Tag: climate change

Sanders Spells Out a Progressive Prescription

NORMAN SOLOMON – Bernie Sanders wrapped up a weekend campaign swing through California with a Sunday afternoon speech to 16,000 of us a few miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. News coverage seemed unlikely to convey much about the event. The multiracial crowd reflected the latest polling that shows great diversity of support for Bernie, contrary to corporate media spin. High energy for basic social change was in the air.

What the Bernie Sanders 2020 Campaign Means for Progressives

NORMAN SOLOMON – In the obvious contrasts with Kamala Harris and in the less obvious yet significant contrasts with Elizabeth Warren on matters of economic justice as well as on foreign policy, Bernie Sanders represents a different approach to the root causes of — and possible solutions to — extreme economic inequality, systemic injustice and a dire shortage of democracy.

A Mandate for Left Leadership

KATE ARONOFF – Democratic socialism will be defined by what its most public adherents—people like Sanders, Tlaib, and Ocasio-Cortez—are able to accomplish once they have the opportunity. At least in the short term, turning their ambitious bills into law will mean prying open the Overton window in policy debates to accommodate what might elsewhere be considered fairly basic social-democratic demands. But with just 12 years left to prevent a total climate catastrophe, time is a luxury that progressives simply don’t have.

Russia Madness on the Eve of Destruction: Hegemony Trumps Survival

PAUL STREET – Given the current state and rate of environmental destruction, the continuing advance in the destructive power of nuclear weapons systems, and the likelihood of pandemics in a warmer and more globalized world, there are good reasons to wonder if a human civilization with historians will exist a century from today. We may well be standing near the “end of history,” and not the glorious bourgeois-democratic one that Francis Fukuyama imagined with the end of the Cold War.

The Darkness and the Needle

EMILY JOHNSTON – It’s such an astonishing honor to live in this moment, knowing that we probably still have the power to set the world back onto a stable path, and thereby make life better, or at least possible, for countless people and other beings. I cannot imagine anything more meaningful. Uncertainty is possibility. In the uncertainty before us, in the sacrifices and joy of our connections with each other and every living thing, we have been given overwhelming abundance. In this darkness, we have begun our real journey.

Growing Violence and Climate Change Are Linked

FODAY DARBOE – Violence is a profound threat and it is likely exacerbated by climate chaos. Global warming as an important effect on civil conflicts has been recently debated by many scholars and policymakers. Scholars from backgrounds as diverse as economics, climate science, peace studies, and political science have explored the adverse effects of climate change and ecological changes on civil conflicts.

Trump’s Climate Demands Roil U.S. Allies

ANDREW RESTUCCIA – President Donald Trump’s abrupt turnaround on U.S. climate policy is fueling tension with several of America’s closest allies, which are resisting the administration’s demands that they support a bigger role for nuclear power and fossil fuels in the world’s energy supply.

Scientists Set Doomsday Clock Closer to Armageddon

ROBERT F. DODGE, M.D. – The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has just announced its latest nuclear Doomsday Clock moving ahead the minute hand to three minutes till midnight. The clock represents the count down to zero in minutes to nuclear apocalypse – midnight. This significant move of two minutes is the 22nd time since its inception in 1947 that the time has been changed.

Divestment on Campus: Debate is One-Sided

EVAN J. MANDERY – Climate change is our era’s defining challenge, but most of America’s universities are planning to sit this one out. Though students and faculty members at more than 400 colleges have called for administrators to divest from fossil-fuel energy companies, fewer than 20 have committed to doing so. Stanford recently divested from coal, but none of the other schools had endowments within the 150 largest in 2013.

People’s Climate March Was a “Glimpse of the Movement We Need”

NAOMI KLEIN – Once every five or 10 years, Naomi Klein publishes a book that changes the way we see things. With No Logo, published in 1999, she explored corporate power in a globalized world and the movements springing up to resist it. The Shock Doctrine, published in 2007, showed how governments collude with big corporations to take advantage of natural and human-made disasters to push through deeply unpopular change.Her newest book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate is another transformational book.

Study Shows Effects of Biomass Burning on Climate, Health

GLEN MARTIN – A Stanford University professor’s calculations indicate that wildfires and other types of fires involving plant matter play a much bigger role in climate change and human health than previously thought. It has long been known that biomass burning — burning forests to create agricultural lands, burning savannah as a ritual , slash-and-burn agriculture and wildfires — figures into both climate change and public health. But until the release of a new study by Stanford University Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Mark Z. Jacobson, the degree of that contribution had never been comprehensively quantified.

