The Long Ecological Revolution

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Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Mon Jun 13, 2022 1:43 pm

Jun 11, 2022 , 11:45 a.m.

It is not new that droughts resulting from climate change and the privatization of water produce conflicts that eventually end in wars or climate displacement. What has changed then? (Photo: Gilles Clarke / OCHA)

Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States, said in April 2021 that "for years there have been wars for oil; in a short time there will be wars for water" together with the Governor of California, Gavin Newsomen, in the framework of a bill that includes $17 billion for ferries, inland waterways, ports, and plans to replace every lead pipe and service line.

He was visiting Oakland , California, where he was returning for the first time since his election to promote the Biden administration's Plan for American Jobs and the need to rebuild the nation's water supply infrastructure. Such a plan would provide for an investment of more than $111 billion in the national water infrastructure "to ensure that it is safe and equitable."

Since then, Democratic pundits see international water security as a likely option for the vice president, given "her increased visibility on the world stage and her own experience working on drought and water issues in California as attorney general and senator."

A source like World Water records that there are not a few conflicts over water and that they are not new. Different investigations predict that in part of Africa, Asia and all of Oceania problems could be triggered by the lack of water. In America, countries like Argentina, Chile, Mexico and the United States would also be at risk.

Some recent data from the UN indicate that:

*2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services.
*4.5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation services.
*It is estimated that, by 2025, approximately 1.8 million people will live in areas with water scarcity.
*340,000 children under the age of five die each year from diarrheal diseases.
*Water scarcity already affects four out of 10 people.
*90% of natural disasters are related to water.
*80% of wastewater returns to the ecosystem without being treated or reused.
*Agriculture accounts for 70% of the world's water withdrawal.
*Approximately 75% of all industrial water withdrawals are used for energy production.

Map of the level of water stress on the planet (Photo: UN)

As is known, while 70% of the planet is made up of water, only 2.5% is fresh water and the human species has access to less than 1%, and water consumption has increased at more than double the rate of population growth.

A report published by the University of California at Irvine revealed that the current model of civilization is depleting water from a third of the world's largest groundwater basins at such a rate that they cannot be replenished.


The causes of freshwater deficit are multiple and overlapping. One of them, perhaps the most visible, is climate change, particularly the irregularity of rainfall combined with high temperatures. In addition, there is the privatization of water because many governments have delegated the responsibility of managing and distributing the liquid to private companies and this creates dispossession of the right to access water sources. Data from UNESCO ensure that countries with fewer resources pay up to 50 times more than rich countries for a liter of the vital liquid.

The amount of water used by poor countries to produce food and goods for export to rich countries is worsening the situation, especially since the items that are mostly cultivated and marketed require water, as well as the entire model, which is highly energetic.

This is how energy production also requires a significant amount of water and the waste generated during the process, especially fracking , mainly pollutes groundwater and rivers.

Disputes between regions and countries almost always include access to water as a cause, mechanism of war or as a consequence, however, from the Global North hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on sending troops or bombers to quell uprisings or attack "Failed States". More ironic is that the fraction of these funds that is used to address underlying water scarcity crises is unimportant.

Failures in the ordering of the territory aggravate the situation. The United States has fueled a population boom in its arid southwestern states in recent decades, despite droughts so intense that climate change is likely to make them more severe in the future.

Australia is also facing severe drought in the agricultural heartland of the Murray-Darling River Basin, and the Mediterranean Basin, including southern Europe and North Africa , is likely to experience serious desertification as a result of climate change. .

The "concern" about the collapse of the mining dam owned by the powerful company Vale that occurred on January 25, 2019 in the city of Brumadinho, in Minas Gerais (Brazil), and caused 166 deaths and 155 missing did not last long in the media. (Photo: File)

While Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil, promoted the ecological destruction and dispossession of many indigenous peoples who live in the Amazon to generate profits for the logging and mining companies. In 2019, the fires in the Bolivian Chiquitanía were used to soften the public in the face of a coup that ended up being carried out in October.

Yes, Elon Musk was referring to the same Bolivia where there is lithium and other minerals of "green" interest in his eloquent response to Evo Morales, who had precisely gained popularity due to his work together with grassroots movements, the most emblematic being the prevention of the privatization of the water supply of the city of Cochabamba.

As seen in Ukraine, the White House could sponsor groups to lead "color revolutions" and install leaders more favorable to US transnational capital, especially in Africa and Central Asia, where it is already involved in a dispute over agro-export and mining enclaves with China. .

What Kamala Harris doesn't say is that she is already preparing the excuse for years to come of war aggression and massive arms sales to countries so that the US military-industrial complex continues to rack up profits. Just as she is currently benefiting from the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the one that Washington stimulated ad nauseam. ... taban-alli


They warn that two glaciers in Antarctica are melting rapidly

Global warming makes Antarctic glaciers more vulnerable. | Photo: Anadolu Agency
Published June 10, 2022

Loss of ice from the Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers could raise sea levels by up to 3.4 meters in the future.

Two of Antarctica's largest glaciers, Thwaites and Pine Island, are retreating at an accelerating rate, dominating indicators of ice loss in the western region of that continent, revealed a study published Thursday by the British journal Nature Geoscience.

The research, led by the University of Maine, sought to find out if these glaciers were smaller in the middle of the Holocene geological era and eventually achieved their current dimensions, in order to assess the possible irreversibility of the current melting.

To do this, the study focused on the Amundsen Sea region to measure the rate of relative change, based on the remains of ancient beaches that were located in that area. Penguin bones and shells were also collected to reconstruct the changes in the advance and retreat processes of the glaciers, revealing that both glaciers were stable in the last 5,500 years; but at the moment they are melting due to the action of the remarkably warm Circumpolar Deep Waters.

“Furthermore, Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers rest below sea level on a retrograde slope with no known significant topographic heights at which the glaciers can stabilize and thus may be susceptible to runaway retreat due to instability of the glaciers. the sea ice cap,” the authors report.

At the same time, they attribute the reduction of the West Antarctic ice sheet to global warming, and they predict that this behavior will continue if early measures are not taken.

The Thwaites and Pine Island Ice Shelves measure 192,000 and 162,300 square kilometers, respectively. The extension of both worries the scientific community, since their retreat would cause the sea level to rise rapidly, forcing millions of people who live near the coastal strips to migrate to higher areas. ... -0033.html

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Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Mon Jun 20, 2022 2:49 pm

No Planet B Walk Against Warming, Macquarie St, Sydney, NSW (Photo: Nomad Tales / Flickr)

The necessity of ecosocialist degrowth
Originally published: Global Ecosocialist Network on June 4, 2022 by Jess Spear (more by Global Ecosocialist Network) | (Posted Jun 18, 2022)

Article originally published in Issue 7 of Rupture, Ireland’s eco-socialist quarterly

In recent years, the concept of degrowth has seen significant discussion and debate amongst ecosocialists worldwide. In this article from issue 7 Paul Murphy and Jess Spear analyse these debates and make the case for the necessity of ecosocialist degrowth in confronting the climate and biodiversity crises. We welcome further contributions and responses from readers to this debate.

Capitalist growth is destroying our life support systems. Its parasitic relationship with nature (both human and nonhuman) is as Marx wrote, “vampire-like”1 and “will not lose its hold…so long as there is a muscle, a nerve, a drop of blood to be exploited.”2 Every single year the material taken from the Earth to feed the insatiable capitalist appetite for profits grows larger and larger, and the waste spewing into the atmosphere, land, rivers, and sea grows bigger and bigger. Out of the nine planetary boundaries identified–which together delineate the “safe operating space for humanity”–four have been crossed.3

The latest IPCC reports make clear that the “window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all” is “rapidly closing”.4 Either the Capitalinian,5 the first geological age of the Anthropocene, will be brought to a close by ecosocialist revolution, or it will bring humanity into a new dark age. And, it is increasingly easy to foresee what will happen if we don’t take rapid action: more famine, floods, drought, and super storms as well as new pandemics; war, as imperialist states and their allies clash over access to dwindling resources; and, deepening authoritarianism as those who can avoid catastrophe for now seek to insulate themselves from the crisis surrounding them. Never has it been more clear that we face a choice between socialism and barbarism.


However, what socialists mean by “socialism” is not settled. It ranges from the “ecomodernists” and “fully automated luxury”6 communists, who place an emphasis on technological solutions to the climate emergency, to the ecosocialists and “ecosocialist degrowthers”7 focused on urgently reducing emissions and ecosystem destruction.

We want to make the case for ecosocialist degrowth, which is “a planned downscaling of energy and resource use to bring the economy back into balance with the living world in a safe, just and equitable way.”8 As a guiding concept for the revolutionary left today, ecosocialist degrowth can help illuminate the ecologically-sustainable path forward.

What’s in a word?

“Every single year the material taken
from the Earth to feed the insatiable capitalist appetite for profits grows larger
and larger.”

In our view, many of the debates about degrowth have proved unproductive as people argue past each other using different definitions. Does degrowth mean a reduction of GDP? Does it entail a reduction in all aspects of economic activity? Does it require a reduction of economic activity in all areas of the world?

Too many socialists erect strawman, suggesting that degrowth advocates argue that “the real class struggle is not between workers and capital but between geographical regions: North and South”;9 or put forward baseless claims like “degrowth would bring an end to progress itself that”10 or is “a prescription for mass death for most of humanity”.11

On the more sympathetic end of the degrowth critical spectrum, we hear arguments like we need “both degrowth and growth of different sectors of the productive forces”.12 But, this is already what many degrowth advocates argue.

The richest 1% are responsible for 15% of emissions.

We need degrowth in industries ranging from armaments and advertising to fast fashion and fossil fuels, together with a dramatic reduction in consumption of the richest 1% who are responsible for 15% of emissions.13 We need growth in public services like healthcare, education, public transport, renewable energy, childcare, etc. (the list could go on), particularly in developing countries.

In our view, though, this response sidesteps the bigger question degrowth is seeking to address: does humanity need to reduce energy consumption and material throughput overall?

We answer unambiguously–yes.

Despite all the efforts at “decoupling” GDP from material use, in the entire history of the global economy, increases of GDP have always come together with expansion in energy consumption and material throughput. This isn’t to deny that technological breakthroughs can and do increase efficiency, or that, under the control of a workers’ state focused on producing for need, not profit, they would very likely lead to a decrease in material energy use. But, within the capitalist system, the Jevons Paradox14 holds quite firm. Efficiency leads to growth in material and energy use, not reduction. So the necessary contraction in energy usage and material throughput, certainly within the framework of capitalism, would result in a decrease in GDP at a global level. That, for us, is a consequence, rather than the aim. But for the purpose of the argument it is important to be upfront about it.

This of course can bring an immediate objection from other socialists–similar to the argument against the term ‘Anthropocene’15–that in talking about “humanity’s” usage of energy and GDP as a whole, you are eliminating the responsibility of the capitalist class for the crisis we are in. Or that it obscures the fact that the top 10% of humanity uses 20 times more total energy than the bottom 10%16 (see Figure 1 below). It’s true that, in making the case that current climate change is caused by human activities, most media and too many scientists fail to distinguish between rich and poor, workers and bosses, and countries within the global North and global south. The blame for climate change and environmental destruction is all too often placed on the shoulders of “humanity” as a whole, whether you’re a private jet-owning billionaire or a Ugandan subsistence farmer. This framing repels working class people who, even in the wealthiest countries, struggle to secure even the basic necessities. It also ignores the centuries-long struggle against this system by indigenous peoples.

However, rather than adding to the obfuscation of “humanity is all to blame”, in our view adopting degrowth as a guiding concept actually better enables ecosocialists to expose the capitalist roots of the crisis. It brings much needed attention to the growth imperative inherent to capitalism and all that goes with it, from planned obsolescence and advertisement to the gargantuan waste produced and ever expanding energy requirements. Instead of blaming people as a whole, degrowth can underscore the class divide in consumption, within rich countries, but also importantly, between so-called developed and underdeveloped countries (ie., global North17 and global South). By focusing on the capitalist class’ decisions aboutut production it also puts a giant spotlight on the violent extractivism and “sacrifice zones” required for further growth, including in renewables.

It is not enough to openly accept the scientific necessity of a significant reduction in energy consumption and material throughput on a global scale. We have to immediately add that this can and must be done in a way that improves the quality of life for almost everybody on the planet, but only on the basis of a rational and democratic plan of production. All of the harmful and wasteful activities of the capitalist class and the luxury consumption of the individuals who make up that class should be rapidly reduced to nothing (that is, degrown). It is also necessary and possible for the mass of workers, small farmers, unemployed and young people, including in the global South, to have dramatically improved quality of life.

Growth as an ideology

This positive embracing of degrowth as a concept for ecosocialists should not be taken as an uncritical acceptance of all that has been said by degrowthers up until now. Jason Hickel, for example, seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding about where the growth imperative comes from at its core. Again and again, he repeats statements like:

Now [in the age of neoliberalism] the goal is to tear down the barriers to profit–to make humans and nature cheaper–for the sake of growth.18

He has the relationship between growth and profit the wrong way around. The end goal of each capitalist and the system as a whole is the maximisation of profit. Growth is a means to that end, rather than the other way around.

However, when Hickel writes about what he calls the ideology of growthism, he is making an important point. The idea that economic growth is the route to improved living standards–“a rising tide lifts all boats”–is a pervasive part of the dominant ideas of the ruling class. It is one of those ideas that is so hegemonic that it is simply ‘common sense’, and one of the reasons why many socialists are so understandably wary of using the term ‘degrowth’. It is not only business organisations, like IBEC in Ireland, or right-wing commentators who will talk about growth, trade unions and socialists will talk about growth too.


Up to a certain point obviously there is truth to this idea. If we lived in a society without sufficient material production to provide quality housing, food and access to leisure pursuits, growth in these sectors would be necessary to meet people’s basic needs. A large portion of the world’s population live in countries in the Global South where this is the case. However, in the world as a whole, there is more than adequate production of goods to provide everybody across the planet with a quality and meaningful life. The problem is how this wealth and income is distributed and how production is prioritised and organised.

A concept–not a slogan

The most common objection from revolutionary socialists to the idea of degrowth was expressed succinctly by John Molyneux in a recent article:

But in terms of mobilising such people, whether they are located in Los Angeles or Liverpool, Sao Paulo or Soweto, the concept or slogan of degrowth will be a non-starter.19

Contained within this sentence are two ideas. The first is the argument that the slogan of degrowth will not work to mobilise large numbers of working class people. We agree–it is too abstract and it jars too sharply with the ‘common sense’ ideology of growth.

But we think as a concept that informs our slogans, an ecosocialist degrowth is a powerful base to start from. It challenges us to reconsider how to build a powerful socialist movement on a solid ecological footing.

An imprecise parallel would be Lenin’s concept of “smashing the state”. In State & Revolution, Lenin drew the conclusion, in line with what Marx already wrote in the wake of the Paris Commune of 1871, that the working class “cannot take possession of the capitalist state apparatus and put it to work at their service”,20 they must smash it and build a radically different one that serves their interests.

“Smash the state” was not and is not a slogan to mobilise large numbers of working class people. But it assists socialists in developing demands and slogans that point in the right direction and which have the potential to reach, and in certain circumstances, mobilise masses. For example, that essential concept informed the popular Bolshevik slogan “all power to the Soviets.”

It might be challenging to win car factory workers to degrow their industry, but we have to start from the needs of the working class as a whole. We cannot base ourselves on replacing combustion engine cars with electric cars. We must make the case for converting private car factories into producing public transport infrastructure, and for a democratic and just transition. The same is true for a whole suite of industries. Workers in armaments, fossil fuels, big agribusiness, air travel, etc. will understandably resist the loss of their existing jobs. Instead of just echoing that, we have to struggle within the trade union movement for a programme which challenges the hegemonic ideology of growth and outlines how these industries can be converted to socially useful production, with guaranteed jobs and improved conditions for all workers.21

In the EU between 55-70% responded positively to the question, ‘Do you believe that the environment should be made a priority even if doing so damages economic growth?’

In addition, the proposition that degrowth is a “non-starter”22 for working class people is not supported by recent polls. In Less is More, Hickel explains that “…when people have to choose between environmental protection and growth, ‘environmental protection is prioritised in most surveys and countries’.” In the EU between 55-70% responded positively to the question, “Do you believe that the environment should be made a priority even if doing so damages economic growth?” Even in the belly of the beast, the United States, 70% “agree with the statement that ‘environmental protection is more important than growth”.23

Sure, polls are snapshots of people’s ideas and mood, and are undoubtedly affected by the state of the economy when the poll is taken. But, still, it shows that people can be convinced. If we agree that we need degrowth to resolve the ecological crises, then our programme, slogans, and demands have to be shaped to that reality, not the other way around.

No more sacrifice zones

Degrowth also forces us to seriously consider the existing plans to replace fossil fuels with clean energy technology. Where will you get the material necessary to build all those solar panels, wind turbines, electric buses, trains, and batteries? What communities will be displaced and harmed by unearthing those minerals? How much do we need to ensure everyone has a good living standard? Socialists in the global North have a responsibility to raise awareness of the ecological crises, including not only the existence of technological solutions that the ruling elite have refused to deploy, but also the impact of such solutions on other peoples.

The bridge to an ecosocialist future cannot be built by stepping on the backs of workers, women, and peasants in
the global South.

Sandstone mountain formation in the San Pedro de Atacama desert. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The way out is not increased mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chile, and South Africa to build solar panels and wind turbines for cities in the global North, destroying local environments and communities. The bridge we build from here to an ecosocialist future cannot be built by stepping on the backs of workers, women, and peasants in the global South. Therefore, we must make the case for ramping up renewable energy production while simultaneously reducing overall energy needs, starting with the luxury consumption of the 1% and unnecessary production (e.g. planned obsolescence).

What does it mean for us?

In this period of interlocking and deep climate and biodiversity crises, the concept of degrowth can play an orienting role and assist us in developing an ecosocialist programme and slogans. It means breaking free from the ideology of growth which has wrapped its tentacles around not only the reformists, but also the revolutionaries. It is not enough to reject the productivism and Prometheanism which dominated much of the Marxist left until recently. We have to go further and consciously discard the language of growth–regardless of the adjective (e.g. sustainable, social, ecological) put in front of it.

Instead of advocating for ‘sustainable’ growth, we should describe our aim as delivering a good life for every person on the planet. As part of that, we should reject the aim of a superabundance of material private goods. On a finite planet, there cannot be infinite goods, nor should we assume everyone wants to purchase, own, and care for every material item they might want or need to use. Instead, socialists should advocate the provision of high-quality public goods, the decommodification of the commons and all aspects of life, and the healing of the rift between humanity and nature. It means putting forward a vision of an ecosocialist society which has an emphasis on the quality of life, as opposed to the quantity of material goods.

Adopting degrowth as a concept means emphasising slogans, demands and potential struggles which help to mobilise working class and oppressed people in a struggle against capital’s destruction of life, but which point towards a better life.

We should begin by demanding a reduction in the work week without loss of pay. A four day or 30 hour week without loss of pay would result in a significant decrease in energy consumption, while giving workers more leisure time.

A vital demand which addresses both the climate crisis and the cost of living crisis for workers is the call for a mass retrofitting programme of people’s homes. Heating homes is responsible for 61% of domestic energy consumption or 16% of all energy consumption.24 With deep retrofits, most homes could slash energy consumption by more than half while also being converted from fossil fuels to electricity in the form of heat pumps. Such a programme in Ireland has the potential to create tens of thousands of green jobs.

We should also insist on a concept of green jobs which includes so-called ‘care jobs’–in childcare, education and healthcare. These are workforces that are traditionally feminised, undervalued and low paid. We should campaign for a massive expansion of these jobs, through the creation of an Irish National Health Service and a National Childcare Service. These are jobs which provide significant benefits for the quality of life for all, while adding very little in the way of carbon emissions.

Similarly, the call for free, green and frequent public transport is one that is in line with a degrowth concept. The achievement of such a network that large sections of people are moved out of individual car usage and into public transport would dramatically cut emissions, especially considering that transport is the second biggest emitting sector in Ireland.

Expanding public services should go hand in hand with the creation of new ones aimed at liberating women from the hours of backbreaking domestic labour. For example, free public canteens that provide three healthy meals a day and laundrettes to replace individuals purchasing, maintaining, and replacing private washing machines.

Expanding public services should go hand in hand with the creation of new ones aimed at liberating women from hours of backbreaking domestic labour.

Ecoocialists should also champion demands that will break the cycle of consumption and waste while improving the quality of goods that people have. For example, implementing mandatory extended warranties on products, while outlawing planned obsolescence of items like mobile phones. Connected to that could be a ‘right to repair’, ensuring that all consumer goods are repairable at low cost.

Yellow tram carriage suspended at the top of a narrow street with traditional architecture, Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

These positive demands (and many more could be listed) need to be combined with negative demands to eliminate the emissions of the capitalist class and the personal luxury consumption of the rich. The Bill proposed by People Before Profit to ban the future development of data centres as well as fossil fuel infrastructure is a perfect example of this. These data centres which are due to use 29% of our electricity by 202825 are not, by and large, performing useful work from the point of view of the majority. Instead, they are running algorithms to target people with advertising.

Speaking of advertisement, it too should be dramatically curtailed. This is an open goal for socialists because everyone hates advertisements. We all try our best to escape it whenever we can, yet capitalism absolutely requires it. As Michael Löwy explains,

Rather than seeking to force individuals to “lower their standard of living” or “reduce their consumption”—an abstract, merely quantitative approach—what is needed is to create conditions under which people can, little by little, discover their real needs and qualitatively change their ways of consumption: for example, by choosing more culture, education, health, or home improvement rather than buying new gadgets, new decreasingly useful commodities. For this, the suppression of harassment by advertising is a necessary condition.26

The armaments industry and the military industrial complex must be put out of business. Fossil fuels should be expropriated from the oil companies and left in the ground. Private jets should be banned, as should the production of SUVs, which should be banned from cities immediately.

