Climate Change

Book Review: Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime by Bruno Latour

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 11/11/2019 - 1:00am in

In Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime, Bruno Latour explores the political and philosophical challenges proper to a time defined by an environmental and socio-economic crisis. Rodrigo Muñoz-González welcomes this energetic, compelling and provocative attempt to find an alternative vision to the contradictory and flawed project of modernity.  This post originally appeared on LSE Review of Books. If you would like to contribute […]

Labor’s “brave” review fails to upstage Morrison’s incompetence.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 10/11/2019 - 11:16pm in

Were politics reset in keeping with the times, the parties would concede that it is not a contest between social democracy and a capitalist free-for-all, or “the light on the hill” and “the forgotten people”, or even conservatives and progressives, but one in which the ghosts of organisations that once had some claim to represent…

The post Labor’s “brave” review fails to upstage Morrison’s incompetence. appeared first on The AIM Network.

Coal Industry To Be Included In The Religious Freedom Act

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 8:00am in

morrison 730

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed that his Government’s planned Religious freedom act will include the coal industry as a religion thus preventing it from being boycotted or abused by those who identify as anti-coal.

“My Government will always look out for those people who are being oppressed or belittled like the coal industry,” said the Prime Minister. “Coal has given this country so much and asks for so little.”

“If you want to be anti-coal then you have no place in my Government’s Australia.”

When asked whether other forms of power like wind, pumped hydro or solar would be covered by the religious freedom act the Prime Minister said: “Now you’re just being facetious. We all know that though some view renewables and climate change as some sort religion, it’s not.”

“There is nothing to stop the sun shining or the wind blowing well other than God so they don’t need the protections like the coal industry.”

Mark Williamson

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

In Sydney then come and see out live show November 8th.

Tix here: http://www.thenewsagencyvenue.com/shows/eoyextravaganza

Daniel Andrews: “An Outstanding Job” (II)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/11/2019 - 12:14pm in

From "Gravis Tray" Facebook.
A few days ago, Daniel Andrews, Labor Premier of Victoria, could not find more words to condemn climate change protesters. As quoted by the ABC’s James Oaten:

“Premier Daniel Andrews described the actions of protesters as ‘appalling’ and ‘violent’. ‘[Protesters] are free to protest peacefully,’ Mr Andrews said. ‘What they're not free to do is to act the way they acted. It’s appalling conduct, absolutely appalling conduct. Violent conduct.”

Words, too, proved insufficient when it came for Andrews to praise the Victorian Police for its performance: “I think police have done an outstanding job.”

That outstanding job, widely documented in video, could be summed up this way: About 50 activists were arrested during 3 days of protests, several were injured and at least one was hospitalised. There were pepper spray storms and batons were used unsparingly, mounted police was deployed to break human chains, and “palm strikes” with clenched fists were seen.

Victoria Police explainad that. The ABC’s Stephanie Ferrier:

“Commander Libby Murphy said protesters had turned ‘more violent’ and she thanked police at the scene for their ‘restraint’.”

Victoria Police further explained a video showing Chanel Seven reporter Paul Dowsley being pushed around and manhandled by female officers under the command of a male officer barking orders and threats like an out-of-control escapee of a mental asylum:

“Commander Murphy said the reporter was trying to ‘push through’ into an unsafe area and was asked twice to move, but refused. ‘It required us to physically remove him from a particular area, so the footage that you have seen is probably not the full story,’ she said.”

Law enforcement agencies’ concern with climate protesters was not recent. Less than a month ago, this, according to The Age’s Carolyn Webb, was the news:

“[Victoria] Police north-west metropolitan region Commander Tim Hansen said crowd behaviour would be closely monitored. Commander Hansen told radio station 3AW that police were concerned the Extinction Rebellion movement had been infiltrated by fringe groups.”

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Daniel Andrews’ renewed admiration for the Victorian Police is surprising, even making allowance for the possibility of him not being the sharpest tool in the toolshed. Less than a year ago Andrews had to call a Royal Commission over the Lawyer X/Informer 3838 scandal: Nicola Gobbo, QC, a Victoria Police informant on their own clients (and herself “a suspect, witness, and informer at the same time”), whose dealings with police, on top, were eventually leaked to the public, making of her a potential target for a bunch of dangerous and disappointed clients.

