Climate Change

Two Can’t Miss Sessions in San Diego Next Week

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 28/12/2019 - 1:57am in

Two Can’t Miss Sessions in San Diego Next Week Well, I can’t miss them because I’m in them.  You can, but why would you? Climate Crisis Mitigation: Implementing a Green New Deal and More Union for Radical Political Economics: Paper Session Friday, Jan. 3, 10:15am–12:15pm Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego – La Jolla B “Financial Bailout Spending […]

On Faith, Heroes, and Hope.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/12/2019 - 4:37pm in

I have faith in humanity. Coming from a self-described cynic, that profession of faith may sound contradictory. Maybe it is. I am aware of that.

Let me explain.

That faith is not based on believing all people good or heroic, smart or wise. Some clearly are not and will never be. It would take too much self-delusion, I think, to deny that in this movie there really are “bad” guys (I use scare quotes deliberately).

With the “good” guys things are more complicated. There are no 100% pure angels, but even among those closer to that ideal, the distance between ideal and reality varies over time, as a function of many things.

Extreme situations is one of those things. They always motivate both the best and worst in people.

It is in extreme situations that we, the people, with all our failings and weaknesses, shine in a way others, higher up the pecking order, seldom can. We often are the worst affected by extreme situations and the ones with the least to lose from solutions, while (at least in the short term) the more privileged one is, the more exalted in one’s own eyes and in the eyes of others, the less affected one is and the more to lose one has.

But even for us, the people, things are more complex than that. The personal experience of Triple J’s James Purtill is relevant.

You see, my faith in little people is not founded on romanticism, but on fact and experience and the observation that we have no choice.

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As I’ve written before, front line rural firefighters (and logistic officers) are volunteers. Some are retirees, but often they still need to make a living away from their volunteering. That imposes a burden on them. But there is more to it than that, for while attempting to protect others, they frequently risk their livelihoods and even their own lives and health.

And firefighters have lost their own homes, fighting to save someone else’s; many have been injured and two of them last week paid the ultimate price. Geoffrey Keaton and Andrew O’Dwyer, from the Horsley Park Rural Fire Brigade, left young families behind, with dependent children.

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It’s time for us, the people, to give something back. In this festive season, let’s show the Keaton and O’Dwyer families they are not alone. The NSW Rural Fire Service set up a webpage where readers can donate directly to their families. Dig deep, comrades.

Naaman Zhou compiled donation recommendations directly from NSW, Queensland, Victoria, and South Australian firefighting services.

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Heroism comes in different shapes.

(source: Bill Ryan Facebook.)
Bill Ryan’s time for feats of physical courage was long gone. A World War II veteran and survivor of Kokoda, instead of going fishing, as a judge once advised him, 97 year-old Ryan took his walking frame to stubbornly challenge the might of Adani. For that he was arrested 7 times.

I don’t know how educated Ryan was, but there’s down to earth wisdom in his words.

Ryan died last Monday. RIP.

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At the other end of the age scale, the threat of arrest visibly upset 13 year-old Isolde (Izzy) Raj-Seppings. And yet, with dignity unexpected in someone her age, she raised her placard high above her head as she complied with the police officer’s move on order. This is her account of the event.

That’s called bravery, Izzy. Your parents must be very proud of you. I know I am.

As the people lose some heroes, others take their place.

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Greta Thunberg is right:

“Well I am telling you there is hope. I have seen it. But it does not come from governments or corporations. It comes from the people.”

ScoMo Pledges To Plant 1000’s Of Palm Trees To Replace Bush Lost To Fire

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 23/12/2019 - 7:38am in

stockfresh_1133110_hammock-between-palm-trees-on-tropical-beach_sizeS

Prime Minister ScoMo fresh off the plane from Hawaii has pledged to replace the 1000’s of hectares of lost bush caused by the horrific bushfires with as many palm trees as he can source.

“My trip to Hawaii wasn’t just a vacation I was doing some research into how to grow palm trees,” said the Prime Minister. “When the news was broken to me of the bushfires I thought let’s get on the front foot and make sure we replace all the trees that we have lost.”

Änd how good are palm trees?”

When asked why he would replace native vegetation with a foreign plant the Prime Minister said: ”What have you got against palm trees?”

”My mate Donald loves them and he said he’d set me up with a good deal if I bought them from him.”‘

”Now if you’ll excuse me it’s been a big day and I need to visit Engadine Maccas and drop off a few logs, if you know what I mean.”

