On Corbyn’s strengths and May’s weaknesses

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“ Despite so many years of protest, Corbyn’s greatest strength lies in proposition rather than in opposition: his gentle style is better suited to explaining his own vision than to contesting his opponent’s. The more exposure he receives, the better he looks – while the cameras expose May as charmless, cheerless and, above all, frit. She won’t stand up to anyone who wields power. She will say nothing against Donald Trump, even when he peddles blatant falsehoods in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in this nation, exploiting our grief to support his disgusting prejudices; even when he pulls out of the global agreement on climate change. She is even more sycophantic towards this revolting man than Tony Blair was to George W Bush. She won’t confront Saudi Arabia over terrorism or Yemen or anything else ”

George Monbiot, ‘I’ve never voted with hope before. Jeremy Corbyn has changed that’, The Guardian

On connecting climate science to motivation for action

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“ 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

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“ 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 dark money in politics

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“ A multimillionaire City asset manager has pledged to spend up to £700,000 on ousting Labour MPs who campaigned against Brexit. Jeremy Hosking will use his money to ensure that there is as little parliamentary opposition to a hard Brexit as possible. Why should multimillionaires be allowed to try to buy political results? Allowed? That’s too soft a word. It is enabled by our pathetic, antiquated and anti-democratic rules on political spending. Hosking claims he wants to secure the sovereign future of this independent-minded democracy. But there is no greater threat to sovereignty, independence or democracy than the power money wields over our politics (…) The third issue is political funding that operates in a different sphere. It’s not illegal, it’s worse than that: there are no effective rules of any kind. This is the use of dark money that seeks not to influence elections directly, but to change the broader political landscape. Dark money is funding used, without public knowledge, by front groups (…) Why has there been no effective action on climate change? Why are we choking on air pollution? Why is the junk food industry able to exploit our children? Because governments and their agencies have rolled over and let such people make a mockery of informed consent ”

George Monbiot, ‘Dark money is pushing democracy in the UK over the edge’, The Guardian

On fossil fuels lobbies’ influence on the climate change debate

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“ 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

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“ 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

On the terrible risks linked to the Dakota pipeline

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“ No, instead the Dakota Access pipeline – not yet operational but already leaky – crosses under the Missouri river just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Indian reservation. There it threatens the water supply of a community where 41% of citizens live in poverty. In Standing Rock, adequate homes, schools and hospitals are few and far between, but a brand-new $3.8bn pipe, which costs $1bn more than the entire Bureau of Indian Affairs budget, is now in the ground. At any moment, a leak might contaminate the water supply of Standing Rock and the 17 million people downstream who rely on the Missouri river (…) Rerouting pipelines might protect a few expendables in the short term, but it cannot save our planet and its peoples in the long run. To protect the planet and future generations from a world superheated by fossil fuel, we must stand with indigenous peoples, ranchers and environmentalists against pipelines that lock-in even more emissions into the global economy ”

Julian Brave NoseCat, ‘The Dakota pipeline is already leaking. Why wait for a big spill to act?’, The Guardian