David Anderson, Pratap Antony, Ugo Bardi, Dr Glen Barry, Cecile Blanchet, Robert J Burrowes, Tony Cartalucci, Guy Crequie, Finian Cunningham, Marianne de Nazareth, Timothy H. Dixon, Lois Gibbs, John Hocevar, Jay Janson, Andrew Korybko, Reynard Loki, Jared Margolis, Robert McSweeney, Moon Of Alabama, Lauren Pezzullo, John Pilger, Dr Gideon Polya, K N Ramachandran, Robin Scher, RI Staff, Brandon Turbeville, Teresita Morán Valcheff, Lucy Goodchild Van Hilten, Jennifer Weeks.
David Anderson, An Inherent Ecocidal Death Wish Of Humanity.
Pratap Antony, Consuming Passions And Environment.
Ugo Bardi Make The Anthill Great Again! The Ant Colony And The Human Ones.
Dr Glen Barry, The Death of Gaia.
Cecile Blanchet, Is Renewable Energy A Commons?
Robert J Burrowes, Truth or Delusion?
Tony Cartalucci, Independent Journalists Reveal America’s Sinister War in Syria.
Guy Crequie, LA GRAVE DECISION DU PRESIDENT AMERICAIN : DONALD TRUMP DE RETIRER SA SIGNATURE DE LA COP 21 ! THE SERIOUS DECISION OF THE US PRESIDENT: DONALD TRUMP TO WITHDRAW SA SIGNATURE OF THE COP 21!
Finian Cunningham, Macron’s ‘Fake News’ Swipe Belies His Ambition For French-Russian Relations.
Marianne de Nazareth, Why Is India Lagging Behind In Tapping Solar Power?
Timothy H. Dixon, The Hidden Costs of Sea Level Rise.
Lois Gibbs, Fight Back for Energy Independence Over Corporate Profits.
John Hocevar, BP and Total's Drilling Plans Threaten Permanent Damage to Unique Amazon Reef.
Jay Janson, Every GI Who Invaded Vietnam, Iraq, etc. Was A Criminal By International Law & US Army’s Own Law.
Andrew Korybko, The Chinese-Indian New Cold War.
Jared Margolis, Lawsuit Expands to Highlight Keystone XL's Threats to Endangered Species.
Reynard Loki, Trump Pulls Out of Paris Agreement, Endangering Future Generations and the Planet.
Robert McSweeney, A Pacific Ocean Shift Could See 1.5°C Limit Breached Within a Decade.
Moon Of Alabama, The GCC States Led By Saudi Arabia Will Collapse Into Oblivion.
Lauren Pezzullo, How Do You Change America’s Energy Makeup? Ask Women.
John Pilger, Cause and Effect: John Pilger on Terror in Britain.
Dr Gideon Polya, Climate Criminal Trump America Contributes 20% Of World’s Annual Carbon Debt Increase.
K N Ramachandran, Fighting For Alternate Development Paradigm While Condemning US Withdrawal From Paris Accord.
Robin Scher, 80% of Urban Areas Have Unhealthy Amounts of Air Pollution.
RI Staff, Putin Tells Beijing Forum: The Future Belongs to Eurasia
Brandon Turbeville, Syria’s Assad Just Explained How The U.S. Really Works.
Teresita Morán Valcheff, AL ENCUENTRO DE LA PAZ LA REUNION DE LA PAIX REUNIAO DA PAZ THE MEETING OF PEACE
Lucy Goodchild Van Hilten, Bread Really Is Unhealthy—at Least for the Environment.
Jennifer Weeks, Protecting Endangered Species: 6 Essential Reads.
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|May 16, 2017||
Putin Tells Beijing Forum: The Future Belongs to Eurasia.
by RI Staff, Information Clearing House
Putin: "Greater Eurasia is not an abstract geopolitical arrangement but, without exaggeration, a truly civilisation-wide project looking toward the future"
By RI Staff
May 16, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - Russia's President Vladimir Putin spoke at the opening of the One Belt, One Road international forum in Beijing on Sunday. The two-day summit will focus on China's Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
In his address, Putin welcomed China’s One Belt, One Road initiative and stressed that Russia is committed to working with its regional partners to forge a new "political and economic landscape of the continent and bring peace, stability, prosperity and a new quality of life to Eurasia ... Greater Eurasia is not an abstract geopolitical arrangement but, without exaggeration, a truly civilisation-wide project looking toward the future".
Highlights from his speech:
This article was first published by RI
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.
|May 27, 2017||
Syria’s Assad Just Explained How The U.S. Really Works.
by Brandon Turbeville, Information Clearing House
" - While Americans endlessly battle each other over seemingly important choices like Clinton and Trump or Democrats and Republicans, it is clear that the majority of the population has little understanding of how the U.S. government operates. Yet, for those who pay the price for the apathy and confusion of the general population of the West, it often becomes stunningly obvious that neither presidents nor political parties in America represent any discernible difference in the ongoing agenda of the Deep State and the rest of the oligarchical apparatus. Indeed, that agenda always marches forward regardless of who is president or which political party is in control.
Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad has thus had the unique position of not only being on the receiving end of American imperialism by virtue of not only being a citizen of a target country but also by being the head of the country, steeped in politics in his own right and thus understanding how certain factors come into play at the national level.
With that in mind, it is worth pointing out a recent statement made by Assad during the course of an interview regarding the opinion of the Syrian government on Donald Trump. Assad stated,
Assad also addressed the Western media’s portrayal of him as a “devil” who kills and oppresses his own people. He stated,
When asked about the allegations made by the United States that the Syrian government has retained some stocks of chemical weapons, Assad responded by saying,
One can scarcely argue with Assad’s portrayal of the U.S. government and the position of the presidency in 2017. After all, Donald Trump campaigned on keeping America out of foreign wars and the affairs of other countries as well as the WW3 policy of Hillary Clinton. However, not even four months into his presidency, Trump launched 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria and the United States struck a Syrian military convoy en route to liberate the southeast of the country from terrorists only days ago. The Trump administration has repeatedly pushed the envelope even further in Syria and provoked fears that the U.S. aggression in the region and in Asia could result in a confrontation with a nuclear power much in the same way that Hillary Clinton advocated for during the campaign.
While Americans remain more divided than ever and as they ceaselessly argue over which party and political figurehead is better, the war machine marches onward not only in Syria but also in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. If Americans are not capable of understanding that there is more to the system in which they live than two pathetic political parties and clownish presidential personalities, that war machine will march itself clear across the globe until it comes back home.
The transcript of the interview with Bashar al-Assad is included below in this article. Assad addresses the United States involvement in the Syrian crisis, the Israeli role, and the attempt to destabilize Venezuela.
teleSUR (TS): Mr. President, thank you for receiving us.
President Bashar al-Assad (BA): I welcome you and teleSUR TV in Syria. You are welcome.
TS: Let’s start directly with the latest developments. Russia has warned that there might be other alleged chemical attacks. What are the precautionary measures that Syria has taken in order to prevent that?
BA: First of all, terrorists have used chemical materials more than once in the past several years and in more than one region throughout Syria. We have asked the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to send specialized missions to investigate what happened. And every time, the United States obstructed these investigations or prevented sending such missions in order to carry out such investigations. This is what happened last week when we called for investigations over the alleged use of chemical weapons in the town of Khan Sheikhoun. The United States and its allies prevented OPCW from taking that decision. As far as we are concerned, we still insist on an investigation, and we and our Russian and Iranian allies are trying to persuade OPCW to send a team to investigate what happened, because if it doesn’t, the United States might repeat the same charade by fabricating the use of false chemical weapons in another place in Syria in order to justify military intervention in support of the terrorists. On the other hand, we continue to fight the terrorists, because we know that the objective of all these American and Western allegations concerning chemical weapons is to support terrorists in Syria. That’s why we will continue to fight these terrorists.
TS: But the Pentagon says that Syria has chemical weapons. Is it true that Syria has kept one percent of the weapons it has committed itself to hand over and destroy four years ago?
BA: You and I remember well what happened in 2003, when Colin Powell showed the world in the United Nations what he claimed to be the evidence which proves that President Saddam Hussein possessed chemical, nuclear, and other weapons. However, when the American forces invaded Iraq, it was proven that all he said was a lie. Powell himself admitted that the American intelligence agencies deceived him with that false evidence. That wasn’t the first nor will it be the last time. This means that if you want to be a politician in the United States, you have to be a genuine liar. This is what characterizes American politicians: they lie on a daily basis, and say something and do something different. That’s why we shouldn’t believe what the Pentagon, or any other American institution says, because they say things which serve their policies, not things which reflect reality and the facts on the ground.
TS: What is the objective behind Syria’s desire to acquire the latest generation of anti-missile systems from Russia?
BA: We are already in a state of war with Israel; and Israel has been committing aggressions on the Arab states surrounding it since its creation in 1948. So, it’s natural that we should have such systems. However, the terrorists, acting on Israeli, American, Turkish, Qatari, and Saudi instructions have destroyed some of these systems. And it is natural for us to negotiate with the Russians now with a view to strengthening these systems, whether to face any Israeli threats from the air or the threats of American missiles. That has become a real possibility after the recent American aggression on al-Shairat airbase in Syria.
TS: What is the role that Israel, in particular, has played in this war against Syria? We know that Israeli attacks against the positions of the Syrian Arab Army have continued in recent weeks.
BA: It is playing this role in different forms; first, by direct aggression, particularly by using warplanes, artillery, or missiles against Syrian Army positions. Second, it is supporting terrorists in two ways: first by providing direct support in the form of weapons, and second by providing logistic support, i.e. allowing them to conduct military exercises in the areas it controls. It also provides them with medical assistance in its hospitals. These are not mere claims or assumptions. They are facts, verified and published on the internet which you can easily access as proven evidence of the Israeli role in support of the terrorists in Syria.
TS: How do you assess the current policy of Donald Trump in the world, and in Syria in particular?
BA: The American President has no policies. There are policies drawn by the American institutions which control the American regime which are the intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, the big arms and oil companies, and financial institutions, in addition to some other lobbies which influence American decision-making. The American President merely implements these policies, and the evidence is that when Trump tried to move on a different track, during and after his election campaign, he couldn’t. He came under a ferocious attack. As we have seen in the past few week, he changed his rhetoric completely and subjected himself to the terms of the deep American state, or the deep American regime. That’s why it is unrealistic and a complete waste of time to make an assessment of the American President’s foreign policy, for he might say something; but he ultimately does what these institutions dictate to him. This is not new. This has been ongoing American policy for decades.
TS: The American administration has opened a new front now with North Korea. Is it possible that this will affect the current American approach towards Syria?
BA: No, the United States always seeks to control all the states of the world without exception. It does not accept allies, regardless of whether they are developed states as those in the Western bloc, or other states of the world. Every state should be an American satellite. That is why what is happening to Syria, to Korea, to Iran, to Russia, and maybe to Venezuela now, aims at re-imposing American hegemony on the world, because they believe that this hegemony is under threat now, which consequently threatens the interests of American economic and political elites.
TS: Russia’s role in the Syrian conflict is very clear; but what is the role of China, this other great global power?
BA: There is great cooperation with Russia and China in terms of political action or political positions. Viewpoints are similar, and there is cooperation in the Security Council. As you know, the United States and its allies have tried several times to use the Security Council in order to legitimize the role of the terrorists in Syria and to legitimize their role in the illegitimate and aggressive intervention in Syria. That’s why Russia and China stood together, and China’s role, with the Russian role, was essential in this regard.
Moreover, some of the terrorists are Chinese nationals who came to Syria through Turkey. They pose a threat to us in Syria, but they pose an equal threat to China. China is aware of the fact that terrorism in any place in the world moves to any other place; and consequently, whether these terrorists are of Chinese or any other nationality, they might return to China and strike there as they have done in Europe, in Russia, and in Syria. We are now cooperating with China on security issues.
TS: Western and American media talk now about moderate terrorists and extremist terrorists. In reality, is there a difference between the two groups?
BA: For them, a moderate terrorist is that who carries out acts of beheading and slaughter but without carrying al-Qaeda flag, or without saying “Allah Akbar,” while an extremist terrorist is that who carries the flag and says Allah Akbar when carrying out acts of beheading and slaughter. This is the only difference. For the United States, all those who serve its political agenda against other states are classified as moderate opposition and not as extremist and terrorist, even if they commit the worst acts of terrorism. They are freedom fighters and not fighters in the cause of destruction and sabotage.
TS: There have been six years of war in Syria. What is Syria’s position now, particularly in the absence of statistics about human losses?
BA: The most painful loss in any war is human loss, the suffering which is inflicted any family when it loses one of its members; for the whole family is scarred for life. This is the natural feeling in a region like ours, where family ties are very strong. Nothing compensates that loss, and nothing exceeds the pain it causes. There are of course huge economic and infrastructure losses, but this infrastructure has been built for a little over 50 years by Syrian hands, not foreign hands. And we have the capacity to rebuild this infrastructure. The same goes for the economy, for the Syrian economy is based on Syrian capabilities first and foremost; and our economic ties with the West have always been limited. When the war is over, it will all be rebuilt. We do not have a problem with that. It is true that it takes time, but it is not impossible. So, the greatest and most painful loss for Syria is the human loss.
TS: Of the 86 states constituting the alliance waging war on Syria, are there any that would take part in the process of reconstruction?
BA: No, of course not. First of all, they do not want to rebuild Syria, but some companies in those countries, if they see that the wheel of the economy and rebuilding has started to turn, and since they are opportunists, they are certainly prepared to come and have a share of rebuilding Syria in order to make money. The Syrian people will certainly not accept this. All the states which stood against the Syrian people and took part in the destruction and sabotage will never take part in rebuilding Syria. That is final.
TS: But how was life during these past six years in this besieged country?
BA: Life has certainly been tough to every Syrian citizen. The terrorists have destroyed the infrastructure. In certain areas, electricity is on for one or two hours, and there are areas in which there’s no electricity at all. There are areas in which electricity has been cut off for more than two or three years. People don’t know television, children do not go to school, there are no medical clinics or hospitals, and nobody treats the ill. They live a prehistoric existence thanks to the terrorists. There are areas which did not have water for years, like what happened in Aleppo, which did not have water for many long years. Sometimes, they use polluted water for drinking, washing up, and other purposes. Life has been very tough.
TS: One of the main targets during these years has been the person of Bashar al-Assad. Have you ever felt fear during these years?
BA: When you are in the middle of the war, you do not feel fear. I believe this is something common to all people. But you have a general concern for the homeland; for what is the value of being safe, as an individual, as a citizen, while the country is under threat? You cannot feel safe. I believe that the feeling we have in Syria in general is concern for the future of Syria rather than personal fear. The evidence is that mortar shells fall anywhere, on any house; nevertheless, you see that life continues in Syria. The will to life is much stronger than personal fear. As a President, I take strength from the feelings of the general public, not from my personal feelings. I do not live in isolation from the others.
TS: Western media have been waging a media campaign against you. Am I sitting now with this devil portrayed by the media?
BA: Yes, from a Western perspective, you are now sitting with the devil. This is how they market it in the West. But this is always the case when a state, a government, or an individual do not subjugate themselves to their interests, and do not work for their interests against the interests of their people. These have been the Western colonial demands throughout history. They say that this evil person is killing the good people. Okay, if he is killing the good people, who have been supporting him for the past six years? Neither Russia, nor Iran, nor any friendly state can support an individual at the expense of the people. This is impossible. If he is killing the people, how come the people support him? This is the contradictory Western narrative; and that’s why we shouldn’t waste our time on Western narratives because they have been full of lies throughout history, and not something new.
TS: What can Syria, too, do in order to put an end to this war ahead of the sixth round of Geneva talks?
BA: We said that there are two axes: the first is fighting the terrorists; and this is not subject to any discussion, and we don’t have any other choice in dealing with the terrorists except fighting them. The other axis, the political one, includes two points: first, dialogue with the different political forces over the future of Syria; and second: local reconciliations, in the sense that we negotiate with the terrorists in a certain village or city, depending on each case separately. The objective of this reconciliation is for them to lay down their weapons and receive an amnesty from the state, and consequently return to their normal life. This approach has been implemented during the past three or four years, has succeeded, and is ongoing now. These are the axes which we can work on in order to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.
TS: From the perspective of a country in a state of war, how do you see the situation in Latin America, particularly in Venezuela, where a number of acts very similar to those which caused the conflict in Syria have emerged?
BA: Of course, they should be similar, because the party planning and implementing these acts is the same. It is the United States as a maestro and the Western states constituting the choir. Latin America in general, and Venezuela in particular, used to be the backyard of the United States for decades. Through that backyard, Western states, particularly North America, or the United States, used to secure their economic interests through the influence of the big companies in your countries. Military or political coups in Latin America during the 1960s and the 1970s aimed at perpetuating American hegemony over the interests of your people. But Latin America freed itself during the past twenty years and gained its independent decision-making. Governments started defending the interests of their peoples, which is unacceptable to the United States. That’s why they are exploiting what’s happening in the world, starting with the orange revolution in Ukraine up to the recent coup there a few years ago, and what is taking place in the Arab countries, in Libya, Syria, Yemen and others, in order to implement it in Latin America. They started in Venezuela with the objective of overthrowing the national government, and it will spread over to other Latin American countries.
TS: Some people, particularly ordinary citizens in Latin America, think that a scenario similar to what’s happening in Syria could be repeated in Latin America. What do you think?
BA: This is true. That’s why I say since the party planning and implementing is the same, it’s natural that the scenario is not only similar, but identical. Some local elements might be different. In Syria, they said in the beginning that there were peaceful demonstrations, but in fact, when these peaceful demonstrations did not spread wide enough, they implanted individuals who fired on both sides, on the police and the demonstrations, and there were casualties. They started to say that the state is killing the people, and this scenario is being repeated everywhere. The same scenario will be repeated in Venezuela. That’s why the Venezuelan people have to be very careful. There is a difference between opposing the government and being against the homeland, a huge difference. On the other hand, no foreign state can be more concerned about Venezuela’s interests than the Venezuelan people themselves. Do not believe the West, for it’s not concerned either about human rights or about the interests of states. It is only concerned about the interests of part of the governing elites in its countries. And these governing elites are not necessarily politicians, they are economic companies too.
TS: I’m talking about Latin America, Venezuela, the Bolivarian Revolution which was your strong ally. How do you remember the late Hugo Chavez?
BA: President Chavez was a world-class distinguished personality. When we talk about Latin America, we immediately remember the late President Chavez and the late leader Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban Revolution. They are distinguished personalities who changed the face of Latin America. But of course the leader I knew personally and whom I met more than once and had a personal relationship with was President Chavez, when he visited us in Syria and I visited him in Venezuela. He visited us twice. When you meet him, you can tell that he is the son of the people. You do not feel that you are meeting a president or a politician, but a person who lived the suffering of his people. Everything he said, and every minute of his time, was about the details related to the people of his country. And when he talked with a head of another state, or an official from another state, he always thought of how to create common interests which reflect positively on his people. He was a real and strongly charismatic leader. And he was an extremely genuine person.
TS: They demonized Chavez before; and it is clear that it is Nicolas Maduro’s turn now.
BA: Of course, as long as President Maduro is walking the same patriotic line, the line of Venezuela’s independence, and acting in the best interest of his country’s people, it is natural that he should be the first target of the United States. This is self-evident.
TS: How does Bashar al-Assad envision the end of the war?
BA: Today, foreign intervention in Syria aside, the problem is not complicated, for the majority of the Syrians are tired of the war and want a solution. They want to return to safety and stability. There is a dialogue between us as Syrians, there are meetings, and people live with each other, i.e. there is no real barrier. The problem now is that with every step we make towards a solution and regaining stability, the terrorist gangs receive more money and weapons in order to blow the situation up. That’s why I can say that the solution should be stopping outside support to the terrorists. As far as we are concerned in Syria, reconciliation among all Syrians, and forgetting and forgiving all that happened in the past throughout this war, is the way to restore safety to Syria. Rest assured that Syria will be then much stronger than it was before the war.
TS: Are you prepared to have reconciliation with those who carried arms against the Syrian people?
BA: Of course, and this has actually happened in many and different places, and some of them have fought side by side with the Syrian Army, some fell martyrs, and some returned to their cities and live in the part under government control. We don’t have a problem. Tolerance is essential to end any war. And we are proceeding on that track.
TS: Mr. President, what is your message to Latin America and the world?
BA: Keep your independence. We, in the Arab region, are celebrating independence in more than one country. But this independence used to mean, in a number of countries in the region, the mere evacuation of occupying forces. But real independence happens when you are in possession of your national decision-making. For us, Latin America was a model of independence, in the sense that occupiers were evacuated, in case there were foreign forces, but at the same time there was national decision-making, openness, and democracy. You provided the world with an important model. So, keep it, because if the countries of the third and developing world wanted to develop, they should follow the model implemented in Latin America.
TS: Mr. President, thank you for giving teleSUR this interview, and thank you for your precious time and all the information that you have provided.
BA: Thank you for coming, and once again I welcome you in Damascus.
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books. Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.
|May 29, 2017||
Independent Journalists Reveal America’s Sinister War in Syria.
by Tony Cartalucci, Information Clearing House
Syria is not experiencing a “civil war.” It is being targeted by both proxy and direct military force organized by the United States and its allies for the explicit purpose of dividing and destroying yet another Middle Eastern nation.
Worse than that, the United States is employing tactics to transform Syria’s heterogeneous multi-ethnic and religious communities into segregated ghettos, and using this as a means of dividing and conquering the nation and even the region.
The US is also widely employing the abhorrent tactics of socioeconomic, psychological, and armed terrorism to break the Syrian people completely and absolutely.
Unlike in Libya and Iraq, however, US plans in Syria have been confounded. And because of this, ample time has elapsed for independent journalists to travel to, record, and report what is actually transpiring versus the intentional, malicious, and continuous lies told by the West’s mainstream media.
One of these journalists is Patrick Henningsen of 21st Century Wire, whose recent trip to Syria had him cross paths and interview others frequently visiting and sharing their experiences and findings from the besieged nation.
The picture painted is one that cannot be ignored.
For those who have already decided to believe the Western media based on “activist accounts,” the accounts provided during a recent audio interview published by 21st Century Wire is at least as equally compelling. However, for those who truly desire to discover the truth, critical thought and additional research will reveal the latter to be telling a truth consistently and intentionally obfuscated by the Western media.
Imperialism’s Fingerprints: Weaponized Ethnic-Segregation
In an interview with British journalist Tom Duggan, the process of terrorists from internationally designated terror organizations like Jabhat Al Nusra and the so-called “Islamic State” targeting communities along sectarian lines is described. While the Western media has confirmed the sectarian nature of the ongoing conflict, what Duggan and Henningsen’s accounts reveal is that Syria was multi-ethnic, with communities enjoying integration and diversity based first on being Syrian, then based on their respective religious and ethnic identities, long before the conflict began.
