Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: Arun Gupta on climate catastrophism and building a climate movement

This will be a weekend of global climate activism. Marches and forums are planned around the world, with the largest set for New York City: the three-day Climate Convergence and the People’s Climate March on Sunday expected to draw hundreds of thousands. I spoke with Arun Gupta, co-founder of The Indypendent, author and journalist living in NYC for a critical but constructive take on the weekend’s events and climate politics more generally.

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/podcast-140919-arun-gupta-climate-march.mp3

As part of the Convergence, Arun is organizing a panel titled “Apocalypse How? Climate Change, the Political-Economy of Energy, and Reigniting the Radical (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Umut Oszu contrasts the impoverished conception of rights being pushed thanks to the Cons’ highly politicized museum against the type of rights we should be demanding: In their modern incarnation, human rights were fashioned after the Second World War and entered into widespread circulation in the 1970s and 80s, when they came to be deployed by Western governments and non-governmental organizations as part of a Cold War “battle of ideas.” Designed in predominantly civil and political rather than social and economic terms, the rhetoric of human rights has since been mobilized to (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Shove Down. We Need to Set a Lot More Places at the Table.

It seemed like a grim consolation prize in the global overpopulation sweepstakes, the notion that mankind’s numbers would peak at somewhere in the vicinity of 9-billion before eventually ebbing to a more sustainable level.

Well, so much for that.

A new study says we’re heading for 11-billion by 2100 and it could just keep going up after that.

A ground-breaking analysis released on Thursday shows there is a 70% chance that the number of people on the planet will rise continuously from 7bn today to 11bn in 2100.The work overturns 20 years of consensus that global population, and (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Shove Down. We Need to Set a Lot More Places at the Table.

Politics and its Discontents: And Speaking of Disappearances…

It seems like the silence over the disappearing Environment Canada committee discussed in my previous post may have had its precedent set back in 2012, when another strange silence was orchestrated over another disappearance.

Margaret Munro, in The Ottawa Citizen, reports new evidence of the Harper regime suppressing information Canadians have a right to by muzzling our federal scientists. In 2012, the amount of Arctic ice hit its lowest level ever, and Canadian Ice Service scientists wanted to tell us about it, to warn us of its implications. [Leah] Braithwaite and her colleagues — aware of the national and international (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: No Surprise Here- An Update

Tuesday’s post discussed the apparent disappearance of a committee made up of representatives from Environment Canada, the Alberta government and oil and gas companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the tarsands. Investigative reporter Mike De Souza provides important new information about this committee on his website.

Putting the heat on Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq in the House of Commons, NDP environment critic Megan Leslie suggested it is time for the Harper regime to stop stalling:

“After seven years of the government’s broken promises to introduce greenhouse gas rules for the oil and gas sector Canadians are still waiting,” Leslie (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Another Part of the Puzzle – Our Warming Oceans

The playpen of climate change denialists is on temperature change.  They like to cherry pick statistics, sweep the bulk of the data under the carpet, and declare that global warming has stopped.

Not so fast.

Here’s an example of what the denialist mantra carefully omits.

This is a depiction of what’s happening in the  North Pacific and Bering Sea.  The red areas such as the Bering Sea are up to 3 degrees Celsius warmer than normal. From the US Pacific Northwest along British Columbia up to the Gulf of Alaska it’s 2-3C warmer.

As I’ve written several times before (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- In a theme all too familiar based on Brad Wall’s use of millions of public dollars to pay for access to U.S. lawmakers, Simon Enoch discusses the connections between Wall and ALEC: Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough is both a member and State corporate co-chair the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). You might know ALEC as the United States’ premier “corporate bill mill.” ALEC has also been characterized by the New York Times as a “stealth business lobbyist” and as a “bill laundry” for corporate policy ideas by Bloomberg BusinessWeek.…Some of (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Meet The Newest Inductee Into Harper’s Enemies List

Warning to Harper Conservatives: If you see this man, do not approach. He is considered armed with charisma and passion for the environment that could be very dangerous to your leader.

