Monday, April 27, 2020



What’s at Stake:  In confronting the climate calamity, the leaders and the populace can either reproduce or worsen the existing gross economic inequalities caused by capitalism, or they can struggle to end the injustice by changing the way society is organized.  It’s our choice.  The climate catastrophe is our opportunity to create a distinctly more just world.
“There is no global social unity in the face of climate disaster. We risk a ‘climate apartheid’ scenario where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger, and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer.” (2019 below).
“If we’re going to succeed in protecting the planet and all of its inhabitants…we must commit to becoming public citizens. . . .” Jason Mark, Editor, Sierra

Paul Collier, The Plundered Planet and The Bottom Billion
Helping Poor Nations and Communities
Amy Goodman, US Not
Pascal, US Promise
From Occupy to Climate Justice and Climate Democracy
Wen Stephenson

Ravages of Rising Temperature against Justice
Elaine McArdle, Indigenous People and Climate-Forced Displacement
New Book from Beacon Press: Anthony Lewis on poor coastal communities
Climate Apartheid
Climate Emergency and Justice
Judt, Senegal Climate Injustice
Green New Deal for Climate Justice
Davidson, Energy Use of Rich and Poor
Duplea, From Covid-19 to Climate Justice and the GND
Higgins, Covid-19 Anticipates Climate Catastrophe
Covid-19 Pandemic Turning Point to a Just World?

TEXTS In chronological order

--Collier, Paul.  The Plundered Planet: Why We Must—And How We Can—Manage Nature for Global Prosperity.   2010. " I particularly enjoyed his description of environmental romanticism vs. plundering profit motive, and how we must move to the center of those two poles by basing our use of natural resources and ecosystem services on a truly ethical and sustainable framework.  His high-flying nations-at-a-glance perspective is valuable, as are his insights into the workings, and failings, of governments and societies." (Gary K).

--Collier, Paul.   The Bottom Billion:   Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It.   2011.     “Collier examines the economics, politics, and ethics of natural resource use, in particular as these affect poor nations.”  The so-called "resource curse" is analyzed, to understand the oft-repeated phenomenon of extractive industries leaving resource-rich yet poor countries, resource-poor and impoverished.”  (Gary K)  One of the four goals of Lester Brown’s Plan B is “eradicating poverty.”  (Dick)  

Amy Goodman,  “Leaked Memo Reveals US Plan to Oppose Helping Poor Nations Adapt to Climate Change. “
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! , RSN, NOV. 20, 2013
Goodman writes: "The U.S. delegation is worried the talks in Warsaw will 'focus increasingly on blame and liability" of the Us and corporations.


“US: 24 hours to keep our promise to the planet”

Pascal V - via 
November 21, 2013
3:46 PM (1 hour ago)

to James
Dear friends across the US,
The most important global talks of our time could collapse tomorrow unless the US keeps our promise to help the world’s poorest deal with climate change disasters. Secretary of State Kerry cares deeply about climate -- and our messages now could help push him to act before the summit falls apart. Send Kerry an urgent message: 

The bottom could fall out of talks to save the planet in 24 hours unless we act to save them. 

Years ago, the US
 and our allies made a big promise to
help the poorest countries deal with and decrease climate change. But now we are threatening to backtrack. If the US reneges on this pledge tomorrow, hope for a global deal could totally fall apart. But Secretary of State Kerry has made climate leadership the defining issue of his career. Let’s make sure he knows that it’s his call to make!  

Send Kerry a message to make sure he knows we are watching and expecting him to act -- his office will get it right away, and the Avaaz team at the talks will give all our messages to his staff on the ground. Click here to send an urgent message: 

In 2009, Secretary Clinton pledged to raise $100 Billion yearly to build a climate resilient world. But while some immediate cash came through, virtually no country has yet made new contributions to this bold plan. The financial crisis has made it very difficult to fulfill
our promise to the poorest countries. But we are still giving billions to fossil fuel companies that are polluting our world and causing global warming. It is nuts!  [And hugely criminal as they continue in 2020.]

The poorer countries are now demanding that the rich meet their original promises before they sign up to more commitments at talks in Warsaw. So far our government is saying they won’t give. But if we can get them to commit funds, other countries will follow. We have the power to keep everyone at the table to hammer out a crucial deal.  . . .

Climate change is perhaps the largest, most complex global problem humanity has faced, and for all its scale, it's hard to find things we can do that even make a dent. It's easy to lose hope in the face of a challenge like that. But this is one of those times where we can make a real difference right now -- one that could save the process that can save the world. Let's not let it go without making our voices heard.