Mark Williamson

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on https://www.facebook.com/theunoz

Trust in Beeb Falls Below 50 Per Cent

A few days ago Zelo Street put up an article commenting on a letter Joel Benjamin sent to the Beeb’s Director-General complaining about the corporation’s massive pro-Tory, anti-Labour, anti-working class bias. Benjamin had taken the step of writing to Tony Hall directly because he didn’t trust the Corporation’s complaints service. He stated that it was

a private contract administered by criminally negligent outsourcing company CAPITA. Experts in dull, pro-forma response letters, which fail to address the complainants concerns and a symbol of much that has gone awry at the BBC and in neoliberal, corporatist Britain. 

He also listed the following specific examples of the Beeb’s bias towards the Tories.

To which Zelo Street added a few more of their own.

‘(a) the use of newspaper columnists, editors and press hangers-on in paper reviews, allowing the press to mark their own homework and therefore perpetuate right-wing bias,(b) the blatant use of the BBC’s Sunday Politics by veteran presenter Andrew Neil to push climate change denial, and (c) Neil and political editor Laura Kuenssberg, along with Robbie Gibb, orchestrating a resignation from the shadow cabinet live on the Daily Politics just before PMQs to the benefit of the Tories…(d) Ms Kuenssberg effectively taking dictation from Vote Leave’s Matthew Elliott over the campaign breaking electoral law, (e) Refusal to discuss the misbehaviour of Cambridge Analytica, to the extent of having Carole Cadwalladr shouted down during a paper review on The Andy Marr Show™, (f) a whole string of instances where the Question Time audience has been infiltrated by Tory plants, and (g) loading panel shows with right-wing pundits and other hangers-on.’

Benjamin particularly resented the Beeb’s dismissive attitude towards criticism. He wrote

Instead of BBC management being responsive to public criticism this election, licence fee payers were subject to Francesca Unsworth, the BBC’s Director of News and Current Affairs – publishing a letter in the Guardian – framing complainants as peddlers of “conspiracy theories” in the wake of a highly visible series of self-ascribed “mistakes,” each, coincidentally, benefitting Boris Johnson and the Conservatives, whilst harming the Labour opposition. Despite the pushback to Unsworth’s article, you then chose to to double down, blame licence fee payers, and cry conspiracy

He also remarked that the Corporation’s bias was

clearly unacceptable, yet a natural consequence of a broadcaster answerable not to the public, but directly to an increasingly brutalising, fact free, and tone deaf Government, that ultimately wants the BBC abolished. In this context, your servile, pro-establishment political coverage looks to fee payers like feeding Conservative crocodiles, in the vain hope the BBC get eaten last.

See: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1T55oQGHV1bJUzljHSE3akPlguzrmZCYcTDZ53WBGdGs/edit

But what is also remarkable is the extent to which people share this dissatisfaction with the Beeb. Zelo Street reported that a poll by YouGov at the start of this month – December 2019 – had found that trust in the BBC had fallen to 44 per cent. 48 per cent, on the other hand, distrusted the Corporation. This was a marked drop from October, when 51 per cent of respondents to the survey trusted the Corporation, and 41 per cent didn’t.

The Street remarks that not everyone will share Benjamin’s views and his wider analysis, but they may understand his frustration, particularly at the Corporation’s refusal to listen to the people that actually support it by paying the licence fee.

He also warns that the Tories are determined to inflict further damage on the Beeb in order to create an utterly compliant media landscape. And if that happens, Hall and the rest of them may find themselves out of a job. Unless they actually start listening to their critics, and realise that there is a problem.

https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2019/12/bbc-charge-sheet-looks-grim.html

Now I dare say that many of those, who distrust the Beeb come from the Right. People who think that the Beeb really is biased against the Conservatives, because Johnson tells them it is while running away from interviews, his comments echoed and supported by the right-wing press. I’ve come across complaints from those on the extreme Right, who despise the Corporation because it generally supports multiculturalism, feminism and gay rights. Which in their view makes it anti-White and anti-British.

But the Left have every reason not to trust the Beeb. Joel Benjamin and Zelo Street are right: the Corporation has been massively biased. And not just in this election either. One commenter to Zelo Street’s post reminded readers how the Corporation was also biased in the referendum on Scots independence.  They were. I remember how Nick Robinson was so dissatisfied with Alex Salmond’s very full answer to a question on the effect independence would have on the Scottish financial sector, that it was progressively cut down during subsequent news bulletins with Robinson claiming that Salmond had made an unsatisfactory answer. Finally it disappeared altogether, and Robinson claimed the-then leader of the SNP hadn’t answered it. Which is a piece of newspeak worthy of Orwell.

