Climate Change

Left, Center and Right: We’re All in Denial About Climate Change

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 22/09/2019 - 4:35am in

main article image The political left, center and right do share something in common in today’s polarized America: we’re all in denial. The first step in 12-step programs begins with admitting that you have a problem for a reason: you can’t tackle a challenge whose existence you refuse to acknowledge. “From a psychoanalytical viewpoint, denial is a pathological, ineffective defense mechanism,” doctors M.S. Vos and J.C. de Haes observed in their 2006 study of cancer patients. A stunning 47% of the patients they polled denied that they had cancer! Denial reduced their chances of seeking treatment and then following through.

 “On the other hand,” Vos and de Haes observed, “according to the stress and coping model, denial can be seen as an adaptive strategy to protect against overwhelming events and feelings.” Denial lets you feel better.

 We think of climate change denial as a right-wing phenomenon. Indeed, only 56% of Republicans accept the scientific consensus that the earth is heating up; fewer still believe that humans are responsible, compared to 92% of Democrats who agree with scientists.

 Those who deny that climate change is real are engaging in what psychologists call “simple denial.” But those on the left aren’t much better. Liberals who think global warming is real often resort to “transference denial”: they blame the right and corporate polluters even though we’re all responsible. The scale of the climate crisis and the level of sacrifice and disruption that would be necessary to mitigate it feels overwhelming. A widely-reported analysis predicted that human civilization will collapse in 30 years. Others say it’s already too late to save ourselves.

 “We’re doomed,” predicts Mayer Hillman, a senior fellow emeritus at University of Westminster’s Policy Studies Institute. “The outcome is death, and it’s the end of most life on the planet because we’re so dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. There are no means of reversing the process which is melting the polar ice caps. And very few appear to be prepared to say so.”

  He’s probably right.

 Bernie Sanders recently proposed the most ambitious assault on greenhouse gas emissions ever floated in U.S. politics, a $16.3 trillion plan to transition out of carbon-based fuels by 2050. By that time, though, we’ll be dead.

 As aggressive as Sanders’ plan is, it doesn’t go nearly far enough or fast enough. Yet Republicans and some Democrats say it’s too expensive. No one in corporate media is taking Sanders’ idea seriously. It’s stillborn.

 Liberals post their concern to social media. Some even attend protest marches. But they’re hardly acting like we face an existential crisis.

 The 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg told world leaders: “I don’t want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day and then I want you to act.”

 Panic? Our “leaders” don’t give a crap. They’re too bought and too stupid to act.

 The bird population in the U.S. has collapsed by 29%—a total of 2.9 billion fewer birds—over the last 50 years. During that same period we lost half the world’s fish. Insects are on the way out too. “No insects equals no food, [which] equals no people,” says Dino Martins, an entomologist at Kenya’s Mpala Research Centre.

 None of this should come as a surprise. We were warned. “The oceans are in danger of dying,” Jacques Cousteau said in 1970. Life in the oceans had diminished by 40 percent in the previous 20 years.

 If you really believe that the planet is becoming uninhabitable, if you think you are about to die, you don’t march peacefully through the streets holding signs and chanting slogans begging the corrupt scoundrels who haven’t done a damn thing for decades to wake up and do something. You identify the politicians and corporate leaders who are killing us, you track them down and you use whatever force is necessary to make them stop. Nothing less than regime change stands a chance of doing the job.

 Nothing else—the struggle for income equality, gun control, abortion—matters as much as attacking pollution and climate change.

 Anything short of revolution and the abolition of consumer capitalism is “minimizational denial“: admitting the problem while downplaying its severity. Anything short of a radical retooling of the global political system that establishes state control of the economy with environmental impact as our first, second and third priorities is a waste of time that dooms the human race to extinction.

 There is no middle ground, no splitting the difference, no compromise. “Good enough” isn’t good enough. Mere progress won’t cut it. Human survival is a pass-fail class. The final exam is tomorrow morning—early tomorrow morning.

 Time to get serious, godammit.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of “Francis: The People’s Pope.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

 

Getting our priorities right. Our planet or our lives.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/09/2019 - 7:45pm in

This week’s MMT Lens will necessarily be shorter as GIMMS is gearing up for a busy few weeks in Brighton, London, Manchester and Leeds not to mention Wales at the beginning of October.

