Last week, Pope Francis released his encyclical on climate change, Laudato Si. The document speaks out strongly against environmental degradation in all forms and even calls for climate justice between the global North and South. My first guest is Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig, staff writer at The New Republic who writes frequently on the intersection of religion, politics and economics. She spoke with me about the the Pope’s encyclical and how it fits into political and economic debates.
One interesting detail in Laudato Si is a very specific injunction against carbon trading. This market-driven (Read more…)
This and that for your Sunday reading.
- Carol Goar discusses the contrasting messages being sent to Canada’s middle class in the lead up to Canada’s federal election campaign – and notes that the real decision for voters to make is whether they’re happy with marginally higher nominal incomes at the expense of greater inequality and more precarious lives. Mark Goldring makes the case for an economy oriented toward what’s best for people rather than short-term profits: Tackling inequality requires that people, not profit constitute the bottom line. We need everyone who is in a position of influence – business (Read more…)
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Edward Keenan weighs in on the role a basic income could play in a job market marked by increasingly precarious work: I am an enthusiastic supporter of better workplace protections and wages. I have a good, unionized, stable job. I like it. But regulation of work and workplaces isn’t likely adequate to solve the problem we face. No matter how high minimum wages are, they will not help people unable to get a job that pays them. And there are a lot of reasons to think that no matter how good workplace safeguards (Read more…)
Friday, June 26, 2015
Earlier this week (June 24th) a Dutch court ordered the Dutch government to ramp up its climate change plans – to achieve at least a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to 1990 levels by the end of 2020. It’s an incredible win – one that is being rightly celebrated by climate activists around the world. In our view, the Dutch decision is a key win in global efforts to use the courts to fight climate change, and will encourage climate activists around the world. However, court cases filed in countries around the world (Read more…)
Friday, June 26, 2015
In the recent Dutch court decision ordering the Dutch government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% (relative to 1990 levels) by 2020, the court made some specific findings that might be relevant to Canada and the Canadian government. Here's 5 of the most Canada-relevant findings from that precedent setting decision.
In a recent post, I wrote about the broad significance of the recent Dutch court decision ordering the Dutch government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Some fun on a Friday afternoon, from the folks over at DeSmogBlog: * DeSmogBlog.com
Assorted content to end your week.
- Jim Stanford discusses the need to inoculate citizens against shock doctrine politics, as well as the contribution he’s hoping to make as the second edition of Economics for Everyone is released: I suppose it is fitting (if tragic) that this new edition is being released into an economic environment that is still marked by fear, fragility and hardship. And this highlights a key theme of Economics for Everyone – and one of my key personal motivations as an economist whose career has been rooted in trade union and social justice settings (rather than (Read more…)
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Thomas Edsall discusses how increased atomization is making it more difficult for people to join together in seeking change, no matter how obvious it is that there’s a need to counter the concentrated power and wealth of the privileged few: The cultural pressures driving inequality are…reinforced by heightened competition that has accelerated the decline of unions, served to justify the Republican refusal to raise minimum wages and undermined the workplace stature of employees. The result has been not only surging incomes at the top and little or no growth for the (Read more…)
Here, on how Regina and its citizens did fairly well responding to a water shortage – but has plenty to learn in applying the lesson to the wider collective challenge of climate change.
For further reading…- The water shortage began a month ago, with CBC’s coverage here and here largely describing the problem and the City’s initial response. And CTV reported on the end to the immediate restrictions here. – In contrast, Rob Kuznia reports on Rancho Santa Fe’s appalling response to California’s drought, which has given rise to mandatory water use reductions.- The National Resources Defence (Read more…)
The costs of climate change are piling up, and can no longer be ignored. 2015 is poised to be a landmark year, with a new global treaty on climate to be signed in Paris. In contrast, the Harper decade succeeded in stalling any meaningful climate action. The PM’s record is not just of neglect, but of moving the yardsticks backwards in both the international arena and within Canada.
Climate change is primarily caused by human use of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) for energy, whereas extraction and export of those fossil fuels is central to the Harper government’s (Read more…)
Pope Francis (Catholic Church of England / Flickr)
Earth has existed for 4.5 billion years, humans for somewhere around 150,000. But in my brief lifetime — less than 80 years — human populations have exploded exponentially, from two billion to more than seven billion. In that short time, we’ve created consumer societies and decimated the planet’s natural systems, used up resources, filled oceans with plastic and pollution, altered water cycles, and upset the Earth’s carbon cycle, disrupting global climate systems.