In addition, our demands for progressive taxation on the rich (corporation tax, Millionaire’s Tax, new rates of income tax for high earners) have a vital position in a programme inspired by degrowth. Taking wealth out of the hands of the energy and resource wasting ultra-rich and investing in public services is the simplest way to reduce carbon emissions.

Of course, the crowning demands of an ecosocialist programme informed by the concept of degrowth has to be the nationalisation and democratic public ownership of the key sections of the economy in order to allow a rapid and just reduction in energy usage and shift to renewable energy. Only on the basis of a globally planned system will it be possible to rationally reduce the overall envelope of energy and material usage, while ensuring big leaps forward in the quality of life for everyone.

Jess Spear Paleoceanographer and National Organiser for RISE
1.↩ Karl Marx, ‘The Working Day’, Capital Volume 1, Marxists Internet Archive.
2.↩ Karl Marx, ‘The Working Day’, Capital Volume 1, Marxists Internet Archive.
3.↩ These are climate change, biodiversity loss, nitrogen removed from the atmosphere, and chemical pollution (see The Tipping Point, this issue).
4.↩ IPCC report ‘Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’ (February 2022)
5.↩ Some ecosocialists argue that we should use Capitalocene rather than Anthropocene. We agree that the categorisation argued for in Foster and Clark’s recent article ‘The Capitalinian: The First Geological Age of the Anthropocene’, Monthly Review, Vol 73, number 4, September 2021, best expresses the character of the period in which we are living.
6.↩ Aaron Bastani, Fully Automated Luxury Communism (Verso Books, 2018).
7.↩ Michael Löwy, Benji Akbulut, Sabrina Fernandes, and Giorgos Kallis, ‘For an Ecosocialist Degrowth’,, 8 April 2022.
8.↩ P. 29 Jason Hickel, Less Is More: How Degrowth Will Save The World (Random House, 2020)
9.↩ Matt Huber, ‘Lifestyle Environmentalism Will Never Win Over Workers’, Jacobin, 2 August 2021.
10.↩ Leigh Phillips, The Degrowth delusion, (30 August, 2019)
11.↩ David Schwartzman, ‘A critique of degrowth’, Climate & Capitalism, 5 January 2022.
12.↩ John Molyneux, ‘Growth & Degrowth: What Should Ecosocialists Say Part Two?’, (Rebel News, 5 April 2021) ... -part-two/
13.↩ Oxfam, ‘Confronting Carbon Inequality’ (September 2020)
14.↩ The Jevons Paradox is the proposition that an increase in efficiency in resource use will generate an increase in resource consumption rather than a decrease.
15.↩ For example, Jason Moore and Andreas Malm argue we should use the term ‘Capitalocene’.
16.↩ Oswald, Y., Owen, A. & Steinberger, J.K. Large inequality in international and intranational energy footprints between income groups and across consumption categories. Nat Energy 5, 231–239 (2020).
17.↩ “Global North” is the “IMF’s ‘advanced economies’ grouping (as of 2015), which includes the USA, Canada, Western and Northern Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Israel and Japan, plus South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong, and a number of small island territories” from Jason Hickel et al., ‘Imperialist appropriation in the world economy: Drain from the global South through unequal exchange, 1990–2015’, Global Environmental Change, Volume 73, March 2022.
18.↩ P. 94 Hickel, Less is More
19.↩ John Molyneux, ‘Growth and Degrowth: What Should Ecosocialists say?–Part Two’, Rebel News website, 5 April 2021.
20.↩ Lenin, ‘The State and Revolution’ (1917) quoting Marx’s 1872 preface to the Communist Manifesto.
21.↩ The Lucas Plan developed by workers at Lucas Aerospace in Britain 1976 gives a glimpse of how that could be done.
22.↩ John Molyneux, ‘Growth and Degrowth: What Should Ecosocialists say?–Part Two’, Rebel News website, 5 April 2021.
23.↩ Figures from p. 25-26, Hickel, Less is More
24.↩ SEAI statistics on energy usage
25.↩ Eirgrid Report, ‘All-Island Generation Capacity Statement 2019-2028’
26.↩ Michael Löwy, ‘Ecosocialism: A Radical Alternative to Capitalist Catastrophe’ (Haymarket, 2020) ... -degrowth/

Surprisingly better than I thought it would be.

While 'de-growth' as a practical response to our impending environmental catastrophe is theoretically a big "Duh!!" how this is defined and how it is proposed is everything. Count me as one who felt that popular opinions and global economic justice makes 'de-growth' a very hard nut. Moreover, zealotry can lead to paths of 'primitivism' and ecofascism, the first impossible and the second abhorrent and doomed to fail after multiplying misery.

Far from the final word, this essay makes some good points. It is possible to do these things, but only within the context of a socialist revolution. First things first.

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"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Mon Jun 27, 2022 4:45 pm

The modern world as the highest stage of pollution
Where is the globe heading?
Man interacted with the environment and influenced it from the very moment of the emergence of his species. However, this influence reached a truly tangible scale only in the 18th century with the beginning of the industrial revolution. At that moment, a class of industrialists was born, who began to dictate their own rules to the planet.

The layman does not understand that environmental pollution is a continuation of politics, and therefore limits himself to the fact that people themselves, human greed, irresponsibility, bad education and other idealistic forms are to blame for this.

The absence of a struggle for the cleanliness of the environment, and, as a result, for the health of society among citizens, is a natural result of incorrectly drawn conclusions. After all, how to deal with human flaws? With God's punishment? But what if the owner of the business is to blame for all this?

Toxic substances in the air

Most of the workers live in cities surrounded by industrial giants: an oil refinery, chemical fiber, a tannery, a non-ferrous metal, and others. They are therefore exposed to the toxic effects of pollutants whose levels exceed the WHO annual averages for air purity. On the one hand, the control over emissions has weakened, industrialists have felt permissiveness. On the other hand, new industries have appeared, smaller than the previous ones, but, as it turned out, environmental standards for them do not exist at all. Desperate workers, trying to protect their health, are forced to overwhelm Rosprirodnadzor with complaints.


I repeat, it is not Rosprirodnazor that primarily protects the health of the population, but labor activists themselves are fighting against enterprises in all possible ways. That is, workers feel pollution on their lungs, then they hire a private laboratory at their own expense, confirming the excess of the maximum concentration limit for harmful emissions, and then they send complaints to Rosprirodnadzor. Is it possible that Rosprirodnadzor acts in the interests of businessmen?

One of the clearest examples is the situation in Ryazan that happened a year ago: “On the website of Rosprirodnadzor, the volumes of emissions that are allowed for the Techno plant, a production of the second hazard class, are presented.” Not only is the hazard class itself ambiguous - why the second, and not the first - it is not clear how it was possible to allow an enterprise to throw poisonous substances on the heads of local residents ?! And the amount of pollution allowed is considerable: 190 tons of nitrogen dioxide, 116 tons of ammonia, 420 tons of sulfur dioxide and much more. And so every year. For 15 years, all this chemical muck settled in the lungs of local residents. At the same time, the Techno plant as part of the TechnoNIKOL corporation, according to Forbes magazine, registered in the rating of the most environmentally friendly companies in Russia (18th place).


It is cheaper for an industrialist to pay the identified fines (if they are still discovered) or to give money to high-ranking officials than to buy expensive cleaning agents and suspend the operation of the enterprise until a complete refurbishment.

What might such a policy lead to?

Studies have shown that many adverse environmental factors, such as general environmental degradation, radiation exposure, exposure to harmful chemicals and toxic compounds, can lead to an increase in the frequency of mutations. Already in the first generation, this will lead to an increase in the frequency of chromosomal and dominant diseases with a simultaneous increase in the number of infertile marriages, spontaneous miscarriages and stillbirths.

However, the harmful effects of the environment will not immediately lead to a jump in recessive pathology. Their consequences can only affect future generations as such a genetic load accumulates among the population.



We have considered only one of the many environmental problems. It must be understood that all the achievements of social policy (health system, shorter working hours, the introduction of environmental standards, and so on) that surround us in modern times are the result of a long and stubborn struggle of citizens. As long as the principle of "profitability" prevails in the world, with cost reduction and maximum profit, business will not take care of the people. At this rate, not a single healthy person will soon be left, and, unfortunately, it is impossible to restore the health of the population.

To be continued… ... adiya-zag/

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The wide role Brazil’s military has played in the destruction of the Amazon
June 23, 2022 Pedro Marin


In the Brazilian Amazon, as deforestation reaches record levels and rivers are increasingly polluted, the illegal gold mining contributing to these problems continues largely unabated. The response of the government has been to increase military action to curb environmental crimes in Brazil. Far from achieving this purpose, however, the military intervention has only led to tragedies in the region, directly or indirectly.

A source from the Brazilian Amazon wrote to us at Revista Opera two years ago to warn us about something strange that was going on there: illegally mined gold was being sold at the same price as legally mined gold. “If the nugget is a big one,” said the source, “they give the miner extra [money].” There was no investigation based on this information since it would have required great resources and risks, neither of which we could afford. It was just another fascinating story that was buried in the green hell (Inferno Verde) or El Dorado—terms often used to describe the immensity of the Amazon rainforest.

In August 2021, a study by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in partnership with the Brazilian Federal Public Ministry (MPF) showed that in two years—2019 and 2020—28 percent of all gold that was both produced by and sold in Brazil appeared to have been mined illegally. Perhaps such a large influx of gold for some exceptional reason had an effect on the price paid out for mining it at a given time, or perhaps the information provided was fabricated by the source, we thought.

The study further stated that of the gold produced in the Amazon, 44 percent was found to be “irregular” or illegal, revealing how the activity continued unchecked in the region.

The Amazon has been a multifaceted obsession of Brazil’s military for some time now. During the military dictatorship, which began in 1964, the motto regarding the policy to be followed in the Amazon was “integrate not to surrender.” Later on, the motto conformed to the view that the forest was a site for a possible insurrection. In the ’80s and ’90s, Brazil’s generals would focus their attention on the incursion of Colombian left-wing guerrillas and on the trafficking of drugs and weapons. For them, the integration of the Amazon was a part of what the country’s military institutes now call a “national project.”

Media attention has focused on deforestation during the tenure of the government under Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Despite the press coverage of the dark skies that were witnessed by Brazil’s major cities during the daytime in August 2019, as the smoke from the wildfires enveloped the cities, revealing the extent of deforestation in the Amazon, one fact remained hidden: the militarization of the Amazon.

During Bolsonaro’s rule, three military Law and Order Assurance Operations (GLOs) for reducing deforestation in the Amazon have been enacted: Operation Verde Brasil, which ran from August to October 2019; Operation Verde Brasil 2, between May 2020 and April 2021; and Operation Samaúma, between June and August 2021. The decrees of the operations provided Brazil’s Armed Forces with powers to take “preventive and repressive actions against environmental crimes,” and for “surveying and fighting fires.” In total, out of the 41 months that have elapsed since Bolsonaro’s government came to power, the Amazon has been under military control for almost 17 of them.

In addition, in February 2020, the National Council of the Legal Amazon was also reestablished, with its presidency being transferred from the Ministry of the Environment to the vice presidency. The council is now chaired by Army General and Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourão and is composed of 16 ministries (seven of which were being directed by army officials at the time the decree established the council). The general purpose of the council is to coordinate and integrate the action of the ministries on the issues related to the Amazon, “strengthen the state’s presence in the Legal Amazon” and “coordinate actions for the prevention, inspection and repression of illicit acts.” In addition, the council is responsible for establishing special subcommittees and inviting “specialists and representatives of public or private, national or international bodies or entities to participate in the meetings.”

Despite this mandate of the council, governors, representatives of the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama), the National Indian Foundation (Funai)—two governmental organizations working for the protection of the environment and the traditional populations of the Amazon—Indigenous peoples, and traditional communities weren’t invited to be part of it, and 19 military officials were appointed to the thematic committees of the body—whose composition is decided by vice president Mourão—in addition to four delegates from Brazil’s Federal Police.

An article by journalist Marta Salomon in Piauí magazine in October 2020 stated how there was a “Military Buildup With Money From the Amazon” during Operation Verde Brasil 2: renovations in barracks that included painting walls, replacing floors, doors, coatings and roofs were part of the operating expenses—in addition to the secret expenses in the contracts of the Army Intelligence Center with private companies. As spending on preservation of the forest by the Ministry of the Environment fell, investments in GLO military missions in the Amazon grew by 178 percent: in 2021, 37 percent of the total spending to stop deforestation was allocated to military actions.

Another government measure involving the military (or military measure involving the government) was the “intervention” in Funai, Brazil’s official agency that is responsible for protecting and promoting Indigenous rights. An article by Daniel Giovanaz in February 2021 revealed that “[o]f the 24 regional coordinations of the National Indian Foundation (Funai) in the Legal Amazon, 14 [were] led by the military.” One of these coordinators was Jussielson Golçalves Silva, an inactive navy soldier arrested in March this year for brokering the leasing of Indigenous lands to cattle ranchers in Ribeirão Cascalheira, Mato Grosso. Another article by Marta Salomon in October 2021 mentioned the case of Army Captain Raimundo Pereira dos Santos Neto, regional coordinator of Funai in Pará state, who had sent a letter to the organization informing them that a “collaborator,” Antônio Júlio Martins de Oliveira, had built a shed on the banks of the Iriri River under the pretext of serving the Kayapó Indigenous people of the region. The collaborator was an illegal miner, and the Funai shed was being used for his illegal activities, according to Salomon’s article.

As reported before, the three GLO operations that constituted the direct military intervention over the Amazon for a year and a half cost R$550 million—almost six times the budget allocated to Ibama for environmental inspection, licensing and biodiversity management in 2020—and failed to curb deforestation in the Amazon, according to Folha de S. Paulo. Brazil’s government said that the operations “attest to intransigence in the defense of our territory.” Vice President General Mourão, president of the Amazon Council, declared that the results of Operation Samaúma were “extremely positive,” despite data showing that during the GLO operations, deforestation continued to increase. In April this year, the vice president said that the data on deforestation in the Amazon rainforest for the month—when military operations were no longer active—were “terrible, horrible.” This raises questions about the contradictions in the statements made by Mourão during and after the GLO operations and the end-results of the military intervention in the Amazon; with the situation going from “extremely positive” in August 2021 during Operation Samaúma to “terrible, horrible” a few months later, once the operation ended.

The killings of indigenist Bruno Pereira and English journalist Dom Phillips, who disappeared on June 5 in Vale do Javari, Amazonas state, certainly has nothing to do, directly, with the military intervention in the Amazon, despite the delay in beginning the search operation by the armed forces and the scandal over the notes that the Amazônia Military Command (CMA) issued, saying it was “awaiting command from the upper echelons.” Indirectly, however, the title of an article written by Phillips in 2018 explains the role played by the military intervention in their killings clearly: “Tribes in Deep Water: Gold, Guns and the Amazon’s Last Frontier.”

This article was produced by Globetrotter in partnership with Revista Opera. Pedro Marin is the editor-in-chief and founder of Revista Opera. Previously, he was a correspondent in Venezuela for Revista Opera and a columnist and international correspondent in Brazil for a German publication. He is the author of Golpe é Guerra—teses para enterrar 2016, on the impeachment of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, and coauthor of Carta no Coturno—A volta do Partido Fardado no Brasil, on the role of the military in Brazilian politics. ... he-amazon/


UN Forum Pledges to Hasten Deal on Biodiversity Pact

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Nairobi, Kenya, June, 2022 | Photo: UN

Published 27 June 2022

During the Nairobi meeting, delegates agreed on the broader objectives of the envisaged global pact to revitalize species conservation as a means to attain sustainable development.

The fourth meeting of the open-ended working group on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework has ended in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, with a pledge to fast-track agreement on a new decades-long deal to re-energize the conservation of iconic species.

Delegates who attended the June 21-26 forum, convened by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), vowed to speed up the establishment of a landmark framework to guide enhanced protection of habitats amid mounting threats.

CBD Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema said the spirit of consensus combined with political commitment will be key to developing an ambitious and transformative post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

"I call upon the Parties in the next months to vigorously engage with the text, to listen to each other and seek consensus, and to prepare the final text for adoption," she said.

More than 1,000 in-person and virtual participants, including policymakers, representatives of multilateral agencies, industry, academia, and civil society, attended the six-day meeting to negotiate a framework to guide the future conservation of natural habitats.

The refined post-2020 global biodiversity framework is expected to be adopted at the second and final edition of the 15th conference of parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting, slated for Dec. 5-17 in Montreal, Canada.

During the Nairobi meeting, delegates agreed on the broader objectives of the envisaged global pact to revitalize species conservation as a means to attain sustainable development.

Other topics discussed at the meeting included resource mobilization to hasten the implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and strengthening the role of women, youth, and indigenous people in the protection of habitats.

The delegates agreed on the need to entrench benefit-sharing, digital mapping of genetic resources, and a rights and people-centered approach to conserving biodiversity hotspots that sustain livelihoods.

Mrema said she was optimistic a new roadmap for conserving species is in sight, adding that it will transform livelihoods at the grassroots level besides enhancing climate resilience. Francis Ogwal, a co-chair of the open-ended working group on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, said negotiators will refine the draft text to ensure it captures the interests and aspirations of all stakeholders before its adoption in December.

A landmark pact to re-invigorate the conservation of habitats is long overdue in the light of existential threats fueled by climate change, poor land-use practices, invasive species, and pollution, Ogwal said.

Basile van Havre, another co-chair of the working group, said the Nairobi meeting covered a significant milestone in attempts to come up with a new vision for saving planetary resources. ... -0004.html


Europe dumps its climate commitments after facing shortage of Russian gas
The quick shift by rich European countries to “dirty” energy sources such as coal instead of managing demands raises serious concerns about the fate of global climate action and the future of the environmental movement

June 26, 2022 by Abdul Rahman

(Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/dpa/picture alliance)

At least three major European economies have decided to go back on their commitments to “green energy” amid the ongoing energy shortage, putting a question mark on the future of the global environmental movement. This disastrous shift in policy is another example of how the West’s economic warfare against Russia has a global cost.

People across the continent are facing an unprecedented rise in prices of essential commodities, including food and fuel, following the proxy war between the West and Russia in Ukraine and the imposition of various rounds of economic sanctions and cultural boycott against Russia. Common people are forced to suffer due to the collective mistakes of policy makers who failed to assess the possible repercussions of blindly pursuing geostrategic ambitions over the welfare of the people.

The EU’s quick abandonment of its commitments to green energy in the context of this self-made crisis puts into question the future of global climate action and the regime set after the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Sanctions come back to bite Europe
The European Union (EU) has decided to completely ban import of Russian oil by the end of the current year, and plans to phase out its dependence on Russian gas by 2030. Earlier this month, in retaliation to the economic sanctions imposed by the EU and refusal to pay for gas in Rubles, Russia’s state owned Gazprom decided to shut gas supplies to various countries and reduce its supply to others, like Germany, by 60%. The EU has already imposed sanctions on Gazprom and decided to terminate approval for a new gas pipeline with Russia.

While announcing the decision to shift to coal-fired power plants to produce the required electricity to meet its needs, Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Sunday that “to reduce gas consumption, less gas must be used to generate electricity. Coal-fired power plants will have to be used more instead.” He added that this was a bitter but necessary solution.

The move is a complete U-turn for Germany. The country’s new government, which includes the Greens, had in January decided to shut most of its coal plants by 2030 and completely eliminate coal-based energy production in the country by 2038. It had vowed to increase the share of renewables in energy production to up to 80% from the current 40% by 2030.

Europe is also looking for alternative sources of gas. However, given the increased global demand due to the post-COVID-19 recovery and the lack of enough suppliers, mostly due to US sanctions on countries such as Iran, the job looks difficult.

EU’s climate hypocrisy
Various countries in Europe, including Italy, France and Germany, have announced an energy emergency. However, none of them have decided to focus on reducing the level of consumption or investing in alternative energy resources. This has compromised EU’s commitments to the climate regime and raises the issue of climate hypocrisy.

Under the Paris agreement, the EU had agreed to cut its emissions by 55% by 2030 from 1991 levels. The shift to coal in a massive way in Europe’s biggest economies, Germany, Italy and others, will seriously affect this commitment.

This was accepted by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen who claimed that “we have to make sure that we use this crisis to move forward and not to have a backsliding on the dirty fossil fuels.”

The decision to shift to coal-based production gives the false impression of lack of options. German policy makers have also paid little attention to reduction of energy consumption in various industries or delaying the shutting down of nuclear power plants. Instead of calling for suspension of production in non-essential units for some period, Leyen and Habeck asked common Europeans to reduce their consumption of electricity. Leyen asked Europeans to decrease heating in their homes by two degrees, claiming that “this would compensate for the whole delivery [Nord] stream.”

According to Habeck, Germany has entered the second phase of its natural gas emergency now, with just 57% gas reserves against the required 90%. Habeck said that Germany needs to save gas to face the coming winter, otherwise “it will be really tight in winter.”

Similar announcements have been made by the governments in Netherlands and Austria. The Netherlands had a rule according to which all coal-fired power plants were expected to operate at 35% capacity. However, Rob Jetten, Netherland’s Climate and Energy Minister, said on Tuesday that “the cabinet has decided to immediately withdraw the restriction on production for coal-fired power stations.”

Austria, which had ordered shutting down of all coal-based power plants two years back, decided on Sunday, June 19, to restart one of its biggest coal-based plants, operated by private energy giant Verbund AG. The country reportedly has just 39% of its annual gas needs assured.

