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Toward Climate-Catalyzed Social Transformation?

Toward Climate-Catalyzed Social Transformation?

Applying the work of Erik Olin Wright to emergent climate change movements helps us to understand current trajectories and possible pathways for transformation.

In the past weeks, Extinction Rebellion has continued to make news headlines with acts of protest in LondonBostonNew York and other cities across the globe. In London, thousands of activists blocked roads and bridges and over 1,000 were arrested. These actions are a part of Extinction Rebellion’s ongoing strategy to disrupt the economy and pressure governments to meet their demands to address climate change.

In addition, the youth movement Fridays for Future continues to hold school strikes with an estimated 1.6 million participants across the globe on March 15. In the United States, the Sunrise Movement has just launched a tour to promote the Green New Deal, a possibly transformative resolution that targets both inequality and greenhouse gas emissions.

These movements are unprecedented, growing, and are unlikely to go away any time soon. In addition, meeting the demands of these movements would require significant social and economic changes through a radical political program.

Given the momentum of these movements, are we on the verge of a possible climate-catalyzed social transformation? And if so, what strategies for transformation will be most effective?

To interpret the recent rise of these climate change movements, we draw from the late Erik Olin Wright whose work illustrates a deep understanding of social transformation.

In his book Envisioning Real Utopias, Wright outlined a detailed theory of social transformation with four main components. First, identify the forces of social reproduction that impede positive social change. Second, find gaps and contradictions that can be politicized to open the door for change. Third, understand and build a trajectory of change: history tells us that transformation occurs when unintended social consequences combine with purposeful social movements.

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

How to Build the Green New Deal? Cities and States May Already Have Answers

How to Build the Green New Deal? Cities and States May Already Have Answers

There’s much to learn from local efforts — and good reasons why they’ll need to be part of the process, experts say. But can states do it on their own?

Over the past several months, legislators in Washington have engaged in heated conversations about the Green New Deal, the potential plan to help the United States to cool the planet by quickly and equitably curbing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to cleaner energy sources.

The hotly debated idea has both vocal supporters and detractors. But even for those who champion the mission, there’s still a lot to figure out about how it would be developed and implemented.

The good news is that any effort to bring the Green New Deal to fruition wouldn’t need to start from scratch. Proponents can, and should, look to states and cities for help and inspiration, says Caitlin McCoy, a fellow at Harvard Law School who specializes in in climate, clean air and energy. McCoy just authored a new policy paper that shows areas where state and local governments have been leading and how understanding their progress is crucial to crafting any new sweeping federal legislation.

“States are an experimental testing ground for policies that could one day be adopted at a federal level,” she says. Green New Deal backers, she adds, “would be wise to do an accounting of what’s happening at a state and local level and see where they might be able to plug federal policies and programs into existing architecture and frameworks. And any big federal policy to operationalize the principles of the Green New Deal would necessarily need to build on state action, because a lot of the areas that the deal seems to be seeking to reach are areas of traditional state and local control.”

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

A War Reporter Covers “The End of Ice”–And It Will Change the Way You Think About Climate Catastrophe

2Photos: Getty Images Animation: The Intercept

A WAR REPORTER COVERS “THE END OF ICE” — AND IT WILL CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT CLIMATE CATASTROPHE

FOCUSING ON BREATH and gratitude, Dahr Jamail’s latest book, “The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption,” stitches together personal introspection and gut-wrenching interviews with leading climate experts. The rapidly receding glaciers of Denali National Park, home to the highest peak in North America, inspired the book’s title. “Seven years of climbing in Alaska had provided me with a front-row seat from where I could witness the dramatic impact of human-caused climate disruption,” Jamail writes.

With vividly descriptive storytelling, Jamail pushes further north into the Arctic Circle where warming is occurring at double speed. He surveys rapid changes in the Pribilof Islands, where indigenous communities have had to contend with die-offs affecting seabirds, fur seals, fish, and more — a collapsing food web. The story continues in the fragile Great Barrier Reef, utterly ravaged by the warming ocean. South Florida is faring no better: Jamail finds that 2.46 million of the state’s acreage will be submerged within his lifetime. Experts are aghast everywhere Jamail visits. In the Amazon, rich in biodiversity, the consequences are especially enormous.

“The End of Ice” readers won’t find calls for technology-based solutions, politicians, mitigating emissions, or the Green New Deal to save us.

