Snowball Earth

Last week Australia’s kids unleashed a political shock wave #ClimateStrike #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol #ExtinctionRebellion #GreenNewDeal #COP24 #ClimateChange #ClimateAction #TheDrum #QandA

Contributed by Joe Montero

When on Friday 30 November, big numbers of Australia’s school kids didn’t turn up for class and tens of thousands of them marched in the streets of 30 cities and regional centres, demanding the politicians act on climate change, it sent a shock wave through the corridors of power.

Climate Strike in Cairns

Life for the big polluters and those who cover for them has been made that much more difficult.

The government is acutely aware of the implications of the young turning against it.

This is why prime minister Scott Morrison came out and patronisingly spriuked that kids should be at school and not protesting.

By doing this, of course, he inadvertently made sure the effect was the opposite to what he intended. The word got around, went down the wrong way, and made sure more took part than may otherwise have.

Although the strike was initiated by students at Castlemaine in Victoria, the organisational force was provided by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, which has an incredible 150,000 members.

Many more than any political party. But it was the school students from primary and secondary schools that did the work to pull it off.

Kids rally in Sydney

So many taking part suggests that this age group as a whole, cares deeply about the issue, and this is creating a new generation of activists.

Morrison’s inept display took place, because the spread and strength of the passion coming from Australia’s school kids has caught him and his people by surprise, and because the crisis ridden government heading for an election, is increasingly reacting in panic mode, rather than a worked out strategy.

Kids walking out and protesting in such numbers has a longer term and more serious implication. They are the future and what they are doing is an indication of a seismic shift in generational political attitudes. a sign of what is coming.

Years of failure to address the question in an appropriate way, has done a lot to build resentment and put the present government on the nose. Climate warming is not the only issue. It is important. At the same time, in the bigger picture, this is mingled with an overall growing distrust of politicians across society, with perceptions of rampant corruption, the stranglehold of government and society in the hands of the corporate world and growing unfairness. The young are affected by this as well. They don’t trust politicians to do the right thing either, and this is breading a new generation of activists.

Greta Thunberg

Australia’s kids want decisive action on climate change.

They hold that the government is not only not acting.

They destroying the future of the rising and coming generations as well.

They know that they are the ones who will ultimately pay the price and don’t like it one bit.

Anyone who witnessed the turnout in the streets could not help but feel the passion.

Bystanders were stunned by what they were witnessing.

Even big media had to admit something big is going on.

Passion over the threat of global warming is extending towards calling for an end to the stranglehold of big business over Australian politics and society, especially to the political establishment’s bowing before the fossil fuels industry. Failure to stop the Adani mine and rail link in Queensland got special attention. This message was load and clear.

Kids want a society and economy that is for people, and not just to fatten the bottom line not for the few at the top.

They better be listened to – or else.

Press link for more: The Pen

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Climate Change Is Changing the Politics of #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #ClimateStrike #Heatwave #Bushfire #Flood #ExtinctionRebellion #Insiders #QandA #TheDrum #StopAdani

By David Doniger

A pessimist could be forgiven for thinking the treadmill of climate denial and inaction is endless.

For at least 50 years, senior oil company executives have known that burning their product was destabilizing our climate.

President Lyndon Johnson called on Congress in 1965 to pass legislation to curb carbon dioxide pollution, and Congress enacted that law—the Clean Air Act—in 1970. Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned Richard Nixon, and every subsequent president has had his Jeremiah to sound the alarm.

We made steps forward under Clinton and Obama only to suffer sharp reversals under the second Bush and—sharpest of all—Trump.

But even at this late hour, I tend toward hope that this cycle is about to change.

Why?

Because in 1965, 1995, and even 2015, climate change seemed still off in the future, theoretical, something our worst politicians could deny altogether, and our best ones could leave for later.

No longer.

Climate change is here and now. And palpably getting worse. That is rapidly changing how Americans think about it.

The shift from “future problem” to “now crisis” is being fueled by blockbuster scientific reports and blockbuster real-world catastrophes.

Camp Fire, California, 2018 

California National Guard

Queensland bushfires Labelled catastrophic November 2018

In October millions of Americans were rocked by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s devastating report on the consequences of letting global temperatures rise above 1.5° C (2.7° F). And now we’re absorbing the litany of calamities that await communities in every part of our country, laid out last Friday in the National Climate Assessment prepared by top federal scientists and national experts. The Trump administration’s climate deniers hoped to burythis report in our post-Thanksgiving tryptophan haze, but millions of Americans are paying attention.

And they’re paying attention to the catastrophic wildfires and hurricanes that have pounded California, North Carolina, and Florida this fall, on top of Texas and Puerto Rico last year. 53 killed by Hurricane Florence and 36 by Hurricane Mitchell. 85, to date, killed by the California fires.  

Nearly 3000 dead in Puerto Rico in Hurricane Maria’s aftermath last year.

The one-two punch of irrefutable science and irrefutable experience has raised the urgency of climate action in all voters and in both parties.

The mid-terms have brought a new crop of leaders to the House of Representatives, governors mansions, and state houses who campaigned on clean energy and climate change.

The U.S. Climate Alliance will likely expand from 17 governors to 25 or more, representing states accounting for the bulk of America’s economy. State and city leaders will advance bold policies to decarbonize our electricity and transportation systems.

Changing Washington will take a bit longer—but it will go faster than we thought. President Trump won’t change.

He’ll almost surely exit office without ever taking a briefing from climate scientists.

Australia ‘s new PM Scott Morrison loves coal.

With his “natural instinct for science,” he’ll continue to deny and lie on climate, like so many other topics.

The president says the climate “goes up and down” and, like that, some foolish senator will say it “ebbs and flows.”

The coal lobbyists and ideologues he’s put into power at EPA and other agencies will keep rolling back climate and clean energy regulations—though many of those moves are destined to fail when we see them in court.

