Naomi Klein V Trump 3

Politics is riven across the globe just like between Klein and Trump which makes things jolly-dee for the elite. Therefore, The Economist must make good reading when it writes that America is divided. It suggests a political gridlock and economic inequality. A huge disturbance for the ‘left’ is the New York Times report that 53% of white female voters put their mark for Trump and, 30% of Hispanics did likewise. There doesn’t seem to be a clear road ahead.

www.economist.com/news/21723797-the-future-of-america

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/22/us/after-success-of-womens-march-a-question-remains-whats-next.html?

Any unifying organisation has the problem from the contentious question of how many suitcases each individual organisation should bring with them. Therefore, the argument that ‘Indigenous peoples rights are sacrosanct’ (242) and individual movements must be ‘protected’ (243) and ‘identity politics’ (91) must be supported and ‘reparations for slavery’ (125) is a weakness. Ms Klein commits the crime of playing to the gallery.

“… to have hope of changing the world, we’re going to have to be willing to change ourselves.” (261)

If the movement for change is to take us to a better society for all, then we must – start as one- not as a host each with baggage; because somewhere down the line factions will peel off. They still might!

The Big Q. Do I stand for all or do I stand for me?

The driving force must be equality of opportunity; from there we work out what is needed to make it a reality: better welfare system, free education, medical care and nursery places for all etc.

Ha-Joon Chang, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism – Thing 20 (210-220)

We cannot right the wrongs of the past no matter how heinous. The best that can be offered is to come along and help decide. That’s democracy! There are some on the ‘left’ that want the frog-march as the compulsory dance. I prefer, slow, slow, quick, quick slow waltz. It’s more fun.

Thanks…
for my world

Unfortunately, there will be no ‘leap’ on climate change, though it is necessary. In an article for the UN April 2016, How to Finance Global Reflation, Andrew Sheng wrote, “An estimated $6 trillion in infrastructure investment will be needed annually over the next 15 years just to address global warming.”

James Rickards, The Road to Ruin (87)

Ms Klein has looked at this question of finance and come up with some figures (247). However, the guardian newspaper suggests that subsidies for the fossil fuel industry were around $5.3 trillion in 2015. The problem is how to get that money used for renewables? We can’t just slice it off, though that would be nice. It would have to be weaned off as thousands of jobs are tied up with the money. The argument for a waltz is really powerful.

www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/01/

Nonetheless, some problems are more pressing and require immediate attention. “We are, it bears repeating, out of time.” (235) But ‘superhuman speed’ might not be possible. (69-70)Paul Mason Postcapitalism (250) using the IEA data that suggests we must cut CO2 emissions by 50% by the year 2050 and that is only possible if we arrest it by 2020. A very tall order! The game is afoot. Mason (262) makes this point:

“So we need to inject into the environment and social justice movements things that have for twenty-five years seemed the sole property of the right: willpower, confidence and design.”

People around the world are already aware of climate issues but there needs to be a concerted effort, a ‘superhuman’ push to bring coordination to a campaign. It’s called marketing; the wherewithal is out there it just needs wakening. There is no shortage of evidence:

Europe –

  • UK – London pollution levels breached for 79 days 2016 even though it has a charge £.
  • France – Paris is to introduce stickers for cars based on the age of the vehicle at €3.50 each
  • Germany – Stuttgart worse pollution in the country. Citizen groups taking the state to court. City to introduce ‘fine dust’ days.

America – A mountain of evidence! www.uk.reuters.com  June 2017 reports thousands of extra deaths annually. A study by Harvard School of Public Health states, “…this is not just a health issue, but a social equality issue as well.” Study by Qian Di et al. Other sites include cbsnews.com/news and Health.com and many more.

Drivers are prosecuted while the real criminals go free. The injustice of it all!

The material is available it comes down to focus, presentation and access. What is needed is a sponsor: an organisation, a newspaper, a charity or all three. Reaching out to the wealth of talent that is out there and a multitude of possible approaches can be taken.

 

Banksy

I’m always amazed looking out of the train window at the effort and sheer class of some of the graffiti. It needs to be harnessed. Likewise, the creative expertise of video makers utilizing their skills to get a positive message across. Add the array of other talent within social media working on a campaign. Of course there will be trolls and hackers out to mess it up. Some probably paid by the big boys to do exactly that.

Is it possible? Willpower! One possible script would be a competition of graffiti artists to submit their design by photograph having done their art on a 6 x 4 canvass. Not Trump Tower! The designs would be collated by the sponsor and the artists themselves would choose the winner. It would take a few months to complete but that’s exactly what is needed. It could generate a great deal of interest. A similar exercise can be employed for video makers. It’s about releasing the creative juices.

  1. Slogan writers; who knows what talent is out there. People might get involved just for the hell of it. Creating some weird and wonderful crap but they’re participating and having fun doing it.
  2. Pollution masks with the tag – end fossil fuel subsidies. People can make their own, groups, organisations etc. use an old scarf; put it on a pinny (apron). Have a fun time on social media. Have a facemask day, mask party, mask rally, fashion show, international day. It’s a policy of keeping the momentum. It’s about generating wider public awareness.
  3. Have a talent show of the worse and best song about pollution. Viewed online!
  4. Produce a cartoon or comic strip of 5 plates.
  5. Its E-Mail Day every 3 months send an email to your politician: end fossil fuel subsidies – make it happen or GO.