These decisions have raised serious concerns about the future of the global climate campaign. Several commentators have pointed out Europe’s hypocrisy as it keeps on suggesting to others, mostly third world countries, to shift away from fossil fuel often at the cost of their economic development, while refusing to make similar compromises and rushing to fossil fuels when hit by an energy shortage. ... ssian-gas/

Before we humans can effectively deal with our environmental woes(to the degree that can be done) we must dispose of capitalism in the shortest possible order. The greedy cunts haven't listened to the science for half a century, instead they've doubled down, taking minimal and cosmetic actions when forced to while their propaganda serves to confuse and enervate great swaths of the public.

To all the 'environmental community': If we do not deal with the political/economic roots of our multiple environmental dilemmas then we are not serious, we are hypocrites clinging to our pathetic class privilege.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Tue Jun 28, 2022 5:50 pm

Sustainability versus profitability

Why does environmental protection "slip"?
From the editor: A little more about ecology and the market in continuation of a recent article . Don't switch!

No matter how much we want, but the echoes of natural disasters reach our daily lives. The climate is changing, hence the warm winter, when sometimes you celebrate the New Year without snow. And if a person can still survive this with relative comfort, then for many animals such changes are fatal.
You need to understand that a businessman does not think about the future of our planet, while experts only predict the death of the Earth in hundreds of years. The current system is not capable of reacting and globally changing policy.
Installing high-tech and environmentally friendly equipment is not economically viable. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to envelop the entire Earth and trap the sun's heat. This has already led to global warming and climate change.


For example, the Russian station "Vostok" , located in the middle of the ice plateau of Antarctica, registered a record high level of air temperature ( -17.7 ℃ ), which is almost twice the previous record ( -32.6 ℃ ). Just the day before, weather stations had recorded rain in the coastal zone and temperatures above 0 ° C , which is completely unusual for Antarctica.

Just ahead of the heatwave on March 15 this year, the Conger Ice Shelf , a floating platform the size of Rome or New York, broke off the continent. This phenomenon was captured by satellite and made headlines around the world.

In 2015, 196 countries signed the Paris Agreement , an international treaty dedicated to climate change. Its main goal was to prevent a global rise in temperature and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.


Numerous domestic and international companies have announced that they will be completely carbon neutral in the future. Walmart has announced its intention to become carbon neutral by 2040 and is already actively working with its suppliers to eliminate its carbon footprint from its supply chains in the coming years. Maersk , the largest sea freight carrier , will start operating carbon-neutral container ships in 2023 . Allianz announced its intention to stop insuring power plants that continue to burn coal . Thus, they reassure the population that the business is moving in this direction.
But if irreparable processes in the climate are already taking place, then what can we expect in 2050? Will the businessmen keep their promises? And does everyone want to fulfill them?

Ecosystem destruction

There is an increase in the number of accidents, making vast areas uninhabitable. Entire ecosystems are dying. The industry saves on the number of scheduled repairs and the use of low-quality materials.


The owner reduces the costs of his enterprise, but these measures are not always aimed at upgrading equipment. Often, savings are made due to violation of the rules for the safe operation of the facility. For example, the incident in Norilsk (2020), where a tank that was in an emergency condition was put into operation, from which more than 21 thousand tons of diesel fuel leaked and got into the soil and water bodies. The company wanted to cover up the incident, but the emissions were catastrophic. The picture of the incident became clear from the records in social networks from the workers themselves. As a result, the Daldykan and Ambarnaya rivers were polluted, in which the concentration of harmful substances exceeds the norm by tens of thousands of times. The money saved on repairs was “paid” by nature.

We are also told that China and Europe are cutting down our forests, provoking national hatred. You need to understand that it is Russian business itself that invites them here, providing various benefits, and that it is this business that profits from the sale of timber. Most importantly, the cut down forest is not restored, thereby making super profits at the expense of the environment .



Let's be sensible: business is always striving to increase its wealth, and in doing so, it is leading us and our future generation to the complete depletion of the planet's natural resources. What happens if the Earth becomes uninhabitable? Will money be that important? ... abelnosti/

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A protester holds up a sign that reads “Climate Justice” (in Spanish). Photo: Friend of the Earth

At Bonn climate talks, rich nations stab poor countries in the back — again
Originally published: Green Left on June 22, 2022 by Alex Bainbridge (more by Green Left) | (Posted Jun 27, 2022)

The rulers of rich nations are like arsonists who, after lighting the fire, prevent anyone calling the fire brigade. An example of this took place at the Bonn Climate talks that finished on June 16.

There, rich nations — notably the European Union and the United States — blocked all efforts to get “loss and damage” discussions on the agenda at the next climate summit, scheduled for November.

The Glasgow climate summit last year had concluded with an understanding that those most responsible for the carbon emissions that created the climate crisis — rich nations — would finally start working on ways to compensate poor countries suffering irreversible climate damage for which no adaptation is possible.

This is something small island states have been calling for since 1991. In return, these nations agreed to prioritise carbon emissions reductions.

Alex Scott, of environmental think tank E3G, explained to the BBC: “The compromise was based on an understanding that countries would be willing to start talking and taking decisions on dealing with how to get that finance flowing for loss and damage.

“And we haven’t seen that come to fruition here.”

In other words, rich countries have stabbed poor countries in the back — again.

The climate crisis has clearly not gone away. The northern summer has seen a huge heat wave spark wildfires and break temperature records across Europe. Temperatures in Iran reached 52°C on June 21. And unprecedented flooding in the Indian state of Assam has displaced 4.7 million people in the past week.

Yet rich nations are still not prioritising measures to reduce emissions.

The Australian government, while talking about climate action, is pressing ahead with climate-destroying gas developments, such as Beetaloo and Scarborough.

At the same time, the US government is fending off an environmental lawsuit to block 3500 oil and gas permits. US President Joe Biden has already approved more gas and oil drilling permits than former President Donald Trump did in any of his first three years in office.

The British government has also approved several major fossil fuel projects since the Glasgow summit with, according to The Guardian, about another 50 schemes “in the pipeline between now and 2025”.

Meanwhile, these countries continue to give untold billions in corporate welfare to fossil fuel corporations rather than fund renewable energy.

The US is most responsible for the climate crisis as it has produced more cumulative carbon dioxide emissions than any other country. Cumulative emissions is a key measure because carbon dioxide can contribute to warming even hundreds of years after it was pumped into the atmosphere.

Australia is the third highest contributor of per capita cumulative emissions. This — plus the fact we are a rich country with exceptionally good renewable resources — makes it immoral to continue with current levels of fossil fuel use.

Costa Rican environmentalist Adriana Vasquez Rodriquez told the BBC: “We are already living with loss and damages for the last 25 years. We have families who have lost their houses, their crops, their lives, and no-one is paying for that, we are running out of resources, and at the same time, we are depending on debt.”

The rulers of the world have proven over and over again that they do not care about people — not in Costa Rica or Cairns, nor Iran or the Illawarra.

For more than 30 years, Green Left has not just actively campaigned for climate justice: it has campaigned for the people-powered alternative needed to save the planet.

If you support this work, please donate to our Fighting Fund and become a Green Left supporter today. ... ack-again/

Has 'Green Left" demanded 'Socialism or barbarism'? Just wondering...
Because nothing else will do.



The Supreme Court and radical environmental deregulation
Originally published: State of the Planet on June 21, 2022 by Steve Cohen (more by State of the Planet) | (Posted Jun 28, 2022)

One of the first professional jobs I ever had was working at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and it was a great job in a terrific organization. I continued working as a consultant for the U.S. EPA throughout the 1980s and 1990s, but I left the agency as a full-time employee in June 1981—“chased” from the EPA by the views of a radical anti-environmentalist administrator named Anne Gorsuch. Gorsuch and her toxic waste chief Rita Lavelle “froze” implementation of much of the new toxic waste clean-up Superfund program that I was helping to staff. Gorsuch set about destroying the EPA until the public outcry grew so loud that then-President Ronald Reagan had to fire her and replace her with Bill Ruckelshaus, the first EPA administrator, a moderate Republican and proven environmentalist. The irony today is that Gorsuch’s son, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, may finally have a chance to complete his mother’s anti-regulatory and environmentally destructive work.

A highly controversial case, West Virginia v. EPA, is on the docket of the Supreme Court, and according to New York Times top environmental reporter Coral Davenport:

Within days, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court is expected to hand down a decision that could severely limit the federal government’s authority to reduce carbon dioxide from power plants—pollution that is dangerously heating the planet. But it’s only a start. The case, West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, is the product of a coordinated, multiyear strategy by Republican attorneys general, conservative legal activists and their funders, several with ties to the oil and coal industries, to use the judicial system to rewrite environmental law, weakening the executive branch’s ability to tackle global warming. Coming up through the federal courts are more climate cases, some featuring novel legal arguments, each carefully selected for its potential to block the government’s ability to regulate industries and businesses that produce greenhouse gases.

Climate is literally the tip of the iceberg. The possible court ruling attacks the very foundation of modern regulation. In the face of today’s complex, technological world, conservative state attorneys general and right-wing jurists are demanding a degree of legislative specificity that is impossible for non-experts to articulate. Our elected leaders and judges are not chemists or toxicologists. They tend to be lawyers. When they write environmental laws, they leave important details to the experts in regulatory agencies. Many contemporary regulations are the result of knowledge gained via scientific and technical expertise. Some of these regulations are controversial in conservative circles and are thought to be the product of what they’ve termed the “deep state.” This deep state is a delusional, paranoid right-wing myth, but regulatory over-reach and the arrogance of some regulators is fact and not fiction. Regulatory edicts from experts on high are deeply mistrusted by some, and while some of this mistrust is warranted, most is not. Attacks on this mythical secret cabal of decision-makers was part of Donald Trump’s political mantra.

There is an actual issue here that is worth attention: regulatory over-reach. The result can be rules that do not adequately factor in indirect impacts. Scientific experts, like Supreme Court justices, can become a little full of themselves and reach for powers they should not exercise. But the fundamentals of the regulatory state require that we defer to experts in controlling the technologies developed by other experts. This is true of both social media algorithms and smokestack emissions. We need rules to navigate technological complexity and ensure it is steered to serve the public interest. Non-experts cannot formulate those rules.

However, as Davenport indicates, the anti-regulatory fervor of America’s right wing has now reached a key inflection point.

The ultimate goal of the Republican activists, people involved in the effort say, is to overturn the legal doctrine by which Congress has delegated authority to federal agencies to regulate the environment, health care, workplace safety, telecommunications, the financial sector and more. Known as the “Chevron deference,” after a 1984 Supreme Court ruling, that doctrine holds that courts must defer to reasonable interpretations of ambiguous statutes by federal agencies on the theory that agencies have more expertise than judges and are more accountable to voters. ‘Judges are not experts in the field and are not part of either political branch of the government,’ Associate Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in his opinion for a unanimous court. But many conservatives say the decision violates the separation of powers by allowing executive branch officials rather than judges to say what the law is. In one of his most famous opinions as an appeals court judge, Associate Justice Gorsuch wrote that Chevron allowed ‘executive bureaucracies to swallow huge amounts of core judicial and legislative power.’

This expression of the truly difficult question of how to operate representative democracy in the face of increased technological complexity is reduced by Gorsuch, an extreme ideological justice, to a power struggle. The fundamental fact is our daily lives depend on technologies we do not control and, in many cases, do not understand. We push a button and an engine starts. The average person does not know how the engine works or if the engine is dangerous. We need experts, subject to transparent peer review and even competing expertise, to help us understand and manage risk. Our tolerance for risk is a value question hopefully informed by a careful scientific analysis of the probability of danger.

We see ideology contaminating the discussion of climate change with the fossil fuel industry attacking settled science. We have long seen this with the tobacco industry, an industry that once promoted the health benefits of smoking. During COVID, we have seen persistent attacks on science. Science was called on with great urgency to protect us from a virus that scientists did not fully understand. Medical researchers saw a threat but lacked the time to fully study the virus, vaccines, and treatments. Trump’s Operation Warp Speed developed new vaccines in record time. During the Trump presidency, developing a vaccine was an urgent national goal. But public health measures such as shutdowns, social distancing, masking, and vaccination mandates became matters of ideology and politics, and became controversial.

Our modern, technology-based economy generates great benefits but also creates threats faster than they can be studied and understood. Certainly, by the time we typically develop rules about these threats, the science is more certain than the research we’ve seen with COVID. Climate change is settled science. However, how we respond to climate change is less clear than the fact of climate change. The transition to a renewable resource-based economy cannot be accomplished overnight. Radical environmentalists seeking to end fossil fuel use immediately could plunge the world into a global economic depression. Conservative climate deniers don’t even think global warming is real. COVID vaccines are promising, and have had a positive impact, but more study is warranted. Personally, I’ll take any protection I am offered. Advocates of an active government also act ideologically and favor government action that may be ill-advised. Closing elementary schools to contain COVID may well have prevented the spread of the virus, but the long-term impact on children may end up being worse than COVID. I don’t have an answer for this dilemma, but we need to learn how to discuss these complex issues: informed by science and with as few preconceived notions as possible. The discussions must be civil and reasoned—hard to imagine in this era of endless social media and 24-hour news channels.

We face a serious issue of governance that is being trivialized by economic interests and conservative ideology instead of being the subject of meaningful and open debate. In the case of drugs, no one is really questioning the precautionary principle where drugs are carefully tested before they are used. In the case of pollution, unlike drugs, private corporations are reflexively anti-regulation. And now we have a radical right-wing Supreme Court, threatening to discard precedent and destroy the environmental regulatory system that for half a century has enabled the U.S. economy to grow while our air and water slowly became cleaner.

The benefits of modern technology are obvious, and while we may raise questions about some new technologies, we tend to use them. The costs of new technologies are not as obvious as their benefits, and while the costs tend to emerge over time, some people refuse to accept the reality of danger and the need for rules. America’s environmental regulatory system is far from perfect, but it tends to work. Businesses subject to regulation can negotiate compliance schedules, and the financial costs of regulation are always factored into American regulations. We may soon see a radical anti-regulatory Supreme Court dismantling these well-established practices and endangering America’s environmental quality. ... egulation/
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Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Sat Jul 02, 2022 2:54 pm

Brazil: June Sees 15-Year Fire Record in Amazon

In June of this year, there were 2 562 fire outbreaks in the Brazilian Amazon. Jul. 1, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/@MidiaNINJA

Published 1 July 2022 (9 hours 8 minutes ago)

In June, the Brazilian Amazon recorded the highest number of fires in 15 years, according to the National Institute for Space Research and the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The two agencies jointly released data Friday showing that in June of this year, there have been 2 562 fire outbreaks in the biome.

According to the agencies, in June 2007, there were 3 519 fires. Since then, fire outbreaks have been consistently below 2 000.

However, in 2019, the first year under Jair Bolsonaro's presidency, there was a gradual increase in such events.

Arson in the Amazon region directly relates to deforestation. Once the dry season arrives, which runs from May to September, the vegetation cut down in the previous months is burned.

The Amazon registered 2,562 fire outbreaks in June, the worst result in 15 years. According to the Space Research Institute, it is the third year in a row with an increase in forest fires. During the first semester, the accumulated is 7.5 thousand fire points, an increase of 18%.

The trend, given historical data, indicates an increase in the number of fire points in the rainforest during July and August.

State satellites have recorded a total of 7 500 fire points during the first six months of the year. This figure represents an 18 percent increase over 2021. ... -0024.html



Originally published: Dispatches From A Collapsing State on June 30, 2022 by Jared Yates Sexton (more by Dispatches From A Collapsing State) (Posted Jul 02, 2022)

Before we dive into the Supreme Court’s disastrous 6-3 decision to eradicate the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to combat climate change, we must first turn to the past.

The founding of the United States of America is so wildly misunderstood that it’s become depressingly laughable. The revolt of 1776 and the penning of the Constitution were not divinely inspired, nor were they simply momentous events that sprung from some irrepressible desire for freedom. These stories we are told are fairytales designed to simplify and mystify the workings of our world.

America’s push for independence was largely predicated on a desire by wealthy individuals to escape the financial arrangement with England and the timing of that revolt, in line with the birth of the system of capitalism, with an emphasis on property, is not coincidental. When the Founders began arranging a system of government, they designed it with a total emphasis on protection of property and every system was created specifically to curb democratic impulses through checks and balances preferencing white, wealthy men.

Now, to the present. Climate change is an apocalyptic threat and the result of the industrialization that created our modern world. Our system of production and consumption have brought us now to the edge of oblivion and any actual solution to the problem lies not with you or I recycling but with states reckoning with the problem. The Supreme Court, founded as a backstop in that system I described, is doing its job as it was designed. It is protecting the right of property and the pursuit of profits from any and all interference.

These past few weeks have been tough. The ruling on guns. The overturning of Roe V. Wade. Now this, along with word that the court will soon take on a case to determine the ability of states to further influence elections and their rules. It is a flood of authoritarian decisions in a moment where this system, this creaking, aging, cruel joke of a system, requires authoritarian decisions. The powerful would love for their exploitation to continue to lie behind a veneer of fairytales and lies. They would prefer if we believed in a meritocracy or a representative government that acts in our favor.

Those lies are losing their power. In fact, most people can see right through them. And in the face of a crisis of legitimacy and with mounting myriad crises resulting, the only thing that the system can do now is either embrace its actual authoritarian, elitist underpinnings, or give way to an alternative. The latter is simply unacceptable. And so the velvet glove comes off and the fist of iron comes into focus.

Capitalism will not let us solve the problem of climate change. To even begin to do so would strike a stake into the very heart of the system, open up the possibility of change, and run counter to everything this entire decaying structure was created to embody. The wealthy will run us into the oblivion of climate change and then profit off the destruction and misery that follows. Regardless of all the speeches you hear from Big Tech leaders or “concerned” CEOs about the need to do something, the system will simply not let that happen without a fight.

So let us take this horrid moment and make use of it.


The mask has slipped. The fairytales are irrefutably lies that we can see through with little to no effort. The Supreme Court is giving us an unadulterated glimpse at what this system is, what it cares about, and what it is capable of doing.

It would be so easy to despair and look away. But we have to stare at it. Recognize it. Really drink it in.

We are in a crisis. Pure and simple. The terms have never been more obvious. Neither have the consequences. Continuing along this path and continuing to believe these institutions and those who benefit from them are benevolent or even acting in good faith or good conscience has gotten us here, on the precipice of disaster.

Look at it. See it. Don’t look away. ... he-matter/

Charles Koch (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Koch machine pressing Supreme Court to crush EPA
Originally published: The Lever on February 18, 2022 by Andrew Perez (more by The Lever) | (Posted Jun 29, 2022)

Dark money groups bankrolled by billionaire Charles Koch are lobbying the Supreme Court to limit environmental regulators’ power to reduce carbon emissions, according to filings reviewed by The Daily Poster. The new pressure campaign follows the conservative oil tycoon using his political network to help install Donald Trump’s three ultra-conservative justices on the court.

Later this month, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency. The case could decide whether the EPA is allowed to issue rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions–and comes at a time when scientists are warning that governments must rapidly decarbonize the planet in order to avoid catastrophic weather-related impacts from climate change.

If the court sides with the Koch groups, the chief environmental regulator in one of the world’s largest carbon-emitting nations would be barred from enacting many policies to combat climate change.

The Koch network helped arrange the court’s current composition–and now at least five nonprofits tied to Koch have filed amicus briefs in the West Virginia case pressing justices to determine that the agency does not have the authority under the Clean Air Act, the landmark 1970 air quality law, to set new limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

Fossil fuel interests are hoping that the Supreme Court will deliver “a broad rule that the EPA can’t use the Clean Air Act to tackle any significant new problem without going back to Congress each time for new, and very detailed, legislation,” noted David Doniger, senior strategic director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Climate & Clean Energy program.

They’re counting on lobbyists and dark money to keep Congress gridlocked, so that those new laws are impossible to pass.

There’s little chance that Congress will step in to fill the regulatory void if the Supreme Court guts the Clean Air Act. Democrats spent most of last year debating and ultimately failing to pass a climate spending bill. If the party loses control of Congress this year, Democrats likely won’t be able to pass any substantive new climate measures for the rest of the Biden presidency.

A Flotilla Of Amicus Briefs
Koch runs Koch Industries, the world’s largest privately held fossil fuel company–and one that has a vested interest in a Supreme Court ruling that blocks the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Koch is also among the biggest financiers of the American conservative movement–and his political network has played a significant role in shaping the nation’s highest court.

The Koch network’s chief political arm, Americans for Prosperity, led campaigns supporting the confirmation of all three of Trump’s Supreme Court justices: Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch. Barrett’s confirmation was a particularly significant win for the fossil fuel industry–she has familial ties to Shell Oil, and refused to recuse herself in a case involving that oil giant.

Despite the Koch network spending on their confirmation battles, none of the trio decided to recuse themselves last year when the court ruled in favor of the Koch organization’s charitable affiliate, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, in a decision invalidating California’s requirement that nonprofits disclose their donors to state regulators.

The Koch network isn’t just interested in stacking the court with its preferred justices; it is also working to sway the court’s decisions. As Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) has documented, organizations funded by Koch will often file a “flotilla of substantively similar amicus briefs” with federal courts seeking to influence judicial decisions that could impact the billionaire’s financial operations.

Recently, the operation began targeting the West Virginia case, which is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court on February 28. In December, Koch’s Americans for Prosperity Foundation filed an amicus brief in the case arguing that the EPA should not be permitted to “impose its will on the nation through regulatory diktat.”

“It is not this court’s role to choose between competing visions for how these subjects should be addressed. Instead, this case is about which branch of government, under the existing constitutional structure, is entitled to make major policy decisions of vast political and economic importance, like those at issue here, and by what process,” the foundation wrote.

At the federal level, the answer is Congress, through duly enacted legislation, subject to constitutional constraints on federal power.

Several more Koch-funded dark money groups have filed similar amicus briefs in the case. That includes the Cato Institute, the New Civil Liberties Alliance, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Mountain States Legal Foundation.