Describing the current state of the planet, Jamail likens it to someone in hospice care. The global mean temperature is already 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Not half a decade ago, leading climate scientist James Hansen warned that that one degree would usher in a crisis of sea level rise, melting Arctic ice, and extreme weather. He concluded that the goal of limiting global warming to only 2 degrees was “very dangerous.”

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

The US Chamber of Commerce’s “New” Take on Climate Change

The US Chamber of Commerce’s “New” Take on Climate Change

Picture

The climate is changing, and humans are contributing to these changes. We believe that there is much common ground on which all sides of this discussion could come together to address climate change with policies that are practical, flexible, predictable, and durable.
                                                                                      — The US Chamber of Commerce

The US Chamber of Commerce, through its Global Energy Institute (GEI), recently announced the launch of a major new climate initiative called the American Energy: Cleaner, Strongercampaign. It’s admitted purpose is to “counter the Green New Deal (GND) with an energy innovation agenda…to persuade the public and Congressthat technology is better than regulation in addressing climate change.” (emphasis added).

In taking a swipe at the GND, the Chamber has handed its progressive Democratic authors and supporters a key victory—certainly something it had not intended to do.

Whatever the Green New Deal is or isn’t, the idea of it has accomplished what was thought Impossible just months ago–the admission by traditionally conservative deniers that climate change is real and needs to be acted upon now. The Chamber’s announcement boldly states inaction is not an option. The actions to be taken, however, remain matters of dogmatic ideological debate.

On its face, the Chamber’s call to action is a far cry from its 2017 policy priorities. Today climate change is on the minds of voters because it is on the lips of every Democrat in Congress, as well as those vying for the party’s presidential nomination. The Chamber’s newly announced campaign is an effort to remain relevant.


Not every Democrat has embraced the GND. All, however, have acknowledged that climate policy is one of the Party’s top three priorities going into the 2020 elections.

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

Why All the Uproar Over the Green New Deal?

Why All the Uproar Over the Green New Deal?

Pulp mill, Longview, Washington. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

Same ol’ same ol’ battle: The more things change, the more they stay the same

On August 21, 2009, The Wall Street Journal reported that “…many scientists say deep emissions cuts are necessary … to prevent … dangerous consequences of global warming,” and also reported that,  “Getting from here to there would require a massive economic shift.”

There’s likely been no better summary of the Green New Deal’s basic rationale. 

In just a few words, the Journal succinctly stated a dangerous trend of rising emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels, identified the scale of action necessary to putting a lid on the danger, and did that 10 years before the Sunrise Movement caught the attention of newly elected Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

The details on either the science or economic side of the responses to the Green New Deal can be dazzling, and we’ve seen a virtual explosion of debate across topics that will be discussed in the following pages. 

But, then as now, the heart of the massive economic shift deemed necessary by the evidence from science is a shift away from financing fossil fuels, with an accompanying shift to financing of renewables. Any such shift of “massive” scale was always going to rock some politically influential boats, so an offensive aimed at defeating it was revved up full bore. At bottom, it has long been and still is a competitive scramble for money.

Before the Green New Deal: The Old Battle Informs the New

In fact, an attack against renewables was kicked into gear years ago, and the current anti-Green New Deal brouhaha  is just a rehash of an old campaign to defend the capital and capitalists aligned around combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas. 

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

Let’s get ‘creaturely’: A new worldview can help us face ecological crises

Let’s get ‘creaturely’: A new worldview can help us face ecological crises

No farmer has ever gone out to the barn to start the day and discovered that a baby tractor had been born overnight. For farmers who work with horses, the birth of a foal would not be surprising.

That observation may seem silly, but it highlights an important contrast: Machines cannot reproduce or maintain themselves. Creatures can.

The tractor comes out of the industrial mind, while the horse is creaturely. The tractor is the product of an energy-intensive human-designed system, while the horse is the product of an information-intensive biological process that emerges from earth and sun.

The implications of this difference are rarely acknowledged in the dominant culture, but we believe they are crucial to explore, especially with new political space opened up by the Green New Deal for discussing ecological sustainability and economic justice.

In the short term, humanity needs to devise policies that respond in meaningful ways to today’s multiple, cascading ecological crises (including, but not limited to, rapid climate disruption), which present risks now greatly accelerated and intensified well beyond previous predictions. If that seems alarmist, we recommend “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice” for details.