To local rags /national rags – Government are paying hitmen to bump us off –                   end fossil fuel subsidies.

The winners of graffiti, video caption, and slogan, can have their entry made into an email postcard that can be downloaded and sent to…..

  1. Recycling, already up and running but still a good avenue to increase awareness. ALL packaging must be recyclable!!!

Release the juices, let the vats flow! Be ambitious, be confident and release the creative powers of the people.

Generate the scale of numbers, and politicians will cause a rush on toilet paper! Let the ‘powers that be’ try to spoil the party.

 

Death At Your Convenience

Sitting at home looking out of the window, thinking, what ‘tops’ I should order online. Notthcafjwb3e a lot of thinking going into it, just cost and when they’ll get here. Easy, convenient, saves me some hassle. I can always send them back if I don’t like them.

News Flash!

An experiment carried out in Oxford Street London in 2007 by University College London and New Jersey School of Public Health to examine the effects of car pollution on asthma sufferers. The trial lasted just two hours but revealed:

  • Increased asthmatic symptoms
  • Reduced lung capacity
  • Inflammation of the lungs.

Why? While diesel cars/trucks etc. emit less CO2 than petrol cars they generate 100 times more particulates driving for a similar distance. Particulates ‘interfere with the respiratory system’ and 90% of these deadly dust bombs come from diesel cars.

“Our study illustrates the need to reduce pollution in order to protect people’s health.” Professor Fan Chung.                   www.sciencedaily.com

Nearly a decade ago and still nothing is done!!

Altogether now – Breathe In!

  • Fine particulate matter is responsible for several tens of thousands of premature deaths annually in the US.
  • Diesel emissions increase the severity and duration of asthma attacks.
  • Diesel exhaust is especially dangerous containing nearly 40 hazardous pollutants.

Hold Your Breath!

Ultra-fine particulates – less than 2.5 microns can be absorbed into the blood and cause damage.         www.ehhi.org/reports/exhaust/summary

Exhale! Quickly! Ah, fresh air.

Mountain lake

Meanwhile, in 2015 the EU issued directive E6 to limit dangerous car emissions. Sometime later a study found that only 62 cars out of 200 passed the test! www.theguardian.com

th[2]In 2016 the myth of cleaner car emissions was exposed.thUZ27UX9O Volkswagen, Mitsubishi and the rest of the robber barons were found to be hoodwinking the public to increase their profits. Now we can add the three (3) largest truck manufacturers in Europe to the unscrupulous bandits. They have been fined €3 billion by the EU for organizing a ‘cartel’ to keep prices artificially high and, agreeing to hold back engine innovation that would have reduced pollution. www.dwnews.com

Hot town summer in the city – my lungs feel so damned gritty!

Did you know that goods moved by road were three (3) times higher than rail or water combined? In 2015 there were 299,000 HGV drivers in the UK. This number is on the increase. In 2008 the figure was 320,000, so as the economy continues to improve so will the number of trucks and thus pollution.            www.gov.uk

The rise of the white van man:

thodw4cg54There were 3.6 million in UK in 2015 that equals 10% of all road traffic and an increase of 18% on 2013/2014. They travelled 4.5 billion miles in 2014, up 20%. And what’s worse their numbers are expected to double by 2040. Wow! 4.5 billion miles, that’s a truck load of shit going into the atmosphere. Don’t forget to breathe now.

www.van-excellence-report-2015-2016pdf

Peaceful Paris:

A wander down the Champs Elysees, a stroll by the River Seine then melt in to a café, ah, the life of ease in a romantique environment.

thVWJRZYWDRoad traffic causes 66% of NOx emissions + 50% of particulate emissions. The Deputy Mayor of Paris suggests it causes 42,000 premature deaths each and every year.

And now back to our purchase of ‘tops’!

Q Whom do you buy from? The top five ranking are in billion pound sales:

Amazon – £4.4 bn

Tesco –    £2.9 bn

Argos – £1.9 bn

John Lewis – £1.5 bn

Next – £1.3 bn

www.retail-week.com

There’s a lot of jobs involved and a lot of savings BUT at what cost.

Thinking.

Thinking.

Do some good….Join Robin Hood!

 

Driven Mad (2)

CAZe0jAWgAANZ5_[1]

No one is guilty but all of us are!

For some of us it’s ‘I didn’t know defence’, whilst others should know better. The latter is especially true for those who have knowledge of the environmental issues.

Car Pollution

 It may well be that we have a tendency to switch adherence in our beliefs dependent on the situation. I am always bemused by the constant snipping between pedestrians and motorists; each demand courtesy from the other while going about their business. Their attitude is governed by whether they are on foot or driving.

A pet hate of mine is the out of town shopping centre (Malls). Does anyone have an idea of the amount of exhaust fumes (CO2 & NOx) hacked-out like so much bronchial mucus on a weekly, monthly, annual basis? I don’t either!

Driving along in your automobile,

Going for shopping and a meal.

