This is a newsroll page on A Socialist In Canada, commencing September 2017. It consists of headlines and weblinks, with occasional news summary and brief analysis by A Socialist In Canada [in square brackets]. For months preceding December 2018, go to ‘News pages archives’ on the home page of A Socialist In Canada and use the drop-down menu. See also the feature articles on ecology and global warming that are listed in the website category ‘Environment‘ (listed on the main website page). To find past stories on this and other news pages on this website, use the ‘find’ (word search) function on your web browser. Headlines in red denote items published on the main news page of A Socialist In Canada.
Articles about the politics in Canada of the global warming emergency are listed in the ‘Canada newsroll‘ page of the website. That’s where to find news and analysis of the unfolding battle surrounding the proposed expansion of the ‘Trans Mountain’ tar sands bitumen pipeline from Alberta to the Port of Vancouver BC.
Ecology newsroll headlines, January 2019
To take down fossil fuels, we must first abandon capitalism, interview with Dahr Jamail, published in Truthout.org, Jan 15, 2019 (Dahr Jamail is an author and staff writer at Truthout.org. His website is here.)
Just published by Dahr Jamail: The End Of Ice: Bearing Witness And Finding Meaning In The Path Of Climate Disruption, published by The New Press. Here is a five-page promotional kit by the publisher: The End Of Ice, by Dahr Jamail, Jan 2019
* A planet in crisis: The heat is on us, by Dahr Jamail, Truthout.org, Jan 15, 2019
* The world will end in fire, book review by David Swanson, published in Truthout.org, Jan 15, 2019
* Interview with Dahr Jamail, broadcast on CBS News, Jan 17, 2019 (five-minute interview)
That green growth at the heart of the Green New Deal? It’s malignant, by Stan Cox, published on Green Social Thought, Jan 13, 2019 … Any effective strategy to drive emissions down to zero cannot also expect to spur aggregate growth; it would in fact curtail and even reverse the growth of GDP. Fortunately—well-tended conventional wisdom notwithstanding—degrowth in America would not necessarily bring on a Great-Depression-style social catastrophe. The British scholar Jason Hickel writes that, to the contrary, “ecology-busting levels of income and consumption characteristic of rich nations are not necessary in order to maintain their strong social outcomes. We can say this because there are a number of countries that are able to achieve equally strong social outcomes with vastly less income and consumption.” …
Climate change is happening, but how fast? This is what we really know, by Michael Le Page, published in New Scientist (weekly), print issue of Dec 15, 2018 Text and original weblink here in pdf format: How fast global warming. From past temperature change to future sea level rise, climate science is full of conflicting numbers. Here is our guide to the ones you can and can’t trust.
Ocean temperatures rising faster than thought in ‘delayed response’ to global warming, Reuters, Jan 11, 2019
* Oceans are warming even faster than previously thought, reports new study, press release by University of California-Berkeley, published in EurekAlert! (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Jan 10, 2019 The new analysis, published on January 11 by Science Magazine, shows that trends in ocean heat content match those predicted by leading climate change models, and that overall ocean warming is accelerating. Lijing Cheng of the Chinese Academy of Sciences is the lead author on the paper.
* Ocean warming is accelerating, press release by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jan 11, 2019
* World’s oceans are warming faster, studies show, fueling storms and sea rise, by Nicholas Kusnetz, Inside Climate News, Jan 10, 2019 A new study published in Science Magazine on January 10 strengthens the consensus that the warming of the world’s oceans is accelerating…
Human flourishing doesn’t require endless GDP growth, by Jason Hickel, published on his website, Dec 23, 2017
The U.S. West’s great river hits its limits: Will the Colorado River run dry?, by Jim Robbins, Yale Environment 360, Jan 14, 2018 [The Colorado River is the seventh longest river in the United States, though unlike other, large U.S. rivers, the volume of discharge at its mouth is near zero.].
Climate change is happening, but how fast? This is what we really know, by Michael Le Page, published in New Scientist (weekly), print issue of Dec 15, 2018 From past temperature change to future sea level rise, climate science is full of conflicting numbers. Here’s our guide to the ones you can and can’t trust.
Climate Action Tracker report: World governments amble towards three degrees of global 3°C of global warming, published by Climate Analytics (Germany), Dec 11, 2018 Katowice, Poland–If all governments achieve their largely insufficient climate targets, the world will see 3.0˚C of warming by 2100, twice the 1.5˚C limit they agreed in Paris three years ago, according to the Climate Action Tracker’s annual update, delivered today at the climate talks in Katowice, Poland…
Australian industry among worst in developed world for using energy efficiently, by Climate Analytics (Germany), Dec 19, 2018 Australia is one of the few countries that is making no real progress on improving energy efficiency in manufacturing and industry, according to new analysis by Climate Analytics.
