Climate change: Impacts ‘accelerating’ as leaders gather for UN talks – BBC News #auspol #qldpol #ClimateEmergency #StopAdani #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion Demand #ClimateAction

Climate change: Impacts ‘accelerating’ as leaders gather for UN talks – BBC News

The signs and impacts of global heating are speeding up, the latest science on climate change, published ahead of key UN talks in New York, says.

The data, compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), says the five-year period from 2014 to 2019 is the warmest on record. 

Sea-level rise has accelerated significantly over the same period, as CO2 emissions have hit new highs.

The WMO says carbon-cutting efforts have to be intensified immediately.

The climate statement is a pull-together of the latest science on the causes and growing impacts of unprecedented levels of warming seen in recent years. 

Recognising that global temperatures have risen by 1.1 degrees C since 1850, the paper notes they have gone up by 0.2C between 2011 and 2015.

BBC Weather’s Darren Bett

This is as a result of burgeoning emissions of carbon, with the amount of the gas going into the atmosphere between 2015 and 2019 growing by 20% compared with the previous five years. 

Perhaps most worrying of all is the data on sea-level rise. 

The average rate of rise since 1993 until now is 3.2mm per year. However, from May 2014 to 2019 the rise has increased to 5mm per year. The 10-year period from 2007-2016 saw an average of about 4mm per year. 

“Sea-level rise has accelerated and we are concerned that an abrupt decline in the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, which will exacerbate future rise,” said WMO secretary general Petteri Taalas.

“As we have seen this year with tragic effect in the Bahamas and Mozambique, sea-level rise and intense tropical storms led to humanitarian and economic catastrophes.” 

The report also highlights the threats to the oceans, with more than 90% of the excess heat caused by climate change ending up in the waters. The WMO analysis says 2018 had the highest ocean heat content values on record.

Millions of people join the environmental strike led by schoolchildren across the world

The study underlines the fact that wherever you look on the planet right now, the story is the same: human-induced warming is impacting the scale and intensity of extreme weather events such as heatwaves and wildfires. 

“Climate change due to us is accelerating and on a very dangerous course,” said Prof Brian Hoskins, chair of the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, and professor of meteorology, University of Reading.

“We should listen to the loud cry coming from the schoolchildren. There is an emergency – one for action in both rapidly reducing our greenhouse gas emissions towards zero and adapting to the inevitable changes in climate.”

‘No fancy speeches’

The WMO report is meant to inform the special UN summit on climate change taking place in New York on Monday.

A range of political leaders will attend the one-day event, which is designed to be about action and not words, according to UN secretary general António Guterres. 

“I told leaders not to come with fancy speeches, but with concrete commitments,” he said ahead of the meeting. 

“People want solutions, commitments and action. I expect there will be an announcement and unveiling of a number of meaningful plans on dramatically reducing emissions during the next decade, and on reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.”

Greta Thunberg and other youth activists, fresh from marching on the streets of New York on Friday, will speak at the opening of the meeting.

About 60 heads of state are expected to follow, with countries expected to announce new actions to limit the causes of warming or to speak on initiatives developed by a coalition of nations. 

While China, India, France, Germany and the UK will speak at the meeting, there is no place on the podium for Japan or Australia. 

Mr Guterres has asked that as well as committing to net-zero emissions by 2050, countries should reduce subsidies for fossil fuels and stop building new coal-fired power stations. The question of coal has led to the barring of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australia’s Scott Morrison.

The US, Brazil and Saudi Arabia will also not be taking part.

The success of the special summit remains in the balance – what isn’t in question is the urgency of action and the fact that delay means more difficult decisions down the line. 

“It is highly important that we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, notably from energy production, industry and transport. This is critical if we are to mitigate climate change and meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement,” said Petteri Taalas from the WMO.

“To stop a global temperature increase of more than 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, the level of ambition needs to be tripled. And to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees, it needs to be multiplied by five,” he said.

— Read on www.bbc.com/news/amp/science-environment-49773869

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It’s taken years, but at last there’s real hope for meaningful climate action | Politics | The Guardian #auspol #qldpol #GreenNewDeal #ClimateEmergency #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion

The young protesters have been inspiring. Politicians have to respond – and our Green New Deal bill will slash carbon emissions, says Green MP Caroline Lucas

The young protesters have been inspiring. Politicians have to respond – and our Green New Deal bill will slash carbon emissions

It’s been more than 10 years in the making, and is the top demand of the youth strikers gathering on Friday for the UK’s largest ever climate protest – which is why Friday is also the first attempt in Britain to put legislation in place to make a Green New Deal a reality for our country. Working with the Labour MP Clive Lewis, I am launching the full version of a Green New Deal bill (formal title, the decarbonisation and economic strategy bill), which sets out a transformative programme driven by the principles of justice and equity. It aims to move our economy away from its harmful dependence on carbon, at the scale and speed demanded by the science, and to build a society that lives within its ecological limits while reversing social and economic inequality.

Our country needs investment and a worker-led just transition. Too many areas have been all but abandoned by Westminster over the past 30 years: industries shut down with nothing to replace the jobs lost; people ignored and disempowered. I’m struck by the opportunities our country is missing, compared with the bold action taken by others. In Spain, for example, the closure of the coalmines comes with a £221m investment package, agreed with the unions, which includes environmental restoration of mining areas and reskilling of miners for green industries. UK workers want to be part of the sustainability revolution and we are denying them the chance.

So how will our bill help this? First, we need to fundamentally change the way our economy is managed, so that democratically elected governments – not the whims of the market – set our future direction. Freed from false economic constraints that benefit only the wealthy, public investment can go directly into productive activity that will, in turn, generate tax revenue. Our pensions and savings can also be redirected into new green bonds, generating a safe return and the investment needed.

It also means moving away from the pursuit of growth as the primary economic objective. Instead, we should prioritise health and wellbeing, reducing inequality and – crucially – tackling the climate emergency.

The bill proposes a Green New Deal commission, representing all sectors of society and multiple areas of expertise, which will draw up detailed plans. By focusing investment particularly in those areas and communities that have been failed most, and by ensuring that workers are at the forefront of designing a just transition, we’ll have the potential to build a broad and durable coalition that can sustain this transformation.