But the mid-term elections show a decisive rejection of Trumpism.

The House’s new Democratic leaders—from veterans to freshman—will push ambitious plans to transition America to clean energy and bring carbon pollution to zero—or even below zero, drawing carbon out of the air—in the next few decades.

Whether Trump’s party will change remains to be seen. But as many GOP representatives found out, the old formula doesn’t work in the suburbs anymore. The Senate map and gerrymandering won’t help Republicans out of their demographic jam.

On climate, like other issues, their party must respond or wither away.

In this Congress, while advancing big ideas, leaders also have a chance to make progress on more modest but crucial building blocks.

A growing number of GOP politicians see the rising economic and political force in clean energy.

With clean energy job creation booming, climate policies are not so easy to dismiss as “job-killing” anymore.

Will we see them embrace policies to modernize the grid, promote renewables and efficiency, curb methane waste and pollution, move to next-generation refrigerants? Measures like that could move in the House, and even be embraced in the Senate, if both parties read the political handwriting on the wall.

Almost certainly, climate change will play bigger in the 2020 election.

Unfortunately, the here-and-now pounding of climate impacts will continue, as the IPCC and National Climate Assessment foretell. More Americans will be affected, many grievously.  And more Americans will see and feel

clean energy’s vital role in our economic future.

When the next president takes office, he or she will find the American people ready for—and ready to demand—the ambitious transition to the clean energy and a low-carbon future that our survival depends on.

Press link for more: NRDC

Adani locks in long-awaited funding for Carmichael mine. #auspol #qldpol Ignores #ClimateEmergency in Queensland #StopAdani #COP24 #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion #Heatwave #Bushfire #TheDrum

By Luke Mortimer

Adani Mining chief executive Lucas Dow made the announcement in Mackay this afternoon. 

CONSTRUCTION is due to start imminently on the controversial Carmichael coal mine and rail project, which will be “100 per cent financed through the Adani Group’s resources”.

Adani Mining chief executive officer Lucas Dow announced the long-awaited funding milestone in Mackay this afternoon at a Bowen Basin Mining Club luncheon.

Adani completely ignores Queensland’s climate emergency.

The announcement to community leaders, mining industry contractors and suppliers follows recent changes to simplify construction and reduce the initial capital requirements for the Carmichael Project, Adani said in a statement. 

Mr Dow said construction of the mine in the Bowen Basin “will now begin”.

“Our work in recent months has culminated in Adani Group’s approval of the revised project plan that de-risks the initial stage of the Carmichael mine and rail project by adopting a narrow gauge rail solution combined with a reduced ramp-up volume for the mine,” he said.

“This means we’ve minimised our execution risk and initial capital outlay. The sharpening of the mine plan has kept operating costs to a minimum and ensures the project remains within the first quartile of the global cost curve.

Adani ignores the cost to the global economy of climate change.

Adani said the coal produced in the “initial ramp up phase will be “consumed by the Adani Group’s captive requirements”.

“We will now begin developing a smaller open cut mine comparable to many other Queensland coal mines and will ramp up production over time to 27.5mtpa,” Mr Dow said. 

“The construction for the shorter narrow gauge rail line will also begin to match the production schedule. 

Announcement of a new coal mine during a catastrophic fire emergency.

“We have already invested $3.3 billion in Adani’s Australian businesses, which is a clear demonstration of our capacity to deliver a financing solution for the revised scope of the mine and rail project.”

Mr Dow described the project as stacking up “both environmentally and financially”.

“Today’s announcement removes any doubt as to the project stacking up financially,” he added.

“We will now deliver the jobs and business opportunities we have promised for North Queensland and Central Queensland, all without requiring a cent of Australian taxpayer dollars. 

Queenslanders suffer heat wave that will kill the Great Barrier Reef it’s no time to open new coal mines.

“In addition to providing these jobs in regional Queensland, our Carmichael coal will also provide a power source to improve living standards in developing countries.” 

Adani asserts the Carmichael project will deliver more than 1500 direct jobs on the mine and rail projects during the initial ramp-up and construction phase”, and “thousands more indirect jobs”.

What about the jobs we will loose in tourism?

The company said preparatory works at the site were “imminent” and it was working with regulators to finalise “the remaining required management plans ahead of coal production”.

Adani added some of the management plans have been subject to two years of state and federal government review.

This process is expected to be complete and provided by the Governments in the next few weeks, it was stated.

Today’s announcement follows eight years of planning, securing approvals and successfully contesting legal challenges.

“We have worked tirelessly to clear the required hurdles,” Mr Dow said. 

“Given we meet the same environmental standards and operate under the same regulations as other miners, we expect that Adani Mining will be treated no differently than any other Queensland mining company.” 

Mr Dow described the people of north and central Queensland as being steadfast in their support of the project from the beginning.

“We want to thank them for sticking with us,” Mr Dow said. 

“Thanks to the people of Rockhampton, Townsville, Mackay, Bowen, the Isaac and Central Highlands regions. We look forward to delivering on our promise of creating jobs and helping local businesses and the communities thrive for many years to come.” 

“We’re ready to start mining and deliver on our promises to Queensland.” 

Adani said the milestone will “help create new opportunities for trade and investment between Australia and India”.

Press link for more: Daily Mercury

Why the 🌍 needs a #GreenNewDeal #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange is now a #ClimateEmergency #StopAdani #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion #TheDrum #QandA

Building a major green jobs project is clearly good politics.

Far more important, it’s necessary to our future

As the mythical caravan threat magically disappeared two weeks after the election, with the announcement that troops deployed would start to come home, a genuine existential threat has increasingly come into focus—the threat of climate change, heralded by a wave of wildfires in California, most notably the Camp Fire, the most deadly U.S. wildfire in almost a century.