To put uncomfortable realities bluntly: In ecological terms, things are bad, getting worse faster than anticipated, leaving humanity with increasingly limited options. Everyone agrees that there are no quick and easy fixes, but we want to push further: Do not expect any truly sustainable fixes to emerge from the industrial mind.

That’s why we believe it’s crucial to discuss not only policy but the need for a new worldview, one that can expand our imaginations. The distressing realities of our moment in history need not be the end of our story, if humanity can transcend the industrial and get creaturely.

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

Why All the Uproar Over the Green New Deal?

Why All the Uproar Over the Green New Deal?

Pulp mill, Longview, Washington. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

Same ol’ same ol’ battle: The more things change, the more they stay the same

On August 21, 2009, The Wall Street Journal reported that “…many scientists say deep emissions cuts are necessary … to prevent … dangerous consequences of global warming,” and also reported that,  “Getting from here to there would require a massive economic shift.”

There’s likely been no better summary of the Green New Deal’s basic rationale. 

In just a few words, the Journal succinctly stated a dangerous trend of rising emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels, identified the scale of action necessary to putting a lid on the danger, and did that 10 years before the Sunrise Movement caught the attention of newly elected Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

The details on either the science or economic side of the responses to the Green New Deal can be dazzling, and we’ve seen a virtual explosion of debate across topics that will be discussed in the following pages. 

But, then as now, the heart of the massive economic shift deemed necessary by the evidence from science is a shift away from financing fossil fuels, with an accompanying shift to financing of renewables. Any such shift of “massive” scale was always going to rock some politically influential boats, so an offensive aimed at defeating it was revved up full bore. At bottom, it has long been and still is a competitive scramble for money.

Before the Green New Deal: The Old Battle Informs the New

In fact, an attack against renewables was kicked into gear years ago, and the current anti-Green New Deal brouhaha  is just a rehash of an old campaign to defend the capital and capitalists aligned around combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas. 

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

The Promise of the Green New Deal

The Promise of the Green New Deal

I also want to mildly praise the resolution’s anti-incrementalism — because there are virtues in trying to offer not just a technical blueprint but a comprehensive vision of the good society, and virtues as well in insisting that dramatic change is still possible in America, that grand projects and scientific breakthroughs are still within our reach.

-–Conservative columnist Ross Douthat, The New York Times

Without question, the rollout of the so-called “Green New Deal” in early February was less than elegant. Not long before the actual resolution proposing the idea was submitted into Congress by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), a set of policy “talking points” were released by a member of Ocasio-Cortez’ staff.  It contained references to “farting cows” (code for methane reductions in agriculture), the elimination of air travel, and a guaranteed income for those unable or “unwilling” to work. 

Though none of this language is included in the actual resolution, its release by the still “green” (in the sense of political experience) AOC provided quick fodder for her many enemies on the right, especially the pundits at FOX News.  And while more than 70 Democratic members of Congress quickly signed on to the resolution, House speaker Nancy Pelosi rather perfunctorily dismissed the wish list of primarily left-wing ideas for combatting both inequality and climate change as a “green dream,” and liberal senator Dianne Feinstein berated a group of young people who came to her office asking for support.

On the other hand, some conservatives, including New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, did not rush to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Surprisingly, perhaps, while President Trump predictably condemned the wide-ranging resolution as a step toward Socialism, Douthat praised the Green New Deal explicitly for its sweeping approach.  Meanwhile, as expected, dozens of environmental and social justice groups quickly endorsed the measure. 

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

Green New Physics

Green New Physics

Johannes Vermeer The lacemaker 1669-71

You could probably say I’m sympathetic to the schoolchildren protesting against climate change, and I’m sympathetic to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her call for a Green New Deal. Young people are the future, and they deserve a voice about that future. At the same time, I’m also deeply skeptical about their understanding of the issues they talk about. 

In fact, I don’t see much understanding at all. I think that’s because they base their comprehension of the world they’ve been born into on information provided by the very people they’re now protesting against. Look kids, your education system sucks, it was designed by those destroying your planet, you need to shake it off and get something better.

But I know what you will do instead: you’re going to get the ‘proper’ education to get a nice-paying job, with a nice car (green, of course) and a nice house etc etc. In other words, you will, at least most of you, be the problem, not solve it. And no shift towards wind or solar will make one iota of difference in that. Want to improve the world? Improve the education system first.

