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Can an Unequal Earth Beat Climate Change?

The Impact of OPEC on Climate Change

It is accepted that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a cartel that restrains oil production and keeps prices higher than they would otherwise be. Indeed, this is the premise behind the “OPEC Accountability Act of 2018” in the US Senate. This bill would address high and rising oil prices by trying to break OPEC. US pressure on OPEC — particularly on friendly governments such as Saudi Arabia that are seen as leaders in the organization — to “open the spigots” is not new. Nor is the control of oil exports by producing countries for political purposes. However, the environmental impact of high oil prices is only lightly considered.

There is little debate that motor vehicle industry changes to increase fuel efficiency were a historic and significant environmental advance. When OPEC action has led to increased prices, the quantity of oil in demand has fallen. This was starkly demonstrated when the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) — founded in 1968 — flexed its price-making muscles in the 1970s. Production cuts and an embargo against sale of oil to several countries raised the spot price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude from $3.56 per barrel in mid-1973 to $4.31 later in the year to $10.11 in January. By the time President Jimmy Carter famously suggested we all turn down our thermostats, the price of WTI crude had reached $14.85 per barrel. The price finally peaked in mid-1980 at $39.50 — a 1000 percent increase in seven years. The price of gasoline more than tripled. In response, we got the Department of Energy, the Chevy Citation, and more fuel-efficient Japanese and German automobile imports.

More recently, the total vehicle miles traveled in the US fell in 2007 amid high oil prices and the Great Recession, and did not increase again until gas prices fell over the second half of 2014 ― from $3.69 per gallon to $2.12.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Where No Corn Has Grown Before: Better Living Through Climate Change?

Where No Corn Has Grown Before: Better Living Through Climate Change?

Photo Source Phil Roeder | CC BY 2.0

The growing season used to be too short to grow corn in Alberta. That’s no longer true, according to a front page story in the November 26 Wall Street Journal: “Warming Climate Pushes Corn North.”  Thanks to climate change, a warming planet means longer growing seasons, making it practical for Canadian farmers to raise corn.  In the little town of La Crete, Alberta (“roughly as far north as Juneau, Alaska”) temperatures “are 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer on average annually than in 1950…and the growing season is nearly two weeks longer.”

The Journal continues:

Canada’s corn acreage has climbed 20% over the past decade, while soybean acreage has roughly doubled… Before 2013, provinces such as Saskatchewan and Alberta grew no significant amounts of soybeans….  Now soybeans cover 425,000 acres in those provinces.

*    *     *

“Today, the U.S. corn belt is in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana,” Cargill CEO David MacLennan said in a 2016 interview. “In 50 years, it may be in Hudson Bay, Canada.”

As for regions where corn has traditionally been grown, they’re seeing bigger harvests.  “Warming has helped increase U.S. corn harvests, delivering more than one-quarter of the yield growth across Corn Belt states since 1981….”

All this is great news, right? Yet there is a down side.  To its credit, the Journal admits that bigger harvests may be harder to sustain as temperatures increase further, and climate shifts already are working against yields in some corn-producing regions….  Overall, climate change-driven heat, droughts and soil erosion will likely diminish U.S. agricultural production, according to the latest installment of the U.S. National Climate Assessment, issued Friday [Nov. 23]” (my italics).

At Jake Vermeer’s farm southeast of Edmonton, Alberta, the growing season is now 17 days longer.  However, warmer temperatures also bring “unusually long dry spells and harsher storms” which make farming “more uncertain.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Big Picture

Humanity has a lot of problems these days. Climate change, increasing economic inequality, crashing biodiversity, political polarization, and a global debt bubble are just a few of our worries. None of these trends can continue indefinitely without leading to a serious failure of our civilization’s ability to maintain itself. Taken together, these metastasizing problems suggest we are headed toward some kind of historic discontinuity.

