Opinion | France’s New Protest Movement Is Tailor Made for the Macron Era – By Agnès C. Poirier – The New York Times

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By Agnès C. Poirier
Ms. Poirier is a writer and political commentator.

Nov. 28, 2018

A member of the Gilets Jaunes, or Yellow Vests movement, at a protest against rising fuel taxes, on the Champs-Élysées in Paris on Saturday.
Credit
Michel Euler/Associated Press

PARIS — Familiar Parisian images are back in the news: black smoke billowing from makeshift barricades on the Champs-Élysées; cobblestones hurled at the police by protesters; the Arc de Triomphe disappearing behind a cloud of tear gas. But this time, the images feature something new: The protesters are wearing yellow, high-visibility vests.

They aren’t longhaired students or militant trade unionists or even angry farmers. They are unaffiliated with a political party and they come from a variety of class backgrounds. Leaderless, they have gathered thanks to social media and they have pointedly called themselves Gilets Jaunes, or Yellow Vests. They are shaking French politics to the core.

The movement began about a month ago, with groups of friends on Facebook complaining about an increase in diesel prices put in place by the government of President Emmanuel Macron to try to curb carbon emissions. Seemingly from nowhere, the disparate conversations converged on a date for action: Nov. 17. Hundreds of thousands would gather around the country to demonstrate against the fuel price hike, which they feel unfairly burdens the millions of people who live in small towns and the countryside, where they can’t get around by public transportation or electric scooters.

Their high-visibility yellow vests — which French drivers are legally required to keep in their vehicle to make sure they are seen on the side of the road if their car breaks down — identify them as car drivers rather than metro riders. But they also send a clear message: They want to be seen by their young president.

via Opinion | France’s New Protest Movement Is Tailor Made for the Macron Era – The New York Times

Opinion | We Need a High Wall With a Big Gate – by Thomas Friedman – The New York Times

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There are now more climate refugees, economic migrants searching for work and political refugees just searching for order than at any point since World War II, nearly 70 million people according to the International Rescue Committee, and 135 million more in need of humanitarian aid.

A responsible presidential candidate in 2020 needs a policy that rationally manages the flow of immigrants into our country and offers a strategy to help stabilize the world of disorder through climate change mitigation, birth control diffusion, reforestation, governance assistance and support for small-scale farmers.

This is our biggest geopolitical problem today. Forget the “Space Corps”; I’d make the “Peace Corps” our fifth service. We should have an Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Peace Corps, to send Americans to help stabilize small farms and governance in the world of disorder.

And this has to be a global project, with the U.S., Europe, India, Korea, China, Russia, Japan all contributing. Otherwise the world of order is going to be increasingly challenged by refugees from the world of disorder, and all rational discussions of immigration will go out the

via Opinion | We Need a High Wall With a Big Gate – The New York Times

The American Casualties of Trump’s Trade War – By Guy Lawson – The New York Times

InconvenientNews.Net

By Guy Lawson
Nov. 28, 2018

“Sam Cobb was surprised to see so many people lined up for a hearing at the International Trade Commission in Washington on the morning of Monday, Aug. 20. The chief executive of Real Wood Floors, Cobb was a veteran of such proceedings, which were usually sleepy affairs, populated by white-shoe attorneys fighting over arcane legal definitions. For this hearing, though, the line stretched out the door and onto the sidewalk along E Street, where the people waiting to get in were surrounded by a scrum of television cameramen. In the preceding weeks, the Trump administration had floated a proposal to place punitive import tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, and the politics of global trade had suddenly burst into the headlines.

In the packed hearing room, Cobb listened as dozens of witnesses detailed how tariffs on Chinese-made bicycles and tires and fruit juice…

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The American Casualties of Trump’s Trade War – By Guy Lawson – The New York Times

By Guy Lawson
Nov. 28, 2018

“Sam Cobb was surprised to see so many people lined up for a hearing at the International Trade Commission in Washington on the morning of Monday, Aug. 20. The chief executive of Real Wood Floors, Cobb was a veteran of such proceedings, which were usually sleepy affairs, populated by white-shoe attorneys fighting over arcane legal definitions. For this hearing, though, the line stretched out the door and onto the sidewalk along E Street, where the people waiting to get in were surrounded by a scrum of television cameramen. In the preceding weeks, the Trump administration had floated a proposal to place punitive import tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, and the politics of global trade had suddenly burst into the headlines.

In the packed hearing room, Cobb listened as dozens of witnesses detailed how tariffs on Chinese-made bicycles and tires and fruit juice — and the reciprocal taxes that would inevitably be imposed on American exports to China in response — would lead to higher prices and lost jobs in the United States. This was part of a series of public hearings to address a proposed Section 301 tariff list, named after the provision of the Trade Act of 1974 that permits the United States to impose tariffs on other nations in response to unfair trade practices — in this case, the administration claimed, the Chinese theft of intellectual property. The proposed tariffs would hit businesses from virtually every industry, including many that had little to do with intellectual property.