With hope, 

Pascal, Iain, Alice, David, Maria Paz, Ricken, and the Avaaz team


U.S. serious on climate, John Kerry tells U.N. summit (Politico)

Yeb Sano surfaces at UN climate talks and thanks supporters of fast (The Guardian)


From Occupy to Climate Justice

There’s a growing effort to merge economic-justice and climate activism.  Call it climate democracy.
   |    This article appeared in the February 24, 2014 edition of The Nation.  [With the title: “The Climate Democracy Project”—Dick]

What is the Paris agreement?
It's a climate change accord agreed by nearly 200 countries in December 2015, which came into force on 4 November 2016. The agreement commits world leaders to keeping global warming below 2C, seen as the threshold for safety by scientists, and pursuing a tougher target of 1.5C. The carbon emission curbs put forward by countries under Paris are not legally-binding but the framework of the accord, which includes a mechanism for periodically cranking those pledges up, is binding. The agreement also has a long-term goal for net zero emissions which would effectively phase out fossil fuels.

Trump blocked US participation in the Paris accords and has prevented US funding to poor countries, despite  wealthy countries having caused the bulk of the warming while the poor countries suffer ed  the bulk of the consequences.

2019 and 2020 RAVAGES OF WARMING


First Peoples’ Convening focuses on climate-forced displacement.  ELAINE MCARDLE, 3/1/2019, uuwORLD,  SPRING 2019
UU Service Committee co-sponsors gathering on climate change’s impact on Indigenous peoples.
From left: Eltera Hermios, Mark Stege, and Fenton Lutunatabua, Convening participants from the Pacific, receive messages from UUs around the United States, at the First Peoples’ Convening on Climate-Forced Displacement, held in Girdwood, AK, October 1–4.
First Peoples’ Convening focuses on climate-forced displacement
UU World Magazine Spring 2019 , published by the Unitarian Universalist Association
Climate & Environmental Justice, Indigenous Rights
More than sixty indigenous and First Peoples leaders and activists from around the world, including the Pacific Islands, Bangladesh, Louisiana, Washington State, and Alaska, gathered October 1–4, 2018, in Girdwood, Alaska, to share strategies for addressing the effects of climate-forced displacement.
The UUSC, which advances human rights through grassroots collaborations, is putting significant focus on the effects of climate change on indigenous and other historically marginalized peoples, said UUSC President and CEO Mary Katherine Morn…continued:

Andrew S. Lewis.
A Forgotten Community’s Fight against the Rising Seas Forever Changing Coastal America.  Beacon, 2019.  [Beacon is published by UUA.]
Publisher’s summary: 
Offers a glimpse of the future of vanishing shorelines in America in the age of climate change, where the wealthy will be able to remain the longest while the poor will be forced to leave.

Journalist Andrew Lewis chronicles the struggle of his New Jersey hometown to rebuild their ravaged homes.  [Bayshore] is also contending with one of the fastest rates of sea level rise on the planet and the aftereffects of one of the most destructive hurricanes in American history, Superstorm Sandy. . . .[A]fter the hurricane, the community was decimated. Today, homes and roads and memories are crumbling into the rising bay. . . .

The Drowning of Money Island is an intimate yet unbiased, lyrical yet investigative portrait of a rural community ravaged by sea level rise and economic hardship, as well as the increasingly divisive politics those factors have helped spawn. It invites us to confront how climate change is already intensifying preexisting inequality.

There is no global social unity in the face of climate disaster. We risk a ‘climate apartheid’ scenario where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger, and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer.
Source  share on Twitter Like Global Britain’s real climate changers: big oil must be taken down on Facebook

“This is the biggest crisis in human history. What are we going to tell our children when they ask us: why didn’t we do anything to stop it while we still had time?”   Source   share on Twitter Like ‘Report the urgency! This is a climate emergency!’ on Facebook
This week it was announced that the 2020 United Nations climate change conference–the so-called ‘Conference of the Parties’ (COP)–is set to take place in the UK.   Source   share on Twitter Like The UN climate talks are coming to Britain. The climate justice movement will be ready on Facebook   Postponed because of Covid-19.

Daniel Judt .   “In Senegal, Climate Change Is Robbing Thousands of Their Homes.”  The Nation (SEPTEMBER 24, 2019).  No region has done less to contribute to the climate crisis than Africa—or stands to lose more.