Climate change is just one of an entire array of problems the world faces, and in the same way the use of fossil fuels is just one of many causes of these problems. And focusing on only one aspect of a much broader challenge simply doesn’t appear to be a wise approach, if only because you risk exacerbating some problems while trying to fix others. 

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

I Love the Green New Deal But …

I Love the Green New Deal But …

Ever since our first ancestor lit a fire, humans have been pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. Add to that the first herder because ruminants are another large emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG).

Some people want to declare a national emergency and ban fossil fuels within ten years. How? I am for it and all ready to go. But please tell me how. Think of the quarter billion vehicles in the U.S. and the infrastructure supporting them; the myriad gas stations and repair shops and the people employed in them; the thousands of miles of domestic gas pipelines to homes using gas stoves and gas heating. Think of the restructuring, the replacement, the energy required, the megatons of metal and other materials used and their production which all require one thing — energy. And what about air travel and the shipping industry?

What of the millions of jobs lost? Think of the jobholders and their families. Most of these workers cannot switch skills overnight. These are not just the million and a half employed in the industry directly, but include gas company employees, your gas furnace repair and maintenance man, the people building furnaces, gas stoves, the auto repair infrastructure — electric motors of course are darned reliable and need attention only to brakes, tire rotation and battery coolant checks for the most part — and so on.

When you offer this laundry list, the response is likely to be, “Well I didn’t mean that.” In effect, it defines the problem with the Green New Deal: It is remarkably short on the ‘whats’ and especially the ‘hows’. Funny though I first searched for the Green New Deal at Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (whose courage I admire greatly) official web page and surprisingly found … well nothing. Why not something practical like mandating solar collectors on new homes constructed?

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

Could a Green New Deal Save Civilization?

Could a Green New Deal Save Civilization?

To fully and systematically address the climate/energy crisis, the plan will have to be far broader in scope than what is currently being proposed. And while we need to mobilize society as a whole with a World War II-level of effort, the reality is that there’s never been a challenge like this before.

The idea is infectious. Could a big government jobs and spending program succeed in kicking into gear the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and ultimately save us from catastrophic climate change? The energy transition is currently going way too slowly; it needs money and policy support. And many people would need job retraining in order to work in re-engineered, renewable-powered industrial systems. In the 1930s, the New Deal programs of Franklin Roosevelt helped create jobs while also building critical infrastructure, including rural electrification, roads, bridges, and government buildings. Today, as we confront the requirements to produce energy sustainably; to use it differently in transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture; and to reverse the current trend toward increasing economic inequality—in effect, to save and reinvent industrial civilization—the need is arguably much greater.

The public champions of the Green New Deal (GND) in the U.S. include Democratic progressive representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Deb Haaland, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Antonio Delgado. The idea is also supported by writer-activists Naomi Klein and Van Jones; by the Green Parties in the US and Europe; and by the Sierra Club, 350.org, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and the Climate Mobilization. The proposals currently circulating in Washington aim to provide 100 percent renewable energy in 10 to 20 years while supporting job retraining and aiding communities impacted by climate change.

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

The Real New Deal

The Real New Deal

Wassily Kandinsky Succession 1935

While we’re on the issue of the Green New Deal, here’s an article by Dr. D. with an intro by Dr. D., one he sent me in the mail that contained the actual article, and that I think shouldn’t go to waste. I hope he agrees.

Waste being the key term here, because he arrives at the same conclusion I’ve often remarked upon: that our societies and economies exist to maximize waste production. Make them more efficient and they collapse. 

Ergo: no Green New Deal is any use if you don’t radically change the economic models. Let’s see AOC et al address that, and then we can talk. It’s not as if a shift towards wind and solar will decrease the economic need for waste production (though it may change the waste composition), and thus efficiency is merely a double-edged sword at the very best. 

Here’s Dr. D. First intro, then article:

Dr. D: [..] of course there are a thousand things I can say, but I wanted to make just this one point:  that the economy as we know it is prohibited from contracting by its own system structure.  One thing I couldn’t expand on is that I believe it is almost entirely unconscious.  People like AOC, the Aspen Ecological Center, these people have in the back of their minds “What is possible” and “how things are done” and “can I sell this or will people turn away.” 
 
As I say, the idea of saying, “Everything will be perfect, just live like a Zen Monk” is a non-starter.  Why, I don’t know, as it’s very pleasant and quite provable. 

