New Yorker

Sir David Attenborough: #ClimateChange ‘our greatest threat’ #auspol #qldpol #heatwave #bushfire #flood #StopAdani #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion #TheDrum #QandA #COP24

Sir David Attenborough addressing the climate change conference in Poland.

The naturalist Sir David Attenborough has said climate change is humanity’s greatest threat in thousands of years.

The broadcaster said it could lead to the collapse of civilisations and the extinction of “much of the natural world”.

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Katowice, Poland.

The meeting is the most critical on climate change since the 2015 Paris agreement. 

Sir David said: “Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate change.

“If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

The naturalist is taking up the “People’s Seat” at the conference, called COP24. He is supposed to act as a link between the public and policy-makers at the meeting. 

“The world’s people have spoken. Their message is clear. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now,” he said.

Listen to the children #ClimateStrike

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, said climate change was already “a matter of life and death” for many countries.

He explained that the world is “nowhere near where it needs to be” on the transition to a low-carbon economy.

But the UN Secretary-General said the conference was an effort to “right the ship” and he would convene a climate summit next year to discuss next steps.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has announced $200bn in funding over five years to support countries taking action against climate change.

What’s so different about this meeting?

This Conference of the Parties (COP) is the first to be held since the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C came out in October.

The IPCC stated that to keep to the 1.5C goal, governments would have to slash emissions of greenhouse gases by 45% by 2030.

But a recent study showed that CO2 emissions are on the rise again after stalling for four years. 

In an unprecedented move, four former UN climate talks presidents issued a statement on Sunday, calling for urgent action.

They say “decisive action in the next two years will be crucial”.

Climate change: How 1.5C could change the world

Meanwhile, the gap between what countries say they are doing and what needs to be done has never been wider. 

So urgent is the task that some negotiators began their meetings on Sunday, a day before the official start. 

Will global leaders be attending? 

Yes, some 29 heads of state and government are due to give statements at the opening of the meeting. 

The number is way down on the stellar cast that turned up in Paris in 2015, which perhaps indicates that many are seeing this as more a technical stage on the road to tackling climate change than a big bang moment. 

But for the likes of China and the EU, the meeting is critical. They will want to show that international co-operation can still work even in the age of President Trump.

So will cutting carbon be the main focus of the meeting?

Rather than spending all their time working on how to increase ambitions to cut carbon, conference delegates are likely to focus on trying to finalise the technical rules of how the Paris agreement will work. 

While the agreement was ratified in record time by more than 180 countries in 2016, it doesn’t become operational until 2020. 

Before then, delegates must sort out common rules on measuring, reporting and verifying (checking to avoid the misreporting of) greenhouse gas emissions, and on how climate finance is going to be provided. 

“The rulebook is the thing that will absorb most of the negotiators’ capacity at this year’s COP,” said Camilla Born, from the climate change think tank, E3G.

“It’s no surprise, as agreeing the Paris rules is both technically and politically a complicated task – but it is worth it!”

Right now, that rule book runs to several hundred pages with thousands of brackets, indicating areas of dispute. 

Australia’s emissions soar since LNP axed the price on carbon.

But what about limiting emissions?

Under the Paris agreement, each country decides for itself the actions it will take when it comes to cutting carbon. Some observers believe that the changed mood and the urgency of the science will prompt action.

“We are hoping that at COP24, countries will make declarations of how they will raise their ambitions by 2020. This is a very important moment,” said Fernanda Carvalho with campaign group WWF.

“Two years is a short time span for that to happen. Countries need to act fast.”

Why is the UN process slow-moving?

There is much frustration with the snail-like pace, especially among some campaigners who feel that the scale of the threat posed by rising temperatures hasn’t been fully grasped by politicians.

“Governments across the world have completely failed to protect their citizens,” said a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion, the social movement that pushes for radical change on climate issues. 

“Instead, they have pursued quick profit and big business. We need this to change. At COP24, we want to ensure that the focus is not just on getting the technical Paris rulebook as robust as possible, but also that governments do not lose sight of the bigger picture.”

Others involved in the UN process say that real progress is being made in tackling one of the most complex problems ever faced by the world.

“We have a $300bn renewable energy economy at work today – it’s not peanuts; it’s an energy revolution that has unfolded on the back of, yes, a sometimes sticky climate negotiation process,” said Achim Steiner, who heads the United Nations Development Programme.

How much of a role will money play in making progress in Poland?

Many developing countries see progress on issues around finance to be critical to moving forward. They have been promised $100bn every year from 2020 as part of the Paris agreement. 

Some are sceptical about what they see as foot-dragging and obfuscation by richer countries when it comes to handing over the cash. Negotiators say that moving forward on finance is the lynchpin of progress in this meeting. 

“A key finding of the recent IPCC report, and one that has often been overlooked, is that without a dramatic increase in the provision of climate finance, the possibility of limiting warming to 2C (to say nothing of the safer 1.5C goal) will irretrievably slip away,” said Amjad Abdulla, chief negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States.

Are there concerns the meeting is in a country reliant on coal?

Yes – among government negotiators and observers alike. The fact that the conference is taking place in a strong coal region, in a city that is home to the biggest coal company in the EU, is troubling to many.

The Polish government says that it is sticking with the fuel, and has announced that it is planning to invest next year in the construction of a new coal mine in Silesia.

This bullish approach has drawn condemnation from some.

“Unfortunately, this week’s announcement by the [meeting’s] Polish presidency that it will include coal companies as sponsors of the COP sends a very worrisome signal before the conference even begins,” said Sébastien Duyck, a senior attorney at the Centre for International Environmental Law. 

Will President Trump and the US feature at all?

Although the US has withdrawn from the Paris agreement, it cannot leave until 2020, so its negotiators have been taking part in meetings and have not obstructed the process. America is expected to participate in COP24.