I despise the corporation’s political bias and its knee-jerk contempt for its critics. Any and all criticism of the Corporation is met with the same response: that the Beeb is criticised for bias by both Left and Right, with the implication that the Beeb isn’t biased and it’s all somehow in the critics’ imagination. But studies cited by Benjamin in his letter show that isn’t the case. And in some of the recent instances of glaring bias, the Beeb tries to excuse them by claiming that it was all a mistake.

This won’t wash. Not any more.

The Beeb does make some excellent programmes. But I’m sick and tired of its massive political bias to the point where I’d happily see nearly all their newsroom sacked. Johnson has said that he’s considering decriminalising nonpayment of the licence fee. And the Tories and their donors, particularly Rupert Murdoch, have been clamouring for the Beeb’s privatisation for nearly four decades.

The Beeb may soon find it needs all the help it can get. But it’s rapidly losing them on the Left, and may well end up regretting this.

 

 

The Green New Deal as an Anti-Neoliberal Program

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 17/12/2019 - 9:22pm in

By Robert Pollin (guest post)

Second in a series of posts on neoliberalism and what might come next, organized to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Dollars & Sense, which publishes Triple Crisis. 

In 2007, Nicholas Stern, the prominent mainstream British economist and former chief economist at the World Bank, wrote that “Climate change is a result of the greatest market failure the world has seen.” Stern’s assessment was extreme, but not hyperbolic. This is for the simple reason that, if we take climate science at all seriously, we cannot avoid the conclusion that we are courting ecological disaster by not stabilizing the climate.

Neoliberalism is a driving force causing the climate crisis. This is because neoliberalism is a variant of classical liberalism, and classical liberalism builds from the idea that everyone should be granted maximum freedom to pursue their self-interest within capitalist market settings. But neoliberalism also diverges substantially from classical liberalism: What really occurs in practice under neoliberalism is that governments allow giant corporations to freely pursue profit opportunities to the maximum extent, and governments even intervene on corporations’ behalf when their profits might be threatened. How the oil companies reacted to clear evidence of climate change represents a dramatic case study of neoliberalism in practice. In 1982, researchers working at the then Exxon Corporation (now Exxon Mobil) estimated that by about 2060, burning oil, coal, and natural gas to produce energy would elevate the planet’s average temperatures by about 2° Celsius. This, in turn, would generate exactly the types of massive climate disruptions that we have increasingly experienced since the 1980s—i.e., heat extremes, heavy precipitation, droughts, rising sea levels, and biodiversity losses, with corresponding impacts on health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, and human security. In 1988, researchers at the Shell Corporation reached similar conclusions. We now know what Exxon and Shell did with this information: They buried it. They did so for the obvious reason that, if the information were then known, it might have threatened their prospects for receiving massive profits from producing and selling oil.

There is no minimizing the fact that what Exxon and Shell did was immoral. But it is equally clear that both companies behaved exactly according to the precepts of neoliberalism—i.e., they acted to protect their profits. They also continued from the 1980s onward to behave according to the precepts of neoliberalism in extracting the largest possible subsidies that they could get from any and all governments throughout the world. Amid all of this, neither company has faced any government sanctions for their behavior. Quite the contrary, they have continued to earn huge profits and receive hefty government subsidies. Defeating neoliberalism is clearly a political project of overwhelming significance. But we can’t expect to defeat neoliberalism unless we have a viable alternative in place. This is where the idea of the Green New Deal becomes central.

The Green New Deal has gained tremendous traction as an organizing framework over the past couple of years. This alone is a major achievement. But it is still imperative that we transform this big idea into a viable program. In my view, putting meat on the bones of the Green New Deal starts with a single simple idea: We have to absolutely stop burning oil, coal, and natural gas to produce energy within the next 30 years at most; and we have to do this in a way that also supports increasing living standards and expanding opportunities for working people and the poor throughout the world.