(Nick Judt)
[This is a comprehensive, major article on geography, class, and inequality..  –D]
 “To be honest, I’m worried,” says Daouda Gueye. “The future is almost black. To be an optimist, you have to see what’s next. And right now we can’t see anything. Everything is dark.” He shrugs. “We’re truly cornered.”
We are standing in a field just outside Bargny, a bustling seaside town of 70,000 people some 30 kilometers southeast of Dakar, Senegal’s capital. For decades, Bargny has suffered from severe industrial pollution. The town hosts a hulking cement factory—one of the largest in West Africa—that has flecked Bargny with toxic dust since 1984. Over the past 10 years, two other threats have emerged.
A mere 100 meters east of where Gueye and I stand, a new coal-fired power plant—Senegal’s first, in operation since last fall—waffles in the afternoon heat. Mounds of coal lie at the base of its three chutes, which slope up toward the red-and-gray-striped chimney. The chimney’s thin shadow points, like a stern finger, to the southeast, where rising sea levels and storm surges caused by climate change exact a devastating toll.
Worse, the two threats are linked. The power plant occupies the precise spot that was once designated a site of relocation for those affected by the rising sea. “People lost their homes because of coastal erosion,” Gueye explains. “We are threatened by that. And then when they needed to move, the power plant took that land.”
Mark Hertsgaard
In a sickening irony, Bargny is trapped between the causes and the effects of climate change. Residents say their town is under siege. “It’s as though we’re being compressed,” Gueye reiterates as we walk past the crumbling seaside houses. “Seriously. There is a future in which Bargny will disappear.”
So far, the town has refused to yield to that future. Gueye is one of the leaders of RAPEN, a local activist organization that was formed when the Senegalese government began construction on the power plant in 2014. For five years, RAPEN has tried to hold off threats from both sides. “Our first goal is to protect us from the sea,” Gueye announced in 2016. “Our second goal is to fight the coal power plant.”
And yet amid Bargny’s resistance—part and parcel of it, perhaps—there is an element of despair, a hopelessness particular to our era of climate crisis. It’s a despair that runs through Gueye’s words. The future is almost black. We’re truly cornered.
[From 2015 to 2019]
This is the first article in a series about the idea of climate justicea concept that has only recently come into widespread use. In the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, the word justice appears once, buried in a nonbinding preamble that coyly notes the “importance for some of the concept of ‘climate justice’”—in scare quotes, no less!—“when taking action to address climate change.”
Four years later, a huge rhetorical shift has occurred: The idea of justice is now at the forefront of the climate debate. At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland last December, the official theme was a “just transition” away from a carbon economy—a big change from Paris. (Though that didn’t stop the Polish government from attempting to twist “climate justice” into a defense of coal mines.) At the UN Climate Action Summit in New York this September, we’ll likely hear a fresh chorus of calls for a just transition, a just economy, a just distribution of emissions, and so on. Justice is finally becoming an important term in climate politics. We need to know what it means.
This series tries to define climate justice from the ground up: to ask what justice means for communities already confronting the dual crises of failing climate politics and runaway climate change. Bargny, a small town fighting both of those crises at once, seemed a good place to start.
But the activists and residents I met there steered me to a different question. To understand what climate justice would mean in a place like Bargny, they insisted, we must first take the full measure of the injustice that needs resisting. And they are right: Before we focus on climate justice, we need to grasp the nature of climate injustice. 
In Bargny, the outward signs of that injustice—the rising sea, the power plant—are unmistakable. What is less clear but more revealing, once grasped, is how the injustices of climate change and climate politics are changing the way that the residents of Bargny think about life on a fundamental level. We often hear about how climate change creates climate refugees: It forces people to search for a new space in the world. The residents of Bargny are facing a different form of displacement, less visible but no less pernicious. They are becoming homeless without leaving home.  End Part I.    MORE


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Most calls for a Green New Deal correctly emphasize that it must include a meaningful commitment to climate justice. That is because climate change—for reasons of racism and capitalist profit-making—disproportionately punishes frontline communities, especially communities of color and low-income.
Source   share on Twitter Like Climate change, the Green New Deal, and the struggle for climate justice on Facebook


The Rich Are to Blame for the Climate Crisis, International Study Finds.  Jordan Davidson