However, given the President’s well known love of coal, it has been reported that the White House will once again organise a side event promoting fossil fuels. A similar event at the last COP provoked outrage from many delegates.

UN climate conference 03 Dec- 14 Dec 2018

The summit comes three years after the 2015 Paris accord on climate change, at which all countries agreed a plan to limit carbon emissions. Now is the moment governments must start deciding what to do to make sure that plan is put into effect.

  • In graphics: Seven charts that show the rate of warming
  • Advice: What can I do to help?
  • Latest updates: See the BBC News page (or follow “ Climate change” tag in the BBC News app)

Press link for more: BBC

Rapid Action Urged as Key UN Climate Change Conference Opens #COP24 #StopAdani #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion #auspol #qldpol #TheDrum

UN Climate Change News, Katowice, 2 December 2018 – Following a year of devastating climate disasters around the globe, from California to Kerala, and Tonga to Japan, the annual UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) opens today with the goal of finalising the implementation guidelines for the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The guidelines will provide clarity on how to implement the landmark agreement fairly and transparently for all.

Climate Strike activist Greta Thunberg arrives at COP24

Specifically, they will strengthen international cooperation by ensuring that national contributions to the global effort are transparent, responsibility is shared fairly and progress on reducing emissions and building resilience can be accurately measured.

Patricia Espinosa, the UN’s Climate Chief, said: “This year is likely to be one of the four hottest years on record.

Greenhouses gas concentrations in the atmosphere are at record levels and emissions continue to rise. Climate change impacts have never been worse.

This reality is telling us that we need to do much more – COP24 needs to make that happen”.

 A finalized set of implementation guidelines will unleash practical climate actions with respect to all the targets and goals of the Paris Agreement, including adapting to climate change impacts, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing financial and other support to developing countries.

Six months after the 2015 Paris Summit, the negotiations on the implementation guidelines were launched and COP24 was set as the deadline.

While governments are committed to finalizing the guidelines in order to unleash the full potential of the agreement, a great deal of work still remains to be completed in Katowice.

 “The 2015 Paris Agreement entered into force faster than any other agreement of its kind. I now call on all countries to come together, to build upon this success and to make the agreement fully functional”, said COP President, Mr. Michal Kurtyka.

“We are ready to work with all nations to ensure that we leave Katowice with a full set of implementation guidelines and with the knowledge that we have served the world and its people”, he added.

Ms. Espinosa noted that countries have strong backing for rapid climate action, given that public awareness and demand for solutions have increased due to clear evidence that our climate is changing.

“We simply cannot tell millions of people around the globe who are already suffering from the effects of climate change that we did not deliver”, she said.

Talanoa Dialogue

The conference is being held hot on the heels of the Global Warming of 1.5C report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as a cascade of UN and other reports on increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and emissions and on health and other serious impacts.

“All of these findings confirm the need to maintain the strongest commitment to the Paris Agreement’s aims of limiting global warming to well below 2ºC and pursuing efforts towards 1.5ºC”, Ms. Espinosa stressed.

“All our focus should be on reaching this aim and on building up ambition towards it”, she added.

COP24 will also conclude the year-long, Fiji-led Talanoa Dialogue, the first-ever international conversation of its kind to assess progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, including the goal of limiting global temperature increases.

One of the dialogue’s aims is to find practical and local solutions for how countries can increase their ambition in the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which describe their individual efforts to reduce national emissions.

During the high-level event that will conclude the Talanoa Dialogue, Ministers will consider the IPCC’s 1.5ºC report and its relevance in the context of future actions.

“It is my hope that this will give Ministers the opportunity to provide a political signal for enhanced ambition”, Ms. Espinosa said.

COP highlights

Following a procedural opening on Sunday, 2 December, to enable work to begin quickly, Monday will be the grand opening ceremony graced by the presence of some 40 Heads of State and Heads of Government.

In a world-first, and supported by the in-coming Polish COP presidency, the UN has launched the “People’s Seat” initiative. During Monday’s opening ceremony, the initiative will open a new window for people to express their views through social media and digital technology.

It will also aim to engage people from all walks of life around the globe in the growing momentum to take climate action in their personal lives.

Climate action before 2020 

At the COP, Ministers will have the opportunity to engage in several high-level events, which all highlight the key elements of current climate change efforts.

These high-level events will address some critical aspects of climate action before the year 2020, including:

  • The Pre-2020 Stocktake will assess climate actions to be taken before 2020
  • The High-level Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Finance will consider the state of global climate finance flows as captured by the third Biennial Assessment.
  • The High-level Global Climate Action Event will offer a unique vision of how the world is affected by climate change and how different sectors are tackling the issue.

Together, all events provide Ministers with a space to have frank and open discussions on progress made to date.

Capacity-building for climate action, a critically important element for developing countries now and in the future, will receive a significant boost at COP24.

At a specially created capacity-building hub, some 35 events will cover topics such as implementing NDCs, integrating gender into climate action and utilizing the knowledge of indigenous peoples.

The Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action 

The growing momentum for climate action by non-Party stakeholders such as cities, regions, businesses and investors will be showcased throughout the COP.

This momentum already represents USD 36 trillion in economic activity and is growing steadily.

Showcasing these events at the COP is leading to a new form of inclusive multilateralism that is vital to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Well over 100 events will highlight action in transport, water, land-use, energy, the fashion industry, to name a few, representing the spectrum of climate action. They will include CEOs, Mayors, Governors and other leaders from civil society at large.

Press link for more: UNFCCC

467 ways to die on a warming globe | Clive Hamilton #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateChange is killing us! #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #Insiders #TheDrum #COP24 #TakeYouSeat #G20

BY Clive Hamilton

A new study published in Nature has found evidence for 467 ways in which climate hazards due to global warming are making life on the planet harder for humans.

It confirms that we are witnessing a shift in the functioning of the Earth system as a whole, a shift to a new state that is unsympathetic to the continued flourishing of human life.