While exhaust fumes are seeping through,

To your partner, kids and you.

It’s gonna shorten your life,

And cause other medical strife.

Environmental and Human Health Inc. claim that air pollution by cars, diesel being the worse cause:

Cardiovascular disease – asthma – lung cancer – diabetes – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Diesel contains: benzene + formaldehyde + 1, 3-butadiene. All of which are carcinogens!

The American Academy of Paediatrics concludes that the particulate matter from diesel threatens children’s health in many parts of the USA.

www.ehhi.org/reports/exhaust/summary.shtml

Tens of thousands of us drive to an out of town Shopping Centre at least once a week. Some drive quite a distance, the Trafford Centre near Manchester which has 11,500 parking spaces claims to attract shoppers from a 50 miles radius. That’s a lot of drive for a pair of knickers. Bluewater in Kent has free spaces for 13,000 cars and caters for parts of London as well as Kent.

Merry Hill, Dudley West Midlands has 10,000 spaces and has developed in stages. Construction began on Merry Hill farm, ‘cherished locally as a haven for wildlife’. The new Centre had a serious effect on the surrounding towns, Dudley was the worse effected with a 70% decline in retail. The Centre has now been incorporated into Dudley district with buses to and fro many local destinations. However, cars are the preferred mode of transport.

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merry_Hill_Shopping_Centre

The colossal increase in car ownership opened this opportunity for big business. Businesses could now have larger premises, buy more goods in bulk, saving on costs. Further advantages of reduced rent and rates (council tax) were also a boost to the bottom line.

All the advantages motivated the move out of town. The spin or marketing ploy was that it was a better choice for the consumer and a more relaxed shopping experience with restaurants and café’s well positioned throughout the Centre. Back in town, charity shops filled the vacated spots. Whilst those without transport find it increasingly difficult to source their shopping needs locally and, it’s more expensive.

With profit as the sole motivation little thought was given to how staff could get to work. Even less consideration to the environmental impact of such Centres.

So much time is spent in these places that I am surprised that no enterprising folk have opened a bed & breakfast establishment. Perhaps, that’s the next phase after the swimming pool and sand pits have been added.

However, business has won through as the Centres do create a more amenable environment for shopping. Being under shelter with the array of shops is a huge convenience. Just a pity they are not in the city centre, like Liverpool or Brussels.

The custom flocks to the Centres and flocks regularly. Some just flock to walk aroundthCA54HI3M and maybe have a coffee. Others flock to buy goods they could have sourced locally.

“What did you do with your day”?

“I flocked”.

“Flocking nice”!

Our love affair with the car is directly linked to our notion of individualism. I’m not advocating screwing with peoples’ belief in individuality. If they feel free and motivated so be it. Nonetheless, I feel entitled to expect them to be considerate of others. They can achieve this by demanding that the government take action to prevent NOx & CO2 emissions and not simply impose a levy on the motorist. And, that the government demand the manufacturers build engines without toxins.

An individual’s convenience should not impose a toxic poison on the rest of society. Unfortunately, there is little option but to spew out the toxins.

th[2]It is well documented that our leaders led us to this mire. We were encouraged through marketing that diesel cars emitted less CO2 than petrol ones and thus a switch to diesel was good for the environment. With tax incentives e.g. reduced road tax.

Astonishingly, ‘more than 10 million motorists were “betrayed and misled” into buying diesel cars’. In consequence 18 cities across Britain have more NOx in the air than permitted by law.

www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/11007326             August 2014

There are now an approximate 12 million diesel cars on the road in the UK and the numbers are increasing annually.

Two years since the telegraph article and still we wait. Arrrh! It’s worse! In 1993 [23 years] Professor Roy Harrison of Birmingham University chaired a committee that warned the government of the dangers associated with diesel cars. www.independent.co.uk/life-style/motoring/motoring-news/  Jan.2015

This was the same year (1993) that the EU introduced directive E. See the post Driven Mad. The point is that knowledge of the risks was known and our political leaders chose to ignore it or dilly-dally with solutions.

July is the 60th anniversary of Britain’s 1956 Clean Air Act brought about by the London smog. Our air quality is now worse! Seriously! It’s all to do with politicians playing into the hands of the car manufacturers. Since 1993 they have been chasing the car industry to improve emissions, giving the manufacturers more time to get it right. The automobile industry has abused the situation.

Back in 2013 it was stated that nitrogen dioxide (NOx) had, ‘a greater impact on human health’. That we could significantly reduce NOx, ‘if the lower emitting technologies were more widely adopted’. But very little has changed in the past 20 years.

www.airqualitynews.com/2013/05/24/newer-diesel-cars-emitting-more-no2-study-finds

Another report highlights the work of the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics who suggest that poor air quality causes around 40,000 premature deaths annually in UK. Europe wide the figure is an unbelievable 400,000 per year. Wow!!!

Airqualitynews.com/2016/07/05 +  airqualitynews.com/2016/07/04

Do some good…..Join Robin Hood.

 

 

 

Let Me Breathe, Please!

thLQSH1L46To accept the political outlook of compromise, the adage, ‘the art of the possible’ is to ride on a broken down train. Naturally progress on such a train will be slow, if at all.