Searchers looking for human remains

Since a Nov. 13 protest at Nancy Pelosi’s office on Capitol Hill first drew attention to it, organizing to push Democrats to commit to a New Green Deal has continued to mount. “We need a Green New Deal and we need to get to 100 percent renewables because our lives depend on it,” Rep.-elect Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez told reporters, as 51 protesters with the Sunrise Movement were arrested (and later released).

Since then 13 members of Congress have signed on to support her proposal to establish a select committee tasked with developing a plan to transition to a carbon-neutral economy and beyond, with the ultimate goal of “economic and environmental justice and equality.”

But the political world still seems disastrously disconnected from the real world around it, even as smoke from California’s wildfires reached all the way to the East Coast:

The Camp Fire has an official death toll of 77, with 15,850 structures destroyed, but it’s hardly alone. According a Nov. 19 Cal Fire factsheet, five of the 10 most destructive wildfires in California history occurred in the last two years, with a sixth in 2015. All but one have happened since 2003. 

The result is “Making Some California Homes Uninsurable,” as the New York Times reported:

“We’re not in a crisis yet, but all of the trends are in a bad direction,” said Dave Jones, who is completing his eighth and final year as California’s insurance commissioner. “We’re slowly marching toward a world that’s uninsurable.”

And it’s not just wildfires. A paper published Nov. 19 in Nature Climate Changefound a broad threat to humanity from the cumulative impacts of global warming:

We found traceable evidence for 467 pathways by which human health, water, food, economy, infrastructure and security have been recently impacted by climate hazards such as warming, heatwaves, precipitation, drought, floods, fires, storms, sea-level rise and changes in natural land cover and ocean chemistry.

As the New York Times reported, by the end of this century “some parts of the world could face as many as six climate-related crises at the same time.” The headline called it a “Terror Movie” — and that was right, as everyone watching the Camp Fire could already see.

“Unprecedented fires in Queensland, Australia today.

Record temperatures 4C hotter than previous November record set in 1971.

Politicians and pundits may still be sleepwalking, but the insurance industry is wide awake. 

The entire world might become uninsurable by the end of the century, with a four-degree rise in global temperatures, according to Australian insurance giant IAG, as reported by The Australian Financial Review. 

Popular and desperately needed

It’s not just that drastic action is needed.

The basic idea of a New Green Deal is wildly popular.

There was 70 percent support for “Green New Deal — Millions Of Clean-Energy Jobs” in the “Big Ideas” poll commissioned by the Progressive Change Institute in January 2015. This year, Data for Progress advanced its own, more detailed Green New Deal Plan, with polling showing related political appeal: In Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — key to Trump’s 2016 election — voters were more, rather than less, likely to support a candidate “who supports moving the United States to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030” by  32, 27 and 26 points, respectively. 

“Green New Deal combines two things voters love: the environment and jobs,” Data for Progress co-founder Sean McElwee told Salon. “Pundits are trapped in a framework in which the environment is pitted against jobs, which is silly,” he said. 

Silly, but extremely popular with the GOP business class, which has dominated the framing of most political discourse over the past half-century. Plenty of “business-friendly” Democrats have joined in as well, even as climate change has increasingly emerged as a profound threat to the business community itself. This is epitomized by the reinsurance industry, tasked with trying to manage the enormous and increasingly unpredictable unpaid, externalized costs of climate change.

The problem of skyrocketing global warming insurance costs was highlighted in the late 1990s by Ross Gelspan in his book, “The Heat Is On.” Five years ago, the Geneva Association, a global insurance think tank, issued a report, “Warming of the Oceans and Implications for the (Re)insurance Industry,” warning that traditional underwriting methods could no longer cope with the unpredictable nature of climate change, which was threatening to make some regions uninsurable. 

“Traditional approaches … solely based on analysing historical data, increasingly fail to estimate today’s hazard  probabilities,” it said. “In some high-risk areas, ocean warming and climate change threaten the insurability of catastrophe risk more generally.” A story about that report noted that the number of weather catastrophes had risen “from around 300 a year in 1980 to around 900 in 2012, according to figures from reinsurer, Munich Re.”

“The American public is thirsty for bold climate action because the drumbeat of news just keeps getting worse,” RL Miller, founder of the Climate Hawks Vote superPAC told Salon. “And the Democrats’ plans to date — mild carbon taxes, small tax credits, rebates, etc. — don’t inspire people the way the Green New Deal does. Polls show that the Green New Deal is very politically popular, far more so than a carbon tax.”

Part of the reason is a universal one — that bold, easy-to-grasp proposals are more inspiring than convoluted wonky ones — and part is quite specific. “The Green New Deal is, by design, centered around jobs, and thus it makes a lot more sense to working-class families than other carbon plans attacked by the right as ‘increasing your utility bills,” Miller said.

Green New Deal goals

The core of the proposal from Ocasio-Cortez is directed beyond just getting to a carbon-neutral economy. The list of 10-year goals includes:

  1. 100 percent of national power generation from renewable sources;
  2. Building a national, energy-efficient “smart” grid;
  3. Upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety;
  4. Decarbonizing the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries;
  5. Decarbonizing, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure;
  6. Funding massive investment in the drawdown and capture of greenhouse gases;
  7. Making “green” technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major export of the United States, with the aim of becoming the undisputed international leader in helping other countries transition to carbon-neutral economies and bringing about a global Green New Deal.

There’s other language that broadens the scope, addressing “climate change, pollution and other environmental harm” and recognizing “that a national, industrial, economic mobilization of this scope and scale is a historic opportunity to virtually eliminate poverty in the United States and to make prosperity, wealth and economic security available to everyone participating in the transformation.” It also outlines specific areas to address, including education, training and “a job guarantee program to assure every person who wants one, a living wage job;” as well as “additional measures such as basic income programs, universal health care programs and any others as the select committee may deem appropriate to promote economic security, labor market flexibility and entrepreneurism” and “innovative public and other financing structures.”

