Climate Memo Mondays #7
My name is Greta Thunberg, and I’m inviting you to be a part of the solution. 12-14-20
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.
FROM POPULATION CONNECTION
Film screening of 8 Billion Angels
Join us for our 2021 kick-off event! We’re excited to announce we will be hosting a virtual film screening of 8 Billion Angels, a story exploring how rapid population is contributing to global warming and exhausting our planet’s resources. Upon registration, the film will be available to view at your leisure between January 28th and February 2nd. We will wrap up the on-demand screening period with a LIVE panel discussion on February 2nd at 7pm ET/4pm PT. Links to register for these events are provided below, we hope you’ll be able to attend!
On Demand Film Screening – Register HERE
LIVE Panel Discussion – Register HERE
Previously Published Memos
CLIMATE MEMO MONDAYS
Supporting the GND
The Old Incrementalism and the Green NEW Deal.
Every Sunday the PBS program “Real Green” appreciates praiseworthy projects for the planet. Today 12-13-20 the Solar Living Institute at Hopland, CA received the spotlight. Its founder and director, John Schaefer, has built a wonderful energy oasis. Not only do the solar collectors on the buildings welcome the sun, but grapevines prohibit the sun where not welcome. The building walls are built from straw. There’s a windmill for all water needs, an edible landscape, and a large operation to recycle vegetable oil into biodiesel. And the Institute promotes its work by online education.
It is a veritable showcase of the energy innovations my generation was discussing during the 1970s and after.
Alas, during the years since then, global temperatures have continued to rise. The “Real Green” program doesn’t mention that.
Fortunately, what’s called the Green New Deal intends to bring these excellent oases into national programs following the model of the New Deal. Only a large vision like that can surmount the consequences of the catastrophe the rising temperatures are already producing. Think scale.
“Real Green” today also presented an onion farm where the skins and ends waste goes to cattle feed and to make electricity. Good for business profit; good for environment. But no mention of the temperature—and increasing hurricanes and droughts, nor of cattle-driven deforestation. Is “Real Green” brought to us by the Republican or the Libertarian Party?
Next week: What the New Deal Teaches Us About the Green New Deal
CLIMATE MEMO MONDAYS
Supporting the GND
From NEW DEAL to GREEN NEW DEAL
What the New Deal can teach us about winning a Green New Deal: Part I. (mronline.org 8-6-19, point cursor onto first line).
The New Deal has recently become a
touchstone for many progressive efforts, illustrated by Bernie Sanders’ embrace
of its aims and accomplishments and the popularity of calls for a Green New Deal.
What the New Deal can teach us about winning a Green New Deal: Part II—Movement building. Mronline.org (8-16-19)
The multifaceted crisis we face
today is significantly different from the crisis activists faced in the first
years of the Great Depression. But there is no question that, much like then,
we will need to build a powerful, mass-movement for change if we hope to
harness state power to advance a Green New Deal.
What the New Deal can teach us about winning a Green New Deal: Part III—the First New Deal. Mronline.org (August 29-19).
If we hope to win a Green New Deal we will have to build a movement that is not only powerful enough to push the federal government to take on new responsibilities with new capacities, but also has the political maturity required to appreciate the contested nature of state policy and the vision.
Introduced in House (07/09/2019). This concurrent resolution expresses the sense of Congress that global warming has resulted in a climate emergency .
Climate Memo Mondays
Supporting the GND
WHAT IS THE GREEN NEW DEAL? (Main source: Chomsky and Pollin, Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal.)
The UN assembled the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1990 to bring the world’s climate scientists together to study the rising temperatures and other atmospheric changes occurring around the world. The Panel’s Sixth Assessment appeared in 2018. Their essential discovery is that greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide) created by humans from burning oil, coal, and natural gas were raising the average temperatures. The consequences have been increasingly catastrophic: increased incidences of heat extremes, heavier precipitation, droughts, sea level increases, biodiversity losses, and negative impacts on health, livelihoods, food security, water supply.
