GRETA THUNBERG IN CONTEXT AND ACTION
December 19, 2020
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology.
For earlier items on Greta see my Climate docs. Some of you organized a celebration of Greta at the Public Library. Consider this newsletter a continuation of that important event, with my hope for its continuation.
CONTENTS: December 19, 2020
December 2020: 5th Anniversary of Paris Agreement
Denmark’s FF Reduction Too Slow
We’re Still Speeding in the Wrong Direction—Video
Interview by Amy Goodman,
Dick’s analysis of knowledge and density 2 speeches
Art on gigatonnes of C02
Mural of Greta in San Francisco
Greta Leads March in England
Hands Off Greta Thunberg!
“'We're in a Climate Emergency. Act Accordingly': Greta Thunberg Says Denmark's 30-Year Fossil Fuel Phase-Out Not Fast Enough” by Julia Conley." Common Dreams (12-4-20). The real news here is that Denmark will apparently go on extracting fossil fuels for another three decades," said climate campaigner Greta Thunberg.
“In Must-Watch Video, Greta Thunberg Warns Humanity 'Still Speeding in
Wrong Direction' on Climate” by Andrea Germanos,
staff writer. Common Dreams (12-10-20).
The global crisis, says the youth leader, "cannot be solved without system change. That's no longer an opinion. That's a fact."
Greta Thunberg: 5 Years After Paris Agreement, World Is “Speeding in the Wrong Direction” on Climate
STORYDECEMBER 14, 2020
This is viewer supported news. Please do your part today.
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who launched the global Fridays for Future youth climate movement, issued a stark warning on the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement that the world is not doing enough to keep global heating below 2 degrees Celsius — the target set in the landmark 2015 deal. “The gap between what we need to do and what is actually being done is widening by the minute. We are still speeding in the wrong direction,” Thunberg said in a video message posted on social media.
Transcript This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has urged world leaders to declare a state of emergency over the climate crisis. His call came on Saturday during a virtual climate summit to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Paris climate accord.
SECRETARY-GENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES: Five years after Paris, we are still not going in the right direction. Paris promised to limit temperature rise to as close as to 1.5 degrees as possible. But the commitments made in Paris were far from enough to get there, and even those commitments are not being met. Carbon dioxide levels are at record highs. Today we are 1.2 degrees hotter than before the Industrial Revolution. If we don’t change course, we may be headed for a catastrophic temperature rise of more than 3 degrees this century. …
Can anybody still deny that we are facing a dramatic emergency? That is why today I call on all leaders worldwide to declare a state of climate emergency in their countries until carbon neutrality is reached. Some 38 countries have already done so, recognizing the urgency and the stakes. I urge all others to follow.
AMY GOODMAN: U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, speaking Saturday at a virtual climate summit to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Paris climate accord. Prior to the summit, the 17-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg released a video saying much more needs to be done to combat the climate crisis.
GRETA THUNBERG: My name is Greta Thunberg, and I’m inviting you to be a part of the solution.
Five years ago, world leaders signed the Paris Agreement, and they promised to keep the global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue 1.5 degrees to safeguard future living conditions. Since then, a lot has happened, but the action needed is still nowhere in sight. The gap between what we need to do and what is actually being done is widening by the minute. We are still speeding in the wrong direction.
The five years following the Paris Agreement have been the five hottest years ever recorded. And during that time, the world has also emitted more than 200 gigatons of CO2. Commitments are being made, distant hypothetical targets are being set, and big speeches are being given. Yet when it comes to the immediate action we need, we are still in a state of complete denial, as we waste our time creating new loopholes with empty words and creative accounting.
If you read through the current best available science, you realize that the climate and ecological crisis cannot be solved without system change. That’s no longer an opinion; that’s a fact. The climate crisis is only a part of a bigger sustainability crisis. For too long we have been distancing ourselves from nature, mistreating the planet, our only home, living as if there was no tomorrow. At the current emission rate, our remaining CO2 budget for 1.5 degrees will be completely gone within seven years, long before we will even have a chance to deliver on our 2030 or 2050 targets.