For Cobb and the 247 employees of Real Wood’s affiliated companies, the stakes were high. Their business is exporting hardwood from the forests of southern Missouri to their partners in China, who mill it into veneer, laminate it to a plywood subsurface and finish it into designer flooring. The partners then ship the engineered hardwood back to Real Wood, which sells it to high-end builders from coast to coast — an ocean-spanning supply chain that nevertheless keeps costs down. The simple possibility of tariffs had killed virtually all the company’s orders for engineered hardwood from China. Real Wood was already paying an anti-dumping duty of as much as 25 percent on much of the flooring it imported from that country, a tariff that the International Trade Commission had levied on a number of Chinese flooring companies whose prices it deemed to be below market value. The Trump administration’s proposal called for an additional 10 percent tariff, with the threat of a further 15 percent in 2019, which Cobb claimed would force Real Wood to make large price increases and would hamstring the whole industry.”

Five Takeaways From Our New China Project – by Megan Specia – The New York Times

By Megan Specia Nov. 21, 2018 阅读简体中文版閱讀繁體中文版Leer en español How did China do it? When The New York Times set out to take a big-picture look at China, the what was obvious enough: Across the Pacific Ocean from the United States lies the world’s newest superpower, a rival to American interests both economic and political. The how was another matter. How did the land once commonly — and with some disdain — known in the West as Communist China

“How did China do it?

When The New York Times set out to take a big-picture look at China, the what was obvious enough: Across the Pacific Ocean from the United States lies the world’s newest superpower, a rival to American interests both economic and political.

The how was another matter.

How did the land once commonly — and with some disdain — known in the West as Communist China come to lead the world in the number of homeowners, internet users, college graduates and, by some counts, billionaires?

How did a once-cloistered nation with a flailing economy drive extreme poverty down to less than 1 percent? How did it achieve social economic mobility unrivaled by much of the world?

And perhaps most of all, how did a country that rejected all of the conventional wisdom Western economists had to offer arrive at a moment when it is on track to surpass the American economy and become the world’s largest?”

Source: Five Takeaways From Our New China Project – The New York Times

The Insect Apocalypse Is Here – By Brooke Jarvis – The New York Times

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Image and story from NYT Magazine Dec 1, 2018

“Because insects are legion, inconspicuous and hard to meaningfully track, the fear that there might be far fewer than before was more felt than documented. People noticed it by canals or in backyards or under streetlights at night — familiar places that had become unfamiliarly empty. The feeling was so common that entomologists developed a shorthand for it, named for the way many people first began to notice that they weren’t seeing as many bugs. They called it the windshield phenomenon.

To test what had been primarily a loose suspicion of wrongness, Riis and 200 other Danes were spending the month of June roaming their country’s back roads in their outfitted cars. They were part of a study conducted by the Natural History Museum of Denmark, a joint effort of the University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University and North Carolina State University. The nets would stand in for windshields as Riis and the other volunteers drove through various habitats — urban areas, forests, agricultural tracts, uncultivated open land and wetlands — hoping to quantify the disorienting sense that, as one of the study’s designers put it, “something from the past is missing from the present.”

When the investigators began planning the study in 2016, they weren’t sure if anyone would sign up. But by the time the nets were ready, a paper by an obscure German entomological society had brought the problem of insect decline into sharp focus. The German study found that, measured simply by weight, the overall abundance of flying insects in German nature reserves had decreased by 75 percent over just 27 years. If you looked at midsummer population peaks, the drop was 82 percent.”

via The Insect Apocalypse Is Here – The New York Times

David Lindsay: Thank you Brooke Jarvis.  Here are the two top comments which I endorsed:

wedge1
minnesota

I live in the midwest and have marketed field and farm seed for over 40 years. When you walk in a field of GMO corn that has been sprayed with Glyphosate AND the plant is producing proteins that when ingested by bugs kills them…you have a field with NO BUGS…not a sound. No buzzing. Nothing. Then you spray the the soybean field next to it for aphids in July with a non selective insecticide and you kill more beneficial bugs than the target bug you are after. Big Ag is destroying the planet under the guise of ‘we will all starve if we don’t do it this way” Time for the public to wake up.

ML commented 5 hours ago

ML
Princeton, N.J.
Times Pick

I’ve lived on a small patch of old growth forest in the center of NJ for 25 years, I’ve kept bees for 10. When the kids were little we would go out into the nearby fields to catch the huge grasshoppers that sprung up at every step. My grandchildren have never seen a grasshopper. My first colony of bees lived 5 years. The last two years both colonies have died both years. I believe that the change is accelerating, 25 years ago we had bats, swallows, orioles, bluebirds and owls. They are all gone now.

