Opinion | If Politicians Can’t Face Climate Change, Extinction Rebellion Will – The New York Times

A new movement is demanding solutions. They may just be in time to save the planet.

By David Graeber

Mr. Graeber is an anthropologist and activist.

 Extinction Rebellion members during climate protests in London last week.CreditFrank Augstein/Associated Press

“On April 15, thousands of activists from a movement called Extinction Rebellion started occupying several sites in central London, shutting down major roads and demanding the country’s politicians take immediate, drastic action in the face of climate change.

For more than a week, the streets were awash with an infectious sort of hope. Beyond the potent symbol of popular power represented by their presence in the heart of the city, activists and passers-by had the chance to experiment with collective politics. Yes, there were camera-worthy stunts and impossible-to-ignore disruptions of business as usual. But people also assembled, broke into discussion groups and returned with proposals. If the government wasn’t talking about the climate, Extinction Rebellion would lead by example.

The action was the crest of a wave that arguably began with the high school walkouts over the climate that had been sweeping Europe since late last year, and it was remarkable for including thousands of citizens — many from small towns with no experience of radical politics — who were willing, sometimes even eager, to risk arrest.

Their demands were, and are, simple. First, that the government declare a state of emergency and “tell the truth” about the global situation — that thousands of species are in danger of extinction, that there is a very real possibility that human life itself may eventually follow. Second, that Britain set a goal to eliminate all carbon emissions by 2025, and third, that the specifics of this emergency program be worked out not from above, but through the creation of citizens’ assemblies.”

Opinion | Can Exxon Mobil Protect Mozambique From Climate Change? – By Leigh Elston – The New York Times

Quote

By Leigh Elston
Ms. Elston writes about the energy industry in sub-Saharan Africa.

March 26, 2019

A A A family stranded after Cyclone Ida in the Buzi District of Mozambique last Thursday.CreditCreditSiphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
“MAPUTO, Mozambique — On Tuesday evening, five days after Cyclone Idai hit central Mozambique and the rains started, thousands of survivors were still stranded, waiting to be rescued from trees or the roofs of houses.

On that same evening, far from the floods, I was in an air-conditioned office here in the capital with a group of bankers and oil industry executives, hearing about how rich and happy Mozambicans would soon be. Standard Bank was presenting a new report on the billions of dollars it predicted the Mozambique government will earn from the giant natural gas projects the American oil companies Exxon Mobil and Anadarko plan to start building in the northernmost province of Cabo Delgado this year.

We observed a minute of silence for the victims of the flood. What was not observed was the possibility that climate change, driven by the oil and gas industry, had any responsibility for the natural disaster.

If the Standard Bank report is right, Mozambique will earn $80 billion to $100 billion over the next 30 years from Exxon’s project alone. Anadarko’s project is estimated to deliver $67 billion. Those are huge sums in a country whose gross domestic product is estimated to be around $14 billion.

ADVERTISEMENT

With that kind of money, the government could hire around 850 doctors and 17,600 teachers, build 3,200 low-cost homes and provide 4,000 hospital beds, the bank estimates.

It could rebuild Beira, Mozambique’s fourth-largest city, 90 percent of which is estimated to have been damaged or destroyed by Cyclone Idai, and the town of Buzi, home to 200,000 inhabitants, which is totally submerged.

It could also fund a proper climate risk management and resilience program, which would be able to provide better warning of disasters, giving people time to evacuate, and improve rescue and relief efforts. It could finance the building of houses, schools, hospitals and roads better able to withstand storms and flooding.

This should be a priority. Mozambique ranks third in Africa as the most exposed to weather-related hazards, including cyclones, droughts and floods — the number and intensity of which are likely to increase.”

via Opinion | Can Exxon Mobil Protect Mozambique From Climate Change? – The New York Times

Thank you Leigh Elston for this tragic and disturbing story. It breaks my heart, because, I sense deeply, that it is beyond my powers to help the poor and middle class of Mozambique, or to stop the government from stealing the wealth of the country, while contributing to the ruin of the planet’s environments.