But I’m telling you, there is hope, because the people have not yet been made aware. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis, nor can we treat something like a crisis unless we understand the emergency. So let’s make this our main priority. Let’s unite and spread awareness. Once we become aware, then we can act. Then change will come. This is the solution. We are the hope. We, the people.
AMY GOODMAN: Climate activist Greta Thunberg, speaking in a video she released ahead of Saturday’s virtual climate summit to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Paris climate accord. Greta turns 18 on January 3rd.
No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference. Penguin, 2019 (2nd ed.). 2019 ANTHOLOGY OF 2018-19 SPEECHES (Sept. to Sept.), 16 chapters, no Index.
The history-making, ground-breaking speeches of Greta Thunberg, the young activist who has become the voice of a generation
'Everything needs to change. And it has to start today'
In August 2018 a fifteen-year-old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, decided not to go to school one day. Her actions ended up sparking a global movement for action against the climate crisis, inspiring millions of pupils to go on strike for our planet, forcing governments to listen, and earning her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.
This book brings you Greta in her own words, for the first time. Collecting her speeches that have made history across Europe, from the UN to mass street protests, No One Is Too Small to Make A Difference is a rallying cry for why we must all wake up and fight to protect the living planet, no matter how powerless we feel. Our future depends upon it.
INDEX to 2nd ed. by Dick (The following entries provide a sample from chapters 1 and 14-16, small pages but large thinking.) I wanted to show especially how densely packed her thinking is at age 15-16 with the key terms of the struggle against global warming, and how keenly she perceived the two main concepts directing the GND struggle: 1) stop C02 emissions, 2) transition justly for all. I have highlighted in bold several key terms.
(Indexes: a good index is quick way to know main themes of a book, to know what’s on an author’s mind (AND what’s omitted), to compare one book to another, to turn a book into action.)
Business as usual, 98
action now, 87
catastrophe, catastrophic change, 4
centigrade, 2 C global temperature rise, 2
centigrade, 1.5 C global temperature rise, 103
change, le changement, 108, passim
chain reactions, irreversible, 97
children, 4, 104
climate change, passim (it’s not merely change)
climate justice, 91 (see equity)
CO2 budget, 98, 103 (see emissions)
crisis/emergency, acute crisis, climate crisis, ecological crisis, 3, 4, 102, 105, passim
cutting emissions, 97
dreams, 85-6, fairy tales, and truth 86
emergency/crisis, 85, 87, 104
emissions, 97 (see CO2)
emissions budget, 90
equity, 89, 91, 104 (see climate justice)
extinction (mass, of species 96)
failure of adults, betrayal of youth, 98-9
fairy tales, 85-6,
feedback loops, 104
feel-good stories, of fixes 86
fifty per cent chance/risk, 89, 97
gigatons of emissions, 92
grassroots, bottom up, 105
greenhouse gas emissions, 1
influencers, 3 (see leaders)
Panel on Climate Change), 98, 103
IPCC’s SR15 report, p. 108, chapter 2, 2018, 77, 90
Martin Luther King, Jr., 94
leaders, adults, political, 101 (see power)
march, for the climate, the planet, 101 (strike)
Agreement, 1, 91, 92 (and USA)
Paris target, 2
party politics, 2, 3, 93, 102
politics, 2, 101
power, people in power, 101 (see influencers)
science, scientists 1, 101, 102, 103, passim
science and equity, 89
school strike, 2
solutions to safeguard all, 85
solutions by stopping e.g. emissions, 88
strike, climate strike, 2-3, 100, 101, 102, 104 , 105 (see march), passim
Sweden, carbon footprint 2
Temperature, 2, 103
tipping points, 104
united behind science, 94, 101, united science, and 1.5 degree C limit, 90
UN Climate Action Summit, 101
UN General Assembly denounced 96
urgency, 85, 97
USA, 91 (#1 carbon polluter, #1 producer of oil)
Week for Future (strikes), 105
words, empty words, 2, 101
zero emissions, 91
An idea of great importance to Greta (she derives it from the IPCC’s SR15 report, 2018, chapter 2, p. 108, , stated many times) is that the “420 gigatonnes of CO2 left to emit on 1 January 2018 [will] have 67 per cent chance of staying below a 1.5 degree C global temperature rise. Now that figure is already down to less than 360 gigatonnes.” I asked Art to clarify.