And this time Victoria Police, again, didn’t disappoint. As it turns out, among those police officers doing such an outstanding job at least two could have links to the alt-right.

That finding, understandably, made the news (see here and here). But the credit for that doesn’t go to the Victoria Police: they were too busy looking for dangerous characters elsewhere. It was the protesters themselves who discovered that.

Mind you, those officers weren’t shy about their political allegiances: the one whose identity was made public, Senior Constable Travis Gray (whose clever artwork opens), even included alt-right memes in his Facebook, which he bravely inactivated after the news was announced. (Victoria Police may be the only employer in Australia that does not check its employees’ social media).

Predictably Victoria Police repeated the tried and tested tactics they applied in the Lawyer X case: double down in excellent job and restrain bullshit, “there was no evidence” this and “they will investigate” that. Same old, same old.

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I’ll be blunt. It’s already bad enough that Daniel Andrews and Victoria Police see themselves as hired muscle for mining. But to act as alt-right cucks is really the last straw.

Andrews, grow some balls. Quit the bullshit and discipline those thugs. That’s your job. Get your head out of your ass, before they do a Christchurch, maybe even in your watch. Your ineptitude and that of the Victoria Police is what’s appalling.

Either that or resign. Act like a man.

And, federal Labor, you guys made a big deal when John Setka screwed things up with his big mouth. Why I hear nothing about Daniel Andrews? (or Queensland’s Annastacia Palaszczuk, for that matter?)

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So, you want to help climate change protesters but street protests are not your thing. Well, they need money.

GoFundMe page “Support activists arrested at mining conference
GoFundMe page “Support Aussie School Strikers 4 Climate Action

Other ways you can help:

  1. Join or form a local climate action group.
  2. Having a conversation with friends/colleagues about how you can grow the momentum started by the climate strikes.
  3. Sign up to volunteer with one of the many organisations across Australia fighting for climate justice.

Daniel Andrews: “An Outstanding Job”.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/11/2019 - 10:54pm in


Observe the purple-headed woman in the screenshot above. She has her back partially turned to the Victorian Police officer who is raising his left arm (centre of the image). Indeed, the police are pushing her and other protesters away. She isn’t threatening anybody, least of all the officer himself. Note the fist. Go here to see the whole event developing (as the screenshot shows, a slow motion repeat starts at about 0:16-0:17).

According to the ABC News’ James Oaten, Victorian Police calls that a “palm strike”. Oaten adds that such technique is “used to move on protesters and to prevent them from being able to assault an officer” and quotes from a police statement: “This is a commonly applied clearance move in dynamic public order scenarios which is designed to create distance from police … so that both police and protesters can be protected from further violence.”

I am not imaginative enough, for I can’t imagine that woman assaulting the officer; what I am absolutely certain is that that commonly applied clearance move wasn’t used to protect her.

Indeed, as harmless as police and Oaten describe that technique, I would advise readers not to apply it, even with your hands ostensibly open (unlike in this case), on a police officer: chances are readers would be charged with assault (an offence) on a police officer (an aggravating circumstance).

There is an asymmetry in the situation, clearly.

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By way of comparison, two Afghan women were recently harassed, threatened, and bullied by two NSW Police Force officers. A video of the event emerged.

If readers watch the video, they’ll realise that, as reprehensible as the officers’ behaviour was, at no moment they laid their hands on the women: not to push them, let alone to slap or punch them. And yet, understandably calls are being made for their dismissal.

More tellingly, the NSW Police Force are not justifying their behaviour.

I suggest that comparison tells something about protests in Australia.

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In Australia weapons laws differ from State to State, but are restrictive without exception. Law enforcement and the military excluded, and as a general rule, fire arms are forbidden (partial exceptions are made for some private security officers, sport shooters, and hunters). But beyond fire arms, a wide variety of weapons, ranging from slingshots to swords, and from automatic knives to batons are also generally unlawful. Indeed, even strictly defensive weapons, like pepper sprays and tasers and bullet-proof vests, are also unlawful for civilian, personal use.