A changing climate is only one feature of a warming globe.

Human activity has bounced the Earth into a state that has no equivalent in its 4.5 billion year history.

The Earth’s new trajectory as it spins into the future has led scientists to tell us we have entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene.

We have crossed a threshold and the geological clock cannot be turned back. The disruption we have caused is increasingly unpredictable and uncontrollable, and it has no endpoint.

There are, therefore, two questions humankind must face.

What must we do to prevent serial disasters becoming existential catastrophe? And how can we make our social and economic systems flexible enough to cope with the new dispensation?

There are several reasons an international agreement has proven so hard.

The leading one is sabotage by climate science deniers.

Can it be countered?

Climate science denial was invented and propagated mainly in the United States by the fossil fuel industry in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Activists know how to thwart an industry lobbying campaign. But then something calamitous happened – rejecting climate science became caught up in the culture war.

The Tea Party and Fox News were largely responsible for the shift.

Before then, even a conservative like Sarah Palin accepted the science and called for action. But after 2009, rejecting climate science became a badge of political identity for conservatives.

From that point onwards, facts no longer mattered.

So the challenge is no longer how to use information to change people’s minds. The challenge is how to change a culture. No one knows how to do that.

Just Trump?

Last week Donald Trump, who calls climate science a hoax, visited a California devastated by wildfires. When asked whether his visit would change his mind about climate change he said “No”. What else could he say? The journalist was asking him if he would change who he was.

Yet it’s too easy to blame the world’s slowness to act on crazy American deniers. Because, in a way, we are all climate science deniers.

The full truth of what humans have done is almost impossible to take in.

To fully embrace the message of the climate scientists means giving up the deepest presupposition of modernity – the idea of progress.

Relinquishing our belief in progress means we must let go of the future, because we have been taught from infancy that the future is progress.

In our minds, replacing the old future defined by progress with a new future defined by endless struggle requires a period of grieving. Not many people have the stomach for that.

While most people in most countries accept the truth of climate science, they don’t accept its implications. What can be done to change that?

Changing minds

When it comes to communicating the science’s message to the public, there is no magic potion to be found. A lot has been tried and some of it works reasonably well, up to a point. The scientists must keep doing their research and putting it out. Accusing them of alarmism is a calculated political slander; in truth, they have consistently been too cautious in their warnings, especially in IPCC reports.

Yet the meaning of their reports has not sunk in. It’s clear that an Earth warmer by four degrees – and after the unwinding of the 2015 Paris agreement that is the path we have returned to – will impose enormous stresses on all societies.

In poorer countries, it will lead to mass migrations, many deaths and violent conflict. The effects in wealthy countries will depend on who holds power and how they govern. Disasters, food shortages and waves of immigration will magnify resentment against the rich, who will be attempting to insulate themselves from the turmoil around them.

But they too depend on the infrastructure of urban life – electricity and water supply, sewerage and waste disposal, transport systems for food and so on. And they can’t insulate themselves from social upheaval.

Some communities will learn to adapt more effectively. Smaller, cooperative communities will be best placed to adapt themselves to endure the troubles.

But however humans live or die on the new Earth we have made, we are approaching the endpoint of modernity and must accept that it is finally true that man is the environment of man.

 Clive Hamilton is professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra and author of Defiant Earth: The fate of humans in the Anthropocene

Press link for more: The Guardian

Ocasio-Cortez-backed #GreenNewDeal sees surprising momentum in House #auspol #qldpol #Insiders #TheDrum #ClimateChange #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #StopAdani

Fifteen Democrats have committed to the proposal touted by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

More and more Democrats are committing to supporting a sweeping, historic green effort that would transform the U.S. economy in an effort to fight climate change, in the latest indicator that environmental issues will be a dominant force in 2019.

As of Wednesday morning, the Sunrise Movement, a climate group led by young people, said at least 15 Democrats are willing to sign onto supporting the formation of a select committee to create a “Green New Deal” endorsed by Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). The most recent supporter, Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), voiced her support with a statement on Tuesday.

“We don’t need another report to tell us climate change is a threat to our health, environment and economy,” the congresswoman wrote. “We must take urgent action to end our nation’s reliance on fossil fuels and stop the damage greenhouse gases have done to our way of life.”

“The Green New Deal is an important blueprint for us to fight this crisis on all fronts. Congress should not leave any thoughtful climate change solution unexplored,” she continued.

Pingree, an organic farmer and a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, highlighted the impact of climate change on her state, Maine, where warming waters are threatening the lobster industry and the state’s economy.

“I see the crisis of climate change every day in my state and believe a new committee dedicated exclusively to this crisis can support the long-standing work of other House committees and help to fast-track solutions,” she wrote.

Pingree’s not alone. Other senior party members have since the midterms voiced their support for urgent climate action. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) quickly gave a Green New Deal his support the week before Thanksgiving, handing activists a major win. In the time since, the list of backers has grown — Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) endorsed the proposal on Monday, shortly before Pingree gave her support.

In addition to those lawmakers, Democratic Reps. Ro Khanna (CA), Carolyn Maloney (NY), Jared Huffman (CA), Jose Serrano (NY), Ted Lieu (CA), and Earl Blumenauer (OR) have all voiced support, as have Reps.-elect Deb Haaland (NM), Ayanna Pressley (MA), Rashida Tlaib (MI), Ilhan Omar (MN), and Joe Neguse (CO).

Increasingly, the Green New Deal is becoming a litmus test for Democrats grappling with a massive shift in the party.

A wave of progressive newcomers will join the House of Representatives in 2019 as Democrats take over, many of whom have taken the unusual step of highlighting climate issues, which rarely garner significant attention from either party.

A draft resolution of what a blueprint for the deal might look like has already circulated. Proposed by Ocasio-Cortez, the Sunrise Movement, and the left-wing political action committee Justice Democrats, the draft establishes a select committee with the authority to create a “detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan” allowing the United States to swiftly become carbon-neutral.

