By Fred Pearce, March 31, 2014. Source: New Scientist
As the Arctic melts, the Russians are eyeing new shipping routes (Image: Jan Vermeer/ Foto Natura/Minden Pictures)
MY BOOKSHELVES contain several metres of books on climate change. This addition makes many of them seem redundant. It is also by a long way the most readable – and it made me laugh.
Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming by journalist McKenzie Funk tells the story of the people and corporations trying to profit from climate change. Many of them don’t want to halt its progress, they want to bring it on.
Here we meet private fire-fighters in drought-hit Los Angeles, selling their services to insurance companies, Russian shipping lines eyeing new routes opened up by the melting Arctic, Dutchmen rebuilding flooded islands in the Maldives, and manufacturers of snow-making machines selling their products to distressed winter resorts.
They all have an interest in global warming’s destructive progress. Funk lays bare their vanities and insanities while also exposing the magic of markets that can profit from anything.”I’m interested in climate change as a driver of human behaviour,” says Funk. “It’s a window into our collective state of mind.” Continue reading
By Brian Tokar. Source: New Politics
Today environmental politics in the U.S. appears hopelessly polarized. Liberals and progressives try to sustain and occasionally strengthen environmental legislation, while those on the right are inalterably opposed, even seeking to defund core institutions such as the EPA. This extreme polarization, where anti-environmentalism has become part of the cultural as well as the political apparatus of the right, is a recent, and hopefully short-lived, phenomenon.1
In the early years of the environmental movement Republican politicians, allied with outdoor enthusiasts and some in the corporate world, often supported the passage of environmental laws. For some it was mainly because they preferred a predictable and relatively malleable set of uniform rules to what in the late 1960s was a trend toward increasingly stringent regulations and punishing lawsuits at the state and local levels. But for others on the right end of the spectrum, something simply had to be done about out-of-control pollution that made it unhealthy to breathe the air, drink the water, or live downstream from polluting industries.2 Continue reading
By Richard Smith, January 9, 2014. Source: Truth-Out
Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout
The results are in: No amount of “green capitalism” will be able to ensure the profound changes we must urgently make to prevent the collapse of civilization from the catastrophic impacts of global warming.
The following is an updated version of an article that originally was published in the Real-World Economics Review. We consider Richard Smith’s article foundational to understanding the world we live in. Given its length, several sittings or a printout may be required to complete reading.
As soaring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions drove global CO2 concentrations past 400 parts per million in May 2013, shell-shocked climate scientists warned that unless we urgently adopt “radical” measures to suppress GHG emissions (50 percent cuts in emissions by 2020, 90 percent by 2050) we’re headed for an average temperature rise of 3 degrees or 4 degrees Celsius before the end of the century. Four degrees might not seem like much, but make no mistake: Such an increase will be catastrophic for our species and most others. Humans have never experienced a rise of 4 degrees in average temperatures. But our ancestors experienced a four-degree cooler world. That was during the last ice age, the Wisconsin Stage (26,000 to 13,300 years ago). At that time, there were two miles of ice on top of where I’m sitting right now in New York City. In a four-degree warmer world “Heat waves of undreamt-of-ferocity will scorch the Earth’s surface as the climate becomes hotter than anything humans have ever experienced. … There will be “no ice at either pole.” “Global warming of this magnitude would leave the whole planet without ice for the first time in nearly 40 million years.” Sea levels will rise 25 meters – submerging Florida, Bangladesh, New York, Washington DC, London, Shanghai, the coastlines and cities where nearly half the world’s people presently live. Freshwater aquifiers will dry up; snow caps and glaciers will evaporate – and with them, the rivers that feed the billions of Asia, South America and California. The “wholesale destruction of ecosystems” will bring on the collapse of agriculture around much of the world. “Russia’s harsh cold will be a distant memory” as “temperatures in Europe will resemble the Middle East. … The Sahara will have crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and be working its way north into the heart of Spain and Portugal. … With food supplies crashing, humanity’s grip on its future will become ever more tentative.” Yet long before the temperature increase hits four degrees, the melting will have begun thawing the permafrost of the Arctic, releasing vast quantities of methane buried under the Arctic seas and the Siberian and North American tundra, accelerating GHG concentrations beyond any human power to stop runaway warming and sealing our fate as a species.(1) Continue reading
April 1, 2013. Source: Earth First! Newswire
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by Herbert Docena, University of California, Berkeley, cross-posted from Global Dialogue
NOTE: Among the wrap-ups from Rio+20, this article is among the most clear-sighted and cogent we have yet received. - The GJEP team
Much of the post-conference analysis has centered on what words or phrases were included omitted in the final document, thus missing what can only be read between the lines.