Intermarriage and sociopolitical exchanges were common before the conflict, and only since 2011 has ethnic and religious tensions begun to expose fault lines within communities based solely on fear created and perpetuated by foreign-backed terrorist organizations like Al Nusra and the Islamic State.
Pointed out was the fact that both US foreign policy regarding Syria and Al Nusra and the Islamic State’s goals, both aim to see a Syria divided along sectarian lines.
While Al Nusra and the Islamic State attempt to cut Syria’s sectarian-diverse communities up literally with bullets and blades, the US has repeatedly presented multiple maps over several years of Syria divided into sectarian-based micro-states – effectively eliminating Syria as a functioning and unified nation-state. While the US omits the “secret ingredient” to make its fictional maps a reality, it is demonstrably clear that terrorist organizations are the ones on the ground attempting to draw these new maps.
Libya – besieged, divided, and destroyed by US-led NATO aggression in 2011 – has suffered a similar fate and currently exists as a cautionary example of what may become of Syria should US plans succeed. Libya will no longer contest US special interests geopolitically or otherwise in its current form as a failed, divided, and destroyed state.
The premeditated and systematic nature of this attempted division and destruction of Syria matches verbatim the tactics employed for centuries by the British Empire – and before that – the Roman Empire.
It is a fundamental tactic not of humanitarian-motivated interventionists, but of imperialists. The crass nature of these tactics – simultaneously promoted by the West and designated terrorist organizations – explains why the Western media has attempted to portray Syria as ethnically and religiously divided before the conflict began, rather than as a process of intentional division and destruction unfolding as part of US foreign policy.
Similar tactics have been employed in Iraq as well, with much greater success. And even as far as Thailand in Southeast Asia, the groundwork is being laid for similar tactics to be employed to divide and weaken states targeted by Washington for regime change – highlighting the global nature of America’s neo-imperial proclivities.
Daily Terrorism Carried Out By “Rebels,” Not Against Them
While the Western media has flooded headlines for years regarding the alleged atrocities carried out by the Syrian government and its allies against so-called “moderate rebels,” it has muted coverage of atrocities committed in turn by militants fighting the Syrian government and its people. These accounts are muted, because while they are technically “reported,” the obvious nature of these atrocities is often glossed over – sometimes even spun or lionized – rather than presented in a the same straightforward manner accusations against Damascus are.
During Henningsen’s interview with Duggan, the destructive and indiscriminate nature of improvised artillery systems used by terrorists in Syria was described. The narrative is one that equals any tale of “barrel bombs” employed by the Syrian government – perhaps even surpassing them – because while the Western media claims the Syrian government is using helicopters to drop ordnance into areas using direct line of sight, improvised artillery used by terrorists called “hell cannons” do not have direct line of sight to their targets.
This means that those using hell cannons have no way of knowing who, or even what they are hitting. They are blindly firing canisters full of deadly shrapnel – according to Western reports – up to a mile away.
The Daily Mail would describe the hell cannon as:
The hell cannon could only ever be used as an absolutely indiscriminate weapon. With no way to reliably aim it, and no way to know definitively where rounds are landing, the result is predictable mayhem brought upon government forces and innocent civilians alike. With the vast majority of those living down range from the terrorists’ hell cannons being civilians, not soldiers, the likelihood of innocent people being maimed or killed by them is much higher. Syrian rebels strike back with the HELL CANNON: Aleppo fighters build devastating homemade weapon that shoots propane gas cylinders,” five minutes of critical thought will lead them to this conclusion.
Those operating among the West’s media – trained in journalism and in reporting events – when writing articles like those appearing in the Daily Mail, are thus making the conscious decision to intentionally, maliciously, and continuously lie regarding the methods and means used by terrorists they repeatedly refer to as “moderate rebels.” The double standards illustrated by the Daily Mail alone regarding “barrel bombs” versus “hell cannons” indicates concerted and serial attempts to misinform audiences and manipulate public perception.
Similar revelations are revealed during Henningsen’s interview with Duggan regarding the terrorists’ use of hospitals, schools, and mosques as military centers – knowing full well that any attempt by Damascus and its allies to target them would be politically exploited by their Western sponsors both from behind the podiums of public offices and within press rooms across the West.
Perhaps most ironic of all – is that US operations in Syria allegedly targeting terrorists, when hospitals, schools, and mosques are hit – produce admissions from across the Western media that – indeed – terrorists are using such facilities as military bases – admissions the Western media refused to make during the Syrian government’s operations to retake cities like Homs, Hama, and Aleppo.
Keeping an Open Mind
For those attempting to make sense of Syria’s ongoing conflict, or any other conflict being reported on by the Western media – the deep and concerted conspiracy that surrounded the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 alone should provide pause for thought before unquestioningly believing narratives produced from these same collection of Western media sources regarding other conflicts.
There are alternative organizations and media platforms operating in Syria, producing videos, audio interviews, and pages of information on a daily basis giving alternative insight into the conflict that people around the world can watch, listen to, and read. While no one is bound to believe Western or alternative narratives – for those genuinely pursing the truth – both need to be considered, researched, and vetted factually, rationally, and within a historical and logical context.
Narratives of a “humanitarian” motivated West seeking to end conflict and bring a brighter future to Syria simply does not add up in any context.
The special interests promoting regime change in Syria have a decades-long track record of deceiving the public, dividing and destroying nations, and leaving a path of destruction cutting across entire regions of the planet. While Western audiences are tempted to believe Western narratives regarding Syria in pursuit of US-backed regime change, nations like Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Ukraine smolder in the ruination of Western military intervention. By adding up the big picture, it is clear that alternative media sources are providing invaluable insight into global conflict the Western media has systematically and intentionally covered up for years.
Shifting in the minds of the global public the perceived reputation of Western media organizations versus their demonstrated serial deceptions is the first step toward truly ending conflicts like that raging in Syria, and truly bringing peace and a better future to the people trapped within these conflicts.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
This article was first published by NEO -
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.
|May 31, 2017||
Macron’s ‘Fake News’ Swipe Belies His Ambition For French-Russian Relations.
by Finian Cunningham, Information Clearing House
-The fact Russian President Vladimir Putin was the first foreign head of state invited by newly elected French leader Emmanuel Macron speaks volumes of a desire to reset frayed relations between the two countries. Their meeting meeting began with a cordial handshake and continued in the same vein for most of their subsequent joint news conference. It was only at the end that Macron slipped into an acrimonious tirade, accusing Russian news media of acting as fake news outlets against his election campaign. That wobble aside, the overall thrust was the new French president having an ambitious eye on a bigger priority – “strengthening partnership with Russia.”
After US President Donald Trump’s rancorous meetings with European leaders last week there seems to be a renewed push for the European Union to find a more independent position from Washington. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s call this week deprecated the United States as no longer a reliable ally.
Macron’s outreach to Moscow seems to be part of this emerging trend for Europe to chart a freer path toward Russia.
Barely three weeks after winning the French presidency, Macron hosted Putin at the Palace of Versailles, near Paris. To get the meeting set up so quickly Macron’s election team reportedly invited the Russian president the day after the election on May 7.
The haste in inviting Putin shows Macron is keen to restore friendly relations with Russia – relations that had badly deteriorated under his predecessor Francois Hollande who followed a futile policy ordained from Washington of trying to isolate Russia internationally.
At age 39 Macron is nothing if not ambitious. His meteoric rise from being a Rothschild investment banker to become economy minister in the Hollande government, then resigning that post to set up his own political party in time to win the presidential election, points to a man who is an agile operator.
During the election campaign, he presented himself as a leader who would be tough in dealing with Russia. Unlike chief opponent Marine Le Pen who expressed markedly pro-Russian views, Macron projected an image of standing up to Russia on geopolitical matters.
His invitation to greet Putin this week is hardly a sign of a sudden conversion to detente. Macron is being pragmatic and ambitious. He said that nothing could be achieved internationally without engaging with Russia.
By engaging with Putin at the earliest opportunity, Macron is carving his image as a strong world statesman.
Last week during the NATO and G7 summits in Europe it was telling how Macron sought to establish himself as a formidable leader. His deliberate show of strength in the vice-like handshake with US President Trump, to the preferential embrace of Germany’s Angela Merkel leaving Trump momentarily in the lurch, were all subtle signs that Macron is intent on “making France great again."
When he greeted Putin, there were no antics of power-play handshakes. There was nevertheless plenty of symbolism on display.
Strolling through the 17th Century Versailles Palace, Macron repeatedly referred to the historical and cultural bonds between France and Russia.
“History is greater than any of us,” said the French president during the news conference. That was evidently meant to signify long-term mutual relations between France and Russia being more important than short-term political differences.
The official occasion for their meeting was to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the visit to Versailles by Peter the Great in 1717, the Russian Czar who is lauded for introducing modernizing reforms to his country. Macron implied that the czar’s historic visit to France was a one-way learning process, with Russia benefiting from French enlightenment.
When it came to Putin’s turn to address the news conference, he too acknowledged the wealth of common cultural heritage, but he reminded his French host that before Peter the Great’s visit, Russia’s Queen Anne famously bequeathed France with much cultural and political progress as wife of Henry I during the 11th Century.
It was an apt riposte to remind the French president that any relationship between the two countries must be mutually respectful and not a one-way street.
Macron spoke about having a “frank and direct” conversation earlier with Putin on a range of matters, including allegations of gay rights abuses in Chechnya. For his part, Putin did not say if he had brought up Russian concerns about French police brutality toward Arab minorities in French inner-cities. But why not, if French politicians feel entitled to probe Russian affairs?
|June 4, 2017||
Cause and Effect: John Pilger on Terror in Britain
by John Pilger, Information Clearing House
Cause and Effect
John Pilger on Terror in Britain
The causes of the Manchester atrocity, in which 22 mostly young people were murdered by a jihadist, are being suppressed to protect the secrets of British foreign policy.
Please take a moment to watch this Video. It will enhance your life and that of those who you will meet on life's journey. Video
The GCC States Led By Saudi Arabia Will Collapse Into Oblivion.
by Moon Of Alabama, Information Clearing House
Emboldened by U.S. backing Saudi Arabia launched a campaign to finally subjugate Qatar into client state status. The plan has now reached a high point. A few hours ago Bahrain, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia severed all ties with Qatar.
All sea- and airspace have been closed for Qatari traffic and the land-routes severed. All Qataris will have to leave those countries within 14 days. Qatari diplomats were given just 48 hours.
The immediate consequences are huge. Some 37 million passengers cross through Doha each year. But Qatar Airways now has to fly through Iranian, Iraqi and Turkish airspace to reach Europe. (If the situation persists the UAE owned Emirates Airways will likely order a huge bunch of new planes.) Half of the food in Qatar comes via Saudi Arabia through Qatar's only land border. 600-800 trucks per day can no longer pass. The 19 flights per day between Doha and Dubai are called off. Oil prices rose some 1.6% and the Qatari stock exchange tanked.
The reasons for the immediate spat are manifold. It has only little to do with Iran.
The Saudis accuse Qatar of supporting terrorists. That is like Britain accusing the U.S. of imperialism, or the mafia cutting ties with the mob over gangsterism. As Joe Biden remarked (vid) when still Vice President, both Wahhabi countries, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have been funding and fueling terrorism in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. But the Saudi view is that the more "liberal" Qatar is simply supporting the "wrong" kind of terrorists.
The Qatari government and its mouthpiece Al-Jazeera installed and supported the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt. The Saudis put that government down by financing a military coup against it. Qatar is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood government of Turkey. It is supporting the Palestinian Hamas, also a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate. Qatar is financing various al-Qaeda aligned groups in Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. The Taliban have their only diplomatic mission in Doha. Until recently the Saudis have been financing ISIS. They are now mainly back at financing various other Jihadi groups in Syria under CIA control. The UAE is sponsoring the Libyan general Hiftar who is fighting Qatari supported al-Qaeda aligned groups. The Saudis are making nice with Israel and have no interest in the Palestinian cause which Qatar supports.
There are diverting interests in hydrocarbons. Qatar is the world's biggest exporter of natural gas - a serious competition to Saudi oil exports. It has recently intensified its relations with other producers and customers in the Gulf region and beyond.
More local and personal dimensions of the spat include many intermarriages and competitions between Saudi and Qatari tribes and families. There are rumors that significant tribal groups in the Saudi's Najd desert, especially the al-Tamim, have recently renewed their ties to Qatar under its current emir Prince Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani. This was an "in your face" for the al-Sauds.
Oman and Kuwait have taken no position in the fight and try to mediate. Turkey is allied with Qatar but has stayed suspiciously quiet. There is a new defense agreement between Qatar and Turkey promising Turkish support if Qatar is attacked. The Turkish military has a base in Qatar with some 600 soldiers. A huge share of foreign investment in Turkey has come from Qatar. The Turkish and Qatari government coordinate tightly in their common support for al-Qaeda and other Takfiris in the war on Syria.
The current standoff between Qatar and other Arab countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council were enabled by the Trump administration:
Whereas the Obama administration sought to enhance U.S. engagement with the GCC as a bloc, Trump focused instead on Saudi Arabia and the UAE as the twin pillars of its regional approach. Strong bonds reportedly have formed between Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia as well as Yusuf al-Otaiba, the influential UAE ambassador in Washington.
Trump fell into a Saudi-Israeli trap. The Pentagon hawks have dreamed of an "Arab NATO" to fight Iran. The envisioned "Arab NATO" may soon have its first war but it will be against one of its members. The (not-satanic) "Orb" show and the unlimited U.S. support for Saudi Arabia have exacerbated the fissures within the GCC and will hinder any common operations.
The U.S. military has huge interests in Qatar and other Gulf countries. Al-Udeid in Qatar is the biggest U.S. airbase in the Middle East. It is also the forward headquarter of the U.S. Central Command with some 10,000 U.S. soldiers and leads the fight against ISIS. The U.S. Navy fifth fleet is hosted in nearby Bahrain which has now declared a cold war with Qatar. Any spat or difficulty between the Gulf countries hinders U.S. military operations.
In Washington an intense Saudi and UAE lobbying campaign against Qatar has been ongoing for months. A Saudi lobbyist threatened the Qatari ruler with the "same fate as Egypt's Morsi". In a reprisal hacked emails between the UAE ambassador Yusuf al-Otaiba and Israeli lobbying organizations in Washington were recently published. The documents show that the Zionist lobby organization "Foundation for the Defense of Democracy" is advising the dictatorship of the UAE on how to fight the dictatorship of Qatar.
At the end of the "orb" show the Saudis and the U.S. pushed a document declaring various organizations and Iran "terrorist supporters." Qatar refused to sign it. Saudi clerics then declared that the Qatari al-Thani rulers are no longer considered to be "part of the Abdel Wahhab clan". That takes away the Wahhabi rulers religious legitimacy.
Qatar had tried to calm the situation down. It announced that six of its soldiers had been wounded while fighting for the Saudis near Yemen. It expelled a few Hamas leaders from the country. A mediator was sent to Kuwait - so far to no avail.
The extreme bullying of Qatar by the Saudis and the UAE, with total closure of all its borders, is designed to create an immediate capitulation. So far Qatar holds onto its course but in the end it is likely to fold. It will have to stop its support for "terrorism" i.e. the Muslim Brotherhood. Another scenario is a putsch in Doha with some Saudi puppet prepared to take over the realm. If that is unsuccessful a military move could follow. Qatar has little capabilities to withstand a potential Saudi invasion.
For Iran this is a chance to further blow up the GCC by intensifying its relations with Qatar. It could increase its food exports to the country and host Qatar airline flights. This in exchange for a Qatari retreat from Syria. The U.S./Saudi plan of confronting Iran through the GCC would then be in complete jeopardy.
No matter how the spat with Qatar ends, the GCC unity has (again) been exposed as a sham. It can not be repaired. Saudi "leadership" is shown to be just brutal bullying and will be resisted. U.S. plans for a united GCC under Saudi leadership and U.S. control are in shambles.
The linch pin of all this is the Saudi war on Yemen. The Saudis support the Hadi puppet government of Yemen and two years ago aligned the other Gulf states, including Qatar, to fight against the Houthi in north Yemen. They accuse the Houthi of receiving Iranian support. There is zero evidence for that claim. The war and the coalition have failed. Houthi resistance continues unabated. With Yemen sinking into a famine thanks to a Saudi border blockade and a Cholera epidemic rapidly extending, the war must come to a close. Kuwait, Oman and Qatar are talking with the Houthi in Sanaa. Last week troops from the UAE used helicopters to again fight Saudi supported militia around the southern airport in Aden. The U.S. and Britain urge for the war to end and, behind closed doors, threaten to withdraw their support for it. The Saudi under their new leadership overestimate their capabilities. So did Trump when he raised their role. The Saudi "apes with Macbooks" do not have the capabilities needed for a serious political actor in this world. Their money can pamper over that for only so long.
The above all reminds of a prediction made nearly two years ago by a Yemeni attorney in Sanaa :
This article was first published by Moon Of Alabama -
|May 16, 2017||
Make The Anthill Great Again! The Ant Colony And The Human Ones.
by Ugo Bardi, in Resource Crisis, Countercurrents
Image above: the 1998 movie “AntZ”. This post was inspired by a post by Antonio Turiel titled “Of Ants and Men” where he used the example of an ant to discuss the difficulties that humans have to perceive the real problems facing humankind today. Here, I examine again, a little more in depth, the same issue.
Imagine yourself as an ant. What would be your perception of the world? Mainly, it is other ants from the same colony. As an ant, you are nearly blind but you have an excellent sense of smell and most of you sensorial inputs are the pheromones you receive from your sister ants that then you transmit to other ants. This kind of feedback-based pheromone exchange may lead to remarkably complex behaviors. Yet, the colony has no structure that we could see as a brain. If we define “self-consciousness” as the capability of a creature to model itself, the colony doesn’t have this capability. It can react to external stimuli, and it can do that fast. But it can’t plan for the future. It is the same for single ants: for them, the colony is a set of smells; they don’t really perceive it.
Now, zoom back to your condition of a human being reading a blog post. What’s your perception of the world? You are probably smarter than the average ant, but, like an ant, your perception of the world is mainly shaped by the pairwise contacts you have with other human beings, members of the same colony. These stimuli are verbal, not olfactory, but the mechanism of transmission and retransmission is the same. Like an ant, you are continuously exposed to stimuli from the media and from social networks that you then retransmit to other humans. This often generates transient bursts of reinforcing feedbacks that may generate rapid, even violent, collective reactions on the part of the whole colony. But the human colony doesn’t have a brain, it can react to external stimuli but it can’t plan ahead. Those large human colonies called “states” don’t show an intelligent behavior; not more than ant colonies do. States explore their environment, compete for resources, occasionally fight each other, at times very destructively. But these are behaviors that ant colonies engage in as well.
Of course, single human beings have abilities that ants lack: they are self-conscious in the sense that they can model their environment and themselves. They even have specific brain structures dedicated to this purpose, such as the “mirror neurons” used to model the behavior of other humans. But all this doesn’t seem to affect the behavior of the colony. The sophisticated modeling capabilities of human brains seem to be used mainly to gain an advantage in playing the sexual competition game between individuals. Outside of this realm, most humans probably see their “country” mostly as a semantic entity created by simple messages related to defense and attack. They have no perception of the immense complexity of a giant human colony of tens or hundreds of millions of individuals.
Theoretically, however, the power of the human brain could be applied to the management of the colony. In history, we see the widespread attempt to place a single human being – that is, a single brain – in charge of the activity of the state. That sometimes leads to attempts of planning for the future of the whole colony, but it often backfires creating disasters. A single human brain cannot manage the immense complexity of a human state. Dictators, kings, emperors, and the like are normally just as clueless about the system they are supposed to manage as their subject. Maybe as clueless as the ants of an anthill.
Yet, something changed in recent times. We may see the appearance of “world modeling” in the 1970s as the serendipitous awakening of consciousness in the human colony. Digital computers made it possible to perform studies such as the 1972 “The Limits to Growth” that modeled society on the basis of quantitative data and projected the results to the future. It was the first time in history that society could really plan for the future. In particular, the models identified a phenomenon scarcely known before: it was called “overshoot”, the tendency of society to overexploit its resources and then collapse. The models could be used to plan ahead and avoid collapse.
But, as well known, these studies had little or no impact and the world’s human colonies continued their blind path toward collapse. This is probably understandable. The emergence of complex structures such as brains is driven by evolutionary competition. Humans developed their large brains as tools for inter-group sexual competition. But states or industrial companies compete by exploiting the available resources as fast as possible. They have no advantage in the capability of planning for the long term, especially when the results of the planning is that they should slow down the exploitation rate. Doing that would only give more chances to their competitors who don’t. So, the behavior of human colonies remains dictated by one very simple rule: grow as much as possible and don’t care about anything else.
It is the same for ants: eusocial ant colonies have been around for more than 50 million years. If anthills had benefitted from being self-conscious, there was plenty of time for natural selection to create that characteristic. Instead, it seems that the intelligence of both individual ants and of ant colonies is optimized for the survival of the anthill. There is evidence that social insects are less intelligent than their wild counterparts as a result of the colony taking over in many tasks that were once for the individual to deal with. The same phenomenon may be taking place in human colonies: human brains have been shrinking during the past tens of thousands of years. The trend may have been greatly accelerated in recent times by the development of social networks on the Internet.
In the end, it may well be that the evolution of the human species is leading it to develop a eusocial behavior similar to that of social insects such as ants or bees. That would possibly entice an overall reduction of individual intelligence, not completely compensated by an increase in societal intelligence. Eusocial human colonies would keep competing against each other for the available resources as they ar doing now. As a eusocial species, humans might be very successful, just as eusocial ants have been very successful in the insect world. But, on the whole, these eusocial entities would not be self-conscious and wouldn’t engage in long term planning
Yet, the future remains impossible to predict: humans are clever monkeys and you never know what they may be able to invent. There may be ways to make the human colony conscious and that would lead to a whole new spectrum of behaviors that, at present, we can only vaguely imagine. For the time being, it seems that we can’t do much more than blindly keep at the impossible task of making the anthill great again.
Ugo Bardi teaches physical chemistry at the University of Florence, in Italy. He is interested in resource depletion, system dynamics modeling, climate science and renewable energy.
|May 20, 2017||
Consuming Passions And Environment.
by Pratap Antony, in Life/Philosophy, Countercurrents
“Runaway growth in consumption in the past fifty years is putting strains on the environment never before seen.” The United Nations’ Human Development Report 1998 (UNDP Report)
WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN – LAMENT
When will we ever learn?
That “conspicuous consumption” only satisfies our shallow need
for positive appraisal, self-esteem and Identity.
That happiness is not the result of acquiring material possessions
When will we ever learn?
To recognize the distinction between needs and desires,
And when we seek satisfaction greedily and thoughtlessly,
Satisfaction is brief and it diminishes
When will we ever learn?