Calling for input from business and labor along with state and local governments, the draft nonetheless gives a timeline of no more than a decade for the deal’s execution.

Creating jobs is a core element of the plan, but the deal also emphasizes “social, economic, racial, regional, and gender-based justice and equality” in any final draft.

Support for a New Green Deal began on the campaign trail, along with a broader conversation about environmental justice. Then-candidates like Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Omar all highlighted issues like environmental racism, while speaking to the increasingly pressing issue of climate change.

Now, those talking points are moving closer to reality, albeit not without resistance.

Green New Deal Democrats have faced pushback from entrenched Democrats wary of broad action on climate issues, including Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), the incoming chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Pallone has declined to turn down donations from fossil fuel companies, a central demand of many Democrats embracing climate justice.

As part of the momentum building behind calls for a Green New Deal, a policy group is also being formed to support the effort. The New Consensus, a 501c(3) non-profit, is emerging as the muscle supporting Green New Deal efforts.

An E&E report on Tuesday noted that the group is building a “climate mobilization office” in order to create a hub for fleshing out and administering the plan.

That rapid mobilization is giving heart to environmental activists, who are used to seeing climate action downplayed by lawmakers, or postponed to a future date. Mere weeks after the midterm elections, climate issues are still dominating conversations for Democrats, a trend green groups hope will continue into 2019.

Still, any Green New Deal that emerges requires votes, something it won’t have in the near future, with both the Senate and the White House controlled by Republicans who have largely signaled an opposition to climate action. But activists and lawmakers in the House plan to lay the foundation for future efforts now before pushing them through once an opportunity opens up, potentially after the 2020 election.

They also have an added incentive. The congressionally-mandated National Climate Assessment (NCA), released last week, shows that every region of the country is currently suffering the impacts of climate change, with far worse crises set to follow without immediate action. For Green New Deal Democrats, the report’s warnings only underscore the need for action.

“People are going to die if we don’t start addressing climate change ASAP. It’s not enough to think it’s ‘important.’ We must make it urgent,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. “That’s why we need a Select Committee on a Green New Deal, & why fossil fuel-funded officials shouldn’t be writing climate change policy.”

Press link for more: Think Progress

‘Save our future’: Thousands of school children demand action on #climatechange #auspol #qldpol #Insiders #TheDrum #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion #StopAdani

Thousands of Australian students have ditched class to demand the government take swifter action against climate change in mass walk outs across the nation. 

Young students from primary school through to high school have staged protests all over the country to voice their concerns and fears about what climate change is doing to our country. 

More than a thousand kids holding colourful placards chanted in unison at Sydney’s Martin Place, condemning the controversial Adani mine a day after it was announced the project would be going ahead without government funding.

Thousands of school children abandoned classes to demand action against climate change. (Getty)

“We have three main goals.

First is to stop Adani.

The second one is no new sources of fossil fuels, and the third is to convert Australia to full renewable energy by 2030,” the protests’ organiser, Jean Hinchliffe, told 9News.

“It should be dealth with outside of school, but it’s not being dealt with outside of school and that’s why we’re here.”

Similar numbers blocked streets outside the Victorian parliament in Melbourne, while 20 regional centres such as Ballarat and Newcastle also took part.

A young boy protests against climate change in Martin Place. (Getty)

Mount Druitt student Siniva Esera said Australia needs to be the big brother to the low-lying Pacific islands, including her relatives on Tokelau atolls.

“Our prime minister thinks we should be in school right now and maybe we should,” the Chifley College Senior Campus student told the Sydney protest.

“But how can I just sit by and not do anything to protect the future of this planet and as my family on the islands worry about the rising sea level?”

Forest Lodge Primary school captain Lucie Atkin Bolton said she’d learned in class that leaders need to look after all and take responsibility when things go wrong.

“I wish I lived in a country where our adults, especially our politicians, actually cared about my future,” the 11-year-old said.

Rose Bay student Michelle Leevig said lots of other issues are also important.

Press link for more: 9News

#ClimateEmergency we need a world 🌎 wide #GreenNewDeal #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange now catastrophic. #Heatwave #Wildfire #Flood #Extinction #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #COP24

Summary of the Green New Deal

The Green New Deal is a four part program for moving America quickly out of crisis into a secure, sustainable future. Inspired by the New Deal programs that helped us out of the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Green New Deal will provide similar relief and create an economy that makes our communities sustainable, healthy and just.

The cost of inaction is enormous

THE FOUR PILLARS OF THE GREEN NEW DEAL

I – THE ECONOMIC BILL OF RIGHTS

Our country cannot truly move forward until the roots of inequality are pulled up, and the seeds of a new, healthier economy are planted. Thus, the Green New Deal begins with an Economic Bill of Rights that ensures all citizens: 1. The right to employment through a Full Employment Program that will create 25 million jobs by implementing a nationally funded, but locally controlled direct employment initiative replacing unemployment offices with local employment offices offering public sector jobs which are “stored” in job banks in order to take up any slack in private sector employment.

  • Local communities will use a process of broad stakeholder input and democratic decisionmaking to fairly implement these programs.
  • Pay-to-play prohibitions will ensure that campaign contributions or lobbying favors do not impact decision-making.
  • We will end unemployment in America once and for all by guaranteeing a job at a living wage for every American willing and able to work.

2. Worker’s rights including the right to a living wage, to a safe workplace, to fair trade, and to organize a union at work without fear of firing or reprisal.

3. The right to quality health care which will be achieved through a single-payer Medicare-for-All program.

4. The right to a tuition-free, quality, federally funded, local controlled public education system from pre-school through college. We will also forgive student loan debt from the current era of unaffordable college education.