Government will work with the private sector to invest in the innovative work required to transform everything from manufacturing to the way we produce and consume energy, heat our homes, travel and grow food. This investment will create well-paid jobs and new industries across the country, producing tax revenues for the government.

The bill sets out yearly targets on emissions, inequality and wellbeing. In a report to accompany the bill, our advocacy organisation Green New Deal Groupproposes investing up to 5% of annual GDP, around £100bn annually, for the next 10 years. The shortage of “shovel-ready” projects means it may not be possible to spend those sums immediately. But what matters most is what we do in the near future: we need to invest in the infrastructure that will allow us to live within our ecological limits and take us towards the government’s declared goal of net-zero emissions – and well before 2050, which is far too late. And as Lord Deben, chair of the Committee on Climate Change, has said, the sooner we do it, the cheaper it will be.

This is not just about decarbonising our industry and transport systems with investment in railways and emissions-free bus travel. It is also about transforming our farming, and restoring soil health and biodiversity by directing subsidies towards farming methods that support this.

But it is also, crucially, about redistributing power in our country. We are one of the most centralised states in the western world, with power concentrated overwhelmingly in Westminster and, increasingly, Downing Street. Although the Green New Deal must be driven by national government, the details of the plans will be devised and implemented locally. Local authorities are best placed to develop detailed plans with the communities they represent.

It must be about international fairness too, and the bill accounts for this by ensuring finance and technology for the global south.

The years I have spent discussing the Green New Deal with economists and environmentalists have often felt like wasted years. The climate crisis has grown rapidly worse and biodiversity loss is accelerating. But the upsurge in support for climate action, particularly among young people, has been inspiring.

An overwhelming majority of the public think the climate emergency is the most important issue we face. Politicians need to respond: there is no time to waste and a nation to transform.

• Caroline Lucas is the Green party MP for Brighton Pavilion

— Read on amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/20/green-new-deal-bill-co2-emissions-britain-climate-action

‘We’re losing the race’: UN secretary general calls climate change an ’emergency’ | United Nations | The Guardian #ClimateEmergency #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion Demand #ClimateAction

António Guterres cites ‘fantastic leadership’ of young activists and is counting on public pressure to compel governments to honor the 2015 Paris Agreement.

by Mark Hertsgaard

The UN secretary general says that he is counting on public pressure to compel governments to take much stronger action against what he calls the climate change “emergency”.

“Governments always follow public opinion, everywhere in the world, sooner or later,” António Guterres, said on Tuesday in an interview with Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets, led by Columbia Journalism Review and the Nation, in partnership with the Guardian. Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal, added: “And so … we need to keep telling the truth to people and be confident that the political system, especially democratic political systems, will in the end deliver.”

Guterres refused to comment on Donald Trump and the Trump administration’s hostility to climate action, but a CBS News poll released on 15 September found that 69% of Americans want the next president to take action, while 53% say such action is needed “right now”. Guterres said that “it would be much better” if the US was “strongly committed to climate action”, just as it would be better if Asian countries [notably, China and Japan] stopped exporting coal plants. Until then, he said, “what I want is to have the whole society putting pressure on governments to understand they need to run faster. Because we are losing the race.”

With five days remaining before the UN climate action summit on 23 September, the secretary general cited the “fantastic leadership” of young activists as a leading example of how civil society can pressure governments to honor the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit temperature rise to “well below” 2C and preferably to 1.5C. Recent election results across Europe – where green parties gained significant public backing – also left Guterres optimistic that at next Monday’s summit the European Union will announce that it promises to be “carbon neutral” by 2050, as the Paris Agreement mandates.

“Nature is angry,” said Guterres, who recently returned from a visit to the Bahamas, where Hurricane Dorian unleashed what he called “total destruction”. He further cited ferocious drought in Africa, melting glaciers, bleaching coral reefs, the hottest month in recorded history last July, and potential future sea level rise of 10 to 20 meters (33 to 66ft) as evidence that, “You cannot play games with Nature. Nature strikes back.”

Don’t bring a speech – bring a plan, Guterres famously told heads of state and government in the months leading up to this summit, and it appears that only leaders who followed his instructions will be allowed to speak at the plenary session. To gain a slot, a country had to commit to doing one of three things, said UN officials: be carbon neutral by 2050; “significantly” increase how much it will cut emissions (or, in UN jargon, significantly strengthen its Nationally Determined Contribution); or make a “meaningful” pledge to the Green Climate Fund, a pool of money provided by wealthy countries to help developing countries leave fossil fuels behind and increase their resilience against climate disruption. UN officials expect that 60 to 70 countries will have made sufficiently solid commitments by next Monday that their leaders will be invited to outline their country’s plans from the dais, with each leader granted a mere three minutes to speak.

Climate activist protest near the UN headquarters on 30 August in New York. Photograph: Bryan R Smith/AFP/Getty Images

While emphasizing that he had no desire to intervene in the 2020 US presidential election, Guterres spoke positively about a proposal by a leading Democratic candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, for a Green New Deal that would be global. Most of the leading Democratic presidential candidates endorse one form or another of Green New Deal, a program in which the US government would create millions of jobs by investing in solar power, energy efficiency and other measures to reduce heat-trapping emissions. But a new report by the Nation magazine pointed out that only Sanders’ Green New Deal meets the scientific imperative of cutting global emissions by 45% by 2030 on the way to carbon neutrality by 2050. Sanders’ Green New Deal does this by pledging not only to slash emissions in the US but to help developing countries cut their emissions as well.

“The Paris Agreement was very clear,” said Guterres. “There was a commitment by the developed countries to mobilize $100bn per year, from private and public sources, to support the developing world both in mitigation [ie, reducing emissions] and adaptation [preparing against impacts]. Obviously, it is essential that all countries, including the United States, play a role in relation to this.”