That increased consumption doesn’t lead to higher life satisfaction
And that consumption does not substitute well-being
When will we ever learn?
That our own value, status and fulfilment is not gained through
material things, but on how we value our quality of life
Rather than the quality of stuff we buy
When will we ever learn?
That with more possessions, we do not improve our life or image,
Or enhance our own personal value, but we lose touch with
Worthwhile values while displaying our personal inadequacies
When will we ever learn?
That we don’t always need what we want
And that money does not buy happiness
When will we ever learn?
Consumption and consumerism have major environmental impacts,
and are not ecologically sustainable
When will we ever learn?
That with great purchasing power we acquire great responsibility,
We cannot persist with consumption-induced environmental damage.
When will we ever learn?
That we are co-dependent on nature; we are not more important
than any other element in our environment
When will we ever learn?
Knowing that resources are finite, to make use of limited resources
with care and mindful awareness
We must learn
before we reach a point of no return
to consume resources responsibly,
waste less, and conserve and preserve more.
We must learn
the value the idea of living sustainably and to reduce consumption,
And reuse, recycle, repair, reform and to restore
A very important aspect of careless consumption is the ecological impact on our planet is – If we keep consuming, what are we giving back?
In an entry titled, ‘Unsustainable consumption – the mother of all environmental issues?’ The European Environment Agency says “Consumption of products and services impacts the environment in many different ways. For example, the things we buy contribute, directly or indirectly through the product lifecycle, to climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss and resource depletion.” www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/unsustainable-consumption-2013-the-mother
“Most of the environmental issues we see today can be linked to consumption,”
Gary Gardner, director of research for Worldwatch.
We must consider that great responsibility follows inseparably from great purchasing power
Pratap Antony is a Passive activist. Active pacifist freelance thinker and writer. Writes on an array of subjects: ecology and environment, social justice and pluralism, management ideas and issues. Music: western classical, jazz, and Indian classical dance.
|May 22, 2017||
The Death of Gaia.
by Dr Glen Barry, in Climate Change, Countercurrents
It is known scientifically that the Earth System, or Gaia if you will, is organized and functions similarly to other scales of biology, including organisms and old-growth forests. Gaia is a self-regulating, reproducing life-form, and as such is alive. As industrial human growth destroys Gaia’s naturally evolved ecosystem organs, the human family is failing to embrace a rich and truthful deep ecology understanding (long known by indigenous peoples) of a living Earth, risking biosphere collapse. Both powerful science deniers, as well as celebrity posers promoting shallow ecology, ensure Gaia’s demise for their own selfish benefit. Not enough progress is being made on sufficient ecological solutions to sustain Gaia such as protecting and restoring natural ecosytems (including a ban on old-growth forest logging), ending the use of fossil fuels, and ridding the world of war and inequity. Thus while Earth is alive, sadly she is dying.
Earth is a living organism some call Gaia. This Earth System – all life’s one shared biosphere – is composed of coupled ecosystems that cycle energy and matter, self-regulating like all organic life.
Across scales of biological phenomena there exist discontinuities; boundaries which can be abstracted, that differentiate a life form. Throughout the continuum of cells, organisms, plant communities, and even natural ecosystems, many entities can be said to be alive. The Earth is the penultimate life-form.
Gaia is alive.
Think of land and natural vegetational communities as similar to tissue in an animal, blood and water are synonymous, the atmosphere like cellular fluid. Wildlife including humans is a special type of cell. All life across scale is coded in DNA, the original programming language.
Earth, like the human body, is intricately perfect; both engineered through epics of iterative evolution to be resilient and reproduce.
Earth’s reproductive cycle can best be thought of as the re-radiation of species diversity post mass extinction upon the same framework of inert non-organic Earth. By such a measure Earth is only a handful of generations old. Or perhaps Earth’s reproduction involves exo-biology seeding of planets through rare dispersion events. In either case the Earth system reproduces.
As originally devised in James Lovelock’s “Gaia Hypothesis”, the conception of a living Earth goes beyond metaphor; and is a self-evident, emergent property of natural ecosystems’ cycles. Cells, microbes, forests, soil, oceans, water, air, plants, and wildlife are all miraculously alive, even as they create the conditions for life at other levels of organization.
It is profoundly beautiful that life begets life. For far too long the concept of living natural ecosystems has been denied and denigrated. A naturally evolved old-growth forest ecosystem is no less an organism than you or me, or Gaia. Such complex, tightly-coupled super-organisms make life possible.
Let me be clear: cells are not organisms, nor are old-growth forests exactly like the biosphere, yet they are remarkably similar. Each are bounded, with sub-systems cycling energy and matter, to remain intact (alive) while reproducing.
Earth – like organic life across scales – is alive yet needlessly dying as industrial growth overwhelms natural ecosystems.
Natural ecosystems are being murdered in a plague of democratic resource gluttony. In a relatively short time geologically, industrialism radiated from Northern Europe in waves of ecological colonialism. The concept that nature exists only as resources to be consumed is now universally embraced.
Millions of year old natural ecosystems that constitute Gaia’s living flesh continue to be liquidated in an ecocidal death wish misconstrued as “development”.
Under such circumstances of runaway exponential growth – amidst resource scarcity driven perma-war and grotesque inequity – “certifying” natural ecosystem destruction, or waxing eloquently as one over-consumes, is even more dangerous than denying climate, ecology, and other scientific truths.
Donald Trump’s fact free world of anti-science, authoritarian demagoguery, and Scott Walker’s evisceration of education while stifling climate and conservation science; are equally as dangerous as Rainforest Action Network benefactor Chris Noth’s (Mr. Big) old-growth mahogany laced bar (aptly named “The Cutting Room”), and Leonardo DiCaprio prattling on about the reality of climate change from the back of private jets and yachts. Each in their own way are colluding in Gaia’s murder for personal benefit.
Old-growth forest logging must end. Natural ecosystems be restored. Fossil fuels ended. A steady state economy achieved. And equity, peace, and justice embraced.
Or Gaia dies. And being ends.
Only profound, radical, science-based social change that embraces a deep ecology vision of a living Earth, by reversing natural ecosystem loss, will prove adequate to avoid biosphere collapse.
Dr. Glen Barry is the President and Founder of Ecological Internet (EI). He is recognized internationally by the environmental movement as a leading global visionary, ecological policy critic and public intellectual committed to communicating the severity of global ecological crises – and related justice, rights and equity issues – while actively organizing with others sufficient solutions
|May 22, 2017||
Truth or Delusion?
by Robert J Burrowes, in Life/Philosophy, Countercurrents
One inevitable outcome of the phenomenal violence we all suffer as children is that most of us live in a state of delusion throughout our lives. This makes it extraordinarily difficult for accurate information, including vital information about the endangered state of our world and how to respond appropriately, to penetrate the typical human mind.
‘Phenomenal violence?’ you might ask. ‘All of us?’ you wonder. Yes, although, tragically, most of this violence goes unrecognised because it is not usually identified as such. For most people, it is a straightforward task to identify the ‘visible’ violence that they have suffered and, perhaps, still suffer. However, virtually no-one is able to identify the profoundly more damaging impact of the ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’ violence that is inflicted on us mercilessly from the day we are born.
So what is this ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’ violence?
‘Invisible’ violence is the ‘little things’ that adults do to children every day, partly because they are just ‘too busy’. For example, when adults do not allow time to listen to, and value, a child’s thoughts and feelings, the child learns to not listen to themSelf thus destroying their internal communication system. When adults do not let a child say what they want (or ignore them when they do), the child develops communication and behavioural dysfunctionalities as they keep trying to meet their own needs (which, as a basic survival strategy, they are genetically programmed to do).
When adults blame, condemn, insult, mock, embarrass, shame, humiliate, taunt, goad, guilt-trip, deceive, lie to, bribe, blackmail, moralize with and/or judge a child, they both undermine their sense of Self-worth and teach them to blame, condemn, insult, mock, embarrass, shame, humiliate, taunt, goad, guilt-trip, deceive, lie, bribe, blackmail, moralize and/or judge.
The fundamental outcome of being bombarded throughout their childhood by this ‘invisible’ violence is that the child is utterly overwhelmed by feelings of fear, pain, anger and sadness (among many others). However, parents, teachers, religious figures and other adults also actively interfere with the expression of these feelings and the behavioural responses that are naturally generated by them and it is this ‘utterly invisible’ violence that explains why the dysfunctional behavioural outcomes actually occur.
For example, by ignoring a child when they express their feelings, by comforting, reassuring or distracting a child when they express their feelings, by laughing at or ridiculing their feelings, by terrorizing a child into not expressing their feelings (e.g. by screaming at them when they cry or get angry), and/or by violently controlling a behaviour that is generated by their feelings (e.g. by hitting them, restraining them or locking them into a room), the child has no choice but to unconsciously suppress their awareness of these feelings.
However, once a child has been terrorized into suppressing their awareness of their feelings (rather than being allowed to have their feelings and to act on them) the child has also unconsciously suppressed their awareness of the reality that caused these feelings. In brief, this means that the child now lives in a state of delusion. And because this state was caused by terrorizing the child, the child is unable to perceive the series of delusions in which they now live.
Moreover, unless the child (or, later, adult) consciously feels their fear and terror, it will be extraordinarily difficult for them to perceive anything beyond the delusions that they acquired during childhood. This is simply because the various elements of the child’s delusional state (the ‘values’, beliefs, attitudes, prejudices, biases) were the ones approved by the key adults – parents, teachers, religious figures – in the child’s life.
Needless to say, living in a delusional state has many outcomes that are disastrous for the individual, for society and for nature because the individual will now behave on the basis of their delusions rather than in response to an accurate assessment of all available information through appropriate sensory, emotional, intellectual and conscientious scrutiny. For a full explanation of this process, see ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’.
In essence then, the typical human being lives in a delusional state and this state is held in place by enormous, but unconscious, terror: the unfelt and hence unreleased childhood terror of being endlessly threatened and punished (for not complying with parental or other adult ‘authority’ throughout childhood).
And if you have ever tried to persuade someone, by argument of an intellectual nature, that a belief they hold is inaccurate and wondered why you couldn’t get anywhere, it is because you have run into their unconscious terror. And sheer terror beats the best argument in the world ‘hands down’.
So when you listen to people like Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, or ponder those politicians and military generals who conduct endless wars, or watch those people on the street protesting against Muslims and refugees, or watch police beating up another indigenous or black person, or hear someone else deny the climate science, remember that you are witness to a person or people living in a terrified and delusional state that prevents them from perceiving and responding intelligently to reality. And that, in the case of political and corporate leaders, they only have the support to do what they do because a great many other delusional individuals (including voters and employees) enable them.
Equally importantly, however, it is also necessary to recognise that a delusional state afflicts many of those we like to regard as ‘on our side’. It is just that their delusions work differently, perhaps, for example, by making them believe that only token ‘make it up as you go along’ responses (rather than comprehensive strategies) are necessary if we are to work our way out of the multifaceted crisis in which human society now finds itself. This is why many ‘leaders’ of liberation struggles as well as activist movements concerned with ending war(s) and the climate catastrophe, for example, are so unable to articulate appropriately visionary and functional strategies. But the problem afflicts many other ‘progressive’ social movements as well, which limp along making only occasional or marginal impact, if they have any impact at all.
So what are we to do? Well, the most important thing you can do is to never consciously participate in a delusion, whether your own or that of anyone else. I say ‘consciously’ of course because unless you identify the delusion, you will not be able to avoid participating in it. And there are probably few humans in history who have avoided all of the delusions their culture threw at them. If they did, they were probably outcast or killed. Christ, Gandhi and King are reasonably good examples of people in this latter category. But, historically speaking, many activists have been killed for refusing to participate in elite-promoted delusions. And many others have been marginalised, one way or another, depending on the culture.
The value of not participating in a delusion, whether someone’s personal delusion or a widespread social one, arises from the impact you have on those around you: some of these people will have the courage to reflect on your behaviour and reconsider their own.
If you believe you are relatively free of delusion and are committed to taking serious steps to tackle one or more aspects of our multifaceted global crisis, then you are welcome to consider making ‘My Promise to Children’, https://nonviolentstrategy.wordpress.com/strategywheel/constructive-program/my-promise-to-children/ and to consider participating in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’, signing the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’ and/or considering using the strategic framework on one or the other of these two websites for your campaign or liberation struggle: Nonviolent Campaign Strategy and Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy. https://nonviolentliberationstrategy.wordpress.com/
Living the truth on a daily basis is a tough road. And it will never come without cost. But living in the comfort of delusion, rather than taking action, is the path of cowards.
Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ His email address is and his website is here.
|May 23, 2017||
An Inherent Ecocidal Death Wish Of Humanity.
by David Anderson, in Climate Change, Countercurrents
Our problem: There is a high probability of massive pain and suffering and then human extinction within the next one to two hundred years.
The problem extends well beyond global warming denier Donald Trump and his American followers. It even extends into the bowels of the American “Liberal Left” and their US Media. It extends beyond America itself. The problem is rooted in the inability of our society to understand that the reductionist methodologies that grew out of our Enlightenment Age are failing humanity; with the most egregious of these being the economic system. That system was and remains a destroyer of our planet. It contains an inherent ecocidal death wish. Its “hidden Hand” is bringing on an end to human civilization. It is a hand that never picks up the check. (In economic parlance this is called the future cost of “Negative Externalities”)
How can we all, Americans and so many others, be so stupid as not to understand this? Why are we unable to face this reality?
The answer is in our genes. We have no fear. Throughout our development it has been our strength. By 70,000/26,000/12,000 BCE some, while mixing with the earlier erectus inhabitants, were fearlessly traveling from Africa to the north into what is now Siberia and then south across the Beringian land bridge (commonly referred to as the Alaskan land bridge) and all the way down to the most southern part of the Americas. Others crossing the Pacific.
They had no fear. This no fear part of us today has become our ecological problem. (Often referred to as the “deaf effect”) Like a pesky boil under the skin, it does bother some, but then they find that the more they scratch it, the bigger and the more red it gets. Solution; just stop scratching! Let it be. Enjoy life. Push it out of the mind.
A sign of a civilization’s entry into a downward spiral always begins with the abandonment of intellectual argumentation and methodological logic. That abandonment is also in our genes. Another narrative easily takes hold. (Adolf Hitler’s charismatic hold on many Germans is an example) Words lose their deeper meaning. Socrates taught us this. They become vague sophistic artifacts of what they had been. He said that with this loss comes an inability to think critically. “Truth” is no longer truth. “Honesty” is no longer honesty. “Beauty” is no longer beauty. “Absolute Good” is no longer absolute good. Critical thinking, so necessary for human progress dies.
This is America today. Critical thinking is dead. Words have become no more than babble. Honest dialogue has vanished. Listen to the Trump babble. Listen to the media babble on both sides. Listen to the advertising babble. Listen to the entertainment babble.
Where is the Truth? Where is the Honesty? Where is the Beauty? Where is the Absolute Good?
Look around. See the excessive wealth. See the babble deception paid for by that wealth. See an America blinded by a lust for more and more consumption, more and more money, more and more power. Think back to Greece and to Rome: The same wealth disparity. The same babble. The same deception. Two civilizations that rose and then fell.
Americans would be wise to ask themselves the question: What is planetary reality? By their babble, what destructive forces are being hidden?
Why will they not ask? The reason is that in reality these destructive forces are too horrific to be absorbed into their consciousness. CO2 Carbon Dioxide, CH4 Methane, N2O Nitrous Oxide; all pouring into the biosphere. Temperatures rising. Oceans dying. “Frankenstorms” occurring with increasing frequency. Aquifer levels under vital agricultural lands lowering. Non-reconstitutable (not biodegradable) detritus dumped and dumped into the air and water. And the list goes on. The new reality is that our species is literally eating up the planet, passing it through its gut and leaving the waste to fester in the biosphere.
And then we come to an even larger problem: Seven billion people pressing in on each other. (twice the world population size when I was a child) Nations at each other’s throats and ready to pounce, as they were in the darkest periods of human history.
A continuation of this disequilibrium will lead to the end of our species. Scientists and great thinkers all over the world are telling us that this is our reality, but very few are being heard. Peer reviewed papers end up in the closet. A few marches here, a few there; a conference here, a conference there, that’s all we see. On our TVs, in our Newspapers, on our radios we continue to hear nothing but babble.
This essay began with a reference to the “hidden Hand” that never picks up the check. Prominent economist spokespersons such as those teaching in American business schools; the likes of Harvard, Wharton and the University of Chicago have made sure of this. The Capital Market system is given a close to godly status. The pricing in of those negative external costs that are now damaging the biosphere and that may bring an end to our species are not recognized. Maximizing total financial return is.
If the next generation finds its voice muted, and if those academicians tied into the economics and other so-called social sciences continue to remain silent, and if the religionists continue their circular theological epistemological disconnect; then there will be no change and Homo sapiens will find itself facing a painful adjustment as it attempts to survive in the hostile planetary environment it has created for itself.
Only a powerful deeply rooted change in the way we think about our relationship to this planet and the cosmos can save us. We need to examine those originating presuppositions we have believed to be “inherent truths” that we now find were built on ecological flaws, to examine the validity of eight thousand years of our social, political, philosophical, religious and economic thought and the institutions that arose from that thought. And we need to do it all now. We need to recognize that the cosmos operates on its own timing, not ours.
How do we begin to extricate ourselves from this noxious nightmare? How do we begin to treat the boil? For a first move in the right direction, read these two chapters from my new book (email Lesprit351@AOL.com for them. Say CHAPTERS)
Chapter # 8 A Dangerous Zero Sum Game – The “Chicago School” vs the Planet
Part III The Increase in the Emissions of CO2 and a Methane Hydrate Feedback Loop
Part IV An Economic Solution for the Increase in the Emissions of CO2 and a Methane Hydrate Feedback Loop
David Anderson brings together a wide range of interests in his writings, namely; theology, history, evolutionary anthropology, philosophy, geopolitics, and economics.He has published three books. A fourth is near completion. It is about the necessary geo political, social, religious, economic paradigm shift needed for human survival.
|May 24, 2017||
Is Renewable Energy A Commons?
by Cecile Blanchet, in Alternative Energy, Countercurrents
How relocating energy in the commons helps scaling-up renewables & saving energy
What is a commons?
Once upon a time… there was an alpine pasture, where cattle from the village came to graze. The air was fresh and brisk, there was enough grass for the animals. But it was also a delicate, sensitive environment: put too much pressure on it (too much cattle) and it would be ruined in no-time… In other words, the pasture was a finite resource, which could support a finite number of cattle.
A (finite) natural resource, that is necessary to all: that’s a natural commons.
There are three way of dealing with natural commons:
Next to the finite or physical resources defining the classical commons framework, we can think of other non-finite and more abstract resources that can be treated as commons and referred to as social commons: digital commons, knowledge commons, health commons, urban commons… Shifting the paradigm from commodity to commons helps to reduce the (artificial) scarcity of these resources (created and sustained by privatisation and monetisation) by having a common-ownership or no-ownership. This is best illustrated by the creative common licences, which allow (for some of them) companies to sell a product but not to claim its ownership (which means that other companies can sell the same product, modify it, etc…).
And finally, there’s the act of commoning: doing together, sharing, benefiting from each other. As we saw in the previous episode, this is one of the recurrent arguments given by members of energy cooperatives as a ground and as a co-benefit from their project.
Renewable energy is a common good
Here we will focus on renewable energy (RE) but this discussion also applies to fossil fuels. According to the definitions above, RE is a commons and we demonstrate this using three different viewpoints:
The source. The renewable sources of energy (especially wind, sun, water and in a lesser extend biomass) are clearly part of our natural commons: no-one can claim their ownership and they belong to all. Furthermore, and this is particularly important, they are finite resources. It is therefore crucial to make sure that the access to these resources is equally shared throughout the society.
The product. Electricity and energy in a broader sense are part of the social commons. Indeed, accessing to energy being necessary in modern societies, it becomes a common good. And due to finite sources, the amount of energy available is also finite.
It is crucial to avoid the appropriation of this common good by individuals or single actors (i.e., free-riders) in order to prevent the creation of an artificial scarcity and efficiently fight energy poverty. If this does not sound too serious in the western word, it is a huge issue in poorer countries and has been placed in the United Nation agenda for 2030 as the sustainable development goal number 7.
Energy transition. By looking at the process of switching from fossil fuels to renewable sources, we enter into the field of “climate change mitigation”. Decarbonising the energy sector falls into the global commons: every gramme of CO2 released in the atmosphere will have an effect on all of us. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stresses the threat posed by free-riders to our mitigation efforts (summary for policy makers, AR5): “Effective mitigation will not be achieved if individual agents advance their own interests independently.”
As one can read on the website of the Mercator research Institute on Global Commons (MCC), energy is also part of the social commons: “These are public goods providing access to health services, education, clean water, sanitation, energy, or transport and communication infrastructure. They are essential for human well-being as the level of provision of these goods has significant effects on both growth and inequality.” The MCC describes the dilemma of the energy transition as an overuse of the global commons and an under-provision of the social commons.
The energy transition is a huge task for our generation and it creates both challenges and opportunities. On the winners’ side, a new market is being created, which is already profitable enough to attract institutional investors. Large investment in renewables from private sources is potentially a good news, as it speeds up the energy transition. However, there are serious drawbacks in the commodification of energy. First, the returns on investment will remain in private hands, which is a loss of revenue for society and increases the concentration of capital into the hands of a few. Second, as these investments are profit-driven, the primary goal is to install the technology providing the highest income, regardless of people’s needs and desires (so not necessarily the appropriate technology).
To summarize, here is how the EU Horizon 2020 research project REScooppresents the social relevance of framing RE sources in the commons (policy recommendation):
“Wind, solar, hydro, biomass and geothermal energy are natural resources. They in fact belong to no one and are in principle available to all. They are common goods. From the perspective of social justice, more attention therefore must be paid to the way in which decentralised renewable energy sources are managed. In a world where energy is scarce, these sources of energy will mean income for the operators. Citizens and users therefore have every interest in keeping this local energy production in their own hands as much as possible. Governments too have every interest in anchoring decentralised renewable energy with the users as much as possible so that the added value of the production also benefits society. This is especially true for wind energy, an energy source that extends over a larger area, but ultimately is exploited on a small site. The benefit of this exploitation should extend to the widest possible group of people. Thus, the exploitation of wind energy should not simply be privatised, but also allocated on the basis of socio-economic criteria.”
Reducing energy consumption
The people’s windmill – outside European Parliament, Brussels More than a 150 people formed the shape of a giant wind turbine in front of the European Parliament in Brussels to call for more support for community renewable energy projects. Photo by Friends of the Earth CC-BY-NC 2.0
One aspect of commodifying energy that is often overlooked, is that in order to increase the profits, utilities have an inherent incentive to produce and sell as much energy as possible. This is totally counteracting all efforts made to increase energy efficiency and conservation.