The authors of the study say the numbers show a need for policies that will curtail excess energy use, such as flying. guvendemir / E+ / Getty Images
A new international study has pinpointed an enormous chasm in the amount of resources the rich use versus the poor — both within their own countries and compared to an international population, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Energy.
The researchers found that the wealthiest tenth of people use up about 20 times more overall energy than the bottom ten percent, no matter where they are, according to the BBC. The greatest part of the disparity is in transportation, where the wealthiest tenth consume 187 times more fuel than the poorest ten percent.
The researchers from the University of Leeds parsed data from the World Bank and the European Union to calculate the energy consumption of residents in 86 different countries, both highly industrialized and developing countries, according to the study. The researchers also looked at what energy-intensive goods and services different income groups use and how the different income groups spend their money.
The results showed a huge disparity in energy use as income climbs. The study found that as income climbs, people spend more of their money on energy-intensive goods, such as vacations or new cars or second homes that require heating and cooling — all of which leads to increased inequality in energy use, according to the study.
"There needs to be serious consideration to how to change the vastly unequal distribution of global energy consumption to cope with the dilemma of providing a decent life for everyone while, protecting climate and ecosystems," Julia Steinberger, a professor at the University Of Leeds and author on the paper, said in a University of Leeds statement.
The data showed that the top ten percent not only used 187 times the energy for transportation as the bottom ten percent, but the top ten percent actually used more than half the energy used for transportation. Most of that energy use came from fossil fuels, according to the University of Leeds.
When it came to energy use for cooking and heating, the disparity was not as great, but the wealthiest ten percent did use roughly one-third of the energy. That most likely came from the size of their home, according to the BBC.
"This study tells relatively wealthy people like us what we don't want to hear," Kevin Anderson, a professor from the Tyndall Centre in Manchester, England who was not involved in the study, said to the BBC. "The climate issue is framed by us high emitters – the politicians, business people, journalists, academics. When we say there's no appetite for higher taxes on flying, we mean we don't want to fly less. The same is true about our cars and the size our homes. We have convinced ourselves that our lives are normal, yet the numbers tell a very different story."
The authors of the study say the numbers show a need for policies that will curtail excess energy use. It shows a need for improved public transportation, higher taxes on bigger vehicles, and frequent flyer penalties for people who take the most vacations, according to the BBC.   MORE

SAVING HUMANITY FROM CORONAVIRUS AND CLIMATE CHANGE.  By Mark Dunlea,   March 30, 2020.  Popular Resistance (3-31-20).
We are already being pounded by extreme weather. The world’s science committee on climate, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), warns that we have 11 years left to take unprecedented worldwide action to halt global greenhouse gas emissions. Many scientists feel that the IPCC – constrained by fossil fuel based countries like the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Brazil – is overly optimistic. An increasing number of scientists raise the risk of the end of civilization as we know it. Some warn about the possible extinction of the human species.
There is an opportunity in every crisis and the deeper the crisis, the better the opportunity can be.
Throughout human history, the powerful have used such crisis to enrich themselves and their friends while crushing public debate and their opponents. [See Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine.  –D]   We saw this in the present federal economic stimulus package, which did far more to bail out large corporations than average Americans. (For a contrasting approach, see this open letter to Congress for a Green Stimulus.)  EPA just announced it was suspending enforcement of many environmental regulations. The plastic industry is using the coronavirus to halt the effort to ban plastic bags, Styrofoam and other single-use plastic.
Sheltering in place has already disempowered many and sidelined critical social movements. Our voices are increasingly absent in the media.
It is critical that the covid-19 emergency response be extended to include a transition to a carbon-free world. We need to set a timeline faster than most presently believe is possible – closer to 2030 rather than 2050. We need to create a world based on the principles of sustainability, while ensuring a good quality of life for everyone, not only in America but worldwide. It needs to include a living wage, a guaranteed minimum income, universal single-payer health care, affordable housing, and quality education. A Green New Deal as I have been calling for since 2010. It needs to redirect our massively obscene military budget to invest in a humane world.  MORE
This pandemic health crisis exposes the injustices of the global economic order. It must be a turning point towards creating the systems, structures and policies that can always protect those who are marginalised and allow everyone to live with dignity.  | more…
share on Twitter Like Coronavirus: the need for a progressive internationalist response on Facebook

Out Of The Coronavirus Tragedy May Come Hope Of A More Just Society
By Michael D. Higgins, The global loss of life and disruption to our daily lives resulting from the coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented in living memory. We have learned through tragedy that we have a shared, globalised vulnerability common to all humanity. We are learning how we, as a matter of urgency, must make changes to improve resilience in a range of essential areas: employment, healthcare, housing. We have been forced to recognise our dependence on our public-sector frontline workers, and the state’s broader role in mitigating this crisis and saving lives.  -more-

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)