After three years of decline, carbon emissions rose sharply in the U.S. in 2018, CNN, Jan 8, 2018
After three years of decline, climate change causing carbon dioxide emissions rose sharply in the U.S. last year according to new research. Carbon emissions increased by 3.4 per cent in 2018 marking the second largest annual gain in more than two decades, according to preliminary power generation data analyzed by the Rhodium Group, an independent economic policy research provider…
In November 2018, the U.S. government released its fourth National Climate Assessment outlining the dire environmental and economic impacts of climate change, stating that thousands of Americans could die and gross domestic product could take a ten per cent hit by century’s end…
In December, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed relaxing regulations for newly-built coal-fueled power plants, which, combined with another proposal to replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, would overhaul the way coal-fired plants are built and regulated [report here, report on reducing water contamination by coal-burning electricity plants here, report on reducing coal plant mercury contamination regulations here] …
From the New York Times‘ report on Jan 8, 2018: … Even a steep drop in coal use last year wasn’t enough to offset rising emissions in other parts of the economy. Some of that increase was weather-related: A relatively cold winter led to a spike in the use of oil and gas for heating in areas like New England. But just as important, as the United States economy grew at a strong pace last year, emissions from factories, planes and trucks soared. And there are few policies in place to clean those sectors up. “The big takeaway for me is that we haven’t yet successfully decoupled U.S. emissions growth from economic growth,” said Trevor Houser, a climate and energy analyst at the Rhodium Group…
Silencing the science of global warming in Donald Trump’s USA, one-hour podcast by Elizabeth Shogren, co- produced and broadcast by ‘Reveal’ (Center for Investigative Reporting) and PRX, Jan 5, 2019 President Donald Trump’s administration has downplayed the science of climate change and sought to silence scientists working for the federal government. In this broadcast, Reveal’s Elizabeth Shogren details the pressures one researcher and scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder faced as she worked on a project for the National Park Service. See related readings at the broadcast weblink.
* Post-growth or radical degrowth?, part two of interview by Riccardo Mastini with degrowth advocates Tim Jackson and Giorgos Kallis, published on Resilience.org, Jan 3, 2019
* Human flourishing doesn’t require endless GDP growth, by Jason Hickel, published on his website, Dec 23, 2017
* Jason Hickel response to Dean Baker of CEPR on degrowth, by Jason Hickel, re-published on Resilience.org, Dec 17, 2018
Recognizing the quiet extinction of invertebrates, research paper by Nico Eisenhauer, published by Nature International Journal of Science, Jan 3, 2019
How Trump’s U.S.-Mexico wall would alter our biological identity forever, by Jennifer Miller, Scientific American, Jan 2, 2019 … Earlier this year, my colleagues at Defenders of Wildlife and I led more than 2,500 scientists from around the world in declaring consensus over the impending consequences of the border wall on North America’s biodiversity in a synthesis study published in BioScience. In an exceptional moment of unity, we scientists agree with the irrefutable evidence that the border wall is a rampant ecological disaster. This is notable because consensus is rare among scientists. When scientific consensus does exist—as with climate change—it’s a wake-up call that business as usual is likely to result in catastrophe…
Fracking’s secret problem: Oil wells are not producing as much as forecast, by Bradley Olson, Rebecca Elliott and Christopher Matthews, Wall Street Journal, Jan 2, 2019 Data analysis reveals thousands of oil and gas fracking locations are yielding less than their owners projected to investors [This is a subscriber-only article. Access here; several excerpts here below:]
- Thousands of shale wells drilled in the last five years are pumping less oil and gas than their owners forecast to investors, raising questions about the strength and profitability of the fracking boom that turned the U.S. into an oil superpower.
- Two-thirds of production forecasts made by 29 of the biggest producers in the Texas and North Dakota oil basins between 2014 and 2017 were wildly off the mark, some by more than 50 per cent.
- Financial and energy analysts have long warned that the fracking companies consistently inflate their forecasts of production and profitability to suck in capital, and gullible capital has rushed in. Shale companies have attracted huge amounts of capital from Wall Street over the past decade. So far, investors have largely lost money. Since 2008, an index of U.S. oil-and-gas companies has fallen 43 per cent while the S&P 500 index has more than doubled in that time, including dividends.