While dealing with climate change is the key component, the Data for Progress plan more specifically highlights a broader range of environmental and environmental justice needs. It cites lead exposure and asthma as prime concerns. It notes that “there are at least 4 million children living in households exposed to high levels of lead and half a million children with high blood lead levels,” with disproportionately high levels of exposure for black and low-income children. In addition, one in 13 Americans have asthma, while black Americans are “nearly twice as likely to suffer from asthma, and three times as likely to endure hospitalization,” with air pollution as a significant environmental trigger for symptoms. 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

This broader environmental scope makes the plan both more comprehensive and more popular, McElwee noted. “Climate change is an abstract concern people don’t fully grasp,” he said. “They grasp how pollution poisons their water and gives their kids asthma.”

Both versions aren’t just a New Deal-style jobs program that happens to be green. They are carefully put together to reflect lessons from the past, redressing mistakes and building on principles of justice. “The racial exclusion of the New Deal was a great failing,” McElwee said. “We need to ensure that the Green New Deal is equitable because the communities that suffer most from pollution are disproportionately poor communities of color.” 

Ocasio-Cortez may have been a bartender before running for Congress, but she’s not ignorant of how Congress works. Her select committee proposal is a detailed blueprint for getting something truly massive done, with the full knowledge that Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump would never sign off on it. It’s intended to guide the development of fully-fleshed out legislation to be ready to go in the first months of the next administration, with the plan completed by Jan. 1, 2020.

It’s also intended to appeal to a broad constituency within the Democratic coalition — as well as working-class voters that neoliberal Democrats have long alienated. In addition to the basic green job-creation appeal, the proposal goes further, saying that the plan will “provide all members of our society, across all regions and all communities, the opportunity, training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition, including through a job guarantee program to assure every person who wants one, a living wage job.”

I’ve written before about the crucial importance of a just transition provision. In early 2017, writing specifically about the coal industry, I cited a just transition plan developed by Robert Pollin and Brian Callaci “that would ensure a just transition away from a polluting economy for fossil fuel workers.” In an article describing the plan they argued: “A combination of better jobs and pensions will remove one political obstacle to a green transition — and it’s the right thing to do.” Given the understandable — and well-justified — political resistance if nothing is done, they wrote:

It follows that the global climate stabilization project must unequivocally commit to providing generous transitional support for workers and communities tied to the fossil fuel industry. The late U.S. labor leader and environmental visionary Tony Mazzocchi pioneered thinking on what is now termed a “Just Transition” for these workers and communities. As Mazzocchi wrote as early as 1993, “Paying people to make the transition from one kind of economy to another is not welfare. Those who work with toxic materials on a daily basis … in order to provide the world with the energy and the materials it needs deserve a helping hand to make a new start in life.”

The cost of this is trivial, an estimated $500 million per year. That’s about “1 percent of the annual $50 billion in new public investment that will be needed to advance a successful overall U.S. climate stabilization program,” which “would pay for income, retraining, and relocation support for workers facing retrenchments as well as effective transition programs for what are now fossil fuel–dependent communities.”

I can’t think of anything remotely comparable that any neoliberal, centrist or conservative Democrat has come up with in the way of rebuilding trust and support for the Democratic Party with those mythical voters they pretend to care about so much more than progressives do. At the same time, a related logic of equity connects with core Democratic Party communities — especially communities of color that have been disproportionately subject to fossil fuel pollution. 

Broader lessons

There’s also a broader political lesson involved in the Green New Deal. In their book, “Asymmetric Politics: Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats,” Matt Grossmann and David Hopkins do a lot to explain why it’s so hard to advance a coherent progressive agenda, despite the fact that individual elements of it — non-discrimination, a livable wage, universal health care, etc. — enjoy significant support. The Green New Deal solves that ancient problem in a concrete, practical way, because it fuses all those different elements into a unified policy whole, where the different facets synergistically reinforce each other.  Without that, the default tendency is for progressive ideas to be judged one-by-one, by conservative standards, without people even realizing what they are doing. 

The unified whole is stronger than the sum of its parts, McElwee noted. “In the places where Green New Deal-style programs have worked it has been due to a collaboration between environmental, labor and racial justice groups,” he said. “That’s a key component of success.” 

As things stand now, the odds still seem stacked against Ocasio-Cortez getting her select committee established. The inside politics response has been predictable. Politico played up resistance inside the Democratic Party, while failing to mention that the opponents it cited all had received fossil fuel donations. (The DNC banned such donations earlier this year, passing a resolution drafted by Pelosi’s daughter, Christine Pelosi, before reversing itself two months later.) But Ocasio-Cortez has beaten long odds before. And as before, the outside world realities are in her favor.

“With people being burned alive in California right now, it’s time for members of Congress to stop making excuses and start showing the leadership required of them in this moment,” Sunrise Movement founder Varshini Prakash said in a statement on Nov. 21, following another day of mass lobbying. “Now is the time to come together to develop a plan to get us out of this crisis. Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed Select Committee on a Green New Deal is currently the only proposal on the table that matches the scale and urgency of what is required in this moment, and we encourage all members of Congress to join us and the 73 other organizations who have come out in support of it.”

Meanwhile, in Long Beach, California, RL Miller of Climate Hawks Vote was at the California Democratic Party convention this past weekend. She’s chair of the state party’s Environmental Caucus, and she addressed the general assembly, about 200 people from across the state. “I asked everyone to stand up if they’d been directly affected by wildfire — and nearly half the room stood,” she said. “Then I asked everyone to stand if they knew someone who had — and virtually the entire room stood.” 

It was that kind of universal recognition moment. Miller herself had flames come within 500 feet of her home and was evacuated for 72 hours. 

“This is an epidemic, like gun violence, where ‘everyone knows someone who’s been hurt.’ Every single person in California, all 40 million of us, is on the front lines of climate change,” she said. Elsewhere it’s hurricanes, heatwaves, floods or droughts, but the number of those on the front lines are swelling dramatically everywhere. 