When you come to the conference table with the proviso of compromise you are not being true to yourself or to the people you purport to represent. With the mindset that there is no alternative, there is no alternative. Politicians who follow such a pedantic logic congratulate each other on their political wisdom. So they arrive at a meeting with a tin of beans and leave with a teaspoonful and on the way out smile at the mirror before smiling for the camera.

Meanwhile, for 21 years representatives of world governments have been meeting to discuss the climate and the dangers inherent in sizable change. The next meeting will take place in December 2015 in Paris France. Each delegate will arrive with their tin of beans and having eaten something more upmarket will leave; not forgetting to smile at the mirror before smiling for the camera.

Therefore, can we expect a decisive response in December or will we be served with the leftover beans on a plastic plate? The view of scientists is overwhelmingly in favour of cutting CO2 emissions. But politicians don’t represent scientists, they represent business interests. Business enterprises have had at the very least 21 years to prepare a long-term strategy, but are still to be found having a tantrum in the background. Anything that effects profit adversely makes them cry.

One has to ask if it would do any good to present our politicians with a portfolio of factual information. I suspect not. Nonetheless:

American Medical Association

“Our AMA … supports the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth assessment report and concurs with the scientific consensus that the Earth is undergoing adverse global climate change and that anthropogenic [human] contributions are significant.” (2013)

Global temperature increased by more than 1.4oF over the last century.

The AMA is one of several bodies that have put their name to the argument that climate change is a reality. Check out the web site!!!

www.climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

An anonymous poll was carried out with 10,200 scientists being contacted of whom 3146 responded:

Question #1: When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?

About 90% of all the scientists and 97% of the climate scientists said temperatures had risen.

Question #2: Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

About 82% of all the scientists and 97% climate scientists agreed that human activity is a significant contributing factor.

http://www.wunderground.com/resources/climate/928.asp

A large number of studies have been done and the findings are:

New Picture

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/images/science/models-observed-human-natural-large.jpg

This is a worthwhile site to visit. It is a question and answer piece and very informative. In one answer I came across the following statement: “… carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are higher than they have been for at least 800,000 years”.

U.S. Global Change Research Program // Karl S Thomas et al

Thus at the meeting in December will we witness China, America and India come to the conference table and agree to give up the use of coal? Coal is deemed to be the worse polluter of the fossil fuels. Unfortunately, I think not!

All delegates may attend with their tin of beans but leave with less than their teaspoonful because the big boys will not compromise on issues that their industry makes mega-bucks from. And there you have the proof – the short-term interests of business are more important than the long-term health of our planet.

If I was a betting man I would wager £50 that no jaw-dropping decision will be taken, that some kind of fudge will be reached. Politicians will raise their shoulders in a gesture as if to say ‘what did you expect’. However, they will be united in agreeing that it is a good deal. They will smile for the camera and argue that everyone got something out of it. As for the planet and our health, well, that’s another matter.

Let’s pray for rain.

Another telling piece of information was to be found in theguardian.com/2015/jun/22/. In the capital of Chile such was the smog that an environmental emergency was declared: the 7 million residents were warned not to do any physical activity, over 1.7 million vehicles were ordered off the roads and 1300 businesses were closed. It was the driest June in 40 years and the prospect of rain is weeks away.

In the last months we have heard of similar stories from Paris France, London England and Delhi India. This is an increasing phenomenon.

Do some good…..Join Robin Hood!

Environment: Save It!

th[3]It’s a war of attrition against the gangsters who have no compunction in raping the planet for profit. It’s a war about the education of our politicians who seem awestruck by the wealth and the power of the big boys. They are as schoolkids, posters in their bedroom, dreaming of one day being as famous as their favourite star. The big difference is that kids grow up. Politicians will spout that they’re tied by the art of what’s possible and the eternal need to compromise. If I wasn’t choking on exhaust fumes I might accept their excuse.

The alarming stories about climate change just keep on running. In a report by www.france24.com/en/20150327- they outline a damning report by the European SpacethS6MBC7KN Agency, published in the journal Science which relates to the shrinking of the ice mass around Antarctica. The ice mass is the bulwark which prevents the permanent collapse of glaciers covering the southern continent. Think of it as a dam holding back an ocean. The study based on satellite measurements over the period 1994 – 2012 suggest that the ice mass has shrunk by almost 20%. The study also highlighted the speed of the melt:

  • In the period 1994 – 2003 there was little difference.
  • However, in 2003 – 2012 melting accelerated markedly.

If the ice mass is destroyed it will cause glaciers to slip into the ocean bringing a rise in sea levels. A rise of one (1) metre could prove devastating in many coastal regions. Separate studies of the South Pole are just as worrying. A report published in December 2014 found that thawing had trebled the number of glaciers falling into the Amundsen Sea. Two further studies in that year concluded that melting in Western Antarctica could lead to a sea rise of one (1) metre.

  • The real worry is that the process is likely to be irreversible!!!

The North Pole is also under threat, NYT 2015/04/24. The Arctic Council made up of interested nations: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and the USA are due to meet soon. Their biennial meeting will be held on Baffin Island in Nth Canada. The others are concerned by the actions and intentions of Russia. The Russians have started to exploit oil from the Kara Sea and there is a worry that further exploration could damage the fragile environment.