Rich and poor countries have wrestled with the question of whether and how much financial assistance the rich should give the poor ever since governments first began debating the climate problem at the UN “Earth Summit” in 1992. The poor argue that the rich countries’ emissions are the foremost cause of global warming and climate disruption, while poor countries are the ones that suffer most of that disruption. Rich countries generally do not dispute those facts, and have given lip service to providing assistance, but actual contributions have been modest. The US, for example, has contributed only $1bn, and the Trump administration blocked any additional contributions.

Guterres said in the interview that “of course” he was aware of the global dimensions of Sanders’ Green New Deal, and he added that, “Any attitude from a country like United States to increase … finance to the developing world would be of course welcome.” As required by UN protocol, the secretary general was careful to add, “That doesn’t mean that we want to interfere in the American election.”

As a former elected official himself, Guterres also emphasized the need for governments to show the public that climate protection need not mean economic hardship. The secretary general advocates in particular climate-smart tax reform: reducing taxes on people’s incomes while increasing taxes on heat-trapping emissions. “If I [as a politician] take money from you with an increased carbon tax but I give you nothing in return, people will be against [it],” said Guterres. Although rarely described this way, corporate subsidies for production of fossil fuels are also a form of tax. “Let’s be clear: subsidies are paid with taxpayers’ money,” he said, adding with a smile, “I really do not like to see my money as a taxpayer going to bleach corals and melt glaciers.”

Guterres disputed a common criticism of a Green New Deal – that it will cost too much – by turning the question around. “What is the cost of the consequences of taking no action?” he asked. Depending on what governments do at the climate action summit next Monday, and are pressured to do by civil society in the weeks and years to come, the world may learn the answer to that question soon enough.

  • Mark Hertsgaard is the environment correspondent of the Nation and the author of seven books, including Earth Odyssey and HOT: Living Through The Next Fifty Years On Earth

— Read on amp.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/18/un-secretary-general-climate-crisis-trump

Embarrassment of Riches – George Monbiot #auspol #qldpol unlimited growth is mass suicide #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion #StopAdani #ClimateEmergency

Embarrassment of Riches – George Monbiot

For the sake of life on Earth, we should set an upper limit on the money any person can amass.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian, 19th September 2019 

It is not quite true that behind every great fortune lies a great crime. Musicians and novelists, for example, can become extremely rich by giving other people pleasure. But it does appear to be universally true that in front of every great fortune lies a great crime. Immense wealth translates automatically into immense environmental impacts, regardless of the intentions of those who possess it. The very wealthy, almost as a matter of definition, are committing ecocide. 

A few weeks ago, I received a letter from a worker at a British private airport. “I see things that really shouldn’t be happening in 2019,” he wrote. Every day he sees Global 7000 jets, Gulfstream 650s and even Boeing 737s take off from the airport carrying a single passenger, mostly flying to Russia and the US. The private Boeing 737s, built to take 174 seats, are filled at the airport with around 32,000 litres of fuel. That’s as much fossil energy as a small African town might use in a year.

Where are these single passengers going? Perhaps to visit one of their superhomes, constructed and run at vast environmental cost, or to take a trip on their superyacht, which might burn 500 litres of diesel per hour just ticking over, and is built and furnished with rare materials, extracted at the expense of stunning places. 

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that when Google convened a meeting of the rich and famous at the Verdura resort in Sicily this July to discuss climate breakdown, its delegates arrived in 114 private jets and a fleet of megayachts, and drove around the island in supercars. Even when they mean well, the ultrarich cannot help trashing the living world. 

For the sake of life on Earth, we should set an upper limit on the money any person can amass.

A series of research papers shows that income is by far the most important determinant of environmental impact. It doesn’t matter how green you think you are. If you have surplus money, you spend it. The only form of consumption that’s clearly and positively correlated with good environmental intentions is diet: people who see themselves as green tend to eat less meat and more organic vegetables. But attitudes have little bearing on the amount of transport fuel, home energy and other materials you consume. Money conquers all.

The disastrous effects of spending power are compounded by the psychological impacts of being wealthy. Plenty of studies show that the richer you are, the less you are able to connect with other people. Wealth suppresses empathy. One paper reveals that drivers in expensive cars are less likely to stop for people using pedestrian crossings than drivers in cheap cars. Another revealed that rich people were less able than poorer people to feel compassion towards children with cancer. Though they are disproportionately responsible for our environmental crises, the rich will be hurt least and last by planetary disaster, while the poor are hurt first and worst. The richer people are, the research suggests, the less such knowledge is likely to trouble them.

Another issue is that wealth limits the perspectives of even the best-intentioned people. This week Bill Gates argued in an interview with the Financial Times that divesting (ditching stocks) from fossil fuels is a waste of time. It would be better, he claimed, to pour money into disruptive new technologies with lower emissions. Of course we need new technologies. But he has missed the crucial point: in seeking to prevent climate breakdown, what counts is not what you do but what you stop doing. It doesn’t matter how many solar panels you install if you don’t simultaneously shut down coal and gas burners. Unless existing fossil fuel plants are retired before the end of their lives, and all exploration and development of new fossil fuels reserves is cancelled, there is little chance of preventing more than 1.5°C of global heating. 

But this requires structural change, which involves political intervention as well as technological innovation: anathema to Silicon Valley billionaires. It demands an acknowledgement that money is not a magic wand that makes all the bad stuff go away.  

On Friday, I’ll be joining the global climate strike, in which adults will stand with the young people whose call to action has resonated around the world. As a freelancer, I’ve been wondering who I’m striking against. Myself? Yes: one aspect of myself, at least. Perhaps the most radical thing we can now do is to limit our material aspirations. The assumption on which governments and economists operate is that everyone strives to maximise their wealth. If we succeed in this task, we inevitably demolish our life support systems. Were the poor to live like the rich, and the rich to live like the oligarchs, we would destroy everything. The continued pursuit of wealth, in a world that has enough already (albeit very poorly distributed) is a formula for mass destitution. 

A meaningful strike in defence of the living world is, in part, a strike against the desire to raise our incomes and accumulate wealth: a desire shaped, more than we are probably aware, by dominant social and economic narratives. I see myself as striking in support of a radical and disturbing concept: Enough. Individually and collectively, it is time to decide what enough looks like, and how to know when we’ve achieved it. 