Before we move on, we’d like to tell you that we still have tickets for our two seminar events and Talk and Social.

If you are in or near Brighton on the 23rd September and would like to find out more about the Green New Deal and the Job Guarantee and how they can be paid for, follow the link to register for our free event.

We also have some tickets left for our free Training the Trainers Seminar in London on the 24th September which will look specifically at how to discuss the Green New Deal and the Job Guarantee.

We also have a few tickets left for our talk and social in Leeds on the 28th so again please follow the link to register.

 

 

Electronic sign with the slogan "End Climate Injustice" sited by a habour on a cloudy dayPhoto by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

 

“when 1500 scientists, including 100 Nobel Laureates, petitioned the world in 1995 that serious remedies were required to halt the destruction of the living fabric of the Earth, their warning was ignored. Had it been 1500 economists warning of a stock market crash it would have got banner headlines and emergency government action.”

Robert James Brown – Optimism: Reflections on a Life of Action

 

It was probably impossible not to be aware of the two astonishing interviews that took place this week with the former Prime Minister David Cameron and one of his former coalition partners Jo Swinson who is now the leader of the Liberal Democrats. Swinson, a graduate from the London School of Economics and Cameron, who graduated from Oxford with a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, displayed astonishing indifference to the consequences of austerity.

It was difficult not to be angry at Cameron’s lack of remorse or his regret that he wished he had implemented austerity harder and faster. Equally shameful was his claim that the strategy had worked and that it had been done in a fair and reasonable manner. As our social fabric and public infrastructure continues to unravel and citizens endure the consequences of cuts to public spending which have affected every corner of society and its public institutions, one has to wonder where he’s been hiding all this time.

His partner in the crime of austerity was equally unabashed about her contribution to the devastation caused by government cuts and intimated she’d not only be prepared to do it again, but also that the Liberal Democrats would be willing to cosy up to the Tories in coalition if and when necessary.

Taking a combative stance about government’s spending plans, she referred to the ‘magic money tree’ and criticised the government on the basis that they had given no indication about how they were going to pay for them. In her interview she said, without a hint of shame for supporting austerity, ‘sometimes it’s about making tough choices and about recognising where you had to make taxation and spending decisions’. This criticism of the loosening of the government’s purse strings (for what that is worth) is all the more puzzling given her promises on the enormous challenge of tackling climate change which surely will involve some government spending to achieve.

How shallow and self-interested our politicians have become. The ping pong game played about who can be more fiscally responsible has continued remorselessly, without a moment’s regard for those who have been hurt by it. Liam Byrne’s note left in the Treasury that there was ‘no money left’ has a lot to answer for. It gave the Tories just the narrative they needed to invoke household budget narratives and fear of deficits and debt, whilst suggesting that the government could go bankrupt without cuts to public spending.

It gave them licence to implement cuts to public services, reform welfare and sell off more of our public infrastructure. Some claim that this debt rhetoric was nothing less than economic illiteracy. However, one might also make the case for it being the perfect opportunity for the Conservatives to deliver a right-wing agenda aimed at diminishing the role of the state, shifting the burden onto citizens as agents of their own fate and operating as an agent of corporate welfare through pouring public money into serving private profit. The austerity lie has been the perfect cover for dismantling our public infrastructure and driving market solutions in its place.  And we all fell for it because we were taken in by false household budget narratives about how governments spend.

The MMT Lens has covered the price of austerity many times over the past year. The cold statistics on homelessness and people using food banks, the rises in poverty, the increasing waiting lists in NHS hospitals for life threatening diseases and the consequences of welfare reform all translate into the lives of real people whose existence has been shattered by cuts to public spending. When politicians coldly and without emotion indicate that they would do it again, it isn’t any wonder that people living with the consequences of a broken capitalist system have lost confidence in politics and in politicians to improve their lives. It isn’t any wonder that we are witnessing a rise in extreme right-wing politicians who cynically feed hate and division with the illusion that the problem lies with outsiders and immigrants and that they alone can protect the working class.

What is left if politicians have abandoned democracy to stuff the pockets of corporations, and their own, with public money whilst serving their own interests? What is left if they reject the only solutions that could bring about the radical change needed to address climate change and rising poverty and inequality? For too long, fiscal rules related to budget deficits and debt have dominated the spending decisions made by governments in their quest for the false holy grail of balanced budgets or surpluses. Heads have been buried in the sand as the consequences have rolled out on people’s lives and injustice prevails.