This version of a Green New Deal program is, in fact, entirely realistic in terms of its purely economic and technical features. Clean renewable energy sources—including solar, wind, geothermal, and to a lesser extent small-scale hydro and low-emissions bioenergy—are already either at cost parity with fossil fuels and nuclear or they are cheaper. In addition, the single easiest and cheapest way to lower emissions is to raise energy efficiency standards through, among other measures, retrofitting existing buildings, making new buildings operate as net zero energy consumers, and replacing gas-guzzling automobiles with expanding public transportation and electric cars. Energy efficiency measures, by definition, will save people money—for example, your home electricity bills could realistically be cut in half without having to reduce the amount that you light, heat, or cool your house. So the Green New Deal will not cost consumers anything over time, as long as we solve the problem of funding Green New Deal investments through the cost savings we gain by raising efficiency standards and producing cheap renewable energy.

Through our work at the Political Economy Research Institute at UMass Amherst, my coworkers and I have estimated that building a 100% clean energy system will require about 2.5% of global GDP per year for roughly the next 30 years. Yes, that’s a lot of money in dollar terms (roughly $2 trillion in 2021 and rising thereafter), but it does mean that 97.5% of global economic activity can still be devoted to things other than investments in clean energy.

In addition, these clean-energy investments will be a major source of job creation, in all regions of the globe. The critical factor is that clean-energy investments will create a lot more jobs than maintaining the existing dirty-energy infrastructure—in the range of two to four times more jobs per dollar of spending in all countries that we have studied, including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Spain, and the United States.

Of course, jobs that are tied to the fossil fuel industry will be eliminated. The affected workers and their communities must be supported through generous “just transition” measures, including guaranteeing workers’ pensions, moving people into new jobs without losing incomes, and investing in impacted communities. Land reclamation is just one such investment opportunity, including cleaning up abandoned coal mines and converting the residual coal ash into useful products, like paper.

In short, the Green New Deal offers a viable egalitarian and ecologically sane alternative to the reign of neoliberalism. However, to defeat neoliberalism will require unprecedented political organizing and breakthroughs along many fronts. This is obviously a daunting challenge. But as probably the most forceful proponent of neoliberalism, Margaret Thatcher, once famously declared, “There is no alternative.”

ROBERT POLLIN is a professor of economics and director of the Political Economy Research Institute at UMass Amherst.

SOURCES: Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, Merchants of Doubt (2010); Robert Pollin, Greening the Global Economy (MIT Press, 2015); Robert Pollin, Jeannette Wicks-Lim, Shouvik Chakraborty and Tyler Hansen, A Green Growth Program for Colorado, PERI, April 2019.

Dollars & Sense, which maintains Triple Crisis blog, is celebrating its 45th anniversary.  Please consider making a donation to support our work. 

Triple Crisis welcomes your comments. Please share your thoughts below.

Triple Crisis is published by

Prime Minister Blames Heatwave On Bushfires

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 17/12/2019 - 8:00am in

morrison map

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced today that the current heatwave conditions ravaging most parts of Australia were not caused by climate change, but by the bushfires currently incinerating Australia.

Scomo told a packed Engadine Maccas: ” I’m no scientist, but even I can figure out why it’s so friggin hot….its because of the bushfires!”

The Prime Minister held an impromptu press conference at his favourite McDonald’s to grab a one dollar frozen Coke, when he told a packed crowd: “I know it’s hot, but people like Greta Iceberg and the boffins at the CSIRO have got it all wrong, it’s as plain as day.”

”Once we get all the bushfires put out, the heatwave will be over and everything will cool down.”‘

“‘Fires produce heat and smoke, and that’s what we’ve got now. Everybody knows you don’t stand too close to the BBQ when you’re cooking snags. I didn’t need a Bachelor of Arts degree to figure that out”

When asked when he expected Australia to start cooling down, Mr Morrison said: “Sometime around August.”

Gus W Templeton

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

Morrison’s credibility as leader goes up in a cloud of smoke.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 15/12/2019 - 10:55pm in

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now From up and down and still somehow It’s cloud’s illusions I recall I really don’t know clouds at all Clouds Joni  Mitchell Clouds or clowns? The week’s politics offers both. A toxic miasma of 250 million tonnes of CO2 and clouds of sooty bushfire-smoke blanket vast tracts…

The post Morrison’s credibility as leader goes up in a cloud of smoke. appeared first on The AIM Network.

The War of the End of the World (Updated).

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 15/12/2019 - 5:01pm in

(source)
That’s a good representation of the sky over Sydney on Friday, December 6. It’s artistically composed and faithful to reality. Temperature had not risen much yet: at 1600 AEDT that day it was 27.4º C in Sydney, according to my little weather station (humidity: 57%).