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

Civil War Would Erupt If “Green Deal” Socialists Actually Get What They Want

Civil War Would Erupt If “Green Deal” Socialists Actually Get What They Want

In the months preceding the 2016 presidential election, I predicted a Trump election win but tried to temper expectations with the reality that there were multiple scenarios exploitable by globalists which could turn the conservative elation into confusion and chaos. Just after the election, I published an article titled ‘Order Out Of Chaos: The Defeat Of The Left Comes With A Cost’. In that article I warned that the political Left, when confronted with failure, has displayed a habit of doubling or tripling down and becoming even more extreme in their rhetoric and policies. I also warned that this might influence the political Right to become more extreme in response.

This is the problem when attempting to explain the False Left/Right Paradigm to people who are new to the concept. Yes, at the top of the political pyramid, all the players support essentially the same policies of centralization and more power to the elites. But, at the bottom of the pyramid, there are numerous and legitimate divides among common citizens. The divides are real, not false, and it is these divides that the elites seek to exploit.

One divide that we are likely to hear much more about in the next two years is the divide between “old school” democrats and the new “green deal” socialists/communists. Another more vitriolic divide is the one between common sense conservatives and the “double down” socialist cult.

The narrative being constructed here is a fascinated but disturbing one. Consider the pattern on display:

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

Green New Deal Dystopia

Green New Deal Dystopia

It’s entirely possible the Green New Deal socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t have a clue and she is a useful idiot. She may in fact believe the Green New Deal is a panacea for global warming.

Patrick Moore, the founder of Greenpeace who left that organization in disgust, tweeted AOC and put the Green New Deal into perspective:

@AOC
Pompous little twit. You don’t have a plan to grow food for 8 billion people without fossil fuels, or get food into the cities. Horses? If fossil fuels were banned every tree in the world would be cut down for fuel for cooking and heating. You would bring about mass death.

As Moore points out, if implemented the Green New Deal will result in serious depopulation.

More than a decade ago, I wrote:

Is it possible supposedly man-made “climate change” and the “food crisis” are components of a sinister depopulation agenda designed to cull the herd down to a manageable level, as proclaimed on the mysterious Georgia Guidestones? (“Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.”)

In February I produced a video on this subject:

This isn’t a conspiracy theory. Hundreds of academicians, the political class, and no shortage of mega-wealthy people like Ted Turner and the royal Prince Phillip want to cull the herd.

In 1968 the Club of Rome published The Limits to Growth, a manifesto based on computer models predicting the end of civilization by 2020, primarily due to resource depletion, global climate change, environmental degradation, and serious food shortages. For the Club of Rome, you are the problem.

The First Global Revolution was published in 1991. In this book the elite declare they’re united in a long-term effort to reverse the growth of humanity and its use and admittedly often misuse of the environment. According to the book, current crises are the result of human cultivation and exploitation of the environment.

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

Green New Deal Reveals the Naked Truth of Agenda 21

Green New Deal Reveals the Naked Truth of Agenda 21

Sometimes if you fight hard enough and refuse to back down, no matter the odds, your truth is vindicated and prevails!

For twenty years I have been labeled a conspiracy theorist, scaremonger, extremist, dangerous, nut case. I’ve been denied access to stages, major news programs, and awarded tin foil hats. All because I have worked to expose Agenda 21 and its policy of sustainable development as a danger to our property rights, economic system, and culture of freedom.

From its inception in 1992 at the United Nation’s Earth Summit, 50,000 delegates, heads of state, diplomats and Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) hailed Agenda 21 as the “comprehensive blueprint for the reorganization of human society.” The 350-page, 40 chapter, Agenda 21 document was quite detailed and explicit in its purpose and goals.  They warned us that the reorganization would be dictated through all-encompassing policies affecting every aspect of our lives, using environmental protection simply as the excuse to pull at our emotions and get us to voluntarily surrender our liberties.

Section I details “Social and Economic Dimensions” of the plan, including redistribution of wealth to eradicate poverty, maintain health through vaccinations and modern medicine, and population control.

To introduce the plan, the Earth Summit Chairman, Maurice Strong boldly proclaimed, “Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.” Of course, according to the plan, if it’s not “sustainable” it must be stopped.

In support of the plan, David Brower of the Sierra Club (one of the NGO authors of the agenda) said, “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license.” Leading environmental groups advocated that the Earth could only support a maximum of one billion people, leading famed Dr. Jacques Cousteau to declare, “In order to stabilize world populations, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day.”

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

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