Monetary policy has run out of steam (if it ever had any at all) and fiscal policy is all that is now open to governments around the world if we are to face the stark facts and act. We must reject the narratives which ask how such a challenge can be paid for, or those that suggest that the immoral wealth of the few can be commandeered to do so.  These ideas do not represent modern monetary realities. As Greta Thunberg said if we can bail out the banks, we can save the planet. Paying for stuff is as simple as a computer keystroke but requires the political will to do so.

The stakes are now very high. In fact, to be blunt, the stakes are our planet and the survival of future generations as GIMMS last two blogs have already discussed.

Looking on the positive side, which we must always do, we are beginning to see the inklings of change; while politicians prevaricate, it is our children and our grandchildren who are at the forefront of the challenge being posed to the established economic order.

Yesterday, there were extraordinary scenes across the world as millions of people from Sydney to London and New York marched for urgent action on climate breakdown. It is heartening.

Earlier this week in a speech to the US Congress Greta Thunberg summed up her views saying:

“Don’t invite us here to just tell us how inspiring we are without actually doing anything about it because it doesn’t lead to anything.  If you want advice for what you should do, invite scientists, ask scientists for their expertise. We don’t want to be heard. We want the science to be heard. I know you are trying but just not hard enough.”

 And that is the crux of the matter. We have sat on our hands for too long enjoying the fruits of the planet without thinking about the consequences. Politicians fond of soothing platitudes and empty promises keep us in line at the ballot box. Climate deniers in big corporations and institutions manipulate the facts or downright lie whilst continuing to exploit the resources that have brought some of us the comforts we enjoy. They do so with short term profits in mind rather than the long-term consequences to the planet and people.

 In its report published this week ‘The Cost of Doing Nothing’ The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reported on the escalating humanitarian cost of climate change and the consequences of failing to act.

It estimates that the climate crisis is leaving two million people a week needing aid as the extreme weather events batter communities with destructive force and cause inexcusable suffering and death. It also estimates in its most pessimistic scenario that the climate-related humanitarian costs could be as high as US$20bn by 2030 to deal with the aftermath of those afflicted by storms, floods and droughts.

The President of the IFRC, Francesco Rocca, said:

“These findings confirm the impact that climate change is having, and will continue to have, on some of the world’s most vulnerable people. It also demonstrates the strain that increasing climate-related disasters could place on aid agencies and donors.

The report shows the clear and frightening cost of doing nothing. But it also shows there is a chance to do something. But now is the time to take urgent action. By investing in climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction, including through efforts to improve early warning and anticipatory humanitarian action, the world can avoid a future marked by escalating suffering and ballooning humanitarian response costs,

It is sad to note given the time we have known about the threat of climate change, time that we wasted, we have reached a place where mitigation for our excesses becomes a solution. We need to do better than mitigation; we need to rethink the very basis upon which our societies function.

In another report published this week A Just(ice) Transition is a Post Extractive Transition the campaigning charity War on Want sets out to examine the social and ecological implications of climate change commitments to move towards renewable energy solutions.

It suggests that not only are those commitments in themselves weak and not enough to address the scale of the emissions problem, but that as we move away from fossil fuels the resource pressures will simply change as one is exchanged for another. This will cause yet more ecological damage and exacerbate the already existing inequalities and injustices arising out of further exploitation of metals and minerals in the Global South in order to deliver a Green New Deal in the Global North.

Those countries could yet again pay the damaging price for the Global North to perpetuate its love affair with growth, driving more inequality and pushing the planet beyond its ability to provide with ever more devastating consequences.

We don’t just need a Green New Deal, we need the will to deliver it in a way that brings social and economic justice for all, wherever they are on the planet. We must ensure that our shift towards sustainable economies is inclusive. We must reject a model that prioritises the wants and desires of the West at the expense of those who are exploited to provide them. As rich nations, we will need to consider ending our economic privilege in terms of the distribution of real resources and work cooperatively to deliver a steady-state global economy.

 

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The post Getting our priorities right. Our planet or our lives. appeared first on The Gower Initiative for Modern Money Studies.