Is Exxon Conning Its Investors?  The New York Times Editorial

By The Editorial Board

Nov. 25, 2018, 195
Credit
Antonio Sortino
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CreditCreditAntonio Sortino

“In August, a lawyer for Exxon Mobil told a state court in Manhattan that New York’s attorney general should either sue the company for misleading investors about the impact of climate change on its finances or drop the case. “They should put up or shut up,” the lawyer, Theodore Wells Jr., said of a tangled case that had dragged on for more than two years. The weary judge, Barry Ostrager, agreed. “This cannot go on interminably,” he said.

Put-up time has arrived. Late last month, Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed a fraud lawsuit against the company. Exxon responded with a 38-page brief basically denying everything. And Judge Ostrager has set a trial date for October of next year.

Much can happen between now and then. But the judge’s decision to allow the case to proceed could provide a rare teaching moment that allows the public to see a powerful company grappling with the kinds of choices that all legacy fossil fuel companies will surely face in a carbon-constrained world.

The case is not a rehash of the copiously documented charge that Exxon had for years subsidized climate change denialist groups even as its own scientists were acutely aware of the dangers of global warming. That charge is partly what inspired Ms. Underwood’s predecessor, Eric Schneiderman, to begin investigating the company in the first place. But Exxon has since agreed that climate change is a problem, supported the Paris agreement and invested in cleaner fuels. Nor does the suit hold the company responsible for climate change, unlike several cases against the fossil fuel industry brought by New York City and other localities seeking damages from the rise of sea levels and other consequences of a warming world. Most of these suits have been thrown out of court.”

The World Needs to Quit Coal. Why Is It So Hard? – By Somini Sengupta – The New York Times

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“HANOI, Vietnam — Coal, the fuel that powered the industrial age, has led the planet to the brink of catastrophic climate change.

Scientists have repeatedly warned of its looming dangers, most recently on Friday, when a major scientific report issued by 13 United States government agencies warned that the damage from climate change could knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the American economy by century’s end if significant steps aren’t taken to rein in warming.

An October report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on global warming found that avoiding the worst devastation would require a radical transformation of the world economy in just a few years.

Central to that transformation: Getting out of coal, and fast.

And yet, three years after the Paris agreement, when world leaders promised action, coal shows no sign of disappearing. While coal use looks certain to eventually wane worldwide, according to the latest assessment by the International Energy Agency, it is not on track to happen anywhere fast enough to avert the worst effects of climate change. Last year, in fact, global production and consumption increased after two years of decline.”

Source: The World Needs to Quit Coal. Why Is It So Hard? – The New York Times

Trump Administration’s Strategy on Climate: Try to Bury Its Own Scientific Report – By Coral Davenport – The New York Times

Coral Davenport
By Coral Davenport
Nov. 25, 2018, 472

“WASHINGTON — The Trump White House, which has defined itself by a willingness to dismiss scientific findings and propose its own facts, on Friday issued a scientific report that directly contradicts its own climate-change policies.

That sets the stage for a remarkable split-screen political reality in coming years. The administration is widely expected to discount or ignore the report’s detailed findings of the economic strain caused by climate change, even as it continues to cut environmental regulations, while opponents use it to mount legal attacks against the very administration that issued the report.

“This report will be used in court in significant ways,” said Richard L. Revesz, an expert in environmental law at New York University. “I can imagine a lawyer for the Trump administration being asked by a federal judge, ‘How can the federal government acknowledge the seriousness of the problem, and then set aside the rules that protect the American people from the problem?’ And they might squirm around coming up with an answer.”

The 1,656-page National Climate Assessment, which is required by Congress, is the most comprehensive scientific study to date detailing the effects of global warming on the United States economy, public health, coastlines and infrastructure. It describes in precise detail how the warming planet will wreak hundreds of billions of dollars of damage in coming decades.”

U.S. Climate Report Warns of Damaged Environment and Shrinking Economy – By Coral Davenport and Kendra Pierre-Louis – The New York Times

Coral DavenportKendra Pierre-Louis
By Coral Davenport and Kendra Pierre-Louis
Nov. 23, 2018 751

“WASHINGTON — A major scientific report issued by 13 federal agencies on Friday presents the starkest warnings to date of the consequences of climate change for the United States, predicting that if significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the damage will knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the American economy by century’s end.

The report, which was mandated by Congress and made public by the White House, is notable not only for the precision of its calculations and bluntness of its conclusions, but also because its findings are directly at odds with President Trump’s agenda of environmental deregulation, which he asserts will spur economic growth.

Mr. Trump has taken aggressive steps to allow more planet-warming pollution from vehicle tailpipes and power plant smokestacks, and has vowed to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, under which nearly every country in the world pledged to cut carbon emissions. Just this week, he mocked the science of climate change because of a cold snap in the Northeast, tweeting, “Whatever happened to Global Warming?”
But in direct language, the 1,656-page assessment lays out the devastating effects of a changing climate on the economy, health and environment, including record wildfires in California, crop failures in the Midwest and crumbling infrastructure in the South. Going forward, American exports and supply chains could be disrupted, agricultural yields could fall to 1980s levels by midcentury and fire season could spread to the Southeast, the report finds.”