Serious discontinuities tend to disrupt the timelines of all complex societies (another name for civilizations—that is, societies with cities, writing, money, and full-time division of labor). The ancient Roman, Egyptian, and Mayan civilizations all collapsed. Archaeologists, historians, and systems thinkers have spent decades seeking an explanation for this pattern of failure—a general unified theory of civilizational collapse, if you will. One of the most promising concepts that could serve as the basis for such a theory comes from resilience science, a branch of ecology (the study of the relationship between organisms and their environments).

adaptive cycle

Why Civilizations Collapse: The Adaptive Cycle

Ecosystems have been observed almost universally to repeatedly pass through four phases of the adaptive cycle: exploitation, conservation, release, and reorganization. Imagine, for example, a Ponderosa pine forest. Following a disturbance such as a fire (in which stored carbon is released into the environment), hardy and adaptable “pioneer” species of plants and small animals fill in open niches and reproduce rapidly.

This reorganization phase of the cycle soon transitions to an exploitation phase, in which those species that can take advantage of relationships with other species start to dominate. These relationships make the system more stable, but at the expense of diversity.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

From Obama to Trump, Climate Negotiations are Being Run by the Same Crew of American Technocrats

FROM OBAMA TO TRUMP, CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS ARE BEING RUN BY THE SAME CREW OF AMERICAN TECHNOCRATS

ON MONDAY, THE Trump administration hosted an event on behalf of the fossil fuel industry at the United Nations climate talks in Poland, known as COP24. It was almost identical to the one it hosted at last year’s climate talks in Germany: trying to write coal, oil, and gas into the world’s response to climate change, and bemoaning “alarmism” on climate. Both were disrupted by organizers from the United States voicing their opposition, and both received more media coverage than just about anything else happening at either talks, which this year are focused on arriving at a deeply technical rulebook to implement the Paris agreement.

What the flashy White House sideshow obscured, though, is that the U.S. position in Poland, when it comes to the substance of the talks, is indistinguishable on many fronts from the approach taken by the Obama administration. In fact, that agenda is being carried out by many of the very same people, a largely overlapping crew of career technical negotiators keeping a lower profile than Donald Trump team’s at the White House.

That’s not necessarily good news. While the rhetoric coming from the Obama administration was 180 degrees from that of the Trump administration, American negotiators under President Barack Obama were not intent on driving the world toward the most aggressive climate action possible. Quite the opposite.

Since Trump’s election, the narrative surrounding the team of U.S. negotiators at U.N. climate talks has been a largely sympathetic one, of well-meaning career diplomats simply trying to keep their heads down and make the best of it before the administration can officially pull out of the Paris agreement in late 2020.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Extinction Rebellion’s Direct-Action Climate Activism Comes to New York

THE EXTINCTION REBELLION’S DIRECT-ACTION CLIMATE ACTIVISM COMES TO NEW YORK

THE NEW YORK CHAPTER of Extinction Rebellion held its first planning meeting on Thursday. Incensed and terrified by the accelerating climate crisis, activists gathered in Manhattan to discuss how they might replicate some of the successes the direct-action group has had in the United Kingdom.

In London, less than a month after Extinction Rebellion activists blocked roads, occupied bridges, lay down in the street and got arrested to draw immediate attention to the climate crisis, Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a climate emergency, vowing to do “everything in our power to mitigate the risk” of climate catastrophe. Coincidence? Greg Schwedock doesn’t think so.

“That was unthinkable before the Extinction Rebellion,” Schwedock told a standing room-only crowd gathered in a Manhattan co-working space on Thursday night. Dressed in office gear and “Rise and Resist” sweatshirts, accompanied by their children and at least one dog, the attendees came together with the hope that a New York chapter of the group might have similar success in sparking a response commensurate with the dire crisis.

“Getting a million people to D.C. isn’t enough. We need to escalate,” said Schwedock, who emphasized that the group will take the path of disruptive, attention-grabbing civil disobedience, rather than just marching and chanting about the importance of climate change. “We’re not the ‘Extinction Yell About It.’”

The explosive growth of the Extinction Rebellion — which began in England with the support of a group of academics just a few months ago and already has 190 affiliates on five continents — is fueled by the ballooning ranks of people around the world who are frustrated, alarmed, and depressed by the failure to tackle the accelerating climate disaster.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Major Health Study Shows Benefits of Combating Climate Change

Major Health Study Shows Benefits of Combating Climate Change

Commuters by bike share in New York City

During the holiday season, people often drink toasts to health. There’s something more we can do to ensure that we and others will enjoy good health now and into the future: combat climate change.

Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century, and tackling it could be our greatest health opportunity,” according to the medical journal The Lancet.

The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change, by 150 experts from 27 academic institutions and intergovernmental organizations, including the World Health Organization and the World Bank, is blunt: “A rapidly changing climate has dire implications for every aspect of human life, exposing vulnerable populations to extremes of weather, altering patterns of infectious disease, and compromising food security, safe drinking water and clean air.”

The report examines the association between health and climate change, including resilience and adaptation, financial and economic implications, the health and economic benefits of addressing the crisis, and the need for political and societal engagement, with a greater role for health professionals.

Sadly, the researchers conclude that a lack of concerted effort from governments is compromising human health and health infrastructure and services. They note some progress has been made, including a global decline in coal use, rapid growth in renewable energy installation and increasing fossil fuel divestment.

But it’s far short of what’s needed to keep global average temperature from rising more than 2 C, let alone the more ambitious target of 1.5 C.

People in more than 90 percent of cities breathe air that is toxic to cardiovascular and respiratory health, and it appears to be getting worse, “particularly in low-income and middle-income countries.” Pollutants from burning coal and other fossil fuels are causing millions of premature deaths every year.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate Change and the Limits of Reason

Climate Change and the Limits of Reason

Modern urban-industrial man is given to the raping of anything and everything natural on which he can fasten his talons.  He rapes the sea; he rapes the soil; the natural resources of the earth.  He rapes the atmosphere.  He rapes the future of his own civilization.  Instead of living off of nature’s surplus, which he ought to do, he lives off its substance. He would not need to do this were he less numerous, and were he content to live a more simple life.  But he is prepared neither to reduce his numbers nor to lead a simpler and more healthful life.  So he goes on destroying his own environment, like a vast horde of locusts.  And he must be expected, persisting blindly as he does in this depraved process,to put an end to his own existence within the next century.  The years 2000 to 2050 should witness, in fact, the end of the great Western civilization.  The Chinese, more prudent and less spoiled, no less given to over-population but prepared to be more ruthless in the control of its effects, may inherent the ruins.

– George Kennan, diary entry, March 21, 1977

But as I grow older I realize how limited a part reason plays in the conduct of men.  They believe what they want to—and although liable to shipwreck they generally get off with a hole in the bottom of their boat and stick an old coat into that.

– Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (to Harold Laski), December 26, 1917

We all see what’s happening, we read it in the headlines every day, but seeing isn’t believing and believing isn’t accepting.

– Roy Scranton, We’re Doomed. Now What?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Countries that Blocked ‘Welcoming’ of Major Climate Science Report at UN Talks have Dozens of Delegates with Ties to Oil, Gas, and Mining

Countries that Blocked ‘Welcoming’ of Major Climate Science Report at UN Talks have Dozens of Delegates with Ties to Oil, Gas, and Mining

COP24 plenary

At least 35 delegates from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia and the US are either currently employed or used to work for companies and organisations involved in the petrochemical and mining industries or lobbying on behalf of those industries.

On Saturday, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) “noted” the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) landmark 1.5 degrees report at the annual talks in Katowice, Poland. Poor and undeveloped countries, small island states, Europeans and many others called to change the wording to “welcome” the study, Climate Home reported.

The IPCC’s report, released in October 2018, warned that the world has 12 years to radically cut emissions to avoid catastrophic climate change. The report was commissioned by countries at the annual climate talks in Paris in 2015.

Of the 35 delegates DeSmog UK has identified with ties to the fossil fuel and mining industries, 12 are representing Saudi Arabia, and nine are representing Russia. NGO Climate Tracker previously identified 13 delegates representing Kuwait that worked for the fossil fuel industry.

Most of the Saudi Arabian delegates currently work for state oil and gas producer Saudi Aramco – reportedly the most profitable company in the world – including Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s Minister Energy, Industry and Natural Resources and chairman of Saudi Aramco. The company is estimated to be worth around $2 trillion.