What if we stopped pretending the climate apocalypse can be stopped

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/09/2019 - 12:23am in

David Zetland writes in his news letter for The one-handed economist: “What if we stopped pretending the climate apocalypse can be stopped?”  lines up almost exactly with what I’ve been thinking in recent years, i.e., that we’re not making any serious dent in GHG emissions and that it’s better to focus on local community and resiliency. One […]

Local Responsibility for a Global Problem: Juliana v. the U.S.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/09/2019 - 12:00am in

The following is the text of the speech that Liz Stanton gave at Wednesday night’s event at Tufts University celebrating the life and work of Frank Ackerman, who died in late July. Frank was one of the founders of Dollars & Sense, which maintains Triple Crisis blog, and was a frequent contributor to Triple Crisis. Cross-posted at the Dollars & Sense blog.

I’d like to talk about some very recent work of Frank’s.

Frank wrote an expert report wrote last year and made a deposition in that same case. Some of you may have heard of it.

Twenty-one kids are suing the U.S. government for knowingly failing to protect them from climate change. It’s Juliana v. the United States, filed in 2015. It’s been tossed back and forth between courts, included the U.S. Supreme Court for going on four years and has yet to see an actual hearing, a day in court for those kids, some of whom are now young adults.

In his expert report on behalf of Kelsey Juliana and her 20 co-plaintiffs, Frank explains that the conventional methods of economic analysis employed by the federal government in its decision making undervalue or dismiss altogether serious risks of climate damage. He writes about some pretty wonky, esoteric topics: the discount rate, fat-tailed distributions, contingent valuation, and credible worst-case risk assessment. He was one of quite a few witnesses offered by the plaintiffs. But it’s his testimony—full of formal economic theory, moral philosophy, and a chapter on pricing the priceless—it’s that testimony on which the judgment in this case may well hinge, if it ever gets that day in court.

The key issue for the justice department really shines through in Frank’s deposition, a 300-page transcript of their interview in which the justice department’s lawyer frequently pleads with Frank to, please, for the love of god answer a yes or no question with a yes or a no so that we can all catch our flights. Frank responds saying that a simple yes or no can be misleading without explaining the context and that he had “spent a career explaining these things to people, and it’s not something you can turn off on a dime.”

Local responsibility for a global problem. That’s the key issue in Juliana v. the United States on the government’s responsibility for future climate damages. And it’s also the key in other legal proceedings brought before state and federal authorities regarding what kind of energy infrastructure we should be building today. Local responsibility for a global problem.

The argument goes something like this: Hey, look, we admit it. The U.S. is responsible for some share of global greenhouse gas emissions. U.S. emissions are 15 percent of the global total and U.S. government activities account for, maybe 5 percent of that 15 percent…Let’s round up and call it 1 percent of global emissions. Now, our 1 percent is not the cause of climate change and stopping our 1 percent isn’t the cure for climate change. So why should we do it? Why should we impose additional taxes on U.S. residents to pay for greenhouse gas mitigation activities that by themselves are doomed to fail.

Now I’m sure, given the audience, that many of you sitting here have already given this some thought and have a host of reasons why, in fact, the U.S. should pay to protect kids from climate change. You would tell the justice department that U.S. responsibility is the whole 15 percent, not just 5 percent of the 15 percent. You would point out the rather obvious folly of running our lives, much less our government, using this kind of reductive logic. Some of you might even get a bit irritated and start talking about Immanuel Kant and ask: what if everyone behaved that way?

And don’t worry, Frank had your back on this. He said all of those things. Frank also had some things to say about value. And dignity.

Asked whether the environment’s worth is best determined by the question, what would you pay to prevent damage or what would you pay to buy the right to inflict damage, Frank said:

“I believe that the public owns the environment. It’s our common birthright. It’s what we hope we will be passing on to future generations, and the people who want to pollute it should have to [pay for] it.”

When asked about uncertain climate outcomes, Frank said:

“Climate change is a science experiment we’re all doing once, and we won’t know until it’s over exactly how bad it turned out to be…[Precise answers aren’t available.]…I think it would be very dangerous to wait for [them]. You can make up a number and say this is a precise number. But, you know, is it better to be precisely wrong than to be generally accurate…Economists do often play a pick-a-number game, and it often involves ignoring the really serious catastrophic risks.”