5. The right to decent affordable housing, including an immediate halt to all foreclosures and evictions. We will:

  • create a federal bank with local branches to take over homes with distressed mortgages and either restructure the mortgages to affordable levels, or if the occupants cannot afford a mortgage, rent homes to the occupants;
  • expand rental and home ownership assistance;
  • create ample public housing; and,
  • offer capital grants to non-profit developers of affordable housing until all people can obtain decent housing at no more than 25% of their income.

6. The right to accessible and affordable utilities – heat, electricity, phone, internet, and public transportation – through democratically run, publicly owned utilities that operate at cost, not for profit.

7. The right to fair taxation that’s distributed in proportion to ability to pay. In addition, corporate tax subsidies will be made transparent by detailing them in public budgets where they can be scrutinized, not hidden as tax breaks.

II – A GREEN TRANSITION

The second priority of the Green New Deal is a Green Transition Program that will convert the old, gray economy into a new, sustainable economy that is environmentally sound, economically viable and socially responsible. We will:

1. Invest in green business by providing grants and low-interest loans to grow green businesses and cooperatives, with an emphasis on small, locally-based companies that keep the wealth created by local labor circulating in the community rather than being drained off to enrich absentee investors.

2. Prioritize green research by redirecting research funds from fossil fuels and other dead-end industries toward research in wind, solar and geothermal. We will invest in research in sustainable, nontoxic materials, closed-loop cycles that eliminate waste and pollution, as well as organic agriculture, permaculture, and sustainable forestry.

3. Provide green jobs by enacting the Full Employment Program which will directly provide 16 million jobs in sustainable energy and energy efficiency retrofitting, mass transit and “complete streets” that promote safe bike and pedestrian traffic, regional food systems based on sustainable organic agriculture, and clean manufacturing.

III – REAL FINANCIAL REFORM

The takeover of our economy by big banks and well-connected financiers has destabilized both our democracy and our economy. It’s time to take Wall Street out of the driver’s seat and to free the truly productive segments of working America to make this economy work for all of us. Real Financial Reform will:

1. Relieve the debt overhang holding back the economy by reducing homeowner and student debt burdens.

2. Democratize monetary policy to bring about public control of the money supply and credit creation. This means we’ll nationalize the private bank-dominated Federal Reserve Banks and place them under a Monetary Authority within the Treasury Department.

3. Break up the oversized banks that are “too big to fail.”

4. End taxpayer-funded bailouts for banks, insurers, and other financial companies. We’ll use the FDIC resolution process for failed banks to reopen them as public banks where possible after failed loans and underlying assets are auctioned off.

5. Regulate all financial derivatives and require them to be traded on open exchanges.

6. Restore the Glass-Steagall separation of depository commercial banks from speculative investment banks.

7. Establish a 90% tax on bonuses for bailed out bankers.

8. Support the formation of federal, state, and municipal public-owned banks that function as non-profit utilities. Under the Green New Deal we will start building a financial system that is open, honest, stable, and serves the real economy rather than the phony economy of high finance.

IV – A FUNCTIONING DEMOCRACY

We won’t get these vital reforms without a fourth and final set of reforms to give us a real, functioning democracy. Just as we are replacing the old economy with a new one, we need a new politics to restore the promise of American democracy. The New Green Deal will:

1. Revoke corporate personhood by amending our Constitution to make clear that corporations are not persons and money is not speech. Those rights belong to living, breathing human beings – not to business entities controlled by the wealthy.

2. Protect our right to vote by supporting Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s proposed “Right to Vote Amendment,” to clarify to the Supreme Court that yes, we do have a constitutional right to vote.

3. Enact the Voter Bill of Rights that will:

  • guarantee us a voter-marked paper ballot for all voting;
  • require that all votes are counted before election results are released;
  • replace partisan oversight of elections with non-partisan election commissions;
  • celebrate our democratic aspirations by making Election Day a national holiday;
  • bring simplified, safe same-day voter registration to the nation so that no qualified voter is barred from the polls;
  • do away with so-called “winner take all” elections in which the “winner” does not have the support of most of the voters, and replace that system with instant runoff voting and proportional representation, systems most advanced countries now use to good effect;
  • replace big money control of election campaigns with full public financing and free and equal access to the airwaves;
  • guarantee equal access to the ballot and to the debates to all qualified candidates;
  • abolish the Electoral College and implement direct election of the President;
  • restore the vote to ex-offenders who’ve paid their debt to society; and,
  • enact Statehood for the District of Columbia so that those Americans have representation in Congress and full rights to self rule like the rest of us.

4. Protect local democracy and democratic rights by commissioning a thorough review of federal preemption law and its impact on the practice of local democracy in the United States. This review will put at its center the “democracy question” – that is, what level of government is most open to democratic participation and most suited to protecting democratic rights.

5. Create a Corporation for Economic Democracy, a new federal corporation (like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) to provide publicity, training, education, and direct financing for cooperative development and for democratic reforms to make government agencies, private associations, and business enterprises more participatory.

6. Strengthen media democracy by expanding federal support for locally-owned broadcast media and local print media.

7. Protect our personal liberty and freedoms by:

  • repealing the Patriot Act and those parts of the National Defense Authorization Act that violate our civil liberties;
  • prohibiting the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI from conspiring with local police forces to suppress our freedoms of assembly and of speech; and,
  • ending the war on immigrants – including the cruel, so-called “secure communities” program.

8. Rein in the military-industrial complex by

  • reducing military spending by 50% and closing U.S. military bases around the world;
  • restoring the National Guard as the centerpiece of our system of national defense; and,
  • creating a new round of nuclear disarmament initiatives.

https://youtu.be/PGDjnUXmWFM

Let us not rest until we have pulled our nation back from the brink, and until we have secured the peaceful, just, green future we all deserve.