There’s a name for this approach, coined by the Belgian philosopher Ingrid Robeyns: limitarianism. Robeyns argues that there should be an upper limit to the amount of income and wealth a person can amass. Just as we recognise a poverty line, below which no one should fall, we should recognise a riches line, above which no one should rise. This call for a levelling down is perhaps the most blasphemous idea in contemporary discourse.

But her arguments are sound. Surplus money allows some people to exercise inordinate power over others, in the workplace, in politics, and above all in the capture, use and destruction of natural wealth. If everyone is to flourish, we cannot afford the rich. Nor can we afford our own aspirations, that the culture of wealth maximisation encourages. 

The grim truth is that the rich are able to live as they do only because others are poor: there is neither the physical nor ecological space for everyone to pursue private luxury. Instead we should strive for private sufficiency, public luxury. Life on earth depends on moderation.

http://www.monbiot.com

— Read on www.monbiot.com/2019/09/20/embarrassment-of-riches/

‘We declare our support for #ExtinctionRebellion ‘: an open letter from Australia’s academics | Science | The Guardian #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #springst #wapol #ClimateEmergency #ClimateStrike #StopAdani

Leading academics from around the country say it is their moral duty to rebel, to ‘defend life itself’

We the undersigned represent diverse academic disciplines, and the views expressed here are those of the signatories and not their universities.

While our academic perspectives and expertise may differ, we are united on one point: we can no longer tolerate the failure of the Australian government, or any other government, to take robust and urgent action to address the worsening ecological crisis.

The science is clear, the facts are incontrovertible.

We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, with about 200 species becoming extinct each day.

This includes many species of insects, some of which are essential to our food systems. Many people around the world have already died or been displacedfrom the effects of a rapidly warming climate. July 2019 was the Earth’s hottest on record. Arctic peat is burning and ice is melting at rates far beyond even the most radical scientific predictions. The Amazon is burning at an alarming rate. All are creating devastating feedback loops, releasing more CO2 and reducing the Earth’s heat reflecting capacities.

Humans cannot continue to violate the fundamental laws of nature or ignore the basic science with impunity. As oceans rise and temperatures soar, ecosystems will continue to collapse. As resources diminish, social unrest and civilisation collapse are likely. The most marginalised and vulnerable in society will be hit first and hit hardest. And If we continue on our current path, the future of our own species is bleak.

The Earth has already undergone a 1C rise in global mean temperature since pre-industrial times and reports now suggest that a rise of any more than another 0.5C will be devastating. Preventing this will require a global transition to zero-carbon economies immediately. Conservative reports say we have 30 years to make this transition, but more recent science suggests we have closer to 10. Fortunately, we have the technology available to do this, but it will only be possible if we act now, and urgently.

Australia’s current climate policies and practices are dire. Rather than making the urgent structural changes necessary for a sustainable and just transition toward zero emissions, the Australian government is continuing to prop up and expand coal and other CO2-emitting industries. Australia is not even meeting its Paris agreement targets which, according to recent reports, are themselves far from adequate.

It is unconscionable that we, our children and grandchildren should have to bear the terrifying brunt of this unprecedented disaster. When a government wilfully abrogates its responsibility to protect its citizens from harm and secure the future for generations to come, it has failed in its most essential duty of stewardship. The ‘social contract’ has been broken, and it is therefore not only our right, but our moral duty, to rebel to defend life itself.

We therefore declare our support for the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement and the global week of non-violent civil disobedience and disruption planned for October. We stand behind XR’s demands for the Australian government to declare a climate emergency and to establish a citizens’ assembly to work with scientists on the basis of current evidence to develop a credible and just plan for rapid total decarbonisation of the economy.

In addition, we call on all Australian universities and other major institutions to immediately divest funds from all fossil fuel and other industries which are contributing to the climate crisis, and to redirect investments urgently toward the renewable energy sector and other climate enhancing technologies.

We also recognise the crucial role First Nations people in Australia and across the globe, have played for tens of thousands of years, and continue to play, in maintaining species, and caring for the land, water and air. We therefore declare our support for the urgent establishment of a treaty with First Nation Australians, to recognise Indigenous sovereignty and to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to continue protecting what they have already cared for, for so long.