A personal anecdote illustrates an attitude towards weapons not uncommon in Australia. A customer once asked my help to unwrap a cardboard box. To that end, I produced a little multi-tool, part of a key-ring. It had a pocketknife, its blade 4 cm long, 5 mm at its widest (yes, you read that right: 4 cm x 5 mm). The customer, oblivious to the size of the knife and to the fact he asked for my help, and ignorant of the difference between a flicker knife and a tiny foldable knife -- in essence a scaled-down version of the Swiss Army knife boy scouts all over the world use -- horrifiedly mumbled “but … but … that’s a weapon”.

The point is that, in Australia, if at all allowed, weapons are meant to be used very carefully because Australians go beyond a rational fear of fire arms to an irrational fear of all weapons or even something vaguely resembling a weapon. Moreover, whether using weapons or not, in Australia self defence is strictly constrained by the principle of proportional force: one is only allowed to deploy force enough to deter a threat.

Law enforcement is not exempted from that.

(source)
This second screenshot shows the moment a female protester climbs down from a column at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre (go here to see the event developing). Can anyone other than spokespeople for the Victorian Police and Daniel Andrews say the Victorian Police acted within the limits provided by the principle of proportional force?

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It should go without saying that spitting and pushing attendants to the conference is an offence and those protesters who did that are tarnishing all protesters’ image and risking a criminal charge themselves. But we are really fucked, if people like the ABC’s Andrew Probyn and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews can’t see the difference between that and this:

Daniel Andrews: “I think police have done an outstanding job.”
Female protester hospitalised after being trampled by police horse. (source)
To justify brutality by heavily armed police officers on account of assholism by unarmed protesters borders itself on criminality. After all, everybody rightly condemned Donald Trump for his  “both sides” comment after Charlottesville.

History will hold all of you to account.

Extinction Rebellion: Not the Struggle we Need, Pt. 2

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/11/2019 - 8:29am in

Tags 

UK, Climate Change

A modest proposal on migration, climate and brain drain, for Halloween

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 31/10/2019 - 7:57pm in

Not everyone who is a sceptic about the benefits of migration is a nativist. On the contrary, many progressive opponents of migration cite the harm that is done when people leave poor countries to make better lives in wealthy ones. The grounds for their opposition vary, but two particulary common reasons given are climate change and brain drain. Here, for example, is Rupert Read, philosopher and Extinction Rebellion spokesperson, writing in The Ecologist in 2014:

There must be absolutely no compromise whatsoever on the humanity and rights of immigrants, and on our responsibility to welcome and help to integrate those who are here. But we ought to accept the power of the reasoning that shows that a high level of immigration leads to significant problems – here, abroad, and in the future. It …increases  net environmental footprint – people migrating here whether from Estonia or East Africa suddenly jump their footprint dramatically: this is bad news of course for all things ecological / for future generations.

Other writers, two numerous to mention here, are worried about “brain drain” and the decision of wealthy professionals to take their skills, often developed at the state’s expense, to rich countries when there are so many people locally who need doctors, nurses, teachers and hedge-fund managers.

Usually, such writers propose some coercive measures so that the people who would otherwise leave those countries, whether rich or poor, are prevented from doing so. Admittedly, the coercion so far seems to be mainly limited to poor people, although the UK Home Office is, these days, sometimes good enough to attend to the cases of medics and to send them back whence they came.

But coercion needn’t be a one-way thing, and if migration in one direction has these bad effects, presumably migration in the opposite ine would have good ones. Instead of keeping the citizens of poor countries in place, we could have just as marked an effect on carbon emissions by forcibly shipping some of the residents of wealthy countries to poorer ones, where they would have a smaller carbon footprint. In the brain drain case we could round up some doctors and nurses and send them to work in places that are short of medical skills. Actually, wealthy countries do already have programmes in place to take people who have grown up in their societies and remove them to such places, but so far, such measures are largely confined to black and brown people who have unaccountably failed to secure their legal residence. But perhaps we can take succour from their example: such removals have, so far, sparked little opposition from the general public, so perhaps the mass conscription and transportation of white people would also be largely accepted.

