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Deconstructing Electric Vehicles on the eve of Glasgow COP26

Deconstructing Electric Vehicles on the eve of Glasgow COP26

A lead human-interest story in the weekend Wheels section of a major Canadian newspaper is about a 2-car family’s transitioning from a hybrid to an EV as they “try to be more sustainable”. They upgrade their daily car every few years to seek “improvements in fuel efficiency, reliability and technology”. Electric vehicles (EVs) are feted by the automobile and ecojustice sectors as part of the “just transition” to a future “carbon-neutral”, happy, dignified quality of life. Another news item from the Wheels section was about the costs of home EV battery chargers costing about $2000; the chargers are plugged into electric outlets (electricity commonly supplied from fossil fuels or nuclear reactors), while the costs will be “quickly re-couped in government rebates” as public transportation subsidies continue their decline. So much for the climate emergency and for human justice, for morality and taking responsibility for mounting climate-caused human deaths and mass migration. Nothing in the newspaper about the indignation of ordinary, common people worldwide, especially among the young.

Since the 1988 Congressional definitive testimony of James Hansen and other climate scientists, there is no discourse about “Stop”: elimination of fossil fuel emissions quickly morphed into adaptation and mitigation which is now replaced by “transition”. EVs is a representative example of focusing on one small part, conveniently deleting the whole. The whole EV picture must include externalities, life cycle analysis, consideration of non-essential production, impacts of its production on basic human needs, the urgent timeline due to non-linear climate processes, regional climate and sociopolitical processes and who EVs actually serve, EV’s effects on carbon sinks, pertinent facts about human and climate history, loss and damage obligations and debt to people totally impacted and totally innocent regarding the climate emergency, alternatives, elucidating who is served in a “just transition”.

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Russia, Ukraine and U.S. Hegemony

Russia, Ukraine and U.S. Hegemony

The following is an edited version of a talk by the author as part of a panel at a public forum in Toronto on June 12, 2015. The forum was sponsored by the Centre for Social Justice and Socialist Project. You can view the talk here on ‘Left Streamed’.

The Ukraine/Russia conflict is particularly ominous because tensions with the United States could escalate into a nuclear war. For this reason, it is necessary to understand NATO’s role, patterns of U.S. domination and the nuclear arms race. The political world is dangerously in flux, with entangled military and economic alliances and a robust weapons trade. This is similar to the prelude to World War I when it took one trigger to unleash cascading inter-state violence.

The demonization of Russia and Putin leaves out the role of the United States and NATO. Seumas Milne, writes in The Guardian, March 4, 2015, “A quarter of a century after the end of the Cold War, the ‘Russian threat’ is unmistakably back. Vladimir Putin, Britain’s defence secretary Michael Fallon declares, is as great a danger to Europe as ‘Islamic State’…

“Putin’s authoritarian conservatism may offer little for Russia’s future, but this anti-Russian incitement is dangerous folly. There certainly has been military expansionism. But it has overwhelmingly come from NATO, not Moscow.”

James Bissett is a former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia, Albania, and Bulgaria. He wrote in the Ottawa Citizen last year, “The current crisis in Ukraine threatens global security and at worst has the potential for nuclear catastrophe. At best, it signals a continuation of the Cold War. Sadly, the crisis is completely unnecessary and the responsibility lies entirely in the hands of the United States-led NATO powers. The almost virulent propaganda onslaught blaming Russia for the instability and violence in Ukraine simply ignores reality and the facts.”

 

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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