Two of the Russian delegates at this year’s annual talks work for natural gas producer Gazprom, in which the Russian government holds the majority stake. Six delegates work for aluminium producer, Rusal.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What World Do We Seek?

What World Do We Seek?

If David Attenborough (the British Natural Historian, narrator of the video series, Planet Earth and a national treasure in the U.K.), gives a speech to the UN proclaiming the end of civilization and few hear it, does our world still collapse? If the President releases the Congressional report on climate change on Black Friday and no one heeds it, does it have an impact? If Trump tweets his denial of the substance of the report (which strongly affirms the reality of global warming) – does that mean anything at all? And, if the U.N. releases a chatbot designed to empower the people of the planet (at least, those with access to Facebook) to act in reducing carbon emissions, does that signal a democratization of the process or a profound cynicism as to the likelihood of an organized, intra-government, legislative solution to the climate catastrophe?

We are being stress-tested on our ability to survive in the multiverse, the fractured continuum of space, time, matter and energy thatmanifests in parallel worlds wherefactual and counterfactual narratives co-exist.

We are being asked, by our political circumstances, to believe in both truth and untruth, the fake and the real, and yet retain our equanimity. We are being asked to hold two opposed ideas in our mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function – a feat that F. Scott Fitzgerald considered “was the test of a first-rate intelligence”. We are being asked to consume and to conserve; to change and to sustain; to believe in progress – time’s arrow, and in the everlastingness of a regenerative natural world – time’s cycle.

We are being asked to believe in the possibility of continued fossil-fueled economic growth while that phenomenon’s miasmic specter of global warming threatens to destroy the productivity and habitability of vast swathes of the planet.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Biological Annihilation: a Planet in Loss Mode

Biological Annihilation: a Planet in Loss Mode

If you’ve been paying attention to what’s happening to the nonhuman life forms with which we share this planet, you’ve likely heard the term “the Sixth Extinction.” If not, look it up.  After all, a superb environmental reporter, Elizabeth Kolbert, has already gotten a Pulitzer Prize for writing a book with that title.

Whether the sixth mass species extinction of Earth’s history is already (or not quite yet) underway may still be debatable, but it’s clear enough that something’s going on, something that may prove even more devastating than a mass of species extinctions: the full-scale winnowing of vast populations of the planet’s invertebrates, vertebrates, and plants.  Think of it, to introduce an even broader term, as a wave of “biological annihilation” that includes possible species extinctions on a mass scale, but also massive species die-offs and various kinds of massacres.

Someday, such a planetary winnowing may prove to be the most tragic of all the grim stories of human history now playing out on this planet, even if to date it’s gotten far less attention than the dangers of climate change.  In the end, it may prove more difficult to mitigate than global warming.  Decarbonizing the global economy, however hard, won’t be harder or more improbable than the kind of wholesale restructuring of modern life and institutions that would prevent species annihilation from continuing.

With that in mind, come along with me on a topsy-turvy journey through the animal and plant kingdoms to learn a bit more about the most consequential global challenge of our time.

Insects Are Vanishing

When most of us think of animals that should be saved from annihilation, near the top of any list are likely to be the stars of the animal world: tigers and polar bears, orcas and orangutans, elephants and rhinos, and other similarly charismatic creatures.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why is it so Easy to Lie to Us? The Case of Russia and Climategate

Why is it so Easy to Lie to Us? The Case of Russia and Climategate

Our media feed us routinely with lies and the story of the involvement of the Russian Secret Service with the Climategate hack is just one of them. I thought it was worth discussing it here in light of the fact that it is one of the most blatant lies I could ever find. Also a good illustration of the incredible persistence of legends in the mediasphere.

Last week, I cited the Climategate story, noting how it was part of a wide-ranging anti-science propaganda effort and that it must have involved some professional hacking work to break into the server of the East Anglia University. On that point, I received a comment from “Andy Mitchell” that went as:

The Climategate hack has only one suspect: the Russian Petrostate. There are no other suspects.

Note the absolute certainty of this statement: it is a typical characteristic of legends. So, I thought it was intriguing enough to deserve a little examination.