Welcome to the Anthropocene
Our impacts on this small blue planet have been so rapid, widespread and profound that (Read more…)
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Mark Anderson reports on the Change Readiness Index’ findings that the growing concentration and inequality of wealth is making it more and more difficult for countries to deal with foreseeable disasters. But Jon Queally points out that a concerted effort to quit abusing fossil fuels could do a world in making our world both more fair and more sustainable.
- James Galbraith suggests that the EU is guilty of gross malpractice in how it continues to treat Greece in the face of overwhelming public opposition to austerity. But as David Dayen points (Read more…)
It’s generally accepted in the scientific community that it takes one to several centuries, on average, for species to truly adapt to a 1 degree Celsius shift in temperature, up or down.
Look around today and you’ll see species “running” for their lives, continually migrating ever further away from the equatorial zone. Some species, particularly those that swim or fly, have a big advantage when it comes to migration. Plants aren’t quite so lucky yet it’s calculated that, in totality, they too are migrating at about 8-inches every year.
From my perch out here on the Pacific we see lots (Read more…)
Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada responds to the Encyclical released yesterday by Pope Francis, addressed not only to the world’s Catholics but to everyone on the planet. * Pope’s call to act on climate change must be heeded by Canadian Parliamentarians Inspired by Pope Francis’ challenge to care for creation and protect the poor, Conservatives, New […]
It’s no surprise that Pope Francis only gave PM Stephen Harper 10 minutes for his interview earlier this month. And no surprise he looked constipated in his photo op with the Prime Minister. Ten minutes with Harper would freeze the bowels of anyone concerned about global warming, and, unlike the recalcitrant Harper, the Pope is very concerned indeed.
In his encyclical released today, he called
In silver lining news: the latest report from the U.S. National Park Service has found that increases in global temperature could boost tourism traffic to national parks from Alaska to Guam.
The report, released this week in the open access journal PLoS ONE, compared historical monthly mean air temperature information with data on park visitation between 1979 and 2013 at 340 parks. The team, led by natural resource scientist Nicholas Fisichelli, then contrasted projected future visitations between 2041 and 2060 with two climate-warming scenarios.
The result? Warmer temperatures put people in the mood to get outside. Visitation to America’s national parks (Read more…)
When we think of climate change, the first things that may come to mind are our increasingly violent storms and melting Arctic ice. Another, of course, is drought and its ever-widening destructive swath. It is the latter that has led to a new threat: The world’s largest underground aquifers – a source of fresh water for hundreds of millions of people — are being depleted at alarming rates, according to new NASA satellite data that provides the most detailed picture yet of vital water reserves hidden under the Earth’s surface.
Twenty-one of the world’s 37 largest aquifers — in (Read more…)
“The Earth’s climate does not care if you are a Democrat or a Republican… Climate change will affect all Americans.” Bill Moyers interviewed Tony Leiserowitz from the Yale Project on Climate Communication about making climate change an urgent issue for politicians to act on. * Yale Project on Climate Change Communication
As you may know Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change has been leaked to the media before its scheduled release on Thursday. Pope Francis will this week call for changes in lifestyles and energy consumption to avert the “unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem” before the end of this century, according to a leaked draft of a papal encyclical. In a document released by an Italian magazine on Monday, the pontiff will warn that failure to act would have “grave consequences for all of us”.And not only is it a clear attempt to steal his thunder.Even more ominously, (Read more…)
Chris Hedges explains:
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Despite the over-generalization of my title, it is clear to me that many of rich really are different from the rest of us, not just in terms of their material status, but in the away they relate to the world around them. Yet they fail to recognize their spiritual aridity.
In Matthew, 19:24, Jesus says: “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Now, while some interpret that strictly to mean entering heaven, progressive theologians such as (Read more…)
Some fun the week before Pope Francis releases his much-anticipated encyclical on the environment. * Why the climate is such a hot topic for Pope Francis Angry US Republicans tell Pope Francis to ‘stick with his job and we’ll stick with ours