As stated by John Byrne and his team at University of Delaware, effectively “relocating energy in the commons” (I stole this expression from this remarkable and very accessible paper) has the double advantage to stimulate the installation of renewable power plants and save energy simultaneously, whereas energy as a commodity leads to a state of “energy obesity”. This “commonification” of energy is presented through the Sustainable Energy Utilities (SEU), which are community-based institutions aiming at designing and financing local energy projects. The idea is to consider the energy consumption of a community globally, with the primary aim being to save it: when energy is needed, SEU should implement an appropriate renewable technology, and incorporate heat and transport systems in the design.
This was a somewhat longer and denser post, but I hope that you are still awake! More to follow soon! Please, send me questions and reflexions in the comments section.
Cecile Blanchet– Renewable Energy Fellow at the Commons Network. Cecile studied marine geology and holds a PhD from the University of Aix-Marseille (France) obtained in 2006. She worked as a researcher in several scientific institutes throughout Europe (mainly in France, Germany and The Netherlands), exploring the relationships between changes in climate, environment and human populations during the Quaternary Era. Since 2013, she is pursuing a new career path and studied project management, renewable energy (Proventus Energie Academy) and journalism (CNED). Through her involvement in political activism, Cecile has also developed a great interest for community-owned infrastructure, in particular decentralised green-energy production. Since January, she supports the CN with developing the communication strategy for the European Commons Assembly. Contact: Website, twitter @clblanchet
Originally published in Energy Commons Blog
|May 26, 2017||
Why Is India Lagging Behind In Tapping Solar Power?
by Marianne de Nazareth, in Alternative Energy, Countercurrents
Two emails come in simultaneously into my email box. One almost chortling that California breaks energy record with 80% of state’s power generated using renewable methods. The Golden State generated 67% of its energy from renewables in one day. I stare at the text, truly amazed at California’s drive to get clean.
Meanwhile, the second email which is a Greenpeace analysis, sadly says, Indian cities lag far behind in installing rooftop solar. This is despite policies and net metering guidelines in several states, a subsidy of 30 percent offered by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the installation of solar rooftop systems has been dismal in leading metros in the country, especially in Chennai and Mumbai, says a Greenpeace India analysis, titled ‘Indian cities slacking on rooftop solar’.
A sad scenario indeed when pollution seems to be at an all time high in our country and the need to shift to clean renewables like solar is the desperate need of the hour. Delhi, says Green Peace, offers a Generation Based Subsidy as per the Solar Policy released last year, as well as net metered connections, but it has also failed to see a big uptake in the residential sector.
Delhi’s total solar potential is 2,500 MW with a residential potential of 1,250 MW. The official target in Delhi is to reach 1,000 MW worth solar installations by 2020 and 2,000 MW by 2025. But as of December 2016, only 35.9 MW have been installed out of which, only 3 MW were residential installations in March 2016. Mumbai, which has a potential of 1,720 MW has only 5 MW overall installed till now. The entire state of Tamil Nadu has less than 2 MW as against a rooftop solar target of 350 MW.
The reasons for the slow uptake seem to be lack of familiarity with the process and fear of bureaucratic red tape which is what most Indians fear. Getting caught in government fine print. Besides this, net metering provisions are present in most states, but effectiveness of implementation vary significantly.
“Despite the national incentive in the form of a 30% capital subsidy, and a range of state incentives and schemes, rooftop solar is yet to take off in the same manner as large-scale solar. However, this does not mean India should lower its ambitious targets, as some have suggested. Rather, the government must step up and play a more proactive role in encouraging rooftop installations. This can be via innovative financing schemes, aggregating demand and incentivizing city and state governments. The potential benefits in terms of reduced energy expenditure and cleaner air due to reduced demand on fossil fuels are too significant to be ignored. As the convenor and a founding member of the International Solar Alliance, and a country with abundant solar potential, India’s commitment to clean energy must continue to be robust,” says Pujarini Sen, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace India.
If one looks at the reason why we need to clean uip our act across the country, here are a few reasons. Air pollution leads to 1.2 million deaths every year according to a Global Burden of Disease study. Decarbonising the power sector is essential tackle the menace of air pollution.
A poll conducted by Greenpeace suggests significant public interest in adopting rooftop solar. Close to 55 percent of the 812 survey respondents from our supporter base expressed interest in investing in and installing solar.
“There is still a widespread perception that installation of rooftop solar panels needs a large investment, and people are not always aware of the financial incentives available. If central and state governments are serious about boosting solar, they must do a better job of reaching out to resident welfare associations and community groups to encourage people to shed their inhibitions and embrace rooftop solar,” says Sen.
NEW DELHI: Official Target: 1000 MW by 2020, 2000 MW by 2025 Rooftop Solar Potential: 2500 MW total, of which 1250 residential Rooftop Solar installed: 35.9 MW total (as of December 2016) , of which only 3 MW residential Incentives in place: Net Metering. GBI: Rs 2 per unit generated (expires 2019, with restrictions)
Official Target: 4,700 MW (all Maharashtra) by 2022, no Mumbai-specific target
Rooftop Solar Potential: 1720 MW (IIT Mumbai) Incentives in place: Net Metering, banking of excess generation credits, with unutilized credits being purchased at end of the year.
Official Target: 400 MW (entire state) by 2018
Rooftop Solar Potential: Unknown, mapping currently underway by BESCOM and CSTEP Incentives in place: Net metering and Gross Metering; Tariff of Rs 6.03 after capital subsidy, 7.08 without subsidy.
Official Target: No target specified in Andhra Pradesh rooftop solar policy Rooftop Solar Potential: Unknown Incentives in place: Net Metering and Gross Metering, with tariffs equal to average ‘cost to serve’ of the DISCOM12
Official Target: 350 MW target rooftop solar (for the entire state) specified in TN’s Energy Policy 2012 (MNRE specifies tentative 8.8GW for the state by 2022 for all solar PV, utility and rooftop). Rooftop Solar Potential: Unknown Incentives in place: 20,000 subsidy for domestic consumers under CM’s Solar Rooftop Capital Incentive Scheme, Net Metering
Clearly Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai need to get their act together to at least check the potential of roof top solar. It is shameful to see that the so called developed world is going all out tho meet their energy needs from clean methods while we slack and do not even have the basic incentives in place.
Marianne Furtado de Nazareth is the former Assistant Editor, The Deccan Herald, adjunct faculty, St. Joseph’s PG College of Media Studies & a PhD scholar at the Madurai Kamaraj University
|May 28, 2017||
Every GI Who Invaded Vietnam, Iraq, etc. Was A Criminal By International Law & US Army’s Own Law
by Jay Janson, in Imperialism, Countercurrents
Memorial Day will someday mean a double mourning, a mourning for the violent deaths suffered by of millions of American military and a much more agonizing mourning for the deaths, maiming, destruction and suffering these Americans in uniform brought to millions of innocent men, women and children by committing crimes against humanity in their own beloved countries for the lies of their government and media.
Regarding any order to invade and or kill in another country: “An order which is unlawful not only does not need to be obeyed but obeying such an order can result in criminal prosecution of the one who obeys it. Military courts have long held that military members are accountable for their actions even while following orders — if the order was illegal.[U.S. Military Careers › U.S. Military Justice System, Oct 18, 2016] 
“I was only following orders,” has been unsuccessfully used as a legal defense in hundreds of cases (probably most notably by Nazi leaders at the Nuremberg tribunals following World War II). The defense didn’t work for them, nor has it worked in hundreds of cases since.
Here below copied are the very clear Nuremberg Principles of International Law, which former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark unequivocally states are part of the law of the land by Article Six of the US Constitution.
“Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment.”
“The fact that an internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.”
“The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.”
This paraphrases to, “even if you are head of state you still can be tried under international law.”
The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him”.
This principle could be paraphrased as follows: “It is not an acceptable excuse to say ‘I was just following my superior’s orders'”.
“Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.”
Principle VI “The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:
(a) Crimes Against Peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(c) Crimes Against Humanity:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population,
“Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace … or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.
Memorial Day 2017, like Memorial Days over the last sixty odd years, have been used to herald US invasions, bombings and military occupations as fighting for freedom to distract from the horrific truth of continuing US crimes of against humanity and crimes of genocide in more than a dozen smaller nations.
Regarding what US GI’s did to the soft spoken Buddhist Vietnamese, the United States of America dropped more than twice the amount of bombs on them that were dropped during all of the Second World War in Europe, Asia and Africa by all sides. This was after the US government first brought back in the formerly fascist French Colonial Army in US ships, and financially supported their attempt to recolonize Vietnam for eight bloody years. (Vichy France had turned its colony over to the Japanese during WWII.)
Martin Luther King cried out one year before his assassination, “They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps…. So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. They know they must move on or be destroyed by our bombs… So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers… They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords…What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? …We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing — in the crushing of the nation’s unified Buddhist Church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men.” [Beyond Vietnam, a blistering sermon by Martin Luther KIng, in New York,1967]
How many African American veterans would continue to wear proudly their I am Vietnam Veteran caps if they read or listened to the video of King’s sermon Beyond Vietnam – a Time to Break Silence, which has been blacked out of all mention in US criminal mainstream media since 1967?
The reason six US Presidents and US mainstream media gave for the many millions of deaths in French Indochina was seeking to prevent a communist government in Vietnam, but in spite of all the six or seven million deaths, maiming, and malformed births throughout Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, Vietnam has had ever since a communist government and is, presently, like the Chinese communist government, a favorite trading partner of the United States of America. How do the families of fallen American GIs who know this feel about their sons and daughters having given their lives for this abject failure of the US government and military in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, which took the lives of so many innocent millions and achieving nothing but death and destruction.
Regarding what American servicemen and women accomplished in Iraq, namely the taking of more than two million lives, almost a million of which were children, we recall a TV interview of President Bush, jokingly peering under his desk for the missing weapons of mass destruction, that Iraq was accused of having as a reason for invading that prosperous oil rich nation which provided good health care to its citizens, and presently is a destroyed country. No compensation, indemnity, reparations were ever given, not even an apology.
“Each of the Iraqi children killed by the United States was our child. Each of the prisoners tortured in Abu Ghraib was our comrade. Each of their screams was ours. When they were humiliated, we were humiliated. The U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq – mostly volunteers in a poverty draft from small towns and poor urban neighborhoods – are victims just as much as the Iraqis of the same horrendous process, which asks them to die for a victory that will never be theirs” – Arundhati Roy – Source: Arundhati Roy, “Tide? Or Ivory Snow? Public Power in the Age of Empire,” 8/24/04
Not this during this year, nor during most probably many years to follow, but in some year future year, when the economic power of the USA wanes and China and other formerly victimized nations supplant the USA as more influential, law will be restored, and because there is no statute of time limitations for murder and genocide, the USA, Europe and the UN Secretariat will be sued for compensation, indemnity and reparations in such mega colossal amounts that Wall Street investments in past illegal and unconstitutional use of US Armed Forces and CIA, will turn out to have been worse than just unprofitable.
“Make wars unprofitable and you make them impossible” – A. Philip Randolph, organized and led Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King gave his I have a Dream speech.
“All wars are fought for money” – Socrates in fourth century BC Greece
https://www.thebalance.com › … › U.S. Military Careers › U.S. Military Justice System
Oct 18, 2016 – Military members who fail to obey the lawful orders of their superiors … Pursuant to the President’s instructions, a U.S. Navy captain seized a …
Iraq’s health care system
Iraq had developed a centralized free health care system in the 1970s using a hospital based, capital-intensive model of curative care. The country depended on large-scale imports of medicines, medical equipment and even nurses, paid for with oil export income, according to a “Watching Brief” report issued jointly by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in July 2003.
Iraq developed a Westernized system of sophisticated hospitals with advanced medical procedures, provided by specialist physicians. The UNICEF/WHO report noted that prior to 1990, 97 percent of the urban dwellers and 71 percent of the rural population had access to free primary health care; just 2 percent of hospital beds were privately managed.
Infant mortality rates fell from 80 per 1,000 live births in 1974, to 60 in 1982 and 40 in 1989, according to government statistics. A similar trend characterized under-five mortality rates which halved from 120 per 1,000 live births in 1974 to 60 in 1989. (Later studies have questioned these optimistic Iraqi government figures.)
With the 1991 Gulf War that followed Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the situation changed dramatically. The war damaged hospitals, power generation, and water treatment facilities; foreign nurses left the country; and the health budget was slashed. From US$500 million in 1989, the import budget plummeted to US$50 million in 1991 and then to $22 million in 1995. Spending per capita fell from a minimum of US$86 to US$17 in 1996.
In the eight months following the 1991 war, mortality rates for children under five shot back up to 120 per 1,000 live births, the highest recorded increase for any country in the world in the 1990s, according to the UNICEF/WHO report.
Health Care in Iraq …Under Saddam Hussein by Pratap Chatterjee, managing editor of Corp Watch and the author of ‘Iraq Inc.’ (Seven Stories Press, September 2004).
Jay spent eight years as Assistant Conductor of the Vietnam Symphony Orchestra in Hanoi and also toured, with Dan Tai-Son, Tchaikovsky Competition First Prize winner, who practiced in a Hanoi bomb shelter. The orchestra was founded by Ho Chi Minh,and it plays most of its concerts in the Opera House, a diminutive copy of the Paris Opera. In 1945, US ally Ho, from a balcony overlooking the large square and flanked by an American Major and a British Colonel, declared Vietnam independent. Everyone in the orchestra lost family, “killed by the Americans” they would mention simply, with kind Buddhist equanimity. Jay can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read other articles by Jay http://dissidentvoice.org/author/jayjanson/Jay Janson, spent eight years as Assistant Conductor of the Vietnam Symphony Orchestra in Hanoi and also toured, including with Dan Tai-son, who practiced in a Hanoi bomb shelter. The orchestra was founded by Ho Chi Minh,and it plays most of its concerts in the Opera House, a diminutive copy of the Paris Opera. In 1945, our ally Ho, from a balcony overlooking the large square and flanked by an American Major and a British Colonel, declared Vietnam independent. Everyone in the orchestra lost family, “killed by the Americans” they would mention simply, with Buddhist un-accusing acceptance. Read other articles by Jay.
|May 31, 2017||
The Chinese-Indian New Cold War.
by Andrew Korybko, in Imperialism, Countercurrents
We are honored to present this multi-part paper from Andrew Korybko into the emerging New Cold War between China and India. This research will be released over a number of days to facilitate discussion and conversation, with a compiled briefing paper being provided at the end of the series.
Relations between China and India have been souring over the past year since New Delhi agreed to an unprecedented military-strategic partnership last summer with Washington through LEMOA. The US long planned to use India as its “Lead from Behind” proxy in countering China, hoping to set the two Asian Great Powers against one in the ultimate divide-and-rule strategy of the 21st century.
Just as Washington courted Beijing against Moscow in the Old Cold War, it has revised the strategy with New Delhi against Beijing in the New Cold War. This policy has been largely successful through the US exploiting the Modi-Doval-Hindutva Deep State’s obsessive fear and paranoia over China and Pakistan turning India into the unipolar vanguard against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and accordingly, the rest of Beijing’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) global vision of New Silk Road connectivity.
The Indian-Japanese Alliance Against China
India recently announced that it opposes both game-changing ventures on supposed sovereignty violations, relying on a maximalist approach to the Kashmir conflict to “justify” this position. This amounts a declaration of strategic war against China, which in turn can be seen in hindsight as formalizing the New Cold War between them. This indirect competition for influence began to unfold in 2015 and was responsible for the dynamic events which occurred in Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives at that time, but it now takes a qualitatively different form because India is also teaming up with Japan in order to boost the effectiveness of its efforts.
The two anti-Chinese states have joined forces to develop the “Freedom Corridor,” a Japanese-assisted expansion of India’s proposed “Cotton Road” all across the Indo-Pacific Rimland of Afro-Eurasia, and rival China’s New Silk Road. The name – the “Freedom Corridor” – evokes the type of language commonly employed by the US, further signifying this initiative is in reality an American-inspired proxy strategy for the 21st century. In fact, the Chinese-Indian New Cold War in Afro-Eurasia is a major part of the global New Cold War playing out between the multipolar and unipolar worlds, respectively, but instead of being fought over ideology like the previous one in the last century, this rivalry is over connectivity corridors.
The Significance Of CPEC
The multipolar forces want to break through the stranglehold the US and its allies have over trade routes, while the unipolar ones want to reinforce this state of affairs in order to perpetuate their global systemic dominance. CPEC is the spine of the emerging Multipolar World Order, precisely because it allows China to acquire a reliable non-Malacca access route to the Indian Ocean, and from there to the European, Mideast, and increasingly, African marketplaces. There are, of course, other Silk Roads being built, notably the overland routes that China wants to construct to the Mideast and EU by means of Central Asia and Russia, respectively, but these are very vulnerable to the Hybrid War template of externally provoked identity conflict in the geostrategic transit states.
With CPEC, however, there’s only one transit state to go through and it’s a nuclear-equipped and militarily powerful one, which single-handedly defeated terrorism through the legendary Operation Zarb-e-Azb, hence Beijing’s focus most of its efforts on prioritizing this route above all others, making it the top target of the US’ destabilization efforts against OBOR.
This part of the New Cold War and its related Chinese-Indian component were comprehensively examined by the author in a series of articles enumerated in his 2017 forecast for South Asia and a video interview given late last year on this topic.
Readers should refer to these two sources, if they’re interested in learning more about this.
Thalassocracy vs Tellurocracy
Before proceeding any further, we must present a broad theoretical understanding of the larger geopolitical themes playing out in the Chinese-Indian New Cold War, as the rest of the research will explore their specificities more in depth and explain their particular relevance in various regional theaters.
Renowned Russian thinker Alexander Dugin conceptualizes geopolitics by “the struggle between thalassocracies and tellurocracies,” or sea-based and land-based powers, respectively. According to him, thalassocracies have historically employed a combination of diplomatic, economic, and military force to keep the Eurasian supercontinent divided, which therefore had the effect of weakening the tellurocracies and perpetuated the global dominance of the sea-based powers. The US understood as being the premier leader of the thalassocracies, by virtue of its “global island” geography, and its allies all across the Eurasian Rimland, including the UK, India, and Japan.
Russia, on the other hand, is the epitome of a tellurocracy, strengthening its geostrategic significance through revolutionary partnerships with China, Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey, all of which are fellow land-focused powers.
To simplify everything into the contemporary geostrategic parlance, the thalassocracies are generally unipolar and want to retain or mildly tweak the existing world system which works out to their real or perceived benefit, while the tellurocracies are multipolar and want to fundamentally change the global balance of power in order to make it more equitable and thereby bestow other states with a fair chance to succeed.
To channel the geopolitical-philosophical teachings of Professor Dugin, the New Cold War boils down to the tellurocracies seeking to tighten their integration with one another through groundbreaking infrastructure projects and collaborative diplomacy, while the thalassocracies are working overtime to undermine the strategic consolidation of Eurasia. The latter can skillfully employ the methods of Hybrid War disrupting mainland Eurasian integration (as witnessed through the Wars on Syria and Ukraine), the tellurocracies are forced to rely on unipolar-dominated maritime trade routes across the Strait of Malacca, the Indian Ocean, Bab-el-Mandeb, and the Suez Canals until all of their continental connectivity projects become a reality.
This forced China, the most economically powerful of the land powers, to improve its maritime capabilities, explaining Beijing’s aggressive territorial defense of South China Sea over the past few years.
In response, the US encouraged its two thalassocratic allies on China’s flanks, India and Japan, to enhance their naval power in kind and enter into an anti-Chinese partnership, explaining their cooperative maritime efforts in the Bay of Bengal and South China Seas, on both sides of the Indo-Chinese Peninsula, as well as their recently unveiled “Freedom Corridor,” aiming to reduce the attractiveness of China’s New Silk Roads. The US keenly understands China’s need to urgently develop new markets and associated transport corridors in order to offload its overproduction, as failure would lead to the closing of state-supported factories and a resultant economic slowdown inside the People’s Republic. Correspondingly, this could prompt socio-political unrest which might threaten China’s stability and undermine the emerging Multipolar World Order, right inside one of its core territories.
For these pressing reasons, the tellurocratic powers have no choice but to support China’s OBOR efforts – especially its CPEC and other maritime-related components – until the time comes, if ever, that complete and dependable mainland trade corridors are constructed all across the Eurasian landmass. This translates into the tellurocracies being compelled to engage in a naval counteroffensive against the thalassocracies to counteract the latter’s disruptive Hybrid War plans inside the supercontinent, without involving military dimensions. The ‘counteroffensive’, for all intents and purposes, takes the form of OBOR, especially its existing maritime manifestations, and thalassocracies also shrewdly understand that any conventional military attack against their rival’s trading assets on the high seas could set in motion a chain reaction that also undermines the viability of their own sea-dependent routes.
Therefore, the most pragmatic response for the time being is to compete with China’s Silk Roads through the “Freedom Corridor” initiative.
The nature of the Chinese-Indian New Cold War is that both actors are poised to engage in competitive connectivity projects across the Indo-Pacific region of Afro-Eurasia, essentially expanding their previous South Asian-focused rivalry across a broad swath of the Eastern Hemisphere. India is utterly incapable of remotely presenting any sort of challenge to China, without receiving immense assistance from its American and Japanese allies. As a counter-measure, Washington constructed the “Containment Triangle” between itself, New Delhi, and Tokyo and encouraged their underlings to unveil the “Freedom Corridor” as the soft power cover for their designs. While giving the impression this joint Indian-Japanese counterproposal is strictly relegated to the economic and soft power realms; however, there’s no escaping the fact that both parties’ American overseer is a master at military and hard power projection, suggesting that the “Freedom Corridor” will have an unstated Hybrid War component backing it up.
The remainder of the research examines the three geographic domains of competitive connectivity between China’s OBOR and India-Japan’s “Freedom Corridor,” outlining the rival infrastructure projects and forecasting how the US could employ various forms of Hybrid Warfare, in select theaters, to decisively disrupt China’s projects, giving the advantage to its allies’.
We will prove, through the remainder of the research, that the Indian Ocean Region at the center of “Greater South Asia,” is becoming the focal point of rivalry in the New Cold War, as the American thalassocratic hegemon harnesses all of its capabilities in confronting the rising hemispherically-influential, tellurocratic Chinese power in this key part of the world. The implications of the US’ Indo-Japanese proxy face-off against China are expected to reverberate throughout all of Afro-Eurasia, therefore being of heightened consequence for Russia, envisioning itself as the supreme super-continental balancer.
Understandably, this makes the research relevant not just for Russia, but also each of its partners in the Southeast-South Asian, Mideast-Central Asian, and East African realms of rivalry between the US and China.