Koch co-founded the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. The Charles Koch Foundation has donated more than $11 million to the Cato Institute since 2012, while the Charles Koch Institute has contributed $2.4 million, according to IRS tax returns. Cato’s brief was submitted jointly with the Mountain States Legal Foundation, which has received several five-figure donations from Koch’s foundation in recent years.

Since 2017, Koch’s foundation and institute have donated $3 million to the New Civil Liberties Alliance, which also helped fight the federal government’s COVID-19 pandemic eviction ban as Koch’s business empire was investing in residential real estate.

The New Civil Liberties Alliance also received $1 million from the 85 Fund, a charitable foundation steered by Trump judicial adviser Leonard Leo. A longtime executive at the Federalist Society, a conservative lawyers group, Leo also helps direct the Judicial Crisis Network, a dark money group that spent tens of millions leading the confirmation campaigns for Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett.

The Charles Koch Foundation and the Charles Koch Institute have delivered $376,000 to the Competitive Enterprise Institute since 2012, tax returns show. The organization has also received funding from oil and gas company Marathon Petroleum and the fossil fuel lobbying group American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers.

Meanwhile, some Democrats want to stop dark money groups from weighing in on such cases without revealing their financial backers. Whitehouse and several progressive Democrats, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind.-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), have offered legislation that would require groups filing amicus briefs to disclose their major donors.

“The American people deserve to know who’s paying to influence their courts,” said Whitehouse in a press release.

If a big-money special interest has a stake in a case, everyone ought to know that, from the judge rendering the decision to the people living with the precedent the case could set.[/i] ... crush-epa/


The US military is a bigger polluter than more than 100 countries combined


It’s no coincidence that US military emissions tend to be overlooked in climate change studies.

By Benjamin Neimark, Oliver Belcher & Patrick Bigger
Published June 28, 2019This article is more than 2 years old.

The US military’s carbon bootprint is enormous. Like corporate supply chains, it relies upon an extensive global network of container ships, trucks, and cargo planes to supply its operations with everything from bombs to humanitarian aid and hydrocarbon fuels. Our new study calculated the contribution of this vast infrastructure to climate change.

Greenhouse gas emission accounting usually focuses on how much energy and fuel civilians use. But recent work, including our own, shows that the US military is one of the largest polluters in history, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more climate-changing gases than most medium-sized countries. If the US military were a country, its fuel usage alone would make it the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, sitting between Peru and Portugal.

In 2017, the US military bought about 269,230 barrels of oil a day and emitted more than 25,000 kilotons of carbon dioxide by burning those fuels. The US Air Force purchased $4.9 billion worth of fuel, and the Navy $2.8 billion, followed by the Army at $947 million and the Marines at $36 million.

It’s no coincidence that US military emissions tend to be overlooked in climate change studies. It’s very difficult to get consistent data from the Pentagon and across US government departments. In fact, the United States insisted on an exemption for reporting military emissions in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. This loophole was closed by the Paris Accord, but with the Trump administration due to withdraw from the accord in 2020, this gap will will return.

Our study is based on data retrieved from multiple Freedom of Information Act requests to the US Defense Logistics Agency, the massive bureaucratic agency tasked with managing the US military’s supply chains, including its hydrocarbon fuel purchases and distribution.

The US military has long understood that it isn’t immune from the potential consequences of climate change—recognizing it as a “threat multiplier” that can exacerbate other risks. Many, though not all, military bases have been preparing for climate change impacts like sea level rise. Nor has the military ignored its own contribution to the problem. As we have previously shown, the military has invested in developing alternative energy sources like biofuels, but these comprise only a tiny fraction of spending on fuels.

The American military’s climate policy remains contradictory. There have been attempts to “green” aspects of its operations by increasing renewable electricity generation on bases, but it remains the single largest institutional consumer of hydrocarbons in the world. It has also locked itself into hydrocarbon-based weapons systems for years to come, by depending on existing aircraft and warships for open-ended operations.

Not green, but less, military

Climate change has become a hot-button topic on the campaign trail for the 2020 presidential election. Leading Democratic candidates, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, and members of Congress like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are calling for major climate initiatives like the Green New Deal. For any of that to be effective, the US military’s carbon bootprint must be addressed in domestic policy and international climate treaties.

Our study shows that action on climate change demands shuttering vast sections of the military machine. There are few activities on Earth as environmentally catastrophic as waging war. Significant reductions to the Pentagon’s budget and shrinking its capacity to wage war would cause a huge drop in demand from the biggest consumer of liquid fuels in the world.

It does no good tinkering around the edges of the war machine’s environmental impact. The money spent procuring and distributing fuel across the US empire could instead be spent as a peace dividend, helping to fund a Green New Deal in whatever form it might take. There are no shortage of policy priorities that could use a funding bump. Any of these options would be better than fueling one of the largest military forces in history. ... -combined/
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Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Mon Jul 04, 2022 1:51 pm

For ecosocialist degrowth
July 2, 2022
Mapping areas of agreement between two of the most important radical ecology movements

Wikimedia Commons

Michael Löwy is emeritus research director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris and author of Ecosocialism (Haymarket, 2015). Bengi Akbulut is a professor at Concordia University, Montréal. Sabrina Fernandes is an ecosocialist organizer, postdoctoral fellow at the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, and producer of Tese Onze. Giorgos Kallis is a professor at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies and author of The Case for Degrowth (Polity, 2020).

First published in Monthly Review, April 2022.

by Michael Löwy, Bengi Akbulut, Sabrina Fernandes and Giorgos Kallis

Degrowth and ecosocialism are two of the most important movements—and proposals—on the radical side of the ecological spectrum. Sure, not everyone in the degrowth community identifies as a socialist, and not everyone who is an ecosocialist is convinced by the desirability of degrowth. But one can see an increasing tendency of mutual respect and convergence. Let us try to map the large areas of agreement between us, and list some of the main arguments for an ecosocialist degrowth:

Capitalism cannot exist without growth. It needs a permanent expansion of production and consumption, accumulation of capital, maximization of profit. This process of unlimited growth, based on the exploitation of fossil fuels since the eighteenth century, is leading to ecological catastrophe, climate change, and threatens the extinction of life on the planet. The twenty-six UN Climate Change Conferences of the last thirty years manifest the total unwillingness of the ruling elites to stop the course toward the abyss.
Any true alternative to this perverse and destructive dynamic needs to be radical—that is, must deal with the roots of the problem: the capitalist system, its exploitative and extractivist dynamic, and its blind and obsessive pursuit of growth. Ecosocialist degrowth is one such alternative, in direct confrontation with capitalism and growth. Ecosocialist degrowth requires the social appropriation of the main means of (re)production and a democratic, participatory, ecological planning. The main decisions on the priorities of production and consumption will be decided by people themselves, in order to satisfy real social needs while respecting the ecological limits of the planet. This means that people, at various scales, exercise direct power in democratically determining what is to be produced, how, and how much; how to remunerate different kinds of productive and reproductive activities that sustain us and the planet. Ensuring equitable well-being for all does not require economic growth but rather radically changing how we organize the economy and distribute social wealth.
A significant degrowth in production and consumption is ecologically indispensable. The first and urgent measure is phasing out fossil fuels, as well as the ostentatious and wasteful consumption of the 1 percent rich elite. From an ecosocialist perspective, degrowth has to be understood in dialectical terms: many forms of production (such as coal-fired facilities) and services (such as advertisement) should not only be reduced but suppressed; some, such as private cars or cattle raising, should be substantially reduced; but others would need development, such as agro-ecological farming, renewable energy, health and educational services, and so on. For sectors like health and education, this development should be, first and foremost, qualitative. Even the most useful activities have to respect the limits of the planet; there can be no such thing as an “unlimited” production of any good.
Productivist “socialism,” as practiced by the USSR, is a dead end. The same applies to “green” capitalism as advocated by corporations or mainstream “Green parties.” Ecosocialist degrowth is an attempt to overcome the limitations of past socialist and “green” experiments.
It is well known that the Global North is historically responsible for most of the carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere. The rich countries must therefore take the larger part in the process of degrowth. At the same time, we do not believe that the Global South should try to copy the productivist and destructive model of “development” of the North, but look instead for a different approach, emphasizing the real needs of the populations in terms of food, housing, and basic services, instead of extracting more and more raw materials (and fossil fuels) for the capitalist world market, or producing more and more cars for the privileged minorities.
Ecosocialist degrowth also involves transformation, through a process of democratic deliberation, of existing consumption models—for instance, an end to planned obsolescence and nonrepairable goods; of transport patterns, for instance, by greatly reducing the hauling of goods by ships and trucks (thanks to the relocalization of production), as well as airplane traffic. In short, it is much more than a change of property forms, it is a civilizational transformation, a new “way of life” based on values of solidarity, democracy, equaliberty, and respect for Earth. Ecosocialist degrowth signals a new civilization that breaks with productivism and consumerism, in favor of shorter working time, thus more free time devoted to social, political, recreational, artistic, ludic, and erotic activities.
Ecosocialist degrowth can only win through a confrontation with the fossil oligarchy and the ruling classes who control political and economic power. Who is the subject of this struggle? We cannot overcome the system without the active participation of the urban and rural working class, who make up the majority of the population and are already bearing the brunt of capitalism’s social and ecological ills. But we also have to expand the definition of the working class to include those who undertake social and ecological reproduction, the forces who are now at the forefront of social-ecological mobilizations: youth, women, Indigenous peoples, and peasants. A new social and ecological consciousness will emerge through the process of self-organization and active resistance of the exploited and oppressed.
Ecosocialist degrowth forms part of the broader family of other radical, antisystemic ecological movements: ecofeminism, social ecology, Sumak Kawsay (the Indigenous “Good Life”), environmentalism of the poor, Blockadia, Green New Deal (in its more critical versions), among many others. We do not seek any primacy—we just think that ecosocialism and degrowth have a shared and potent diagnostic and prognostic frame to offer alongside these movements. Dialogue and common action are urgent tasks in the present dramatic conjuncture. ... -degrowth/

Let's not put the buckboard before the hosses, for there to be degrowth or ecosocialism there must be revolution. First things first.


Climate change deepens crisis in Pakistan

Since March 2022, Pakistan has been experiencing an unprecedented heatwave and a series of extreme climate events ranging from flash floods to forest fires. Experts have expressed concerns about the catastrophic impact on the health and livelihoods of the most vulnerable and marginalized communities in the country

July 02, 2022 by Shriya Singh

(Photo: via Daily Times)

An overnight change of regime and an erratic economy slowly approaching a balance of payments crisis characterized the first-half of 2022 in Pakistan. As the newly elected Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition government hopes to revive a suspended bailout program with the IMF this month, recent events point to another impending crisis brought about by climate change.

In recent years, the impact of climate change has accelerated in South Asia in the form of extreme heat and unpredictable weather patterns. Jacobabad, located in Sindh province, is also one of the hottest cities on earth. It recorded temperatures above 50 degree Celsius this year. The unexpected heatwave in the subcontinent which skipped the Spring season of March and April has been followed by a cascade of extreme climate events in Pakistan.

On May 8, a massive Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) occurred in the Hunza district of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). Although timely warning by disaster authorities prevented casualties, 22 families were displaced due to the flash floods in addition to the destruction of fruit orchards and crops which are a crucial source of livelihood in the mountains of the sensitive Hindukush ecosystem.

The month of May also saw major forest fires in Sherani, Balochistan and the destruction of almost 40% of the world’s largest pine nut and wild olive forests spread over thousands of hectares in the province. Besides Sherani forests, two other major fires erupted in May in the pine forests of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Climate devastation and the people
The Balochistan plateau in Pakistan where the fires took place, is a remote region that has suffered from economic underdevelopment and political instability for several decades. The forest fires in Sherani this year annihilated nearly half of the 1.4% forest cover in the entire province. These fires, and the threat of more to come, directly impacts the livelihoods of Baloch and Pashtun ethnic minorities who live in the region, and whose major economic activity is the pine nuts trade.

Others in the region rear livestock and wild animals that feed off small grass and other vegetation on the mountains which has also been impacted. Moreover, several animals and birds, some of which are endangered, are also under threat of extinction as fires destroy their habitat and leave them with no food.

Kamran Hussain, the World Wildlife Fund’s focal person for forests in Pakistan, told Dawn that the fire season in Pakistan, which typically starts in June and lasts till August, came earlier this year due to extreme temperatures and prevailing drought-like conditions. “This can be blamed on the rapidly evolving climate conditions,” he said.

Climate disasters like fires and floods are particularly dangerous to the mountain ecology and its people, who suffer physically, economically as well as mentally living in an increasingly precarious environment. Journalist Zofeen Ebrahim has documented how an increasing number of mental health issues and even suicides are being reported among members of mountain communities of provinces like Gilgit-Baltistan, triggered by the emotional and social costs of mass displacement.

Heatwaves have other multiple and cascading impacts on ecosystems, agriculture and water supply, which can have larger effects on economic production. In Pakistan, the spell of extremely hot and dry weather has affected the cultivation of key crops like wheat and rice due to less water availability.

According to a Reuters report, Pakistan, which is the fifth largest producer of mangoes and produces nearly 1.8 million tonnes of them each year, experienced a decline of around 50% this year in its mango production. The crop has been hit by the sudden change in temperatures and water shortages, according to the chief of a growers’ and exporters’ association.

On June 17, on the occasion of World Desertification and Droughts Day, the Ministry of Climate Change announced in a statement that Pakistan is one of the top 23 countries experiencing severe drought emergency. Researchers have predicted that Pakistan is on its way to becoming the most water-stressed country in the region as early as by 2025.


The issue of water scarcity and acute shortages has perennially marked the southern province of Sindh – from urban centers like Karachi to the Cholistan desert. Pir Koh village in Cholistan witnessed a massive cholera outbreak in mid-April which has continued to affect the lives of nearly 1,700 of its residents, according to the district health officer. Interestingly, Pir Koh is located above a field of natural gas and the epidemic outbreak was linked to the complete lack of any source of potable water.

Political apathy and top-down policies are a threat to vulnerable communities facing climate change
There are several factors that can explain Pakistan’s climate woes. First is the geographical and topographical diversity of the country, with predominantly dry terrain on the Western and Eastern borders. Water from the Indus River Basin, which has now been reduced to 40% of its flows, forms the most significant source of freshwater. Ravi, which flows through Punjab province, has been declared one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Besides surface water, groundwater resources have also been severely depleted for the purpose of irrigation.

Rapid urbanization that is marked by lack of planning and profit-oriented mega-projects of the government like the Margalla Hills stadium, construction of an expressway on the Malir green belt, and the coal-powered power plants in Thar desert point to a larger problem of political apathy towards the issue of climate change in the country. Consecutive governments have shown reluctance in recognizing the multifaceted impact of extreme climate events on vulnerable communities in these areas, who also face the threat of displacement and eviction due to the mega projects .

When much of the world has been shifting away from burning coal for energy, Pakistan is looking to a cheaper but more dangerous option to cut fuel prices, which is burning more coal by digging up the Thar desert. Experts have warned that this can increase Pakistan’s contribution to global carbon emissions, so far less than 1%, by many times.

Speaking to Peoples Dispatch, Ahmad Rafay Alam, environmental lawyer and activist, highlighted the discrepancies in the one of the largest coal power generation projects in Thar: “In Pakistan, the solar and wind energy offer much cheaper sources for power generation as opposed to burning the poor quality of lignite coal that Thar offers.” Alam also highlighted that the site of the project in Tharparkar district is one of the few places in the country with a Muslim minority and a Hindu majority population. Such mega-projects have aggravated the problems of migration, land speculation, encroachment of common grazing land and community conflicts over resource-sharing, the brunt of which is borne by marginalized communities in these areas.

Apart from geographical challenges and corporate-led mega projects that cater to capital more than the local population, lack of a strong institutional framework has also plagued the discussion on climate change in the country.

In 2017, the parliament passed the Climate Change Bill proposed by the Climate Change Ministry. The act provided for a National Climate Change Council (NCCC) headed by the Prime Minister and mandated to approve national climate-related policies and coordinate their follow-up. A National Climate Change Authority (NCCA) and a National Climate Change Fund were also established.

However, the federal as well as provincial governments have mostly relied on ad-hoc approaches and disaster management in the last four years.

There are nonetheless newer avenues like community activism led by students, activists and people of working-class neighborhoods, which are beginning to draw attention to climate justice and demand accountability from the policies of the government-corporate nexus. One such instance is the annual Peoples Climate March organized in main urban centers like Lahore and Karachi. Through this initiative, Indigenous peoples collectives, feminist and left organizations, students groups, trade unions and grassroots organizations have been successful in drawing attention to the impact of the ill-planned development policies of the government. Karachi Bachao Tehreek, Sindh Indigenous Rights Alliance (SIRA), and Pakistan Maholiati (environment) Tahaffuz (protection) Movement are some of the groups that have been working towards organizing the masses towards environment protection and climate justice in the country. ... -pakistan/
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Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Wed Jul 06, 2022 3:19 pm

US' green energy ambitions losing spark
By LIA ZHU in San Francisco | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-07-05 07:26

Belching smoke behind the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, a sprawling ExxonMobil refinery serves as a reminder of the urgency for the US to reduce its emissions, in this image released on Saturday. Yet the Supreme Court, in a ruling last week, acted to limit government powers to curb greenhouse gases. The ruling has angered environmental campaigners. DAVID GRUNFELD/AP

Projects for renewables and batteries tottering as supply snags combine with rising prices, tariffs to threaten climate goals

Editor's note: Clean energy projects have encountered setbacks in the United States. China Daily examines the faltering progress in the country's transition from fossil fuels.

Across the United States, big renewable energy and battery projects have been delayed or canceled due to supply chain constraints, rising prices of materials and increased tariffs on solar panels. The setbacks dealt to the country's green energy ambitions could even jeopardize its lofty climate goals, industry experts say.

The delays started in 2021 when solar installations came in at levels lower than expected. Developers have postponed 13 percent of the planned projects for 2022 by a year or more or canceled them outright, according to a report by the Solar Energy Industries Association, or SEIA, in April.

In recent months, several major battery projects meant to store power on the grid also have been reported postponed, scrapped or renegotiated.

Among them are six clean-energy projects of Central Coast Community Energy, a community-owned public agency in California. The projects, including 122 megawatts of storage, were expected to come online in 2022 and 2023, but the developers have warned of delays of between six and 12 months.

Another project, the Big Beau solar and storage project under development in California, recently wound up in court after its developer, EDF Renewables, asked to increase the price by $76.8 million, a 233 percent jump.

Early this year, Rhode Island's first utility-scale battery storage facility was scrapped by the developer. The 140-megawatt project was meant to be a key component of renewable energy sources.

In Hawaii, utility company Hawaiian Electric also is experiencing delays in solar and storage projects designed to replace the state's only coal-fired power plant. Developer Innergex Renewable Energy says it is seeking to renegotiate the terms of the deal-including price and timing-after receiving force majeure notices from its battery supplier, Tesla, according to Reuters.

Utility-scale battery storage is a necessary component for transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy, because renewable power such as wind and solar is intermittent and not able to continuously generate power, especially when power demand peaks in the evening after the sun sets.

Energy storage can absorb energy during abundant periods and provide power during peak hours, and the storage sources are mostly lithium-ion batteries, Gabe Murtaugh, storage sector manager at California Independent System Operator, or CAISO, told a webinar held by California Energy Storage Alliance, or CESA.

Energy storage makes up about 3 percent of operating clean energy capacity in the US and has been growing rapidly. Installations soared 170 percent in the first quarter to 758 megawatts, according to the American Clean Power Association.

CAISO has more than 3,500 megawatts of installed storage, according to Murtaugh, up from about 1,500 megawatts last year. The state government is calling for a massive buildout of storage to achieve its target of 100 percent clean electricity by 2045, he says.

California aims to have 50 percent of its power come from renewable sources by 2025, up from 33 percent in 2020, but it has not been able to match rising peak power demand in summer heat waves with new battery storage capacity.

"To get to that 2045 goal, we're going to need a very diverse mix of storage resources, and a lot of those storage resources are going to need to be long duration," Murtaugh says.

Crucial shortages

The slowdown in utility-scale battery installations is partly due to battery shortages. Prices for lithium-ion batteries have soared since last year on the back of costlier lithium and nickel, coupled with pandemic-induced disruptions to manufacturing and shipping.

"Lithium is a big deal in our world," Alex Morris, executive director of CESA, said at a workshop held by the California Energy Commission in May.

He says the lithium price changes are "significant" for developing a storage project because "there's usually a very competitive process and there are slim margins on it".

"The changes in the underlying and unhedgeable lithium carbonate costs will completely flip a project from lightly profitable to deeply unprofitable," he says. "So when you see these price spikes in lithium carbonate-like the 300 percent increase since last fall-you very quickly know that the projects will be underwater."

He says a 100-megawatt-hour battery configuration would have been priced at around $16 million last fall, but it would cost $23 million now. The 40 percent increase, excluding costs for other components and shipping, will "really much flip the project into negative returns and it's really catastrophic for the project", he says.

The industry also faces competition from electric vehicle producers that have robust demand for batteries. "The lithium-ion technology has been supported by electric vehicles over the last 10 years. We're still evolving and facing headwinds and the manufacturing base is not fully built to resist all of that," Morris says.

Aside from the battery shortage, uncertainty over potential tariffs on Asian imports has recently caused turmoil in the solar industry.

The US Department of Commerce announced in March that it would proceed with an anti-dumping circumvention investigation of solar cells from four Southeast Asian countries.

The investigation is a response to a petition by California solar company Auxin Solar, which accused solar-panel makers in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia of circumventing anti-dumping tariffs imposed on China by buying the same priced parts from China and then shipping them to skirt the duties that can range up to 250 percent.

The Commerce Department's investigation could take a year to resolve, but the industry has already felt the severe impact.