Turning Up the Heat on Climate

REGISTER-GUARD EDITORIAL – Eugene city councilors can find plenty of excuses Monday to walk away from an ordinance committing the city to an aggressive strategy for reducing local contributions to climate change. Amid the hubbub over a proposed paid sick leave law, an abdication of leadership on climate change might be little noticed. But the council should reject all excuses and approve the ordinance.

Green Illusions: Climate Change Makes More Demands Than We Thought

OZZIE ZEHNER – Every day, the news about climate change and the harms that are sure to accompany it gets worse and worse. To many environmentalists, the answer is simple: power shift. That is, shift from fossil fuels to clean, green, renewable, alternative energy. Well-meaning concerned citizens and activists have jumped on the bandwagon. The problem with this simple solution: Things aren’t as simple as they seem.
TOM ZELLER JR – If his goal was to capture attention by tweaking the nose of clean-energy enthusiasts everywhere, Ozzie Zehner might well have succeeded. His new book, published last month and provocatively titled “Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism,” takes on what Zehner considers the sacred cows of the green movement: solar power, wind power and electric vehicles, among others.

The Impossibility of Growth Demands a New Economic System

GEORGE MONBIOT – To succeed is to destroy ourselves. To fail is to destroy ourselves. That is the bind we have created. Ignore if you must climate change, biodiversity collapse, the depletion of water, soil, minerals, oil; even if all these issues were miraculously to vanish, the mathematics of compound growth make continuity impossible. Economic growth is an artifact of the use of fossil fuels.

Global Climate Change and Nuclear Abolition: One Urgent Issue

WINSLOW MYERS – The two-in-one of climate change and nuclear abolition is not something to be addressed after supposedly more immediate brush-fires are extinguished; by viewing it instead as a single challenge, an opportunity for cooperative prevention based in planetary self-interest, success will become a model for resolving more local conflicts without violence.

Who Says Disaster is Inevitable?

K.C. GOLDEN – Having aligned myself against a battalion of seemingly irresistible forces over the years, I’ve become a student of “inevitability.” How do environmentally destructive choices become inevitable? Near as I can tell, it starts when the people who will benefit from these choices simply begin to assert their inevitability. We’re especially receptive to inevitability right now.

How to Tap Latent Conservative Support for Climate-Change Policy

SEAN MCELWEE – Both last month’s Senate Climate Talkathon and Tom Steyer’s $100 million dollar pledge to back environment-friendly candidates indicate the same thing: Democrats are getting serious about global warming again. But even when Democrats have managed to close ranks behind previous legislative efforts like Waxman-Markey, Republicans have stymied them. Can the left forge a coalition to tackle the problem?

Kitzhaber Comes Out Against Coal Exports

GOVERNOR JOHN KITZHABER – The future for Oregon and the West Coast does not lie in nineteenth century energy sources. The 21st century will mark the transition to clean energy sources, and the regions that lead this transition will be the places where our families will find the jobs of the future. I intend that this will be one such region.

Earth Day Calls for a New Beginning

KEN MCCORMACK – For Earth Day, April 22, let’s vow to take responsibility. Our careless behavior has changed Earth much faster than predicted. We are living through a global crisis, and the United States is largely responsible. There are good economic reasons, of course, to deny what has happened. ExxonMobil is recording higher profits than ever. Expensive disinformation campaigns are spreading doubt. Governments and corporations are urging “more growth.” That is, “more for us!” But in our hearts we know. Endless growth is impossible, and its pursuit is immoral.

Call Climate Change What It Is: Violence

REBECCA SOLNIT – If you’re poor, the only way you’re likely to injure someone is the old traditional way: artisanal violence, we could call it – by hands, by knife, by club, or maybe modern hands-on violence, by gun or by car. But if you’re tremendously wealthy, you can practice industrial-scale violence without any manual labor on your own part.

Evangelicals Call for Action on Climate Change

ALAN NEUHAUSER – Hundreds of evangelical Christians gathered across the country Thursday for a “Day of Prayer and Action” on climate change. The event, made up of vigils, speeches and discussions, was part of a weeklong series being held on 20 Christian college campuses this week, all geared toward spurring churches and local communities to reduce harmful carbon emissions, educate local residents about the effects of climate change, and fight the rise of temperatures and greenhouse gases worldwide.

National Security: Going “Up” or “Down?”