The forthcoming sections will analyze each of these theaters individually within the New Silk Road and “Freedom Corridor” projects, as well as the Hybrid War scenarios, which could be hatched by the US.
Finally, the last part of the study will conclude with some key insights into the geo-economic convergences between these two camps, including forecasted consequences that this will have on each of the host countries, as well as other overall details about the wider New Cold War in general.
We believe that this work can serve as an enlightening guide to understanding the contours of the emerging Multipolar World Order and the unipolar challenges which will continue to afflict it for the foreseeable future.
Going forward, readers should the additional sections rely heavily on the author’s own Hybrid War research across the past year in Southeast Asia, the “Greater Heartland” of Iran and Central Asia, and Africa, containing a multitude of detailed analyses and maps, more poignantly outlining some of the deeper concepts that will be introduced in this present research series.
For the sake of brevity and scope, they all can’t be individually expanded upon in each pertinent chapter, therefore, the reader must reference them at their own leisure at www.orientalreview.org, if they wish to learn more about them.
In addition, the basis for the “Freedom Corridor” rests in the author’s own analysis of the “Cotton Route” and an article in the India-based Economic Times online news outlet, with the former laying out the genesis for the project and the latter authoritatively reporting on some of its confirmed geographic components of this initiative. As such, just as with the author’s Hybrid War works, readers are strongly encouraged to reference these two aforementioned sources before embarking on the rest of the research.
Part II continues tomorrow.
Andrew Korybko is a political analyst, journalist and a regular contributor to several online journals, as well as a member of the expert council for the Institute of Strategic Studies and Predictions at the People’s Friendship University of Russia. He specializes in Russian affairs and geopolitics, specifically the US strategy in Eurasia. His other areas of focus include tactics of regime change, color revolutions and unconventional warfare used across the world. His book, “Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach To Regime Change”, extensively analyzes the situations in Syria and Ukraine and claims to prove that they represent a new model of strategic warfare being waged by the US.
|June 1, 2017||
Climate Criminal Trump America Contributes 20% Of World’s Annual Carbon Debt Increase.
by Dr Gideon Polya, in Climate Change, Countercurrents
Man’s greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution goes into the one common atmosphere and one common ocean of all countries on earth. Each year the world adds 66 billion tonnes CO2-equivalent to its inescapable Carbon Debt that in dollar terms is increasing at $13.2 trillion per year. Trump America that threatens to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has 4.4% of the world’s population but contributes a disproportionate $2.7 trillion or 20% of the world’s annual Carbon Debt increase.
Revised annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution for all countries (tonnes CO2-e per person per year) has been determined taking methanogenic livestock and land use into account [1, 2] . The world average is 63.80 billion tonnes CO2-e / 7.137 billion people in 2013 = 8.9 tonnes CO2-e per person per year, this term including all greenhouse gases (GHGs) except water, notably carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrogen oxides (NO2 and N2O), and expressed as CO2 equivalents.
If we assume that these annual per capita GHG pollution values are the same in 2016 as in 2013, then we can take 2016 population data  to estimate the amount of GHG pollution for the major players in 2016. If the world still has an average “annual per capita GHG pollution” of 8.9 tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year (as calculated for 2013) then with a 2016 population of 7,432.7 million it has an annual GHG pollution in 2016 of 63.80 billion tonnes CO2-e x 7,433 million/ 7,137 million = 66.4 billion tonnes CO2-equivalent.
Numerous climate scientists , biologists and science-informed activists demand that for a safe planet for all peoples and all species the atmospheric CO2 – presently about 405 parts per million and increasing at 3 ppm CO2 per year  – be urgently returned to the pre-Industrial Revolution level of about 300 ppm CO2 [5, 6]. Until the late 20th century the atmospheric CO2 had not exceeded 280 ppm CO2 for about 800,000 years . The present annual increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution of 66.4 billion tonnes CO2-equivalent can be seen as an increase in the world’s Carbon Debt.
This Carbon Debt can also be expressed in dollar terms. Thus Dr Chris Hope of 90-Nobel-Laureate Cambridge University has estimated a damage-related Carbon Price of US$200 per tonne of CO2-equivalent . The annual Carbon Debt increase (at a damage-related Carbon Price of $200 per tonne CO2-equivalent) = 66.4 billion tonnes CO2-equivalent x $200 per tonne CO2-equivalent = $13, 280 billion = $13.28 trillion.
Whereas ordinary financial indebtedness can be addressed by default, bankruptcy or printing money, Carbon Debt is an inescapable burden on future generations e.g. if sea walls are not built, coastal cities will be inundated [9, 10].
Below are listed revised “annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution” estimates for all countries (tonnes CO2-e per person per year, the world average being 8.9) [1, 2], together with the damage-related per capita cost of that pollution (at $200 per tonne CO2-equivalent) :
(A) countries with about 4 to 41 times the world average annual per capita GHG pollution:
Belize (366.9; $73,380), Guyana (203.1; $40,620), Malaysia (126.0; $25,200), Papua New Guinea (114.7; $22,940), Qatar (101.8; $20,360), Zambia (97.5; $19,500), Antigua & Barbuda (85.6; $17,120), United Arab Emirates (82.4; $16,480), Panama (68.0; $13,600), Botswana (64.9; $13,629), Liberia (55.0; $11,000), Indonesia (53.6; $10,720), New Zealand (53.2; $10,640), Australia (52.9; $10,580 – 116; $23,200 if including its huge GHG-generating exports), Nicaragua (51.2; $10,240), Canada (50.1; $10,020), Equatorial Guinea (47.5; $9,500), Venezuela (45.2; $9,040), Brazil (43.4; $8,680), Myanmar (41.9; $8,380), Ireland (41.4; $8,280), United States (41.0; $8,200), Cambodia (40.5; $8,100), Kuwait (37.3; $7,460), Paraguay (37.2; $7,440), Central African Republic (35.7; $7,140).
(B) countries with about 2 and 4 times the world average annual per capita GHG pollution:
Peru (34.8; $6,960), Mongolia (32.2; $6,440), Singapore (31.2; $6,240), Bahrain (30.5; $6,100), Trinidad & Tobago (29.8; $5,960), Cameroon (29.5; $5,900), Congo, Democratic Republic (formerly Zaire) (29.3; $5,860), Côte d’Ivoire (29.1; $5,820), Denmark (27.8; $5,560), Brunei (27.4; $5,480), Bolivia (27.3; $5,460), Guatemala (26.9; $5,380), Belgium (26.3; $5,260), Ecuador (26.2; $5,240), Estonia (25.4; $5,080), Laos (25.3; $5,060), Suriname (25.1; $5,020), Netherlands (24.9; $4,980), Libya (24.9; $4,980), Nepal (24.6; $4,920), Benin (24.5; $4,900), Angola (23.8; $4,760), Madagascar (23.7; $4,740), Argentina (23.7; $4,740), Uruguay (23.7; $4,740)*, Luxembourg (23.6; $4,720), Turkmenistan (23.5; $4,700), Czech Republic (23.5; $4,700), Zimbabwe (23.3; $4,660), Gabon (23.1; $4,620), Greece (21.9; $4,380), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (21.5; $4,300), Cyprus (21.4; $4,280), Congo, Republic (21.0; $4,200), Spain (20.9; $4,180), Finland (20.6; $4,120), Israel (20.2; $4,040), Norway (20.1; $4,020), Colombia (19.8; $3,960), Namibia (19.8; $3,960), Mauritania (19.7; $3,940), South Africa (19.4; $3,880), Ukraine (19.1; $3,820), Germany (18.6; $3,720).
(C) countries with about 1 and 2 times the world average annual per capita GHG pollution:
France (17.7; $3,540), Italy (17.6; $3,520), Uzbekistan (17.5; $3,500), Costa Rica (17.1; $3,420), Sudan (16.8; $3,360), Saudi Arabia (16.6; $3,320), Slovenia (16.5; $3,300), Azerbaijan (16.4; $3,280), Russia (16.2; $3,240), Sierra Leone (16.2; $3,240), Slovakia (15.9; $3,180), Honduras (15.8; $3,160), Hungary (15.5; $3,100), Kazakhstan (15.4; $3,080), Portugal (15.0; $3,000), Sweden (15.0; $3,000), Iran (14.5; $2,900), Iceland (14.2; $2,840), Mexico (13.9; $2,780), Oman (13.8; $2,760), Malta (13.; $2,660), Austria (13.0; $2,600), Poland (12.9; $2,580), Jamaica (12.8; $2,560), Palau (12.8; $2,560), South Korea (12.7; $2,540), Guinea (12.5; $2,500), North Korea (12.1; $2,420), Bahamas (12.1; $2,420), Nigeria (11.7; $2,340), Nauru (11.7; $2,340), Malawi (11.7; $2,340), Mali (11.6; $2,320), Chad (11.6; $2,320), Taiwan (11.6; $2,320), Latvia (11.4; $2,280), Vanuatu (11.1; $2,220), Switzerland (11.0; $2,200), Romania (10.9; $2,180), Togo (10.9; $2,180), Japan (10.7; $2,140), Serbia & Montenegro (10.4; $2.080), Seychelles (10.2; $2,040), Bulgaria (10.1; $2,020), Lebanon (9.8; $1,960), Syria (9.4; $1,880), Tanzania (9.3; $1,860), Turkey (9.2; $1,840), Barbados (9.1; $1,820), Jordan (9.1; $1,820), Occupied State of Palestine (9.1; $1,820)*, Philippines (9.0; $1,800), Guinea-Bissau (9.0; $1,800).
(D) countries with annual per capita GHG pollution at or below world average (8.9 tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year):
Ghana (8.9; $1,780), Thailand (8.7; $1,740), Chile (8.7; $1,740), Fiji (8.7; $1,740), Belarus (8.6; $1,720), Sri Lanka (8.5; $1,700), Macedonia (8.5; $1,700), Tonga (7.4; $1,480), Croatia (7.4; $1,480), China (7.4; $1,480), Burkina Faso (7.3; $1,460), Bosnia & Herzegovina (7.2; $1,440), Kenya (7.1; $1,420), Dominican Republic (7.1; $1,420), Senegal (7.0; $1,400), Tunisia (7.0; $1,400), Algeria (6.6; $1,320), Grenada (6.4; $1,280), Samoa (6.2; $1,240), Rwanda (6.1; $1,220), El Salvador (6.0; $1,200), Lithuania (5.9; $1,180), Mozambique (5.8; $1,160), Lesotho (5.7; $1,140), Burundi (5.5; $1,100), Iraq (5.5; $1,100), Eritrea (5.3; $1,060), St Kitts & Nevis (5.1; $1,020), Uganda (5.1; $1,020), Haiti (5.0; $1,000), Mauritius (5.0; $1,000), Albania (4.3; $860), Dominica (4.2; $840), Bhutan (4.1; $820), Niger (4.1; $820), Ethiopia (4.1; $820), Moldova (4.0; $800), Georgia (4.0; $800), Yemen (3.7; $740), Tajikistan (3.7; $740), Afghanistan (3.6; $720), Swaziland (3.6; $720), Cuba (3.5; $700), Cape Verde (3.5; $700), Kyrgyzstan (3.4; $680), The Gambia (3.0; $600), St Lucia (2.9; $580), Bangladesh (2.7; $540), Egypt (2.6; $520), Niue (2.6; $520), Pakistan (2.5; $500), Morocco (2.5; $500), Djibouti (2.4; $480), St Vincent & Grenadines (2.4; $480), Armenia (2.3; $460), Maldives (2.1; $420), India (2.1; $420), Cook Islands (2.1; $420), Vietnam (1.9; $380), São Tomé and Príncipe (1.9; $380), Comoros (1.6; $320), Solomon Islands (1.4; $280), Kiribati (1.2; $240), Tuvalu (1.2; $240)* (* indicates an estimate based on that for an immediately contiguous, ethnically-related country).
You can examine this data and ascertain how your country contributes to greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution in an absolute and comparative sense. Thus, for the US the annual Carbon Debt of $8,200 per person x 324.1 million persons = a $2,657.6. billion. per year annual Carbon Debt increase i.e. a disproportionate 20.0% of the world’s annual total Carbon Debt increase ($13, 280 billion) due to a country with only 4.4% of the world’s’ population.
For Australia, the annual Carbon Debt of $10,580 per person x 24.3 million persons = $257.1 billion. per year annual Carbon Debt increase i.e. a disproportionate 1.9% of the world’s total due to a country with only 0.3% of the world’s’ population. However climate criminal Australia is a world leader in coal, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and iron ore exports. Australia’s Domestic plus Exported GHG per capita is 116.0 tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year, this corresponding to an annual Carbon Debt increase of $23,200 per person and hence a national annual Carbon Debt increase of $23,200 per year per person x 24.3 million persons = $563.8 billion per year i.e. 4.2% of the world’s total due to a country with only 0.3% of the world’s’ population.
By way of comparison, China with 18.6% of the world’s population produces 15.4% of the world’s annual GHG pollution, and India with 17.8% of the world’s population produces only 4.2% of the world’s annual GHG pollution.
Ideally, all countries should have to pay a damage-related Carbon Tax to enable action to mitigate global damage due to climate change. Indeed science-trained, Green Left Pope Francis has declared that the environmental and human cost of pollution should be “fully borne” by the polluters: “The principle of the maximization of profits, frequently isolated from other considerations, reflects a misunderstanding of the very concept of the economy. As long as production is increased, little concern is given to whether it is at the cost of future resources or the health of the environment; as long as the clearing of a forest increases production, no one calculates the losses entailed in the desertification of the land, the harm done to biodiversity, or the increased pollution. In a word, businesses profit by calculating and paying only a fraction of the costs involved. ‘Yet only when the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations,’ [Benedict XVI] can those actions be considered ethical. An instrumental way of reasoning, which provides a purely static analysis of realities in the service of present needs, is at work whether resources are allocated by the market or by state central planning” [11, 12].
However, can one realistically see the US (annual GDP $18 trillion) paying an annual Carbon Tax of $8,200 per head or $2.7 trillion annually to meet the cost of the damage caused by profligate US pollution of the one common atmosphere and one common ocean of all nations? Various ways could be considered to make the polluters pay that for the US would range between $2.7 trillion per year (the “fully borne” cost) and $0 (the exceptionalist Trump position of America polluting as much as it likes and damn everybody else). However one reasonable suggestion between these 2 extremes would be to make nations pay for their pollution above the world average of 8.9 tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year (Excess Carbon Debt), with nations polluting less than the world average on a per capita basis receiving a compensatory payment (Excess Carbon Credit) that would help them mitigate the damage due to man-made climate change.
Below is the annual per capita Excess Carbon Debt (A-C) or Excess Carbon Credit (D) of the world’s nations in “tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year after subtracting the world average of 8.9” and this also expressed in “US dollars” with a damage-related Carbon Price of $200 per tonne CO2-equivalent:
(A) countries with about 4 to 41 times the world average annual per capita GHG pollution:
Belize (358.0; $71,600 ), Guyana (194.2; $38,840), Malaysia (117.1; $23,420), Papua New Guinea (105.8; $21,460), Qatar (92.9; $18,580), Zambia (88.6; $17,720), Antigua & Barbuda (76.7; $15,340), United Arab Emirates (73.5; $14,700), Panama (59.1; $11,820), Botswana (56.0; $11,200), Liberia (46.1; $9,220), Indonesia (44.7; $8,940), New Zealand (44.3; $8,860), Australia (44.0; $8,800; 107.1 ; $21,420 if including its huge GHG-generating exports), Nicaragua (42.3; $8,460), Canada (41.2; $8,240), Equatorial Guinea (38.6; $7,720), Venezuela (36.3; $7,260), Brazil (34.5; $6,900), Myanmar (33.0; $6,600), Ireland (32.5; $7,100), United States (32.1; $6,420), Cambodia (31.6; $6,320), Kuwait (28.4; $5,680), Paraguay (28.3; $5,660), Central African Republic (26.8; $5,360).
(B) countries with about 2 and 4 times the world average annual per capita GHG pollution:
Peru (25.9; $5,180), Mongolia (23.3; $4,660), Singapore (22.3; $4,460), Bahrain (21.6; $4,320), Trinidad & Tobago (20.9; $4,180), Cameroon (20.6; $4,120), Congo, Democratic Republic (formerly Zaire) (20.4; $4,008), Côte d’Ivoire (20.2; $4,040), Denmark (18.9; $3,780), Brunei (18.5; $3,700), Bolivia (18.4; $3,680), Guatemala (18.0; $3,600), Belgium (17.4; $3,480), Ecuador (17.3; $3,460), Estonia (16.5; $3,300), Laos (16.4; $3,280), Suriname (16.2; $3,240), Netherlands (16.0; $3,200), Libya (16.0; $3,200), Nepal (15.7; $3,140), Benin (15.6; $3,120), Angola (14.9; $2,980), Madagascar (14.8; $2,960), Argentina (14.8; $2,960), Uruguay (14.8; $2,960)*, Luxembourg (14.7; $2,940), Turkmenistan (14.6; $2,920), Czech Republic (14.6; $2,920), Zimbabwe (14.4; $2,880), Gabon (14.2; $2,840), Greece (13.0; $2,600), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (12.6; $2,520), Cyprus (12.5; $2,500), Congo, Republic (12.1; $2,420), Spain (12.0; $2,400), Finland (11.7; $2,340), Israel (11.3; $2,260), Norway (11.2; $2,240), Colombia (10.9; $2,180), Namibia (10.9; $2,180), Mauritania (10.8; $2,160), South Africa (10.5; $2,100), Ukraine (10.2; $2,040), Germany (9.7; $1,940).
(C) countries with about 1 and 2 times the world average annual per capita GHG pollution:
France (8.8; $1,760), Italy (8.7; $1,740), Uzbekistan (8.6; $1,720), Costa Rica (8.2; $1,640), Sudan (7.9; $1,580), Saudi Arabia (7.7; $1,540), Slovenia (7.6; $1,520), Azerbaijan (7.5; $1,500), Russia (7.3; $1,460), Sierra Leone (7.3; $1,460), Slovakia (7.0; $1,400), Honduras (6.9; $1,380), Hungary (6.6; $1,320), Kazakhstan (6.5; $1,300), Portugal (6.1; $1,220), Sweden (6.1; $1,220), Iran (5.6; $1,120), Iceland (5.3; $1,060), Mexico (5.0; $1,000), Oman (4.9; $980), Malta (4.4; $880), Austria (4.1; $820), Poland (4.0; $800), Jamaica (3.9; $780), Palau (3.9; $780), South Korea (3.8; $760), Guinea (3.6 $720), North Korea (3.2; $640), Bahamas (3.2; $640), Nigeria (2.8; $560), Nauru (2.8; $560), Malawi (2.8; $560), Mali (2.7; $540), Chad (2.7; $540), Taiwan (2.7; $540), Latvia (2.5; $500), Vanuatu (2.2; $440), Switzerland (2.1: $420), Romania (2.0; $400), Togo (2.0; $400), Japan (1.8; $360), Serbia & Montenegro (1.5; $300), Seychelles (1.3; $260), Bulgaria (1.2; $240), Lebanon (0.9; $180), Syria (0.5; $100), Tanzania (0.4; $80), Turkey (0.3; $60), Barbados 0.2; $40), Jordan (0.2; $40), Occupied State of Palestine (0.2; $40)*, Philippines (0.1; $20), Guinea-Bissau (0.1; $20).
(D) countries with annual per capita GHG pollution at or below world average (8.9 tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year) and hence having Zero Excess Carbon Debt or Negative Excess Carbon Debt (Excess Carbon Credit):
Ghana (0; $0), Thailand (-0.2; -$40), Chile (-0.2; -$40), Fiji (- 0.2; -$40), Belarus (-0.3; -$60), Sri Lanka (-0.4; -$80), Macedonia (-0.4; -$80), Tonga (-1.5; -$300), Croatia (-1.5; -$300), China ( -1.5; -$300), Burkina Faso ( -1.6; -$320), Bosnia & Herzegovina (-1.7; -$340), Kenya (-1.8; -$360), Dominican Republic (-1.8; -$360), Senegal (-1.9; -$380), Tunisia (-1.9; -$380), Algeria (-2.3; -$460), Grenada (-2.5; -$500), Samoa (-2.7; -$540), Rwanda (-2.8; -$560), El Salvador (-2.9; -$580), Lithuania (-3.0; -$600), Mozambique (-3.1; -$620), Lesotho (-3.2; -$640), Burundi (-3.4; -$680), Iraq (-3.4; -$680), Eritrea (-3.6; -$720), St Kitts & Nevis (-3.8; -$760), Uganda (-3.8; -$760), Haiti (-3.9; -$780), Mauritius (-3.9; -$780), Albania (-4.6; -$920), Dominica (-4.7; -$940), Bhutan (-4.8; -$960), Niger (-4.8; -$960), Ethiopia (-4.8; -$960), Moldova (-4.9; -$980), Georgia (-4.9; -$980), Yemen (-5.2; -$1,040), Tajikistan (-5.2; -$1,040), Afghanistan (-5.3; -$1,060), Swaziland (-5.3; -$1,060), Cuba (-5.4; -$1,080), Cape Verde (-5.4; -$1,080), Kyrgyzstan (-5.5; -$1,100), The Gambia (-5.9; -$1,180), St Lucia (-6.0; -$1,200), Bangladesh (-6.2; -$1,240), Egypt (-6.3; -$1,260), Niue (-6.3; -$1,260), Pakistan (-6.4; -$1,280), Morocco (-6.4; -$1,280), Djibouti (-6.5; -$1,300), St Vincent & Grenadines (-6.5; -$1,300), Armenia (-6.6; -$1,320), Maldives (-6.8; -$1,360), India (-6.8; -$1,360), Cook Islands (-6.8; -$1,360), Vietnam (-7.0; -$1,400), São Tomé and Príncipe (-7.0; -$1,400), Comoros (-7.3; -$1,460), Solomon Islands (-7.5; -$1,500), Kiribati (-7.7; -$1,540), Tuvalu (-7.7; -$1,540)* (* indicates an estimate based on that for an immediately contiguous, ethnically-related country).
Scientifically illiterate, anti-science, climate change denying and neoliberal war criminal and climate criminal President Trump has vowed to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Agreement that aimed for less than a 2C temperature rise and an ideal target of no more than plus 1.5C. The Paris Agreement was agreed to by 195 countries (Syria and Nicaragua declined agreement) . It is now widely reported that after his refusal to endorse the Paris Agreement at the recent G7 meeting, Trump will announce US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change Agreement in coming days .
A 1.5C temperature rise will be exceeded in 4-10 years and it is now to late to avoid a catastrophic plus 2C temperature rise [15-17]. Already 7 million people die each year from air pollution . An estimate of a present 0.4 million annual deaths from climate change  may well be a considerable under-estimate because presently 17 million people die avoidably from deprivation in Developing Countries (minus China) that are already impacted by man-made climate change . It is estimated that 10 billion people may die from climate change this century – an average of 100 million such deaths each year this century – if man-made climate change is not requisitely addressed . Nevertheless we are all obliged to do everything we can to make the future “less bad” for future generations .