Last known Canadian sighting: Fort McMurray.

Known Associates: Environmental radicals.

Here is an example of DiCaprio’s attempts at subverting the Canadian economy:

And please remember:

Recommend this Post

350 or bust: The Fossil Fuel Industry is Making a Killing

Politics and its Discontents: No Surprise Here – Part Two

Given Stephen Harper’s most recent demonstrated indifference to climate change, I report the following with no surprise, only a degree of tired resignation:

Environment Canada appears to have quietly ended key discussions that were intended to tackle carbon pollution from the oil and gas industry.

A committee made up of representatives from Environment Canada, the Alberta government and oil and gas companies was created in the fall of 2011 to develop options to reduce industrial greenhouse gases from the oilsands sector, the country’s fastest growing source of carbon emissions.

But the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), which was part (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- In the context of Scotland’s referendum on independence, Polly Toynbee reminds us why fragmentation can only serve to exacerbate inequality – a lesson worth keeping in mind as the Cons look to devolve responsibility for taxation and public services in Canada: What’s to be done? The answer from all sides is “localism”. Westminster’s monstrous hegemony must be broken up with devolution. If Scotland goes, rump UK will be bereft and depleted. But if Scotland stays, monumental home-rule promises made in the last week’s panic will offer Scotland immense tax, spending and borrowing (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Texas Brainwashing Youth

Well I guess North Korea doesn’t have a monopoly on this any more.

The great state of Texas wants to implant lies in the minds of its youngsters.

Texas has proposed re-writing school text books to incorporate passages denying the existence of climate change and promoting the discredited views of an ultra-conservative think tank.

The proposed text books …were already attracting criticism when it emerged that the science section had been altered to reflect the doctrine of the Heartland Institute, which has been funded by the Koch oil billionaires.

In the proposed 6th grade texts, students were introduced to global (Read more…)

A Different Point of View....: 200,000 protesters won’t stop corporations from dominating UN

The United Nations will host dozens of governments, corporations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) during a one-day Climate Summit 2014 in New York on September 23rd but, alas, according to scientists and environmentalists, the meeting will deal mainly with only one limited way of fighting climate change.

In recent years the UN has proven incapable of playing an important role in slowing world climate change in a meaningful way, and is not practically dictated to by a powerful lobby.

“On the climate issue, the world’s biggest corporate polluters and pushers of unsustainable rates of consumption are hell bent on maintaining ‘business (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: There’s This Story Making the Rounds…

It’s an item from Reuters that has been picked up by a number of newspapers, including The Globe & Mail.  It concerns a study that found one species of algae has managed to adapt fairly quickly to warming and more acidic oceans.

What’s interesting is that the authors of the study went to great lengths to point out the limits of their discovery and to stress that this wasn’t some sort of “all clear” on either the warming or acidification of our oceans.  Having noted that, the reporter went on to simply ignore the cautions and proclaim some sort of (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: How South Americans are Killing Their Environment

In some places, cutting down trees can have huge consequences.  In South America, the impacts are especially far-reaching.  Deforestation has picked up again in the Amazon.  That, in turn, is causing havoc to the region’s hydrological cycle, triggering severe drought.

The unprecedented drought now affecting São Paulo, South America’s giant metropolis, is believed to be caused by the absence of the “flying rivers” − the vapour clouds from the Amazon that normally bring rain to the centre and south of Brazil.Some Brazilian scientists say the absence of rain that has dried up rivers and reservoirs in central and southeast (Read more…)

350 or bust: Climate Disruption: Why Do We Do So Little When We Know So Much?