But there’s another side as well, McElwee suggested. We’re not just facing climate threat, we’re longing for something positive. “I think there is a real, true sense in which humans feel uncomfortable with the environment in which they live,” he said. “There is a desire to go back to our roots — that’s why people love hikes. We need to use that in our politics.”

Press link for more: Salon.com

Why I’m Rebelling against Extinction #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #StopAdani #ClimateChange & #Airpollution are killing us.#auspol #springst #qldpol Time to join the revolution.

Why I’m Rebelling against Extinction (wait, should that really need explaining..?)

By Shaun Chamberlin

I got arrested for the first time in my life this week. And I’m proud of it.

As long-time followers of this blog know, over the past 13 years I’ve tried everything I know to get our society to change its omnicidal course.

I’ve written books, co-founded organisations, taught courses, worked in my community, lobbied governments, given talks, participated in grassroots discussion and action…

I’ve failed.

We’ve all failed.  

As a global society we are accelerating towards oblivion, and taking everyone else with us.

And last week, someone said something that stuck with me.

That if everyone around you is carrying on like everything’s fine, then no matter how much one reads or understands intellectually about a situation, it’s so difficult not to go along with that.

Equally, if you’re somewhere and everyone else starts screaming and running for the exit, then you probably start running for the exit, even if you have no idea what’s going on.

Maybe there’s seemed to be a disconnect between the message we’ve been bringing – that this society is knowingly causing the harshest catastrophe in history – and the actions we’ve been taking?

Maybe if the wider public see that hundreds feel the need to go to jail over this, they might start to seriously ask why? With these stakes, it’s worth a shot.

https://vimeo.com/301399993

That film was shot yesterday on Blackfriars Bridge, one of five bridges surrounding Parliament that we occupied as part of the Extinction Rebellion.

The sheer mass of thousands of people meant that the police couldn’t possibly arrest everyone, so the bridges were ours for all the family fun you can see. 

But when, at the hour we decided, we collectively moved on, many ordinary folk stayed behind and refused to leave in order to be arrested. If all we have left to amplify the message with is our liberty, then we offer it up.

And paradoxically – as I say at the end of the clip – in doing so we have discovered a new freedom.  That following our conscience and refusing to be bound by laws that insist on inflicting death and misery is an act of liberty. 

Hundreds of thousands are dying of climate change each year now. Most of the wild nature that existed fifty years ago is gone. What’s a little time in jail, by comparison?

As I sat in my cell, I felt peace. I knew that I was doing all I could for our collective future, and am proud to have that recorded against my name for the rest of my life.

Perhaps, as ever, Wendell Berry said it best,

“Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success, namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one’s own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.”

Maybe we can’t stop what’s unfolding, but it would diminish us not to try. And yesterday was the first event I’ve attended that felt as though it might be a historic turning point. 

Equally, it might not.

That’s up to us.

One child held a placard saying “When I grow up,

I want to be alive”.

Yep.  See you there next Saturday.

(and there are plenty of crucial non-arrestable roles too)

  


I’ll leave you with the song that has been the soundtrack to my personal Extinction Rebellion. 

It makes me cry every time.

https://youtu.be/ZTFFOr_G6ZM

Press link for more: Dark Optimism

Humanitarian Crisis in California! Catastrophic #ClimateChange 79 Dead, 700 missing, thousands homeless. Demand #GreenNewDeal #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #auspol

https://youtu.be/YokRLakwZ2E

The wildfires in California signal that in the era of climate catastrophe no one will be untouched.

Time to make the planet great again.

We need to join movements like the Extinction Rebellion, Climate Strike, Stop Adani and 350.Org.

The time for procrastination is over.

The climate crisis is here we need to demand a Green New Deal.

Australian health professionals’ statement on climate change and health. #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #springst #wapol #StopAdani join #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #TheDrum

The Australian Government’s contemptuous dismissal of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), including the panel’s recommendation to dramatically reduce coal power by 2050, is unacceptable.
As Australian health professionals and scientists, we are dismayed by the implications of our government’s ongoing stance to disregard the consensus of the world’s leading climate scientists, the precautionary principle, and any idea of duty of care regarding the future wellbeing of Australians and our immediate neighbours.
Australia is the world’s largest coal exporter and produces about 7% of the world’s coal. 
Worldwide, fossil fuel burning produces around 72% of all greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities. 
To limit global warming to 2°C, a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves, and more than 80% of current coal reserves as of 2010 should remain unused. 
Air pollution from coal burning is responsible for numerous health problems—according to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016, around 2·5 million deaths were caused by solid fuel burning worldwide.
Ironically, no other member country of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is as vulnerable to climate disruption as Australia.
Climate disruption is already amplifying the frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme weather events such as heatwaves, bushfires, drought, and tropical storms, causing harm and damaging livelihoods.
As with other established historical harms to human health (eg, tobacco and exorbitant hepatitis C drug prices), narrow vested interests must be countered to bring about fundamental change in the consumption of coal and other fossil fuels.
The Australian Government must commit immediately to embrace strategies of energy generation that do not put more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (panel)—with healthier communities reaping the benefits now and in the future. Without concerted action by all, the IPCC recommendation to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 will certainly not be achieved.
Because of processes of colonisation and marginalisation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia have been cut off from lands and seas and are in poorer overall health; climate change will only amplify these inequities. Australia’s Pacific Island neighbours are also highly vulnerable to climate-related risks to health, extreme weather events, rising sea levels, coastal erosion, habitability, food security, water supply, and economic growth.
Our disregard of their plight through continued coal burning is shameful.
Press link for more: The Lancet
A must watch video from Cambridge University Churchill College

Mass civil disobedience is the only way to reverse #climatebreakdown #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #SpringSt #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateChange now a #ClimateEmergency #Insiders

A new resistance movement is forming. Husna Rizvi speaks to Extinction Rebellion about why direct action is our last chance to phase-out carbon.