The mood inside the Windsor Barra Hotel seemed more buoyant than in many of the over 3,000 other side-meetings taking place parallel to the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD).
Here, at a suburb far from the favelas shadowing Copacabana or Ipanema, CEOs and other top officials from some of the world’s largest corporations patted each other’s back and exhorted each other to be even more ambitious. Continue reading
News, pctures and videos on www.viacampesina.org
(Rio de Janeiro, 14 June, 2012) About 3000 people from around the world will mobilize to say NO to the commodification of life and nature at the Peoples Summit for Social and Environmental Justice and in Defense of the Commons.
The peoples Summit is a space for discussion, debate and construction of alternative proposals by the global civil society, social movements and peoples collective organizations. La Via Campesina has been actively participating in the construction of this activity in order to denounce the false solutions of the same failed economic model that is now being dressed in green under the name “green economy”. La Via Campesina is instead promoting peasants sustainable agriculture as a true solution to the global climatic and environmental crises.
The delegation of La Via Campesina will participate in various plenaries as well as the global mobilization that will take place on the 20th of June concentrating at the junction of the roads Av. Rio Branco and Av Presidente Vargas in Rio de Janeiro. La Via Campesina has been actively participating in the planning of the Peoples Summit that will take place as a parellel activity to the UN conference on Sustainable Development or Rio + 20. This meeting marks the twentieth aniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio 92 or Eco 92).
The most important political space in the Peoples Summit will be the Peoples Permanant Assembly that will organize around three main themes: The denouncement of the structural causes of global poverty and environmental crisis as well as the new forms of the reproduction of capital; Peoples real solutions and new paradigms; and the agendas, campaigns and mobilizations of anticapitalist struggles after Rio +20.
La Via Campesina is an international movement that brings together about 200 million peasants, small and medium-sized producers, landless, rural workers and indigenous people from around the world. LVC advocates sustainable small scale peasant’s agriculture as a means of promoting social justice and dignity. The organization brings together more than 150 organizations in about 70 countries of Africa, Asia, Europe and America.
Link to document – La Via Campesina’s position on Rio+20
To facilitate interviews with peasants from different continents we have available a list of spokespersons of La Via Campesina as well as the overall agenda of the Summit.
Filed under Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Rio+20, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
Note: In the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit, where the global elites plan to unveil their new model for green capitalism (green as in gangrene–rotten and deadly), a new report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development debunks the idea of “Green Growth” to combat climate change. It almost sounds like they’re calling for system change not climate change!
–The GJEP Team
The report, published in December 2011 that reviews the fallacies of green growth in coping with climate change and the implications for development space. It draws on ample empirical data and examples, and analyses the environmental effectiveness, economic efficiency and social-political acceptability of the main elements in the green growth toolbox.
The UNCTAD paper by Ulrich Hoffmann analyses “Green Growth Myths” by examining (a) Arithmetic of growth and efficiency limits; (b) Governance and market constraints; as well we (c) Systemic limits. It then considers “Development Challenges and Implications”.
The abstract of the paper is as follows:
Many economists and policy makers advocate a fundamental shift towards “green growth” as the new, qualitatively-different growth paradigm, based on enhanced material/resource/energy efficiency and drastic changes in the energy mix. “Green growth” may work well in creating new growth impulses with reduced environmental load and facilitating related technological and structural change. But can it also mitigate climate change at the required scale (i.e. significant, absolute and permanent decline of GHG emissions at global level) and pace? The UNCTAD Discussion Paper argues that growth, technological, population-expansion and governance constraints as well as some key systemic issues cast a very long shadow on the “green growth” hopes. One should not deceive oneself into believing that such evolutionary (and often reductionist) approach will be sufficient to cope with the complexities of climate change. It may rather give much false hope and excuses to do nothing really fundamental that can bring about a U-turn of global GHG emissions. The proponents of a resource efficiency revolution and a drastic change in the energy mix need to scrutinize the historical evidence, in particular the arithmetic of economic and population growth. Furthermore, they need to realize that the required transformation goes beyond innovation and structural changes to include democratization of the economy and cultural change. Climate change calls into question the global equality of opportunity for prosperity (i.e. ecological justice and development space) and is thus a huge developmental challenge for the South and a question of life and death for some developing countries (who increasingly resist the framing of climate protection versus equity).