How China’s overseas ‘Belt and Road’ initiative threatens global climate progress, by Isabel Hilton, published by Yale Environment 360, Jan 3, 2019 China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a colossal infrastructure plan that could transform the economies of nations around the world. But with its focus on coal-fired power plants, the effort could obliterate any chance of reducing emissions and tip the world into catastrophic climate change.
China’s cities face sobering cooling costs, by Tim Radford, Inside Climate News, Jan 2, 2019
Ecology newsroll headlines, December 2018
50-million-year cooling trend of planet Earth is being reversed, by Tim Radford, Inside Climate News, Dec 31, 2019
The changing nature of Canada’s forest industry supply as fires, insects and climate bite, by Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press, Dec. 28, 2018 [The province of British Columbia has about 70 per cent of Canada’s accessible reserves of timber for sawnwood production. Its forests are being devastated by rising global temperatures causing fires and insect infestations. The years 2017 and 2018 set consecutive records for forest fires. The United States produces 20 per cent of the world’s sawnwood, about three times that of Canada; the latter is the world’s largest producer of pulp and paper (source).].
Book Review: Dust Bowls of Empire: Imperialism, Environmental Politics and the Injustice of ‘Green’ Capitalism, review by Martin Empson, published on his website blog Resolute Reader, Dec 30, 2018
Climate action must now focus on the global rich and their corporations, by Nicholas Beuret, University of Essex , The Conversation, Dec 17, 2018
… Let’s be clear about what must be demanded of nation states: not some kind of minor adjustment or new zero-cost policy, but the end of economic growth. It would require legislating for de-growth…
It is really important that we – that is, the vast majority of humanity who will or already are suffering the effects of dangerous climate change – move past “national action plans” and start to take action immediately against two groups largely responsible for climate change. They are the 100 or so corporations responsible for 71% of global carbon emissions and the wealthiest 10% of the global population responsible for 50% of consumption emissions…
Eighty per cent of glaciers in western Canada will disappear in next 50 years, says annual report of Alpine Club of Canada, by Hina Alam, The Canadian Press, Dec 27, 2018 … The ‘State of the Mountains‘ report published in May 2018 by the Alpine Club of Canada says outside of the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland, Canada has more glacier cover than any other nation. Of the estimated 200,000 square kilometres of Canadian glaciers, one quarter is found in the mountains of western Canada (Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon) and the remainder are in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago…
Global carbon dioxide emissions rise in 2018 for a second straight year, even as coal wanes and renewables rise, by Josie Garthwaite, published by the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, Dec 5, 2018 (read also: ‘Brutal news’: global carbon emissions jump to all-time high in 2018, by Damien Carrington, environment editor, The Guardian, Dec 5, 2018
Emissions are rising due to increases in use of cars and trucks and in burning of coal. Almost all countries are contributing to the rise, with 2018 emissions in China up 4.7 per cent, in the U.S. up 2.5 per cent and in India up6.3 per cent. The EU’s emissions are near flat, but this follows a decade of strong falls.
… In the United States, emissions of carbon dioxide are projected to increase 2.5 percent in 2018 after a decade of declines. Culprits for the increase include unusual weather — a cold winter in Eastern states and a warm summer across much of the nation ramped up energy needs for seasonal heating and cooling — as well as a growing appetite for oil in the face of low gas prices.
“We’re driving more miles in bigger cars, changes that are outpacing improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency,” Jackson explained. Overall, U.S. oil use is on track to rise by more than 1 percent this year compared to 2017.
… The study shows renewables around the world are largely coming online as add-ons to fossil fuel energy sources — particularly natural gas — rather than replacements. “It isn’t enough for renewables to grow,” Jackson said. “They need to displace fossil fuels. So far, that’s happening for coal but not for oil or natural gas.”
The world’s most controversial coal mine set to break ground in Australia, by James Thornhill, Bloomberg News, Dec 18, 2018
Related: Insurers won’t cover Adani coal mine in Australia, by Asia Times, Dec 26, 2018 Ten of the world’s top insurers are reportedly refusing to cover the Indian-owned, Adani Group’s Carmichael strip mine project in Queensland because of environmental concerns. The proposed US$16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine and rail project is located some 400 km from the Pacific Ocean coastline.