Seventy-eight percent of companies say they already had solar module orders canceled or delayed after the investigation was announced, according to a survey conducted by the SEIA on 412 firms in April.

Heliostatic mirrors reflect sunlight at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California's Mojave Desert on Feb 19. BING GUAN/GETTY IMAGES
Insufficient capacity

More than 80 percent of the domestic manufacturers say they expected severe or devastating impacts. Two-thirds of the respondents report that at least 70 percent of their solar and storage workforce is at risk and 56 percent of them say at least 70 percent of their current-year solar pipeline is at risk, according to the survey.

The SEIA's data shows that 84 percent of all US module imports come from the four countries affected by the investigation, and there is not sufficient capacity to supply US demand anywhere else in the world except China, which is already subject to tariffs of 40 percent to 275 percent.

If enacted, these new tariffs could reduce solar deployment by up to 16 gigawatts annually, and put 70,000 US solar jobs at risk, according to the national association.

The Auxin petition has also affected energy storage development. Since most energy storage projects are paired with solar, without the solar components, the energy storage components are likely to become uneconomical, according to the SEIA. Putting aside the economics, moving forward would require renegotiation of all project financing agreements.

The renewable energy and storage industries are also grappling with the effects of the "Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act" signed into law by US President Joe Biden in December.

The key to the legislation is "rebuttable presumption", which extends the import restrictions to any company that operates in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, a mountainous area in Northwest China, unless it can prove its shipments aren't tied to forced labor.

The act took effect on June 21. It has caused confusion for the industry, as "a lot of the industry folks are wrapping their head around what this means", Morris says.

Xinjiang is home to about 50 percent of the world's polysilicon production. Polysilicon is used to make solar wafers, cells and modules, which generate power from light as part of photovoltaic panels.

Despite China's denial of the accusations, US Customs and Border Protection blacklisted solar suppliers in Xinjiang in June last year and two-thirds of the solar modules used in the US became subject to the agency's sweeping detentions from August.

The American Clean Power Association, representing more than 700 companies in the solar industry, has warned that detention and the slow pace of the clearance process have come with a huge economic cost.

The trade group says nearly one-third of the planned utility-grade solar projects set for development in 2021 were delayed or canceled and further unnecessary detentions would translate into billions of dollars in lost economic opportunities and put tens of thousands of people out of work.

There are multiple steps regulators can take to help alleviate some of these disruptions, says Morris, but "the fundamental story is there are a lot of different issues, and each issue has its own discrete set of solutions".

The disruptions to clean-energy projects and utility-scale battery installations are likely to threaten the pace of the US transition from fossil fuels as the Biden administration has set a goal of reaching 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035.

In California, a state that already relies heavily on renewable energy, the delayed or potentially canceled solar projects as well as the storage capacity could cause operators to extend the life span of fossil fuel plants, setting the state back in its ambitious goal of relying entirely on zero-emission energy sources for its electricity by 2045.

The Biden administration has announced it would waive tariffs for two years on solar panels from countries affected by the Commerce Department investigation, an attempt to revitalize solar installations.

The White House also announced funding of $3.16 billion to assist with battery shortage development in the country. Officials said the money would help domestic manufacturers make more batteries in the US to address the supply chain issues for components.

Industry experts said bringing a supply chain to the US would take years.

Even siting and permitting a US plant could take a year or more, while construction and production could take an additional one to three years, according to the SEIA report surveying the Auxin petition's impact.

Based on Chinese and Southeast Asian public filings, the association estimates the construction periods for cells and modules at 6-24 months and for polysilicon and wafer at 12-24 months.

Vanessa Witte, a senior energy storage research analyst with Wood Mackenzie, says building the manufacturing and raw-material capacity to meet that demand could take time.

A new mine, for instance, takes around five years to set up, while a battery manufacturing plant would require at least two years, she told Utility Dive, an energy industry news website. "These things just take time to catch up, and that's really been the source of the issue," Witte says. ... 4e5_2.html

Capitalists have their priorities... all this 'green' is just pr to them.

EU treads fine line on green goals

By CHEN WEIHUA in Brussels | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-07-06 07:49

A man is seen in a reflection with a EU flag in the background as he walks in a corridor of the Bundestag in Berlin, Germany February 16, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

Plan to ban polluting cars hailed even as spike in fossil-fuel use conceded

The European Union is moving toward a ban on combustion engines by 2035 in the hope that short-term compromises taken by member states to deal with the energy crisis will not imperil its long-term goal of climate neutrality by 2050.

The environment ministers of the bloc's 27 member states endorsed a "historic" agreement in Luxembourg on June 29 to cut the CO2 emissions of new cars in the EU to zero.

The agreement, reached after 17 hours of intense negotiations, included a compromise requested by some member states, such as Germany and Italy, to give the green light to alternative technologies such as synthetic fuels, also known as e-fuels.

The ministers also agreed on a 59-billion-euro ($62 billion) social climate fund and on reforming the EU's emissions trading system.

The transport sector has long been a major source of emissions in Europe, with road transport alone by passenger cars, vans, trucks and buses accounting for more than 20 percent of the EU's total emissions.

The European Parliament is yet to officially approve the agreement when it comes back in the fall after a long summer holiday. The current version has drawn both praise and criticism.

Yan Qin, a lead carbon analyst at Refinitiv based in Oslo, Norway, said the combustion engine ban is an important milestone for the European Commission's "Fit for 55" legislative package, referring to the bloc's bid to cut emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 and reach climate neutrality by 2050.

She notes that there have been attempts by Germany and Eastern European countries to block the proposal on concerns for their domestic car-manufacturing operations and the jobs they sustain.

"But the final green light from the Council (of the European Union) will imply that the next steps over this goal in the trialogue negotiations will be quite smooth. Hence I would think EU lawmakers will be able to put this 2035 zero-emissions car target into legislation," she said.

Qin voiced her concerns over the challenges in implementation and urged the EU to act quickly and introduce more measures to push forward the deployment of electric vehicles, charging infrastructure and associated technological innovations.

"This is perhaps why the council's approval left several back doors. It backs a review of legislation in 2026 to assess the market and prospects for plug-in hybrid vehicles and e-fuels. The latter on e-fuels is rather controversial in my view," she said.

E-fuels are regarded as those derived from combinations of hydrogen, electricity and CO2 captured from industrial processes, but some worry that the absence of an exact definition could potentially open the door to the use of biofuels.

Concerns voiced

Greenpeace is not satisfied with the EU move, saying in a statement that the 2035 deadline is too late to limit global warming below 1.5 C.

"Europe desperately needs to decarbonize transport, but ministers missed a golden opportunity. It is now in the hands of national authorities to cut car usage, boost public transport, and make more livable cities and towns where more people can cycle or walk," Greenpeace EU transport campaigner Lorelei Limousin said.

Greenpeace criticized EU national governments for opening the door to further promote "expensive and inefficient synthetic fuels that are harmful to the environment and the climate".

The Czech Republic, which took the rotating six-month presidency of the Council of the EU from France on Friday, has listed energy sector transformation as a priority but said that it must be carried out in an economically and socially sensitive manner so as to not jeopardize the living standards of EU citizens and the competitiveness of industry.

European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who is in charge of the EU's Green Deal initiative, applauded the agreement by EU environment ministers as setting the bloc on a path toward its goals. ... 6a90a.html


Our environment: enough for everyone’s need…but not everyone’s greed
July 5, 2022


“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Yet, when it comes to the effects of climate change, there has been nothing but chronic injustice and the corrosion of human rights.” (Mary Robinson)

By Camille Landry (National Co-Coordinator)

The most fundamental human right is the right to live. This includes the right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, eat food that does not contain poison and to live in a world that is in balance ecologically, socially, economically, and in other ways. Our political and economic systems wreck the balance of our communities and of the entire planet. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy everyone’s need, but not everyone’s greed.”

The climate of the entire planet is careening from one unnatural disaster to the next. It is not just a change of weather; it is an ongoing calamity that threatens every living thing on the planet. Hurricanes of record frequency and intensity destroy lives and property. The National Weather Service is considering adding the category F6 to its tornado scale system because the latest F5 storms are so much bigger, fiercer, and more deadly than those we saw just ten years ago; they are affecting regions that are not accustomed to storms of this type and are not prepared to deal with them.

Polar bears and seals starve because sea ice has melted. We lose Arctic Sea ice at a rate of almost 13% per decade, and over the past 30 years, the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic has declined by a stunning 95%. An ice shelf the size of New York City collapsed in East Antarctica as both of Earth’s poles underwent simultaneous freakishly extreme heat. In the past month, parts of Antarctica have been more than 70 degrees (40 degrees Celsius) warmer than average and areas of the Arctic more than 50 degrees (30 degrees Celsius) warmer than average.

Nearly all land areas are seeing more hot days and heat waves; 2016 was the hottest year on record and 2020 ranked #2. Higher temperatures increase heat-related illnesses and can make it more difficult to work and move around. Wildfires start more easily and spread more rapidly when temperatures are higher.

Hotter temperatures cause changes in rainfall. Water is becoming scarcer in more regions. Reservoirs on every continent run dry. Droughts stir destructive sand and dust storms that move billions of tons of sand across continents. Fertile topsoil blows away, disrupting agriculture. Deserts are expanding, reducing land for growing food. Climate migration has forced millions of people from their lands. Sea levels are rising. By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may be facing water shortages.

Meanwhile, we use the oceans and inland waterways as dumps. We fill them with toxic chemicals, and with so much plastic that virtually every animal in the ocean has microplastics in its body. So do we. Microplastics have been found in our drinking water and even in rain. They are everywhere, causing untold damage to the environment and the animals who inhabit it. Note well that humans are animals, and we are dependent upon the Earth for our survival.

Much of the damage to the Earth’s climate is the result of greenhouse gas emissions – the release of gases from burning fossil fuels—coal, natural gas, and petroleum—for energy use.

The list of problems is too long to put into this document but one fact that stands out is that just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. And it is not just the energy sector. The top 15 U.S. food and beverage companies generate 630 million metric tons of greenhouse gases every year.

Corporations are not the only entities that are befouling the planet. The U.S. military is one of the largest climate polluters in history, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more CO2e (carbon-dioxide equivalent) than most countries. To support the global presence of U.S. troops, the military relies upon trucks, planes, buses, armored vehicles, ships, rockets – all burning fossil fuels and emitting greenhouse gases at high rates. A Humvee gets between four and eight miles per gallon; an F-35 requires 2.37 gallons per mile. The U.S. Navy operates 83 nuclear-powered ships: 72 submarines, 10 aircraft carriers and one research vessel. These NPWs make up about forty percent of major U.S. naval combatants, and they visit over 150 ports in over 50 countries. This presents its own ecological nightmare.

Consider also how much particulate matter is thrown into the air every time a bomb or other munitions explode. Another significant source of pollution is from burning obsolete munitions and other unwanted materiel.

U.S. military operations range from training, infrastructure building, military exercises, blockades, covert and overt acts of war, humanitarian missions, and occupation of other countries. It includes development, testing and manufacture of weapons, ammunition, and other materiel.

The United States spreads this pollution all around the world. According to Wikipedia, the military of the United States is deployed in most countries around the world, with between 150,000 to 200,000 of its active-duty personnel stationed outside the United States and its territories. Outside of active combat, U.S. personnel are typically deployed as part of several peacekeeping missions, military attachés, or are part of embassy and consulate security. Nearly 40,000 are assigned to classified missions in locations that the US government refuses to disclose. The U.S. controls about 800 bases in at least 80 countries worldwide, and has “advisors,” embassy guards, and other personnel stationed in many other nations.

This bloated military machine – larger in scope and cost than the armed forces of the next ten countries combined – is a huge consumer of everything: food, clothing, building materials, fossil fuels, consumer goods, water, chemicals, weapons, nuclear materials, minerals, and more. All of this comes at a huge cost to our environment. The U.S. military has a carbon footprint larger than all of Australia; if it were a country, it would rank #47 in emissions worldwide. Clearly, one of the prices the world pays for US militarism and neocolonialism is a planet teetering on the brink of disaster.

The Tipping Point

“We have reached a tipping point on the need for climate action. The disruption to our climate and our planet is already worse than we thought, and it is moving faster than predicted,” according to data gathered by the United Nations, which states that “we now have five times the number of recorded weather disasters than we had in 1970 and they are seven times more costly.” Several key metrices of planet Earth have already crossed the tipping points, meaning that it is too late to change those conditions; they have passed the point of no return, according to new research signed by over 13,900 scientists from 153 countries.

Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, warm-water coral reefs and the Amazon rain forest may already have been degraded past the point where nothing we can do will change the damage that has already occurred. These systems are vital to the ecology of the planet. The ice sheets, ice caps and glaciers hold 68.7% of the fresh water in the world. If it melts, not only will sea levels rise but the changes in salinity could stall the Gulf stream – which is the phenomenon that makes northern Europe and much of the US temperate– and would cause untold harm to the ocean’s ecosystem, worldwide weather patterns, and the face of the earth itself. Coral reefs are essential to the ocean’s health and are home to thousands of species of plants and animals. They also protect shorelines from storms and erosion. They are a source of food and new medicines. Over half a billion people depend on reefs for food, income, and protection.

The giant Amazon forest had previously been a carbon sink, absorbing the emissions driving the climate crisis, but is now causing its acceleration. Most of the emissions are caused by fires, many deliberately set to clear land for beef and soy production. But even without fires, hotter temperatures and droughts mean the south-eastern Amazon has become a source of CO2, rather than a sink. The government of Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has been harshly criticized for encouraging more deforestation, which has surged to a 12-year high, while fires hit their highest level in June since 2007.

Who pollutes most? Who suffers most?

In the next chapter of this report, we discuss environmental justice and how poor, black, and brown people suffer most when the planet is despoiled. The poorest people, primarily in the Global South and small island states, are the least responsible for the climate crisis yet have the fewest resources to deal with its consequences.

The top ten emitters of greenhouse gases are: China, the U.S., India, Russia, Japan, Germany, Iran, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia. It is important to note that nations emerging from colonial, neocolonial, feudal, or other oppressive systems often have little choice other than to use the cheapest and most readily available fuels, even though they are dirty. When its population is hungry, a nation must deal with those needs first. Developed, wealthy countries like the USA have a moral responsibility to put the survival of the ecosphere ahead of corporate profits and the desire for a bloated military. They should also lead by example and use their resources to improve the health of our planet. Pollution does not respect borders!

Bangladesh, followed by Pakistan, India, Mongolia and Afghanistan are the nations that suffer from the most pollution. It is no surprise that poorer, larger countries are higher up this list than their richer counterparts. There simply is not the infrastructure to be quite so pioneering when it comes to air quality in these countries, while their large populations mean that there are more vehicles on the road (many of which are second hand and emit more emissions than newer vehicles).

Nicaragua is highly vulnerable to climate disasters. Because of its geography, the country experiences powerful storms whose frequency and magnitude have increased due to global warming, which drives the effects of El Nino weather patterns. When weather patterns switch to the La Nina phase, downpours give way to drought; this destroyed 90% of maize and 60% of bean crops in 2016. Political conditions heavily influence these issues: Nicaragua’s Sandinista government under newly reelected President Daniel Ortega is taking bold and decisive steps to mitigate damage from the climate crisis.

Africa, despite its low contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, is the most vulnerable continent to climate change impacts under all climate scenarios above 1.5 degrees Celsius. Africa faces exponential collateral damage that poses systemic risks to its economies, infrastructure investments, water and food systems, public health, agriculture, and livelihoods. The climate crisis threatens Africa’s development gains and will drive higher levels of extreme poverty.

Communities of color in the U.S. fare no better. The people who suffered most from hurricanes Katrina, Isaac, Maria, and others were poor, Black and Brown. The people of Detroit, Flint, the Navajo Nation, the Bronx, Chicago, Milwaukee, Alabama, Mississippi and elsewhere suffer and die due to environmental toxins, poisoned water, and air. The NAACP, addressing environmental justice, says: “Climate change is the new normal of more severe storms, like hurricanes Sandy and Isaac, which devastated communities from Boston to Biloxi. Our sisters and brothers in the Bahamas, and Inuit communities in Kivalina, Alaska, and communities in Thibodaux, Louisiana and beyond, will risk property losses to rising sea levels in the next few years.”

What can we do?

Many well-meaning people do what they can to ease the threat of climate destruction. Yet all the individual actions like recycling our refuse, riding bikes or carpooling instead of driving, reusable shopping bags, and other personal actions have a tiny effect on stopping catastrophic changes in the earth’s climate or the despoiling of the land, air and water on which we all depend. These individual actions are a band-aid we’re slapping over a knife wound to the heart. Actual improvement to climate destruction requires massive changes on a worldwide governmental scale. It is imperative that we stop adding fuel to the fire that is threatening us and take measures now to repair what can be fixed and get ready for what is to come, namely rising sea levels, drought and flood cycles that devastate lands, crops and people, and the vast humanitarian crises that will result.

The struggles we engage in are not driven by an abstract desire for justice. Our very survival and the survival of our siblings and all other life in this world are at stake. Despite our technology and our hubris, we are animals living in a closed ecosystem on the only planet that we have access to. Our future depends on ceasing “business as usual” and changing the way we live and act. Global capitalism, consumerism and exploitation of the environment and people are a danger to our very existence. We must act now to save ourselves, our future generations, and virtually every animal and plant on the earth.


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Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Fri Jul 08, 2022 2:40 pm

Electricity generation accounts for 25 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, making it the second-largest source of U.S. emissions behind only the transportation sector. (Photo: DavidPT | Wikimedia Commons)

Don’t look to EPA to save us!
Originally published: System Change Not Climate Change on July 1, 2022 by Ted Franklin (more by System Change Not Climate Change) | (Posted Jul 07, 2022)

West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency completes a trifecta of long-sought court victories for the right. What New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v Bruen did to gun control and Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization to reproductive rights, West Virginia v EPA has done to climate.

The 6-3 Supreme Court decision stripped the Environmental Protection Agency of much of its power to regulate U.S. industries that are pumping out greenhouse gases that cause climate change. The court held that EPA had no authority to cap coal’s contribution to national electricity generation at 27% by 2030. The goal had been announced in Obama’s 2014 Clean Power Plan that never took effect, but still made its way to the court’s docket in 2022.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion for the 6-member right-wing bloc. By keeping drafting in his own hands, he was able to steer the language, if not the effect, of the decision in his preferred incremental fashion.

Guided by Roberts, the court did not dismantle the administrative state wholesale by holding it unconstitutional for Congress to delegate EPA the authority to regulate carbon emissions. Nor did the court overrule the 38-year-old Chevron doctrine, under which courts generally defer to agency rulemaking within the agency’s charter and expertise. The court also left intact its decision in Massachusetts v. EPA that EPA has not only authority, but also an obligation, to regulate greenhouse gases as dangerous pollutants.

This might seem all well and good. But SCOTUS identified for the first time a “major questions doctrine” that allows courts flexibility to reject agency regulations in “extraordinary cases” of “economic and political significance.” This deliberately obfuscatory, legalistic terminology cloaks a significant expansion of raw judicial power to reject important regulations protecting the environment, workers, consumers, and public health and allow industry a free hand to pollute.

Roberts and his bloc proceeded to use their newly minted “major questions doctrine” to disallow the cap on coal power that EPA had in 2014 deemed the “best system of emission reduction” from power plants. The Clean Air Act of 1970 as amended requires EPA to make the determination of the “best system of emission reduction,” but that clear delegation of authority was clearly not clear enough for this court’s majority.

“Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity,” wrote Roberts,

may be a sensible solution to the crisis of the day. But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme.

Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the three dissenters, answered that Congress did precisely that “when it broadly authorized EPA in [the Clean Air Act] to select the ‘best system of emissions reduction’ for power plants. The ‘best system’ full stop–no ifs, ands, or buts of any kind [are] relevant here.”

To get to the preposterous conclusion that EPA acted outside its authority, Roberts implied that the cap on coal power was not a “system for emission reduction” at all. In Roberts’ view, only emission reduction technology that could be deployed at each individual coal power plant was the kind of “system” that Congress had in mind when it authorized EPA to determine the “best system for emission reduction.” Creating a system of economic incentives, he averred, was not such a “system.”

Reminding the court of the plain meaning of the word “system,” Kagan scoffed at Roberts’ denial that a mandate to shift power generation from coal to gas, wind, and solar was rather obviously a “system of emission reduction.” Indeed, she praised “generation shifting” (the court’s term for mandating a reduction in the use of coal) as “the most effective and efficient way to reduce power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions.”

Kagan went on to castigate the majority for “serv[ing] to disadvantage what is often the smartest kind of regulation: market-based programs that achieve the biggest bang for the buck. That is why so many power companies are on EPA’s side in this litigation.”

Don’t look to EPA for a fix

Such judicial fantasies aside, power companies’ readiness to support EPA stems from a different calculation, namely, that, as some environmentalists realized at the time (see here and here, for example), EPA’s Clean Power Plan was never “the most effective and efficient way” to clean up the country’s power production.

Had the Plan ever gone into effect, individual coal power plant operators would have had three ways to comply:

reduce production;invest in new gas or renewable plants to reduce their percentage of coal usage; or
participate in cap-and-trade programs established at the state level.

Only the first option–reduction of coal power–gets a passing grade from environmental justice advocates. Under the Clean Power Plan, new carbon-belching gas plants running on fracked methane and new nuclear plants would have received the same credit for meeting emissions reduction goals as investments in wind or solar. Cap-and-trade programs are notoriously full of loopholes that have made them the favored climate policy of the fossil fuel industry.

Even if the Clean Power Plan itself was not worth saving, the court’s decision leaves EPA without the power to effectively address climate change. It bars EPA from adopting a better, more ambitious plan without specific legislative authorization, which the court’s majority knows full well has no chance of emerging from Congress.