One thing that does make me hesitate, though, is the widespread perception that the last time large numbers of people from white European and other such countries were sent around the globe for noble purposes and to improve the lives of the local populations, the people they were settled among were unaccountably ungrateful. Still, now that we have leading scholars such as Nigel Biggar and Niall Ferguson pushing back and emphasising the beneficial side of empire, perhaps opinion is shifting. We could even encourage such scholars to volunteer for the first wave of relocation, bringing their scarce skills to benefit their new compatriots and shrinking their ecological footprints at the same time.

Police Brutality.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 30/10/2019 - 9:19pm in

We have a problem in this country: The elite is untouchable, sacred. Everything and everybody else is fair game.

Yesterday Victorian Police limited itself to brutalising climate change protesters (other State police have manhandled old men and strip-searched teenage girls, presumably because they could carry WMDs in their vaginas). Today they decided that journalists, including a Chanel Seven reporter, were also a legitimate target. After all, they capture in images scenes Victorian Police don't want the public to see:


And make no mistake, the Australian Labor Party is no different from the COALition. As it happens, the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, is a member of the ALP. Whether he personally unleashed them or not, he gave his seal of approval to the Victorian Police's brutality. I am sure federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan, who attended the conference, was appreciative.

Our survival depends on draining the malignant Labor/COALition pustule. Don't vote for that scum; write to your "representatives" in Parliament and let them know what you think of that. Protest people, while we still can.

I suppose we must be grateful the Victorian junta has not authorised the police to murder protesters ... yet.

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And speaking of pus and putrefaction. The Chanel Nine reporter tasked to cover the protests on Tuesday claimed to have witnessed protesters spitting on mining delegates. The footage they presented, however, only showed cops beating and pepper-spraying attendants. So, I'll leave readers to decide: Was that thing merely negligent or was it lying?

Rome Summit Takes Bold Step Toward Agroecology

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 30/10/2019 - 3:32am in

By Timothy A. Wise

This was originally published at Common Dreams.

The Climate Action Summit at the UN last month was widely considered a disappointment, failing to garner the kinds of government actions needed to address the climate crisis. Sadly, the same can be said for actions on agriculture and climate change, despite a well-publicized commitment of $790 million to “to enhance resilience of over 300 million small-scale food producers in the face of mounting climate impacts.”

That is not because the investment isn’t needed. It is, desperately. Small-scale farmers in developing countries are already bearing the brunt of climate change yet they have received little of the promised funding to help them adapt to drought, flooding, heat, and other climate changes.

These new initiatives won’t bridge that gap. Just as government actions to date are proving far too weak to address the climate emergency, these agriculture programs support familiar measures that have thus far failed to help small-scale farmers. Some measures have left them even more vulnerable to climate change.

We need a more decisive shift. Fortunately, government leaders took a major step in that direction gather in Rome next last week at for a different summit, the annual meetings of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS). They will be discussing approved an expert report on agroecology, an innovative and cost-effective way a more promising innovation to  address rising hunger and malnutrition while helping farmers adapt to climate change. A host of recent UN reports calls for just this sort of break.

“Agroecology is the only solution we have to address the multiple crises we are facing,” said Aisha Ali Aii Shatou of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa to the government representatives at the summit.

When the solutions are part of the problem

The new $790-million agriculture initiative is driven by recommendations from the Global Commission on Adaptation (CGA), which is co-chaired by Bill Gates, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva. Its report, “Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience,” has as one of its core initiatives enhancing the resilience of smallholder producers.

Unfortunately, the Commission largely doubles down on the misguided effort to “modernize” agriculture in developing countries by encouraging farmers to adopt precisely the sorts of fossil-fuel-intensive practices that have made agriculture one of the greatest contributors to global greenhouse-gas emissions. As I saw in researching my book, Eating Tomorrow, crop diversity and soil fertility often decline as a result.

In its recommendations, the commission includes agroecology only as an afterthought, warning that we need to improve “the evidence-base for the effectiveness of adopting different agroecological approaches” – as if we don’t know enough yet to act.