Press link for more: GP.ORG

Trump: ‘I don’t believe’ government climate report. #auspol #qldpol #ClimateEmergency #ClimateStrike #StopAdani #ExtinctionRebellion #COP24

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Monday rejected a central conclusion of a dire report on the economic costs of climate change released by his own administration.

But economists said the National Climate Assessment’s warning of hundreds of billions of dollars a year in global warming costs is pretty much on the money.

Just look at last year with Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma, they said.

Those three 2017 storms caused at least $265 billion in damage , according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The climate report , quietly unveiled Friday, warned that natural disasters are worsening in the United States because of global warming.

It said warming-charged extremes “have already become more frequent, intense, widespread or of long duration.” The report noted the last few years have smashed U.S. records for damaging weather, costing nearly $400 billion since 2015.

“The potential for losses in some sectors could reach hundreds of billions of dollars per year by the end of this century,” the report said. It added that if emissions of heat-trapping gases continue at current levels, labor costs in outdoor industries during heat waves could cost $155 billion in lost wages per year by 2090.

The president said he read some of the report “and it’s fine” but not the part about the devastating economic impact.

“I don’t believe it,” Trump said, adding that if “every other place on Earth is dirty, that’s not so good.”

Nearly every country in the world in 2015 pledged to reduce or slow the growth of carbon dioxide emissions, the chief greenhouse gas.

“We’re already there,” said Wesleyan University economist Gary Yohe, who was a reviewer of the national report, which was produced by 13 federal agencies and outside scientists. “Climate change is making a noticeable impact on our economy right now: Harvey, Florence, Michael, Maria.”

Yohe said, “It is devastating at particular locations, but for the entire country? No.”

Economist Ray Kopp, a vice president at the think tank Resources For the Future and who wasn’t part of the assessment, said the economics and the science in the report were absolutely credible.

“I believe this is going to be a devastating loss without any other action-taking place,” Kopp said Monday. “This is certainly something you would want to avoid.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison loves coal

Earlier, the White House had played down the report. Spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in an emailed statement that the report “is largely based on the most extreme scenario, which contradicts long-established trends by assuming that, despite strong economic growth that would increase greenhouse gas emissions, there would be limited technology and innovation, and a rapidly expanding population. ”

Throughout the 29-chapter report, scientists provide three scenarios that the United Nations’ climate assessments use. One is the business-as-usual scenario, which scientists say is closest to the current situation. That is the worst case of the three scenarios. Another would envision modest reductions in heat-trapping gases, and the third would involve severe cuts in carbon dioxide pollution.

For example, the $155 billion a year in extra labor costs at the end of the century is under the business-as-usual scenario. Modest reductions in carbon pollution would cut that to $75 billion a year, the report said.

The report talks of hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses in several spots. In one graphic, it shows the worst-case business-as-usual scenario of economic costs reaching 10 percent of gross domestic product when Earth is about a dozen degrees warmer than now with no specific date.

Yohe said it was unfortunate that some media jumped on that 10 percent number because that was a rare case of hyperbole in the report.

“The 10 percent is not implausible as a possible future for 2100,” Yohe said. “It’s just not terribly likely.”

Kopp, on the other hand, said the 10 percent figure seems believable.

“This is probably a best estimate,” Kopp said. “It could be larger. It could be smaller.”

Press link for more: AP News

Mining for power: How Adani hopes to get its way #auspol #qldpol Why we need a Federal #ICAC urgently. #StopAdani #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #Corruption #ClimateChange

To mark its fifth birthday, The New Daily digs deeper into the power of the mining lobby in Australia.

Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland is nothing if not controversial. Yet the Indian multinational conglomerate is determined to turn its mega mine dream into reality.

Pushing an uphill battle against public opinion, political appetite and fund sourcing, Adani’s “people” are in the ear of Australia’s decision makers consistently.

Like no other entity currently on the Australian political landscape, Adani needs representation at the highest levels of government.

And it is paying the big bucks to make sure it gets exactly that.

The Australian Government Lobbyists Register lists Govstrat Pty Ltd as Adani’s chief lobbyist company.

Govstrat is headed by former Queensland Labor Party treasurer Damian Power.

The company employs as its senior counsel and principal adviser the former Queensland premier and Nationals Party leader Rob Borbidge.

Labor leader Bill Shorten’s one-time chief of staff Ken Macpherson is also on the books as a Govstrat lobbyist as is Jeff Popp, who was chief of staff to the former Liberal National Party Queensland deputy premier Jeff Seeney.

“There is something that jumps out very clearly with this lobby firm,” said one well-known Canberra lobbyist who asked not to be named.

“They have got well-connected people and they have both sides of politics covered.

“There is also a strong Queensland link here. But these people are walking the corridors in Canberra too.

“Of course there is the wining and dining and whatever kind of representation they can get. And it is about using your networks. But it is also far more sophisticated than that. The stakes are so high here. The Adani lobbyists are putting up a strong political and economic argument.”

Also on the lobbyists register is the firm Strategic Political Counsel Pty Ltd, a newish company founded by Michael Kauter – a personal friend of former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce.

Among the clients listed under Strategic Political Counsel are British American Tobacco Australia, the Australian Lotteries and Newsagents Association, and one Adani Australia.

Adani’s lobbyists are up against stiff public opposition. Photo: AAP

“All of these lobbyists, from whichever firm has a stake in Adani, are working extremely hard right now,” another Canberra lobbyist said.

“They are working hard on the business case and trying to convince those in charge of the economic and central government portfolios that the case is good.

“They are not going to get any other portfolios. They need the economic portfolios. They want to get [Prime Minister] Scott Morrison on board and they are working hard on that. They likely sh-t themselves with the leadership change, but their focus is now on him.

“They can only win this if they can convince the right people that their project fits with the Coalition’s economic model for Australia. And they are investing big time in Queensland.”

Another Canberra powerbroker who asked for anonymity spoke somewhat more grimly about the current power of the mining lobbyists.