Degrowth, by Giorgos Kallis, Agenda Publishing, January 2018, 176 pp, ISBN 9781911116806 (distributed in North America by Columbia University Press) Chapter six, titled ‘Controversies, debates and future research’, is here in pdf format (41 pages): Chapter six of ‘In Defense of Degrowth’, 2018 book by Giorgis Kallis … Marxists critical of degrowth seldom specify what they mean by large-scale revolution or struggle. Surely, this must mean something more than strikes and street protests, elections or trade union mobilizations.If it means a violent replacement of existing political regimes in the vein of the French or Russian revolutions, the onus is on them to show that there is popular support for such insurrections in liberal democracies, in which a substantial (albeit shrinking) middle class may still have more to lose than its chains…
World’s governments indulge in symbolism, not action, at ‘COP24’ annual conference in Poland, by Pete Dollack, published on his website Systemic Disorder, Dec 20, 2018
* Good news, bad news from COP 24 (2018) UN climate meeting, by Bob Henson, published in the ‘Category Six’ blog on Weather Underground, Dec 17, 2018 The strengths and weaknesses of the global Paris Agreement on fighting climate change were on full display in the 24th annual Conference of Parties meeting (COP24), which ended on December 15 in Katowice, Poland. On the plus side, the multi-year process agreed to in 2015 by the world’s nations is coming together on schedule. On the down side, it’s ever more clear that the voluntary national pledges at the heart of the Paris Agreement are far short of what’s needed for a solid chance of avoiding disastrous climate consequences…
* Earth had its 5th warmest November on record; 2018 will finish as the 4th warmest year on record, by Jeff Masters, published in the ‘Category Six’ blog on Weather Underground, Dec 18, 2018
* COP24 climate conference in Poland ends without firm promises to raise climate action, by Julia Conley, Common Dreams, Dec 15, 2018
[In an understatement of the year, the Union of Concerned Scientists summed up the COP 24 conference as “a barely adequate outcome”. The Guardian, for its part, generously reports that the conference decided “how to put the 2015 Paris agreement into action but with other contentious problems left to be resolved next year”. Deutsche Welle reports: “Climate change action groups said the agreement was a good start but it showed a lack of urgency among nations.” ABC (Australia) provides a summary of the tensions at the conference among the large polluting countries and how they reached a common (but vacuous) declaration. The ABC report paints the U.S. government role very positively.
[A December 16 Guardian editorial argues that “The agreement struck in Poland is not strong enough, but the UN process is all we have.” Luckily, that latter assertion is not true. What the world “has” is the awareness of growing numbers of the world’s population that the world capitalist order is dragging humanity into an out-of-control into a global warming emergency. For proof, see the stunning rise of the Gilets jaunes protest movement in France.) Watch this ‘Ecology newsroll’ page on A Socialist In Canada website for further reporting on COP 24.].
* The world climate conference in Poland is awash in corporate meddling, by Michelle Chen, The Nation, Dec 11, 2018 What are big-business interests doing at the annual, UN-hosted ‘Conference of the Parties’ in Katowice, Poland?
The U.S. Farm Bureau: Big Oil’s unnoticed ally fighting climate science and policy, by Neela Banerjee, Georgina Gustin and John H. Cushman Jr., published by Inside Climate News, Dec 21, 2018 .. For more than three decades, the Farm Bureau has aligned agriculture closely with the fossil fuel agenda. Though little noticed next to the influence of the fossil fuel industry, the farm lobby pulled in tandem with the energy lobby in a mutually reinforcing campaign to thwart the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, legislation like the Waxman-Markey economy-wide cap-and-trade plan, and regulations that would limit fossil fuel emissions. This article, part of a series exploring agriculture’s role in climate change and the influence of the Farm Bureau, examines the close ties between the two industries as they fought to undermine climate policy…
Related: How the Farm Bureau’s climate denial agenda is failing U.S. farmers, by Georgina Gustin, Neela Banerjee, John H. Cushman Jr., published by Inside Climate News, Oct 24, 2018 This is the first in a series on agriculture, climate change and the American Farm Bureau’s influence.
The untold story of how a fire swallowed the town of Paradise, California, by Alastair Gee and Dani Anguianom, in Paradise, California, The Guardian, Dec 20, 2018 The fire in Paradise, California, killed 86 people. A bucolic community was reduced to ash by a new kind of wildfire – the deadliest in California’s history. Survivors recall that horrible day.
Corporations see a very appealing ‘green’ in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Green New Deal’, by Whitney Webb, Mint Press News, Dec 18, 2018 There is nothing ‘progressive’ about the Ocasio-Cortez-promoted ‘Green New Deal’. It is little more than an oil industry-driven ‘plan’ that will not solve issues like climate change and poverty. Instead, it will empower the underlying cause: U.S. oligarchy. [‘Ecosocialists’ and other left-wing environmentalists are praising the green-capitalist, ‘Green New Deal’ being promoted by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democratic Party leaders. The above commentary appearing in Mint Press News corrects the record. But note, it is not ‘oligarchies’, U.S. or otherwise, that are causing the global warming emergency. They are the merely the owners and profiteers of the runaway expansion imperative of capitalism. Change the owners and it is still the same expansion-driven system with its rising war and militarism, global warming and social inequities. Hence the need for ‘degrowth’ (economic revolution) in order to open a path to ecological and social justice.]