Decent people must act in concert by (a) informing everyone they can, (b) insisting like Pope Francis that the cost of pollution is “fully borne” by the polluters via a damage-related Carbon Price, (c) resolutely promising that those political and corporate leaders disproportionately complicit in the worsening Climate Genocide will inescapably face dispossession and dire custodial punishment , and (d) by urging application of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), Green Tariffs , International Court of Justice (ICJ) litigations and International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutions against the worst polluting countries.
|June 6, 2017||
Fighting For Alternate Development Paradigm While Condemning US Withdrawal From Paris Accord.
by K N Ramachandran, in Climate Change, Countercurrents
Trump’s action withdrawing US from the Paris accord on climate change calls for outright condemnation. It should be opposed without letup. This US action is not new. His predecessors had taken almost the same attitude towards Kyoto Protocol like earlier agreements also. Imperialism means plunder and wars for plunder. No doubt, world public opinion should be created and intensified uninterruptedly against imperialist policies for world hegemony and plunder of all world resources leading to ecological catastrophe. But the past experience shows that when Soviet Union and other socialist countries existed and they were following people oriented development policies, whatever may be their shortcomings, the imperialist camp was forced to adopt at least reformist Keynesian policies and concepts like welfare state etc. But today the situation is different. The world is divided in to few imperialist countries and large number of countries under neocolonial domination. With minor variation all are intensifying the neoliberal/corporatization policies, intensifying ecological catastrophe and impoverization of the vast majority. A two prong approach is needed to confront this serious challenge: Intensifying uncompromising struggle against imperialists and their lackeys who are controlling the ruling system everywhere, and combining it with the struggle for people oriented sustainable development in each and every country. So while condemning Trump, in our own country, the struggle against present devastating development polices should be taken up as part of the class struggle to change the ruling system.
On 4th June the temperature at Delhi reached 47 degrees. Many places in central and north India are hotter. It may cross 50 degrees this year. The cumulative effects of climate change and global warming are increasingly devastating. Still, the ruling system in the country, both central and state governments are competing to go ahead with the devastating imperialist model of consumerist development. The importance of the Bhangar like movements for protection of land, livelihood, ecology and environment should be seen in this context. It is not just one Bhangar, but numerous movements like it are taking place in almost all states. Against increasing displacement of tens of thousands families of Narmada valley, against displacement for real estate mafias, many corridor projects, express highways, mining, thermal plants, nuclear plants etc etc numerous struggles are waged all over the country. These movements call for coordination with the concept of sustainable development paradigm. Today the basic demands for land, housing, basic livelihood, ecological protection and social justice call for an all round movement of the masses. But the RSS parivar in and other ruling class sections are diverting attention from these cardinal issues. In this situation, it is the task of all forces struggling for people’s democracy and social justice to join hands, to coordinate all people’s movements, to unleash a mighty offensive against the ruling system.
K N Ramachandran, CPI(ML) Red Star
|April 28, 2017||
How Do You Change America’s Energy Makeup? Ask Women.
Women have made some critical contributions to the collective fight against climate change.
by Lauren Pezzullo, Modernize, AlterNet
There’s no question that changing our patterns of energy consumption is crucial for our collective health and the well-being of our environment. The year 2016 was the warmest on global record, part of a dangerous pattern for our planet that warns of environmental disaster ahead. While these elevated temperatures affect all of us, there’s a specific group of people who are closely associated with the effects of climate change: women.
While women are most often the caregivers of a family, they are often the providers, too. Women make up the majority of the world’s small-scale farmers, growing food crops and rearing poultry and livestock. In many parts of Africa and Asia, women are responsible for 60-80% of food production. As a result, they see the effects of climate change firsthand—the crop failures, increased droughts and floods, erratic growing seasons, and water scarcity.
These signs of environmental decline are also hurdles to the health, happiness and futures of these women and their families. But when it comes to climate change, women often have an intergenerational perspective. This sense of forward-thinking urgency and firsthand proximity puts them in a critical role, and some have adapted with a swift and innovative response, already on the front lines as eco crusaders for environmental change.
1. Solar Sister
Every hour the sun beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year. In rural Africa, one woman-centric non-profit, Solar Sister, is taking advantage of all that clean, abundant sunshine. Using a “deliberately woman-centered” model, the solar sisters are recruited and trained in selling clean energy sources such as solar lamps and fuel-efficient stoves in their communities. Because more than half of rural African households rely on open kerosene lamps, these solar alternatives mean less fire hazards, less toxic fumes and fewer carbon emissions.
By giving women a means of employment, this network of female entrepreneurs reaps the personal rewards of financial and energy independence, increased opportunity, and a stronger and safer community, proving that clean, renewable energy can be truly life changing.
1. Ghana Bamboo Bikes
It’s fitting that bamboo bikes—a sustainable spin on an already eco-friendly means of transportation—are being built by women. After all, the bicycle was once a key driver in women’s emancipation, giving lady cyclists a means of freedom, transportation and liberation from hoop skirts and corsets. Ghana Bamboo Bikes gives back to ladies in its own way, by training and employing local women to manufacture and assemble the bikes, which leads to financial independence and an increased quality of life. On the green side, this collective takes “lower carbon footprint” to a whole new level. Not only do their bamboo bikes save on car emissions, but the process is much more environmentally responsible. Bamboo grows at a rate of several feet per day, and it’s abundant in Ghana—plus, it only takes two stalks of this quickly replenishing plant to make one bike, so it’s a completely renewable process. And since bamboo is five times stronger than steel, manufacturing these bikes requires much less energy than their steel counterparts, so the construction uses much less energy.
It would be impossible to omit the company that brought rooftop solar to the mainstream eye, as the brainchild of one particularly forward-thinking woman. Lynn Jurich is the co-founder and co-CEO of Sunrun, the largest and perhaps most well-known residential solar company. Jurich has been the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, including being named one of Fortune’s 10 most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs and Forbes’ Women to Watch in 2015. Considering that 87-97% of solar PV power creates no pollution—and Sunrun has financed and installed $3 billion worth of solar panels for homes across the U.S.—she’s a part of revolutionizing the way America powers its homes.
4. 1 Million Women
This Australian group of women leaders doesn’t have a packaged product, but that doesn’t mean they’re not saving the planet in their own way. As the world’s largest women-led environmental organization, these eco-crusaders challenge others to take manageable actions each day for a more sustainable lifestyle. Their programs and monthly themes focus on different ways to “reduce waste, conserve energy, cut pollution, and lead change.” When 1 Million Women reaches its goal of one million members—with a collective pledge to save more than a million tons of CO2—it will amount to taking 240,000 cars off the road for an entire year. Best of all, these inspiring women aren't the only ladies of their kind. As recently as 2013, women made up just 18.7% of the solar workforce, but within just three years, that percentage jumped to 28%, and it shows no signs of slowing.
By recognizing the contributions and critical role of women in our collective fight against climate change, we stand a much better chance of dodging environmental disaster and reaching our environmental aims. With these trailblazers and entrepreneurs leading our way, we could be in for a bright future indeed.Lauren Pezzullo is a writer, a musicophile, and an editor for Modernize, where she writes about energy-efficient living.
|May 19, 2017||
Protecting Endangered Species: 6 Essential Reads.
Human activity is driving the sixth mass extinction in Earth's history.
by Jennifer Weeks, AlterNet
Editor’s note: The following is a roundup of archival stories.
The Endangered Species Act, passed in 1973, created a framework for protecting and recovering species in peril and the ecosystems on which they depend. Critics in Congress are pressing to rewrite the law, which they argue limits development and has failed to help many species recover.
For Endangered Species Day, we provide perspectives from biologists and social scientists on the challenges of protecting some of the rarest living things on Earth.
Beach closed to protect threatened bird species, Chincoteague, Virginia. brownpau/Flickr, CC BY
There are two central arguments for protecting endangered species: First, human activities are pushing many species to the brink of extinction; and second, protecting biodiversity provides us with numerous benefits.
Many scientists contend that we are currently in the midst of the sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history – periods when numerous life forms disappeared from the planet in relatively short lengths of time. Bill Laurance and Paul Ehrlich offer evidence of a sixth great extinction event:
Losing biodiversity leaves humans poorer in many ways. As one example, consider biomimicry – creating products based on substances and processes found in nature. As biologist Quentin Wheeler explains, natural selection has created millions of prototypes for totally new designs and materials – but they could disappear before we even identify them:
A winding road to recovery
Since the ESA was enacted, more than 1,600 U.S. plant and animal species have received protection under the law. During the same period, federal agencies have declared 47 species recovered, including brown pelicans, Louisiana black bears and bald eagles.
Critics argue that the law is not working when so few species have come off of the endangered list. But Peter Alagona and Kevin Brown point out that scientists, conservationists and regulators all define “recovery” differently. These clashing views generate arguments and lawsuits over when to declare that a species no longer needs protection:
Photograph from the mid-1870s of a pile of American bison skulls waiting to be ground for fertilizer. Millions of bison once roamed the Great Plains, but hunting reduced their number to just over 1,000 by 1889. (image: Wikipedia)
Species on the edge
Rescuing a dwindling species is rarely simple. Mexico has banned use of gillnets by fishers in the upper Gulf of California to protect the vaquita porpoise, which often are unintentionally caught in the nets. But switching to trawling gear costs fishers money, reduces their catch and causes damage to the seafloor. In Andrew Frederick Johnson’s view, a much broader strategy is needed:
The Galapagos Islands’ iconic giant tortoises once faced similar peril. Biologist James Gibbs sets the scene:
Now, however, scientists are restoring the tortoises through strategies that include removing feral goats from the islands and “head-starting” baby tortoises in captivity, then releasing them when they have grown to predator-proof size. Gibbs calls the head-starting efforts “one of the greatest and least-known conservation success stories of any species.”
Lost and found
With so much bad news about species that have gone extinct or are teetering on the edge, it’s easy to see these efforts as quixotic. But sometimes the news is good. As Diogo Veríssimo notes, over the past century more than 300 species that were thought to be extinct have been rediscovered, mostly in the tropics. Most of them had been missing for about 60 years when they were sighted and identified.
Veríssimo views these surprises as a valuable tool for convincing people that conservation can work:
Jennifer Weeks is the Environment and Energy Editor at The Conversation. Jennifer spent the past decade as a freelance journalist covering environment, science and health for magazines and web sites. She also has worked as a Congressional aide, lobbyist, and policy analyst in Washington, DC and Boston.
|May 21, 2017||
A Pacific Ocean Shift Could See 1.5°C Limit Breached Within a Decade.
Record heat indicates that the aspirational surface temperature limit of the planet as laid out in the Paris Agreement is rapidly approaching.
by Robert McSweeney, Carbon Brief, AlterNet
Global average temperatures could pass 1.5C above pre-industrial levels within the next decade, new projections suggest.
The timing of when we actually hit the 1.5C threshold will depend heavily on a natural cycle in the Pacific Ocean, the study finds, which can either dampen or accelerate global temperature rise.
The results suggest, on current trends, that warming is likely to reach 1.5C between 2026 and 2031, though it could be even earlier. This means that, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change due to publish its special report on 1.5C in 2018, global temperature rise might arrive at that milestone just eight years later.
That doesn’t mean that 1.5C is a lost cause, other scientists tell Carbon Brief. But the most plausible way of keeping to the 1.5C limit by the end of the century is to overshoot and come back down to it afterwards.Trajectory towards 1.5C
With this in mind, the new Geophysical Research Letters study estimates the trajectory of global temperatures towards 1.5C. The research shows that, along with human-caused emissions, how quickly we reach 1.5C will depend heavily a natural cycle in the Pacific Ocean called the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO).
The IPO has two opposite phases: positive (also known as the “warm” phase) and negative (“cool”). The phases affect the strength of the trade winds that blow east-to-west across the tropical Pacific Ocean. These winds are themselves driven by warm air rising along the equator and the rotation of the Earth.
During a negative IPO phase, the trade winds strengthen, driving heat into the deep Pacific Ocean, which brings cooler water to the surface. Since 2000, the IPO has been in its negative phase, and the cooling effect is thought to play a role in the recent slowdown in global surface temperature rise.
But in its positive phase, the oceans release large amounts of heat into the atmosphere, boosting the warming caused by rising greenhouse gas emissions.
The figure below show how the pattern of global temperature rise (upper chart) has been influenced by the phase of the IPO (lower chart). The faster periods of warming, such as in the 1980s and 1990s, have coincided with a positive phase of the IPO, while warming has been slower during negative IPO phases – as we’ve seen in the early 2000s.
Charts showing a) global average surface temperature (relative to 1850-1900), and b) the IPO index, for 1900 to 2016. Background colour indicates IPO index: positive (white) or negative (blue). Source: Henley & King (2017)
Although the IPO is thought to be related to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), it tends to have longer phases – even for multiple decades – rather than the shorter 2-7 year cycles of ENSO.
The upshot is that the rate that global temperatures approach 1.5C is likely to be significantly quicker, or slower, depending on the phase of the IPO, the paper says.Breaching 1.5C
Looking ahead, the researchers ran a set of climate model simulations to create global temperature projections in periods of positive and negative IPO. Lead author Dr Benjamin Henley from the University of Melbourne explains to Carbon Brief:
“Allowing for the short-term warming due to the 2015-16 El Niño, estimated at 0.1C, we projected the two sets of temperature sequences forward from the current global temperature, using the 1850-1900 timeframe as a pre-industrial baseline.”
The projections are based on a business-as-usual emissions scenario called RCP8.5. The RCPs (Representative Concentration Pathways) are scenarios of future concentrations of greenhouse gases and other forcings. RCP8.5 is a scenario of “comparatively high greenhouse gas emissions“ brought about by rapid population growth, high energy demand, fossil fuel dominance and an absence of climate change policies. This “business as usual” scenario is the highest of the four RCPs and sees atmospheric CO2 rise to around 935ppm by 2100, equivalent to 1,370ppm once other forcings are included (in CO2e). The likely range of global temperatures by 2100 for RCP8.5 is 4.0-6.1C above pre-industrial levels.
You can see the results in the chart below. The solid coloured lines show the projected global temperature under positive (orange) and negative (blue) IPO in the coming decades, and the dotted lines indicate when 1.5C of warming could be breached.
With a faster rate of warming under a positive IPO, global temperature rise could hit 1.5C by 2026. If the IPO is negative in the coming years, the 1.5C milestone would be delayed for around five years to 2031.
Last month, Carbon Brief published analysis showing that, at the current rate of emissions, we’ll blow the budget for a good chance of staying below 1.5C within four years. The figures in the new study reflect the time lag between our emissions and the warming that they cause.
Annual observed and near-term projections of global average surface temperature (relative to 1850-1900). The projections, based on the RCP8.5 scenario, continue from where the observations end in 2016, minus the boost to temperatures from El Niño (0.1C). Projections are shown under IPO positive (orange) and negative (blue) conditions, and the dotted line indicates when 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is reached. The solid lines show the model average, and the shaded areas show the 25-75th percentile range of all the models. Source: Henley & King (2017)
It’s worth noting that the solid lines in the chart show the average of all the models, while the shading shows the range in the projections. So the first year of hitting 1.5C could be a few years earlier or later than the dotted lines indicate. The timing of 1.5C could also be delayed by the cooling influence of a large volcanic eruption, the authors note.
These figures refer to the first time that global average annual temperatures reach 1.5C. This is just one way of classifying passing the 1.5C threshold – for example, another would be where the five-year average global temperatures exceed 1.5C above pre-industrial.Turning positive?
So, if the timing of when we reach 1.5C of warming depends on the phase of the IPO, which phase are we more likely to see in the coming years?
Well, it’s difficult to say at the moment. Researchers know that IPO was negative until at least 2014, Henley says, but after that it’s quite difficult to know for sure what direction the IPO is going to turn.
A recent modelling study suggests that the IPO will soon shift – or has already shifted – into its positive phase, bringing “larger rates of global warming over the 2013–2022 period.” But scientists can’t yet say for certain, Henley adds:
“It remains a significant challenge to reliably predict long-term variations in ocean circulation, due to data limitations and the inherently chaotic nature of the ocean-atmosphere system.”
The study highlights how natural variations in climate can temporarily affect the rate that global temperatures increase, says Dr Ed Hawkins, associate professor at the University of Reading, who wasn’t involved in the study. He tells Carbon Brief:
“The particular phase of the these variations that we experience over the next couple of decades may change the timing of when Earth’s temperature crosses the 1.5C threshold defined in the Paris Agreement.”
This doesn’t mean that aiming to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C is a lost cause, says Prof Jerry Meehl, from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Colorado, who also wasn’t involved in the research. He tells Carbon Brief:
“Given our rapid approach – one way or another – to the 1.5C threshold, the most plausible way to reach it would be to overshoot and attempt to come back down to it afterwards with policies that would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions going forward.”
In fact, with 1.5C so close, the research reinforces the need for the forthcoming IPCC special report, adds Dr Doug Smith, who leads on decadal climate prediction research and development at the Met Office Hadley Centre, and also wasn’t involved in the study. He tells Carbon Brief:
“Before Paris, the focus was mainly on 2C, so the 1.5C report will tell us a lot about how sensitive the impacts are [to warming], and potentially provide further motivation for limiting warming as much as possible.”
Robert McSweeney covers climate science at Carbon Brief. He holds an MEng in mechanical engineering from the University of Warwick and an MSc in climate change from the University of East Anglia. He previously spent eight years working on climate change projects at the consultancy firm Atkins. Follow him on Twitter @rtmcswee.
|May 23, 2017||
BP and Total's Drilling Plans Threaten Permanent Damage to Unique Amazon Reef.
A Brazilian prosecutor said the drilling could cause irreparable damage to this diverse ecosystem
by John Hocevar, AlterNet
Earlier this year, I joined a Greenpeace expedition to explore the Amazon Reef, 75 miles off the coast of the Brazilian state of Amapá. The scale of this reef was revealed in April 2016, when it was celebrated by scientists as one of the most important in marine biology in recent decades. Ronaldo Francini, one of the scientists who revealed it to the world, called it “a hotspot for biodiversity.” The region is home to manatees, green turtles, river otters, as well as local communities whose livelihoods depend on the ecosystem.
As a Greenpeace marine biologist and submarine pilot, I worked with a team of Brazilian scientists to map a portion of the reef and discover some of its inhabitants for the very first time. Every dive was a revelation, with new discoveries that changed our understanding of this remarkable reef. We watched in awe as the sub descended slowly into underwater gardens populated by species likely unknown to science before the expedition. Some areas were carpeted with soft corals, while others were dominated by bright yellow sponges. Underlying everything was a bed of rhodoliths, the accumulations of calcareous algae that created the foundation of the entire reef.
As with many of our world’s most precious places, the Amazon Reef is under urgent threat. Oil giants Total and BP plan to drill near the reef, which could begin within a matter of months. An oil spill could permanently damage this unique ecosystem shortly after it has been revealed to the world.
Recently, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources rejected Total’s oil spill modeling, stating that “it does not adequately represent the environmental variability of the region” and that the companies failed to comply with previous requests for information. IBAMA also criticized the company’s modeling as “statistically incoherent.”
On May 4, the federal prosecutor of the State of Amapá recommended the suspension of environmental licensing to Total for their planned deep water drilling near the vulnerable Amazon Reef biome. According to the prosecutor’s public statement, Total "did not take into account the important ecosystem of the coral reef of the mouth of the Amazon River. Thus, exploration in an area close to [the reef system] corals, without adequate environmental impact study, can cause irreparable damage to this unique and little known biome."
John Hocevar is a marine biologist and the Oceans Campaign Director for Greenpeace.
|May 26, 2017||
80% of Urban Areas Have Unhealthy Amounts of Air Pollution—Here's How You Can Limit Your Exposure Airbone pollution kills 5.5 million people a year -- you can limit your exposure.
by Robin Scher, AlterNet
Regardless of individual efforts, pollution is all around us. For some, this fact leads to a certain defeatist attitude when it comes to making more of an effort to protect the environment. But what about making more of an effort to protect your health?
Research published last year shows that over 5.5 million people die prematurely each year due to air pollution around the world. Compiled by the Global Burden of Disease project, this statistic reflects a growing trend found in particular in the developing economies of China and India. The problem has become so bad that the World Health Organization now estimates air pollution is a greater threat to global health than the Ebola virus or HIV, with 80% of urban areas experiencing air pollution levels above what’s considered healthy.
As for the cause for this concern? The project’s researchers primarily point to the emission of small particles from power plants, factories, vehicle exhausts and the burning of coal and wood. Dan Greenbaum, who works for the Health Effects Institute in Boston, explained to the BBC that on a “bad air pollution day” in Beijing or Delhi, “the number of fine particles (known as PM2.5) can be higher than 300 micrograms per cubic meter.” Putting that in context, Greenbaum continued, “the number should be about 25 or 35 micrograms."
Before we get to the ways we can reduce our exposure to particulate matter, we first need to know exactly what PM is. PM, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency, is “a complex mixture of small solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air." Allergens such as pollen, mold spores, dust mites and cockroaches can also cause PM. In China alone, the hazardous health effects of exposure to PM account for up to 360,000 deaths a year, according to the project, from causes like heart disease to respiratory problems and cancer.
Like most types of pollution, this is a problem best addressed through government policy. As Michael Brauer, a researcher from the University of British Columbia, explained to the BBC: "In the U.S., we know that for every dollar spent on air pollution improvements, we can get between a $4-$30 benefit in terms of reduced health impacts."
Waiting for government intervention, though, could take a while. Ultimately, the responsibility falls on each of us to make the necessary changes needed to combat the adverse effects of air pollution on our health. To help with this, below are some simple ways to help reduce exposure to airborne pollution.
The California Environmental Protection Agency describes the “combustion of gasoline and diesel fuel in motor vehicles” as the main contributor to PM in urban Californian environments. The agency suggests the following steps for reducing exposure to PM in vehicles:
Prashant Kumar from the University of Surrey explained to Sciencedirect that drivers stopped at traffic lights were exposed to PM 29 times more harmful than those in moving traffic. Kumar offers the following advice: "Where possible and with weather conditions allowing, one of the best ways to limit your exposure is by keeping windows shut, fans turned off and to try and increase the distance between you and the car in front while in traffic jams or stationary at traffic lights."
On the streets
A 2009 University of Leeds study suggested several ways pedestrians could reduce their exposure to PM. As reported in Science Daily, the study offered the following simple suggestions.