Don’t look to Congress

On climate, Congress has been dysfunctional since the sweltering day in June 1988 when NASA climate scientist James Hansen warned the Senate Energy Committee that the greenhouse effect had already arrived and that continued burning of fossil fuels would lead to an ever hotter planet.

Thirty-four years on, Congress has failed to enact a single major climate bill. The U.S. signed, but the Senate overwhelmingly rejected, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol–the only international treaty that would have placed restrictions on the nation’s carbon emissions. Throughout Republican and Democratic administrations alike, U.S. climate negotiators have blocked any further efforts to forge a treaty that would require emission reductions.

The undemocratic Senate is the most formidable obstacle to climate action. No climate legislation can pass without a majority–a 60% majority as long as the filibuster survives. At the same time, the Senate has become impervious to public opinion favoring climate action.

A 2020 Pew Research poll showed that 80% of U.S. adults support tougher restrictions on power plant carbon emissions, the very restrictions the Supreme Court has ruled EPA has no authority to enact without specific direction from Congress. The right’s firm grip on the Senate ensures that no such direction will happen.

The structural bias that once aided slavery now protects fossil-fuel capitalism from any serious regulation. In today’s 50-50 Senate, “less than half of the population controls about 82 percent of the Senate” and the 50 Democrats represent 41,549,808 more people than do the 50 Republicans.

Don’t look to Biden

Meanwhile, the White House promises to “find a way to move forward on climate,” yet the Biden Administration seems no better prepared to protect climate action than to protect reproductive rights. It quickly released a statement bemoaning “another devastating decision from the court” and assuring us that President Biden “will not relent in using the authorities that he has under the law to protect public health and tackle the climate change crisis.” Given that the court’s decision only limited the administration’s options, it is not clear what Biden plans to do that he has not already failed to do.

Biden has begun to reveal himself as yet another U.S. president wedded to the fossil fuel industry. “The United States is on track to produce a record amount of oil next year, and I am working with industry to accelerate this output,” he boasted a few weeks ago.

Hosting the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in June, Biden declared before an international audience that his top priority on energy and climate is to lower gas prices.

“I’m using every lever available to bring down prices for the American people,” he proclaimed. Without apology or explanation, he asserted that “these actions are part of our transition to a clean and secure and long-term energy future.”

Dismissing the idea of boosting gasoline production, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres bluntly disagreed:

Even in the short term, fossil fuels don’t make political or economic sense.

Rather than speak the uncomfortable truth that oil production and consumption must go down dramatically every year from now until the day we complete our transition to renewable energy, Biden and his party pretend they can deliver miracles: cheap gas, an expanding military budget, and a bright green future–all at the same time.

Don’t look to the courts

The West Virginia v EPA decision signaled the supermajority’s willingness to move stepwise to achieve the goals of a decades-long effort by conservatives to undermine the validity of protective regulations that most of us have assumed are a permanent part of the legal fabric.

The court did not overtly reject the Chevron doctrine under which courts defer to the reasonable interpretation of statutes by the federal agencies, but it provided an end run around it whenever a court declares that an agency action presents an “extraordinary case.” The courts are now well-populated with Trump appointees and other Republican appointees primed for action.

This is a nasty weapon that SCOTUS has unleashed, and we can expect to see it used widely. Justice Neil Gorsuch, joined by Samuel Alito, wrote a concurrence that barely concealed their delight with the court’s discovery of the “major question doctrine.”

Ten days before the decision dropped, the New York Times published a deeply researched article by energy and environment correspondent Coral Davenport detailing how West Virginia v. EPA was the product of “a coordinated, multiyear strategy by Republican attorneys general and conservative allies.”

As crippling as the court’s decision may be to the federal government’s authority to reduce carbon dioxide from power plants, Davenport warned, “It’s only a start.” The goal of the right-wing AGs, legal activists, and their funders, including some with close ties to the oil and coal industries, is “to use the judicial system to block the government’s ability to regulate industries and businesses that produce greenhouse gases.”

“Coming up through the federal courts are more climate cases, some featuring novel legal arguments, each carefully selected for its potential to block the government’s ability to regulate industries and businesses that produce greenhouse gases,” wrote Davenport.

The administrative state may not have been toppled by West Virginia v EPA, but the army of lawyers who have been working to fight restraints on corporations has gained confidence that many of their prayers will be answered by 6-3 decisions for some time to come.

Whether there will be a bright green future instead will depend on organizing a movement to fight back and not on anything Biden, Congress, EPA, or the courts could deliver.

Look to the left, and Organize!

“To reverse this week’s court decisions we need national laws,” Harvard Law professor Nikolas Bowie explained on Twitter. “To enact national laws we need political power. To build political power we need to collectively commit not just to the biannual ritual of voting, but also to the day-to-day grit of organizing the people around us.

Rather than look for leadership from dissents or Capitol poetry, we need to learn from people who have spent these same decades building power in *spite* of a hostile legal system. The major question for the left is not how to persuade Justice Kavanaugh or Senator Manchin to listen, but how to persuade our neighbors and co-workers to commit to collective action.

As the Supreme Court confidently puts in place the legal foundation blocks for a fascist future, Bowie’s message resonates: hope will not be answered by elites sharing our values. Only grassroots organizing will lead to a better outcome. ... o-save-us/

And not just some social democrat leadership but revolutionary leadership. Nothing else will do.



Forest Service Finds ‘No Significant Impact’ in F3 Gold’s Proposed Exploration in Black Hills
By Alex Binder, Unicorn Riot July 7, 2022

Black Hills National Forest, SD – On Thursday, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) released their draft decision and findings on a new gold exploration project by Minneapolis-based F3 Gold. Jim Gubbels, the Mystic District Ranger in the Black Hills, compiled the 29-page report summarizing the project, and the potential effects on the environment and cultural resources, and came to the conclusion that “the Selected Alternative will not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment. As a result, no EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] will be prepared.”

This decision does not give an immediate green light for F3 to begin drilling, however it does indicate “the intent of the agency to approve the final PO [Plan of Operations] once required criteria have been met.”

The final Environmental Assessment (EA) (PDF) was also released, which outlines the three actions the Forest Service could take with the proposed project—Alternative A would have shut it down, and Alternative B and C were two varying plans to move forward with it. Gubbels chose Alternative C “to minimize Project impacts across evaluated environmental issues.”

However, the report then goes on to say that Alternative C “proposes more potential drill pads and associated access routes, and subsequently greater surface disturbance than the Proposed Action.” So instead of the initial proposed project of a maximum of 42 drill pad sites, Alternative C has a maximum of 47 drill pad sites.

Table 3-1 in the USFS Draft Decision Notice showing the differences between the three Alternatives.

The draft decision also states that “Alternative C has been developed to minimize effects by avoiding cultural resources,” but for the Indigenous people to the Black Hills, every single grain of dirt, particle of air and water, and animal are sacred cultural resources.

Steven Gunn and Harold Frazier, both of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, submitted comments during the public comment period expressing that “the Tribe is opposed to any exploration or development of minerals in the Black Hills that would harm our sacred Paha Sapa, including out sacred Pe’ Sla, and our traditional cultural and religious use of those lands.”

The two also called for government-to-government consultations, adding that their tribe is opposed to any activity in the Black Hills “that would infringe on our rights under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and other Federal laws, including the National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”) and the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”).”

Jon Eagle Sr., the NHPA preservation officer for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, commented stating the tribe’s objection to the project. Kip Spotted Eagle, the Yankton Sioux Tribe THPO Director commented stating that the Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) “does not agree with this project set forth. We are opposed to any extraction in Treaty lands and do not [think] proper consultation has been met with the Yankton Sioux Tribe.”

On July 4, 2022, banners opposing F3 Gold’s exploration project were dropped near the proposed site.

The Forest Service is accepting objections (PDF) to their final Environmental Assessment and Draft Decision Notice no later than “45 days following the publication of the legal notice in the Rapid City Journal on July 8, 2022.” However the only objections that will be accepted are from people who previously submitted comments.

F3 Gold Project Overview Map

“The Black Hills are stolen land, illegally taken by corrupt government thievery as is the current case. . . this is our land, all the Lakota own it.”

Harold OneFeather, comment on the F3 Gold project published in the Environmental Assessment ... ack-hills/


Egyptian regime using COP27 to greenwash repression
July 6, 2022
Genuine global grassroots movements must not take part this state-orchestrated charade


This statement was released in late June by a group of activists in Egypt. Censorship prohibits its publication there, but it is being circulated internationally by the UK-based Egypt Solidarity Initiative.

This November the COP 27 conference will be held in the tourist town of Sharm El-Sheikh in the Sinai Peninsula, in Egypt. The governments of the world have broken nearly all the promises made in the Glasgow COP 26. We are all inching closer to a climate catastrophe, but political leaders and major corporations are too immersed in their competition for resources, markets and geopolitical dominance to take the necessary measures to save our planet.

It is becoming clearer every day to millions of people across the globe that only a grassroots movement can force through actual change.

Yet the COP 27 conference is taking place in an isolated heavily policed tourist resort with only one major road in and out, and hotels that are required to charge rates that might push the entire COP beyond the means of many grassroots organizations, particularly those from poorer countries. The Egyptian government has announced that there will be space for opposition during the conference, but what they actually mean is that activists will be offered fake ‘astroturfed’ protests in which state-affiliated NGOs demonstrate near the convention center to deliver the impression of an independent local civil society. No real Egyptian opposition activists will be allowed near Sharm El-Sheikh during the conference. It would be a shame if genuine global grassroots movements are fooled into taking part in such a state-orchestrated charade.

While the Egyptian government is preparing to host COP27, thousands of people, among them human rights defenders, journalists, peaceful protesters, lawyers, opposition politicians and activists continue to suffer in Egyptian jails in brutal conditions, solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association or peaceful assembly, without legal basis or following grossly unfair trials. Egypt is an African country and part of the Global South. But Egypt is also a country ruled by a brutal and corrupt military dictatorship. The regime of Abdelfattah El-Sisi, will present itself during the conference and in the months leading to it, as championing the needs and demands of the Global South in general and the African continent in particular. This is a great lie. The only thing this regime represents is the military junta that has been in power since 2013.

In July, 2013 General Sisi came to power through a brutal Military coup, taking advantage of the failed policies, political paralysis and betrayed promises of the presidency of Mohamed Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood. The regime since then has crushed all forms of opposition through a campaign of terror. This regime does not represent the Egyptian people nor in any way does it represent the African continent or the Global South. Sisi will do everything he can to greenwash the regime and highlight a few showcase projects of alternative and renewable energy. The reality is that he is ravaging both the Egyptian people and the environment.

The aim of this greenwashing is twofold: first, to extract as much financial aid as possible from the rich industrialized countries. Most of this money will end up being syphoned out of the country into the bank accounts of Sisi and his generals in those same industrialized countries. Second, is to distract from his abysmal human rights record, and as usual, the leaders of the supposedly democratic Western governments will allow him to get away with it.

It is the people of the Global South including Egypt, who will pay the heaviest price for climate change and the degradation of the environment. It is therefore essential that they become part of the global movements putting pressure on governments for changes that would slow or reverse those processes.

But the Egyptian people are denied the right to organize or demonstrate. They are also denied any kind of freedom of expression. (Over 500 Egyptian opposition internet sites have been blocked since 2014). All this is done through draconian laws, extra-legal imprisonment, torture and even murder.

Egyptian activists who have opposed aspects of the government’s environmental policies have been harassed, imprisoned, put under surveillance and silenced. Whatever the issue, whether the fight against the importing of coal, or against cement factories close to residential areas and the health damages they cause, or against fertilizer factories polluting water sources, or even against the destruction of trees and green areas in urban centers to make way for construction projects, the response is always the same: repression.

These words are not meant for the political leaders that will take part in the conference or their governments. Those leaders are travelling to Sharm el-Sheikh in November to celebrate the Egyptian regime and help Sisi greenwash his government. They are also coming to make business deals and consolidate alliances and make mediocre insufficient promises about climate change that they have no intentions of fulfilling (Just watch them groveling to make new oil and gas deals with the Gulf absolute monarchies after the Russian war on Ukraine).

These words are meant for activists in the global grassroots movements against climate change, but also for those fighting for democracy, freedom and social justice. In fact, it is becoming clearer than ever that separating these two struggles can only be detrimental to both.

To all those who are organizing counter-events, in the run up to the November conference or during the event itself: Your fight is our fight, do not let Sisi get away with claiming to represent the south, do not allow him to greenwash his murderous regime. Let us work together in the Global South and North for a world free of climate change and environmental degradation. That can only be possible if we also stand together in solidarity for democracy, human dignity and freedom.

The Egyptian Campaign for Climate and Democracy
June 2022 ... epression/
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Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Wed Jul 13, 2022 3:19 pm

The capitalist solution to ‘save’ the planet: make it an asset class & sell it
By Lynn Fries (Posted Jul 12, 2022)

Originally published: Global Political Economy (GPEnewsdocs) on July 8, 2022 (more by Global Political Economy (GPEnewsdocs))

John Bellamy Foster explains the ‘solution’ master-minded by global finance to resolve the imminent environmental crisis: create a multi-quadrillion dollars’ worth of assets on the back of everything nature does and expropriate it from the global commons to make a profit. Worse still: it is already happening.

LYNN FRIES: Hello and welcome. I’m Lynn Fries producer of Global Political Economy or GPEnewsdocs. Today’s guest is John Bellamy Foster.

He’ll be talking about the financialization of the earth as a new ecological regime. A regime where the rapid financialization of natureis promoting a Great Expropriation of the global commons and the dispossession of humanity on a scale that exceeds all previous human history. And which is accelerating the destruction of planetary ecosystems and of the earth as a safe home for humanity. All in the name of saving nature by turning it into a market.

Our guest’s Monthly Review articles: The Defense of Nature: Resisting the Financialization of the Earth and Nature as a Mode of Accumulation: Capitalism and the Financialization of the Earth detail this argument.

Joining us from Oregon, John Bellamy Foster is Professor of Sociology at the University of Oregon and Editor of Monthly Review. He has written widely on political economy and is a major scholar on environmental issues. He is author of numerous books including Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature, The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences, The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth. A forthcoming book, Capitalism in the Anthropocene: Ecological Ruin or Ecological Revolution, is coming soon from Monthly Review Press. Welcome, John.

JOHN BELLAMY FOSTER: Glad to be here.

FRIES: We will be talking about your thoughts on how the financialization of nature is capitalism’s most catastrophic regime to date, a new ecological regime. And I take it; you think this was at the heart of what came out of the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference negotiations in Glasgow.

FOSTER: Yeah. Ironically, during COP 26 in Glasgow everybody was watching that to sort of see, well, would governments and the powers that be take action to protect the earth. And the main thing that came out of Glasgow was actually these plans for the financial takeover of the earth, in the name of saving nature. The entire conservation sector globally has now bought into these policies of financialization.

This was really the main product of the Glasgow meetings all being done by capital with support of governments. But there is no public discussion anywhere of this. There is no country where this has been subjected to democratic processes or even conversations. There’s no dialogue on this.

Capital is just proceeding to buy up ecosystems services. To create structured financial vehicles where they’ll be able to control natural capital to accumulate on the basis of it. And to run natural services on this basis with the idea of accumulating wealth.

FRIES: Connect the dots from capital’s need for a new asset class around 2009, around the peak of the Great Financial Crisis, to the current trajectory of the financialization of nature as a new ecological regime.

FOSTER: The world went through a global financial crisis in 2007 to 2010. One of the problems in terms of financial instability, obviously, is that there are not enough underlying assets to support the financial expansion of the system, which is going on at extreme levels. So we’re piling up debt in relation to the world economy. But the debt doesn’t really have sufficient material foundations, revenue streams underlying it.

So capital is searching for new revenue streams. And after the 2007 to 2010 financial crisis, they started looking increasingly at ecosystem services (what we could call nature and nature’s services) as a basis, as a material basis for financialization.

So there’s this very rapid ongoing financialization of nature that is now occurring. Where natural services, ecosystem services, are being turned into forms of exchange value that can be the basis of financialization. All in the name of saving the global environment.

There was a big change that occurred in the fall of 2021, between September and November in the context of the UN climate negotiations, where three new initiatives were introduced or brought to the forefront.

One is the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, which brings together all the big financial corporations. All the big banks and hedge funds and so on all came together combining let’s say $130 trillion in assets. These are all basically the Western banks and hedge funds. And they claimed that they were going to organize, to financialize nature in order to produce a net zero carbon economy globally.

The month before, the New York Stock Exchange together with the Intrinsic Exchange Group introduced a new asset class on the New York Stock Exchange called Natural Capital Assets. That really had to do with this process of creating structured financial vehicles to create revenue streams from ecosystem services. That could then be financialized and debt built upon them and so on. All in the name of again, saving nature.

And finally in the climate negotiations itself, they basically agreed on a plan for a world carbon trading mechanism that had been introduced in 2015 Paris Agreement but all the details hadn’t been worked out. So this established at least the basis for a global carbon trading mechanism, which would again, financialize nature.

This has resulted in a huge expansion just in the last few months of attempts to financialize the earth. To turn ecosystem services, really basic ecosystem services like photosynthesis and the production of oxygen in the environment and things like that into monetary asset exchange value that capital can own. Or at least maybe nation states will own and capital will essentially manage and this can turn into financial assets.

Essentially, corporations would own what nature does, not just owning land. The governments would still probably own the land but capital would own the services that nature provides. And would manage it for enormous amounts of money. This is big accumulation as the Intrinsic Exchange Group (IEG) said, in their view: if discounted over the century, ecosystem services are worth four quadrillion (or $4,000 trillion) dollars all for the taking.

FRIES: And we should also note these initiatives target the Global South. As you say basically because financial gains from the expropriation of the earth in the name of management of natural capital and offsets are the greatest in the Global South.

Your articles detail ways this targeting is done. For example, the 2021 Glasgow Alliance for Net Zero initiative declared up front that carbon-mitigation financing to be made available for developing countries comes with strings attached. So financing will depend on a developing country willingness to fully open their economies to global capital.

In the case of the agreed plan for carbon trading and in the designs to promote a world market in offsets, the $100 billion developed countries promised to direct to the Global South is subject to debt leverage by multinational monopoly-finance capital

So John, just to clarify what we are talking about here with the financialization of nature and accumulation of nature are you saying that, in general, this involves the creation of financial claims so titles over natural assets and ecosystems, environmental services of various kinds that can then be traded and leveraged? Is that basically what you mean by the financialization and accumulation of nature?

FOSTER: Finance is really based on the promotion of debt. And from one perspective, money itself is a debt. But finance is based on the promotion of debt. And that means liens on the future revenue streams from underlying assets. What the debts represent or what the creditors get is revenue streams into the future.

So essentially, it means you’re selling whatever nature provides or revenue streams well into the future. In a lot of these proposals, it’s selling off what nature would produce or the revenue that it would generate if it’s reduced to exchange value over the next century or two.

And it is very dangerous. If you look back to 2007- 2010, the Great Financial Crisis, the whole financial system was really in danger of collapsing. And the structural changes that occurred at that time, and this is related to economic stagnation, are really still there.

The financialization, the growth of the debt economy, is in many ways at a much more extreme level then it was in 2007. And we’re looking at other financial crises that could occur, another conceivable Great Financial Crisis. This is because we create these debt bubbles, which expand the economy, but eventually the bubble bursts. The consequences are there.

Our economies are growing slowly but we are also expanding the debt bubble at the same time. So we’re in this sort of stagnation/financialization trap.

Well then if you try to financialize the whole of nature and try to run ecosystem services under capitalist principles regulated by structured investment vehicles, you’re basically bringing nature into this financial bubble.

But it’s absurd. Because the laws of nature (and we can talk about the laws of nature as the scientific world does meaning the biogeochemical processes of the Earth System) do not operate like capitalist markets. And actually attempts to monetize nature and treat it as a financial asset, as an economic asset, a stream of income in which we can impose debts and this will create revenue according to the innate power of capital and at the same time save nature, it’s really a fairy tale.

I mean, it’s worse than a fairy tale. It’s a complete fetish of capital and nature.

John Maynard Keynes once said that we’re in trouble when the underlying productive economy becomes a bubble on the financial system. But we’re now creating a situation where the earth itself is going to be turned into a bubble on the financial system which itself is a speculative enterprise.

There’s a famous statement by a 19th century chartist, Dunning, in his book on the trade unions that Marx quotes in Volume One of Capital. Where Dunning says: that capital we’ll do such and such for a 12% rate of return. And it’ll do even more; it will transgress laws for say a 50% rate of return. But for a 300% rate of return, it will lie and destroy and it’s willing to sell off humanity and the earth itself. And he points to the slave trade.

And I think that’s what we’re in the situation of. The returns are so great that capital is really mesmerized by this notion that ecosystem services discounted and projected over this whole century are worth four quadrillion dollars [$4000 trillion]. And then they can go in and have a piece of this. The fact that this is so destructive is ignored.

Also what they’re doing is taking ecosystem services not from the population of the earth as whole even, but more immediately they’re taking nature away from indigenous populations. In Africa, for example, it’s claimed that 90% of the land is essentially untitled, which capital can take over and reap the natural capital and ecosystem services.

The reason for this is it’s a legacy of colonialism. So that, after the colonial period and the post-colonial period, it was sort of recognized that indigenous communities had common rights to the land that they lived on throughout history. But they didn’t have any actual title. They just had sort of vague common rights.

While the governments were given, like every government was seen as actually having the final right to all of the land in a country. And what’s happening is that the indigenous claims to the land are being kind of removed. They are not treated as having the same basis as private property. And so these lands can be expropriated in land grabs.

A lot of this is now in order to gain hold of natural capital and ecosystem services. And it is ripe for corruption. My article starts out with a massive case of corruption in Malaysia’s state of Borneo, Sabah. So we’re seeing struggles of indigenous people over this financialization of the earth as well.