They clearly hadn’t read the new expert report on agroecology and other innovations for sustainable food systems, released July 3 by the CFS’s High Level Panel of Experts. The expert report, two years in the making, is clear on the urgent need for change. “Food systems are at a crossroads. Profound transformation is needed,” the summary begins. It goes on to present a wide range of evidence that such methods have been shown to simultaneously increase soil fertility, diet diversity, and food security for small-scale farmers.

Agroecology promotes just the kinds of soil-building practices that “agricultural modernization” often undermines. Multiple food crops are grown in the same field. Compost and manure, not fossil-fuel-based fertilizer, are used to fertilize fields. Biological pest control decreases pesticide use. Researchers work with farmers to improve the productivity of their seeds rather than replacing them with commercial seeds farmers need to buy every year and douse with fertilizer to make them grow. As the expert report documents, soil fertility increases over time, and so do food security and climate resilience.

Agroecology: a proven response to the failing policies of the present

The growing global interest in agroecology comes in response to the widespread failures of input-intensive programs like the Gates-inspired Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Fed by heavy doses of government subsidies for commercial seeds and synthetic fertilizers, AGRA has promoted monocultures of a few staple crops, decreased crop and diet diversity, undermined soil fertility, and produced disappointing gains in productivity and farmer incomes. Global Hunger Index scores remained in the “serious” to “alarming” category for 12 of the 13 AGRA countries.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its influential report on “Climate Change and Land,” echoed the urgent need for change and the direction that change should take: “[I]ncreasing the resilience of the food system through agroecology and diversification is an effective way to achieve climate change adaptation….”

Fortunately, in Rome government leaders were forward-looking. Many recognized that business as usual, in the face of climate change, is not an option. They moved beyond the failed policies of the present, endorsing agroecology as the kind of innovation farmers need to adapt to a rapidly changing climate.

As African farmer Aisha Ali Aii Shatou told the summit, “Agroecology allows small-scale producers a dignified life, producing affordable, healthy food in healthy conditions. It eliminates dependence on costly inputs and adopts practices which regenerate seeds and soils while mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change.”

The CFS next year will take up the challenge of translating this visionary report into practical policies.

Author attended the UN’s Committee on World Food Security summit in Rome October 14-18 as a civil society delegate.

Timothy A. Wise directs the Land and Food Rights Program at the U.S.-based Small Planet Institute and is a Senior Researcher at Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute. Wise is the author of Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food (The New Press).

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Pleas for Help.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 29/10/2019 - 12:54pm in

Entomology, the branch of zoology focusing on insects, is not a sexy area of research. As a consequence it has been relatively neglected. Yet, insects are vitally important for life.

Alarmingly, they are disappearing worldwide.

So neglected has been entomology that the credit for the first scientific confirmation of that disappearance can be attributed largely to Krefeld-based German amateur entomologists in a 2017 paper.

Australian scientists are attempting desperately to fill that gap. And it needs to be filled.

(source)
Butterflies Australia website

(source)
Zoos Victoria. State Wide Integrated Fauna and Flora Teams Moth Tracker.

Concerned Australians can contribute.

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This incoming summer promises to be a nightmare, with drought, bushfires, and likely new temperature records. Australian scientists wrote an open letter to Scott Morrison, asking for his intervention to fight the extinction crisis threatening Australian flora and fauna.

Let’s see what Morrison’s reply will be.

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Flying foxes are attempting to adapt to these fast-paced changes. They don’t seem to be too successful.

(source)
Incidentally, they are important pollinators. Apparently, plants are not flowering as usual and flying foxes are trying to find food: another stress shock for all pollinators. And how long will it take until farmers start demanding a culling?

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Individual initiatives will not solve this problem. It requires collective action.

(source)
But sometimes individuals can help. That is an example. Maybe you could as well?

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So, you agree that climate change is anthropogenic and implies an existential threat but you don’t approve of Extinction Rebellion. Perhaps you dislike their methods; you find that kind of protests distasteful, ineffectual, or even counterproductive. Or maybe what you dislike are the individuals who take part in that movement.

Well, there’s an easy solution. Come up with a better idea and put it in practice yourself. Do something beyond bitching, because that isn’t good enough. Put your ass on the line, as they are doing. Either that or fuck off. (I could say that to many, but right now I have you in mind, David Llewellyn-Smith).

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