* Ecosocialists argue for extending the reign of trucks and cars into a ‘Green’ future, hail the ‘Green New Deal’ of Democratic Party leaders. Essay by Jonathan Neale, published in Climate and Capitalism, Dec 14, 2018
… Instead of putting higher taxes in place, the government [in France] could have announced that in four years’ time, all new vehicles had to fully electric. And that vehicle owners would get loans to replace their cars and trucks. And that the government would hire 10,000 workers to build a grid of electrical charging points all over the country. And give grants to encourage new electric car factories in France…
There’s a real movement for green jobs and action on climate change building in the U.S. now. The Sunrise Movement, Sen. Bernie Sanders and incoming Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are serious people with serious proposals…
* More abstraction from author and ecosocialism advocate Simon Pirani: Interview with Simon Pirani, author of 2018 book ‘Burning Up’, interview published in Truthout, Dec 16, 2018 … In Burning Up, I argued that not just a social-democratic spending program but a much deeper-going shift to post-capitalist social relations could provide the context for the fundamental changes in social, economic and technological systems that will be necessary to break the economy’s many-sided dependence on fossil fuels. That’s how I see the future.
Excerpt from Socialism in the 21st century, by Roger Annis, published in A Socialist In Canada, August 27, 2018 :
… An article by UK ecology writer Simon Pirani on his Pluto Press blog appearing in Sept 2018 argues that “unsustainable fossil fuel use” by capitalist society is the fundamental ill facing contemporary society. The article concludes with this hefty abstraction: “Today, the consequences of unsustainable fossil fuel use – above all, its role in global warming – are known to us all. There are no simple formulae for the transition away from fossil fuel. Answers must be sought outside the discourse around the international climate negotiations. These answers must take account of the way that technological systems are embedded in social and economic systems, and point to ways to transform all of them.”
Pirani’s views in favour of switching from fossil fuels to ‘alternative energies’ as the means to salvage the planet from the global warming emergency are elaborated in his 2018 book Burning Up: A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption (Pluto Press). My argument against citing fossil fuel use as the principal evil of the global warming emergency caused by capitalist expansionism is contained in this May 15, 2018 essay: Andreas Malm’s ‘Fossil Capital’ unearths the origin of capitalism’s attachment to fossil fuels but finishes with the shallow outlook of ecosocialism.
Socialism is a path of societal transformation. It is shaped and propelled by the class and national struggles of the exploited classes striving for a world of social equality, abolition of war and militarism, and ecological harmony. The goal of socialism is a planned, social economy in which the cultural, spiritual and material wealth of society is shared in common with humans living within the planetary boundaries of Earth. To get there, the working classes and their potential allies among other social classes need to win political power (government) and then use that power to carry through sweeping economic and social change. ‘Degrowth’ must guide these changes, meaning a massive reduction of all the waste and excess produced in capitalist society while simultaneously expanding ‘social’ production–housing, health care, education, healthy food, and science and culture.
UK’s nuclear waste dream is now its nuclear nightmare, by Paul Brown, Climate News Network, Dec 14, 2018 Thirty years ago, the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant in Sellafield, England seemed like a dream: now it is a nuclear nightmare. THORP was presented to the world in the 1990s by the UK government as a £2.85 billion triumph of British engineering capable of recycling thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel into reusable uranium and plutonium. Now it is shutting down with its role still controversial.
Related: The THORP nuclear reprocessing plant in Sellafield, England shut down, by Martin Forwood, The International Panel on Fissile Materials, Nov 18, 2018
CO2 vs the annual United Nations Conference of the Parties (COPs), by Barry Saxifrage, published in The National Observer, Dec 12, 2018
The primary force overheating our planet, destabilizing our climate and acidifying our oceans is the surging levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Since 1990, at the Rio Summit, world leaders have met annually and pledged to stop this “speeding freight train” before it gets too dangerous. Right now, they are meeting in Katowice, Poland, for the 24th year in a row, at a United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP 24).