FRIES: John, I’ll quickly round off for viewers on points you just made about the struggle of indigenous peoples and the innate power of capital. First, on the fairy tale of the innate power of capital and so liens on the future production of the economy, as the ecological economist Herman Daly has put it to cite a few lines from your Defense of Nature article <quote>: “…the capitalist growth economy, while continuing to profit in the course of its creative destruction, is ultimately faced with physical limits of an Earth System, which does not, like compound interest, increase exponentially. Real physical wealth emanating from nature and ultimately derived from solar energy is subject to the entropy law and cannot generate endless rapid growth as in the case of ‘symbolic monetary debt!’The conflict between finance-based economic expansion and the ecological basis of society is thus inevitable.”

In the context of struggles of indigenous peoples to cite the same article <quote>: “This struggle is occurring on all three continents of the Global South and in regions of the Global North an indication of how close the ties are between neocolonialism and the natural capital juggernaut.”

As you say in these articles, the financialization of the earth is promoting a Great Expropriation of the global commons and the dispossession of humanity on an unprecedented scale. Give us now some big picture context and also historical context on your ecological critique of how financialization is also an expropriation.

FOSTER: Well, Karl Marx once said and this is a paraphrase but it’s very close to what he said. He said: Nobody owns the earth. Not even all the people on the planet, own the earth. We hold it in trust as good heads of the household for future generations, for the entire chain of human generations. You know, in terms of humanity, if anyone has a right to the earth, to the planet, it’s all of us together. Or certainly, we hold it in trust for the future. To sell it off to private services is another matter altogether.

Karl Polanyi, the great economic anthropologist, once said that: converting nature into real estate was the most extreme invention of our ancestors. But now we’re going a step further. It’s not about ownership of land, but it’s the selling off and integration into the financial world of all that nature does, all of its ecosystem services across the planet. And parceled out and turned into debts and derivatives and revenue streams which will be owned by capital.

Things that were previously considered the free gifts of nature will now be owned by financial interests and private financial interests. That means a few will own ecosystem services and the rest of the population of the earth will be dispossessed.

FRIES: Speaking now in the context of a system of production, explain more about the term expropriate. So, what exactly does that mean?

FOSTER: Expropriate basically means taking without return. We have to take from nature in our production. And there’s nothing wrong with the free appropriation of nature on behalf of humanity as a whole. There is a problem when nature is treated as a free gift to capital as nothing but a means to capital accumulation.

There’s a problem when the appropriation of nature doesn’t occur in a sustainable way. That is, there’s no reciprocity. There’s no giving back in any way. So that it becomes a form of robbery. You’re taking without replacing and that always results in destruction. And our system basically, does that.

Now, there are resources that are irreplaceable. That can’t be replaced. Herman Daly set out how we can use all resources sustainably. And we have to conform to those rules or we’re really destroying the ecological basis of our own existence.

Ecologists talk about the tap and the sink. The tap refers to what we extract from nature. We also have the problem of the sink. That is where do we dispose of the waste from production. And carbon dioxide emissions are basically a waste from production.

Which on a small scale wouldn’t really be very important there. I mean carbon dioxide is part of our own respiratory system. But on the scale in which emissions are occurring today and concentrating carbon in the atmosphere, we’re producing climate change, which is threatening civilization and the very systems of humanity.

When we think about production, we have to think about not only the tap that is the extraction; we also have to think about the sink where the wastes go. And there are rules in terms of sustainability and how we can live on the planet with these limitations. But capitalism is not geared to anything like that. It has one goal and that’s the profit motive or accumulation of capital or the increase in stockholders’ equity however you want to look at it.

That’s what drives capital. It really doesn’t see anything else. And in the process of growing, even as our economy grows, we’re destroying the natural system around us which the very basis of our existence.

FRIES: You point out that in Marx’s view it was necessary in any critique of capitalism to understand not only the enormous productive forces generated by capital but also the negative destructive side of capitalism’s interaction with the environment. And for this, Marx placed an emphasis on natural science.

This emphasis can be seen in his treatment of capitalist agriculture where Marx was the first major economist, as you say, to incorporate concepts like metabolism and the science of thermodynamics into the analysis of production.

Your argument being ecological thought has deep roots in the 19th century and the influence of Karl Marx. Talk about those deep roots of present day ecological thinking.

FOSTER: In the beginning of 19th century around 1815, I think, the natural scientists working mainly in physiology started to develop analyses of cell metabolism. And so this was very important in the development of biology, physiology and so on. And Marx had a friend, Roland Daniels, who was a physician, physician scientist.

Many of the scientists in those days came out of being physicians. And Daniels wrote a book called the Mikrokosmos which had only one reader and that was Karl Marx. It wasn’t actually published until the 1980s in Germany, I think, but Marx read it.

Daniels had used the concept of metabolism in a broader ecological sense to look at the systemic relations between plants and animals and the earth. So he was using metabolism as a systems ecology concept; beginning to do that.

At the same time, the concept of metabolism was also being used in the development of thermodynamics. Especially the first law of thermodynamics on the conservation of energy. So metabolism was being used in that sense.

Justus von Liebig, who was the leading German chemist and very influential agricultural chemist, introduced the notion of metabolism in looking at the disruptions that were occurring in agriculture at the time, as a result of industrialized agriculture.

At any rate in the 1850s, really under the influence of Daniels, Marx began to use the concept of metabolism as a systemic concept. And he introduced the notion of social metabolism. And he developed this analysis in his Critique of Political Economy and in Capital. So he was the one who introduced the notion of social metabolism.

Social metabolism was really related to the labor and production process. So that in engaging in the labor process and in production, human beings were transforming their relation to the earth. They were taking what nature provided and transforming it. And in the production, of course, transforming themselves and society.

But Marx made this powerful socio-ecological connection unlike any other thinker in his time or maybe even in our own. Where the understanding of production with his whole class analysis and so on, his whole social analysis was unified with ecological analysis through the concept of social metabolism.

And not only that, he introduced the concept called the universal metabolism of nature. Marx didn’t talk just about nature. He talked about natural processes in terms of metabolism. And he talked about the universal metabolism of nature. Basically, what we would call earth system processes today.

Under capitalism, he argued that the social metabolism was alienated. So we had a destructive relation to nature. The social metabolism came in conflict with the universal metabolism of nature. And in those cases, what happened was a rift between human beings and nature.

Marx wrote of the irreparable rift in the interdependent social metabolism between humanity and nature. And we call this the metabolic rift. And his theory of ecological crisis, which was very pronounced and connected to his whole critique of the social system, is really defined by this analysis of the metabolic rift.

Marx’s usage of metabolism actually influenced other thinkers in his time and afterwards. For example, the leading British natural scientist, the leading British biologist really a zoologist E. Ray Lancaster (Darwin and Huxley’s protégé) was also a close friend of Marx. Lancaster was the leading developer of an ecological crisis analysis in the late 19th and early 20th century.

This same ecological systems approach, which was rooted in metabolism, gave rise to the concept ofecosystems, which is our main ecological concept. And that was developed by Lancaster’s student, the botanist, Arthur Tansley. And working in conjunction with systems theory developed by the Marxist mathematician, Hyman Levy, but building on this conception of metabolism.

This all goes forward from there. So that we now speak of the earth system metabolism. So Marx’s approach is completely integrated with science. Ecological science down to the present day operates with these same conceptions.

FRIES: I’ll have another stab at some of your essential argument on how financialization is also an expropriation and relate it to the robbing of natureyou referred to earlier. So take us through the 19th century concept of robbing the soil into the present where as you write in the Defense of Nature article that <quote>: “The Original Expropriation has metamorphosed into a planetary juggernaut, a robbery system encompassing the entire earth, leading to a more universal dispossession and destruction.”

And with respect to the Original Expropriation to cite the Nature as a Mode of Accumulation article <quote>: “The expropriation of the commons, its simplification, division, violent seizure and transformation into private property constituted the fundamental precondition for the historical origin of capitalism. What Karl Marx referred to as the original expropriation of the commons in England and in much of the world (often involving the expropriation of laborers in various forms of slavery and forced labor) generated the concentrations of wealth and power that propelled the late 18th and early 19th century’s Industrial Revolution.”

So in a nutshell, from the Original Expropriation to the Great Expropriation, explain this reference to the robbery of nature.

FOSTER: In the book The Robbery of Nature that Brett Clark and I wrote together, we connected the issue of the rift, the metabolic rift to the issue of the robbery of nature. Going back to Marx and his discussions in Capital and elsewhere and to Justus von Liebig and others we argued that the rift, the metabolic rift, or the rift in the metabolism between human beings and nature was a product of the robbery of nature. Not addressing the need for reciprocity and sustainability in the relation to nature.

So, taking from nature and not giving back is a form of theft or robbery, expropriation in fact. So expropriation is a form of robbery, stealing. But not just nature, it is expropriation of human bodies in many cases. We look at slavery. We look at the oppression of women, problems of social reproduction.

These kinds of issues, the oppression of women, slavery, the super-exploitation of people in the Global South are all issues of robbery. And the seizure, of course, the financialization of nature, land grabs, these are all forms of expropriation that then create the basis of private property and capital accumulation.

Capitalism constantly seeks to expropriate people, resources, land, and nature in order to expand its system. So the robbery of nature is integral to the problem of the metabolic rift.

Metabolic rift Marx explained originally in terms of the soil crisis in England and elsewhere in the 19th century. Where industrial capitalist agriculture was intensively removing nutrients (such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) from the soil in the food and fiber that was being exported to the urban center with a concentrated industrial population.

The nutrients, which were being, shipped hundreds, maybe thousands of miles to the cities did not return to the soil again. So they had to try and get bones from the Napoleonic battlefields and the catacombs of Europe to have natural fertilizer for the soil. And guano from Peru establishing the whole massive guano trade where they used Chinese labor, basically expropriating their bodies and killing them off very rapidly. In order to get the guano (the bird droppings) to fertilize the soil in England which was being depleted by industrial agriculture.

This kind of robbery of the soil is a model of how capitalism robs resources and land everywhere. Taking without putting back. Not following ecological principles, ignoring permaculture, building monocultures and basically destroying the earth.

So the robbery is the source of really the metabolic rift itself. And that rift between human beings and nature is how we can understand ecological crisis. It’s all rooted in the system of production, the capitalist system of production which has now been globalized and financialized and is really driving the world to the wall.

FRIES: The capitalist system of production, as we all know, is based on commodity production for exchange value and endless capital accumulation. So a treadmill of exchange, profit and accumulation.

Your Monthly Review articles clarify how the concept of natural capital originally arose as a defense against the capitalist system of production for exchange value. Briefly explain that then the related concept of the Lauderdale Paradox.

FOSTER: You have to go back really to the 19th century and the concept of natural capital was introduced by socialists and radicals in opposition to the expropriation of nature in their time, the turning of nature into exchange value. Which in our terms was at a fairly crude level. But land was being taken over and turned into exchange value, being turned into capital.

The concept of natural capital was opposed to the turning of all of nature (and in those days they were thinking simply of land and raw materials) into cash, into exchange value, into the cash nexus. They argued that we had a natural capital stock that we had to protect that. And they saw it in use value terms. That is natural material use value terms. We had to protect this stock of nature.

They argued that if nature which was the essential basis of human existence (material nature and the land and the resources and the forests and so on) were brought into the system of exchange value under capital (which they were seeing happening in their day and land turned into real estate markets and so on private real estate markets) that this would destroy the basis of a natural existence on which we depend.

You see figures like Ebenezer Jones in his famous book on the land in England. And figures like Karl Marx arguing for a conception of natural capital that’s based on use value and not exchange value. Marx later abandoned the notion of natural capital because he thought that it led to a notion of the naturalization of capitalism. And so he adopted a different vocabulary distinguishing between earth matter for nature and earth capital that is when capital takes over nature and turns it into exchange value.

And there’s a notion known as the Lauderdale Paradox named after the Earl of Lauderdale in the early 19th century. He developed this notion that capitalism, he didn’t use the term capitalism but it was implicit. I mean the term did not really exist at that time. He was talking about natural material use values constituting public wealth like the water, the forests, crops.

He argued that capitalism or the system of private exchange, since it depended on exchange it depended on scarcity. That things only really had value or could be marketed if they had a price. And price depended on scarcity.

So that water that was freely available and abundant did not have a price, had no exchange value. And the air had no exchange value because it was abundant, freely available. And you could apply this to other aspects of nature and they were actually kind of free gifts.

Capitalism came in and one of the things that it does in order to make an exchange value economy and profit off it is they want to make these resources scarce. And one way you make them scarce is just by creating private ownership and private monopolies, which then can restrict the access of others to the resources. If there are wells for water, if somebody comes in and takes it over and it becomes a private monopoly, they can charge money for water.

So the private economy works at destroying public wealth in various ways. And systematically works at that in order to create private markets. And Ebenezer Jones in The Land Monopoly talked about: what would happen if the air in the vicinity of London were turned into a private market? He was writing in the early 19th century, so this wasn’t really the case but we can understand it now.

All of these thinkers argued that nature had to be seen as a natural material use value, the basis of our existence. And it could not be reduced to exchange value, to the cash nexus of the market, without destroying the basis of our existence. And that was how the concept of natural capital arose. The emphasis was on natural. That this was a stock within nature and a permanent stock on which we depended.

FRIES: As you write in your Nature as a Mode of Accumulation article this concept of natural capital rooted in use value <quote>: “Was reintroduced into the economic discussion in the 1970s and 1980s beginning with Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful, to highlight the‘liquidation’of ‘natural capital’ stock as a failure of the first order of the modern economic system, representing the view of ecological economics.”

You also explain, in a thermodynamic based tradition, ecological economists initially inspired by Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen’s 1971 publication, The Entropy Law and the Economic Process also embraced this notion of natural capital. And wedded it, as you say, to the notion of “critical natural capital” in conformity with what’s known as the strong sustainability postulate.

An approach which established limits to growth and determined sustainability in biophysical, so use value terms. And critical to this were the three principles of sustainability introduced by Herman Daly, that you referred to earlier. The first principle was for renewable sources, the second for a non-renewable source and third for a pollutant.

You go on to write in this same article that <quote>: “The basic elements of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen’s thermodynamic critique of neoclassical economics were accepted from the start by Marxists economists and viewed as consistent with Marxian tradition, though lacking a social critique.”

So talk now about the neoclassical response to all this and other approaches inspired by other prominent like-minded figures like Howard Odum, for example. In other words, talk now about the neoclassical response to an ecological economics tradition in which the concept of natural capital was rooted in use value terms.

FOSTER: Neoclassical economists worked on turning this into an exchange value concept. In the beginning of this century, neoclassical economics sort of took over ecological economics to a large extent, which had been a dissident tradition. And reduced the natural capital concept to a concept of exchange value that is to be measured as capital, in monetary terms, to be a monetized asset.

The notion of use value, of nature as constituting use value, really isn’t present at all in neoclassical economics, which doesn’t use the concept of use value. So basically, there was this switch.

Part of the switch was associated with the calculations they made of ecosystem services and of natural wealth. And once those calculations were made on largely bogus grounds, because they were turning into hypothetical markets things that weren’t markets at all, but once they put a price tag on it then capital started to see, well, how can we actually make these into markets that we can then capitalize on.

FRIES: Talk about how these calculations that put a price tag on nature were arrived at.

FOSTER: If you look at how this happened, there was actually a big debate about this in ecological economics. But those who wanted to reduce nature to exchange value or at least to calculate this won out. And the primary figure in this was Costanza who was also Editor of Ecological Economics.

In 1997, they came out with the first calculation of what the world ecosystem services we’re worth in monetary value. Now you have to understand that these are not actual markets. So they did all sorts of fancy maneuvering to convert what nature does into markets.

So they divided what nature does globally into 17 ecosystem services occurring all over the planet. And they came up with values for each of these ecosystem services based on methods like hedonic pricing, which is basically a way of just attributing a value to nature based on comparisons with current practices.

So they use these kinds of techniques and they use what they call contingent valuation where they draw up hypothetical markets and then survey consumers on what they’re willing to pay. They use these kinds of techniques to value some particular ecosystem. And then they extrapolate the studies to that ecosystem globally and come up with values. They did this for like 17 different ecosystem services globally and that becomes then the value of ecosystem services throughout the planet.

They ostensibly did this in order to put a value on nature so that that people would protect it. But the moment this started to happen, and it was predictable, capital began to see that these ecosystem services could be turned into markets. Valued and turned into markets and financed through debt, that ends up purchased and a basis for financial accumulation.

This same group under Costanza came out with another estimate of the world ecosystem services, which was even higher. And you had all of these massive meetings of corporations and the establishment of natural capital protocols and various ways of organizing and studying and figuring out how to create markets out of these ecosystem services that emerged in which all of the giant corporations were directly involved.

FRIES: Give us more of an idea of the ramifications of this switch in ecological economics.

FOSTER: In the 21st century, nature is now treated as capital, as exchange value, as a source of exchange value. And if you look at the concept of natural capital that is seen in this new kind of neoclassical…the dominant economic perspective, natural capital is used for the underlying natural asset, which is now seen as ecological capital.

But all of the estimates and projections and all the financialization is based on the concept of ecosystem services, which is seen as the revenue stream provided by nature. When nature does things like photosynthesis, it’s providing a service supposedly to the world economy.

Nature doesn’t know it’s doing that, as you know, we might say. But in their theory, nature is providing an ecosystem service to the world economy, which like any revenue stream can be capitalized on.

Basically once they figure that there is a revenue stream here from ecosystem services derived from the underlying asset of natural capital, they can then take that revenue stream and divide it by the discount rate and multiply it by a hundred percent to get an expected stream of revenue way into the future. Say into a century in the future and then they can impose debt on the basis of that revenue stream and financialize nature and make huge profits.

FRIES: Talk more specifically on how natural capital defined in exchange value terms came to stand for and represent the view of ecological economics.

FOSTER: If you look at Ecological Economics, the journal, which was associated with the International Association for Ecological Economics, they actually had a battle between Howard Odum, one of the chief developers of systems ecology in the world, and Robert Costanza over whether the journal was going to go the route of seeing nature as exchange value or whether ecological economics was going to have a deep conception of ecology based on use value.

Howard Odum and the other scientists that he was associated with that had been in part of the founding of Ecological Economics, the journal, were basically thrown out. That is sort of the beginning of ecological economics becoming something different, captured by or recaptured by neoclassical economics.

You have people like Robert Solow, the most prestigious neoclassical growth theorist said that if natural resources could be substituted for, then effectively they don’t matter and can be left out altogether.

That actually is what was done with the neoclassical production function. Labor and capital are the only factors of production and nature and land is excluded altogether. The whole notion of use value in nature is excluded altogether. Everything, absolutely everything is reduced to exchange value.

Then that provided the kind of theoretical basis for weak substitutability, which is the notion that nature doesn’t really matter. That markets can substitute for natural resources and whatever in nature does. And that connected up with the development of the estimates like Costanza’s and others of world ecosystem services.

Pretty soon we have these notions of the financialization of the earth. Not simply in an academic sense, now transferred from the academic world into the world of capital where corporations and governments began to put into plans the policies, calculations, methods, structures for actually turning ecosystem services everywhere on the planet into economic markets which capital can finance and accumulate on the basis of.

FRIES: So, John, we have been talking about the argument you put forward that this financialization of the earth as a new ecological regime is accelerating the destruction of planetary ecosystems and of the earth as a safe home for humanity. Talk for a moment about how even before this new ecological regime, you warned of an accelerating pace of devastation compared to earlier periods of capitalism.

Among examples of this, you write about how Darwin in his time had been struck by how European colonization turned the ecology of the island of Saint Helena into a desert in just three centuries. The island of Saint Helena having been made famous by the voyage of the Beagle. Yet in the current stage of capitalism, the biogeochemical processes of the entire Earth System were altered in just two generations.

FOSTER: I wrote about this in my book The Vulnerable Planet in 1994 where I was explaining how we were crossing the thresholds of the biogeochemical processes of the planet and threatening the whole earth system. But what struck me, and what I wrote about then, is the speed with which it’s occurring. The speed was in terms of climate change.

We’ve seen massive geological changes in the history of the earth. But we haven’t seen anything that occurs with this speed. This is one of the reasons why we can point to the anthropogenic causes and the anthropogenic rift in the earth system, which is how we define the coming of the Anthropocene Epoch in earth system history. And it’s really the speed of the change.

The scientific reports although the IPCC have tried to keep up with this, but all of their reports I think all the way along have underestimated the speed with which we are transforming nature. And this is under the pressure of a system of capital accumulation geared to exponential growth.

At this point, we generate vast, vast amounts of economic and ecological waste. Things that people neither need nor really want. We have a marketing system, a massive multi-trillion dollar marketing system, geared to getting people to buy more and more. And our system is geared to the fastest growth possible. And in order to compound that even in periods of economic expansion, we draw more and more on extracting from natural systems.

This is a high-energy intensive system. It doesn’t take care of people’s needs. The wealth created is not going to the populations. And in the dominant ideology, they don’t even talk about trickle-down anymore, which they talked about in my youth, because everyone knows that that’s false.

So we are creating a system that doesn’t benefit the human population economically, while we’re actually destroying the entire earth. And the motor of this is a capital accumulation process. That is now highly financially and globalized and has become the enemy of humanity and the planet. We put profits before people and the planet in all cases in this society. You can’t solve things that way.

Capital wants to say: well, technology will solve the problem because they don’t want social transformation. They want to say: well, we can do it with technology. And the population falls for that because they have cell phones in their pockets and they think: oh, technology is absolutely wonderful.

But no matter how wonderful cell phones are that communication technology and other technologies we have do not allow us to transcend the laws of physics. And we’re right up against that today. And, it spells an unimaginable crisis really for the population of the earth.