Copenhagen Wants to Show How Cities Can Fight Climate Change – The New York Times

Quote

By Somini Sengupta      Photographs by Charlotte de la Fuente
March 25, 2019,   189

COPENHAGEN — Can a city cancel out its greenhouse gas emissions?

Copenhagen intends to, and fast. By 2025, this once-grimy industrial city aims to be net carbon neutral, meaning it plans to generate more renewable energy than the dirty energy it consumes.

Here’s why it matters to the rest of the world: Half of humanity now lives in cities, and the vast share of planet-warming gases come from cities. The big fixes for climate change need to come from cities too. They are both a problem and a potential source of solutions.

The experience of Copenhagen, home to 624,000 people, can show what’s possible, and what’s tough, for other urban governments on a warming planet.

The mayor, Frank Jensen, said cities “can change the way we behave, the way we are living, and go more green.” His city has some advantages. It is small, it is rich and its people care a lot about climate change.

via Copenhagen Wants to Show How Cities Can Fight Climate Change – The New York Times

Becoming Greta: ‘Invisible Girl’ to Global Climate Activist With Bumps Along the Way – By Somini Sengupta – The New York Times

Quote

By Somini Sengupta
Feb. 18, 2019,  159 c

STOCKHOLM — It’s complicated being Greta.

Small, shy, survivor of crippling depression, Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish girl skipping school to shame the world into addressing climate change, drew a parade of fans one Friday in February on a frozen square in Stockholm.

Six Swiss students had traveled 26 hours by train to seek her support for their petition for a tougher Swiss carbon emissions law. An Italian scientist told her she reminded him of his younger, activist self. A television news crew hovered around her. Women from an antismoking group came to give her a T-shirt.

Greta nodded, whispered, “Thanks,” posed for pictures. Made exactly zero small talk.

All this attention, she said out of earshot of the others, is great. It means “people are listening.” But then, a knife-blade flash of rage revealed itself.

“It’s sometimes annoying when people say, ‘Oh you children, you young people are the hope. You will save the world’” she said, after several grown-ups had told her just that. “I think it would be helpful if you could help us just a little bit.”

via Becoming Greta: ‘Invisible Girl’ to Global Climate Activist, With Bumps Along the Way – The New York Times

Editorial | Grown-Ups Get a Scolding on Climate – The New York Times

Quote

Inspired by a Swedish teenager, students around the world on Friday will protest political inaction.

By The Editorial Board
The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.

March 12, 2019

Image
CreditCreditChristine Rösch

The girl in long braids and lavender pants was in striking contrast to the rich and powerful adults gathered in Davos in January for the World Economic Forum, and her brief address lacked the usual niceties.

“Adults keep saying, ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope,’” she said. “But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”

The applause was tepid.

Hers was not a tone grown-ups welcome from a 16-year-old. But Greta Thunberg is someone they should listen to. In fact, must listen to.

Not because the catastrophe she sees coming is news: The warnings of impending climatic catastrophe are already deafening — in the 2018 report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which warns that we are less than 12 years away from the point of no return; in the findings of 13 United States federal agencies that describe the grave threats posed by climate change to the nation; in the extremes of weather reported daily; in the vanishing Arctic ice, raging wildfires, violent tornadoes and other consequences of an overheating planet that appear with ever increasing frequency.

via Opinion | Grown-Ups Get a Scolding on Climate – The New York Times

No One Is Taking Your Hamburgers. But Would It Even Be a Good Idea? – by Kendra Pierre-Louis – The New York Times

Quote

. . . .    . . .    “The beef with beef
Agriculture was responsible for 9 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States in 2016, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. While the sectors with the most emissions were transportation and electricity generation, at 28 percent each, United States agricultural emissions were still greater than Britain’s total emissions in 2014, according to data from the World Bank.

Cows and other ruminants are responsible for two-thirds of those agricultural emissions. Their guts produce methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that’s more potent at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, though it also dissipates faster. Cows release some of that methane through their flatulence, but much more by burping.