Signed,

Dr Peta Malins, RMIT University

Prof Rob Watts, RMIT University

Kara Sandri, RMIT University

Prof Alison Young, University of Melbourne

Dr Kirsty Duncanson, La Trobe University

Dr Maria Elander, La Trobe University

Dr Rachel Loney-Howes, University of Wollongong

Dr Bianca Fileborn, University of Melbourne

Dr Kari Lancaster, University of New South Wales

Dr Hannah Robert, La Trobe University

Emeritus Prof Paul Patton, University of New South Wales

Dr Linda Kouvaras, University of Melbourne

Nadia David, RMIT University

Anna Hickey-Moody, RMIT University

Dr Kate Driscoll, RMIT University

Ellan Lincoln-Hyde, University of Melbourne Alumni

Catherine Strong, RMIT University

Prof Daniel Palmer, RMIT University

Assoc Prof Charles Livingstone, Monash University

Laura Griffin, La Trobe University

Dr Karen Crawley, Griffith University

Amy Boyle, University of Wollongong

Alasdair Henry, RMIT University

Prof Ian Lowe, Griffith University

Emeritus Prof Joseph A Camilleri OAM, La Trobe University

Dr Deborah Bower, University of New England

Prof Judith Bessant, RMIT University

Connor Jolley, RMIT University

Prof Jill Blackmore, FASSA AM, Deakin University

Emeritus Prof Anna Yeatman, Western Sydney University

Emeritus Professor Michael Rowan, University of South Australia

Dr Piper Rodd, Deakin University

Prof Jeff Malpas, University of Tasmania

Prof Janet McCalman AC, FAHA, FASSA, University of Melbourne

Dr Amy Nethery, Deakin University

Robin Bellingham, Deakin University

Gabrielle Dalsasso, University of Melbourne

Prof Patrick McGorry, University of Melbourne

Dr Francesca Bussey, Deakin University

Prof Paul James, Western Sydney University

Adj Prof Verity Burgmann, Monash University

Prof Andrew Milner, Monash University

Dr Charles Barbour, Western Sydney University

Dr Trace Ollis, Deakin University

Dr Maree Pardy, Deakin University

Prof Joseph M Siracusa, RMIT University

Michael Bird, James Cook University

Dr Lucinda McKnight, Deakin University

Lucy Maxwell, RMIT University

Dr Jo Elliott, Deakin University

Prof Lyn Yates, University of Melbourne

Prof Margaret Thornton, Australian National University

Assoc Prof Nicola Henry, RMIT University

Assoc Prof Vivien Holmes, ANU

Prof Keith Jacobs, University of Tasmania

Dr Crystal McKinnon, RMIT University

Dr Sharon Andrews, RMIT University

Dr Michael Crowhurst, RMIT University

Dr Larissa Sandy, RMIT University

Dr Liz Curran Assoc. Professor, ANU College of Law

Emeritus Prof Adrian Evans, Monash University

Dr Angelika Papadopoulos, RMIT University

Dr Simon Kerr, La Trobe University

Christine Craik, RMIT University

Dr Max Kelly, Deakin University

Dr Greg Dingle, La Trobe University

Anneka Ferguson, Australian National University

Dr Marcus Banks, RMIT University

Prof Rob White, University of Tasmania

Dr Eve Mayes, Deakin University

Belinda Johnson, RMIT University

Brooke Wilmsen, La Trobe University

Dr Benjamin Habib, La Trobe University

Dr Samantha Balaton-Chrimes, Deakin University

Dr Kellie Sanders, Deakin University

Danielle Chubb, Senior Lecturer, Deakin University

Dr Rebecca Monson, Australian National University

Prof Christine Parker, University of Melbourne

Liz Conor, La Trobe University.

Dr Kathryn Gilbey, University Southern Queensland

James Rowe, RMIT University

Dr Sebastian Cordoba, RMIT University

Assoc Prof Georgina Heydon, RMIT University

Bruce Mountain, Victoria University

Dr Anita Smith, La Trobe University

Assoc Prof Karien Dekker, RMIT University

Prof Emerita Carol Bacchi, University of Adelaide

Dr Ralph Newmark, La Trobe University

Pamela Taylor-Barnett, Australian National University

Peter Christoff, University of Melbourne

Assoc Prof Becky Batagol, Monash University

Dr Emily Gray, RMIT University

Melissa Laing, RMIT University

Juliana Ryan, RMIT University

Shane Duggan, RMIT University

Dr Monica Barratt, RMIT University

Dr Peter Ferguson, Deakin University

Orana Sandri, RMIT University

Adrian Farrugia, La Trobe University

Dr Alison Lugg, RMIT University

Philippa Collin, Western Sydney University

Aleryk Fricker, RMIT University

Peta White, Deakin University

Dr Marietta Martinovic, RMIT University

Dr Will Grant, ANU

Peter Chambers, RMIT University

Dr Rowena Maguire, Queensland University of Technology

Dr Elise Klein (OAM), University of Melbourne

Robin Cameron, RMIT University

Claire Loughnan, University of Melbourne

Thomas Moore, RMIT University

Assoc Prof Wendy Steele, RMIT University

Professor Jago Dodson, RMIT University

Assoc Prof Anastasia Powell, RMIT University

Professor Murray Lee, University of Sydney

Margareta Windisch, RMIT

Professor Kane Race, University of Sydney

Jane Park, University of Sydney

Prof Reece Walters, Deakin University

Prof Libby Porter, RMIT University

Prof Ron Adams, Victoria University

Prof Meaghan Morris, University of Sydney

Jharana Bhattarai, RMIT University

Dr Grace Sharkey, University of Sydney

Honorary Assoc Prof Anitra Nelson, RMIT University

Assoc Prof Asher Flynn, Monash University

Patricia Lloyd, ACU International, Melbourne

Dr Helen Keane, ANU

Assoc Prof Thom van Dooren, University of Sydney

Emeritus Prof Tim Rowse, Western Sydney University

Dr Elizabeth Humphrys, University of Technology Sydney

Dr Heather Benbow, University of Melbourne

Tinonee Pym, Swinburne University of Technology

Dr Anthony Hopkins, Australian National University

Dr. Gemma Hamilton, RMIT University

Mittul Vahanvati, RMIT

Ms Lisa de Kleyn, RMIT University

Michele Ruyters, RMIT University

Dr. Blanche Verlie, RMIT University

Liam Clapp, RMIT University

Alex Poll, Swinburne University

Dr Benjamin Cooke, RMIT University

Dr. Adriana Keating, RMIT University

Assoc Prof Wendy Steele, RMIT

Prof Jill Blackmore, 

Dr Cullan Joyce, University of Divinity

Carlos Eduardo Morreo, Australian National University

Dr Rachel Forgasz, Monash University.