In your home
The greatest exposure to PM indoors happens during cooking, according to the California EPA. The agency suggests taking the following measures to improve air quality in your home:
Robin Scher is a freelance writer from South Africa currently based in New York. He tweets infrequently @RobScherHimself.
|May 28, 2017||
The Hidden Costs of Sea Level Rise.
by Timothy H. Dixon, AlterNet
The following excerpt is from the new book Curbing Catastrophe: Natural Hazards and Risk Reduction in the Modern World, by Timothy H. Dixon (Cambridge University Press, 2017).
GRACE [The Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment, a joint satellite mission of NASA and the German Aerospace Center] makes a map of the Earth’s gravitational ﬁeld roughly once month, giving a pretty good idea of how Earth’s mass distribution is changing. While the rocks don’t change much in a month (except during big earthquakes such as the ones that struck Sumatra in 2004 and Japan in 2011), Earth’s ﬂuid envelope does. Groundwater can change a lot (think of India’s seasonal monsoon, or wet and dry seasons in the Amazon basin). More importantly for this chapter, the mass of Greenland and Antarctica changes due to melting of their respective ice sheets. They change on an annual cycle, reﬂecting summer loss and winter growth of ice, and on longer time scales as well (Figure 7.6). The biggest change observed by GRACE so far is Greenland. Greenland’s ice sheet is melting away much faster than experts had predicted even 15 years ago, so fast that it will likely be the main contributor to global sea-level rise within a decade or two.
Figure 7.6. GRACE data showing monthly mass estimates for the Greenland ice sheet (small black circles) between 2002 and 2014, arbitrarily setting the starting point (the average of the ﬁrst year’s measurements) to zero. Note the annual changes, reﬂecting summer melting and winter growth, and the longer term loss of ice (the downward trend of the graph). Note also that the losses are accelerating (the graph curves downward). During this particular period, Greenland lost more than 2,500 gigatons (2500 billion tons) of ice, roughly 0.1 percent of its total. During the ﬁrst ﬁve years of the mission, Greenland lost mass at an average rate of about 200 gigatons (GT) per year. During the next ﬁve years, the average loss rate increased to about 300 gigatons per year. The thin line shows a model ﬁt to the data assuming a constant annual cycle (winter growth, summer loss) and constantly accelerating long term mass loss at 20 GT per year per year; i.e. every year, the rate of loss increases by 20 GT/yr. Modiﬁed from Yang et al. (2016).
Slow sea-level rise and rapid flooding
What will the effects of sea-level rise look like in the next few decades? Probably much like the last few decades. Individual ﬂood events will strike several low-lying places, with potentially devastating conse- quences. In 1991, a massive cyclone struck Bangladesh. Much of this country’s population lives on a low-elevation river delta, where the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal. As with the Mississippi Delta, it is slowly subsiding. Winds from the cyclone drove storm surge far inland. The combination of high winds, ﬂooding, and the subsequent disease and starvation led to approximately 130,000 fatalities and devastating economic losses for this already impoverished nation. Massive ﬂooding again devastated the country in 1998, this time associated with high rainfall upstream. Deforestation in the upstream areas also contributed to ﬂooding. Densely forested hill slopes reduce rapid runoff in high rainfall events, encouraging absorption of rain into the soil. Cutting down the trees allows rainwater to ﬂow rapidly downhill, worsening ﬂooding down- stream. As sea level continues to rise and storm intensity increases (see Chapter 8), ﬂooding events in Bangladesh similar to the 1991 and 1998 catastrophes are virtually certain to increase in frequency and severity.
The 2005 ﬂooding of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the 2012 ﬂooding of New York and New Jersey associated with tropical storm Sandy, give clues to what the future will look like for coastal parts of the US. Many levees in New Orleans were rebuilt in the 1960s after extensive ﬂooding, and for decades, they seemed to be working. Geologists, engineers, and urban planners warned that such defenses were insufﬁcient in the face of rising sea level and subsiding land. For many years, nothing happened, and the optimists seemed to have the upper hand. When Katrina struck in 2005, the associated storm surge, starting from a higher base level (several decades worth of sea-level rise) attacked levees that were now too low (several decades worth of subsidence). In the end, coastal defenses were overwhelmed from over-topping and other failure modes, including erosion at the base of levees. Experts had warned of New York’s and coastal New Jersey’s vulnerability to storm surge for a long time before Hurricane Sandy struck in late October 2012. As with Bangladesh, these events will hit the US more frequently in the future as sea level slowly rises and storms become more intense. Areas that also experience coastal subsidence, such as cities built on river deltas or coastal areas built on dredged ﬁll, are more likely to be hit ﬁrst and suffer more extensive damage when storms do hit.
Most people (including many scientists) assume that this is all that most coastal communities will have to deal with for the next 50 years or so in terms of hazards and costs related to sea-level rise – the occasional violent storm and associated ﬂooding. Catastrophic, to be sure, but rare enough that individual communities can recover and rebuild. Rebuilding costs will be steep, but bearable: more than $100 billion for New Orleans and more than $50 billion for New York and New Jersey. Even the most pessimistic estimates predict that sea level will rise by less than 0.2 meters (a little less than 1 foot) by 2050, hence the amount of rise and additional risk is small compared to the short term but much larger effects from 5–6 meter storm surge. It’s the rapid storm surge, not the slow sea-level rise, that’s important, at least in the short term.
However, there are also moresubtle hidden costs associated with sea-level rise. In their book The Battle for North Carolina’s Coast, Dr. Stanley Riggs, a professor at East Carolina University, and several colleagues investigated the effects of sea-level rise on the health of their state’s beaches, a major tourist attraction and recreation resource for the public. In many places, private housing was built behind the public beaches decades ago. However, rising seas are eroding the beaches, bringing new coastline to the edge of private developments, often protected behind sea walls and sandbags. The net effect is that the public beaches are increasingly lost. Long-term loss of tourist revenue is a likely outcome.
Miami Beach, Florida, a beautiful, art-deco tourist destination and a major source of income for South Florida, illustrates another example of hidden costs. When I was a professor at the University of Miami, a graduate student I knew lived in Miami Beach from 2005 to 2008 and parked her car on the street near her apartment. On several occasions, street-level ﬂooding was bad enough to rise above the door panels of the car and ﬂood the interior, requiring professional cleaning. On one occasion, ﬂooding was severe enough that the entire engine had to be replaced. The car’s electrical system also became heavily corroded, requiring additional repairs. While insurance covered most of her losses, over a four-year period she experienced several thousand dollars in unreimbursed costs from deductibles, co-payments, and lost time.
Parts of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale now experience ﬂood- ing several times a year. These events used to be restricted to periods of intense rainstorms. The storm sewer system does not have much gradient, so during intense rain, the water has no place to go and ﬁlls the streets. In the last decade, a new phenomenon called sunny-day ﬂooding has started to occur (Figure 7.7). If high tide corresponds with a period of offshore wind, local sea level rises enough to ﬂood some of the streets, even without rain. Saltwater comes up through the storm sewers, and brackish water (mixed freshwater and saltwater) wells up through the porous ground.
If you were living in Miami Beach and wanted a safe place to park your car, you might consult a topographic map (a map with elevation information), or if you have access to a computer or smartphone, you could consult Google Earth. Google has digitized the topographic maps of many areas, so it’s possible to read off the elevation of a speciﬁc location. If you are using an older map, the elevations will be in feet, and many areas of Miami Beach will lie on or close to the three-foot level (slightly lower than one meter). On Google Earth, they show up at or near the 1 m elevation mark. The elevation measurements are relative to mean sea level, deﬁned as the average sea level over several decades, using a ground reference or “datum” called NAVD-29 (North American Vertical Datum 1929). You might think that as long as you were lucky enough to ﬁnd a parking space for your car that was higher than 3 feet in elevation, which means three feet above the average height of the ocean, you would be safe most of the time, except during hurricanes or other extreme events. But, you would be wrong for several reasons.
Figure 7.7 (top and bottom): Two pictures of Miami Beach during the “king tide” of October 2014. In the bottom picture, note that sea level is already quite close to the ground level – even a moderate storm or onshore wind would lead to signiﬁcant inundation. Courtesy of S. Wdowinski (top) and Q. Yang (bottom).
First, the datum is now incorrect. Topographic maps are constructed with the assumption that the Earth is static – neither the Earth’s surface nor sea levels are supposed to change. For most places most of the time, static Earth is a good assumption. Most people (except geologists) think of the Earth in this way. But the Earth is actually changing all the time. In the more than 80 years since NAVD-29 was deﬁned and heights in Miami Beach were measured relative to it, certain parts of Miami Beach (the ones built on artiﬁcial ﬁll) have subsided, reﬂecting compaction of the ﬁll (by one or two feet), while sea level has risen by at least a foot. So places originally deemed to be 3 feet above mean high tide are now much closer to average sea level (i.e. zero elevation). If the tide is higher than average, the streets will ﬂood. Mean sea level is updated every few decades, but maps tend to be updated more slowly. Many buildings in Miami Beach, including most of its art-deco hotels, were built in the 1920s and 1930s, using maps based on NAVD-29 or earlier datums.
Second, as the surface of a street gets closer and closer to sea level (approaching zero elevation) details become important in terms of ﬂood potential. Small height differences (a foot or two) can make all the difference. Local depressions or high points may not be recorded on a typical topographic map. Also it is no longer enough to know the average elevation. This close to zero elevation, we also need to know the detailed time variation of sea level, which can change several tens of centimeters (1 to 2 feet) in an hour or less, due to tides and local weather. Miami Beach does not have levees like New Orleans to hold back high water, so high water conditions are felt almost immediately, with water often forcing its way up through the storm sewers or porous ground. High tide actually varies quite a bit. For Miami Beach, a spring high tide (when the moon is full or new, aligning its gravitational pull with the sun) will be a foot or two higher compared to a neap high tide (when the sun and moon are at right angles). The difference between spring and neap tides does not matter if you live in Colorado, much higher than sea level, but if you are living close to the ocean, that extra foot or two can make the difference between ﬂooding and no ﬂooding. Sometimes your parking space is actually going to be one or two feet below that day’s average water level, and you need to take that into account if you are looking for a safe place to park. In effect, you need a weather forecast for local sea level. If you knew sea level was going to be especially high over the next 24–48 hours, due to either a spring tide or an offshore wind, and you had the option, you might choose to pay extra to park your car overnight on the second or third ﬂoor of a parking structure.
The third reason topographic maps are misleading in terms of ﬂood potential is related to the second. As the street surface gets lower and lower, it no longer drains very well. A heavy rainstorm can lead to signiﬁcant local, short-term ﬂooding until excess water has time to drain away. If the rain happens to coincide with high tide, things get much worse since there is nowhere for the water to drain until the tide recedes.
Figure 7.8 Frequency of ﬂood events in Miami Beach, Florida. Modiﬁed from Figure 3a of Wdowinski et al. (2016).
Perhaps this will be the next new thing for software developers – an app for coastal residents that details the local high spots, and predicts actual sea level and ﬂood susceptibility for various locations for a given time of day, similar to a weather forecast. The prediction would be based on local elevation and drainage, short-term changes from tides and weather, and longer-term changes from sea-level rise and land subsidence. Available data suggest a signiﬁcant increase in the rate of sea-level rise in the last decade, but it is still not completely understood. Dr. Shimon Wdowinski, a professor at Florida International University in Miami, has studied the frequency of local ﬂooding in Miami Beach using media reports, insurance claims, and weather records (Figure 7.8). There has been a rapid increase in the number ﬂood events over the last two decades.
Frequent ﬂooding of Miami Beach with water that is increas- ingly saline does more than damage parked cars. It is starting to wreak havoc with all sorts of infrastructure, from building foundations to buried cables and underground pipes for water and sewage. Gravity- drained storm sewers have become ineffective and require costly pumps, similar to those used in New Orleans. The present and future cost of these repairs and infrastructure upgrades is very high. In 2013 and 2014, Miami Beach spent millions of dollars installing new pumps to ﬂush ﬂoodwaters into nearby Biscayne Bay. Unfortunately, this “ﬁx” has had unintended economic consequences. Biscayne Bay is an important tourist attraction, famous for its swimming, boating, and ﬁshing. The untreated ﬂoodwater is hundreds of times higher in enterococci (the kind of bacteria that indicates fecal contamination) compared to levels recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency. This is not exactly a great tourist draw.
Timothy H. Dixon is a professor in the School of Geosciences and Director of the Natural Hazards Network at the University of South Florida in Tampa. In his research, he uses satellite geodesy and remote sensing data to study earthquakes and volcanoes, coastal subsidence and flooding, ground water extraction, and glacier motion. He has worked as a commercial pilot and scientific diver, conducted research at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and was a professor at the University of Miami, where he co-founded the Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing (CSTARS). Dixon was a Distinguished Lecturer for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) in 2006–2007. He is also a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Geological Society of America (GSA), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He received a GSA Best Paper Award in 2006 and received GSA’s Woollard Award in 2010 for excellence in Geophysics.
Timothy H. Dixon is a professor in the School of Geosciences and Director of the Natural Hazards Network at the University of South Florida in Tampa. In his research, he uses satellite geodesy and remote sensing data to study earthquakes and volcanoes, coastal subsidence and flooding, ground water extraction, and glacier motion. He has worked as a commercial pilot and scientific diver, conducted research at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and was a professor at the University of Miami, where he co-founded the Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing (CSTARS). Dixon was a Distinguished Lecturer for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) in 2006–2007. He is also a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Geological Society of America (GSA), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He received a GSA Best Paper Award in 2006 and received GSA’s Woollard Award in 2010 for excellence in Geophysics.
|May 30, 2017||
Fight Back for Energy Independence Over Corporate Profits.
by Lois Gibbs, OurFuture.org, AlterNet
‘Homeland Security – No more wars over oil!’ That’s what families in communities across Pennsylvania were promised a decade ago.
‘We’ll extract natural gas from the ground, using an unconventional process called hydrofracturing, to acquire enough natural gas that the U.S. will no longer be dependent on foreign oil!’
At least that’s what we were told. No longer would we need to send our young men and women overseas to fight oil wars.
Today America is there, with over 100 years of natural gas reserves. Moreover, if our country was to also invest in energy conservation and renewables, our nation could have 200 years of reserves today.
So what happened to that promise of ‘Homeland Security’ and ‘Energy Independence’? And why aren’t we celebrating?
The Big Energy Lie
It was a lie. Not one corporate CEO or their friends in elected office ever intended to keep energy resources stockpiled for America’s future.
The evidence of this can be seen every day as the oil and gas industry pushes hard, stomps on people, intimidates and threatens landowners, steals the land and destroy our environment to build the pipelines, compressor stations and export terminals.
These pipelines crisscross our nation through old-growth forests, indigenous sacred lands and through rural communities that provide food for American families. The export terminals jeopardize Americans shorelines and marine life all just so they can sell gas overseas and make profits for a few.
Farmers, ranchers and rural families were lied to, and in some cases called traitors or terrorists when they fought against this destructive industry. Communities and innocent families were told if they did not sell the rights to their land, the government will take it through eminent domain.
‘Our country’s national security is a public benefit which allows us to use eminent domain,’ they said. All of this was corporate and government propaganda.
What Big Oil and Gas Really Want
Today, the price of natural gas has dropped over 42 percent because of our new energy stockpile. That translates into more affordable energy for American households, but also fewer profits for the large corporations.
So what oil and gas industries want now is to build pipelines and terminals to export as much of this energy as they possibly can, to once again make huge profits. Asia has already contracted to purchase gas from the new export terminal in Cove Point, Maryland.
While industry is building export infrastructure to start selling natural gas overseas, in the U.S., families who sacrificed their land, drinking water, health and the ability to make a living off their farms and ranches are in crisis.
People can set the water from their kitchen faucets on fire because it’s polluted underground. Asthma and other childhood diseases are increasing. It’s like the nineteenth century; mothers must go outdoors with buckets to get clean water, then heat it on the stove to bathe their young children, make dinner, or brush their teeth. This is not progress.
The True Terrorists
Energy Independence? Homeland Security? I don’t think so. It is the oil and gas industry and their allies in government who are the true terrorists. Their children or grandchildren will likely never fight a war over oil, but who knows what’s in store for the rest of us.
It is time for America to stop this madness. The first step is to stop the pipelines, compressor stations and export terminals. Stand up against greedy corporations and take a risk. It’s a war on the home front against average Americans which we didn’t start, but we can win.
It is our patriotic duty to stop the corporate greed and support and defend our neighbors.
|June 1, 2017||
Lawsuit Expands to Highlight Keystone XL's Threats to Endangered Species
by Jared Margolis, AlterNet
On May 24, landowner and environmental-protection groups added a new claim to their ongoing lawsuit challenging the Keystone XL pipeline project. The claim highlights the project’s threats to critically endangered whooping cranes and other threatened species.
The additional claim is against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to thoroughly analyze Keystone XL’s threats to the cranes, and other protected birds, before federal approvals of the project began earlier this year.
These threats include increased risk of oil spills, habitat loss and collisions with hundreds of miles of new power lines that would serve the pipeline’s pump stations. The Fish and Wildlife Service arbitrarily concurred with the U.S. Department of State’s determination that despite these serious threats, Keystone XL was not likely to adversely affect the crane or other listed birds. The State Department relied on that decision to issue a cross-border permit for Keystone XL in March.
The Keystone XL pipeline was rejected by the Obama administration because it’s an absolute disaster for wildlife, water and our climate. Approving this massive pipeline without ensuring that iconic endangered species like the whooping crane are adequately protected is simply unacceptable.
The groups—including the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Bold Alliance, Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council—also filed a notice of intent to sue the State Department regarding its review of the pipeline’s impacts to whooping cranes, interior least terns and piping plovers.
Construction of the pipeline and the associated power lines would harm these birds by significantly increasing the risk of collisions and providing artificial perches for predators that target these imperiled species. Collisions are a leading source of death for whooping cranes, and the proposed pipeline route follows the main migratory corridor for the largest surviving wild population of whooping cranes, which numbers fewer than 300 birds. Habitat fragmentation from construction activities and inevitable oil spills during operation will also threaten cranes, terns and plovers and the natural areas they depend on for feeding, breeding and nesting.
The groups seek a more comprehensive analysis of Keystone XL’s threats to these protected species and a reconsideration of the conservation measures needed to prevent serious harm.
“Not only will Keystone XL worsen the climate crisis, poison waters and threaten communities along its route, it will drive wildlife closer to the brink of extinction,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth. “Indigenous peoples and ranchers led the fight against Keystone XL and Trump’s effort to force through this dangerous and destructive project is a slap in the face to them, as well as all who care about our planet.”
“The Trump administration rushed to approve the Keystone XL without properly evaluating the pipeline's impacts,” said Sierra Club attorney Doug Hayes. “A comprehensive review would show that Keystone XL poses a grave danger to our climate, waterways and endangered species along the pipeline route.”
In their amended complaint and a related notice of intent to sue sent to the State Department today, the groups noted that the State Department and Fish and Wildlife Service failed to fully consider the risk of harm, ignored the best available science and relied on inadequate conservation measures. Threats from habitat fragmentation and oil spills along the entire route were downplayed or ignored, and the agencies disregarded harms from the construction and operation of Keystone XL in Canada.
The groups argued that imperiled migratory birds like the whooping crane may be jeopardized in order to allow a Canadian corporation to pump dirty tar sands across the United States. The groups will pursue the species issues raised in today’s filings in their ongoing litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana; they have already challenged the State Department’s review of Keystone XL under the National Environmental Policy Act. That review severely underestimated the project’s dangerous impacts on the environment and communities along the pipeline route.
“These threats to the iconic whooping crane and other wildlife underscore why we can’t allow the Trump Administration to rubber-stamp Keystone XL,” said Anthony Swift, director of NRDC’s Canada Project. “The tar sands pipeline would put at grave risk our waters, wildlife and climate.”
“We cannot continue to sacrifice our most precious resources on the altar of tar sands greed,” said Ken Winston, an attorney for the Bold Alliance. “In addition to the well-documented risks to our life-giving water and land, Keystone XL poses significant and unacceptable risks to the rare and beautiful whooping cranes.”
|June 1, 2017||
Bread Really Is Unhealthy—at Least for the Environment
by Lucy Goodchild Van Hilten, AlterNet
Bread has long been labelled the bad guy, with millions of people opting to ditch the dough and eat a gluten-free diet to stay trim and healthy. But it turns out there’s another reason to steer clear of bread: it’s having a massive impact on the environment.
Scientists in the United Kingdom have worked out the greenhouse gas emissions produced by making one standard loaf of bread, pinpointing the emissions hotspots in the process. With GHG emissions equivalent to about half a kilo (1.3 pounds) of carbon dioxide per loaf, bread accounts for half a percent of the U.K.’s total emissions. That may not seem like a lot, but considering that the nation's entire agriculture industry accounts for 10 percent of total emissions, it's clear that bread, as a single food product, has a pretty huge impact.
The good news is there’s now a clear target to reduce the impact: Nearly half of the emissions (0.589kg, or 13.7oz) come from fertilizer used to grow the wheat. Writing in Nature Plants, Prof. Peter Horton FRS and his colleagues from The University of Sheffield analyzed the whole manufacturing process, from planting the seed to putting the bread on the shelf. They found the bulk of the greenhouse gases come from the farm.
“Our findings bring into focus a key part of the food security challenge—resolving the major conflicts embedded in the agri-food system, whose primary purpose is to make money not to provide sustainable global food security,” commented Prof. Horton, who is Chief Research Advisor to the University of Sheffield’s Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures.
Bread: the bad guy?
Despite getting bad press for its gluten content (which scientists now say we actually need), bread is still one of the most widely eaten foods; the average person in the United States eats bread 77 times a year and almost 160 million Americans eat one loaf a week (and over 11 million eat more than five).
Bread has four main ingredients: flour, yeast, salt and water. The wheat is first grown and harvested, then the grains milled to make the flour—all this before the ingredient is processed, packaged and ready to bake. A standard loaf of bread contains about 16 ounces of flour; it’s this flour that has the biggest impact on the environment, according to the new research.
The researchers looked at every aspect of bread manufacturing, analyzing the whole life cycle of a loaf, from growing the wheat to packaging the bread and transporting it to the shop. They found that nearly 66 percent of the emissions came from growing the wheat: tilling the soil, harvesting and irrigation all require emissions-producing machinery. But a whopping 43 percent of the greenhouse gases produced came from using fertilizer to grow the crops.
“We found in every loaf there is embodied global warming resulting from the fertilizer applied to farmers’ fields to increase their wheat harvest,” Dr. Liam Goucher, the study’s lead author, said.
A system reliant on fertilizer
For the calculations in their new study, the team focused on one particular farm in Lincoln in the U.K., but the significant emissions from the fertilizer are not unique to that farm—or the crop. In fact, food is responsible for about one-third of all our greenhouse gas emissions, and a lot of this is down to fertilizer use. An estimated 60 percent of agricultural crops depend on fertilizer; wheat farmers use ammonium nitrate fertilizer to grow their crops. It boosts growth by providing nitrogen, but it also contains and releases a multitude of substances with a potential impact on climate, including ammonia, carbon dioxide and methane.