ADVERTISEMENT

Deer, camels and sheep also produce methane. But in the United States, it’s cows that primarily account for the 26.9 percent of methane emissions, more than any other source. Natural gas accounts for 25 percent.

via No One Is Taking Your Hamburgers. But Would It Even Be a Good Idea? – The New York Times

Opinion | Time to Panic – By David Wallace-Wells – The New York Times

Quote

By David Wallace-Wells
Mr. Wallace-Wells is the author of the forthcoming “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.”

Feb. 16, 2019,  1034 c
The age of climate panic is here. Last summer, a heat wave baked the entire Northern Hemisphere, killing dozens from Quebec to Japan. Some of the most destructive wildfires in California history turned more than a million acres to ash, along the way melting the tires and the sneakers of those trying to escape the flames. Pacific hurricanes forced three million people in China to flee and wiped away almost all of Hawaii’s East Island.

We are living today in a world that has warmed by just one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 1800s, when records began on a global scale. We are adding planet-warming carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at a rate faster than at any point in human history since the beginning of industrialization.

In October, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released what has become known as its “Doomsday” report — “a deafening, piercing smoke alarm going off in the kitchen,” as one United Nations official described it — detailing climate effects at 1.5 and two degrees Celsius of warming (2.7 and 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). At the opening of a major United Nations conference two months later, David Attenborough, the mellifluous voice of the BBC’s “Planet Earth” and now an environmental conscience for the English-speaking world, put it even more bleakly: “If we don’t take action,” he said, “the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

Scientists have felt this way for a while. But they have not often talked like it. For decades, there were few things with a worse reputation than “alarmism” among those studying climate change.

via Opinion | Time to Panic – The New York Times

David Lindsay: Bravo David Wallace-Wells. You have put into words what has been formulating in my mind for months, maybe years. I urge one and all to read the entire piece, and to get active in politics and sustainable living practices.

Regarding the IPCC doomsday report, David Wallace Wells wrote:

“The thing that was new was the message: It is O.K., finally, to freak out. Even reasonable. This, to me, is progress. Panic might seem counterproductive, but we’re at a point where alarmism and catastrophic thinking are valuable, for several reasons.

The first is that climate change is a crisis precisely because it is a looming catastrophe that demands an aggressive global response, now. In other words, it is right to be alarmed. The emissions path we are on today is likely to take us to 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming by 2040, two degrees Celsius within decades after that and perhaps four degrees Celsius by 2100.”

David Lindsay:  Most species, including humans, will not survive such temperature increases.

Kathleen Schomaker and I now have a folk music concert and sing-a-long to perform on Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction, which also includes a few short readings and humor. We are actively trying to cheerfully sound the alarm, and hope to perform before new audiences. We can be reached at footmad.dl@gmail.com or davidlindsayjr@sbcglobal.net.

There are some great comments about the article above, Time to Panic, such as:

Cromer

What about overpopulation? If global warming is caused at least primarily by human activity, as I believe it is, then the spiraling population of the planet would seem to be the principal cause of global warming. Yet overpopulation , which was widely recognized as a major problem during the 1960s and 1970s, has become a taboo subject even while the earth’s population has enormously expanded. The right and the left both have their own distinct reasons for ignoring or denying the population crisis, and many powerful economic forces have an incentive to discourage anything that might prevent short-term economic expansion. In the long-term, however, everyone is likely to suffer from the catastrophic effects of population growth.

Chuck Burton commented February 16

Chuck Burton
Mazatlan, Mexico

I have been coming to this beach regularly since 1975. Though I am scientifically literate, I do not have enough knowledge and/or education to parse these scientific arguments. And it is so unnecessary anyway. The birds are basically gone, at best visiting here in very small numbers which seem to dwindle each year. Gone. Let me say that again. The birds are gone.

betty durso commented February 16

betty durso
philly area

McConnell thinks he’s so smart to call for a vote on the Green New Deal. I wish it would backfire like Brexit did in the U.K. If we know whar’s good for us we won’t support anyone who votes no. Trump can mock it all he likes, but we know whose side he’s on–those who want to get fossil fuel out of the ground fast before the world switches to clean energy. Revolutionary change can happen if we throw out this bought and paid for poor excuse for a congress. It’s time they worked for us and our children’s future. If and when this comes to a vote , remember who opted for the polluters.