“Lobbyists’ ability to influence legislation right now is zero because there is a federal election on the horizon,” the contact said.

“To some degree, lobbyists are butt kickers, but the problem is right now that we don’t know whose butt to kick.

Gautam Adani, chair of the Adani group, in 2010. Photo: Getty

“The big lobbyists are well known enough that they can keep out of trouble. But with an election looming, most are executing a transitional model and that can be quite problematic.

“Working on a relationships model is OK, but nothing is getting done. And the mining lobbyists are some of the hardest hit right now.”

As the federal election draws closer – and as polling increasingly points to a change in government – many lobbyists have shifted their focus from the Coalition to Labor.

“People are leaving lobby firms and those stocks are not being replenished,” one lobbyist said.

“There is a rapid changeover of staff with some good people not coming back to the profession and a lack of investment in good new people to replace them.

“Adani wants the best and is willing to pay for it. But there is a fatigue factor setting in with a lot of mining lobbyists. Adani is no exception.”

Press link for more: The New Daily

Mass deaths & mayhem: National Climate Assessment’s shocking warnings #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange now #ClimateEmergency #COP24 #TheDrum #QandA #StopAdani #ExtinctionRebellion

By Jason Silverstein CBS News

Jason Silverstein

Billions of hours in productivity will be lost.

Hundreds of billions of dollars will be wiped from the economy.

Tens of thousands of people will die each year.

These are just some of the most grim predictions in the latest National Climate Assessment, a nearly 1,700-page report released Friday warns about a world heading into complete chaos by the end of the 21st century.

The scientific report, which was produced by 13 federal agencies, describes an American future nothing short of apocalyptic due to rising threats from climate change. It suggests no facet of life — whether it’s global trade, national security or personal health — will be safe. And it says every nightmare scenario will feed into another: The disasters from climate change will start to compound each other, as will the consequences.

An updated report is released every four years, and this latest version notes human-made climate change isn’t the only factor expected to drive these dangers. Population growth, for example, will play a part in the tragedies predicted to happen by 2100.

But the new National Climate Assessment notes some specific warnings from the previous assessment in 2014 — such as rising sea levels, disruptions in food productions and the spread of wildfires — have all come true today. And it warns, without swift and immediate action, this is what Americans can expect in the coming decades:

Mass deaths every year

There are warnings throughout the report of health risks from climate change that, taken together, will total tens of thousands of additional premature deaths every year. Several cities, mostly in the Northeast and Southeast, are forecast to face new extremes in hot and cold days that could bring 3,900 to 9,300 deaths per year from 2080 to 2099.

The Midwest, the region projected to have the largest increase in deaths from extreme temperatures, could see 2,000 additional deaths per year by 2090, the report says.

Searching for human remains in recent Californian fires

Global food shortages

New temperature extremes, more frequent droughts and increased CO2 emissions have already been connected to shortages in crops like wheat, which then lead to higher prices for consumers.

As these changes continue, it will be harder to produce wheat, corn, soybean, rice and other crops at the rates needed for a rising population.

The report notes higher temperatures and more precipitation could also lead to an increase in wheat, hay and barley in some regions. But overall, the yields from major U.S. commodity crops are expected to decline nationwide.

Record breaking temperature in Cairns today 4C hotter than previous record 37.2 set in 1971.

Economic devastation

The Trump administration says it is scaling back environmental regulations that are stunting economic growth. But the report says the eventual fallout from climate change will damage nearly every facet of the economy. Prices will soar and international trade will be disrupted. Up to two billion labor hours could be lost every year by 2090 due to temperature extremes alone, leading to an estimated $160 billion in lost wages, the report says.

The final result: An estimated loss of up to 10 percent gross domestic product by 2100. By comparison, that would be more than twice the 4.3 percent GDP loss of the Great Recession.

Crumbling infrastructure – and millions of hours waiting in cars

The destruction climate change can bring to buildings, bridges, dams and transit systems racks up costs billions of dollars and usually takes years to repair.

But the report says in parts of the U.S., including much of the Northeast and Southeast, the infrastructure for managing storms is already nearing the end of its life expectancy. Even new facilities are often not built to withstand climate changes that are decades away. That means that as floods, wildfires and hurricanes become more frequent, they will also become more devastating, causing greater property damage and more deaths when they strike, according to the report. These extreme weather events also make water and agriculture systems more vulnerable to toxins and bacteria.

And these problems won’t be easy to escape. One chart in the study predicts by 2100, drivers in parts of the country could spend more than 625 million hours a year in their vehicle, delayed on roads flooded by high tides.

More mental health problems – and murders

Much of the report focuses of havoc climate change will wreak on systems and institutions. But it also makes clear all of this takes a toll on mental health. People who survive extreme weather events and see their communities destroyed often suffer from depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and post-traumatic stress disorder. And those problems linger long after the destruction passes.

The report notes droughts have led to a documented increase in alcohol and tobacco use, while higher temperatures bring out more aggressive behaviors, including an increase in homicides.

Press link for more: CBS.NEWS

Bernie Sanders Amplifying Progressive Calls To Cut Emissions #GreenNewDeal #auspol #qldpol #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #StopAdani #ClimateChange is now a #ClimateCrisis #COP24

The likely 2020 presidential candidate is daring TV networks to finally cover climate change.

By Alexander C. Kaufman

Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is hosting a livestreamed summit on climate change next month, intensifying pressure on the new Congress and TV networks to devote attention to the crisis.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will host a livestreamed town hall summit on climate change next month, a move that may intensify pressure on the next Congress to curb planet-warming emissions and challenge TV networks to cover a rapidly worsening crisis they’ve long ignored.

The 90-minute event ― scheduled from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 3 ― will be held at the Capitol Visitor Center Auditorium in Washington and broadcast over Facebook, YouTube and Twitter by seven progressive media outlets.