The world’s population and leaders recognized the danger and were taking action. The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement was endorsed by 195 countries. However, the fossil fuel companies (shareholders and their officers), imitating the tobacco companies, purchased an intense propaganda campaign to question the evidence and instill fear of losing jobs. Donald Trump became the Climate-Denier-in-Chief and withdrew the US from the Agreement.
the sense of Congress that global warming has resulted in a climate emergency.
These Resolutions stress two priorities: replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy and ensuring jobs for those displaced in the transition.
1. Greenhouse gas emissions must meet the targets set in 2018 by the IPCC—a 45 % reduction in emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050. The goals could be achieved by significantly improved energy efficiency and equally dramatic increase in renewable energy, primarily wind and solar. Existing nuclear plants would be maintained until renewables are established.
2. The rapid transition to a carbon-free economy and climate stabilization must be fair. It must expand job opportunities for workers in the fossil fuels industry and related vulnerable groups. The ultimate goal is to raise the living standards for working people and the poor worldwide.
Enactment of these goals is imperative, if we are to avoid the destruction of our existent civilization. Even though temperatures continue to rise and the consequences to worsen, we can meet the goals, at least technically and economically. But we must also galvanize the political will to overcome the immense vested interests of the global fossil fuels industry.
The Green New Deal Resolutions represent the long delayed, next step of bringing the scientific information to Congress, where questions—can the “capitalists’ werewolf hunger for profits” solve the crisis? what are the alternatives to industrial agriculture? how do we reverse the long rise of inequality of the past forty years?--can be transformed into legislation democratically.
Your car’s rear bumper is read by many people. Paste on your favorite sticker.
Read a book on the GND. As an introduction, read Greta Thunberg’s collection of speeches, about 100 short pages.
CLIMATE MEMO MONDAYS
Why Doesn’t US Public Education Tell the Truth About Warming?
Harry Vandergriff, when he was Superintendent of the Fayetteville Public Schools, wrote a letter to the parents informing them of the dismissal of classes for Business Education Day. The event was sponsored by that great institution for critical thinking, the Public Schools/Chamber of Commerce complex. “The purpose of Business Education Day is to give the teaching staff of the schools a better understanding of the business community. They will visit with various business and industrial plants…and receive information concerning the operation….This visit should increase the teachers’ knowledge of and concern for the various companies of this community and assist them in the teaching of their students.”
I’d like to give two citizens a crack at the public schools’ chumminess with the ruling economic system (the early twentieth-century syntax can’t hurt but just might cause us to pause and think).
First, Thorstein Veblen, The Higher Learning in America.
“The place in men’s esteem once filled by church and state is now held by pecuniary traffic, business enterprise. So that the graver issues of academic policy which now tax the discretion of the directive powers, reduce themselves, In the main, to a question between the claims of science and scholarship on the one hand and those of business principles and pecuniary gain on the other.”
Next Jack London, writing about “the capitalistic bias of the universities and common schools” in The Iron Heel.
“It was a logical and crushing indictment of the whole system of education that developed in the minds of the students only such ideas as were favorable to the capitalistic regime, to the exclusion of all ideas that were inimical and subversive.”
How do Veblen and London relate to the climate calamity and the Green New Deal?
For the past 40 years we have witnessed the decline of the New Deal and the rise by 2016 of the now far-right Republican Party to control the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court. What else has been happening during this time as the direct result of the neo-liberal economic system exalted by that Party? Military spending has continued to increase while taxes have continued to decrease for the wealthy. And the planet’s atmosphere has heated and absorbed moisture so much that our civilization is imperiled, yet the temperature continues to rise.
Be active politically. Support candidates for office who meaningfully oppose the continued rise in global temperature. Check out the Green New Deal.