Despite decades of global promises and negotiations CO2 levels have not stabilized. Not only are emissions still rising, they are actually accelerating upwards. Despite these decades of global promises and negotiations — on climate policies, emissions targets, clean energy and efficiency — CO2 levels have not stabilized. Not only are emissions still rising, they are actually accelerating upwards…
CO₂ and other greenhouse gas emissions, by Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser, published on Our World In Data, first published in May 2017, regularly updated since (includes extensive charts and maps on current and historic greenhouse gas emissions)
The ‘Green New Deal’ of Democratic Party leaders in the U.S. gains support among environmentalists in Canada. Two reports:
* Unions should go big on a ‘green new deal’ for Canada, by Matt Price, The Tyee, Dec 10, 2018 … What if the debate was explicitly recast as about creating good new jobs on a massive scale, about creating a just new economy, and about taking care of people through the transition? That’s the premise behind the proposed Green New Deal being championed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and many others in America…
* Canada needs its own Green New Deal. Here’s what it could look like, by Clayton Thomas-Müller, The National Observer, Nov 29, 2018 … The Green New Deal, catapulted onto the national agenda by a fiery mixture of political champions like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and mass youth-led organizing by the Sunrise Movement, is perhaps the most straightforward policy proposal for tackling climate change that many of us have ever seen…
[Each of the above authors fail to mention that far from showing interest in tackling the global warming emergency, industrial unions in Canada and the United States are ‘going big’ in support to all manner of expanded natural resource extraction and plunder, including fossil fuels. The result has been a profound split between industrial unions and public service unions in the already corrupt and ineffectual trade union structures such as the Canadian Labour Congress and AFL-CIO. As to the content of the ‘Green New Deal’ being touted by leaders of the Democratic Party, it is thin gruel. Writer Christine Corlet Walker in England explains, “Recent environmental movements demanding action on climate change, like the Extinction Rebellion in the UK and the Ende Gelande Alliance in Germany, don’t seem to take a clear stance on the role of economic growth in driving climate change. They don’t identify our unwavering commitment to the dogma of infinite economic growth as the driving force behind climate change… Without a wider critique of the toxic relationship between climate change and economic growth, governments will be almost powerless to achieve any net zero targets they set… The websites suggested by the Extinction Rebellion promote ideas such as green growth and a green new deal. These ideas are founded on the premise that we can achieve both continually high rates of economic growth and reduce our impact on the planet. Sadly, the evidence (and a dash of common sense) tells us that this is not yet happening, and is unlikely to be possible in the near future…”
* Include a ‘New Peace Deal’ in the ‘Green New Deal’, open letter by Code Pink (Medea Benjamin) addressed to U.S. Congressional Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Dec 14, 2018
How clean is the ‘climate plan’ of the NDP/Green Party government in British Columbia? by Bill Henderson, Pacific Free Press, December 8, 2018 also published on the blog of Gorilla Radio (hosted by Chris Cook, Victoria BC)
Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau are united in pledges they won’t leave fossil fuels in the ground, global warming be damned, by Thomas Walkom, national affairs columnist, Toronto Star, Dec 11, 2018
… A report this week from two environmental groups calculates that rising emissions from oil and gas production won’t allow Canada to meet its global greenhouse gas emissions target. The report by Environmental Defence and Stand.earth estimates that if Canada wants to reach that target without affecting oil and gas, the rest of the country would have to cut emissions almost in half.
The authors say this would be the equivalent of taking all vehicles off the road, shutting down all manufacturing and eliminating all greenhouse gases from nonpetroleum industries. In short, it is something no government would do. Similarly and regardless of climate change, no government would be willing to leave Alberta’s bitumen in the ground. The political costs would be too high. In that sense, we are all Trumpians. Saving the planet is a fine idea. But not if it costs us.
* Thousands protest at UN climate summit in coal-heavy Poland, facing riot police and intimidation, report on Democracy Now!, broadcast on Dec 10, 2018
* Environment groups tell ‘COP24’ climate conference in Poland that Canada is not slowing emissions from oil and gas, by Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press, Dec 11, 2018
COP24 in Poland: Climate protesters must get radical and challenge economic growth, by Christine Corlet Walker, published in The Conversation, Nov 30, 2018 (Christine Corlet Walker is a PhD Candidate at the University of Surrey, England.)