The justice department’s lawyer also tried to get Frank to agree that economics is “the study of the efficient allocation of scarce resources”. And Frank acknowledged that that was one piece of economics.

This is about local responsibility for a global problem. Economists, like Frank, like many of us here, may get mistaken for mathematicians or accountants or stock brokers. But numbers are the medium for economics. They’re not the subject that we study.

Frank was, throughout his career, a moral philosopher. Sorting through very practical questions of value and dignity, distribution and equity, right and wrong, and how to think about human beings that have not yet been born. His testimony in Juliana v. the United States lands smack in the middle of the kind of ethical question that has occupied economists since the Enlightenment: how do we translate collective goods, or bads, into individual rights and responsibilities.

Frank would ask us—and ask the U.S. government—to weigh monetary costs against unmonetizable benefits. And to recognize when the only solution to a global problem requires the whole world’s participation, that reducing our moral responsibility to the isolated impacts of individual action is petty, specious, and really not the way anything important has ever gotten done in global history.

He’d say that Rome (as it were) is burning and the U.S. government is playing a pick-a-number game, telling us 1 percent of nothing is nothing.

He’d say that the cost of making our planet inhabitable is infinite and that even if you insist on pretending this is a math problem, that plugging infinite avoided costs into cost-benefit equations leads to only one conclusion: Do whatever it takes and do it now.

Liz Stanton is director and senior economist at Applied Economics Clinic. She and Frank Ackerman were frequent co-authors and collaborators. 

Local Responsibility for a Global Problem: Juliana v. the U.S.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/09/2019 - 11:48pm in

The following is the text of the speech that Liz Stanton gave at Wednesday night’s event at Tufts University celebrating the life and work of Frank Ackerman, one of the founders of Dollars & Sense, who died in late July. 

I’d like to talk about some very recent work of Frank’s.

Frank wrote an expert report wrote last year and made a deposition in that same case. Some of you may have heard of it.

Twenty-one kids are suing the U.S. government for knowingly failing to protect them from climate change. It’s Juliana v. the United States, filed in 2015. It’s been tossed back and forth between courts, included the U.S. Supreme Court for going on four years and has yet to see an actual hearing, a day in court for those kids, some of whom are now young adults.

In his expert report on behalf of Kelsey Juliana and her 20 co-plaintiffs, Frank explains that the conventional methods of economic analysis employed by the federal government in its decision making undervalue or dismiss altogether serious risks of climate damage. He writes about some pretty wonky, esoteric topics: the discount rate, fat-tailed distributions, contingent valuation, and credible worst-case risk assessment. He was one of quite a few witnesses offered by the plaintiffs. But it’s his testimony—full of formal economic theory, moral philosophy, and a chapter on pricing the priceless—it’s that testimony on which the judgment in this case may well hinge, if it ever gets that day in court.

The key issue for the justice department really shines through in Frank’s deposition, a 300-page transcript of their interview in which the justice department’s lawyer frequently pleads with Frank to, please, for the love of god answer a yes or no question with a yes or a no so that we can all catch our flights. Frank responds saying that a simple yes or no can be misleading without explaining the context and that he had “spent a career explaining these things to people, and it’s not something you can turn off on a dime.”

Local responsibility for a global problem. That’s the key issue in Juliana v. the United States on the government’s responsibility for future climate damages. And it’s also the key in other legal proceedings brought before state and federal authorities regarding what kind of energy infrastructure we should be building today. Local responsibility for a global problem.

The argument goes something like this: Hey, look, we admit it. The U.S. is responsible for some share of global greenhouse gas emissions. U.S. emissions are 15 percent of the global total and U.S. government activities account for, maybe 5 percent of that 15 percent…Let’s round up and call it 1 percent of global emissions. Now, our 1 percent is not the cause of climate change and stopping our 1 percent isn’t the cure for climate change. So why should we do it? Why should we impose additional taxes on U.S. residents to pay for greenhouse gas mitigation activities that by themselves are doomed to fail.

Now I’m sure, given the audience, that many of you sitting here have already given this some thought and have a host of reasons why, in fact, the U.S. should pay to protect kids from climate change. You would tell the justice department that U.S. responsibility is the whole 15 percent, not just 5 percent of the 15 percent. You would point out the rather obvious folly of running our lives, much less our government, using this kind of reductive logic. Some of you might even get a bit irritated and start talking about Immanuel Kant and ask: what if everyone behaved that way?