The origin of the story of the involvement of Russian Secret Services with Climategate is easy to find: it is an article of the Daily Mail dated 6 December 2009. Then, debunking legends normally takes a little work but, in this case, it is remarkable how there is nothing to debunk: the Daily Mail article contains no facts, no evidence, no data.

You can read the article yourself, and you’ll be amazed at how obvious it is that it is something invented out of whole cloth. The only vague connection with reality is that the Climategate files may have been stored for a short time in Tomsk, a Russian town.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The clean green pipeline machine – a free-market fairy tale

The clean green pipeline machine – a free-market fairy tale

A review of Donald Gutstein’s The Big Stall

In late 2016 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was ready to spell out his government’s “Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change”. His pitch to Canadians went along these lines:

We recognize that climate change is a serious challenge and that we must transition to a new economy which dramatically cuts carbon emissions. To make this transition we need a strong economy and a united country. To have a strong economy we must allow our fossil fuel sector to continue to grow. And to keep our country united while we impose a modest price on carbon, we must also build new pipelines so that oil sands extraction can grow. That is why my government is proud to lead the way in reducing carbon emissions, by ensuring that the oil sands sector emits more carbon.

If you think that sounds absurd, then you’re likely not part of Canada’s financial, industrial, political or media elite, who for the most part applauded both the minimal carbon tax and the substantial oil sands expansions being pushed by Trudeau and by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.

How did we get to a point where oil companies and governments are accepted as partners in devising climate action plans? And why did these climate action plans, decade after decade, permit fossil fuel companies to continue with business as usual, while carbon emissions grew steadily?

This is the subject of Donald Gutstein’s new book The Big Stall: How Big Oil and Think Tanks are Blocking Action on Climate Change in Canada. (James Lorimer & Co., Toronto, October 2018)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Sport, Fashion, and Tourism: Corporate Greenwash’s New Frontiers at the UN Climate Talks

Sport, Fashion, and Tourism: Corporate Greenwash’s New Frontiers at the UN Climate Talks

What do Adidas, Hilton hotels, and the World Surfing League all have in common?

They’re all climate champions, apparently.

They also have a lot of customers and fans. Much more than most climate activists – just take a look at their Twitter followings – which could explain why this year’s annual UN climate talks welcomed them with open arms.

But are the industries serious about addressing the problem, or are they simply following a greenwash playbook rolled out by the fossil fuel industry each year at the talks?

Fanbase

With its global reach, universal appeal and the power to inspire and influence millions of people around the globe, sport is uniquely placed to drive global climate action and encourage crowds to join in”, International Olympic Committee member, former Olympic bobsledder, and Prince of Monaco, Prince Albert II, told the conference.

As countries here in Katowice prepare to turn their climate commitments into reality, we stand ready to leverage the power of sport to support their efforts”, he said. Mainly through making sportspeople ambassadors for climate change, and trying to offset some of the many, many flights major athletes and clubs take.

The sports industry isn’t alone at stepping up to the plate in the former coal town of Katowice, where this year’s talks are being held.

Climate change is “a risk and challenge we take seriously”, Daniella Foster, Hilton’s senior director of Global Corporate Responsibility told a side event. That’s why the hotel chain is looking at ways to “gamify” the “guest engagement piece” of its sustainability strategy – developing an app to help users save energy when they stay. The company has also pledged to cut its environmental footprint in half by 2030.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Are The YELLOW VEST Protests Coming To CANADA? (With G. Edward Griffin)

Are The YELLOW VEST Protests Coming To CANADA? (With G. Edward Griffin)

The Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau is planning to dramatically increase taxes on carbon emissions to combat climate change…he plans to set a national price on carbon emissions of $7.5 a ton rising to $37.50 by 2022!

Similar tax hikes have caused massive upheaval in France where protesters are putting on yellow vests in solidarity and they’re hitting the streets.

In this video Dan Dicks of Press For Truth speaks with G. Edward Griffin of Freedom Force International about the climate change scam that is being waged by elite globalists who seek to enslave everyone under their global umbrella.

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