FRIES: The Anthropocene Epoch you referred to is of course a reference to geological time. To cite the flyer from your forthcoming book the Anthropocene Epoch marks “a changed reality in which human activities are now the main geological force impacting the earth as a whole, generating at the same time an existential crisis for the world’s population.”

Talk more about the issue of the capitalist argument that technology can save humanity from ecological ruin. So things like geoengineering.

FOSTER: Well, it’s not just geoengineering but things like carbon sequestration methods and direct air capture. But it’s interesting in the Sixth Assessment Report, AR6 of the IPCC, the mitigation part of the report, Part III by Working Group Three was published in April of this year. But the actual scientific consensus report, the report as written by the scientists themselves, was completed in August 2021.

Governments in the IPCC process have the right to come in and rewrite the scientific report, the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM). They rewrote the science report entirely. Practically every line in the scientific consensus report was censored by governments. And in some places turned into the direct opposite.

We know this because Scientist Rebellion in August 2021 leaked the scientific consensus report on mitigation which we posted on the Monthly Review website. So you can compare what the scientists decided, to the published Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) from governments.

We find that in the scientific consensus report they said: these technologies are not available. Won’t work, cannot play a major role in keeping us below 1.5 degrees Celsius, or even below 2.0 degrees Celsius. And they said other things like coal-fired plants had to be eliminated globally this decade. And what we need is basically, low energy solutions, which can improve societies’ conditions. As that report said: improve the conditions of everybody on earth but also using less energy in the process.

FRIES: Back in 2019 in writing on how capitalism has failed and asking what’s next you argued that <quote>:“Once sustainable human development, rooted not in exchange values, but in use values and genuine human needs, comes to define historical advance, the future, which now seems closed, will open up in a myriad ways, allowing for entirely new, more qualitative, and collective forms of development.”

So, what’s coming across loud and clear in all this is how, the way you see it, the underlying structure of capital accumulation itself is what’s standing in the way of real solutions to the ecological crisis.

FOSTER: The irony is that capitalism has created this ecological crisis and is generating it. And the answer of capital (and this is typical of the system) is that we just need a more intensive, a more extreme form of capital accumulation. The answer to the ecological crisis created by capital is to turn all of the world ecology into capital. To make the entirety of nature conform to economic laws essentially. And the economists and the capitalists say this is the answer.

The reason why that sells, despite the illogical nature of it, is that for capital that’s always the answer. If there is a crisis, the crisis is because there’s too little capital, not too much. From capital’s standpoint, the answer to every crisis, let’s say an economic crisis is to redistribute income from the poor to the rich, that is increase the power of capital. If there’s a problem, an ecological crisis, the answer is to increase the power of capital markets and expand it into nature.

Paul Hawken argues and others with him in his book Natural Capitalism argues we don’t really have capitalism until all of nature is part of capital, is part of capitalism. But that’s absurd.

We live within a planet. Capitalism exists within the planet. Human society exists within the planet. Human beings live within the planet. We can’t turn the entire planet earth into some kind of attribute of the capitalist market system without destroying the world. But that’s exactly what we’re doing.

The solution to the ecological crisis that they’re advocating doesn’t involve taking energy efficiency and turning it into conservation like you see in Cuba. They take energy efficiency and turn it into a greater expansion of the economic system. And that doesn’t help. That’s what we call the Jevons Paradox. That the more efficient we are in the use of resources, the more resources we use. Because the object is not to conserve but it’s to expand the economy and the accumulation of capital. Well in such a system, you’re headed towards destruction.

Now the destruction is very close upon us. We’re very close now to the 1.5 degree increase in global average temperature. And the latest IPCC report (AR 6, the physical science basis) in their most optimistic scenario we will hit 1.5 degrees Celsius in 2040. That would require a kind of revolutionary scale social transformation to accomplish.

More likely we’re going to hit 1.5 degrees Celsius this decade, in this decade, in just a few years. We’re headed over the edge of the cliff in terms of the tipping point for the climate where we will reach irreversible climate change.

Even in the most optimistic scenario, we’re facing major catastrophes in the next few decades. But if we don’t take the action that prevents irreversible change, we will be threatening civilization itself in the broadest sense and the human species and billions of people on earth.

We have to have a different method. Sixty years we’ve known about climate change (accelerated climate change or accelerated global warming) and all we’ve done is promote capitalist solutions that have gotten us closer to the edge of the cliff. And we’re now on a runaway train. It’s time to pull the emergency brake.

FRIES: There is a lot more behind this and a lot more to come in your forthcoming book on Capitalism in the Anthropocene: Ecological Ruin or Ecological Revolution but for today we are going to have to leave it there. John Bellamy Foster, thank you.

FOSTER: Thank you.

FRIES: And from GPEnewsdocs in Geneva, Switzerland thank you for joining us. ... s-sell-it/


It’s all connected: racism, poverty, environmental assault
July 6, 2022

Source: Sophia Germer (The Times-Picayune and The Advocate)

We invite you to examine environmental racism and racialized assaults on the most fundamental elements of all life: air, water, and land.
By Camille Landry (National Co-Coordinator)

Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Fair treatment means no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies. It includes the equitable distribution of environmental harm and environmental benefits. Environmental racism is the disproportionate impact on the lives of Black, Brown and Indigenous people caused by living near hazardous pollution.

Black and Hispanic communities and Indigenous lands are exposed to more air pollution, landfills, lead poisoning, water pollution and industrial pollutants than their white counterparts. BIPOC communities also experience a higher degree of neglect than white communities have. They’re more likely to have old, flawed water and sewage systems, to live in shabby structures with lead-based paint or roaches, and to have fewer public services altogether – except for police. There is always plenty of law enforcement present in communities of color.

Non-Hispanic whites have the lowest exposure to air pollution. Over half the people who live close to toxic waste sites are people of color, according to a report from the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA identified high levels of automobile fumes, smog, soot, oil smoke, ash, and construction dust, all of which have been linked to serious health problems. These substances are a definite carcinogen and contribute to several lung conditions, heart attacks, and possible premature deaths. The pollutant has been implicated in both asthma prevalence and severity, low birth weights, and high blood pressure.

As human rights violations go, environmental racism ranks high. Ask the people of Cancer Alley what life is like along the 85-mile stretch of land between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA that’s lined with oil refineries and petrochemical plants. The predominately Black residents of this area are 50 times more likely to develop cancer than the average U.S. citizen. Rev. William Barber, who has been helping members of this community, referred to these conditions as a new kind of slavery.

Consider also the people of Kingston, Tennessee, where over a billion tons of deadly coal ash ended up in the Emory River near their town. People who were exposed to it contracted brain cancer, lung cancer and leukemia at high rates. A few years later, the Tennessee Valley Authority transported some of the coal ash to Uniontown, Alabama, a predominately low-income Black community, whose residents now suffer the same illnesses as the people of Kingston, TN experienced.

These issues are not confined to rural areas. The Bronx, NY has a disproportionate level of pollution. The air is so bad that in some neighborhoods, more than 20% of children have asthma – so many that the South Bronx is called “Asthma Alley.” Kids in this area are 70% more likely to be hospitalized than the rest of NYC, and 700% higher than the rest of New York State. The Bronx is considered the most unhealthy county in the entire state, and is home to the poorest congressional district in the country. Not coincidentally, the Bronx is more than 85% Brown and Black.

Most people have heard of the catastrophic lead poisoning of the people of Flint, Michigan. City management refused to take action to correct the water pollution, which was caused when the city changed water sources and failed to adequately treat the water. Thousands of children and adults were poisoned. You may not know about the dire situation that the people of the Navajo Nation are also experiencing. Scientists measured arsenic and uranium concentrations as well as other hazardous substances in Navajo wells, ground and surface water, making much of the water unfit to drink.

Every year, more than 484,000 pounds of toxic chemicals are released from 21 different toxic facilities near a Houston Texas neighborhood that is 98% Hispanic. Pollution was so bad that the local elementary school had to be closed down.

There is more – far more – to this story, and its chapters include environmental assaults on many communities in the U.S. and globally, frequently by U.S.-owned corporations that extract the wealth from this and other nations, leaving our land, air and water poisoned. The ultimate irony is that this planet is a closed system and the pollution that kills our BIPOC kinfolk disperses into the environment that everyone shares. We do not have a “Planet B.” This one is all we’ve got. Protect the rights of Mother Earth. ... al-assault

Fine, but Mother Nature, animals, only have rights if they are bestowed by society. So to expect those rights in a society where property has the ultimate right is pissing in the wind. We must make that society first, which requires the negation of capitalism.


LEFT WONDERING: Do Electric Vehicles Really Move The Climate Needle?

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Dear Left Wondering,

I paid over two times what I’ve ever paid for a vehicle mostly because I saw buying an electric vehicle (EV) as step one in cutting the fossil fuel cord in my life. (Next will be rooftop solar and swapping propane HVAC and water heating for electrically powered heat pump-based appliances.)

I had cord cutting as a goal well before actually purchasing the EV; I put a deposit down three years earlier. But there’s a different feeling after actually buying and driving an EV. It’s a vastly superior driving and owning experience from every perspective. Rather than feeling like I sacrificed, I feel like I improved my life and how I feel about everyone, everywhere, replacing fossil fuels.

I can’t convince Chevron to stop buying politicians, but I can stop sending them my money. The impact of my individual action in terms of addressing climate change rounds to zero, but how I think about addressing climate change is now grounded in a powerful personal experience that makes me believe getting the world off fossil fuels is as certain as the knowledge I’ll never again buy a gas-powered vehicle. That seems likely the sentiment of 99 percent of the 6.75 million EV owners as of March 2022. It’s hard to believe the environmental impact of all those EVs still rounds to zero.

Anyway, I’m wondering: To what extent does buying an EV move the needle in terms of sparking other fossil-fuel replacing activities?


Personally Transcending Fossil Fuels (PTFF for short)

Dear PTFF,

I was tempted to edit this (somewhat lengthy) question down, but decided not to because I think you’ve started to answer that question yourself.

I’ll put my cards on the table and say that, as someone who has never had a driver’s license — for boring and entirely non-political reasons — I don’t have much context for what (I gather) is the smooth hum of an electric engine. I’ll trust you on that, PTFF. But what you’re getting at here has lessons beyond the relative emissions-cutting benefits of electric vehicles.

Those looking to tell a positive story about the world that ambitious climate policy can build have mostly, until recently, had to tell a story about the future. But there’s no substitute for getting a taste of that yourself. A long holiday weekend is a glimpse of what a world with a four-day work week might feel like. Using an efficient metro system to breeze around a dense, pleasant city loaded with parks and other public amenities is a better sales pitch for ditching car culture and suburban sprawl than the best communications strategist could muster. If people can experience aspects of a lower-carbon world themselves, they may well be open to fighting for more of them.

On the specifics, I’m skeptical that electric vehicles are quite the panacea for the planet that members of the Biden administration have made them out to be. There are many more drawbacks with cars than the fact that they run on fossil fuels, and electric vehicle supply chains have their own problems. As political scientist Thea Riofrancos has detailed, the scale of critical minerals that a one-for-one substitution of internal combustion engines for EVs would entail is a powerful argument for expanding mass transit, from e-bikes to buses to cars.

Not wanting to continue getting caught in endless traffic jams is another reason to be circumspect about EVs. The hulking electric tanks U.S. automakers seem keen to build are a wasteful, unnecessary danger to bikers, pedestrians, and just about anyone else forced to share a road with them.

Mass transit takes time to build, though. And the transportation sector needs to be decarbonized as quickly as possible. Transportation accounts for 28 percent of U.S. emissions — the largest of any sector — and light-duty vehicles (i.e. the cars most people drive around) make up roughly 60 percent of that.

We’ll need a lot of EVs, which currently make up a tiny percentage of the U.S. car fleet. We should hope that Congress passes policies that make them easier to get, and run off a grid that isn’t powered by coal and methane. EVs’ contribution to decarbonization depends heavily on where they get their power from, even if they have dramatically lower emissions over the course of their lifetime than oil and gas powered cars.

Like just about everything in the awe-inspiring planning challenge that is deep decarbonization, electric vehicles are necessary but not sufficient. If driving one convinces someone that a lower carbon world can be a more fun one, that’s probably a good thing. There are plenty of other ways to do that, too.


Left Wondering ... te-needle/
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Re: The Long Ecological Revolution

Post by blindpig » Fri Jul 15, 2022 4:28 pm

$2 Trillion for War vs $100 Billion to Save the Planet
Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on JULY 13, 2022
Murad Qureshi

A woman stands in front of her house after a flood hit Kurigram district in northern Bangladesh, on July 26, 2019.

During late April and early May, South Asia experienced the terrible impacts of global warming. Temperatures reached almost 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in some cities in the region. These high temperatures came alongside dangerous flooding in Northeast India and in Bangladesh, as the rivers burst their banks, with flash floods taking place in places like Sunamganj in Sylhet, Bangladesh.

Saleemul Haq, the director of the International Center of Climate Change and Development, is from Bangladesh. He is a veteran of the UN climate change negotiations. When Haq read a tweet by Marianne Karlsen, the co-chair of the UN’s Adaptation Committee, which said that “[m]ore time is needed to reach an agreement,” while referring to the negotiations on loss and damage finance, he tweeted: “The one thing we have run out of is Time! Climate change impacts are already happening, and poor people are suffering losses and damages due to the emissions of the rich. Talk is no longer an acceptable substitute for action (money!)” Karlsen’s comment came in light of the treacle-slow process of agreement on the “loss and damage” agenda for the 27th Conference of Parties or COP27 meeting to be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November 2022.

In 2009, at COP15, developed countries of the world had agreed to a $100 billion annual adaptation assistance fund, which was supposed to be paid by 2020. This fund was intended to assist countries of the Global South to shift their reliance on carbon to renewal sources of energy and to adapt to the realities of the climate catastrophe. At the time of the Glasgow COP26 meeting in November 2021, however, developed countries were unable to meet this commitment. The $100 billion may seem like a modest fund, but is far less than the “Trillion Dollar Climate Finance Challenge,” that will be required to ensure comprehensive climate action.

The richer states—led by the West—have not only refused to seriously fund adaptation but they have also reneged on the original agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol (1997); the U.S. Congress has refused to ratify this important step toward mitigating the climate crisis. The United States has shifted the goalposts for reducing its methane emissions and has refused to account for the massive output of carbon emissions by the U.S. military.

Germany’s money goes to war not climate

Germany hosts the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In June, as a prelude to COP27, the UN held a conference in Bonn on climate change. The talks ended in acrimony over finance for what is known as “loss and damage.” The European Union consistently blocked all discussions on compensation. Eddy Pérez of the Climate Action Network, Canada, said, “Consumed by their narrow interests, rich nations and in particular countries in the European Union, came to the Bonn Climate Conference to block, delay and undermine efforts from people and communities on the frontlines addressing the losses and damage caused by fossil fuels.”

On the table is the hypocrisy of countries such as Germany, which claims to lead on these issues, but instead has been sourcing fossil fuels overseas and has been spending increasing funds on their military. At the same time, these countries have denied support to developing countries facing devastation from climate-induced superstorms and rising seas.

After the recent German elections, hopes were raised that the new coalition of the Social Democrats with the Green Party would lift up the green agenda. However, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has promised €100 billion for the military, “the biggest increase in the country’s military expenditure since the end of the Cold War.” He has also committed to “[spending] more than 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product on the military.” This means more money for the military and less money for climate mitigation and green transformation.

The military and climate catastrophe

The money that is being swallowed into the Western military establishments does not only drift away from any climate spending but also promotes greater climate catastrophe. The U.S. military is the largest institutional polluter on the planet. The maintenance of its more than 800 military bases around the world, for instance, means that the U.S. military consumes 395,000 gallons of oil daily. In 2021, the world’s governments spent $2 trillion on weapons, with the leading countries being those who are the richest (as well as the most sanctimonious on the climate debate). Money is available for war but not to deal with the climate catastrophe.

The way weapons have poured into the Ukraine conflict gives many of us pause. The prolongation of that war has placed 49 million more people at risk of famine in 46 countries, according to the “Hunger Hotspots” report by the United Nations agencies, as a result of the extreme weather conditions and due to conflicts. Conflict and organized violence were the main sources of food insecurity in Africa and the Middle East, specifically in northern Nigeria, central Sahel, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen and Syria. The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the food crisis by driving up the price of agricultural commodities. Russia and Ukraine together account for around 30 percent of the global wheat trade. So, the longer the Ukraine war continues, the more “hunger hotspots” will grow, taking food insecurity beyond just Africa and the Middle East.

While one COP meeting has already taken place on the African continent, another will take place later this year. First, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, hosted the UN Convention to Combat Desertification in May and then Sharm el-Sheikh will host the UN Climate Change Conference. These are major forums for African states to put on the table the great damage done to parts of the continent due to the climate catastrophe.

When the representatives of the countries of the world gather at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November 2022 for COP27, they will hear Western representatives talk about climate change, make pledges, and then do everything possible to continue to exacerbate the catastrophe. What we saw in Bonn is a prelude to what will be a fiasco in Sharm el-Sheikh. ... he-planet/


Heat waves tied to Big Energy capitalism
July 14, 2022 Scott Scheffer


The population of the world is enduring crises from climate change that, until recently, climatologists thought may only happen decades from now.

Still, major energy companies and their banking partners are quietly investing heavily in oil wells and coal mining projects that would produce a massive surge in greenhouse gas emissions. The capitalist government is supposed to rein in the greed of corporations when it threatens the stability of the system.

But the earth is cooking, people are dying, livelihoods being destroyed, and even larger environmental crises are looming, and the three branches of the U.S. government are enabling at best  — and facilitating at worst — the continued deadly emissions of methane and CO2 that threaten the habitability of the Earth.

Contradictions of capitalist science

It was a long time before climatologists acknowledged the correlation between extreme weather events and greenhouse gasses. One of the great contradictions of the capitalist economy is that science has moved forward at an astonishing rate compared to previous social systems, but at the same time scientific knowledge is kept on a short leash.

The unbelievable heatwave that hit the Pacific Northwest a year ago was so outside the realm of normality that it broke the scientific information blockade. Forces seeking to protect fossil fuel investors have pushed climate denial, but the June 2021 heatwave brought about the public debut of “Attribution Science,” a branch of climate change research that has been developing for years.

Attribution scientists can now use statistics and, with a good degree of confidence, determine how much more likely extreme weather events are in the era of rising global temperatures. Dr. Sjoukje Philip of World Weather Attribution Initiative asserted that the Pacific Northwest heatwave “would have been virtually impossible without human-induced climate change.” She and others estimated that event to be a one-in-a-thousand-year occurrence.

The science is still developing and some types of severe weather – like tornados – are less understood. But the study of heatwaves has yielded the most success. The study is more than academic. Understanding the relationship between heatwaves and other extreme weather and being able to forecast will help with adaptation to changing climate and can save lives.

A 2018 article on that focused on the increase in deadly heat waves over the last several decades said:

“Heat waves are more than just uncomfortable, they are dangerous, deadly, and the most obvious manifestation of a warming climate. They are repeated events of increased prevalence around the world, which are only forecasted to get worse as we keep pumping heat trapping gasses into the atmosphere.”

To understand the significance of this quote, one need only think back to the 1995 heat wave in Chicago that killed 739 mostly senior citizens over five days.

Year-over-year all-time temperature records are dropping like flies. BBC reported that in 2019 between May 1 and August 30 almost 400 records were toppled in 29 countries. The year 2022 has seen more high-temperature records broken.

On July 30 the temperature in Baghdad, Iraq, was 125℉. Triple digit temperatures in two separate areas of India persisted for weeks, moderated slightly and then resumed until the monsoon season finally brought some relief.

Beginning in June and continuing as of this writing, heat records have been topped in France, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Germany, Spain and Portugal. The second of nearly back-to-back heat waves in the U.S. is affecting some 50 million people with temperatures in some parts of the South reaching 115℉ or higher. Also in June, the hottest temperatures ever for the region were recorded in 25 different areas of eastern China and throughout Japan.

Every dangerous event caused by the use of fossil fuels yields others. The crises are cascading. Scientists are now studying how the world’s ocean and air currents, distorted by the effects of greenhouse gasses, are distributing heat waves to particular areas of the Northern Hemisphere causing them to be concurrent, as they have been in the U.S. and India in 2022.

No ‘green new deal’

The Biden crew put on a good “green” show in the election campaign and in the early days after winning the White House. The new administration pushed a $2 trillion climate-change proposal.

The proposal was less substantial than the “green new deal” that was circulated by the more progressive Democratic congressional group nicknamed “the Squad,” but still stood no chance of passage in the face of an energy corporation-backed onslaught in Congress.

Now, however, Biden’s White House doesn’t look so “green.” They’ve issued more gas and oil drilling permits than the Trump administration, pushed Saudi Arabia to pump more oil and held the largest offshore drilling rights federal auction in years.

This is all being done to counter Russia’s oil and gas sales to Europe which the U.S. is trying to supplant. Their effort to do so has been ratcheted up with the sanctions against Russia and the pressure on European countries over the war in Ukraine. The surrender by Biden to the big energy section of the ruling class points to the dominance of energy companies and their investors under U.S. capitalism.

But none of that means that big energy can’t be stopped. After winning the drilling rights in Biden’s auction in the Gulf of Mexico, ExxonMobil and others were salivating over the potential profits. But in January, a federal judge invalidated the auction saying that the Biden administration failed to properly account for the climate change impact.

Earthjustice and four other environmental groups had challenged the sale and won. Activism to stop the energy giants is the key. So many lives are affected that the struggle will inevitably be taken up by the working classes and oppressed people who suffer the most throughout the world. A portion of the U.S. ruling class recognizes that potential for a heightened struggle that could morph into a class battle that would finally bring capitalism itself to an end. ... apitalism/

'Activism schmaktivism, nothin' gets the job done like expropriation without compensation, and there's only one way that's happening....
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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