It seems to be the way of business and politicians in general that they act first then wait for us to react before they consider the need to think. But unless they think and think quickly about the North and South Poles many communities will be devastated.

thINHWQFFZWe desperately need more scientific study on as many aspects of the environment as we can imagine. A report in the New Scientist of work carried out by Norwegian scientists on the potential damage or otherwise of microbes in the Arctic; coupled with the study of marine phytoplankton which may also hold a danger to the environment.

It’s all very technical but microbes in warmer climates draw to a halt at 40C but the little buggers in the Arctic continue producing methane at 270C. Worryingly, Arctic soils contain twice as much carbon as the entire atmosphere which leads to one estimate that the thawing of the permafrost could cause a similar problem as deforestation.

Another problem comes from the phytoplankton as their dark bodies can absorb more sun which could cause the Arctic sea to warm up by 20%. Obviously, this has effects on the ice mass and the rate of melt.

  • Methane: 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Away from the possible danger of the Arctic our politicians hold meetings, talk, eat and talk some more; arrange another meeting where they will talk and eat and talk again, at our expense. Little wonder that the process of change takes so long. The Arctic Council meets biennially; it’s not important enough in the busy schedule of our leaders to meet more frequently. Perhaps they are on a diet!! If it wasn’t so serious I might laugh at their lackadaisical attitude and contribute to their gym fees.

Meanwhile, politicians may be battering your eardrums with how they are spending huge amounts of money trying to improve the environment. Investment in renewable energy rose to $270bn worldwide, with nearly 50% coming from developing countries, e.g. China. France24.com/en/

I feel better now!!thDC82LPF2

Hold on! In an interview for, theguardian.com/environment/ on 2015/04/13 Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank called for the scrapping of subsidies and a carbon tax. Kim made the point clearly, “We need to get rid of fossil fuel subsidies now”. Why was he so agitated? It seems that governments around the world are currently spending $1 trillion per year to subsidize fossil fuels. One trillion $$$! That figure certainly puts spending on renewables deep into the shadows.

  • The irony – our taxes are being used to help kill the planet and therefore us.

They’re killing us but the profits excellent!

At a subsequent meeting in Hong Kong, Jim Yong Kim made another bold speech about climate change; he told delegates at the Nobel Laureates Symposium that climate change is a ‘fundamental threat’ to development. He warned that a sea rise of 15cm /6inches coupled by severe cyclones could inundate Bangkok by 2030s. This was based on a study by the Potsdam Institute.

A Japanese delegate, Ryoli Noyori, Nobel Prize winner for chemistry 2001 told the assembled that Japan has many coastal cities susceptible to floods. “But unfortunately, the government has not done enough in counter measures”. France24.com/en/2015/04/23

Several of the points raised by Jim Yong Kim are very relevant. He suggests that Africa needs to develop its hydroelectric potential as it only makes use of 1% of possible production. However, one major project has caused some controversy. A hydroelectric dam across the Blue Nile in Ethiopia would be the largest in Africa but is causing Ethiopia’s neighbours some misgivings. A study has raised a number of issues:

  • With the Aswan High Dam (Egypt) there will be 2 large dams on the one river.
  • Need to look carefully at aspects of the build.
  • Egypt & Sudan might not get water during drought periods.
  • Sudan might use more water for irrigation and so affect the amount of water to Egypt.
  • 60% of Egypt’s water comes from the Nile.
  • It will produce too much electricity and therefore needs an infrastructure e.g. pylons to transmit the electricity and an organised way of selling it.

Don Blackmore an Australian water specialist has warned: “The International community needs to focus on the Nile as a matter of urgency”. Theguardian.com/environment 2015/04/13

Water and its supply will become critical in the future but is already a major problem in Africa according to UNICEF as it estimates that 157m people in East & Southern Africa do not have access to clean and safe water.

The situation is deemed to get far worse. The UN warns that “…the world will face an increasingly severe global water deficit”. www.cbsnews.com/news/gambian Even in America the warning signs are imminent with www.USAtoday.com reporting that within the next decade 40 states can expect to have water shortages. Note that California is witnessing its worst ever drought. Will the bulb light up in republican land?

  • It really doesn’t matter what aspect of the environment you look at, it all needs saving!

Where are the peoples’ army?

There are many environmentalists, individual and groups but their voice is never raised in unison. Theirs is a disparate tone and because of that separation is sadly weakened. There are too many groups defending their own garden plot; too many individuals who think because they recycle they are doing their bit. Many tribes and tribal chief’s, each certain that their methodology and environmental agenda, is the true noble path to pursue. Unfortunately, therein lies the cog which maintains the raison d’etre of the market system.

All the groups, too many to mention, ply their wares with a swagger as though they have achieved something. They have achieved nothing! They have not stopped one demi-kilo of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. They are as midges to the big boys, to be swatted as an irritant. At the very least the environmental groups could convene a conference before national elections to endorse the political party which pledges the best deal for the environment. Such an endeavour could bring the environment to a much wider audience within the country and beyond.

