On the huge consequences of climate change

Standard

“ The production of meat requires enormous resources: with the same energy consumed, you produce 16 calories of cereal for each calorie of beef. Not to mention that farms are among the largest producers of greenhouse gases because of the methane produced in the digestive process from livestock (…) Famines will become a central issue for humanity, which seems to ignore their presence already. There is little talk about it, but it is estimated that around 800 million people are undernourished. Only in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen the current famine could lead to 20 million deaths by the end of this year, according to the most pessimistic forecasts of the United Nations (…) The effects of global warming will become obvious when it will be too late, unless we begin to design a real alternative route to reduce emissions whithin a few decades ”

Translated from Italian.

Il Post, ‘The apocalypse we created ourselves’, Il Post

On ecology, democracy and the ‘French Third Way’

Standard

“ Ecology, namely the question of the compatibility between human life and the sustainability of the ecosystem, itself brings us back to the democratic question. For ecology reveals, scientifically, the equality of all humans faced with a problem that is going to affect them. Of course, the rich have a lot more means for self-preservation than the poor do. But rarely is there a general problem that threatens human life as a whole. If this life disappears, then even the children of the rich will not have a planet left. There we have a problem. So this is a task for society, and we call for a democratic means of action to deal with it. Obviously we want very serious measures for that, and the worrying thing is that we now have a government packed with lobbyists (…) All the partisans of so-called social-liberalism or the Third Way, all the people who said there is no alternative, now have their own party, and it is Macron’s party. The party of no alternative. We think that this is a point of strength for us, because now at least it is clear where people stand. All those people are going off to govern together ”

Hadrien Clouet, ‘Resisting the Macron Surge’, Jacobin Magazine

On the decline of the coal industry

Standard

“ In the US, coal has been crowded out in power generation by cheaper, cleaner gas from the fracking boom and even US coal executives believe Donald Trump’s promise to bring back jobs in the industry cannot succeed. Coal consumption has now been declining for three years in China, as its economic boom and output has tailed off in energy-intensive sectors such as iron, steel and cement (…) Coal has also been squeezed globally in recent years by the rapid growth of renewable power generation, which BP found had continued apace last year. Wind, solar and and other renewable power sources grew faster than any other fuel at more than 14% in 2016, slightly below the 10-year average ”

Adam Vaughan, ‘Global demand for coal falls in 2016 for second year in a row’, The Guardian

On connecting climate science to motivation for action

Standard

“ There’s a lack of connection between the numbers drawn from climate science and the personal, immediate motivations required to drive active prioritisation of climate action (…) Per Espen Stoknes, a Norwegian psychologist, has examined why people continue to feel disconnected from climate warnings, despite the strength of the science. He says, ‘People think this is far off – it is not here and now, it’s also up there in the Arctic or Antarctica, it affects other people, not me, I’ll be old before this really happens, other people are responsible, not me. We distance ourselves from it in so many ways that the pure facts are not sufficient to generate a sustained sense of risk.’ (…) Connecting numbers to feelings is the antidote to the curse of temporal distance feeding the climate communication paradox. This is a jarring reminder of the generational inequity we exploit and worsen when we choose to disavow responsibility for the machines and industries causing the problem ”

Ketan Joshi, ‘Caring about climate change: it’s time to build a bridge between data and emotion’, The Guardian

On the consequences of the US withdrawal from the Paris agreement

Standard

“ Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement could have serious consequences on maintaining commitments from other states and more generally on the state of the planet, given that global warming is already happening and every year lost to counteract it increases the risk of producing irreversible effects on the climate. The procedure to exit the treaty – which entered into force on 4 November 2016 – takes almost four years to be completed, but the United States could immediately abandon all their cooperation activities, not participate in the new climate meetings of the UN and isolate itself from the rest of the international community on this issue ”

Translated from Italian.

Il Post, ‘Some American cities want to respect the Paris climate agreement’, Il Post

On fossil fuels lobbies’ influence on the climate change debate

Standard

“ Organisations that have observer status, and can therefore attend meetings and walk the corridors of the conferences, include industry groups that represent all of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and BHP. Many of them have lobbied against policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (…) ExxonMobil famously hid their knowledge about climate change for decades and investigations have revealed they continue to fund efforts to manipulate public discussions of climate change ”

Michael Slezak, ‘Fossil fuel lobby could be forced to declare interests at UN talks’, The Guardian

 

On the failings of the Affordable Care Act and Clean Power Plan

Standard

“ The Affordable Care Act and Clean Power Plan — each on Trump’s chopping block — could be seen as two sides of the same coin. Each are vitally needed, and could save millions of lives in the long-run. Yet both entrust government-created marketplaces to create solutions totally out of step with the crises they seek to address. The Affordable Care Act will leave 28 million people uninsured by 2026. If enacted, the Clean Power Plan would cap emissions — in a best-case scenario — at levels far above the ones demanded by science. Each have come under consistent attack from the Right and have sat firmly in the Trump administration’s crosshairs since the inauguration. The ACA, however, has the benefit of having actually delivered some tangible benefit. When Congress threatened its “repeal and replacement” weeks back, stories emerged of people whose lives had been saved thanks to Obamacare. By contrast, the Clean Power Plan’s now all-too-likely repeal has failed to evoke anywhere near the same kind of response. Despite what might now be counted as two colossal failures, Democrats and big greens alike have continued clinging to market-based fixes ”

Kate Aronoff, ‘No Third Way for the Planet’, Jacobin Magazine