10:09 AM (4 hours ago)
Once humankind emits CO2 to the atmosphere, it remains there for many centuries (unlike methane, CH4, which clears out within about a century). Thus, you can think of the atmosphere as sort of a warehouse for the permanent storage of CO2. This warehouse warms the planet, and the amount of warming energy received per year is proportional to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (natural plus human-caused). It’s possible to roughly predict how much warming you’ll get from any given amount of “stored” CO2, i.e. any given amount of total emissions. Greta’s figures apparently show that in Jan 2018, the additional total emissions that would (with 2/3 probability) bring temperatures to 1.5 Celsius degrees above pre-industrial levels was 420 billion tonnes of CO2. For comparison, global emissions in 2017 were 33 billion tonnes, of which the USA emitted 5 billion tonnes.
I’m not sure what Greta means by “the US budget is gone within 8.5 years.” I’m guessing this means the fair amount of US emissions for all future time is something like 5 billion tonnes per year times 8.5 years = 42.5 billion tonnes total (about 10% of the total 420 billion total tonnes of CO2). Thus, for the US to do its part in staying under the 1.5 degree limit, we must reduce our present emissions down to zero over a couple of decades or so—a large order.
Here’s one thought I’ve had about this recently: Due to Covid, US annual emissions will actually DECLINE this year, for one of the few times in recent history. The decline will be significant: I think more than 5%, probably 10% or more. Environmentalists must insist that we continue this declining trend until it reaches zero. EVERY year should see (for example) a 5% decline, even in prosperous years. INCREASING emissions have always been the norm for the US. Starting now, this needs to turn into DECREASING emission. This must be maintained until we reach ZERO emissions. This won’t solve the problem because too much CO2 will then remain in the atmosphere, but at least we will have stopped making things even worse.
Another thought: It’s important to see CO2 emissions the way Greta sees it. The real limitation is a limit on total emissions, regardless of the annual emission rate. The ultimate conclusion is that we really must eventually get emissions down to zero. Getting emissions to 20% of present levels, for example, would still bring eventual disaster. The goal must be zero fossil fuels, zero net destruction of forests (which also contributes significantly to CO2 increase).
Greta Thunberg, teen climate activist, is getting a huge mural in downtown San Francisco By Leah Asmelash, CNN. Updated 3:17 PM ET, Sat November 9, 2019. [Fran sent me the following, but the photo of the mural did not appear.]
Now, there's a new name to add to that list: Greta Thunberg.
A mural of the Swedish teenage climate activist, whose movement has caught the attention of the world, is set to be completed next Tuesday.
Located in downtown San Francisco near Union Square (420 Mason St., for all you locals), the mural features Thunberg from the chest up — gazing straight into our souls, lips pursed.
It's enough to make anyone stop and consider their environmental impact.
And that's kind of the point, said Paul Scott, executive director of OneAtmosphere.org — the nonprofit that's funding the project.
The organization wanted to focus on art celebrating climate activists, Scott told CNN. When brainstorming people to feature, Thunberg was the first person that came to mind.
"If we can amplify her message and get more people involved and listening to what she's saying, then we're doing some good," he said.
The overall feedback has been incredibly positive, he said. But the most critical reactions have been from those who haven't recognized her.
"They're struck by the image and want to learn more," he said. "If they take the time to learn more about what she's trying to share, that I think has an impact on most people. Makes them want to help."
Andrés Petreselli is the artist behind the mural. He also did the city's Robin Williams one, which is how Scott found his work.
Petreselli is donating his time to the cause and told CNN he feels connected to everything Thunberg is doing. She sets examples for the whole world, he said.
"We're pretty much at the beginning of our extinction, so if we don't do anything right now, it's going to be too late," he said.