And don’t worry, Frank had your back on this. He said all of those things. Frank also had some things to say about value. And dignity.

Asked whether the environment’s worth is best determined by the question, what would you pay to prevent damage or what would you pay to buy the right to inflict damage, Frank said:

“I believe that the public owns the environment. It’s our common birthright. It’s what we hope we will be passing on to future generations, and the people who want to pollute it should have to [pay for] it.”

When asked about uncertain climate outcomes, Frank said:

“Climate change is a science experiment we’re all doing once, and we won’t know until it’s over exactly how bad it turned out to be…[Precise answers aren’t available.]…I think it would be very dangerous to wait for [them]. You can make up a number and say this is a precise number. But, you know, is it better to be precisely wrong than to be generally accurate…Economists do often play a pick-a-number game, and it often involves ignoring the really serious catastrophic risks.”

The justice department’s lawyer also tried to get Frank to agree that economics is “the study of the efficient allocation of scarce resources”. And Frank acknowledged that that was one piece of economics.

This is about local responsibility for a global problem. Economists, like Frank, like many of us here, may get mistaken for mathematicians or accountants or stock brokers. But numbers are the medium for economics. They’re not the subject that we study.

Frank was, throughout his career, a moral philosopher. Sorting through very practical questions of value and dignity, distribution and equity, right and wrong, and how to think about human beings that have not yet been born. His testimony in Juliana v. the United States lands smack in the middle of the kind of ethical question that has occupied economists since the Enlightenment: how do we translate collective goods, or bads, into individual rights and responsibilities.

Frank would ask us—and ask the U.S. government—to weigh monetary costs against unmonetizable benefits. And to recognize when the only solution to a global problem requires the whole world’s participation, that reducing our moral responsibility to the isolated impacts of individual action is petty, specious, and really not the way anything important has ever gotten done in global history.

He’d say that Rome (as it were) is burning and the U.S. government is playing a pick-a-number game, telling us 1 percent of nothing is nothing.

He’d say that the cost of making our planet inhabitable is infinite and that even if you insist on pretending this is a math problem, that plugging infinite avoided costs into cost-benefit equations leads to only one conclusion: Do whatever it takes and do it now.

Liz Stanton is director and senior economist at Applied Economics Clinic. She and Frank Ackerman were frequent co-authors and collaborators. 

 

In Defense of Cory Morningstar & “Manufacturing for Consent”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/09/2019 - 10:51pm in

Hiroyuki Hamada Good investigative journalism doesn’t only reveal hidden mechanisms of our time;  it also exposes those who refuse to confront the mechanisms. Remember when the late Bruce Dixon courageously and cogently called Bernie Sanders “a sheep dog candidate”? Remember when Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley and others truly stood with Syrian people in opposing the …

The Ageing Commie is Proud (Updated)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/09/2019 - 10:44pm in

I took some photos in my mobile, but these are much better:

(source)

(source)


I could hardly believe it, but that’s how things really looked like. The crowd in Sydney was really that big. Indeed, those photos don’t show how the crowd spilt over Hospital Rd to the west and Art Gallery Rd to the east and the flags of the CFMEU, ETU, MUA, ASU, United Voice, PSA, plus the nurses’, teachers’ and firefighters’ unions, and those workers who came individually but carrying banners or placards of their own unions. Young and old, white and non-white, male and female, locals and from the Pacific islands.

The Greens (and a few members of Socialist Alliance) were the only representatives of parties I could see. Labor disappointed, as usual: at least in Sydney they sent no representation whatsoever.

I’ve always blamed the likes of Tony Albanese and Joel Fitzgibbon for Labor’s failings. It was their careerism and lack of principles (their “bitch and fold” strategy, say) and, above all, their short-sightedness -- I used to believe -- that explained why Labor was hopeless. Today I realised I probably was being unfair to them. I can’t single them out for that. Tanya Plibersek, local MP for Sydney, wasn’t there. People marched along Macquarie Street, in front of the NSW State Parliament, and not a single Labor State MP deigned to show their faces.