A new climate breakdown resistance movement is forming in Britain. On Wednesday 31 October in Westminster, ‘Extinction Rebellion’ – a nascent mass direct-action group, in the style of Occupy – came together to launch a rolling protest against the UK government’s failure to act to prevent climate change.

In London’s Parliament Square, in front of Gandhi’s statue no less, thousands of people made a declaration of non-violent rebellion in an attempt to force concessions from the government. Their demands include: an immediate reversal of climate-toxic policies, net-zero emissions by 2025 and the establishment of a citizen’s assembly to oversee the radical changes necessary to halt global warming.

Two members of the the recently formed Extinction Rebellion who were arrested yesterday during the group’s “escalating campaign of civil disobedience.”

The group says that ‘peaceful, civil disobedience’ is the only way bring about the social change needed to expedite a reversal of fortunes for the human race. Otherwise, we are ‘on course for a next wave of extinction – a human extinction’.

They’re not wrong.

A one-degree rise in global temperature since the industrial revolution has led to a sea-level rise that’s rapidly flooding Bangladesh and other Carribean, Pacific and coastal regions around the world. The group’s action came just a day after the World Wildlife Fund released a report warning that humans have wiped out 60 per cent of animal populations since 1970.

Fittingly, young people are at the heart of the movement.

We spoke to fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg, a Stockholm climate activist best known for starting a popular Friday strike movement in Sweden: Thunberg won’t be going to Friday classes until the Swedish government cleans up its act on climate change.

Thunberg and her parents drove in an electric car to Westminster, where she addressed a crowd of over a thousand people. ‘When I was eight, I found out about something called climate change, or global warming,’ she said. ‘Apparently it was something that humans had created by our way of living. I was told to turn off the lights to save energy and to recycle paper to save resources.

Greta Thunberg

‘I remember thinking it was very strange that humans, an animal species among others could be capable of changing the Earth’s climate.

Because if we were, and it was really happening, we wouldn’t be talking about anything else. As soon as you turned on the TV, everything would be about that.

‘Why wasn’t it [burning fossil fuels] made illegal? To me, that did not add up.’

Teddy Walden, 18, is another member of Generation Z who rejects climate apathy.

‘If everyone consumed like Americans, we’d have gone through five Earths by now. That’s shocking,’ she said.

Australian school kids join the revolution

The co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, academic and activist Roger Hallam, believes mass movements like this one are the only way to force the radical changes needed.

‘A hundred years of political sociology shows you can only change entrenched power through creating economic costs for the people who hold that entrenched power,’ he said.

‘Through mass civil resistance, we’re going to create a new global regime that takes our responsibilities seriously towards the next generation.’

He contrasts this mode of organizing to other more technocratic and policy-focused work by NGOs. Extinction Rebellion has occupied the offices of Greenpeace, for example, to critique their ineffectiveness in lobbying governments to reduce emissions

‘The NGOs have been working for 30 years to reduce global carbon emissions and during that time they’ve increased by 60 per cent, which quite possibly has condemned every future generation to a living hell.

‘So in that context it’s probably worth trying something different. We went to Greenpeace to get them to tell their members to join mass civil disobedience, which has been shown to change political regimes rapidly.

But Hallam is frank about the challenges ahead. He expects Extinction Rebellion’s demands to be ignored by government. ‘They’ll ignore us, and then they’ll fight us and we’ll win. We haven’t got to the fight stage – which will be non-violent – but we will in the next two weeks.’

In a taste of what’s to come, soon after, more than a thousand people blocked roads circling Parliament Square, and 15 were arrested.

A large police presence monitored yesterday’s protest

George Monbiot – the notable environmentalist and journalist was among them. Speaking earlier in the day, he made a call to arms. ‘We’ve waited long enough, we are waiting no longer. No one else will deliver it for us, no one is left but us.’

‘We claim to live in a democracy. In many ways it resembles a plutocracy – your votes should count [but] money counts instead.

‘The money of the city, and the fossil fuel industry and the farming lobby and the fishing industry and the auto-manufacturers and the airlines lobby. We are not heard because they are heard.

‘Parliament will not do this for us, corporations will not do this for us and I’m sorry to say that the big NGOs won’t either.’ Monbiot added that though this is the only planet known to support life, the intelligent bit has yet to be demonstrated.

Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party said we should embrace non-violent direct action (NVDA) where appropriate.

‘NVDA should be done in a considered way, its not something you do off the cuff, you consider it, you weigh it up strategically and when it’s done in those kinds of ways for the right reasons we’re whole heartedly behind it,’ said Bartley, whose fellow co-leader, MP Caroline Lucas, was arrested in 2013 for direct action against anti-fracking.

‘None of the broadcast media picked up on the fact that the chancellor didn’t mention climate change once in his budget,’ he adds.

‘The YouGov issues tracker is seeing the environment go up and up [as a concern] for people and the politicians haven’t caught up yet.’

As for their plan for mass civil disobedience in the coming weeks, Extinction Rebellion said: ‘If the government does not respond seriously to our demands, civil disobedience will commence from the 12 November’ with a return to Parliament Square programmed for ‘Rebellion Day‘, on Saturday 17 November.

Press link for more: NewInt.org

Why And How Business Must Tackle #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #ClimateRisk @scheerlinckeva @aistbuzz #TheDrum #QandA #StopAdani #EndCoal

By Simon Mainwaring

The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report brought both daunting and galvanizing news.

On the positive side, the paper mentioned that it is still possible to reach only a total of 1.5°C increase in global temperature.

This was the level outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement as the threshold beyond which the world would experience catastrophic and irreversible climatic shocks and pressures.

On the downside, maintaining temperatures at 1.5°C would require unprecedented climate action, setting the planet on track to reduce emissions by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and hit zero emissions by 2050.