Teenagers Emerge as a Force in Climate Protests Across Europe – By Milan Schreuer- Elian Peltier and Christopher F. Schuetze – The New York Times

Quote

By Milan SchreuerElian Peltier and Christopher F. Schuetze

BRUSSELS — Tens of thousands of children skipped school in Belgium on Thursday to join demonstrations for action against climate change, part of a broader environmental protest movement across Europe that has gathered force over the past several weeks.

In Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland and elsewhere, activists have come together on social media to gather in large numbers and without much apparent preparation, the protests taking a different shape in each country.

In Germany, students have protested on Fridays, communicating mainly through the messaging app WhatsApp; in Belgium, they organize on Facebook and have skipped school by the thousands on four consecutive Thursdays.

Last Sunday, climate protests in Brussels swelled to an estimated 100,000 people of all ages. That same day, an estimated 80,000 took part in cities across France — more than turned out for the “Yellow Vest” protests the day before.

 

via Teenagers Emerge as a Force in Climate Protests Across Europe – The New York Times

Opinion | The Green New Deal Rises Again – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

Quote

By Thomas L. Friedman
Opinion Columnist

Jan. 8, 2019,  30 c

A technician monitoring turbines at a wind farm in Glenrock, Wy.CreditCreditDamon Winter/The New York Times
“Back in 2007, I wrote a column calling for a “Green New Deal,” and I later expanded on the idea in a book, “Hot, Flat and Crowded.” Barack Obama picked up the theme and made a Green New Deal part of his 2008 platform, but the idea just never took off. So I’m excited that the new Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others have put forward their own takes on a Green New Deal, and it’s now getting some real attention.

There is no agreed-upon policy road map for a Green New Deal. But as one of the leading climate bloggers, Joe Romm, recently pointed out, “Since the midterms, dozens of U.S. representatives and at least four Democratic senators have pledged support to create a Select Committee to create legislation for a Green New Deal. The goal is a ‘detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan’ to rapidly transition the country away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy, such as a solar, wind, and electric cars.”

The Green New Deal that Ocasio-Cortez has laid out aspires to power the U.S. economy with 100 percent renewable energy within 12 years and calls for “a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one,” “basic income programs” and “universal health care,” financed, at least in part, by higher taxes on the wealthy. Critics argue that this is technically unfeasible and that combining it with democratic socialist proposals will drive off conservatives needed to pass it.

Myself, I like the urgency and energy she and groups like the Sunrise Movement are bringing to this task. So for now I say: Let a hundred Green New Deal ideas bloom! Let’s see what sticks and what falls by the wayside.”

via Opinion | The Green New Deal Rises Again – The New York Times

Opinion | Hope for a Green New Year – by Paul Krugman – The New York Times

Quote

Let’s be honest with ourselves: The new Democratic majority in the House won’t be able to enact new legislation. I’ll be astonished if there are bipartisan deals on anything important — even on infrastructure, where both sides claim to want action but what the G.O.P. really wants is an excuse to privatize public assets.

So the immediate consequences of the power shift in Washington won’t involve actual policymaking; they’ll come mainly from Democrats’ new, subpoena-power-armed ability to investigate the fetid swamp of Trumpian corruption.

But that doesn’t mean that Democrats should ignore policy issues. On the contrary, the party should spend the next two years figuring out what, exactly, it will try to do if it gains policymaking power in 2021. Which brings me to the big policy slogan of the moment: the so-called Green New Deal. Is this actually a good idea?

Yes, it is. But it’s important to go beyond the appealing slogan, and hash out many of the details. You don’t want to be like the Republicans, who spent years talking big about repealing Obamacare, but never worked out a realistic alternative.

via Opinion | Hope for a Green New Year – The New York Times