Further demonstration will be to flag up where the government has failed throughout their term in office. It requires a sustained and well marketed approach, perhaps to include intensive programmes of activity in marginal seats. Show the intellectual rationale of the environment lobby by coming together. Put the environment first and parochialism into the dustbin of history.

The environmentalists are as guilty as politicians of putting politics above the welfare of the planet.thTXFQFN0B

Save Santa’s Homeland!!!!

Do some good…..join Robin Hood.

Environment: It Needs Oxygen!

 

th[3]Are politicians deaf to the cry of the wild that they would rather subsidise fossil fuel than promote a green environment?

A reminder: Government should benefit the people not those in power. Wang Fuzhi

Should we believe politicians and the faceless bureaucrats that the world will be saved by the buying and selling of carbon emissions? I dealt with some aspects of selling pollution in my previous post: Environment: It’s Dying. What is really interesting is the number of developing countries who are taking part in this market oriented money making enterprise. There are several projects initiated by UN-REDD Programme aimed at preventing further deforestation and degradation of forests in developing countries.

Madagascar is one such country which has allocated 705,588 carbon credits for a project in the Makira Forest. The Makira Forest of 400,000 hectares (1,500 sq. miles) is a sizable area. A number of projects are underway to convince the local communities that there is an alternative to deforestation. However these prevention techniques are small in scale e.g. one will take 30 years to offset 32 million tonnes of CO2. A second will avoid 1.6 million metric tonnes over a 25 year period. http://phys.org/news/2013-09-massive-carbon-credit-sale-madagascar.html

 

  1. The world emits 32 gigatonnes annually.

Other projects in Africa include Tanzania which has sold some credits for $US 200,000 in forest conservation. A further hope is to encourage eco-tourism. Trains and boats and planes go jollying by, burning fossil fuel but it’s ok because they’ll pay. An earlier project received $US 1.9 million over a four year period 2010 – 2013. Tanzania Daily News

Why the focus on Developing Nations?

Madagascar is losing an approximate 100,000 hectares (386 sq. miles) each year to burning for agriculture. Zambia is losing between 250,000 – 300,000 hectares annually, predominately in the making of charcoal for heating in business and the home.

thFTLUIBEWIn South America the situation is even worse. Peru, Brazil and Ecuador etc. the region is losing an estimated 13 million hectares year on year. In December 2014 the UN held climate talks in Peru, which has some of the worse deforestation in the region. Brazil attended but continues with accelerated deforestation under their president Rouseff, a former head of an oil company. The conclusion of the meeting was to replant 20 million hectares of trees. However, in the period 2001 – 2012 some 36 million was lost to agricultural expansion. The guardian2014/12/09

There is little sign of abatement as, theguarian2015/01/28 reports. Roads run deep into the Amazon where oil and gas blocks are now much bigger than those of Texas e.g. 730,000 sq.km. The setting up of National Parks has prevented some incursions but deforestation continues apace. Ecuador, who signed an agreement in 2007 to prevent further road building changed tact under economic pressure. So much for contracts! Bolivia too is open for business.

They’re killing us but the profit is excellent!

The talks in the capital Lima had been an initiative of Germany in 2011 and thus termed the Bonn Challenge. As we can see – they are doing the mad dog thing – chasing their tail. Not very successful based on the amount of forest lost. Scientists believe that around 17% of CO2 emissions – more than what America produces each year – is caused by deforestation especially in tropical areas. www.phys.org as above

The economic rationale of the region fits well with the self-interest theory as examined by Dani Rodrik p249 the Harvard economist, “In the case of global warming, self-interest pushes nations to ignore the risks of climate change”. This would appear to be the case in South America. But if we keep in mind the carbon emissions of deforestation (more than America) can we justify allowing these countries to simply cut and burn at will irrespective of the consequences to climate change. The Globalization Paradox

Dani Rodrik p277 gives an emphatic yes in principle to developing countries finding their own way. “The right approach would be to have China, and indeed all emerging nations, free to pursue their own growth policies”. As we travel down Rodrik Road and allow carte blanche development for ‘emerging’ nations, he argues that it would be ‘reasonable to expect’ that these nations would not pursue policies that would lead to huge trade balances. An alternative might be, “Every nation has responsibility”, Ottimar Edenhofer of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; quoted: www.blogs.reuters.com   2015/04/13

Rodrik’s prime concern is the sanctity of the market, not the environment. Large trade balances in favour of China or India could swing the pendulum of power, and, power is the name of the game. Why with the economic power at their behest would China / India not seize the opportunity to dictate world policy just as others have done, past and present?

It was and is ‘reasonable to expect’ America to pursue policies that aid the world economy and environment. At present US oil is $10 a barrel cheaper than the world average but is not for sale abroad. America has used its might in agriculture and pharmaceuticals to run roughshod over the globe. Because it has held the economic power America has the political power and has used it to their benefit. Why would China / India be any different? www.economist.com/news/united/2015/04/02

Moreover, it was the market that has brought us to this jammed road intersection and, still pursues a profit before people mentality. The market is about satisfying the demands of the 1%. The poor, the world over, still get scraps from the table.

