On the huge consequences of climate change

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“ 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’

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“ 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 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