Jokulsarlon Lagoon is famous because of the beautiful icebergs that float in this lagoon formed from the diminishing glaciers in Iceland. In the last thirty years this lake has increased a lot in size because of the acceleration of the glaciers melting affected by the global warming. (Getty)

Climate change will damage economies, devastate populations, increase resource scarcity and dramatically impact the cost of doing business.

So for both humanitarian and business reasons, it is imperative that companies of all sizes take action.

At the same time it is also likely that more aggressive climate policies will be enforced by government bodies on an international level, so from a business standpoint, addressing climate change now will serve as good business in the long run.

In fact, over 150 companies have joined RE 100, thereby committing to going 100% renewable, and this movement is gaining momentum.

Averting a humanitarian and planetary crisis is reason enough to act with urgency, but there is also a business case for doing so.

With the decrease cost of solar and other renewable energy sources, companies can save money and reduce energy uncertainty.

What’s more, studies show that consumers want to support companies actively building a better world.

Climate action offers companies excellent storytelling potential to be used in marketing initiatives to ensure their brands are meaningful and relevant to consumers because they align around shared values.

The question is then what are the best ways for businesses to address climate change?

Here’s how businesses can champion climate action: 

  • Measure your carbon footprint: You can’t change what you can’t measure. It’s imperative to measure how much greenhouse gas emissions your business generates annually. Once you set a business-as-usual benchmark, you can work on reducing your carbon footprint from existing levels. There are numerous tests and consultancies that can help with your carbon accounting. For example, CDP is well respected among the business community for its transparent and accountable carbon measurements. To maintain credibility, it’s important to conduct a third party audit, rather than undertake climate accounting internally. 
  • Develop a climate action plan: Once you measure how much carbon you’re emitting, it’s time to lay out a plan. This means getting granular on the exact activities that produce greenhouse gas emissions and how to reduce them. Here are some key focus areas that can get you started.

    • Supply chain: Supply chain emissions are often responsible for the majority of corporate carbon footprints. Some argue that addressing this issue is particularly difficult to address because they require changing materials sourcing and sometimes suppliers. But it is possible and necessary. A great example of a company taking on supply chain emissions is LEGO. The toymaker recently announced a bio-based material and is dedicated to transforming its predominantly plastic-based building blocks to plant-based material. Essentially, supply chain adjustments will have a significant impact on your business’s carbon footprint. To maintain quality and price benchmarks, it’s a good idea to start on trial projects and transition over time.
    • Energy: Electricity, heating and cooling are all traditional sources of carbon emissions. Improving energy efficiency is an excellent way to reduce your carbon output. Make sure you focus on facilities in your entire value chain including corporate offices and storefronts, as well as factories and third party warehouses. 
    • Transportation: Logistics and fulfillment routes are prime focus areas for emissions reductions. You can significantly reduce the distance your products need to travel to reach retailers or consumer homes by operating out of regional warehouses. Another way to reduce logistics emissions is to allow sufficient time to ship products via sea freight, rather than air. For international shipping, sea freight is also substantially less expensive. In addition to logistics and fulfillment, you can incentivize employees to travel in more sustainable ways. For one, consider transitioning to an all electric fleet for company owned vehicles. You can also offer company transportation to residential areas where many employees live. Another way to encourage eco-transport is to offer incentives for employees that commute via carpool, public transport or bicycle travel. Additionally, you can offer employees loans to purchase their own electric vehicles.
  • Set emissions reduction targets: Once you’ve mapped out a climate action plan, you should have a better understanding of specific emissions sources and what you can do to reduce them. To make measurable changes its imperative to set quantitative and time sensitive emissions reduction targets. You should look at emissions reductions like a business plan. To help quantify your emissions reductions, it’s good business practice to set an internal price on carbon. This way you can assess metrics like the opportunity cost of capital, internal rate of return and payback periods. Be sure to obtain cost estimates for strategies in your climate action plan so you know the cost and time required to make reductions before starting. 
  • Monitor progress: Once you’ve set targets and implemented a plan, it’s essential to assess your progress. Working with a third-party consultancy is imperative to maintaining accountability and measuring your true footprint. Monitoring progress not only validates your hard work, but can also offer insights on where you can improve. 
  • Support climate-smart politics: Government policy is a strong lever that can shift the needle towards a low-carbon future. Companies often try to avoid politicizing their business, but when it comes to climate change it’s essential that companies support policies and politicians actively working to reduce emissions. While naysayers often argue that policy increases the cost of business, climate policies will actually open new opportunities and improve the economy overtime. Policies like the Clean Air Act, rebates for electric vehicles and renewable energy incentives drive down the cost of clean energy and transportation technology, which reduces the cost of business in the long run. Therefore, companies must use their lobbying influence to encourage politicians to support progressive climate policy. 

Business leaders must take action to tackle climate change both for business, humanitarian and planetary benefits.

Companies can take a stand by measuring emissions, making a climate action plan, setting emissions reduction targets, measuring progress and supporting policies that advance climate change mitigation.

Anything less would be to ignore the reality of the impact of climate change, and that would only hurt business and our future in the long run.

I’m the founder and CEO of We First, a leading brand consultancy that builds purpose-driven brands. We deliver purpose-driven strategy, content and training that…MORE
Press link for more: Forbes.com

Solar Power Could Still Save the World! #StopAdani #EndCoal #ClimateChange #auspol #nswpol #qldpol Demand #ClimateAction We can do this!

Award-winning solar scientist Martin Green says the technology is being underestimated in climate predictions. SHARE TWEET

Award-winning solar scientist Martin Green says the technology is being underestimated in climate predictions.

Monks look at solar panels in Ladakh, India in 2017. Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty

Our future on this planet is totally, irrevocably, screwed.

