worst and most vicious scenarios were mostly outlandish science fiction.

That is because before the neofascist wave, we could imagine nations cooperating, if slowly, reluctantly, in piecemeal ways, towards things like protecting life, reducing carbon, pricing in the environment, and so on. These things can only be done through global cooperation, after all.

But after the neofascist wave, global cooperation — especially of a genuinely beneficial kind, not a predatory kind — began to become less and less possible by the day. The world was unravelling.

When countries were trashing the United Nations and humiliating their allies and proclaiming how little they needed the world (all to score minor-league wins for oligarchs, who cashed in their chips, laughing )— how could such a globe cooperate more then? It couldn’t — and it can’t. So the neofascist wave which we are now in also means drastically less global cooperation — but less global cooperation means incalculably worse climate change.

So now let’s connect all the dots.

Capitalism didn’t just rape the planet laughing, and cause climate change that way.

It did something which history will think of as even more astonishing. By quite predictably imploding into fascism at precisely the moment when the world needed cooperation, it made it impossible, more or less, for the fight against climate change to gather strength, pace, and force.

It wasn’t just the environmental costs of capitalism which melted down the planet — it was the social costs, too, which, by wrecking global democracy, international law, cooperation, the idea that nations should work together, made a fractured, broken world which no longer had the capability to act jointly to prevent the rising floodwaters and the burning summers.

(Now, it’s at this point that Americans will ask me, a little angrily, for “solutions”. Ah, my friends.

When will you learn?

Don’t you remember my point?

There are no solutions, because these were never “problems” to begin with.

The planet, like society, is a garden, which needs tending, watering, care.

The linkages between these things — inequality destabilizing societies making global cooperation less possible — are not things we can fix overnight, by turning a nut or a bolt, or throwing money at them.

They never were.

They are things we needed to see long ago, to really reject together, and invest in, nurture, protect, defend, for decades — so that capitalism did not melt down into fascism, and take away all our power to fight for our worlds, precisely when we would need it most.

But we did not do that.

We were busy “solving problems”.

Problems like…hey, how can I get my laundry done?

Can I get my package delivered in one hour instead of one day?

Wow — you mean I don’t have to walk down the street to get my pizza anymore?

Amazing!!

In this way, we solved all the wrong problems, if you like, but I would say that we solved mechanical problems instead of growing up as people.

Things like climate change and inequality and fascism are not really “problems” — they are emergent processes, which join up, in great tendrils of ruin, each piling on the next, which result from decades of neglect, inaction, folly, blindness. We did not plant the seeds, or tend to our societies, economies, democracies, or planet carefully enough — and now we are harvesting bitter ruin instead.

Maybe you see my point. Or maybe you don’t see my point at all.

I wouldn’t blame you. It’s a tough one to catch sight of.)

The tables have turned.

The problem isn’t climate change anymore, and the solution isn’t global cooperation — at least given today’s implosive politics.

The problem is you — if you are not one of the chosen, predatory few. And the solution to the problem of you is climate change.

To the fascists, that is.

They are quite overjoyed to have found the most spectacular and efficient and lethal engine of genocide and devastation known to humankind, which is endless, free natural catastrophe.

Nothing sorts the strong from the weak more ruthlessly like a flooded planet, a thundering sky, a forest in flames, a parched ocean.

A man with a gun is hardly a match for a planet on fire.

I think this much becomes clearer by the year: we have failed, my friends, to save our home.

How funny that we are focused, instead, on our homelands.

It would be funny, disgraceful, and pathetic of me to say: is there still time to save ourselves?

That is the kind of nervous, anxious selfishness that Americans are known for — and it is only if we reject it, really, that we learn the lesson of now.

Let us simply imagine, instead, that despite all the folly and stupidity and ruin of this age, the strongmen and the weak-minded, in those dark and frightening nights when the rain pours and the thunder roars, we might still light a candle for democracy, for freedom, and for truth.

The truth is that we do not deserve to be saved if we do not save them first.

Umair
October 2018

Press link for more: Eand.co

Time to demand system change

Join our children fight for their future.

Join the Extinction Rebellion

Climate crisis activists willing to do jail time to protect their children’s future. #ExtinctionRebellion #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol Demand System change not #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #TheDrum

Direct action events planned to rewire public perception of climate change 

Scottish environmental activists are promising to go to jail in protest over the climate change crisis.

Direct action events organised by the group Extinction Rebellion are planned through this week with demonstrators saying they are willing to go to jail for their cause.

Facebook pages dedicated to Edinburgh and Glasgow groups urge climate change sympathisers to join the protests as the “eleventh hour is now!”

Action will culminate this Saturday which is earmarked as the day of “Extinction Rebellion”.

It comes as protesters blockaded the UK energy department in London, comparing themselves with the suffragettes and the anti-apartheid movement in their quest for social justice.

The protesters are calling for the government to cancel what they call “contradictory” projects they say will actually increase emissions in the UK, such as the third runway at Heathrow, fracking and new roads being built.

They also want to shift current perception for the public to recognise the planet is facing extinction.

Scottish activist and Greenpeace member Tilly Laforte said on Facebook: “Scots have a long history of playing the underdog. We are prepared to stake our liberty as part of a mass civil disobedience. If you object to a lack of action by the government then take that action yourself. Rise up. Join us. Become a new history.”

The first meeting of the organisation last month attracted 1,000 people to London during which there were 15 arrests.

Gail Bradbrook, one of the English activists, said: “I want the planet protected for my children.

“Change comes when people are willing to commit acts of peaceful civil disobedience.

“Fifty people in jail for a short time is likely to bring the ecological crisis into the public consciousness.”

The protesters have the backing of academics who have written a letter to the national press

They warn that politicians failure in tackling tackle climate breakdown has led an extinction crisis and “the ‘social contract’ has been broken. “It is therefore not only our right, but our moral duty to bypass the government’s inaction and flagrant dereliction of duty, and to rebel to defend life itself.”

Press link for more: Third Force News

For more information watch this YouTube

https://youtu.be/tS3kNkq64d8

Watch George Monbiot speak at the Extinction Rebellion

https://youtu.be/Hog6-sjmpCw