Rod Quantock OAM, Melbourne University

James Desmond, Monash University

Pamela Lyon, Flinders University

Matthew Flinders, Flinders University

Dr Emma Shortis, RMIT University

Professor Mark R. Shortis, RMIT University

Peter Young, Griffith University

Professor Allison Kealy, RMIT University

Kathleen Aikens, Monash University

Polly Chester, Griffith University

Dr Paul Harris, Griffith University

Bronwyn Charles, Griffith University

Dr Brett Carter, RMIT University

Dr. Peter Raisbeck, University of Melbourne

Dr Pooja Sawrikar, Griffith University

Mariela Soto-Berelov, RMIT University

Marilyn Casley, Griffith University

Dr Till Mostowlansky, Monash University

Dr Brook Bolander, Monash University

Dr Michelle Newcomb, Griffith University

Tania Webster, Monash University

Dr Claudia Catterall, Ecologist, Southern Cross University

Dr Sander Scheffers, Southern Cross University

Dr Helen Maguire, University of Sydney

Neil Gunningham, Australian National University

Prof Kate Burridge, Monash University

Dr Judith Rosentreter, Southern Cross University

Emeritus Prof David Farrier, University of Wollongong

John Braithwaite, Australian National University

Dr Jennifer Boddy, Griffith University

Prof Scott Gregory Johnston, Southern Cross University

Prof Jacqueline Peel, University of Melbourne

Assoc Prof Iris Duhn, Monash University

Cam Pettiona, Monash University

Emeritus Prof Ben Boer, University of Sydney

Ben Abraham, University of Technology Sydney

Dr Judith Dwyer, Flinders University

Gina Chow, Monash University

Doctor Kevin Glencross, Southern Cross University

Dr Ross Goldingay, Southern Cross University

Mona Malekzadeh, Southern Cross University

Dr Brent Keogh, University of Technology Sydney

Dr Kirin Apps, Cross University

Associate Professor Tema Milstein, University of New South Wales

Ceylena Holloway, Southern Cross University

Dr Lynette Pretorius, Monash University

Dr Allie Ford, Monash University

Dr Francesca da RiminiUniversity of Technology Sydney

Dr Martin Wolterding, Western Sydney University.

Adj Prof Melinda Rackham, University of South Australia

Dr Tony Haigh, Western Sydney University

Lorraine Walker, Monash University

Dr Phillipa McCormack, University of Tasmania

Jasmine Evans, Monash University

Dr. Jeremy Walker, University of Technology Sydney

Dr Nicole Graham, The University of Sydney

Dr Alessandro Pelizzon, Southern Cross University

Assoc Prof Amelia Thorpe, University of NSW

Professor Jan McDonald, University of Tasmania

Assoc Prof Kate Galloway, Bond University

Una Stone, RMIT

Prof Kathy Bowrey, University of NSW

Prof Rosemary Lyster, University of Sydney

Dr Peter Jones, James Cook University

Professor Kathy Bowrey, Faculty of Law, University of NSW

Assoc Prof Belinda Smith, Sydney Law School

Adj Prof Rob Fowler, University of South Australia.

Stefan Ziemer, Monash University

Trudi Gilmore, Monash University

Tully O’Neill, RMIT University

Dr Bertram Jenkins, University of New England

Assoc Prof Amy Lykins, University of New England

Sarah McCook, RMIT University

Dr Nicolette Larder, University of New England

Lena Molnar, RMIT University

Dr Shelley Wright, University of New England

Liz Charpleix, University of New England

Mia De Seram, Monash University

Karin von Strokirch, University of New England

Dr Gang-Jun Liu, RMIT University

Dr Pam Mulhall, Monash University

Dr Einar Thorsteinsson, University of New England

Madeline Taylor, University of Sydney

Dr Peter Lawrence, University of Tasmania

Prof Danielle Celermajer, University of Sydney

Lincoln Turner, Monash University

Dr Sandra D’Urso, Melbourne University

Prof Rachelle Buchbinder, Monash University

Prof Andrea Reupert Monash University

Barbara Cramer, Monash University

Lisa Ford, Monash University

Dr Frances Quinn, University of New England

Joy Whitton, Monash University

Prof Roy Tasker, Western Sydney University

Dr. Lesley Freeman, , Monash University

Dr Marty Branagan, University of New England

Iliana O’Donnell, Monash University

Bridget Sadler, Monash University

Prof Naomi Langmore, Australian National University

Alan Reid, Monash University

Dr Tanya Howard, University of New England 

Tim Collins, University of New England

Robert Rollin, Southern Cross University

Kylie Fennessy, Monash University

Assoc Prof Alice Gaby, Monash University

Dr David Moore, Monash University

Joanne Williams, Griffith University

Claire Hutton, Monash University

Dr Yuntian Brian Bai, RMIT University

Craig Taylor, Southern Cross University

Assoc Prof Lee Stickells, University of Sydney

Anna Filipi, Monash University

Jennifer Miles, Monash University

Dr Robyn Dwyer, La Trobe University

Dr. Kim Polistina, Southern Cross University / CQUniversity

David Sabetfar, Monash University

Dr Rose Andrew, University of New England

Steve Mitchell, Monash University

Dr Amanda Beasley, Southern Cross University

Chris Ancora, Monash University

Jared Mansfield, Monash University

*This is an edited and adapted version of an open letter from 100 UK Academics published in The Guardian in 2018 (prepared by Alison Green and others, and adapted with permission).

— Read on www.theguardian.com/science/2019/sep/20/we-declare-our-support-for-extinction-rebellion-an-open-letter-from-australias-academics

Climate emergency ‘a new danger’ to peace, youth activists hear ahead of World Day | UN News #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateEmergency

Hundreds of thousands of people in the Lake Chad region of Africa have been displaced as a result of insecurity caused by armed insurgent groups.

Many, who were abducted and suffered atrocities at the hand of those insurgents, now live in refugee camps and settlements for displaced people in Cameroon.

Each 21 September, the General Assembly-mandated International Day of Peace is observed, devoted to “strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples”, with this year’s theme spotlighting climate action as key to that aim.  

“Today peace faces a new danger: the climate emergency, which threatens our security, our livelihoods and our lives”, Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message.

Speaking to some 700 high school and college student leaders, he explained that peace “is not only about peace among people, but peace between people and the planet”, lamenting that “we have been at war” with nature. 

Climate change has posed clear threats to international peace and security, with natural disasters displacing three times as many people as conflicts; forcing millions to flee their homes in search of refuge.  

Growing tensions over resources, mass movements of people, and endangered food security are escalating and “affecting every country on every continent” according to the UN.  

On Friday morning Mr. Guterres commenced celebrations by ringing the Peace Bell at Headquarters in New York, and observing a minute of silence in the UN’s Peace Garden.  

He was joined by the UN Messengers for Peace, Yo-Yo Ma and Midori Goto, and hundreds of high school and college student guests, who represent the growing number of young people stepping up to meet the climate challenge – close to half a million world-wide the UN estimates.   

This year, the UN’s recognition of the Day showcased the power of young voices by hosting a Peace Student Observance – a platform for young people to share projects they have undertaken to nurse a healthy planet while promoting peace.   