“If you want to reduce the climate impact of food production, we need to think of fertilizer manufacturing and fertilizer application as one place where we have big leverage to reduce climate impact,” said Prof. Navin Ramankutty, of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, who was not involved in the study.
The emissions related to fertilizer use stretch back into its own production—a lot of energy is needed to make the fertilizer in the first place. Then when it’s used and breaks down in the soil, it releases nitrous oxide. This gas accounts for nearly two-thirds of agricultural emissions—as a food-related greenhouse gas, it’s second only to carbon dioxide. What’s more, it has 298 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, making fertilizer a serious problem for climate change.
“High agricultural productivity—necessary for profit for farmers, agri-businesses and food retailers, whilst also keeping prices low for consumers—currently requires high levels of application of relatively cheap fertilizers,” said Prof. Horton. “With over 100 million tons of fertilizer used globally each year to support agricultural production this is a massive problem, but environmental impact is not costed within the system and so there are currently no real incentives to reduce our reliance on fertilizer.”
Taking responsibility as a team
So we’ve got a problem in the system, but who’s going to fix it? According to the researchers, it’s something that needs to be addressed by everyone involved—from the farmer who plants the seeds to the consumer who takes a bite out of their sandwich.
We know plenty of ways to reduce the impact of using fertilizer, such as using it at key points during the season rather than continuously, and using different cropping systems—by planting vegetables between crop cycles (decreasing “fallow frequency”), farmers can keep the land in use and improve the ability of the soil to hold carbon.
The biggest challenge will be implementing these changes in places where farmers rely on fertilizer to protect their income; after all, it’s a surefire way to make sure the crop grows, regardless of the impact it has on the environment.
Yet the responsibility doesn’t end with the farmer, said Professor Lenny Koh, who came up with the method for analyzing bread in the new study: “The findings raise a very important issue—whose responsibility is it to bring about the implementation of these interventions: the fertilizer manufacturer, the farmer, the retailer or the consumer?
“There is a growing recognition for a range of industrial processes of the notion of extended producer responsibility—the producer being responsible for downstream impact, expanded to the idea of shared producer and consumer responsibility. The consumer is key, whether being persuaded to pay more for a greener product or by applying pressure for a change in practice.”
The obvious choice we can make is organic—given the proportion of emissions that come from fertilizer, making sure the bread we’re eating is organic can make an immediate and significant difference. Less obvious is where we eat: researchers in China found that dining out has nearly double the carbon emissions of eating at home.
While the jury may still be out on whether bread is the bad guy for our health, it’s clear that the slice of toast we eat in the morning or that lunchtime sub has just as much of an effect on the environment as it does on our waistlines. The agricultural industry has plenty of work to do to reduce the impact of the wheat that ends up in our sandwiches. But in the meantime, when it comes to cutting the carbon from our food, the decisions we make as consumers can help too.
Lucy Goodchild van Hilten is a freelance writer. Read more of her work at telllucy.com.
|June 1, 2017||
Trump Pulls Out of Paris Agreement, Endangering Future Generations and the Planet.
by Reynard Loki, AlterNet
President Trump announced Thursday that he is withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate agreement, signed by nearly 200 nations to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
In his exit, Trump has likely put the accord into jeopardy, as the U.S. is the second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world next to China. Per capita, the U.S. is the seventh biggest emitter, after major oil- and coal-burning nations like Qatar and Australia. But cumulatively speaking, the U.S. is the country that has pumped the most greenhouse gases into the atmosphere over the decades.
These facts, environmentalists argue, mean that the U.S. should shoulder the biggest responsibility for mitigating the effects of climate change. But Trump has shirked that responsibility, a move that could weaken other nations' commitment: If the world leader in carbon emissions won't curb its own, why should other countries, which emit far less?
By withdrawing from the Paris agreement, Trump has managed to fulfill at least one of his campaign promises (his plans to build a wall on the Mexican border and repeal Obamacare have faltered so far). He has also gone against the will of the American people: By more than 5 to 1, voters have said that the U.S. should stick with the agreement. A nationally representative survey conducted last November by George Mason and Yale universities found that seven in 10 registered voters say the U.S. should keep its pact. Only 13 percent said the U.S. should quit it.
The Paris agreement has received strong support not just from environmentalists and the majority of American voters, but also many Fortune 500 companies like Apple, Morgan Stanley and Unilever, which signed a full-page ad in the New York Times supporting the deal. In addition, Pope Francis urged Trump to stay in the agreement, giving the president a copy of his papal encyclical on climate change when the two men met recently at the Vatican.
Ceding clean energy sector to China
Trump's decision is a win for the White House's nationalist camp: Chief strategist Steve Bannon and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt both contended that the Paris agreement would hamper the president's goals for domestic energy. Their hopes may be misplaced, as the coal industry, which Trump strongly supported during the campaign, is experiencing an irreversible decline.
"Across the decades that energy investments stretch, the global move is clearly towards low-carbon and around the world coal is in freefall," writes the Guardian's environment editor Damian Carrington. "A Trump blip is highly unlikely to see companies make billion-dollar bets on coal. Furthermore, with the costs of solar and wind power plummeting by 85 and 66 percent respectively since 2009, many U.S. states and cities see clean energy as the future, whatever the current federal administration thinks."
Meanwhile, the president is risking ceding renewable energy dominance to China, which has overtaken the U.S. as the number-one spender on clean energy, attracting more that $65 billion in investments in 2012, a 20 percent increase over the previous year, according to a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
"When George W. Bush announced in 2001 that the United States would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, it led to a lost decade of U.S. action on climate change," said Noah Sachs, a member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform and a law professor at the University of Richmond. "Now, President Trump’s decision will lead to a lost century on climate change, where the U.S. will give away the store to the Europeans and the Chinese, who are eager to lead the clean energy revolution."
Paris accord: job-creator or job-killer?
In his announcement today, Trump argued that abandoning the agreement would be a victory for the U.S. economy, but many economists disagree.
"Withdrawing from the Paris agreement is hardly going to create jobs in the U.S.," Cary Coglianese, professor at the University of Pennsylvania and editor of the book Does Regulation Kill Jobs? told ABC News. ''While specific environmental regulations can sometimes lead to job losses, they also can and do lead to job gains—with the result being roughly a wash."
“The Trump administration is buying a fallacy that responding to climate change will hurt the economy,” said Ben Lilliston, director of climate programs at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. “In fact, it is the cost of not responding that will hurt the most. In the U.S. and elsewhere we are seeing emission reductions combined with economic growth."
Mary Kay Henry, the president of the Service Employees International Union, which has 2 million members in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, said Trump's decision is essentially "killing the creation of new industries and jobs that could give communities the boost they need to thrive in favor of corporate polluters who want to pad their bottom line on the health of our communities." She noted that in the U.S., "clean energy jobs vastly outnumber fossil fuel jobs, with solar and wind energy at the forefront."
It should be noted that Trump did mention reentering the agreement: "In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord, but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers. So we're getting out, but we will start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that's fair."
Trump's withdrawal 'verges on criminal'
The response from supporters of the agreement was harsh and swift.
"President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord is a stunning abdication of American leadership and a grave threat to our planet’s future," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). "In walking away from this agreement, the president is denying scientific truths, removing safeguards that protect our health and our environment, protecting polluters and their dirty energy agenda, and threatening our national and global security."
"By abandoning the Paris Agreement, Trump continues on a reckless path of pretending that the dire threat posed by climate change is no more lasting than a tweet," said Sachs. "It’s one thing to campaign on a know-nothing platform on climate change that denies scientific reality, and another altogether to govern that way. If ever there was a moment for Donald Trump to listen to the consensus of scientists and 195 parties to the Paris Agreement, this was it, and he failed."
Given the powerfully harmful impacts the withdrawal could have on current and future generations, Nigel Sizer, president of the Rainforest Alliance, said that Trump's decision is tantamount to criminal action. "Climate change is one of the greatest threats to human civilization," he said. "That is not in question. To tear up the U.S.’ commitment to climate action ... is more than irresponsible—it verges on criminal, and will be noted as one of the low points in U.S. policymaking for decades to come. It also does not reflect the views of the American people—70% of Americans believe global warming is happening right now."
Trump's decision is a blow to farmers and rural economies already battling increasingly extreme weather due to climate change. "Perhaps no sector is more vulnerable to climate change than agriculture," the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's Lilliston said. "The president’s decision to turn his back on global efforts to address climate change will hurt farmers in the U.S. and around the world. It is inexplicable and in willful denial of the urgent challenges already facing farmers and rural communities."
The withdrawal is also bad for human rights. Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said in a statement:
Climate-Denier-in-Chief could ruin global climate fight
There is an even more sinister aspect of Trump's withdrawal, as the U.S. will remain part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international environmental treaty adopted in 1992 to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations, and could play the role of spoiler.
Kelle Louaillier, president of Corporate Accountability International, said that Trump's withdrawal doesn't mean the U.S. is simply walking away from the global climate table. "In fact," she said, "this move [will] almost guarantee that the Trump administration will exploit the rules of the Paris Agreement, which allow the U.S. to stay at the table for the next four years, to continue to undermine and block climate progress." She added, "This decision will have far-reaching implications for people, the planet and the future of the Paris Agreement."
While the focus in the coming days will undoubtedly be on the specific impacts Trump's decision will have on the future of the agreement, the environment is on the president's chopping block in myriad other ways, from announcing a budget that would slash the EPA by nearly a third, to eliminating the Superfund toxic waste cleanup program and opening up the pristine Arctic Refuge to oil and gas drilling.
Redoubling efforts: Environmental movement
One upside to Trump's decision may be the further galvanization of the environmental movement, from activists on the ground and green-minded corporate leaders to elected officials like California governor Jerry Brown, who delivered a stern rebuke to Trump in his State of the State speech earlier this year, during which he cast the Golden State as a "beacon of hope to the rest of the world."
Brown pointed out that "whatever they do in Washington, they can’t change the facts. And these are the facts: The climate is changing, the temperatures are rising, and so are the oceans. Natural habitats everywhere are under stress." Just minutes after Trump's inauguration, California regulators released a proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
"President Trump cannot stop the growing local movement toward clean energy or the broader international effort to stabilize our global climate," said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. "Locally, states are moving faster toward clean energy than ever before because of Trump’s criminal rejection of climate science and sound policy." He pointed out three recent, major pro-climate moves made by state and district governments: Virginia's announcement of the state’s first-ever carbon cap on power plant pollution, Washington, D.C.'s moved toward a citywide carbon fee that cuts pollution while boosting individual incomes, and Maryland's fracking ban and approval of the nation's largest offshore wind farm.
If Washington won't fight climate change, the battle lines will be redrawn along regional, state and local community lines. Perhaps Trump's withdrawal from the Paris agreement will redouble efforts outside the Beltway. "If we don’t stop him now," said Karpinsky, "there’s no telling how much harm he will do."
"Trump has made his decision and we’re making ours—the rest of the world and the majority of Americans who support the Paris Climate Agreement will stand by it," said May Boeve, executive director of 350.org. "We won’t be dragged back by a shortsighted and destructive fossil fuel puppet in the White House. ... We can use the next four years to show that everywhere across the country the transition to renewable energy is underway and creating tens of thousands of good paying jobs in the process. This was always up to us, and we must ensure we meet the challenge."
|June 2, 2017||
LA GRAVE DECISION DU PRESIDENT AMERICAIN : DONALD TRUMP DE RETIRER SA SIGNATURE DE LA COP 21 ! THE SERIOUS DECISION OF THE US PRESIDENT: DONALD TRUMP TO WITHDRAW SA SIGNATURE OF THE COP 21!
by Guy Crequie
Guy CREQUIE Global file
Ecrivain français à finalité philosophique. Blog http://guycrequie.blogspot.com
LA GRAVE DECISION DU PRESIDENT AMERICAIN : DONALD TRUMP DE RETIRER SA SIGNATURE DE LA COP 21 ! WITH SERIOUS DECISION OF THE US PRESIDENT: DONALD TRUMP TO WITHDRAW SA SIGNATURE OF THE COP 21!
Après des semaines d'atermoiements, le président américain a finalement tranché. Donald Trump, qui se trouve à la tête du deuxième pays le plus pollueur du monde, a annoncé jeudi 1er juin la sortie des Etats-Unis de l'accord de Paris sur le climat. Ce texte historique, signé par 194 autres pays en décembre 2015, vise à contenir la hausse de la température moyenne mondiale "bien en deçà" de 2°C par rapport à l'ère pré-industrielle.
D’ores et déjà, l’administration américaine détricote toutes les régulations mises en place par l’ancien Président OBAMA relativement à l’application des décisions de l’accord de Paris sur le climat. Certes, les Etats-Unis disposaient des moyens d’appliquer de façon formelle cet accord sans trop d’efforts. Cependant, les Etats-Unis par l’accord du Président OBAMA s’étaient engagés à réduire de 24 à 26% d’ici 2025 leurs émissions de CO2 sur la référence de base de 2005.
Certes, le réchauffement climatique se poursuivait car les décisions d’aujourd’hui, ne peuvent altérer des pratiques découlant de l’avant COP 21sur des décennies. Malgré tout la limitation prévue de 2 degrés inversait le processus engagé. Cette décision du Président américain de remettre la cause la signature est une faute politique. Elle peut remettre en cause l’accord si cette décision ouvre la porte à d’autres retraits de gouvernements égoïstes qui seraient simplement désireux de développer à tout prix une croissance au détriment des conditions d’existence des populations. La Chine premier pollueur pour ce qui la concerne, a réaffirmé sa volonté de respecter l’accord. Lee Etats-Unis avec 19% du total des émissions à effet de serre sont le deuxième pollueur du monde et leur retrait est inquiétant !que fera par exemple la Russie le cinquième pays pollueur au monde ?
Qu’un grand pays comme les Etats-Unis se livre à cette attitude est aussi une faute morale que l’histoire jugera.
En effet déjà, dans certaines grandes villes urbaines les pollutions actuelles conduisent à des pathologies lourdes frappant notamment les enfants et les personnes âgées. La déforestation de l’Amazonie, la montée des océans avec la fonte des glaces constatée dans l’Arctique, et le danger visant l’antarctique actuellement protégé sont lourds de sens pour l’avenir. Notre ambition de promouvoir la science globale pour la paix sera compliquée si l’accord de Paris est menacé. En effet et selon, les exodes de populations victimes de sécheresse, de manque d’eau, et d’autres victimes de tornades, de cyclones, de tsunamis, avec des îles qui seront noyées sur les eaux comme les Maldives provoqueront des troubles sociaux, des exodes anarchiques de flux migratoires perturbant les équilibres fragiles d’autant plus en période de crise. Des tensions surgiront opposant les populations, créant des conflits, voire des guerres.
Le combat contre le terrorisme, n’a pas besoin d’un nouveau pôle de difficultés au sujet de tensions qui diminueront les moyens consacrés à la lutte contre le premier. Peut-on encore croire ou espérer en la lucidité retrouvée du Président américain insaisissable, instable, sujet à des sautes d’humeur ou des positions d’humeur que ses nombreux tweets révèlent ?
Les opinions publiques mondiales sont appelées à se manifester ! La paix ne concerne pas que les conflits militaires d’armées ou de groupes fanatisés utilisant les armes conventionnelles, chimiques, bactériologiques et l’arme nucléaire de destruction massive. Les troubles et conflits liés au dérèglement climatique peuvent modifier l’équilibre mondial déjà fragile.
L’heure est grave, qu’en pensez-vous ? Que comptez-vous dire et faire ?
Ecrivain français observateur social
Représentant français d’ONG internationales de d’harmonie –Messager de la culture de la paix de l’UNESCO
THE SERIOUS DECISION OF THE US PRESIDENT: DONALD TRUMP TO WITHDRAW SA SIGNATURE OF THE COP 21! WITH SERIOUS US DECISION OF THE PRESIDENT: DONALD TRUMP TO WITHDRAW SA SIGNATURE OF THE COP 21!
After weeks of excuses, the US president finally sliced. Donald Trump, who is in charge of the second country more the pollutant of the world, announced Thursday, June 1 the exit of the United States of the agreement of Paris on the climate. This historical text, signed by 194 other countries in December 2015, aims at containing well the rise of the world average temperature “in on this side” 2°C compared to the preindustrial era.
Right now, the American administration unknits all the regulations installation by former President OBAMA compared to the application of the decisions of the agreement of Paris on the climate. Admittedly, the United States had the means of applying in a formal way this agreement without too many efforts. However, the United States by the agreement of President OBAMA had committed itself reducing by 24 to 26% by 2025 their CO2 emissions on the basic reference of 2005.
Admittedly, climate warming continued because the decisions of today, cannot deteriorate practices rising from before COP 21sur from the decades. Despite everything the limitation envisaged of 2 degrees the involved process reversed. This decision of the US president to give the cause the signature is a political fault. It can call into question the agreement if this decision opens the door to other withdrawals of egoistic governments which would be simply eager to develop at all costs a growth to the detriment of the conditions of existence of the populations. China first pollutant for what concerns, reaffirmed its will to respect the agreement. Lee the United States with 19% of the total of the emissions for greenhouse effect are the second pollutant of the world and their withdrawal is worrying!what will make for example Russia the fifth country pollutant in the world?
That a large country as the United States devotes itself to this attitude is as a moral fault as the history will judge.
Indeed already, in certain urban big cities current pollution leads to heavy pathologies in particular striking the children and the elderly people. The deforestation of Amazonia, rise of the oceans with the cast iron of the ices noted in the Arctic, and the danger aiming at the Antarctic currently protected are heavy direction for the future. Our ambition to promote total science for peace will be complicated if the agreement of Paris is threatened. Indeed and according to, the exoduses of populations victims of drought, lack of water, and other victims of tornadoes, cyclones, tsunamis, with islands which will be drowned on water as the Maldives will cause social disturbances, anarchistic exoduses of migratory flux disturbing fragile balances all the more in crisis period. Tensions will emerge opposing the populations, creating conflicts, even wars.
The combat against terrorism, does not need a new pole of difficulties about tensions which will decrease the means devoted to the fight against the first. Can one still believe or hope in the found clearness of the imperceptible, unstable US president, prone to or position sudden changes of mood of mood that its many tweets reveals?
The world public opinions have to appear! Peace does not relate to only the military conflicts of armies or fanaticized groups using the conventional armes, chemical, bacteriological and the nuclear weapon of massive destruction. The disorders and conflicts related to the climatic disordered state can modify already fragile world balance.
The hour serious, that is you do think about it? What do you hope to say and make?
Social observant French writer
French representative of ONG international of harmony - Messenger of the culture of the peace of UNESCO
|May 31, 2017||
AL ENCUENTRO DE LA PAZ LA RÉUNION DE LA PAIX REUNIÃO DA PAZ THE MEETING OF PEACE ВСТРЕЧА МИРА
by Teresita Morán Valcheff, R. Argentina,
AL ENCUENTRO DE LA PAZ
En las urnas del poniente ya se abisma la tarde
y el alma nos lleva hasta la luz de tu llama
paz anhelada razón y ser de la vida.
Queremos alcanzarla y con fe caminamos
por escabrosos senderos sembrados de metralla
y fanáticos odios.
Tenemos un mandato que guía nuestros pasos
y siempre buscaremos su rostro entre las sombras.
su eterno rostro para solaz del alma.
Hoy estamos aquí bajo este cielo amigo
para pedir que reinen la paz y la armonía
entre todos los pueblos de la tierra
y exigir a los viles traficantes del odio
que depongan las armas
y dejen a los niños crecer en sus hogares
al amparo del amor de sus padres
venerando el suelo hogar de sus mayores.
En esta hora crucial de nuestra historia
con vigor reclamamos
que la voz de la guerra
no acalle las conciencias
y sean las ideas sin cepos ni cadenas
las letras liberadas en mentes creadoras
las artes sin fronteras
las que unan a los pueblos
y la paz corone las sienes de la tierra
con su rama de olivos.
LA RÉUNION DE LA PAIX
Aux élections de l'ouest l'après-midi déjà l’abime
et l'âme conduit à la lumière de votre flamme
la raison et la paix être la vie chérie.
Nous voulons atteindre et marcher dans la foi
par des chemins rugueux jonchés d'éclats d'obus
et de haines fanatiques.
Nous avons un mandat pour guider nos pas
et toujours nous cherchons son visage dans l'ombre.
son visage éternel au confort de l'âme.
Aujourd'hui, nous sommes ici sous ce ciel ami
de demander la paix et l'harmonie
entre tous les peuples de la terre
et exigent aux semeurs ignobles et haineux
de déposer les armes
et que les enfants grandissent dans leur maison
sous l'amour de leurs parents
vénérant le sol de la maison de leurs ainés.
A ce moment crucial de notre histoire
nous réclamons vigoureusement
la voix de la guerre réduite
au silence des consciences
et les idées ne sont pas des pièges ou des chaines
lettres relâchées dans les esprits créatifs
arts sans frontières
qu'ils se joignent aux peuples
et la paix couronne les temples de la terre
avec son rameau d'olivier.
REUNIÃO DA PAZ
Na eleição do oeste durante a tarde já o abismo
e alma leva a acender sua chama
razão e paz seja a cara vida.
Queremos chegar e caminhar na fé
por estradas irregulares cheias de estilhaços
e ódios fanáticos.
Temos um mandato para guiar os nossos passos
e ainda buscamos o rosto na sombra.
sua face eterna para confortar a alma.
Hoje estamos aqui neste céus amigáveis
buscar a paz e harmonia
entre todos os povos da terra
e exigir que os traficantes vis e ódio
e que as crianças cresçam em sua casa
no amor de seus pais
venerando a andar da casa dos mais velhos.
Neste momento crucial da nossa história
a voz da pequena guerra
para silenciar as consciências
e as idéias são armadilhas ou cadeias
letras libertados para as mentes criativas
Arte sem fronteiras
eles se juntam as pessoas
paz e coroar os templos da terra
com seu ramo de oliveira.
THE MEETING OF PEACE
In the Western elections in the afternoon already the abyss
And the soul leads to the light of your flame
Reason and peace be cherished life.
We want to reach and walk in faith
By rough paths strewn with shrapnel
And fanatical hatreds.
We have a mandate to guide our
And always we look for his face in the shadow.
His eternal face to the comfort of the soul.
Today we are here under this sky friend
To demand peace and harmony
Between all the peoples of the earth
And demand the ignoble and hateful sowers
To lay down weapons
And that children grow up in their homes
Under the love of their parents
Venerating the soil of the house of their elders.
At this crucial moment in our history
We vigorously demand
The voice of reduced war
To the silence of consciences
And ideas are not traps or chains
Letters released into creative minds
Arts without borders
They join the peoples
And peace crowns the temples of the earth
With its olive branch