“We need millions of people all over this country to stand up and demand fundamental changes in our energy policy in order to protect our kids and our grandchildren and the planet,” Sanders told HuffPost by phone. “The good news is the American people are beginning to stand up and fight back.”

Speakers include 350.org founder Bill McKibben, activist and “Big Little Lies” star Shailene Woodley, climate scientist Brenda Ekwurzel, activist and musician Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, and Mayor Dale Ross of deep-red Georgetown, Texas, whose avowedly pragmatic embrace of newly cheap renewable energy has made him a poster boy for how Republicans could quit climate change denialism. 

It’s the fifth live-broadcast town hall Sanders has hosted. Past programs examined the universal health care proposal Medicare for All, inequality, the Iran nuclear deal, and workers vs. chief executives. 

The event bolsters Sanders, a likely contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, as the most serious candidate on climate change, offering a far more comprehensive response than rival progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who staked out a climate policy based on a bill to force public companies to disclose financial risk from warming or regulations to curb emissions. 

The summit, which took months to plan, will take place less than a month after Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) propelled talk of a so-called Green New Deal into the Democratic mainstream, giving play for the first time to the sort of federal response to climate change scientists say is necessary to fully meet the scale of the crisis.

In October, the United Nations concluded world governments must halve emissions over the next 12 years or risk catastrophic warming with $54 trillion in damage. 

The historic wildfire that left 63 dead and 631 missing in Northern California this month, in what was once the Golden State’s rainy season, offers a glimpse of that future, Sanders warned.

Search and rescue workers search for human remains at a trailer park burned by the Camp Fire in Northern California. 

“What we are seeing is a growing consciousness,” Sanders said. “The horrors that we’ve seen in California in the largest forest fire that that state has ever experienced ― this is not going to be an anomaly unless we begin the long, hard struggle to transform our energy system.”

Climate remains a low priority for most voters. Just 38 percent of registered voters said candidates’ positions on global warming would be “very important” to their voting decisions, according to a Yale Program On Climate Change Communication survey published in May. Rising temperatures ranked 15th of 28 issues voters ranked in the questionnaire. 

But among liberal Democrats in that poll, the issue ranked fourth, behind health care, gun policies and general environmental protections.

A YouGov survey of 2018 voters found 75 percent of Democrats strongly supported charging companies with big carbon dioxide footprints a polluter fee, and 56 percent favored giving unemployed Americans federally backed jobs in energy efficiency and weatherization. 

In the lead up to the 2018 midterm elections, the fossil fuel industry spent $100 million to crush pro-climate ballot measures across the West, and to prop up candidates who supported increased oil and gas extraction. Yet that base of climate hawks helped elect a cadre of Democrats whose urgent visions for climate action earned plaudits from a spectrum ranging from mainstream environmental groups to so-called eco-socialists. And a new majority of Democratic state attorneys general are facing growing pressure to file lawsuits over climate damages. 

Activists, freshly galvanized by the hellscape images of California’s deadliest wildfire, seem primed for action, and the party’s progressive wing has signaled a new willingness to force a more serious debate over an issue that’s remained stagnant in the House for much of the past decade. 

“The fact that [climate change] is that high among the base of one of our two major political parties is remarkable, because that was not the case even five years ago,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, a senior research scientist and Yale’s climate program director. “If you think of Bernie, you’d think he’d be talking about inequality or civil rights. There’s a whole host of progressive issues, yet this is the one he’s leading with. It may suggest there’s been an alignment of the stars.”

Last week, youth activists with the grassroots climate group Sunrise Movement staged sit-ins in the offices of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), the likely next chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, who opposed the creation of a select committee on a Green New Deal. 

At least three sitting members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus agreed to back a resolution Ocasio-Cortez proposed to establish a 15-member Green New Deal panel. Activists are hoping Sanders’ event will add the 2016 presidential contender’s star power to their movement.  

The horrors that we’ve seen in California in the largest forest fire that that state has ever experienced ― this is not going to be an anomaly unless we begin the long hard struggle to transform our energy system. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

“He helped popularize things like Medicare for All, a living wage and a lot of other fights he’s taken up,” said Varshini Prakash, the co-founder of Sunrise Movement. “I hope he pushes for a Green New Deal and helps really add fuel to the fire that’s been lit under politicians and the public over the past week.” 

Sanders stopped short of endorsing the Green New Deal. But in April 2017, he co-sponsored legislation to move the United States to 100-percent clean energy by 2050. The bill included $7 billion in targeted infrastructure and environmental investments in fossil-fuel communities, and called for union labor protections for workers on federally backed green jobs. In November 2017, Sanders introduced a bill to spend $146 billion rebuilding storm-ravaged Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with renewable energy.

“What we need is extremely bold legislation,” Sanders said. “If there are Democrats who cannot support it, well, we’ve got to push pressure on them.” 

The relative absence of climate science from TV broadcasts that dominate American political discourse makes it hard to raise awareness of the near-term threats warming poses.

Seventy-one percent of major, televised debates in the 2018 midterm elections ignored the issue completely. Only four of the 107 segments ABC, CBS and NBC aired from Nov. 8 to Nov. 13 on the deadly wildfires scorching California this month discussed climate change. In 2017, the influential Sunday morning talk shows on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox News aired a combined 260 minutes of climate coverage, 79 percent of which focused exclusively on President Donald Trump’s personal beliefs on science and his decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement. 

“This is an issue of huge consequence and you would think that ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox would be talking about this every day, having the debate, ‘What do we do? Where do we go?’” Sanders said. “Clearly you aren’t seeing that debate.” 

Sanders’ inequality town hall in March drew 1.7 million viewers. Similar numbers might show cable news producers that climate change is not, as MSNBC host Chris Hayes revealingly described it in July, a “ratings killer.” 

“These are a big deal,” Sanders said. “We hope this can be part of the revolution that we need in thinking on climate change.”

Press link for more: Huffington Post