* This weekend in New York City, and at solidarity events around the globe, the People’s Climate March:

350 or bust: Take Time To Renew Your Spirit

Politics and its Discontents: On Harper’s True Loyalties

In response to yesterday’s post about Stephen Harper’s boycott of a major climate change summit hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York on September 23, Anon wrote the following, and offered this video which, I think you will agree, is a most appropriate choice:

Harper, early on, seemed to care about human rights and UN initiatives:

“‘I think Canadians want us to promote our trade relations worldwide, and we do that, but I don’t think Canadians want us to sell out important Canadian values,’ Harper said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao won’t meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: No Surprise Here

Rather typical, wouldn’t you say?UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is hosting a major climate summit in New York on September 23, “to mobilize political will” towards reducing global emissions.

U.S. President Barack Obama will be attending, as will U.K. Prime Minster David Cameron.

In fact, 125 heads of state will be there.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, however, will not. And please remember:

This message not brought to you by the Committee to Re-elect Stephen Harper.

Recommend this Post

The Disaffected Lib: Naomi Klein’s Confession – Is It Yours, Too?

In the run-up to the release of her new book, “This Changes Everything,” Naomi Klein has come clean.  For far too long she was in what she describes as a “soft denial” about climate change.  Does this sound familiar?

“A great many of us engage in this kind of denial.  We look for a split second and then we look away.  Or maybe we really do look, but then we forget.  We engage in this odd form of on-again-off-again ecological amnesia for perfectly rational reasons.  We deny because we fear that letting in the full reality of this (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- James Meek observes that decades of privatization in the UK have eliminated public control over housing and other essential services – and that privatization takes far more forms than we’re accustomed to taking into consideration. And Rick Salutin offers his take on the latter point: Economist Mariana Mazzucato’s new book, The Entrepreneurial State, takes a bold step in “debunking” this fake construct. (Steve Paikin interviewed her on TVO this week.) She doesn’t just argue that public spending (on defence) was crucial in basic advances like computers and the Internet. That’s (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Climate Change Defence. District Attorney Drops Charges Against Anti-Coal Protesters.

In May, 2013, Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara used their lobster boat to block a  ship carrying a load of coal for a power plant in Somerset, Massachusetts.  At trial the pair intended to argue a form of the defence of necessity.  They planned to argue that coal burning worsens the climate change that threatens our planet.

Only they didn’t get their day in court.

Instead, the district attorney, Sam Sutter, dropped the charges.  Outside the courthouse Sutter explained, “Climate change is one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced.  In my humble opinion, the political leadership (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: What Happens When Earth Says, "I’m Outta Here."

Earth may have had just about enough of us.

One indication that we may be outstaying our planetary welcome is the spike in atmospheric greenhouse gases in 2013.  Part of that reflects our increased use of fossil fuels.  The other part is more worrisome by an order of magnitude.

The Earth, it seems, may have had its fill of absorbing our emissions.

Concentrations of nearly all the major greenhouse gases reached historic highs in 2013, reflecting ever-rising emissions from automobiles and smokestacks but also, scientists believe, a diminishing ability of the world’s oceans and plant life to soak up the (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Charlie’s War

Saw “Charlie Wilson’s War” [8/10] which explains the background behind the Soviet’s failure in Afghanistan, and paved the way for the Taliban to later take over. Today I saw “Cars 2″ [6/10] which explains why we have people focused on fossil fuel vehicles.

Each somewhat ties into the 10 year old book I’m reading, Power Down, which has theories on economic declines, including the US and USSR. The Soviet’s oil production, and America’s have slowed economic growth for each, leading to predictable collapses.

The Disaffected Lib: Sometimes In Life, It’s the Little Things That Matter

It’s really a little thing.  A little worse.  A little more frequent.  A little longer lasting.  A little more severe.  A little more damaging.

That’s the face of early onset climate change. It’s the face of severe weather events of increasing frequency, intensity and duration.  It’s weather made a little worse, a little more often, a little longer.  Yet it is, indeed, the little things that can really matter.

A little heavier rain, an extra day or two, once or twice more often per month. The thing is, all these little things add up and they multiply the overall impact (Read more…)