SUSAN C. STRONG – In his January State of the Union message, President Obama said two noteworthy things: the first was “America must move off a permanent war footing.” Of course this remark was preceded and followed by a lot of predictable stuff about keeping America strong by military means. But the President did preface the bold remark I’ve cited above with another comment of interest, “But I strongly believe that our leadership and our security cannot depend on our military alone.” What if, instead of just dismissing these items as pure political boilerplate, we edit his statements just a bit.

The Keystone Principle: Stop Making Climate Disruption Worse

KC GOLDEN – President Obama was all over the map on climate in his State of the Union address Tuesday night — exhorting us to do what’s right and necessary to protect our grandkids, then turning around and defending his senseless and climate-destroying “All of the above” energy policy. But now, the president faces a defining and unambiguous real-world test of his resolve on climate: whether to issue a permit for the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

The Only Way to Stop Climate Change Now May Be Revolution

ERIC HOLTHAUS – So it’s come to this. Last year, a researcher presented a paper on climate change at the American Geophysical Union’s meeting entitled ”Is Earth F**ked?” which advocated “environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades and sabotage by indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups.”

Want to Win the Climate Debate? Stop Debating

LUCY EMERSON-BELL – In early November the Diane Rehm Show on NPR featured an episode on the natural gas boom in America. After panelists glorified the natural gas revolution, Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, chimed in by saying, “Nobody (on this panel) has mentioned climate change. What we should acknowledge is that production of oil and gas is undermining our goals to achieve a stabilized climate.”

How Science Is Telling Us All To Revolt

NAOMI KLEIN – In December 2012, a pink-haired complex systems researcher named Brad Werner made his way through the throng of 24,000 earth and space scientists at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held annually in San Francisco. . . . But it was Werner’s own session that was attracting much of the buzz. It was titled “Is Earth F**ked?” (full title: “Is Earth F**ked? Dynamical Futility of Global Environmental Management and Possibilities for Sustainability via Direct Action Activism”).

Climate, Keystone and the Problem of Fossil Fuel Demand

KURT COBB – If reducing consumption of fossil fuels is the goal, what we actually need to do is strike at demand. The simplest and most effective way to do this is to levy high and rising taxes on fossil-fuel-based energy. The Europeans have done this for a long time, and their per capita energy consumption is half that of Americans.

The Real Culprit in Syria: Climate Change

WILLIAM R. POLK – Underlying the political situation in Syria is an economic and ecological disaster resulting from climate change. As more and more people competed for scarce jobs, food and other resources, they became desperate and their desperation led inexorably to war. Military support for neither side of the conflict will address its root causes.

The Biggest Oversight in Obama’s Climate Plan is a Doozy

DAVID ROBERTS – While President Obama’s climate plan addresses U.S. coal-fired plants through EPA regulations, it neglects another, equally large aspect of the coal problem. Specifically, coal mining, leasing, transport, and export in the U.S. Northwest. There’s a bad situation there and it’s getting worse. Obama can and must address the situation head on and end coal leases on Montana and Wyoming public lands.

Climate Change Poses Grave Security Threat

DAMIAN CARRINGTON – Climate change poses as grave a threat to the UK’s security and economic resilience as terrorism and cyber-attacks, according to a senior military commander who was appointed as William Hague’s climate envoy this year. In his first interview since taking up the post, Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti said climate change was “one of the greatest risks we face in the 21st century,” particularly because it presented a global threat.

Time for Obama to Break His Silence About Climate Change

TED GLICK – When did this silence begin? A piece in last week’s Guardian newspaper reminded me of how far back it goes, to a meeting the White House organized for leaders of environmental groups in March of 2009 at the Old Executive Office building next to the White House. At the meeting, according to the Guardian, aides to Obama made it clear that they did not plan to talk much about climate and wanted their supporters to do the same.

Business Warned to Prepare for Catastrophic Climate Impacts

JO CONFINO – PricewaterhouseCoopers’ latest index points to a catastrophic future unless radical action is taken now to combat climate change. “Business leaders have been asking for clarity in political ambition on climate change,” says partner Leo Johnson. “Now one thing is clear: businesses, governments and communities across the world need to plan for a warming world – not just 2C, but 4C or even 6C.”

Climate Change is Already Damaging Global Economy, Report Finds

FIONA HARVEY – Climate change is already contributing to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people a year and costing the world more than $1.2 trillion, wiping 1.6% annually from global GDP, according to a new study. The impacts are being felt most keenly in developing countries, according to the research, where damage to agricultural production from extreme weather linked to climate change is contributing to deaths from malnutrition, poverty and their associated diseases.