Furthermore, the notion that developing countries need to push forward with industrialization to counter poverty is such balderdash. Recent demonstrations in Brazil and Venezuela and many parts of Europe prove categorically that the poor do not share in the wealth of the nation. Both China and India have horrific records when it comes to alleviating poverty. Or giving due consideration to the environment.

According to Reuters.com 2015/04/13 China will overtake America as number-one in carbon emissions and will do so this year. India is expected to leapfrog Russia into fourth (4th) place in the deadly table. Both countries, assuming present trends will surpass America and the EU together.

China has recently been accused of dumping chemical waste in Inner Mongolia. In a report for france24_en Observers, when the villagers protested they were met with rubber bullets and tear gas. Farmers from Doquintala village have reported that their crop is reduced by 33% and, the fruit trees have died. The ground water has been contaminated and instances of cancer and thrombosis have sharply increased over the last decade. For me Rodrik’s argument that we can ‘reasonably expect’ does not stack up. Check my post on Rodrik and India: No ‘Cover’ for Child Labour

It is a bazaar situation, this whole concept of carbon credits. The West gives the credits to developing countries and then buys them back. Some may suggest that its charity but it is not; there is profit to be made on both sides of the transaction. Bet you can’t guess who takes the larger slice of the cake.

thXJDRNI6QWhat is happening is that we are walking our way through an ocean of sludge because we don’t know any better. We are tied into the neoliberal economic school of thought; within which the market is enshrined in a golden casket that cannot be tampered with for fear that a world calamity will unfold.

Sadly it is a belief shared by many of our leaders and by powerful international bodies: UN, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. As far as they are concerned the market is the prime motivator for change. These are people with clout; they are in effect the Praetorian Guard of the 1%. The super rich, the big boys!

However, it is not just the developing nations that are screwing up our planet. Australia has made a hash of the coral reef and every nation has contributed to the shrinking of Antarctica. Where are our defenders, the peoples’ army? My next post will look at these and other contributing issues.

Do some good…….join Robin Hood

 

 

Environment: It’s Dying!

th[3]Governments must accept responsibility and therefore must lead in defending the environment. Voters must make politicians fully aware that their vote is dependent on a credible environmental programme. The media too have a critical part to play in keeping the public informed. Investigative journalists need to prize-open the dark chest that hides the secrets of ‘hidden subsidies’ that governments presently give to business. Only then can the electorate use their vote rationally.

Progressive media are the vanguard, the elite force of the people. It is to them that we must look to unearth / expose every crevice where government and the big boys try to hide their devious dealings. We need individuals who have the expertise and whistle-blowers to make sure we are kept in the loop. Of this elite group the investigative journalist is a member of the Sherwood Forest brigade.

To emphasise the point, two pieces of evidence from Reuters, 2015/01/29 + 2015/02/5 respectively. Based on Pew Research Center USA, 87% of scientists polled believe people cause climate change but only 50% of the public agree. Secondly, 70% of democrats think that human activity is causing global warming whereas, only 27% of republicans do. However, the UN is 95% certain that ‘we’ do cause global warming. Although the evidence is US based the public are no better informed elsewhere.

Ha-Joon Chang (p268) is unequivocal in his assessment, “There is no doubt that CAZe0jAWgAANZ5_[1]climate change, mainly caused by our material production and consumption activities, threatens human existence”. This is a stark and somewhat dramatic statement but it is in keeping with the scientific view. Economics: The User’s Guide

Concerned?

  • Scientific consensus states that carbon emissions must be reduced by 80% by 2050 to avoid a temperature rise of more than 2%. www.carbonneutral.com
  • Emissions from burning of coal, oil and gas are rising to record levels and are not yet falling. UN Panel on Climate Change November 2014.
  • “…policy makers must realise that their instincts to completely use the fossil fuel within their countries are wholly incompatible with their commitments to the 2C goal”. Dr Christophe McGlade UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, quoted in www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30709211
  • International Conference to be held in Paris December 2015; the talks are to seek a limit on the increase of CO2 in order to put off a rise of 2C (3.6 F) as this could spark off dangerous climate change. www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31872460
  • In a recent interview on France24 news, 2015/04/02 Janos Pasztor a UN representative commented that ‘ours should be the last generation to make decisive change’. To wait any longer will be more expensive and more difficult. While acknowledging he was hopeful he thought it unlikely that agreement would be reached at the UN Inter-Governmental Conference on climate change, in Paris.

It’s Good News Week

The International Energy Agency has reported that CO2 emissions have remained stable in 2014 for the first time in 40 years. One main reason is thought to have been the reduction in coal burning by China. It is good news because it shows what can be done and how it can be done. Governments must now invest heavily on research into credible alternative energy supplies. This can be funded in part by a carbon tax on the main polluting industries.

thRDY1YUN6STOP burning coal: China – USA – Russia

Unfortunately the experiment with wind power has failed. Wind power needs the back-up of a power station in the event that the wind doesn’t blow or blows too strongly. Nuclear power has a nasty offshoot condemning our offspring to generations of worry. What a legacy!

A tax scheme has been put forward by professor William Nordhaus of Yale University. In this way everyone is made aware of the true cost of the product’s carbon footprint.

Oh hell, the downside!