That would seem to be the message from last week’s major UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

Without societal changes unprecedented in human history and trillions of dollars of new spending, it argued, humankind is to set to blow past the climate target of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial temperatures scientists see as the threshold of total environmental chaos. “The report shows that we only have the slimmest of opportunities remaining to avoid unthinkable damage to the climate system that supports life as we know it,” explained Amjad Abdulla, an IPCC board member. 

With Donald Trump in the White House, and Congress controlled by Republicans who have spent years blocking action on climate change, our odds of ensuring planetary survival look even slimmer.

Yet in early October I spent several days with an Australian scientist who argues we may be less screwed than many people think. “I’m not a pessimist, I’m a data-driven optimist,” said Martin Green from the University of New South Wales.

Here’s what the data are telling him: The cost of solar energy is dropping faster than anyone expected: 34 percent this year alone. And installations of it are skyrocketing. 

If this exponential growth continues, with solar and other renewables wiping out coal usage while accelerating the transition to electric vehicles, Green told me that it’s conceivable greenhouse gas emissions could begin plummeting at rates needed to avoid the worst-case impacts of climate change. 

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Among his ARIA awards, writing and acting credits, and sterling Twitter banter, Briggs has proven himself (again and again and again) to be one of Australia’s most significant voices. Briggs finds solace and satisfaction in a trip to the barber.

“A couple years ago I was getting quite pessimistic… I thought, ‘Oh it’s never going to happen,’” he said. “Suddenly in 2016 we started seeing these abnormally [low] solar prices.” Solar rapidly went from being one of most expensive sources of energy to one of the cheapest. He is now certain “the time of solar has arrived and this is good news for the world.” 

Green has been part of the industry since its earliest days.

He founded a research group that in 1989 created the first solar cell with a 20 percent efficiency rate, a world record at the time. “We took efficiency way beyond what anyone thought possible,” he said. Green invented something called a PERC solar cell, which now accounts for over $10 billion of solar sales. His fellow lab researchers—including Zhengrong Shi, now the head of Suntech Power—played a crucial role in creating China’s solar energy industry, the world’s largest. 

Green beat out Elon Musk to win this year’s Global Energy Prize, a scientific award given out annually in Russia, which he shared with Russian thermal power scientist Sergey Alekseenko. I was at the Moscow award ceremony on October 6 to receive an energy journalism prize. I attended several of Green’s talks and we spoke one-on-one about his research. 



The point Green made again and again is that the mainstream political debate about addressing climate change often doesn’t align with reality.

Political leaders such as Trump portray our shift off fossil fuels as costly and unreliable. “That’s an old argument,” Green told me. “The modern argument is you’re going to save money because it’s cheaper.” Two years ago total installations of solar amounted to 230 gigawatts. By the end of 2017 that number was 400 gigawatts. The US National Renewable Energy Lab predicts it could pass 1,000 gigawatts by 2023. Green thinks it may go as high as 10,000 by 2030. 

He says the carbon reductions from an exploding solar industry, as well as other industrial shifts away from fossil fuels, could put us on “the right slope” to achieve the type of rapid economic transformation described in the IPCC’s recent report. Yet that is far from a given and Green said that “it will be difficult to achieve by political means” while leaders of major countries continue to deny the reality of climate change. 

And even if we are able to rapidly reduce global emissions over the coming decades, that still might not be enough to avoid massive global disruptions. The recent IPCC report said that unless we cut our carbon output to effectively zero by 2050, the planet may grow inhospitable to life. At 1.5 C of warming, up to 90 percent of coral reefs may vanish, while at 2 C they could disappear entirely. Current projections suggest the world might warm between 2.7 C to 3.7 C by the year 2100. Former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland called the report’s findings “a ticking time bomb.”

Martin Green in Moscow. Photo by Mikhail Japaridze\TASS via Getty

Media coverage understandably fixated on these and other apocalyptic warnings. But the IPCC report also contains hopeful news, albeit in dense and technical language. “The feasibility of solar energy, wind energy and electricity storage mechanisms have substantially improved over the past few years,” it notes. 

Earlier this year a group called Lazard calculated that the cost of solar in North America fell from over $350 per megawatt hour in 2009 to $50 in 2017, while the cost of coal remained at around $102. “This recent change could be a sign that the world is on the verge of an energy revolution,” Business Insider reported. Price declines like these have occurred so rapidly in recent years that many mainstream projections for solar—including those relied on by the IPCC—haven’t fully taken them into account. “The facts have changed very quickly,” Green said. “You read any report that’s a couple years old… and it’s just irrelevant to the realities now.” He thinks that the recent IPCC report is “very conservative [on] the impact of solar.”

It’s important to note that while Green’s views seem to be shared by other influential thinkers, including recent Nobel Prize winner Paul Romer, they aren’t accepted widely in the mainstream. Even those who gave Green his award are unsure that renewables can carry us all that close to our climate change targets. “Martin’s analysis only refers to electricity,” Rodney John Allam, the chairman of the Global Energy Prize committee, told me. “It doesn’t refer to the other [energy] uses.” At the moment it’s still difficult to remove fossil fuels from industries like transportation and petrochemicals. 

And the type of solar growth Green predicts would require massive—and unprecedented—levels of investment. The IPCC report estimated the world has to invest $2.4 trillion per year in renewables for any hope of hitting the 1.5 C target. Last year about $333.5 billion was invested. In 2017, the International Energy Agency calculated, roughly $715 billion went to oil and gas. 

“The mainstream view is still that we can’t decarbonize our electricity system fast enough to meet the IPCC’s targets,” Bloomburg columnist David Fickling recently argued. “But a decade ago, the current situation of plateauing demand for coal and car fuel and cratering renewables costs looked equally outlandish. Given the way the world’s energy market has changed in recent years, it’s a good idea to never say never.” Green agrees. “For those of us who care about our climate, we have always feared we would have to wait for the politicians to drive change,” he said during a speech in Moscow. “We have feared it because political change can always be slow.” He continued: “But economic change is fast and we are currently witnessing it.”

Press link for more: Vice.com