It's not the first mural to the young activist
Thunberg and her message have inspired murals around the world. One in Bristol, England, featuring the activist partly underwater went up earlier this year, along with another one in Canada.
Not everyone has been eager to hear her message. The mural in Canada, painted on a "free wall" along a bike path, was defaced twice shortly after it was first created, according to CNN affiliate CBC.
The adversity hasn't stopped Thunberg, though.
She is best known for her climate strikes, which she began in 2018 outside the Swedish Parliament. Her protest inspired thousands of students around the world to walk out of class and demand action on the climate crisis.
"As it is now, people in general don't seem to be very aware of the actual science and how serious this crisis is," she said in September during a congressional hearing. "I think we need to inform them and start treating the crisis like the existential threat it is."
“Nothing is being done to halt this crisis despite all the beautiful words and promises by our elected officials,” Greta Thunberg said at Friday’s climate march in Bristol, England. (AP/Matt Dunham)
The world in brief Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports
Teen activist leads march in England
LONDON — Thousands of mainly young people joined Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg for a climate march Friday through the city of Bristol, in southwest England.
Ahead of the march, local police had expressed concern that the popularity of the event could lead to risks to protesters.
The march, which Avon and Somerset Police said attracted more than 15,000 people but which Thunberg said involved “at least 30,000” in the pouring rain, passed without incident.
The police were criticized for their warning in the run-up to the event. Protest organizers, Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate, said in a tweet that they had “no time for being patronised.” They had arranged for festival barriers, more than 80 stewards and a safe zone for young children.
In a speech, the 17-year-old Thunberg said “nothing is being done to halt this crisis despite all the beautiful words and promises by our elected officials.”
Hands off Greta Thunberg! Mronline.org (10-15-19)
Defenders of capitalism, joined by some on the left, are attacking the young woman who has become the symbol of a mass movement. Our place is by her side.
IMPORTANCE OF THE STRIKE TO GRETA
MISC. HISTORY OF THE STRIKE
By Joe Piette, Workers.org. Over 4,300 production workers — represented by Machinists and
Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local S6 — walked off the job at the Bath Iron Works
shipyard June 23 after unsuccessful contract negotiations. Workers had made
concessions in their last contract, but are reluctant to agree to attacks
on seniority rights, increased health care costs and subcontracting which
threatens current workers’ jobs. Bath Iron Works is one of the U.S. Navy’s
largest shipbuilders and a major employer in Maine, with a total of 6,800
workers. General Dynamics, the company that runs the BIW shipyard, raked
BEGINNING STRIKE HISTORY
The Day Casco's Workers Sat Down on the Job: Bridgeport's First Sit-Down Strike
1:07 PM (42 minutes ago)
The Day Casco's Workers Sat Down on the Job: Bridgeport's First Sit-Down Strike by Andy Piasik
was an event that lasted less than a day and involved only 50 people directly.
It was organized, led and carried out by everyday workers and thus contradicted
the mainstream narrative that only big people make history. Many of the
participants were women so their actions were thus further dismissed, even
ridiculed. Yet as the great historian Howard Zinn might have put it, mostly
unknown and forgotten people occupied the Casco factory in Bridgeport in 1937
and struck a blow for themselves and workers in the city as a whole. In
the long history of class conflict in the United States, the decade of the
1930’s was a particularly contentious period. In Bridgeport, as in virtually
every other part of the country, workers fought back against plant closures,
unemployment and poverty as well as for democratization of the workplace. And
as the Park City was one of the nation’s great industrial hubs, it was only
natural that the sit-down strike was one of many tactics Bridgeport workers
The Sit-Down Strike
The sit-down strike is a tactic used by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) three decades before the action at Casco. The idea of a sit-down is to stop production by occupying the workplace, rather than by withdrawing from it, as leaving the workplace and striking from the outside leaves open the possibility of employers bringing in replacements (scabs). The sit-down was revived with remarkable success when autoworkers began a long occupation of General Motors plants in Cleveland and Flint on December 30, 1936. . . .
Bridgeport native Andy Piascik is a long-time activist and award-winning author whose most recent book is the novel In Motion. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.