To mobilize ambition, the Secretary-General is convening a Climate Action Summit on 23 September, with “concrete and realistic plans to accelerate action” as urged by Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13, and put forward ambitious plans outlined in the landmark Paris Agreement. A special climate summit for youth on Saturday, the first of its kind, will bring young leaders and innovators together to further address the climate emergency.  

The shift toward a safer and greener future “will be backed by passionate voices of young women and men around the world, who understand their future is at stake” Mr. Guterres said in the 100-Day countdown to the International Day back in June, deeming this challenge “the battle of our lives.” 

“We are at war with nature” the UN chief said, “nature doesn’t forgive, and nature is striking back.” 

Form farming, to how we mobilize ourselves, to power supply, we need “huge transformations” the Secretary-General urged.  

Commending the young attendees, he said: “Your leadership is essential, to make sure that my generation does the right thing…Good luck in your very committed engagement towards peace among people, and people with mother nature.”

— Read on news.un.org/en/story/2019/09/1046862

What You Need to Know About the Upcoming Climate Strikes: A Discussion – It’s Going Down #auspol #qldpol #ClimateEmergency #StopAdani Join #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion Demand #ClimateAction

What You Need to Know About the Upcoming Climate Strikes: A Discussion – It’s Going Down

Starting Friday, September 20th, a wide collection of groups, many formed within the last year, will kick off a week of action across the world, calling for drastic action to stop climate change. This call will be followed up by another on October 7th, as Extinction Rebellion is pushing for a day of direct actions.

From within the anarchist and autonomous anti-capitalist movement, there has been a lot of healthy critique aimed at groups like Extinction Rebellion – and for good reason. As we have highlighted on the It’s Going Down podcast, people have rightfully been critical of the new climate movement’s embrace of non-violence and moreover, reformist attempts to pressure the elites into acting. In some ways, this seems like a step back from the last few years, where people fighting pipelines and fossil fuel projects have utilized a diversity of tactics while attempting to physically blockade and shut down fossil fuel infrastructure.

On the other hand, others have pointed out that the upcoming round of climate actions are still largely being organized in an autonomous framework and represent an opportunity to make connections with the next generation of climate activists. In short, this could be a chance to push things in a different direction. Perhaps what is needed now is for our networks to engage with this emerging movement in critical and strategic ways, pointing a different way forward or at the very least, pointing out everything that might hold real revolt back.

Wanting to know more about these upcoming days of action as well as what we can expect from them, we caught up with someone in the Northeast who is mobilizing with high school students for the upcoming climate strike to talk about the growing movement.

IGD: In the broad sense, why or why not should autonomists, anarchists, and anti-authoritarians involve themselves in the upcoming climate actions?

As a general principle, I’ll say this. When millions of people pledge to hit the streets in protest, it’s worth paying attention to what’s going on. It’s a strategic question, not necessarily a moral one.

It has already become apparent that climate change will be the defining political question of the 21st century. I would argue that what happens this week with the Global Climate Strike partially sets the tone, partly defines a range of possibilities of how climate change will be addressed in coming decades. What concrete options, what political poles are available for people to rally around as climate chaos intensifies? This week might just give us more than a premonition of nascent political tendencies and polarities that will dominate the landscape in years to come.

I’d add that a new generation of political activists are coming of age in this critical moment, as the scientists remind us that we only have until 2030 to make gargantuan social changes to avoid total collapse. The government is watching these protests, as is capitalism – and, it should be said, so too are new breeds of reactionaries like eco-fascists. To not pay attention to the recent climate mobilizations is to risk abandoning this new generation to cynics and opportunists, and to cede the emerging political terrain in advance. It’s to lose out on an important opportunity to stake a claim in more radical visions of the future, to fight for what global transformations climate change truly demands of us.

IGD: Who are the big players mobilizing the different actions? Are these non-profits, activist groups, Marxist-Leninist organizations?

The Global Climate Strike is being organized as a coalition between a huge number of groups, both new and old. Perhaps the most interesting groups involved are the new youth-led organizations like Fridays for Future, the Sunrise Movement, EarthStrike, Youth vs Apocalypse, and Zero Hour.

Another major player is Extinction Rebellion, a “nonviolent direct action” group that exploded onto the scene last year in the UK. XR, as they are known, has grown rapidly since then and chapters are quickly spreading across the US and around the world. I’ll say more about XR later.

While it’s these new climate groups who have spearheaded the call for the Global Climate Strike, practically every large environmental organization has also endorsed the strike, including familiar names like Greenpeace and 350.org.

The Climate Strike is also timed to coincide with the UN’s upcoming Climate Change summit, set to begin on September 23.

IGD: There’s a lot of moving pieces, but if you can, break down for us what all is happening over the week of September 20th – 27th. We know that there are student climate actions, climate strikes, and also Extinction Rebellion rallies happening across the world and the US. Can you flesh these all out for us?

The Global Climate Strike will feature hundreds, and probably thousands, of globally coordinated actions from September 20 to September 27. Every protest movement has its rhythm: the Climate Strike takes its lead from Fridays for Future, the student-led movement in Europe that has seen tens of thousands of students on strike every Friday for much of this year.

The Youth Climate Strike on September 20 is expected to have the largest turnout, as most groups have been organizing around this specific date. It’s a big chance for the new climate groups to prove their scale and popular resonance. Marches, rallies, speeches, celebrities, music, festivities – the day may be reminiscent of the People’s Climate March back in 2014.

Throughout the week, there will be smaller, more targeted actions in many places. For instance, I’ve heard of planned marches to city halls, actions targeting energy companies, and so on. Major cities will likely see continued actions everyday, carried out by a variety of different groups and according to a variety of tactics.

On the following Friday, September 27, there will be another day of mass action. One thing to watch would be to see how turnout compares to September 20. Can the movement keep up its pace? Could it even grow in numbers? There’s some talk of more disruptive actions on this date, including attempts at blockades. For radicals, this could be a promising day to turn out.

XR has recently announced they are planning an International Rebellion beginning October 7. Given the group’s history so far, we can expect disruptive actions on a large scale – especially if they can capitalize on existing momentum. So, if all goes well, the week-long Global Climate Strike may not end next week after all.

IGD: How are these events being organized?

