Thursday, November 21, 2013

For a Left Strategy on Climate Change

The Editors
November 2013

There is a pressing need for a coherent left strategy on climate change and in relation to the planetary environmental threat in general. The current scientific consensus indicates that we have at best several decades before the earth’s average surface temperature rises by 2°C, viewed as the point of irreversible climate change. This means that decisive action must be taken quickly if the world is not to go off the planetary climate cliff.

We therefore read with considerable interest Christian Parenti’s article, “A Radical Approach to the Climate Crisis” in the Summer 2013 issue of Dissent. Parenti’s main thesis is that since the time with which to address the climate change problem is so short, “it is this society and these [existing capitalist] institutions that must cut emissions. That means, in the short-term, realistic climate politics are reformist politics, even if they are conceived of as part of a longer-term anti-capitalist project of total economic re-organization.”

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thompson, William Morris and Ecosocialist Tasks

By Rafael Bernabe
Nov./Dec., 2013

AS I LOOK back on E.P. Thomp­son’s work and the impact it had on me, his biography of William Morris — William Morris, From Romantic to Revolutionary (1977) — stands out brighter than all other texts, including his deservedly acclaimed The Formation of the English Working Class.

It was the genius of William Morris to prefigure and express many concerns that today must be part of an ecosocialist synthesis, and it was the genius of E.P. Thompson to detect the originality and relevance of this 19th century poet, craftsman, designer, conservationist and socialist for the present.

Ecosocialism today, as the term indicates, implies a fusion of ecological and anti-capitalist perspectives. To be truly meaningful, this encounter must be not a mere mechanical addition, but a transformative integration: neither partner can or should emerge the same from the encounter.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Canada reveals climate stance with praise for Australian carbon tax repeal

Canada discourages other industrialised nations from following through on their own climate change commitments

Suzanne Goldenberg 

US environment correspondent
Wednesday 13 November 2013

A protester holds a placard during a rally in Sydney against carbon tax. Photograph: Greg Wood/AFP/Getty

Canada has dropped any remaining pretences of supporting global action on climate change by urging other countries to follow Australia's example in gutting its climate plan.

In a formal statement, the Canadian government said it "applauds" the move by Australia this week to repeal a carbon tax on the country's 300 biggest polluters.

"Canada applauds the decision by prime minister Abbott to introduce legislation to repeal Australia's carbon tax. The Australian prime minister's decision will be noticed around the world and sends an important message," the formal statement from Paul Calandra, parliamentary secretary to Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, said.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Capitalism and the destruction of life on earth: Six theses on saving the humans

By Richard Smith
Real World Economics Review, Issue 64, July, 2013

‘Today, the world’s richest 1% own 40 percent of the world’s wealth. Tell me again where Karl Marx was wrong?’

When, on May 10, 2013, scientists at Mauna Loa Observatory on the big island of Hawaii announced that global CO2 emissions had crossed a threshold at 400 parts per million for the first time in millions of years, a sense of dread spread around the world – not only among climate scientists.

CO2 emissions have been relentlessly climbing since Charles David Keeling first set up his tracking station near the summit of Mauna Loa Observatory in 1958 to monitor average daily global CO2 levels. At that time, CO2 concentrations registered 315ppm. CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations have been climbing ever since and, as the records show, temperatures rises will follow. For all the climate summits, the promises of “voluntary restraint,” the carbon trading and carbon taxes, the growth of CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations has not just been relentless, it has been accelerating in what scientists have dubbed the “Keeling Curve.”

Read more HERE.

As COP19 Gets Underway: Time for a Revolution to Save Ourselves from Fossil Fuel

By Glenn Ashton
The South African Civil Society Information Service
12 Nov 2013

Picture credit: cuipo

This week the latest round of climate negotiations, the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) is meeting in Warsaw Poland, to grapple with the stalled Climate Change Convention. At the opening of the conference Dr Alicia Illinga, a Filipina delegate highlighted how her country had already been hit by 22 typhoons this year. The devastating Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful typhoon to have ever made landfall, hit the Philippines on the eve of the conference, causing over 10 000 fatalities and affecting up to 10 million people. Climate change is implicated in these events, despite ill-informed denials. Natural weather disaster costs are at record levels. So why are we so slow to take action on climate change?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt

Is our relentless quest for economic growth killing the planet? Climate scientists have seen the data – and they are coming to some incendiary conclusions.


Is our relentless quest for economic growth killing the planet? Climate scientists have seen the data – and they are coming to some incendiary conclusions.

Waste land: large-scale irrigation strips nutrients from the soil, scars the landscape and could alter climatic conditions beyond repair. Image: Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto/ Flowers, London, Pivot Irrigation #11 High Plains, Texas Panhandle, USA (2011)

In December 2012, a pink-haired complex systems researcher named Brad Werner made his way through the throng of 24,000 earth and space scientists at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held annually in San Francisco. This year’s conference had some big-name participants, from Ed Stone of Nasa’s Voyager project, explaining a new milestone on the path to interstellar space, to the film-maker James Cameron, discussing his adventures in deep-sea submersibles.