Bp the oil giant has recently published its Energy Outlook up to 2035. It predicts that CO2 emissions will exceed levels scientists say pose a threat to climate change. The report accepts that the burning of fossil fuels is unsustainable and that concerted action is necessary.

  • CO2 will increase 1% per year to 2035
  • Oil use will increase by 0.8% per annum – 2035
  • China will become the biggest consumer of petroleum
  • Global demand for energy will increase by 37%
  • Use of natural gas will grow fastest.
  • Use of coal will continue to increase but at a lower rate.
  • Asia Pacific will outstrip Europe for gas imports.

Is this a catalogue of doom?

Carbon emissions are expected to rise by 25% by 2035; significantly above recommendations. Wow! The Telegraph 2015/02/22

They’re killing us but the profits are excellent!!!

What Can Be Done?

Sadly, we cannot trust business to have our best interest in mind. There are too many instances of bad business for them to be trusted by anyone. I have written recently about the effects of diesel vehicles. Diesel: The Killer in our Midst. Read the post.

Writing about the market in the early 1990s author Charles Handy (p19) made his view clear, “The market left to itself, would not work”. What a portent of the 2008 crisis; when unrestricted the market imploded. Handy (p31) goes on to caution us that, “It is only a tool, and tools are not for worshipping”. The Hungry Spirit

Support for Handy’s view comes from Ha-Joon Chang (p456) who does not mince his words, “The economy is much bigger than the market. We will not be able to build a good economy – or a good society – unless we look at the vast expanse beyond the market”. Chang and others are thinking of government and of the jobs and business it generates. J E Stiglitz (pxlv111) is far more damning of the market when he poses a question of what capitalism has brought us, “… inequality, pollution, unemployment, and, most important of all, the degradation of values to the point where everything is acceptable and no one is accountable”. The Price of Inequality

The business class and the market have not won any rosettes over the years; recent thNAOKWJPUexamples include:

  • The selling of derivatives which was a major cause of the crisis which engulfed the world in 2008.
  • The rigging of the Libor and foreign exchange rates to maximise profit at everyone else’s expense.
  • Tax avoidance on a massive scale. Nearly every MNC multi- national company.
  • Not paying corporate tax in the country where they do business.

There are a thousand + other cases; just too many to mention. A major downside of the market was identified by Charles Handy (p23) “Anything that is unpriced is ignored by the market…” As the environment has no profit margin it is not given any consideration. This has been recognised by world leaders who have put a price on pollution, as Chang (p395) points out, “Today we buy and sell the rights to pollute (carbon trading)”.

Since 1997 when the Kyoto Protocol was first agreed it has developed into a major trading sector. The world is divided into CO2 blocks whereby countries and industries are given a target of CO2 emissions. Their emissions are measured by the number of ‘credits’ issued. If a country / industry does not use all of its credits it can sell the remaining ones to another business. A company which is likely to overshoot its target, (cap) can buy the unused credits and continue to pollute.

Read an original report on Kyoto: www.oocities.org/yosemite/rapids/Rapids/

The Price of Credits

In 2009 ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia paid $8000 for the carbon already trapped in the trees of a local forest. The deal would offset three (3) years of the company’s carbon footprint. Thus as long as the trees are not cut down and the carbon released the company can continue with its present carbon policy. The company wants the scheme to run for the next hundred years. www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/

The BBC interviewed a company selling carbon credits for £5.50 per tonne. The BBC questioned this and sought clarification from an oversight body, Climate Care and were told that ‘credits’ should be sold at £1.00 per tonne. However, later the BBC found that Climate Care was selling ‘credits’ at £7.50 per tonne on their website. Can business be trusted? www.redd-monitor.org/2013/01/22/

Another interesting deal is one between the American states of Louisiana and California. In this instance Louisiana could earn in the region of $550 million & $1.6bn by selling the carbon captured by their cypress and tupelo trees. California must reduce its carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and can achieve this by paying Louisiana not to chop down their trees. www.nola.com/environment/index.ssf/2015/03/

A further example which clearly illustrates how the market in pollution is growing comes from Byron Shire Council in Australia. Here, the council initiated a new Landfill gas flare project for which they won government approval. The scheme brought them 6,616 carbon credits. The council sold these credits to a Queensland State energy provider @ $22.60 per credit and profited to the tune of $149, 521.60 This programme is named the Carbon Farming Initiative. www.byron.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/2014/03/31 For me the word farming conjures up thoughts of the growing of food, our very sustenance and certainly not the dealing in CO2 which is slowly killing us.

There are a host of other examples which will be dealt with in the follow up to this post. Suffice to say that the pollution market is big and about to become vast. Unfortunately wherever profit is involved rationale goes out the window. Some individuals have bought ‘credits’ from dealers thinking that they have made an investment only to discover that there is a time limit on the ‘credits’ and they quickly become useless. Look out for fraudsters!

thKF8B2C69Nonetheless, the market is growing, “Carbon will be the world’s biggest commodity market, and could become the world’s biggest market”. Louis Redshaw, Barclays Capital. Whoopee!!!! www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_credit

They’re killing us but the profits are excellent!

Do some good … join Robin Hood