That red, luminous disk is not the full Moon, although one could be forgiven to think otherwise (as people I spoke to afterwards, as a matter of fact, did). It wasn’t the Moon, because, for one, the real Moon was midway between new and full.

No. That wasn’t the Moon. It was the Sun.

Below, my own attempt, a bit earlier (1715 AEDT) that day. That was literally my best shot, but in truth, my picture isn’t good (product perhaps of a clumsy, inexperienced photographer using a cheap camera). Still, the late afternoon sky looks faithful enough to reality (the dust blowing west from Australia’s dry Red Centre gives the smoke clouds from the bushfires surrounding Sydney that orange colour), but the Sun’s colour is most definitely unfaithful: it was as red that afternoon as the opening picture shows.


When I stepped out into the street, neighbours were already outside, taking pictures with their mobile phones and commenting, awe mixed with fear in their voices.

Although much less dramatic, my own photo has an unintended virtue: allowance made for colour contrast, it represents reality accurately in another way. That afternoon one could see the Sun with one’s naked eyes, much like one can see the Moon, or indeed the photo itself.

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The Schoolchildren and Extinction Rebellion keep pressure on the Government, with the support of unions and some politicians. Below is a photo I took from the November 29 protest in front of the Liberal Party NSW headquarters. I was standing near the corner of William with Palmer.


Below is a view from the balcony of Sydney Town Hall, where 20,000 protesters gathered on December 10.

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The next protest is scheduled for Thursday, December 19:


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NSW Rural Fire Services firefighters are largely volunteers and include many retirees. They are not paid for their time, much less to put life and health on harm’s way. Yet that’s what they have been doing all over the State for more than a month now, with the assistance of interstate volunteers and small contingents of Kiwi, Canadian, and American firefighters.

Scott Morrison (whose annual pay is about $500 thousand, excluding superannuation and expenses) refused to provide firefighters any additional support (see also the letter of Chris Nicholls, from Merimbula Rural Fire Brigade). After facing strident criticism, he finally agreed to a tokenistic $11 million.

Change.org is campaigning to provide volunteer firefighters with face masks as protection against the particulates in smoke. I am not sure a Scott Safety half-face RQ2000LR twin filter respirator, fitted with two RC64R dust filters (P2 class) is adequate for firefighters, but I do know it can be purchased from retailers from as little as $43.85. Firefighters’ efforts, lives, and health surely are worth more than that.

Let’s help our brothers and sisters. Support that petition and if you can donate. And let’s keep fighting.

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Next week temperatures around NSW, South Australia, Victoria, and Queensland could go sky high.

And next Tuesday a crucial meeting in Brisbane is set to decide the future of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. Anne Davies explains who speaks for whom in that meeting (question: who speaks for the environment?).

Water wars: will politics destroy the Murray-Darling Basin plan – and the river system itself?

Drought is not the only threat to the river system: the plan to save it is in doubt as states spar over the best way forward
Sat 14 Dec 2019 06.00 AEDT.

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UPDATE:

Here we go again. From Bega District News, three days ago:

Bega bats dying in great numbers due to food shortages, drought

Do we need a World War II style mobilization to decarbonize the United States Economy?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2019 - 9:04pm in

The American Prospect has a new issue out on climate change, and I highly recommend the article by Jeffrey Sachs. Sachs does an excellent job explaining why we do not need a World War II style mobilization to decarbonize the United States economy.  We can achieve a high level of decarbonization by 2050 at a […]

Energy Wasted Getting Angry At Greta Thunberg Spikes To Alarming New Levels

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2019 - 2:41pm in

The amount of energy used by people pointlessly losing their minds over a 16 year-old Swedish girl has hit new highs, after Greta Thunberg was awarded TIME’s Person of the Year award today.

The long-term trend has seen a steady increase in wasted energy over climate activist, but scientists noticed a huge spike today following TIME’s announcement. 

“It’s a startling increase. On the plus side, it doesn’t look like we will run out of this type of energy,” an industry spokesperson said.   

But some people have denied the link between wasted energy and Greta Thunberg. “I haven’t wasted any goddamn fucking energy on thinking about that annoying little twat,” one person wrote in the comments section of 48 different websites. 

Welfare groups have reminded people to look out for Great Thunberg-hating family members today. “It’s going to be a difficult time for them. In particular we have grave fears for Andrew Bolt. ”.


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