In the meantime, Scott Morrison is in the US basking in the glory of his “friendship” with the pussy-grabber in chief. I don’t know what is more repulsive, the pleasure vermin like Morrison derive from brown-nosing the powerful or the pleasure they derive from bullying the powerless.

UPDATE:
21/09/2019. The SS4C website presents photos and videos of the rallies with estimates of the numbers of attendants and informs of further developments.

The Gloves are Off: Global #ClimateStrike Next Friday.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 18/09/2019 - 4:39pm in

The Global #ClimateStrike against climate change is set for next Friday.

Personally, I support the strike, intend to attend and I urge readers to join us. Readers can find further information on the strike in the SS4C website.

I think older generations have failed. Capitalism was bound to fail anyway, so its defenders, whether orthodox or heterodox, purists or reformers, were facing a hopeless task to begin with. So their failure to address climate change and its apocalyptic consequences is no surprise.

But we, socialists and workers, also failed. We failed in our attempts to create a better, more rational, sustainable society. And we are running out of time. There may not be another opportunity, thus there’s no time for despondency. That’s a luxury we can’t afford. It’s time to act, as we pray we are not too late.

Without further ado, I’ll leave readers with palaeontologist, mammalogist, and conservationist Tim Flannery’s appeal to action

The gloves are off: 'predatory' climate deniers are a threat to our children
A child jumps from a rock outcrop into a lagoon in the low-lying Pacific island of Tuvalu. AAP/Mick Tsikas Tim Flannery, University of Melbourne
 

In this age of rapidly melting glaciers, terrifying megafires and ever more puissant hurricanes, of acidifying and rising oceans, it is hard to believe that any further prod to climate action is needed.

But the reality is that we continue to live in a business-as-usual world. Our media is filled with enthusiastic announcements about new fossil fuel projects, or the unveiling of the latest fossil-fuelled supercar, as if there’s no relationship between such things and climate change.

In Australia, the disconnect among our political leaders on the deadly nature of fossil fuels is particularly breathtaking.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor, left, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Both believe the polluting coal industry has a strong future in Australia. Lukas Coch/AAP
Prime Minister Scott Morrison continues to sing the praises of coal, while members of the government call for subsidies for coal-fired power plants. A few days ago, Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor urged that the nation’s old and polluting coal-fired power plants be allowed to run “at full tilt”.

Read more: Australia to attend climate summit empty-handed despite UN pleas to ‘come with a plan'

In the past, many of us have tolerated such pronouncements as the utterings of idiots – in the true, original Greek meaning of the word as one interested only in their own business.

But the climate crisis has now grown so severe that the actions of the denialists have turned predatory: they are now an immediate threat to our children.

A ‘colossal failure’ of climate activismEach year the situation becomes more critical. In 2018, global emissions of greenhouse gases rose by 1.7% while the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere jumped by 3.5 parts per million – the largest ever observed increase.

No climate report or warning, no political agreement nor technological innovation has altered the ever-upward trajectory of the pollution. This simple fact forces me to look back on my 20 years of climate activism as a colossal failure.

Many climate scientists think we are already so far down the path of destruction that it is impossible to stabilise the global temperature at 1.5℃ above the pre-industrial average without yet to be developed drawdown technologies such as those that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. On current trends, within a decade or so, stabilising at 2℃ will likewise be beyond our grasp.

And on the other side of that threshold, nature’s positive feedback loops promise to fling us into a hostile world. By 2100 - just 80 years away – if our trajectory does not change, it is estimated that Earth will be 4℃ warmer than it was before we began burning fossil fuels.

Far fewer humans will survive on our warming planetThat future Earth may have enough resources to support far fewer people than the 7.6 billion it supports today. British scientist James Lovelock has predicted a future human population of just a billion people. Mass deaths are predicted to result from, among other causes, disease outbreaks, air pollution, malnutrition and starvation, heatwaves, and suicide.

My children, and those of many prominent polluters and climate denialists, will probably live to be part of that grim winnowing – a world that the Alan Joneses and Andrew Bolts of the world have laboured so hard to create.

Thousands of school students from across Sydney attend the global climate strike rally at Town Hall in Sydney in March 2019. Mick Tsikas/AAP 
Read more: 'Climigration': when communities must move because of climate change

How should Australia’s parents deal with those who labour so joyously to create a world in which a large portion of humanity will perish? As I have become ever more furious at the polluters and denialists, I have come to understand they are threatening my children’s well-being as much as anyone who might seek to harm a child.