… Recent environmental movements demanding action on climate change, like the Extinction Rebellion in the UK and the Ende Gelande Alliance in Germany, don’t seem to take a clear stance on the role of economic growth in driving climate change. They don’t identify our unwavering commitment to the dogma of infinite economic growth as the driving force behind climate change, and as the reason that our efforts thus far have been impotent to stop the growing tidal wave of CO2 emissions…
It would currently be considered political madness to advocate for policies that might unintentionally, or intentionally, limit economic growth. Unfortunately, however, without a wider critique of the toxic relationship between climate change and economic growth, governments will be almost powerless to achieve any net zero targets they set…
Brazil’s Amazon deforestation documented via massive satellite imaging, report in Deutsche Welle, Dec 8, 2018
Related: Business as usual: A resurgence of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, by Philip Fearnside, published in Yale Environment 360, April 18, 2017 After years of positive signs, deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon is on the rise, with a sharp increase in 2016. As powerful economic forces push for development, the government must take steps to protect the world’s largest rain forest.
Climate Analytics research group warns of geoengineering’s dangers, recommends a global ban, by Justin Mikulka, Desmog Blog, Dec 9, 2018
Fossil-fuel emissions in 2018 increasing at fastest rate for seven years, by Zeke Hausefather, published in Carbon Brief, Dec 7, 2018 Hopes that global CO2 emissions might be nearing a peak have been dashed by preliminary data showing that output from fossil fuels and industry will grow by around 2.7 per cent in 2018, the largest increase in seven years. The new data, from researchers at the Global Carbon Project (GCP), is being published in Earth System Science Data Discussions and Environmental Research Letters to coincide with the UN’s COP24 climate summit in Poland. The rapid increase in 2018 CO2 output from fossil fuel use and industry follows a smaller 1.6% rise in 2017. Before that, three years of flat emissions output to 2016 had raised hopes that emissions had peaked…
Record-high carbon emissions show ‘We are speeding towards the precipice of irrevocable climate chaos’, says new report by Global Carbon Project, by Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams, Dec 5, 2018
… The new data follows a World Meteorological Organization report in November 2018 that found atmospheric concentrations of the top three greenhouse gases driving global warming—carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—have hit record high levels, provoking warnings that “Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, climate change will have increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts on life on Earth.”
* 2018 will show record carbon emissions, by Tim Radford, Climate News Network, Dec 6, 2018
* Global Warming of 1.5°C, special report released by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Oct 8, 2018 (562 pages) Read or download the report by section here.
Greenland melting is faster than ever and is speeding up, news analysis published by Climate and Capitalism, Dec 6, 2018 (based on research by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute published in Nature magazine, Dec 5, 2018)
Projected flooding of the U.S. east coast, ten- minute interview with John Upton, science researcher and writer at Climate Central, broadcast on Dec 3, 2018
Beneath the jargon, a new report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change serves up a revolutionary response to climate change, by Troy Vettese, published in Boston Review, Dec 5, 2018 [In this otherwise highly perceptive essay, the author uses the flawed analogy of waging imperialist war (World War One) to argue for the radical political and economic course needed to combat the global warming emergency. The capitalist classes of the world have no hesitation in waging imperialist war when it suits their class interests. On the other hand, they have no such enthusiasm when it comes to engaging society in combatting global warming. The fight against global warming requires new and innovative means of class struggle by the poor and exploited working classes, including creating broad, cross-class alliances unlike anything seen previously in human history.]
Also by Troy Vettese: To freeze the Thames: Natural geo-engineering and biodiversity, essay by Troy Vettese, published in New Left Review, print issue of May-June 2018 (The essay is part of a series in New Left Review asking ‘Is advanced-industrial capitalism capable of finding solutions for the environmental devastation it causes?‘.)
Unhinged GDP growth could actually destroy the economy, economists find, by Kate Aronoff, The Intercept, Dec 5, 2018
[The BC government ‘climate plan’ announced on December 5 aims to switch dirty, polluting, fossil fuel energy sources over to dirty, polluting ‘renewable’ energy sources, in particular to hydro-electric energy. This in order to proceed with a huge increase in natural gas fracking and liquefaction (LNG) for export in such a way as to maintain some semblance of greenhouse gas reduction targets (which LNG ambitions will blow out of the water). The ‘plan’ also assumes continuing business-as-usual coal mining and export, forest clearcutting, mineral mining, and urban sprawl. Notwithstanding all that, this is how Canadian Press reports the matter in the opening sentence of its news report on December 5: “The British Columbia government has introduced a strategy to shift away from fossil fuels and build the provincial economy around reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also leaves portions of the plan to be determined…” Underlying the BC government plan (taken as good coin by Canadian Press et al) is that all the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which industry in the province is exporting in the form of coal, natural gas, future LNG if all goes well, lumber processing and finishing, and electricity exports is ‘not our problem’. These do not enter into official calculations of emissions in the province. Similarly, all the CO2 emissions associated with BC’s ongoing urban sprawl are to be waived away by a magic wand in the form of (someday, maybe) electrifying of all or most transportation. As though electricity and its transmission and consumption as well as massive transportation networks powered by whatever sources in order to move goods and people have no consequences for GHG levels.