CLIMATE MEMO MONDAYS by Dick Bennett
“The Leap Manifesto: A Call for a Canada Based on Caring for the Earth and One Another” (full text at end of Naomi Klein’s No Is Not Enough or ).
On 12-10-20 PBS NOVA promoted the US government’s renewal of its moon control program with its new generation of larger rockets enabling a greatly expanded leap into space: “Rise of the Rockets.” The first rocket will circle the moon. The second will land a rocketeer to establish a permanent claim. Each shot will cost billions. Each will expand the US empire, recently terrestrially exposed in The United States of War by David Vine. But there has been no national debate over that expenditure for that purpose. There has been no comparison of that goal with another Leap, this one a leap for humanity, all species, and the planet.
In May 2015, people from many walks of life and representing diverse institutions and movements met in Toronto to “connect the crises” and “chart a holistic vision for the future.” An example of the connections urgently needing resistance were “the economic interests pushing hardest for war” that are “the very same forces most responsible for warming the planet,” the very same “corrosive values system that places profit above the well-being of people and the planet,” the very same forces and values that have “seized control of the White House” (No Is Not Enough 232).
The Conference concluded with the signing of “The Leap Manifesto: A Call for a Canada Based on Caring for the Earth and One Another.” Its indictment of Canada applies even more forcefully to the USA and its “record on climate change [that is] a crime against humanity’s future.” The crimes have produced a global emergency, in response to which The Manifesto declares sixteen principles for “decisive action to prevent catastrophic global warming. That means small steps will no longer get us where we need to go” (269).
The US can spend a trillion dollars to dominate outer space, but comparatively nothing “to prevent catastrophic global warming.”
Action: The LEAP MANIFESTO resembles the GREEN NEW DEAL Resolutions. Demand President-elect Biden declare a national emergency and create an Office of Climate Mobilization. (See essay by Varshini Prakash, “For a Green New Decade,” The Nation (1-11/18-21). Read the Congressional GND Resolution: House Resolution 52, July 9, 2019, 116th Congress 1st Session.
#6 Sent to blog, web site, and (Abel) social media, various Facebook Pages and Groups: 394 WORDS
Climate Memo Mondays
An urgent and definitive collection
of essays from leaders and experts championing the Green
New Deal—and a detailed playbook for how we can win it—including
contributions by leading activists and progressive writers like Varshini
Prakash, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Bill McKibben, Rev William Barber II, and more.
In October 2018, scientists warned that we have less than 12 years left to transform our economy away from fossil fuels, or face catastrophic climate change. At that moment, there was no plan in the US to decarbonize our economy that fast. Less than two years later, every major Democratic presidential candidate has embraced the vision of the Green New Deal—a rapid, vast transformation of our economy to avert climate catastrophe while securing economic and racial justice for all.
What happened? A new generation of leaders confronted the political establishment in Washington DC with a simple message: the climate crisis is here, and the Green New Deal is our last, best hope for a livable future. Now comes the hard part: turning that vision into the law of the land.
In Winning a Green New Deal, leading youth activists, journalists, and policymakers explain why we need a transformative agenda to avert climate catastrophe, and how our movement can organize to win. Featuring essays by Varshini Prakash, cofounder of Sunrise Movement; Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Green New Deal policy architect; Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize–winning economist; Bill McKibben, internationally renowned environmentalist; Mary Kay Henry, the President of the Service Employees International Union, and others we’ll learn why the climate crisis cannot be solved unless we also confront inequality and racism, how movements can redefine what’s politically possible and overcome the opposition of fossil fuel billionaires, and how a Green New Deal will build a just and thriving economy for all of us.
For anyone looking to understand the movement for a Green New Deal, and join the fight for a livable future, there is no resource as clear and practical as Winning the Green New Deal.
Notice and tell
others of the two main themes of GND: 1) transforming our neoliberal economy to
avert climate catastrophe while 2).securing economic and racial justice for
Tell others about this book, on sale at B&N.
Get informed about the New Deal.