Young people themselves are now mobilising against the danger. Increasingly they’re giving up on words, and resorting to actions. Extinction Rebellion is the Anthropocene’s answer to the UK working class Chartists, the US Declaration of Independence, and the defenders of the Eureka Stockade.

Its declaration states:

This is our darkest hour. Humanity finds itself embroiled in an event unprecedented in its history, one which, unless immediately addressed, will catapult us further into the destruction of all we hold dear […] The wilful complicity displayed by our government has shattered meaningful democracy and cast aside the common interest in favour of short-term gain and private profit […] We hereby declare the bonds of the social contract to be null and void.

 Words have not cut through. Is rebellion the only option?Not yet a year old, Extinction Rebellion has had an enormous impact. In April it shut down six critical locations in London, overwhelmed the police and justice system with 1,000 arrests, and forced the British government to become the first nation ever to declare a climate emergency.

So unstable is our current societal response that a single young woman, Greta Thunberg, has been able to spark a profoundly powerful global movement. Less than a year ago she went on a one-person school strike. Today school strikes for climate action are a global phenomenon.

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate change activist from Sweden, participates in a school strike in Washington in September 2019. Shawn Thew/EPA 
Read more: Climate change is the defining issue of our time – we're giving it the attention it deserves

On September 20 in Australia and elsewhere, school principals must decide whether they will allow their students to march in the global climate strike in an effort to save themselves from the climate predators in our midst, or force them to stay and study for a future that will not, on current trends, eventuate.

I will be marching with the strikers in Melbourne, and I believe teachers should join their pupils on that day. After all, us older generation should be painfully aware that our efforts have not been enough to protect our children.

The new and carefully planned rebellion by the young generation forces us earlier generations of climate activists to re-examine our strategy. Should we continue to use words to try to win the debate? Or should we become climate rebels? Changing the language around climate denialism will, I hope, sharpen our focus as we ponder what comes next.The Conversation
Tim Flannery, Professorial fellow, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

City Worker Wonders If It’s Rained Enough Yet To Shut Up The Farmers

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 18/09/2019 - 11:00am in

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An inner city office worker has casually asked his colleague if they think we’ve had enough rain yet to shut up the farmers. Before going on to hope for a return of ‘good’ weather before the up coming weekend.

“Look I know the farmers are doing it tough but come on it’s rained for like half a day now,” said the office worker. “Drought’s tough and all that but I’m keen to head on down to the park this weekend for a picnic.”

“You can’t picnic in the rain, the blanket gets all muddy.”

When asked for comment on the city worker’s concerns about the weather, Dubbo farmer Trevor Gumboot said: “I feel for the poor bugger and would be happy to chip in to a Go Fund Me account to buy him a new picnic blanket.”

“Well I would if I had any cash left, you see I used the last of my savings to buy some feed for my three remaining cows. But the minute it rains I’ll be shipping that fellow all the picnic blankets I can find.”

Former Minister for Water Barnaby Joyce was unavailable for comment however his office did not rule out a call for emergency funding for inner city office workers to buy new picnic blankets.

Mark Williamson
www.twitter.com/MWChatShow

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In Memoriam, Frank Ackerman

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 18/09/2019 - 12:52am in

As we mentioned in the editors’ note for our July/August issue, Frank Ackerman, one of the founders of Dollars & Sense and our first staff person, died on July 25th of this year.

Last September, at the 50th-anniversary celebration for the Union for Radical Political Economics, Frank spoke on a panel with two other D&S founders, Ann Davis and Arthur MacEwan, and D&S co-editor Chris Sturr, on the early history of D&S.  You can listen to Frank’s remarks here.  (The article about the history of D&S that Frank mentions at the beginning of his remarks can be found here.) Thanks to D&S collective member Cadwell Turnbull for recording and editing the talk.

There will be an event honoring Frank tomorrow at Tufts University.  The event begins at 4:30 in the Alumnae Lounge at the Aidekman Center on Tufts’ Medford campus.  Several speakers will discuss Frank’s research on climate change, environmental regulation, and economic modeling. The presentations will go on until about 6:00, and a reception will follow.

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