To the credit of the new climate groups, their call for a Global Climate Strike has spread – well, like wildfire. It has been taken up at incredible speed and at a massive scale, an impressive showing for any protest movement in recent years. According to a figure I saw this week, there are some 750 actions planned on September 20 in the US alone. Whatever you may think of the movement, the strike is set to be huge.

Once the initial call was spread, most of these actions were announced by existing climate groups and networks of activists who mobilized accordingly. As far as I can tell, some planned actions certainly did emerge organically from individuals or small groups of friends who perhaps had seen the climate movement online but weren’t already plugged to the usual activist circuit. globalclimatestrike.net has served as one popular aggregator for these events among others.

I find this mixture interesting from an organizational point of view: a combination of spontaneous calls and legitimate channels, with existing groups lending their credibility while also leaving room for decentralized groups to easily and clearly plug in to a global movement. It’s neither top-down nor entirely horizontal, but an effective mix of the two.

IGD: Greta Thunberg, a teenager has been in the spotlight a lot lately, going on the Daily Show etc, what is her role in all of this?

Greta, a 16 year old Swede, has become quite famous in recent months. In many ways she is the face of the new youth-led climate movement. She began a lone protest against climate inaction by striking from school on Fridays, holding her iconic “Skolstrejk för Klimatet” sign outside. Her decision wound up kicking off the Fridays for Future movement and has since catapulted her into international fame, bringing her into conversation with everyone from Pope Francis to Naomi Klein.

I’m not so interested in her personally so much as the symbolic role she plays in the current moment. As a figure, Greta has on one hand galvanized many towards protest and collective action as necessary means to address climate change. She is, for many young people, a source of inspiration and even of hope for the future. On the other hand – as could be expected – she has united countless reactionaries in fury, earning her nasty insults from spooked fossil fuel executives and the remaining climate denialists, down to run-of-the-mill misogynists and the usual haters.

IGD: To what degree are young people, like high schoolers getting involved in these actions?

The influence of newly mobilized young people, students especially, on this new surge of climate action cannot be overstated. They are absolutely the core of the current wave, and they are the ones who will determine what happens next. The Global Climate Strike has all the hallmarks of a paradigm shift in public discourse and climate politics. Now it’s up to the kids to redefine the possibilities of the future, the shape of the world we will live in.

IGD: There seems to be a split within anarchist and autonomous groups, both in Europe and the US as to whether to support these actions. Some groups are getting involved in some of places, while others seem very critical. What are your thoughts?

There is something of a split. Some radicals are earnestly engaging with the new climate movements, inspired by the energy and momentum they’ve demonstrated, as well as by the seriousness with which they grapple with the enormity of the problem. Other radicals are sitting the protests out, writing it off as the latest manifestation of liberal environmentalism – or worse.

A number of important critiques have been raised, shared even by those who are sympathetic to the emergent movement like myself.

Common criticisms include the charge of political naivete, in that governments or capitalism itself would ever be able – much less be willing – to embark upon the myriad changes demanded by protestors. Many radicals have also voiced concerns that by framing the solution to climate change as a purely legislative or policy issue (as the Green New Deal tends to), the new climate movements have defined their scope too narrowly to address the underlying problem. I would describe this as a classic kind of “reform versus revolution” situation, dividing those who believe the State and capitalism can be squared with the habitability of the planet, and those for whom the only possible way to avert climate chaos is total revolution.

Another major critique is of the explicitly non-violent approach of the movements, which of course strikes most radicals as a dead-end. Relatedly, the most serious issue that has been raised so far has been XR’s police-friendly approach. XR’s troubling relationship with the police is simply a dealbreaker for many radicals who might otherwise engage with the climate movements – and I don’t blame them.

The list of critiques could go on. I think these are serious concerns, and I worry they may prove insurmountable for the new climate groups as they’re currently articulated. Nonetheless, the situation remains what it is. The Climate Strike is almost here. Movements are messy – either radicals will be there to help shape this one, or we won’t.

IGD: A big critique seems to be, that instead of making spectacles in order to get the attention of government and industry heads, we should instead be thinking about collective action that could put on us on a path towards shutting down the fossil fuel economy. Should we think about these actions as a way to build to there, or how to intervene in order to make this a reality, or are they instead a possible roadblock?

This is certainly one of the main shortcomings of the movement, one of its primary contradictions that has yet to be overcome. If you really believe the government has utterly failed to save the planet, then why is the solution… to demand the government save the planet? Why are we asking the idiots who have practically killed all life on earth to spare us from their own onslaught? It’s a huge flaw in the logic of the new climate movements and potentially one site of useful radical intervention. Could we help draw out the contradiction between believing the government is the solution and believing the government is the problem? Could we turn demands for the government to save the planet into demands to save the planet from the government?

Despite this faulty framework, one of the most interesting aspects of the new climate movements – XR in particular – is their combination of mass mobilization and direct action. XR, for all their shortcomings, have helped legitimate in the popular imaginary tactics that were formerly the daydreams of radicals – thousands blockading intersections, taking over bridges, and so on. Their style is more festive than combative; nonetheless, the shut-down is real. Could we help the movements take it a step further, shedding the overly symbolic in favor of the overtly material?

This is a crucial point. It’s not such a leap of the imagination to envision, mere weeks from now, a direct blockade of fossil fuel infrastructure by thousands of spirited, courageous new climate rebels. Perhaps this is the primary intervention to be made within the current situation. The new climate movements know full well that every day we burn more fossil fuels, the closer we come to our own destruction. Targets are everywhere. Perhaps we should be thinking less how to strike, and more how to strike back.

Upcoming Days of Action:

September 20th: Youth led Climate Strike kick off, largely on Friday, September 20th. Check the map on this page to find one near you.

September 27th: Climate Strike actions being planned. Check map here for local groups organizing.

October 7th: Extinction Rebellion holding actions across the world. Check map here for local groups organizing.

Some Big Actions:

September 25th: Mass mobilization in San Francisco

September 27th: Mass mobilization in Atlanta

September 27th: Climate Strike in New York

— Read on itsgoingdown.org/what-to-know-climate-strike/amp/