[The government’s plan is a greenwashing mirage. But mainstream (green capitalist) environmental groups in British Columbia and Canada as well as mainstream editorialists and alternative media outlets are welcoming it. BC-based Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason calls it a ‘great leap forward’.]
Portrait of a planet on the verge of climate catastrophe, by Robin McKie, The Guardian, Dec 2, 2018 As the UN sits down in Poland this week for its annual climate conference, many experts believe we have passed the point of no return
* The climate report that Trump tried to bury, by Ian Angus, editor, Climate and Capitalism, Nov 24, 2018 The U.S. Global Change Research Program, composed of 13 agencies headed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, reports every four years on “current trends in global change, both human-induced and natural, and projects major trends for the subsequent 25 to 100 years”. In an obvious attempt to keep it out of the news, the Trump administration released the most recent report — Volume 2 of the Fourth National Climate Assessment — at 2pm on Friday, November 23, the day after Thanksgiving…
* Five takeaways from the Fourth National Climate Assessment by U.S. government agencies and what it means mean for food and farms, by Marcia DeLonge, senior scientist at Uion of Concerned Scientists, listed in press release by Union of Concerned Scientists, Nov 23, 2018
* Why the Migrant Caravan Story Is a Climate Change Story, by Todd Miller, Common Dreams, Nov 29, 2018
Ecosocialists endorse Democratic Party’s ‘Green New Deal’ though it makes no mention of war, militarism or the imperative to radically curb capitalism’s production/expansion imperative. Reference: An ecosocialist path to limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C, by Richard Smith, published on System Change Not Climate Change, Dec 3, 2018 … To be sure, the process of “decarbonization” outlined [by the Democrats Green New Deal] is abstract, lacks specifics, and is far from fully worked out. Most obviously, it’s hard to imagine how the government could decarbonize fossil-fuel producers and industrial consumers without taking them into public hands. What’s not said is that decarbonization has to translate into shutdowns and retrenchments of actual companies. … And yet, the audacity and breadth of the technical and socio-economic transformations here envisioned call to mind nothing so much as the economic and social revolution [sic] that FDR’s New Deal brought about…
* Solving our climate crisis, a national town hall meeting on Dec 3, 2018, hosted by Senator Bernie Sanders and featuring Alexandria Ocasio-Ortez, Bill McKibben, and other guest panelists, access the two-hour broadcast here (Alexandria Ocasio-Ortez appears at 43′ mark for 15 minutes)
* Yemen, poisoned water, and a Green New Deal, by David Swanson, published on his website, Dec 2, 2018
* The Democratic Party wants to make climate policy exciting, by Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic (conservative monthly U.S. magazine), Dec 5, 2018 After years of infighting, the Democrats may finally have found an environmental consensus in the Green New Deal
* The game-changing promise of a Green New Deal, by Naomi Klein, The Intercept, Nov 28, 2018 [Naomi Klein has long pinned her hopes for U.S. action on global warming on a revitalized Democratic Party. But in this essay, the best she can offer for the ‘Green New Deal’ of ‘left-wing’ Democratic Party leaders is: “Nothing about the pathway I have just outlined [the Green New Deal] is certain or even likely…” and, “Smart money would bet on the [Democratic] party doing little more than resuscitating the climate committee that helped produce cap-and-trade legislation in Obama’s first term, an ill-fated and convoluted market-based scheme that would have treated greenhouse gases as late-capitalist abstractions to be traded, bundled, and speculated upon like currency or subprime debt…” Always missing from Naomi Klein’s analysis and from those of her left-wing admirers is any hint of the class struggle by the poor and exploited working classes. The working classes have the most to lose from the global warming emergency and from the related rises in imperialist war and militarism and social and national inequities.].
* World War Two, not the New Deal, ended the Great Depression of the 1930s, essay by Brian Dunlevy, published by History Channel (A&E Network), Aug 18, 2018 [In their calls for a World War Two-style mobilization to combat the capitalism-induced global warming emergency, left-wing environmentalists implicitly acknowledge that World War Two ended the 1930s Depression, not the New Deal of the administration of Franklin Roosevelt. They extend the false analogy in supporting the ‘New Green Deal’ currently being advocated by Democratic Party leaders in the U.S.]